First Words


The other day my oldest asked me to remind him what his first word was. This comes up from time to time because both boys have kind of fun and unusual versions of this milestone.

Wait – a story about the boys when they were babies that I haven’t told here yet? Oh, let’s fix THAT!

Oldest was a real oddity – he didn’t have a first word, he had a first SENTENCE. And that’s why it probably seared itself into my memory banks so deeply. I don’t remember the exact timing of this as far as how old he was. But I do know for sure that his dad and I were walking up the stairwell in the condo complex we lived in at the time. I was carrying him and he was doing his usual chattering. Let me tell you that this kid YAMMERED. Once he found his voice at a few months old, he never, ever stopped using it! So I was rather accustomed to a babbling brook streaming out of his mouth when he was awake. But, just as we got to the landing outside the door of our unit, while his dad put the key in the door, Nick was quiet for enough time that it made an impact. Then he looked up at the ceiling in the stairwell, pointed up and said “See light?”

We both stopped because it was such a clear question to us! I looked up and then back at him and responded “What did you say buddy? See what?” and he said again, clear as a bell and with the proper questioning inflection “See light?!”

How cool is that?

Youngest is more unusual since he basically showed his sport loving stripes from the start. I know it had to be in the spring/summer of ’98  – he turned 2 in August 98. I had always been a huge Dodger fan growing up and a Mike Piazza fan specifically. (as soon as the Dodgers traded Piazza, I switched to full Padres loyalty and had been warming up to them for quite a bit before then. Piazza extended my Dodger fan time when he came up).

Anyway, I watched every Dodger game on TV that we could see in San Diego. And I had a routine. Piazza would come up to the plate and I would say “Let’s go Mi-KEY” with an emphasis on that last syllable. Alex had shown an interest in the games when they were on and was always around me while I watched. I’d narrate a bit to him, trying to simplify my cheering and my own version of color commentary. WHEN he would get a hit, especially a home run, I would let out a “Way to go Mi-KEY!” and get Alex to clap along with me.

Sure enough, one of those days (I do remember it was a day game so must have been a Sunday afternoon game), after I had let loose with my customary cheer of encouragement when Piazza got to the batters box, I hear a little voice say “Mi-KEY!”

I looked at Alex wide eyed and then went up closer to the TV (old ass console thing from somewhere back in the early 1970s…ok, maybe late 1970s since it WAS color..) and I pointed to the Piazza on the screen and said “Alex, who is this?”


Oh yeah….brainwashing complete 🙂

So – any other good stories out there of kid’s first words? I’d love to hear them!

As a bonus for reading all the way through, here’s a fresh picture of said sports obsessed child from his rugby game this past weekend:

April 4_NMTech

Short Stories from Casa Crazy


Some time ago as joke I created a Facebook location for our house and called it Casa Crazy. I did it because I’d had dinner with some friends who had all commented on how LAME Facebook check ins are, especially when people are checking in from home and calling their home some cutesy name. So, ha ha ha, I ran home and created the location and checked in with some trite statement like “chillin’ on the patio at Casa Crazy with Amber and Chip” or some such nonsense. Yes, I cracked us up, I tell ya!

So here are some more riotous tales from Casa Crazy!

(Hah, I originally typed that Casa Cray and realize now I *should* have called it Casa Cray Cray…might need to update that!)


This weekend at the San Diego International Triathlon Eve and I were at the finish line watching racers come in and keeping an eye out for Renee. One guy was running in, drifted off to the side where spectators were, got his toddler aged daughter in his arms and carried her the final 30 yards or so to the finish line. Adorable. And a bit dangerous when you consider that other racers were sprinting in all around him and he was lucky he wasn’t run down as he drifted in and out. Of course, at least he did carry her and clearly he had no podium aspirations (or he knew he was so far ahead that he could slow down to get her and not lose a spot). So we stuck with thinking it was sweet overall.

Then we spotted Renee coming in on the next to last turn. She was motoring along pretty well and was mostly in a group of men also coming in but there was one woman ahead of her. As they hit the final turn, the woman in the front did The Drift to the side! And yep, she snagged a kid! She was a little further back than the previous guy had been and this time she was pulling in a 5-6 year old boy into the chute. And she wasn’t carrying him. I see this all unfolding right in front of Renee and my first was concern was that she not crash into them because she had quite the head full of steam. (Alternately my competitive side was thinking ” Just push him outta the way girl!!”) She did have to alter her path a bit to avoid him, but then she took off and finished ahead of mom and son.

By .02 seconds. Not 2 seconds. .02 seconds. How do we know? Because that was the difference between 2nd and 3rd place in their age group. Thanks to mom pulling her kid along with her, she lost her #2 spot. Hah!


15 will kill me later, but this was too funny not to share. He was making himself some chicken noodle soup while telling me a story of some sort (in the right mood he pretty much never shuts up). He opens the can, dumps the contents in the bowl, throws the can away, picks up the bowl in one hand and opens the refrigerator with the other yapping all the way. Now, I suspected he was going to grab the juice container for whatever reason but… can probably guess what he did right?

Yup, bowl of soup, right into the refrigerator! I just stood there looking at him as the realization comes over him and then he looks and sees me grinning. Completely unable to cover that up, he had no choice but to burst out laughing as I did the same. “When did you move the microwave?!” he managed to blurt out through giggles. Yeah, nice try son.


If you have cats, then you know this scenario. No matter where I settle down to either read/watch TV/work(futz) around on the computer, they will be RIGHT THERE! I always laugh when I am seated at the dining room table working at my laptop and I will have one cat on the left, and another on the right. The three of us, basically crammed into a little 2×3 foot spot of carpet in an 1800 sft house! And of course, I have no way of getting up from my chair without stepping on one of them. Sigh………………..

Well, flash forward to tonight when I decide to sit outside after dinner and read my book. It’s a clear summer evening and until the sun drops below the roofs of the houses across the way, it will be perfectly toasty, but not hot or cold. I’m out there in the peace & quiet for about 5 minutes tops when I hear Amber howl inside because she knows I am right Out There and she cannot be with me. Suck it up cat. Mama wants a few minutes of space. Then 15 pops through the front door to discuss plans for his trip to the fair tomorrow. Then 26 comes out the side to smoke a cigarette and water the plants. And just like that both boys are talking to me and/or to each other as we are all packed into two squares of sidewalk concrete. Meanwhile the cat is howling inside.


Goodnight from Casa Cray Cray Crazy.

You might live with a teenager if…….


Ripped from my own life

             You Might Live With A Teenager If….

  • The doors in your house no longer just close – they SLAM
  • Your sanity and memory are questioned a dozen times a day…
  • …by the same person who cannot remember to put on shoes before getting in the car to go to school.
  • You hear “GODDAM!” and then THUD and then SLAM and then THUD THUD THUD and learn quickly that you better save whatever you are working on because the router is about to be reset and no one is going to warn you before you hear the “click click” and then the fading THUD THUD THUD and another SLAM as he returns back to his online video game that had stalled.
  • You watch him do a homework assignment, put it in his folder and then into his backpack and two days later see a big fat ZERO in a RED BOX where the grade should be. Why? Oh, you mean the teacher wanted a NAME on that?!
  • It takes a minimum of three visits to his bedroom to get him out of bed.
  • He only showers after he’s made your eyes water from the stench.
  • You cringe as you make him do the dishes. Because you know he *should* help out. So you stick to your guns and make him do it. But, darn it all you really LIKE your dishes and don’t want to have to buy a new set!
  • There is no visible carpet in his room
  • Even the cats refuse to go in there
  • He lives entirely out of his hamper of clean clothes because it would be a menace to society for clean clothes to put way or hung up. When the hamper is empty – it’s time to do laundry again. (you know where the dirty clothes end up in between, right?!)
  • You no longer bother asking “are you hungry?” – you just leave food out for constant grazing.And no, it wont ruin his appetite for dinner.
  • Your kitchen is sparkling clean when you go to bed – and then looks like a tornado hit it when you come downstairs the next morning.
  • There are random holes in the walls.
  • You are quite certain you didn’t get a lobotomy – yet the occupants of the house treat you as if you did.
  • You thank the cell phone providers for unlimited text plans and e-bills. Actually, the postal workers thank them for the e-bills – can you imagine the sizes of those things if they had to deliver them to your mailbox every month?
  • He takes great pride in redefining “lazy”.
  • His friend’s are never referred to by proper names, but rather by their Xbox screen names or whatever nick names they’ve created. Almost all are incredibly rude and shouldn’t be repeated in even semi-polite company. “Fat Ass” is the least offensive one. And it’s applied to a 6’1″ 160lb string bean.
  • You shake your head at LEAST once a day (more often if it’s a weekend day) and mumble “why why why did I have kids?” or “Please, take my teenager – PLEASE!”….or “I *thought* the baby I took home from the hospital was human…?” or (most frequently) “God…I. Just. Don’t. Understand. Maybe a beer/wine/vodka will help”

This list is far from complete. And yes, it is male teen specific since that is all I know. It is also culled from my years with both of them so don’t assume these all apply to the current teen in the house. The now 26 year old had plenty of his own contributions!

Have a great weekend and if you DO have a teen in the house – *clink*

Let there be…….dark!


I left for work yesterday morning pondering the internet situation in our house which had completely died on Wednesday night. Ok, not completely – the wireless network crapped out – one computer could still direct connect to the modem. I figured I would call Time Warner, upgrade to their wireless networking system because I am tired of maintaining the router myself (and clearly the “new” Netgear router was a piece of trash), get the first appointment they had and then figure out how we would get through without wireless. You know, such a deep deep, real world problem – no wireless internet – no laptops – no Xbox live – HORRORS!

So, of course the planet had to remind me just how insignificant no wireless internet for one night might be by unplugging us completely.

We now know that ONE – get that? ONE worker in Arizona had a total brain fart and pretty much ended up disconnecting the entire southern California grid at 3:20pm yesterday. Woosh! Massive black O-U-T. Several million people without any power. Cell phones spotty at best – though working enough to figure out where family was and to hear that school would be closed today and then also that work would be open.

I mean, really? ONE GUY did all that? can you say infrastructure breakdown?

Thankfully the early radio reports that we might not be back up until Saturday were wrong and we had power by 2am at my house so it was not even 11 hours.

But hey – we made the best of it! Here’s a few things I am thankful for:

  1. That I bought gas on the way in to work when my yellow warning light came on. I am notorious for not wanting to stop anywhere on my way in to work yet something in my brain said “just do it!” and I am very glad I did.
  2. That I did at least have $10 in my wallet – which is rare since I hardly ever had cash, but I had saved some for the JV football entrance fee tonight.
  3. That we had a gas stove and a really nice BBQ
  4. That it was a gorgeous summer night with almost no wind and that the moon was ablaze and that we could see every star.
  5. That our refrigerator water supply died a year ago so I always have jugs of drinking water on hand.
  6. That I love candles and always have a ton and that we always have lighters around
  7. That we have a battery powered radio and even found batteries for it!
  8. That I have had issues in the past with my garage door opener so we are all very familiar with how to disengage the motor latch and roll it up and down manually. (something my neighbors apparently didn’t clue in to since everyone’s cars were in their driveways?!)
  9. That I have been putting out those solar battery powered landscaping lights around my large yard over the last two years and that Son #1 immediately thought of bringing them inside as it got dark – PERFECT sources of life – safe and effective. One in each bathroom and then we were all carrying them around with us.

    Perfect emergency lights!

  10. That we all love playing board games and that Scrabble didn’t sell at the garage sale!! We started a mini bonfire in the shell of a dead bbq, hung a flashlight from the roof of the patio cover for a spotlight, turned on the radio and played Scrabble for a couple of hours. It was so fun! Plus, I won despite Son #2 taking my damn letters I wanted to use every turn!
  11. That somehow through the spotty cell phone signal, I heard from my parents, a friend I was supposed to meet for dinner, and that the texts & voice mails from my workplace and from Son #2’s schools got through. Somehow so did the Padres score text messages – as they lost yet again – ironically IN Arizona, the source of our darkness!

Overall, it was a kind of fun night! I’m back at work today, the JV football game is apparently ON for later and Time Warner is still coming out to fix the internet tonight.

Oh, and something else is still happening. SDG&E sent a notice two weeks ago that they need to replace a corroded power line. Which means – yes – no electricity from Sat at 10pm until Sunday at 8am.

Piece of cake.


You know you wanted to see some deep fried Kool Aid


The Infamous Deep Fried Kool Aid

Alongside my heavenly deep fried Oreos - a bite into it and you can see it is just basically deep fried kool aid flavored cake

It was good – but I don’t think I would pass up on my Deep Fried Oreos for them. Those are just…well…still as awesome as I expected. Thankfully the boys were at the fair with me so we could order up a batch of both and each get a taste without totally stuffing ourselves (though I did still feel plenty sugared out when we were done!)

Blurry pic on the ferris wheel

Possibly blurry because my hand was shaking? Possibly. I don’t know – it is always so funny to go on that. MM acts all confident until the moment he gets in and then he folds into a ball of fright. He was sitting on the floor of the cup gripping the center bar with all his life. I stayed on the seat, but was also momentarily struck with the frights as the wheel went up to load more people. I was alternately opening and closing my eyes and trying to breathe and also perhaps gripping the bar a bit tightly. Then SB reminded me that I usually handle this just fine and that maybe I would feel better once it got moving and voila! He was right. In motion I was totally fine. Even as it slowed down again to start letting people off I was able to pull out my phone and take this shot. As you can see, MM started to relax too.

We had initially tried to get on the wheel to time it with the fireworks but given our reaction that would have been useless so I was glad we were off and had plenty of time to get out to the back parking lot to watch the show. Surrounded by car alarms going off with each deep boom 🙂

So, this happened


First shave - brother coaches brother

With the "Manly Month of March" long over, it was time to clean that upper lip.

Another milestone passed

As was pointed out on Facebook – ironic how guys (and gals with their legs) look so forward to that first shave – and then hate that grooming chore for the rest of their lives!

Another Facebook comment was that I was lucky to get pics. Yes, I know, but as you see, I waited until they were mid-stream and at that point The Boy was so focused on the task and not cutting himself that he couldn’t really protest my photographic intrusions. I was forbidden from tagging him in the photo I posted on FB – thereby keeping his friend’s from seeing it…..for now 🙂

Feeding into the stereotype


Self-taken photo of Rock Band drumset controll...

Image via Wikipedia

I tend to look for things that go against the grain – those exceptions that break the rule. Those interest & amuse me much more than anything smelling of “normal”.

However, this weekend a stereotype was reinforced (again) and I got a huge laugh out of it (again).

I’ve written about this before. The rule is either that testosterone causes blind spots or that estrogen is an automatic homing device.

Last weekend, MusicMan got permission from SportsBoy to allow one of this friends to borrow Rock Band and all it’s instruments. With SB currently addicted to Call of Duty on the Xbox, the Wii is sitting somewhat dormant and Rock Bank in particular has not been touched in months. This is not just a game, but requires several large instruments. A microphone for singing, a guitar & a drum set. This rather large collection had been moved upstairs by me early last year. I put everything small in a designated “Wii controllers & misc items” plastic box and stored them in one of SB’s bedroom closets. The drum set sat in a corner. He took it out to use once or twice but it had not been touched since school started. As MM gathered everything he realized there was a part to the drum set missing. A base pedal like the one pictured at above attached to the bottom of the drum set. MM looked for it, but then gave up because it was late at night. He asked me about it the next day and I told him the last time I saw anything related to the RB set was up in SB’s room so – keep looking. I did dig around a bit downstairs just to make sure it had not been left here, but I was about 100% certain it was in the bedroom. I may have trouble remembering names these days, but my memory of events is still pretty crystal clear!

This weekend, MM renewed the search with SB’s help. I heard all sorts of noise going on up there as drawers were rifled through & doors opened & shut. MM came down frustrated and announced that we must have thrown it out somehow because he had looked EVERYWHERE! I gently reminded him that perhaps guys don’t really look as well as they could and was he sure he looked EVERYWHERE and moved things around and lifted things etc? Oh YES, he insisted. I’m older and I know how to look now and it’s just NOT THERE!

All righty then.

So I promised to spend some time up there Sunday since I do need to continue cleaning out his three closets & bookcase & nightstand to make room for a transition from little boy to teen style room. I started with his dresser to remove old clothes. And right there, in his t-shirt drawer, under just one layer of shirts…was the base pedal! Now, WHY was it in the dresser? I have no clue. He has not clue. I suspect it was the result of one of those days when I had a fit and told him he wasn’t leaving his room until it was cleaned up enough to vacuum. Being a teenage boy, he simply picked up loose items and threw them randomly into available spaces in his closets.

Of course when I found it I said “What the heck? REALLY?!” and held it up to show SB who was in there with me. We just started laughing. I called down to MM – “I found it!” and he replied “No WAY!” as I brought it down to him. When I told him where I found it he said “But, I LOOKED in the dresser!”