Family Stories

Tales of Family E-phant

Kids mouth off. It's a given. My eldest was 11, and called me a name at the mall. I got him in a fairly painless headlock, and walked along that way for a bit. A woman passing by commented, 'Oh, my, such brutality. What do you think he learns from that?' And my son answered, 'That he's bigger.' I was so proud.

Potty training twins is a trip. When you congratulate a single kid for going in the potty, it's personal. With twins, we got EVERYONE involved in the celebration. There's more people in there, we're all waiting, it's just a matter of who goes FIRST. Lots of "Hooray for Kevin" and "Hooray for Kyle."
So there we are, me, two boys, waiting for the handicap stall (there just ISN'T enough room anywhere else). There are a few men using the urinals, which was a mystery still to the short people in pull-up pants, so they're watching closely, trying to figure out what's going on. I didn't notice at first that Kevin saw something, and pointed it out to Kyle, until both of them were shouting, 'Old Guy went pee! Hooray for the Old Guy!'

When I got stationed overseas, to Scotland, a lot of people told me the food was going to be horrible. I didn't pay too much attention. For one thing, I already knew what haggis was made from, and half of it's power comes from surprise.
So there I am. They have no tradition of tomato paste on their pizzas, okay.
The local idea of a banana split included a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a scoop of lime sherbert, a scoop of cherry jello and a whole banana (in skin)at one end, okay.
The ketchup is flourescent, the Coke is sweeter, and the Fish & Chips have enough salt to pit an anvil and enough vinegar to melt it, okay.
But in one cafe, just outside of the area that's been heavily influenced by the American Base, we ordered hamburgers and fries for lunch. Good service, decent portions (for anyplace outside of the US), and excellent attention from the server. Only one thing, on the first bite we knew something was horribly wrong. 'Oh,' she said, 'you probably wanted an AMERICAN burger, rather than a hamburger.'
The burger was buns, lettuce, mustard, pickles and a patty of ground and fried ham.

So Adrian, about age 6, decided he was white. I tried to explain that with a black mommy, and a white daddy, the state of Florida maintained that he was black. He looked at his pale skin, and mine, and mommy's brown skin and disagreed. I finally poured two big glasses of milk, and added chocolate syrup to one. Daddy and Mommy. Then poured the two glasses together into three little cups, for Adrian, Kevin and Kyle. I said that he and his brothers came from me and mommy equally, and didn't look quite just-like-mommy or just-like-daddy. And it's still chocolate milk, even if it is paler than the glass it came from. So, we drank our milk, watched TV and decided the Fla senate are a bunch of poo-poo heads.
The next day, picking him up from Day Care, they said he had cried for an hour, suddenly, and they weren't sure why. They did ask if I was on a diet....Huh?
Well, Adrian kept crying that mommy and Kevin and Kyle and Adrian got chocolate, but daddy didn't get ANY chocolate....

Every so often, in the Navy, the subject of Vasectomies came up. The men of Every Command I was at were split, either completely sure they could NEVER have such a thing done, or they had already done it. I never met ANYONE that would admit to considering it. I did meet a few that showed a LOT of interest in the procedure, though.

So, if anyone is interested, here is MY experience. If you are not interested, skip ahead, dammit.

First off, it only hurts three times. It is a bit embarrassing before that, but the big question was always about the hurting. There. Some of you don't have to read any further.

Okay, in the Navy, it is an elective procedure, so you have to get the command to agree to 2 weeks of light duty before you get clipped. (OR, people like me, that do NOT want to run a Permission for Dis-Emission chit up the chain of command do it on leave.)

Before the surgery is the counseling. The doctor doing counseling is never known by the receptionist, nor is his office near reception. The receptionist has to shout down two of the three halls of Urology to find the one person who knows who does the V-clip talk today, then the long walk by EVERYONE to get a Talk. They explain the procedure, mentioning three times that it is not designed to be reversible. They ask your wife to come in for counseling (unless she is recovering from the birth of child #2 and #3, Twins, then they can skip it). And they tell you what needs to be shaved, and what to have on hand for the weekend after.

The actual surgery, at this clinic, was done Friday mornings, first come-first served. Bring someone to drive you home. There we were, 6 guys in loose-fitting clothing, looking green or skittish, and 6 women with smiles out to their ears, trading labor horror stories, and saying 'but I'm sure this'll be bad for you, too, dear.' Did I mention smiling?

We, I was first. Led back thru the empty clinic, to surgery. Disrobed. The technician was Latino, Catholic, and entirely wrong for V-duty that morning. He kept telling me I did not have to go thru with it, I could turn right around, and nothing would be said. He obviously had not seen the waiting room. Okay, maybe they were checking my resolve. I resolved NOT to have to tell my wife I chickened out.

Doc came in, said, 'Do not worry, I have done this procedure 2000 times.' Then he picked up a clamp device and said, 'I am going to immobilize the area.' And he did. This was Hurt #1. Not really painful, but by the Stars I was not going to move. #2 - He picked up a syringe and said, 'You will feel a prick and a burn,' and he did NOT lie. Then he cut, he reached, he found what he wanted, and he said, 'I need to pull out enough to work with. You should feel a tugging sensation.' When my right knee touched my left shoulder, he had enough to work with. This was #3.

When Doc finished, he left. Tech-boy, my new cheering section, moved the tray and prepped the other side. HERE is where he p***ed me off. He kept pointing out that I could leave right then, and still be 'a whole man.' Jackass. I can experience all the pain and discomfort, and STILL tell the wife I chickened out?! I got tired of telling him to shut up.

Doc came back in, said, 'Do not worry....2001 times.' Wow, he really was keeping track. Anyway he did it all over again, from the other side. Hurt three times. Oh, wait. I guess it hurt 6 times, then.

The weekend, I must admit, was a total loss. Me and my bag of frozen peas (better than ice, break to a manageable shape, can be refrozen, very good choice) read a lot of Motrin labels.

Six weeks later, back for a fertility test. This is where I got all the humiliation BACK! If you bring in a sample, you go to the lab, and only one tech has to deal with you. If not, they have to prep an area, and talk about it, and plan, and coordinate, and put up a sign, and put a barrier across the door....I never thought I could ever embarrass the people that work in Urology. But, one of the subjects bubbleheads get a thick skin about was this. Wooo! No, man, don't tape off the whole surgery, just dim the lights for a second.

The week after my vasectomy, i took the kids to Day Care. At the time, the twins were pre-walking and Adrian was in Pre-K. Adrian helped me with the twins. I limped the stroller up to the door, Adrian opened it, and we eased thru. He also held the stroller while i moved the babies. Then i walked him down the hall to sign him into his class. Well, walked is too strong a word. After i signed him in, i moaned my way back towards the car. JUST before i opened the door to the parking lot, Adrian cries "DAD! I HOPE YOUR CROTCH PAIN FEELS BETTER!" and ran...He's alive today ONLY because it was such a long hallway...

I sent my Dad a report about an interview with a Member of The House Of Representatives, Dick Armey of Texas, who was asked: "If you had been in President Clinton's place, would you have resigned?"

He responded, "If I were in the President's place, I would not have gotten a chance to resign. I would be laying in a pool of my own blood, hearing Mrs. Armey standing over me saying, "How do I reload this damned thing?"

My Dad's response was "yeah the Armey's seem to have a good handle on the most basic rules of a lasting marriage. rule 1 - fear, and rule 2 - an understanding of rule 1 and where it comes from."

So, as the graduation ceremony for Kevin and Kyle's scout pack, we camped overnight in a little state park about 3 miles from the house. 4 dens of 3 to 15 boys in 1st thru 4th grades.

We set up tent at one end of the area, and got attention right off. We had the biggest tent there, and the only one with two rooms. All three boys conducted tours at the drop of a pinecone. So, we had more than just one family's worth of mud tracked in....ah, well.

The games and contests went pretty much as expected, the water balloon toss changed quickly into 'splash mountain.' As Adrian has been helping the den leaders (They asked for older scouts to volunteer with the younger dens, I volunteered him with the incredibly unassailable logic 'Well, _I_ have to be here...."), they all know him. Thus, the shout 'Everyboy hit Adrian' was a popular battle cry for as long as the balloons held out.

That night, we spread the 4 sleeping bags on 4 mats in the 'back room.' Kevin had planned that he and Kyle got the back room, Adrian and Daddy'd get the front room. I pointed out that the front room was where all our stuff was piled, in case of rain, and there was no room for sleeping bags. Kyle pointed out that there was room for short people to sleep, so he could have the front room, and Kevin the back. "Where do Adrian and I sleep, Kyle?" He started scanning the various other tents set up around us...

I put them to potty and then to bed an hour before i climbed in. Just before i got in, Kyle had to go potty. So, we dressed a bit, and walked to the toilets (about a block). On the way back, we got to about where i thought the tent would be, and turned on the flashlight. Light hits the tent, Kevin screams like a banshee. "Yep." says Kyle, "That's our tent."

So we go to bed. I'm drifting in an out when i notice that Adrian has been waving his hand in front of my face. I watch for a bit, and when he tells the others "I think he's asleep" I argued. Scared a day's growth out of him. At another point, Kevin reached over Adrian to shake my shoulder and tell me that my snoring is keeping him awake. Cutting the conversation short, I finished with "I won't stop for you mother, so why the hell...."

Kyle scrunched down in his bag and curled up against the side of the tent. As it rained the next morning, he wicked about a quart of water thru the tent wall and into his sleeping bag. Kevin got up by pulling himself up by the window-flap and shook a cupful of water into the tent. Damn that was cold water. Scared a day's growth outta him, too.

When organizing a trip to the toilet, in the morning, in the rain, it was discovered that Adrian forgot his coat. I loaned him mine and off they went, thru the dark (about 0430). I stepped out later, and found that the rain wasn't as bad as it sounded on the tent roof, so followed along. Caught up with them just about the time Kevin had decided that there were ghosts in the woods. Stepped into the light from the flashlight... was reunited with the Banshee... "Yep. That's my kid." Had to walk back with Kevin welded to my pant leg.

A sister of one of the other boys hung out at our tent a lot. She wasn't interested in the Scout activities of catching tadpoles or salamanders, and generally found us more entertaining. Not sure if she wants to be Adrian's girlfriend or Kevin's. Anyway, she was there when we struck the tent. In the rain. In the mud. With Adrian's ever so well intentioned boneheaded help. She pointed out that i swore. I pointed out that i was a Navy vet, and she ain't heard nothing yet. She noticed that none of the kids seemed to react horribly when i used 'bad words.' I remarked that both their parents are vets, and they've heard worse, they've heard worse directed at them. This was just a razzin frazzin tent, and they weren't exactly in trouble, yet. No skin off their backs. I don't think she ever understood. As one of my sailors was overheard, describing me as LPO to a new sailor, 'When he yells, that don't mean nothin', when he's really mad, he gets quiet.'

And to think Mommy missed it all.....

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