07/01 Direct Link

David's suggestion was that I mark my entries with an asterisk, and he would mark his with an ampersand.

"A symbol is not a word," he said, "so we won't be breaking the rules if we include an identifying symbol and 100 words."

To me, this system just confuses -everyone-, so I'm just going to mark my entries with an 'E'. A letter is not a word either, dear, unless it's a one-letter word like "A" or "I".

The idea is that we'll alternate entries every day, but we'll see how that works as the month goes on.

07/02 Direct Link

As usual, my better half has it all figured out. I've already forgotten whether I was supposed to be the ampersand or the asterisk.

I feel that last part of her entry yesterday was aimed at me, as if she expects she'll have to carry this batch by herself by the end of the month. Even though writing this project together was her idea, I can tell you I am at least as committed to it as she is. At least!

A healthy sense of competition is what keeps a marriage fresh, and ours is like a... freshly-picked salad.

07/03 Direct Link

I thought it might be fun to have our daughter write tonight's entry to introduce us as a family, but she cried when I suggested it. After some probing, she revealed she was afraid of revealing our personal information to a stranger.

It's a legitimate concern, I guess, but it is possible that we've overstated Internet Stranger Danger to our children? Internet is fairly new to us, too (we've been living without it since the beginning of 2012), and I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, but we may have freaked them out more than was really necessary.

07/04 Direct Link

The popular hypothetical question of how many five-year-olds you could fight popped into my head yesterday, and I know from experience those suckers are heavier and stronger than you'd think. I started stretching and lifting small weights. I picture myself lying on the floor with my kids on top of me, giggling, and I'm shouting, "Elizabeth, help me," and it's more than I can bear.

I'm at an age at which I need to either start taking better care of myself or accepting gradual decrepitude. I just need to stay slightly stronger than my kids; that's the plan.

07/05 Direct Link

We haven't bought our kids a video game system. We discourage violence in any form, so they just go over to their friend's house next door and spend hours playing video games there. We've decided there isn't much we can do about it.

I think the Parenting Point here is that they know we don't officially sanction our son shotgunning his little sister in the face.

(She can dish it out, though, and was once overheard threatening to "shoot a rocket up [his] ass." I don't mind telling you she spent some time in the "Don't Corner" for that one.)

07/06 Direct Link

In yesterday's complaint about our daughter's prowess with a rocket launcher, did you detect a trace of pride? I sometimes hear strange explosions and small-arms fire coming from Elizabeth's computer.

Video games are a lot of nonsense, and our official stance on them reeks of a feckless disregard for structure. I would like to see them banned outright in all locations, and replaced with math problems.

"All their friends play video games, and they need to have friends."

That nice bit of logic from my wife is what turned me into the flexible, reasonable, compromising man I am today.

07/07 Direct Link

We spent the day in Odessa, and arrived just in time for lunch. After that, we decided to see all of the amazing sights. That took five minutes, so we had to lower our standards for "amazing sights."

Obviously the kids were hot and cranky the whole time, and they altogether failed to appreciate the fake Stonehenge. David tried to capture their imaginations with a brief archaeology lecture, but (amazingly) it wasn't very effective.

We returned in a worse mood than we were in when we left, out seventy dollars, and questioning the value of ever leaving the house again.

07/08 Direct Link

For me, the greatest strength of the Internet is also its greatest weakness: anyone with a connected computer can use it. There are lots of little kids out there spilling their apple juice on the keyboard while they type out forceful, badly-spelled comments on every major news site.

I love my children, but I don't take their policy opinions seriously. They're full of ideas and have the strength of their convictions, but I make it a point not only to ignore them, but to take the opposite course. That's why we have an immersion blender instead of a horsey.

07/09 Direct Link

David claims he is "at least" as committed to this project as I am, but yesterday's entry does not hold up under close scrutiny. Is it possible he dashed it off quickly for lack of something to write about?

You might say he knows those comments are written by adults and he was joking, but David is not known for his jokes. You might say outlandish requests by children have little relation to people's behavior on the Internet. You might say an immersion blender is not the opposite of a horse.

A breathless world awaits his response to these allegations.

07/10 Direct Link

For lunch today I had a weird salad. It had strawberries, avocado, asparagus, spinach, and almonds. I would never have dreamed up that combination myself, but it was pretty good. Thank you, Denmark, for "Jordbaersalat."

(As for Elizabeth's baseless claims that I am running out of writing material, I can only say this: the surest sign that you've run out of ideas is when you begin attacking those of others. I just told her this, and she threw a pillow at me. Interpret that action as you will, friends. Also, I am known for my jokes. My jokes are hilarious.)

07/11 Direct Link

David thoroughly washes both sides of each leaf of lettuce in the sink. That man makes the cleanest salad you've ever tasted. He peels the carrots, he rinses the chickpeas, he washes the peppers inside and out.

As if he is worried someone will challenge his masculinity during this process, he prefers to listen to death metal at high volume. He thrashes and screams and growls while brandishing his large chef's knife. It frightens the children.

I am attracted to salad-washing David. Headbanging David is not the one for me. Let Smooth Jazz 91.2 FM tell your salad's tale.

07/12 Direct Link

I grew up in a big city. The way I see it, there is a crazy guy who hangs around outside our house each night, and after we've gone to bed he jiggles our door handles. If they're unlocked, he'll come in and murder us, just like that.

Elizabeth grew up in a small town. The way she sees it, the greater and more realistic threat is that there'll be a fire. She doesn't want us roasted alive while we're stumbling around in the dark looking for the key.

Compromise can be difficult in matters of imaginary life and death.

07/13 Direct Link

I've worked from home for some time now using a modem to dial in to a server, but as Elizabeth mentioned we've only recently connected to the Internet. (Notice Elizabeth just calls it "Internet." What a noob.)

We're still discovering quality online resources (like this site!), and one of my favorites is Pandora, the online music station.

I was listening to my Pandora "QuickMix" a few days ago whilst preparing a salad, and Elizabeth was amused and disturbed by the enthusiasm of my exertions. The song she hilariously misidentified as "death metal"? It was the Toy Dolls' "Nellie the Elephant."

07/14 Direct Link

Last night I was explaining to our daughter why we don't polish wooden furniture with tile cleaner (she tries so hard to be helpful), and David took that as a sign that I was too busy to write my entry. He rushed to the computer to make fun of my typo and relative lack of musical knowledge. Don't worry, though, he'll get his. I have a cache of embarrassing David facts squirreled away for all of us to enjoy at a later time.

Wanna know something?

It's a FACT: David's one and only dance move was taken from "Steamboat Willie."

07/15 Direct Link

I was thinking today about literally reading people's minds. Like, when you had a thought, the text of that thought would appear above your head temporarily for everyone to see.

It might get me into some trouble with my wife, like if she's sitting next to me on the couch eating a snack, she might see "WILL YOU STOP THAT CRUNCHING" and she wouldn't share.

She would also see thoughts about how beautiful and wonderful and patient she is, and most of the time she would just see little red hearts floating above my head whenever I look at her.

07/16 Direct Link

I do wish David hadn't decided to sit down and watch The X-Files with our kids tonight, because now they refuse to sleep. You know why? Because there is a toilet monster. Well done, David. Make them afraid of the toilet.

I understand David used to enjoy that show with his father, but I also understand he was about ten years older than our kids at the time.

I'm not even sure I approve of David watching it by himself, because I'm not completely convinced his crush on Gillian Anderson ever really ended. It's a legitimate concern, right? Right.

07/17 Direct Link

Rather than being moved by the professions of love in my previous entry, Elizabeth was annoyed by the suggestion that she might make a crunching sound that is louder than average. As if it were ever in doubt, her female status is confirmed. She is three times a lady.

She is here as I write this, her mouth right next to my ear, eating a strange snack called "Tay-To-Crisp," apparently engineered for maximum crispness.

Yeah, you crunch them so good, baby. That's right, just like that. Yeah (eww) open your mouth slightly and get some crumbs in my *EAR* auuugh.

07/18 Direct Link

Apparently our son got into a minor scuffle at our church tonight. The strange thing is, it was in the Red Room, so how exactly did he even get in there? We can't even get in there except on the most special of occasions.

He claims he didn't start it, and I believe him because our son is mostly shy and timid. I'm just glad nobody was hurt, and I'm (secretly) glad he won.

(David will be utterly mortified, so I am using this site to break the news to him. He'll probably be mortified by that, too. Sorry, David!)

07/19 Direct Link

We had to drive out to my weird cousin's wedding. I don't know what kind of crazy guy would want to marry her.

That's the thing I don't like about summer -- every relative you barely know is either getting married, or has a kid who's getting married or having a baby... it's more than I can bear.

Elizabeth actually seems to enjoy these things, and she chats with the other ladies and she squeals and screams at whatever crazy thing they're talking about, and I struggle with the feeling of being over my head in a world I don't understand.

07/20 Direct Link

Now that the wedding (which was wonderful) is over, we're taking a short detour. This is a completely unplanned trip, and I am in charge of it because David would need a month of planning for a week-long vacation. Spontaneity brings anxiety and feelings of helplessness for David, so in addition to my travel planning duties I need to keep him calm. We accomplish this by giving him a large map and asking him to figure out the five best routes from one point to another in case of emergency. The children are content to look out the window.

07/21 Direct Link

I think Elizabeth overstates the extent of my anxiety by 20%. I really appreciate the fact that she's willing to do "crazy" things like taking a short vacation.

We will probably write these entries in our notebook for the next few days, since we won't be near our computer.

I tried to let our children play Tetris on my phone. Since they'd had never heard of it I introduced the main idea, but since Tetris lacks sniper rifles and tactical air strikes they lost interest quickly. They aren't interested in visiting historical sites or museums, either. Whose children are these?

07/22 Direct Link

It's important that we take the kids to new places and big cities. I like living in our small town, but it is dangerous to stay in one for too long. I'm lucky I escaped from my childhood home when I did, or I might have ended up a closed-minded bigot like most of the people I grew up with.

We want our kids to meet the freaks (I use the term lovingly) I never got to meet. This experience will combat the xenophobia, the provincialism, the fear, and every other charming thing that comes with small-town insularity.

07/23 Direct Link

Regarding Elizabeth's last entry, I'd like to confirm we are entirely on the same page. Isn't she the greatest?

I'm not worried about our kids, though. First, they're already getting some first-hand experience of the negative side of small-town life, since unlike the great majority of people in our town (and state) we are not Christian. On top of that, their parents are a couple of kooks who can't go five minutes without a lecture about tolerance or independence or "up the establishment." They'll grow up to freak out squares and make us proud -- I'm sure of it.

07/24 Direct Link

Any time I really like something, it has to be taken away. That's how it works.

Our office cafeteria has a really amazing cracker bar where you can get twenty different kinds of crackers to eat with your soup or salad. If you're me, though, you just fill a bowl with twelve kinds of crackers and take it back to your desk. When stressed, I can eat a large bowl of crackers in an afternoon.

They're taking the cracker bar away next week and replacing it with a "beverage center." Nothing gold can stay. Nothing golden brown and lightly salted...

07/25 Direct Link

I intend to enjoy the hell out of that cracker bar until it's gone forever. The cracker bar attendants won't know what to make of me.

"Wow, ma'am, you must really like crackers!"

One of them actually said that to me the other day. Hey, you know what? Just shut up and refill those crispy round ones with the sesame seeds on top.

There's a flat rectangular cracker made from rye flour, and a flaky rice cracker with a salty sheen. A woven wheat cracker, a cracker made of spelt and water that may have sustained our ancestors. Oh, crackers...

07/26 Direct Link

I want to tell you this is not an act: Elizabeth is very upset about the loss of her cracker bar. A little piece of her world has crumbled away, and every single member of this family needs to pick up the slack to restore her to her usual, cheerful self. I set our son to work scrubbing the floors this evening because he wanted to do something to help. Our daughter has loaned her favorite stuffed dog to Elizabeth, to help her through these trying times.

As for me, I'm going to turn our home into a cracker palace.

07/27 Direct Link

This afternoon a very large package was delivered to our home. I shouldn't even call it a package, it's the size of a piece of furniture, and it's addressed to David. This is very exciting because our anniversary is fast approaching, and I just know it's something for me. That sweet, wonderful man! What did he get me? I'm going to do my best to act casual, not tear the brown paper to peek inside, and not ask him about it. It's difficult because I'm soooooo excited! I've never seen such a box! Large, mysterious boxes instantly improve my mood.

07/28 Direct Link

Elizabeth came running up the driveway last night squealing, "What's in the box? David! David, what's in the box?"

"Corn crackers!" I said, and she asked me to repeat myself, so I said "corn crackers" again, and then her face fell pretty dramatically. My face fell too, when I saw the size of the box.

Internet shopping, huh? I thought I was just getting a box, you know, a normal box. I guess now I know why they were so expensive.

I am now a man with the dual problems of too many corn crackers and a severely disappointed wife.

07/29 Direct Link

Well, OK... David doesn't know how to shop online. So he thought he was getting a normal amount of really primo crackers when in fact he was getting twelve cases of barely-edible crackers. That's all understandable.

The problem is, what are we going to do with these crackers? We can't eat them. They're unbelievably greasy and salty, and they taste like burnt popcorn. I'd offer them to the schools, but I know they have nutritional guidelines and I don't like the idea of giving these things to children.

A good anniversary gift would be to make these crackers disappear.

07/30 Direct Link

Elizabeth has been very understanding through this whole cracker debacle, and I'd also like to point out that I did actually get her an anniversary gift, she'll definitely like it, and it isn't in any way related to crackers.

As for those no-refunds-given crackers, they'll find a home in the big upcoming bonfire at our church. These oily things will get the flames started easily, with a great corn scent to boot.

I did suggest she sneak them into work and pour them into the containers of the new "beverage center," but she has something against getting fired.

07/31 Direct Link
The birds of the sky, they would
seek their vengeance
If they knew that I were be-
-reft of your presence
They'll be sad
If you're bad
To me.

But I know you won't leave me,
That's my one demand,
The fish of the sea and beasts of the land
Want you to keep on holding my hand,
Don't be bad to me.

'Cause the bugs in their lairs would e-
-merge to bite you,
And the apes in their trees would climb
down to fight you,
They'll be sad
If you're bad
To me.

They'll be mad,
Don't be bad
To me.