Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Are You Sure You Don't Mean Rooster?

Mars Bar,

I think I might have another kidney stone. Since kidney stones are supposed to be the male equivalent of childbirth and your mom delivered the twins in one of those easy breezy C sections it's clear that the universe feels the need to visit birth pain on someone, and that someone is me. I've already had a stone for each of your sisters, so it makes perfect sense that the cosmos would sucker punch me now for having a third.

The reality of your arrival seems to be sinking in with your mom. Today as we were driving home she said maybe she could take care of you if I just handled your sisters. I briefly considered this until, turning into the driveway, long before we actually got to the house, I could hear the sound of endless samurai-like screams echoing through the neighborhood and I knew that this was the sound of my children. I also suddenly understood why none of the condos for sale in our complex has been purchased.

Even if I wanted to be solely responsible for your sisters they would have none of it. I'm strictly a lifting machine and poop target. When your mom asks them to run through their vocabulary they know a large number of words. When I do it they know only one: Mommy.

Actually, they've both adopted the word 'cock' for something. All we know is that it's in the kitchen somewhere in the vicinity of the stove. They both keep pointing in that direction and yelling 'cock!'. Naturally, we will not be having any houseguests until this phase has passed. I suspect twin two year olds yelling cock isn't helping condo sales either.

For the first time in seven years your mom will be off for New Year's Eve tomorrow night. Sadly, she will also be nine months pregnant and probably asleep by 8:45. We thought about having people over but asking people without kids to come hang out with you and your pregnant wife on New Years is kind of like asking sane people to voluntarily commit themselves. I expect to be drinking champagne alone, possibly to dull the pain in my kidney.

Then again, maybe I'm selling us short. Bars are just bars. My kitchen has a cock in it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You're On My Caldendar

Mars Bar,

Took the girls to the doctor to get a glimpse of their little brother today. All we got was two rubber gloves and chance to hear your heart, which was quickly drowned out by screaming related to possession of the rubber gloves.

As we left the doctor said, I'll see you in the delivery room next Friday. That just sounds way too soon. The calendar on my phone only goes ten days out and sure enough you're now on it. Under next Friday it says 'HAVE BABY'.

You have to understand that I accomplished nothing today. I spent hours on the phone with the IRS just trying to get them to fax me a letter. I took two showers. I spent thirty minutes seeing what I would look like if I parted my hair the other direction. Next Friday isn't enough time to do my work and indulge in my recommended daily allowance of idiocy.

I've done this my whole life, and history is littered with bad precedent. Whenever I swear that I'm not going to make a deadline your mom says that I always say that and then somehow get in under the wire. I guess the lesson is, if you don't want to spend your life as a magician you should never, ever pull a rabbit out of a hat. Do it once and people expect it every time. Well I'm shoulder deep this time little guy, and I'm not feeling a rabbit.

I'm genuinely afraid that by next Friday the only things I'll have pulled out are a dictation recorder, a new hairstyle, and Hitler.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mars Bar,

Sorry dude. I may have used up all my words talking to myself today. If only I could get someone else to transcribe it. My voice on tape is like a nine year old girl. Hopefully that's just when it's on tape.

Anyway, I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I'm going to give you a run for your money. Visiting the OB tomorrow, we'll see how your half is coming.

Until then.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Mars Bar,

Just a quick one before I turn in. The holidays are over. Tree's gone. No lights. No Santas. It's done. Tomorrow you and I start racing. My script v. your delivery.

You may recall that I'm already way overdue and somehow Hitler worked his way into the mix just before I shut things down for Christmas. To remedy these problems I'm going to buy a voice recorder and dictate the rest. I read about a much better writer than me who does it, and at this point I'm willing to try anything. I'd totally buy magic beans if someone told me they'd deliver a killer third act.

Anyway, 8am, wal-mart, voice recorder and then... I don't know, I guess I just walk around talking to myself until I'm done? Then just come back here, write it all down, slap a stamp on it and have a drink?

This is totally going to work. My faith in shortcuts and magic bullets is as strong as ever.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pace Yourself

Mars Bar,

Let me start by saying that I received a very passionate letter today on behalf of the name Bear. Just need like a thousand more like it and we might get your mom's attention.

We opened presents today (your mom worked on Christmas). For a dude who's got two weeks left in utero you cleaned up. Frankly it got a little excessive around here. I think we're going to have to put the brakes on things before next year. Nixie has suddenly gone from one little stuffed cat that she hauled everywhere to a whole army of fuzzy and crying creatures that must be at her side at all times. She won't eat breakfast until they're all arranged where they can see. She ferries them between rooms like an army. And because they're all very important Ripples enjoys kidnapping and hiding them. It's kind of a recipe for disaster.

Last night I was thinking about things like your middle name, what kind of cell phone I'd really like to have, and other important trivialities when a friend sent me this trip report from some guys out of Salt Lake who'd spent three months hiking across two Alaskan mountain ranges and three glaciers, two of which had never been crossed, and then paddling out to sea before working construction to earn gas money to drive home. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if someone were following me around with a tape recorder and they forced me to listen to half the crap I end up talking about. Forget waterboarding, I'd probably tell you anything just to keep from having to hear myself. The drawbacks of stainless steel refrigerators with black sides, the merits of LCD vs. Plasma, the weird bulge in the realtor's slacks on House Hunters, how do these things even merit the energy it takes to fire my neurons?

You're about to complete the journey from a little bundle of cells to screaming crap machine in just thirty nine weeks. That's a pretty breakneck pace when you think about it. My best advice is to keep it up. If anything, go faster. It's a whole lifetime you've lived in these last nine months. These guys stuffed one into just three.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Mars Bar,

We should probably talk about your middle name for a minute. I thought I was over Mojo, but it's been keeping me up at night. I think it's keeping your mom up also, but only because she hates it so much. I may have used up all my crazy points on Mars.

Your sister Nixon was supposed to be Nixon Bear Killen, and when I say supposed to be I mean that it was her name for the five seconds between when I thought of it and when your mom shot it down. Then we somehow settled on Jones as her middle name until your mom got cold feet in the final days and out of nowhere assigned her Campbell. One of my life's big regrets, along with thinking I could wear my mom's shoes to school and no one would notice, is not having fought harder for Bear. I feel like if I don't land you Mojo you're going to end up a Ted or a Tom at the last second.

Your mom's pushing Kyle in an attempt to appeal to my vanity. She doesn't seem to understand that I don't really have a lot of fondness for the name. She obviously doesn't remember that the Kyle I know wore women's shoes to 8th grade.

So the leading non Mojo contender seems to be Cooper. It's a great name, it just feels a little overused. I bet there's ten Mars Coopers in your first grade class. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to fight the good fight, but I'm a pretty crappy fighter (see above note about my footwear choices). Fear not, if I can't land it for you we'll just have another one. Little Mojo Bear Killen. It's going to be hell trying to find you guys gift shop license plates.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No Way!

Mars Bar,

Christmas Eve here. The girls have pulled much of the wrapping off the presents and all the decorations off the tree. Not that they care what's in side, they're just mildly destructive by nature. Today they were sitting about three feet from each other, hurling legos at one another's heads, and laughing like maniacs. It's like living with very small frat boys. I could tell you to watch out for them in every post and I'd still be underselling it.

Nixie has eliminated the word no from her vocabulary and replaced it with the more specific "No WAY!" More milk Nixie? "No WAY!" You want your shoes off? "No WAY!" Today we were doing last minute shopping at the mall and I was in a hurry so I had them both in the stroller. Nixie prefers to push the stroller while Ripples rides in it (which is admittedly pretty cute) so the whole time I was rushing through the mall Nixie was screaming "NO WAY, NO WAY, NO WAY". I think we got out of there just ahead of Child Protective Services.

Anyway, enjoy a last Christmas in your little liquid world. By this time next year you'll probably be wobbling around like a drunken sailor, dodging sisterly projectiles like the rest of us, and remembering fondly when you had a nice, dark, quiet place to hide.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Thoughts Before Your Crash Landing

Mars Bar,

Hey buddy. Two weeks left, huh. Seems like you've gone from rumor to beachball overnight. Your mom constantly points out that that you're significantly heavier than a beachball and that walking around with a beachball wouldn't hurt her back or keep her up at night or make it hard for her to breathe. I've told her that I'm also suffering, and repeatedly showed her this nasty cut on my tongue I got when one of your sisters kicked me in the face (BTW, watch out for your sisters, they'll kick you in the face) but she's incapable of sympathy.

I realize I've done a poor job of keeping you up to date. No news about your newly minted organs. No existential freakouts about becoming a father. No advice on how to choose your genitalia.

The truth is, I'm both busier than I used to be and just as lazy. Having two lip splitting daughters and an actual paying job will do that. In fact, I'm writing to you from the wrong side of a deadline. I had a script due Friday. I told them I could totally hand it in on time, but that I had suddenly realized my main character should be Hitler. Since it was supposed to be a modern day story of self discovery you can imagine how that went over. The upshot is, if you want an extension on something, just threaten to make the main character Hitler. I now have until the day you're born to figure out a non-Hitler solution to my problems.

The point is, I haven't forgotten you. In fact, in exactly the same 'do your homework five minutes before class' way that I've lived the rest of my life I plan to remedy my radio silence. In addition to de-Hitlering my script, wrapping presents, and trying to eat with just the healthy half of my tongue, I plan to shoot you a hello everyday between now and your arrival. Think of yourself as a astronaut about to crash land into a foreign planet and me as mission control trying to give you a quick picture of the natives culture before they show up and start kicking you in the face. With any luck we'll both be ready by the time you pull your rip cord.

Until tomorrow spaceman.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Brief Note To Suitors

If you ask the girls for a kiss, they will let you lean in, pucker your lips, and then they will headbutt you. I'm willing to put up with this in the hopes that this remains their definition of kissing well into their teenage years.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Proper Anniversary Post

Note: I was supposed to post this on our actual anniversary, but was instead visiting landfills. The idea was to do it yearly to not only remember the fateful day, but to avoid ever having to actually write an anniversary post again. The fact that I'm late my actually be the best possible comment on what it's actually like to be stuck with me.

Some number of years ago, some number of people turned out to watch Amy put on a gorgeous dress and make an incredible mistake. Armed with the courage of an open bar, this is what I told them -

When Amy was in medical school she was assigned partners for each of her various rotations. And from talking to them it sounds like having Amy in your group was a mixed blessing. On the one hand she was likely to make you a pretty nametag that not only told people who you were, but used drawings of little animals to depict your inner self, and stickers with phrases like “You’re Super” and “Neato” to keep your spirits up when times got hard. Someone told me it was like going to work everyday with a cheerleader. The problem was that on most rotations the attending only gave out one A and it turned out that the cheerleader was as smart as she was happy, and anyone who uses the word “Yippe” in conversation is pretty damn happy. And so the next thing they knew her partners would look up and the smiley little blond girl would have taken the A. Her classmates came up with a name for this phenomenon, and that’s how Amy became known in some circles as the Little White Cloud. Some days it’s a puppy, some days it’s a little bird, but it always looks cute and harmless, right up until it rains on your head.

I met Amy when I was in fourth grade and spent the next eight years with the Little White Cloud, so I was intimately familiar with this phenomenon. At some point you just come to accept the fact that she seems to float along while the rest of us have to walk. In fact, after a while, in its own warped way, it almost seems fair. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that you can never really escape the Little White Cloud. The minute I met her I knew that Amy was one in a million. When I went away to school in a city of something like 16 million I figured I had at least a fighting chance of finding another one. But it turns out it’s not really a question of large numbers. As anyone who’s ever met her can attest, Amy is absolutely unique. And that’s when I discovered the second curse of the Little White Cloud: even when it’s gone, it casts an impossibly long shadow. When she’s around you’re desperate just to keep up, and when she’s gone you’re desperate for something that measures up. Either way, there is only one Little White Cloud.

When we actually started dating I fully expected one of two outcomes. Either she would eventually wake up and move on, or I would wake up and discover that it was all a dream and that I actually lived in a small cardboard box. So I’m not positive how we actually ended up here. What I can say is that for the past 8 and ¾ years she has not only tolerated my idiocy, but supported, encouraged, and made cute little nametags for it. What I’ve chosen to do with my life isn’t easy and it certainly doesn’t pay well, and if at any time she had ever asked me to stop, to give it up, I’d have done so in a heartbeat. It’s a testament to just how incredibly lucky I am that the only times she’s used the words "stop" or "give up", they were directly preceded by the word "never".

So the question I get asked most often, right after where are my grandchildren, is why it’s taken almost nine years to get here. Honestly, like most of the people who’ve crossed her path in the past, I think it’s because I’ve spent the last nine years trying to be her equal, when all she’s ever asked is that I be myself. Given that she’s such an incredibly brilliant person, I have no rational explanation for why she’s sitting next to me today, except to say that this must all be in my head. So if, as I’ve suspected all along, this is indeed too good to be true and tomorrow I do wake up in a box I will gladly look around my cardboard home and count myself lucky to have even dreamed of such a person, let alone to have imagined marrying her. I will simply walk down to the nearest liquor store, buy myself a malt liquor, and next the time I find myself staring up at a little white cloud I will raise my Colt 45 and say I knew you were too good to be true. But until then, and for the last time tonight, I will raise this glass and thank you all for making it seem so real. Cheers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

NY People

Amy and I are now in year 12 of what I consider the best first date ever. To celebrate we went to NY. In lieu of gifts we posed for pictures near a landfill. That's how you do it in year 12.

To be fair it was a lovingly crafted landfill, built by some of the most talented landfill technicians in the feature film business and some of Amy's pictures include the back of JF's head (you know, the director, I just don't want to bait the search engines), which is the kind of thing you don't get if you just go to your local landfill for your anniversary. In all I think Amy saw enough of the filmmaking process to grasp how unglamorous and surprisingly smelly it all is. I expect her to pay more attention to locations in my future scripts. 'Would it hurt to put this North Korean prison in Paris?'

Anyway, we got to ditch being parents for a few days and just trying being people again. NY People, which are like regular people but louder and more likely to whistle at each other. Turns out we're both still totally awesome at it. Especially me. I got several compliments on NY Kyle.

And then we came home.

The twins have become obsessed with this sing a long DVD. It was written, performed, and delivered to our car by Satan himself. It's twenty minutes long, it plays on a loop, and it's all I think about. I sing the songs in my sleep. I introduce myself to people as Tempo the Tiger. I can only do mathematical calculations if they're phrased in terms of the number of monkeys still jumping on the bed plus or minus the ones who've already bumped their heads. NY Kyle would never do these things.

Which is why he's dead now. Actually, the DVD just had him on life support. Stacey pulled his plug. Buried him unceremoniously, and, ironically, in a landfill.

I became fascinated with as she was planning her own trip to find NY Stacey. Basically, people offer up their couches and floors to strangers, and in turn sleep on the couches and floors of other strangers. This is basically the only way I've ever traveled, and there are no shortage of people with stories about me not getting off their couch to prove it. I can't even go to certain parts of Seattle because a fellow surfer somehow thought a closed bathroom door was a clear indication our hosts wife would NOT be naked on the other side. He was wrong, and I haven't been near UW since. Anyway, with such great experiences, how could I not sign up? So I did.

Stacey's response: Why? You have two kids who go to bed and get up at 7:30, a pregnant wife, and you're asking them to sleep on your dining room floor. Why would anyone want to stay with you? She's basically saying that my life has become so lame that someone in their 20's wouldn't even visit, FOR FREE. Your NY self just isn't going to survive something like that.

Of course Stacey has been walking around in a baseball cap for the last day because she did something to her eyebrows that she absolutely refuses to reveal, and she did just have a 20 minute argument with Amy over whether 'frot' was just a synonym for 'rot' only to have wikipedia reveal it actually refers to homosexual dry-humping. So I'm not going to declare my couch hopeless just yet. There's a Mormon boardgame lover out there somewhere in need of a place to crash.

I guess the important thing to remember from all this is, if a girl with no eyebrows offers you a frotten banana, you should run.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hey Blog!

Hey blog. Long time no see. You look thinner. Except for your muscles, which look bigger. And you seem smarter, more confident, and funnier than I remember you. Not that you weren't those things before. This isn't coming out right.

What I'm trying to say is that I missed you.

Things happen and I'll think, I should tell my blog about this, and then I'll think, it's been so long since blog and I talked, can I really start up again with something this small? Hey blog, Ripley ate a squirrel... no, that won't do. And so I don't say anything. Even some kind of big things - like, did you know that Mars has a penis? - have gone without comment. And all this right when I need your help. How do you feel about Mojo as a middle name, blog? Because I really like it and it's meeting some resistance. Can you do anything about this, blog?

Anyway, we've started shooting The Beaver. At this moment Mel Gibson is wandering around New York with a beaver puppet on his hand because despite having a team of agents, managers, and years of experience, he was somehow convinced it was a good move. Here's hoping he's right. I would love to say more, blog, but as we've discussed, the most interesting things are the ones I end up not being able to write down. If you see me in person, like if you and I got on an elevator, I tend to talk a lot about this. I have thoughts, feelings, etc. about it. But they're elevator thoughts, not internet thoughts. And since you live in the internet, well... sorry about that.

We also tried to buy a house, and sell a house, and then build a house, and we accomplished none of these because we're afraid of everything. Apparently our house isn't worth what we're asking for it, but the one we wanted to buy, they wouldn't sell for anything less. And building, it turns out, takes a long, long, long time, and they want you to pay for the house even before you can live in it. Doesn't that seem wrong? It seemed wrong to us. So we're just going to keep the whole gang here, have the three kids share one room until one of them lands a Disney Channel series and buys us an island. Or Mel's place is apparently for sale and there's practically no limit to what some Hannah Montana money could buy us.

I'm taking Amy to the set for our 11th anniversary next week because as you know the 11th is the bring your spouse to work anniversary. It's also the get someone else to pay for your hotel and airfare anniversary and still probably complain about the price of food in New York anniversary. All this obviously comes before the 12th, which is the why did I marry this cheap idiot anniversary. I'll let you know how it goes.

That's all for now, blog. Don't give up on me. I have so much to say to you, we just keep letting the little things get in the way. Life's too short for that, blog. Let's talk. Everyday. We can do it. Okay, not everyday, but often. Sometimes. We'll do like an every other week thing. Every other solstice? Let's maybe not get bogged down in specifics. We'll just, you know, see each other around. Maybe on an elevator. I've missed you.

Hold me?

p.s. Mars Mojo Killen - please register your support. Or I'm willing to go with Mars Jones Killen and have the nickname be Mojo. You love it, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Minivan Death March

Dear Mars,

I wrote letters to your sisters the whole time they were in-utero. They were mostly just panicked whining, so I'm not really sure you're missing anything. Anyway, it felt appropriate to finally drop you a line. What up?

Your mom thinks that you will need a place to live and a way to be carried between different destinations so we're trying to buy a house with more rooms and car with more seats. The house is out of our price range and there's virtually no hope that we'll be able to sell the one that we're in. And the car is a minivan. So, you know, thanks.

When you mom got a job after decades of schooling she got to page through hundreds of brochures and drive all kinds of fancy things before choosing exactly the car she wanted. Now that my chance to buy my first new car ever has come I was simply told that we were going to need something 'buslike' and that I could pick the color. It will be black, a vehicle dressed for the funeral of my youth that its purchase will represent. I can't tell you how many times I've said that I'd rather be hit by a minivan than drive one. And if we ever have another trip like the one to Colorado I might just lay down in front of this one.

Apparently your house will sell faster if prospective buyers don't step on cat shit and legos the second they come inside so we're hiding our real life in boxes and trying to make it look like an Ikea catalog in here. We also had a backyard installed. Your sisters we let play in dirt. For buyers we spring for sod.

And we're less than a month away from shooting on the movie, which is a whole other story that we'll get into when you get here. The important thing to remember will be that no matter how it turns out and no matter what people say or spray paint on our house, it will be the reason you have a room to sleep in.

And a minivan.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Even The Furniture Is Talented

We had a table read for The Beaver. If you, like me, are new to movie making you might have expected this to involve a talking table. You, like me, would have been disappointed. Why call it a 'table read' you'd say. That's false advertising you'd say. And then someone would politely ask you to try not to speak for the next two hours.

But wait! Hard as it is to believe, there are better things than talking furniture. Turns out you can put people, not people, Actors!, around the table and let them read the script. If you've read anything about The Beaver then you're aware who some of the non furniture 'table read' participants were, but the people they got to round out the cast, to just come in off the street and like, read a stupid script by some moron about a talking beaver... well, it boggles the mind. I kept smiling at them and shaking their hands and asking how they could possibly be there since in my mind they actually lived in the clouds and only materialized to appear in movies and television.

And then they would ask me to get them another cup of coffee and I would say, no, no, see, I'm the writer, and then they would say, two sugars, and I would get their coffee. But still!

Anyway, at some point in this process I've begun to wrap my mind around the idea that a group of people were actually going to film the things I had written on a page, were going to say those lines, and record it, and put it together, and show it to people. And they were going to do all this on purpose!

But hearing them do it all at once, together, around a non speaking table, well, it would have given me chills had I not been sweating profusely and wondering how many people had noticed my sweating and wondering if the fact that everyone immediately went and got a paper towel after shaking my hand had anything to do with my sweating. Long story short, it was fantastic, thrilling, and I dropped like ten pounds of water weight.

As I've stressed countless times nothing's guaranteed and these things can and do fall apart, so rather than wait for the red carpet to enjoy myself, I'm pretty much breaking out the steak dinners for every step in the process. You received my W2! Steak! The woman reading Worker #1 was in three episodes of Mad Men! Medium rare! You've never seen anyone sweat through a jacket! Which way to Morton's? At this rate I will need a bypass before principal photography. If you, like me, were just an untalented hack whose idea for a beaver driven Teen Wolf spinoff had gotten you this far, you wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Amy and the girls flew home. The ride up was so indescribably awful for everyone that driving five hours in the wrong direction to drop them off at the airport seemed beyond reasonable. Sadly, their flight was delayed so much I almost beat them back to the house and 138 innocent individuals got a solid taste of Nipples lung capacity. But....

Totally worth it.

We were not only able to carry the twins up their first peak, but my mom, a woman who gets scared of heights on her tiptoes, somehow braved actual hand and foot scrambling at more than 12,000 feet and made her first summit. That picture alone justified the ride in our rolling scream machine.

We also hiked and biked and rafted and ate and did other things that brochures advised us to do. Nixie headbanged to old time bluegrass, Ripples touched fingers with anyone who came within ten feet. Both of them realized that everywhere we went the rocks were all out of order and spent hours carefully rearranging riverbeds and trailsides.

Now we're home, where you have to work and lock your doors and everything melts by noon. For summer they should change the sign at the border as you cross into Texas so instead of 'Welcome' it just says 'Are You Sure About This?'

Monday, July 6, 2009


I'm trying to figure out how old my children will have to be before I'll get back in the car with them. Settling on a specific number is really moot. The point is that I don't expect to live that long.

It took us 27 hours to go 800 miles. One or the other was screaming for 21 of those 27 hours. Around hour 17 Amy was already suggesting we just fly back and leave our car to be consumed by Colorado wildlife. Around hour 25 Stacey decided that she was never having children of her own. And in every single hour our carefully prepared arsenal of Pixar dvd's, Raffi cd's, and bought and borrowed toys hit the girls with all the effect of creme pies thrown at a brigade oncoming tanks. I will do this again when they perfect teleportation.

But I digress. What I meant to say was, we've arrived. And that for literally no reason that I can currently remember, other than that we already had a name picked out, we've gone and gotten Amy pregnant again. Mars should arrive January 8th, which you of course know is also my birthday, along with my father's. And Elvis'. So... feel free to plan your visit or escape accordingly. Should this development leave you lying awake worried that my brood might come to your house and waterboard your ears with their cries in triplicate, rest assured that unless you live within walking distance or someone invents a cattle trailer for children, you are safe.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beard Power

Oh hai. I know, it’s been a while. I was trying to grow a beard, which required all my concentration. Here’s the things that happened while small hairs were growing out of patchy areas of my face:

Ripley does not like you. Nixon loves you. It really doesn’t matter who you are, I’m confident this will hold up. Unless you’re Amy, in which case they both love you so much they will cry unless at least three of their limbs are wrapped around you at all times.

When people ask what I will remember about my second father’s day I will say it was the day the girls started leaning into each other, touching their foreheads, and laughing about it like maniacs. It is gut wrenchingly adorable. As you know, “What do you remember about your second father’s day?” is a question people get all the time.

I have completed the snail project. Will he win the big race? I’m sure we’ll find out around 2025. Animation takes a long time. By that time he will probably be a cat instead of a snail and the race will take place on another planet and all my brilliant words will have been changed by a screenwriting supercomputer. Until then, please don’t bring up snails. Or racing. Or my soul crushing battles with procrastination. Ask me about my second father’s day.

Did you know that talking beavers are really expensive? Like, they cost more than your house. I mean, your house might cost more than a talking beaver, but if it did I doubt you’d be reading this. You’d be skiing with a celebrity on imported snow and then rubbing your aching muscles with wads of cash. The point is, I think an inanimate object is going to make more money on this movie than me. On the upside, it seems as though there’s a good chance we’re actually going to make the movie in the near future. I mean, things can certainly still go horribly wrong, but, like I said, we’ve hired a beaver. And everyone knows the old Hollywood saying - ‘It’s all just speculation until someone hires a beaver.’

But before we make any beaver movies, we’re taking the girls on vacation. We’re driving. 18 hours. Which, if you’ve driven as far as the supermarket with our whole gang you’ll know is something that none of us is likely to survive. If you have brilliant suggestions for occupying children in the car or are willing to write an Ambien prescription for kids under two, please contact me ASAP.

Until then, I promise my days of intensely focusing on my facial hair to the exclusion of all else are behind me and I will post again before you can say sock puppet. Meanwhile, may I suggest touching foreheads with someone and laughing hysterically? It looks super fun.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How I'm Pretty Sure The Conversation Went

Nixie: Hey Ripples

Ripples: Yeah Nixie
Nixie: These diapers totally come off.
Ripples: The hell you say.
Nixie: Yeah. Just pulled those tabs and bingo.
Ripples: Well, I'll be.
Nixie: And look. There's this stuff inside. Like play-doh. Brown play-doh.
Ripples: Really spreading that around aren't you.
Nixie: Well, I was just kind of smearing it all over the bed, kind of an abstract art sort of thing, but then I thought, hey, if I smear it all over myself, then I'm the art! Sweet, eh?
Ripples: Uh... yeah.
Nixie: You want to be art? Lean over here.
Ripples: I'm good thanks.
Nixie: You know the sad part? When dad sees this I bet he's totally not going to appreciate either the ingenuity or the subtlety that went into it.
Ripples: Nixie-
Nixie: That guy wouldn't know art if it crapped on his bed.
Ripples: Nix-
Nixie: He's such a moron. And you know what? Frankly, I find him smelly. Just plain smelly.
Nixie: Ripples? Don't you think dad smells?
(Long beat)
Nixie: He's right behind me isn't he?
(Ripples nodding)
Nixie: Well, Dad, I guess it's out now. I'm dropping out of pre-pre-pre school to be an artist, and I think you smell. Now pick me up. I want you to experience my work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy 8760 Hours


8760 hours ago you cried incessantly, had dark splotchy hair, and pooped tar. Everyone said you reminded them of me. Now you are smiley blonds who poop rainbows. Everyone says you remind them of your mother.

8761 hours ago I was afraid that my track record with fish, turtles, and frogs meant that you would die in my care. Most likely in a jar or box with no air holes. You have successfully outlived Fins, Hoppy, Pokey, and FinsII. You're hot on the trail of Snowball. Kudos.

8762 hours ago I thought bringing you home would instantly make me incredibly lame, irrelevant, and exactly like everyone else. It turns out I have always been incredibly lame and that's what makes me special.

During your first 744 hours I strongly considered joining the military and requesting immediate deployment. The recruiter said, A) that wasn't how it worked and B) your mother had already been in asking these questions. He did give me some brochures to keep handy for when you turn two. Semper fi.

4 hours ago I woke up and tried to think of things to say to and about two girls who had endured a year with me as their father. Things no one had ever said or thought to say. Things I could have told the me from those 8760 hours ago that would have prepared him for everything in between. Then I realized how stupid it was to waste precious sleeping time thinking about blog entries and dozed off.

All those hours ago my least favorite thing in the world was people with kids who talked about how it changed their lives, how it completed them, thus implying that those of us without were not yet whole. I had studies and data about how people with kids were overall less happy, poorer, and more likely to know the words to Hannah Montana songs.

The truth is I was neither unhappy nor incomplete before you got here. But a mere 8760 hours later, if you tried to leave I don't how much of me would be left. A year ago that sentence would have disgusted me. I guess that means I'm a changed person, though I'm sure those who know me would assure you I'm no better.

What I can say is that I remain an incredibly impatient person, and I yet I can't ever remember so consciously wishing I could slow time down, savor ever second and squeeze every minute. There's still plenty of occasions when I look up and wonder, how is it not bedtime yet?, but if you told me that the next 8760 hours would take forever I'd be just fine with that.

So when you read this years from now, perhaps while wrestling with decisions of your own, accept the following not as a prescription but simply a fact, and take it for what you think it's worth: I am insanely in love with both of you and will be until there stops being such a thing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Proper English

Stacey: No. You're using that word all wrong. Doo-doo means to have a sleep.

Me: In what language?
Stacey: English! We do speak English in South Africa you know.
Me: All I'm saying is that if an American child says he wants to doo doo and you put him in BED, you will regret it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Brief Questions And Answers

Do your children walk yet?

Yes.  They also tend to accelerate as they approach solid objects.  The soundtrack to our lives: step.... step ....step ...step.. step .step step stepstepSMASH ........... CRY

Do they have new nicknames?
Walker Texas Nipples

Can they shake their head yes and no?
Ripley can say no to anything at anytime, and does.  However, at some point she got yes confused with sneezing.  So ask if she wants more peas, get a head shake.  Ask if she wants to take a bath, she makes one giant nod followed by the word "Acoo!".
Nixon smiles and does jazz hands no matter what you ask her.

What's the most disgusting thing you've pulled out of their mouths?
Yesterday I found Nixon trying to eat a cat claw.  How she got the claw off the cat remains a mystery, although we do have exceptionally lazy cats.

Is Stacey back?
Yes, and she saw the Jonas brothers in the lobby of a building in LA, so take that Grand Canyon.

Do you think she's becoming 'Americanized'?
Consider the following exchange-
Me: Stacey, did you hear what I just said? This is important.
Stacey: Kyle, I'm pretty sure if it were important I would have been listening.

Will you promise to blog more often in the near future and then not do it?
Consider it done.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Highway Lovesong

Dear America,

We are sending you a South African, a German, and a Chineese girl. They will be in the car filled with junk food and heavily accented sing alongs. Please be nice to them. Under no circumstances should you ask them to parallel park.

They are coming to you because when Stacy asked what she should do with her vacation I insisted that a full blown American road trip was the only option. And when I say American I really mean everything west of the Rocky Mountains. I still think of the eastern time zone as 'the colonies' and mentally associate it with smoke, lard, and staying up ridicilously late to watch baseball games. The midwest is also boring unless you like cornhole or creationism. The west has all our pointiest mountains and deepest holes, not to mention football games that start at 9am, so this is the direction I pointed them in.

I've tried to insert many of my favorite things into their itenerary so that while I sit here watching one baby beat the other over the head with an empty coke can I can dream of driving past the sand dunes, canyons, rocks, and pointy green trees that I now only see on Christmas or as scented simulcra hanging from my rearview mirror.

Of course, convincing three teenage girls that they should spend more time looking into deep rocky holes and less time trying to spot Hills characters shopping on Robertson is no easy feat. And so that is why I seek your help America. Please provide these girls with our very best. Deliver them brain halting slurpees and jaw dropping sunsets, sexually explicit mudflaps and heavenly vistas. Take a picture with them and autograph their mental guestbooks. Let them remember you the way that I do after a lifetime of my own roadtrips: a blur of awesome that smells vaguely like feet and Cheetos.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What Sleepy Horses Are Listening To These Days

A few days ago I read an article about a particular kind of music listened to by kids who recreationally take horse tranquilizers.  That led me to this song, which has since infected my mind and prevented me from doing anything productive except researching how to secure horse tranquilizers (turns out you have to know some pretty shady horses).  Hence, my elaborate excuse for not blogging sooner.

And lest you think horse tranquilizer music is not enough to derail cognitive function, I've recently come to the conclusion that every toy my children own teaches three things: colors, numbers, and how to honk a horn.  For some reason we seem to have concluded that the first three skills we need as humans are the ones that qualify you to be a NY cabbie.  

So to appreciate the nature of my week, imagine the following updates playing out against the auditory wallpaper of incessant honking and dazed horses:

Stacey has decided to stay with us for another year.  This is good not only for us as a family, but as Americans.  As the most prominent face of our country to this single foreign visitor it would have been devastating to feel like we didn't represent our land well enough to make it feel like an appealing destination for a second year.  Fortunately, we will not have to suffer that indignation.  However, the parents of other au pairs who are returning home after one year should be ashamed and possibly deported.  I should also point out that Stacey made her decision before the influx of horse tranquilizer music and that there are no take backs.

Ripples has learned to shake her head 'no' and thus refuses everything just for practice.  I don't think she's eaten since she picked up this skill.  Nixie has also learned to hake her head 'no' but doesn't seem to have associated it with any particular meaning.  When you offer her something she will emphatically shake her head no while anxiously smiling and opening her mouth.  And honking something.

When I got back to the airport the other night it was about 40 degrees and raining and I had no jacket and for 30 minutes I could not find my car.  I knew it was right next to the little bench with the trashcan, but it turns out there are LOTS of little benches with trashcans.  Every time I saw another bench next to a trashcan I thought, oh thank god, that's it.  And every time I was wrong.  I may or may not have yelled at some of these benches for toying with my emotions, and may or may not have urinated between parked cars out of desperation.  Even when I travel for business it would be hard to confuse me with a business traveler.

This week, seriously, less animal narcotics and more blogging.  The honking however is probably with us for the long haul.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Since We Last Spoke

You may have noticed that I decided to take most of January off to do some real work. Then I took February off to nap. But I'm back. These are the things you missed:

1. Snails. The job I took revolved around snails. That makes one Beaver movie and one Snail movie. I'm not sure I like the small animal niche I'm carving out for myself. Some things we learned: having children and writing for them are different things. Kids movies are supposed to have rocket powered baseballs, not ambigious meditations on the nature of disability. Oops.

2. Vacation. We took the twins and Stacey to SLC for some snowboarding and crying in other people's houses. Lessons: If you reserve your car for the wrong month and show up at the airport it will cost you several hundred EXTRA dollars to rent the same car. This is a great way to start your trip. Also, when you put babies in 50 layers of clothes they cannot bend at the waist. They do not like this. They will find a way to get back at you. They will poop in the bathtub.

3. Marriage. My current project is marrying off our au pair, Stacey, so that she will become an American citizen. I don't know that she actually desires this, I'm just trying to keep busy. I'm also motivated by her frequent comments about the crime in South Africa. If something is outside, like maybe a half inflated volleyball, she will say, 'How can they leave that outside? It would just get stolen in South Africa.' Or, when asking about the relative safety of some innocous activity, 'It's okay to go there? We won't get stabbed in the face?' I've been keeping an eye out for suitable candidates and am preparing to hit the dating websites without her knowledge or consent. She may already be trying to sabotage my efforts. She recently applied self tanner in what can only be described as 'stripes'. At the moment she appears more focused on attracting tigers than husbands.

4. Mars. I realized that I'm more in love with the name than the idea of being outnumbered by angry little ones. No one is saying never, but for the time being it feels like blinking causes you to miss fifteen fantastic new things that the twins do. I'd like to suck all that up until such time as they become boring and repetetive and then we'll order a new one.

You are now more or less up to speed. I promise to nap less and write more in March.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hello 2009.

I'm writing you from my new office which my wife got me for Christmas.  As I may have mentioned, my old office was a desk at the foot of our bed approximately six inches from the place where our children train for futures as shot putting opera singers.  At least I assume that's what all the screaming and block throwing is about and precisely why I haven't stopped it.  I don't want to stunt their growth.

My NEW office is still a desk at the foot of the bed inches from Twin Town, but it comes with Noise Cancelling Headphones.  Unfortunately, there's not a pair of noise cancelling headphones on the market that can handle twins, so to actually drown them out I have to plug into a white noise channel and turn it up.  Way, way up.  My new office sounds as if it's located in a Class 5 hurricane that spins directly around my head.  The upshot?  Turns out you can't hear twins in a hurricane.

Anyway, 2009, I really wanted to sum up 2008 for you, reflect on all the awesomness, tell you about the twins first Christmas, etc., but I feel like what we really need to talk about, 2009, is the horrible sickness and diarrhea you've brought me.  It's actually erased my memory of everything good that came before it.  I go to the bathroom and I have to check my wallet to remember who I am.  It is unpleasant.

To save us from repeating the word diarrhea over and over, I will from now on replace it with the word lollipop.  Unfortunately, at first, I didn't know I had lollipop.  I would be sitting around and think, 'oh, I have some gas, I should clear that out'.  And then I would think, 'uh-oh.'  If there's anything more embarrassing than crapping your pants as an adult I really, really, really hope never to find out what it is.  It's times like this that I'm thankful I work out of a small hurricane located only feet from the bathroom.  You know that you're ill when you're packing for a two day trip and you find yourself thinking, 'how many pairs of underwear should I bring? 4? 10?  You know what, I better just bring them all'.

UPDATE:  My dad took me out for a chili-dog once I thought lollipop was behind me.  Let me just say that if you've had days of lollipop, and you're walking around the world with all of your underwear in a bag that you never let beyond arm's reach, chili-dog is not the right answer to any question. That's like trying to find out if your swim lessons have been effective by jumping off a bridge with a Volkswagen around your neck.  For the next 30 minutes it pretty much looked and sounded like there was a live animal trying to eat its way out of me.

The irony of all this is that I've traveled away from the safety of my hurricane simply because someone offered me a free meal, and when I RSVP'd I just naturally assumed I would be able to digest it.  My understanding is that the restaurant is a tough ticket, the kind of place where you can't turn around with whacking a celebrity with your bag of underwear.  If Russell Crowe asks why I keep running to the bathroom, please tell him I'm training for a marathon.

UPDATE:  Its now my birthday and, as a present, I seem to have retained last night's dinner.  This is shaping up to be the best birthday ever!  

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