Thursday, June 26, 2003


My daughter Anna has been having a wee bit of trouble at these summer camps we have been sending her on. For some reason, she has been raising hell at them, leading my wife to have one of those stressful moments when you go to pick up you’re child and a counselor steps up and says, “Mrs, Shaw, may we SPEAK to you?” You just know its going to be bad.

There was an “Incident Report” that needed to signed, evidently involving something about wet paint and crushed pretzels. The details are a little blurry, I only heard this second hand. I remember saying “no” to myself a few times. But Anna had been bad. So what to do.

I ended up taking Anna’s bicycle and putting it in the basement. Then I had to give one of those talks, those talks where you have to be serious and try and talk about everything gravely. Except as I was taking the bike downstairs Anna said “That’s fine, “ crossing her arms, “I’ll just ride on my scooter instead.” She then made a “humph” noise and tilted her head up in the air.

So then I went and got her scooter too. She has all the diplomacy of a pit bull, I thought to myself.

Then I brought her downstairs so that we could talk. I wanted her to see the bike and understand why it was down here. I wanted her to feel bad about what she had done. More than anything I just wanted her to go back to camp and not piss anyone else off there. I had two other children that I planned on sending to the county-run day camp, I didn’t want burn this bridge so early out.

So I told Anna about consequences. And I told her about rewards. If she was good at camp the rest of the week she could get her bike back. If she was bad the bike would stay down for many weeks. We talked about what she had done at the camp, and why it was bad. She was really listening, and I felt like we were making some headway. So then I asked her, point blank:

“So are you going to behave yourself at camp?”


“Do you understand that actions have consequences.”


“So what does all this mean?”

“I don’t know daddy, when you say so many words I get confused.”

Now I’m thinking things like, “Okay, don’t sweat it” or “Shake it off” and “Just keep going.“ Then I say “The bottom line is that if you don’t behave yourself at camp, then you won’t be able to ride your bicycle for the summer. Dou you understand?”

“Yeah.” A pause. “Dad?”

“If I behave myself for twenty days can I have one of those Barby cars I saw at the toy store?”

Monday, June 23, 2003

I call my wife babe, frequently. Evidently the peejster noticed this, and this morning, relatively out of the blue, had this conversation with my wife.

"You are called babe."

"That's right, I am. Who calls me that, PJ?"


"You are also called Kathleen."

"Yes, I am, but who calls me babe?" (Hoping, for him to say 'daddy' I guess.)

"You're name is Kathleen."

"Yes, PJ, my Real name is Kathleen. But who calls me babe?"

(big pause)

"I just did."

Sunday, June 15, 2003

WHAT A MESS -- June 15th, 2003

This is a recent picture of the back of our minivan. I had to take the seats out to move some stuff.

as you can see it is a mess. But lets zoom in a little for some detail.

I see a Wendy's french fry box, a harmonica, and what, is that raw sugar? You reach a point where you lose track of what the sticky stuff is, and when it really no longer matters. Our house is in similar straights. I have to be careful, though, about what I say. Sometimes I'll come home from work and look around the house and think to myself, "why is this house so messy?" Of course these words would never leave my mouth, I have at least some sense.

On those rare occasions when I am left with all three children, I usually find no time to clean either. In fact, I usually spend the last 80 percent of the time staring at clock and wondering "when will this be over." Its hard work. I don't know how anyone finds time to clean things.

When we had some friends visiting who happened to keep a very tidy house, Kathleen asked her counterpart how she kept her house so clean. "I get up at 5:30 in the morning so that I can clean before the kids wake up" was the matter of fact answer. While technically correct, I think this was an unsatisfactory answer. I am sure this is not the answer Kathleen (or I) was hoping for. I'm always loooking for one of those quick-fix, silver bullet kind of solutions, the kind they advertise on TV. It would have been so much better if the conversation had gone like this.

"So, how do you keep your house so clean? It looks fabulous."

"Oh, its nothing. I just use Oxy-Clean!


"Yes, Oxy-Clean. Once I started using oxy-clean, well, the house practically started cleaning itself."

But alas, there are no silver bullets. Disorder is inexorable, and along with all the other wonderful things that come with our children comes lots and lots and lots of disorder. There are very few kinds of a mess that can't be cured with new carpeting, a few cans of paint, a dumpster, and several hundred dollars worth day-labor. Life is just balancing act between total chaos and order anyway.

Friday, June 13, 2003

SUPERPJ -- 6.13.2003

My daughter Anna has been visiting Aunt Zoe these past few days, which puts Zoe in great esteem here at the Shaw camp. In absence of the elder child, PJ's personality has become more apparent and less of an "Anna-shadow." He's kind of a cross between Chevy Chase playing Gerald Ford and Superman, a wannabe superhero who bumps into things a lot.

The other day Kathleen was getting Sam and PJ into the car. She opened the door to the garage, pressed the garage door opener, and was carrying Sam out to the car in his baby seat. When she looked over to the left, PJ had ran over to the garage door and grabbed the lip in his stubby little fingers and was hanging on. He was already a foot in the air, by the time Kath got over there PJ was at shoulder level. Totally unafraid.

The unafraid thing would be more cool and less scary if he didn't fall/crash/land on things so often. PJ and I were playing tag in my bedroom, and he kept falling. Try not to wonder too much about us playing tag, all I can say for an explanation is that it was "family fun hour." I finally had to make up a game called "pillow chaser". PJ would pick up a big pillow and carry it, running away from me. I would chase him. The advantage, was that every time he fell or ran into something, the pillow would protect him. Crazy, yes, but it worked pretty much.

PJ is also very contrary these days. If you say "PJ, do you want to do X" he will always say no. I had the following conversation with him.

"PJ, could you say no for me?"


"You won't just say no?"

"No, I don't want to say no"

"Not just a single simple no?"

"No, I don't want to."

Ah well, two more days and PJ can go back to being a helper of Anna, an understudy of chaos. Sam is all smiles and happiness these days. He is a joy to be around. And I keep thinking, I must enjoy it while I can. The clock is ticking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

bring on the bus! 6-11-2003

I have been taking the bus to work these days. While I was dreading the commute for a few reasons, it has had its own blessing. I drive about ten minutes each way to the commuter lot, where I spend one hour and seven minutes each way on a big yellow bus. On the bus I read, study, and recently with the help of a portable DVD player, watch movies. Here are some reviews of what I have been watching. Click on Medialog here or on the left column to see my movie/book/other reviews.

Sunday, June 01, 2003


Well, just to lighten your day, here is a live action shoot of the Samster just a smilin' for the camera. What a ham!



Well, Nina has asked for some photos of the new swingset/play area in our back yard, so here they are




HOT WET AND NAKED -- 6/1/2003