I would gladly pay you on Tuesday…

February 28, 2008

I often take my daughter Danielle to school. It gets me into the office late, which means I either need to get work done before I go in or after I get home, but it’s usually worth it.

On the way to school, we pass a Macy’s. This Macy’s has some big signs on the front showing pictures from old Macy’s Thanksgiving parades. They mainly show the big balloons. There’s a picture of an old Kermit the Frog balloon and next there’s a picture of an old Popeye balloon.

Danielle obviously knows who Kermit the Frog is, but she had no idea who Popeye was, because you can’t see Popeye on Noggin, PBS or Playhouse Disney. So a while back she asked me who that was. So I told her that Popeye was from an old video (all things on TV are videos to Danielle) from when I was a kid. She asked me to tell me some of the stories.

Now I haven’t seen Popeye in 20 years. But the basic premise (for those too young to remember) is pretty simple:

  • Popeye is a sailor who likes spinach
  • When he eats spinach he gets super strong
  • He is good friends with Olive Oil, a remarkably skinny girl
  • Generally mean guys somehow mess with either Popeye or Olive Oil or both
  • This usually involves separating Popeye from his spinach
  • Somehow when everything is at it’s worst, Popeye gets his hands on spinach
  • He eats the spinach, becomes super strong, and beats up the bad guys, rescuing Olive Oil if necessary

That’s it. So whenever Danielle asks, I just make something up that follows that general theme. It’s reached the point where she asks for several Popeye stories every day. This is frankly a challenge, since my creative juices are not exactly flowing first thing in the morning.

Today after another made up Popeye story, Danielle asked me if Popeye and Olive Oil were best friends. I said that I thought so. She asked if Popeye had other friends. I had to think for a bit and then I remembered Wimpy, the guy who likes hamburgers. So I told Danielle about Wimpy, and told her the one thing I clearly remembered which was that Wimpy would always say, “I would gladly pay you on Tuesday, for a hamburger today”.

Popeye_wimp

This made Danielle laugh like crazy.

She kept asking me to say the line again. I’d say it and she’d laugh more. OK, it’s kind of amusing, but she was going crazy.

We get to her school and there’s some time before it starts so she gets some paper to draw and wants me to stay. Then she asks me to say the line to one of her friends, Tessa. Tessa has the exact same reaction. She can’t stop laughing.

One of the teachers, Camille, sees everyone asking and asks what is going on. Camille is fairly young, so I have to ask her if she ever saw Popeye. She never did, so I tell her the whole story. She thinks it’s amusing.

But then more kids in the class are coming over. They are all completely cracking up. Danielle asks me to tell Maura, her other (and more senior) teacher. Maura remembers Popeye. So I just remind her of the line. Again, every kid around me cracks up. Maura is more of the child psychologist and she says that this line completely epitomizes the 4-5 year old sense of humor.

She’s clearly right because by the time I leave pretty much every kid in class is cracking up at “I’d gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today”…


The Quasi-Cursed Vacation

February 19, 2008

It wasn’t really cursed. For the most part it was very nice. But there were enough crazy things to wonder.

The first issue, as reported previously, was trying to get the proper documentation so that Victoria could re-enter the country. With our Congressman’s help her green card arrived on Monday for a Wednesday departure. That is cutting it too close.

Also on Monday, Danielle and I got sick. Danielle was sick enough to stay home from school and I should have stayed home from work (but there’s always so much to wrap up before a vacation). We were both better on Tuesday so everything seemed ok to go.

My wife got most everything packed Monday night. That is because she was going to work very late Tuesday night. She does this before every vacation, in part because she’s a procrastinator and in part, I think, because she hates to fly and wants to be really tired so she can sleep on the plane.

So I’m home with the girls Tuesday night. I get the last few things packed. Victoria is asleep. I’m trying to get Danielle to sleep. She has a total coughing attack. Danielle has some mild asthma and occasionally a cold can morph into a nasty asthma cough. This looked to be one of those times. So I have her under the nebulizer breathing the asthma medicine. She’s upset, her throat hurts, I’m wondering if this trip is a good idea. Finally she gets to sleep. Eventually my wife comes home and we decide to go through with it. The warm moist air of the Caribbean should help her anyway.

We get up in the morning very early to get to our flight. Danielle is doing better and is being very helpful. It’s looking good. The car service takes us to Kennedy Airport. We check our bags. We were worried that the big one would be overweight. 50.7 pounds. Overweight but they let it slide. Things are looking up.

We start heading to the gate. We have a stroller that we will check at the gate. There are a couple of places at Kennedy where you have to go down an escalator and then back up. So we’re taking the elevator.

It stops between floors.

My wife is not calm. We’re pressing the alarm button and the guy is asking us what elevator we are in. We have no clue, there’s no identifying number on it. Danielle is starting to get nervous. The guy says they’ll send someone. We need to get to our plane. My panicking wife is now telling Danielle not to panic. Very effective.

The elevator starts up again.

So we make our flight. It is uneventful. The girls do pretty good. We get to the Dominican Republic and get on the bus to the hotel. When we get there we are looking for the “Royal Service” check-in. This is like the concierge level with a few perks. We paid a little extra for this. But the place is totally disorganized. The “Royal Service” takes about four times longer than the regular check-in. This is after a long flight and the girls have basically eaten nothing. Everyone is getting cranky. We finally get to the room. It’s a bit on the small side for four people. Nothing is looking very Royal.

We’re in between lunch and dinner so we go by the pool to get some food. It’s not great and Danielle is fighting it. Did I mention that everyone was cranky? We basically get through the night with no major meltdowns and that had to be declared a success.

Then the vacation got good. The pool was great. There was a separate pool for the Royal Service rooms that wasn’t so crowded. Happiness is going to the swim up bar with your five year old. We were in the pool a lot.

There was a kids’ club. For the most part Danielle just played with us, but one day she went and got to climb on these amazing rope bridges and also got to ride a horse. Victoria had fun in the pool as well.

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We did the beach, we swam, I drank a lot of Presidente beer. It was always 5:00 somewhere. The weather was great. Occasionally it would rain, but if you waited five minutes it would be over. It was beautiful.

Then on Saturday we get a call from our travel agent. “Did American call you?” “No” “You’re flight got canceled, they put you on the same flight the next day”. Now this is a problem. I wouldn’t mind staying another day, but this hotel is completely booked. We can’t extend a day. Our travel agent talks about trying to get us into a different hotel. But the thought of packing, moving, unpacking and repacking for just one day seems crazy. He mentions another flight that will connect through Miami on our original travel day. It gets in around 2:00 am. With two small children that just isn’t going to work.

We finally conclude that leaving a day early is the only sensible alternative. We’ve had a lot of sun and swimming. Danielle misses her friends. One more day would have been nice, but a reasonable travel schedule also is nice.

So our quasi-cursed vacation ends a day early. The trip home was uneventful which is all you can ask. And I get a day at home before I go back in to work. Which isn’t bad either.

OK, not so cursed…


Victoria’s walking, but not out of the country

February 4, 2008

Victoria has really started walking. She’s come a long way from being really developmentally behind to being pretty much a normal 14 month old. We had a friend over this weekend with her 15 month old twins. They were walking, but other than that all three of them looked about the same. Victoria is walking and climbing and in general getting into everything. Be careful what you wish for.

But we’re not so sure about going on vacation out of the country. We have a trip planned for the Dominican Republic. We are in the process of getting Victoria full citizenship and a U.S. Passport but that takes a while. Right now she has Permanent Residence status.

But they mailed her green card to our old address. That type of mail can’t be forwarded. So we didn’t get it. She came into the country on an IR-4 Visa. That lasts six month which means it expired about a week ago. So while she has legal status, in terms of the actual paperwork we have in our hands, she has a valid Guatemalan passport and an expired Visa.

So we could go to the Dominican Republic, but Victoria couldn’t come back. Not so good.

We talked to Immigration and they’ll resend the green card. In a month or so. Not so good.

Finally, the lawyer we are working with to make her a full citizen (the process is called re-adoption) suggested that we call our congressman. We had to do this once before during the adoption when some paperwork got stuck in the process. I called our congressman’s office and I talked to the same guy and he thinks we can pull this off. If he does, I will owe him big time.

It’s no wonder that everyone hates Congress, but loves their congressman…


How ’bout them Giants

February 4, 2008

That was as exciting a Super Bowl as I can remember. I remember the 49ers against the Bengals with Montana’s great comeback drive and of course the last time the Packers won was the most exciting from my perspective (though not as exciting from a pure game drama perspective), but this one was at good as they come.

It was great fun watching Brady getting knocked around. As someone pointed about to me before the game, “too much has gone right for that guy lately, he needs to lose”.

If there was any doubt that the Giants have a great defense, that doubt is erased. They shut down the Cowboys, they shut down my boy Favre and they shut down the greatest regular season offense in history (ah, how I loved adding “regular season” to that sentence).

And Eli has shown he’s the real deal. Tyree made the amazing catch but on that play Eli looked like he was simply determined not to go down.

Plaxico Buress predicted 24-17 and Brady laughed that he thought the Patriots would only score 17 points. Who would have guessed that Plaxico actually wasn’t giving his defense enough credit?…