March 28, 2009

California, Part I

The cups hit the bar in a clatter, Jack Daniels sloshing around in their spotted, airport half-cleanliness. The bartender peers down at me as if staring at a degenerate finishing off a bender. When it comes to flying, no time is too early to drink, a sentiment not shared by my host. The men at the bar around me pick through their eggs and sneak glances at my choice of breakfast, while pretending to watch random highlights on the television above our heads. I can't tell if they admire what a man I am or share the bartender's sentiment that I am a mess. No matter, I am only a few minutes from the requisite buzz to get me through takeoff.

After quietly paying my tab, I head out to let the whiskey take its effect. I'm not someone who gets drunk often and after a short time my brain calms down. I start to get the feeling of having a secret that no one, save the judgemental bartender, knows. The rest of the passengers all walk around as if approaching the gallows, and only I have the solution; it jostles gently in my belly and needs a bit of greasy bacon to keep it company. I can't bring myself to eat what Starbucks considers a bagel and so wander the terminal in search of a better option. Halfway down the row of brightly lit stores, I notice a line of people at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Now, I sometimes indulge in a pre-dinner little bacon cheeseburger if I pass a Five Guys while out, but even a guy who drank a couple of whiskeys before dawn has to set limits. It occurs to me that this is the only secret I keep from my wife.

A sudden thought hits me; bacon, egg and cheese would go nicely on a squishy Five Guys bun. I stare longingly at the red and white checkerboard facade. Dreaming. Ah, I am not the only person to hatch this idea. A dutiful line of patrons wait, mouth watering, for the same classic combination. I join them silently. The line creeps closer to the grill and I observe a Five Guys twist on this breakfast classic. They don't simply add a couple strips of bacon to the top of the sandwich, they stack the egg and melted cheese on a half inch bed of crumbled bacon. I swoon.

Something stops me from ordering coffee here, so I head out in search of a decent cup. While this may counteract the effect of the Jack Daniels, it is too ingrained in my morning ritual to skip. I may only drink half the cup. Two customers in line before me admire my partially eaten sandwich and stare in simultaneous jealousy. The woman prods the man to skip breakfast here and double back for some of what I've got. We make pleasant conversation over a shared love of bacon, with only the man talking about the detriment it can have on one's waistline. I can tell that she will relent and settle for the dried scone sitting before us in the case. I pay for my coffee and take leave, knowing that she will regret letting him talk her out of her plan.

It's time for me to head over to the gate and await boarding. Despite the drinks, I dwell on the idea that I am knowingly walking to my own death. Somberly, I take the furthest seat from the jetway. A Virgin America employee is leading some kind of contest in which passengers compete for a set of hot pink headphones. A plainly dressed woman in a blue flannel shirt wins and dutifully gathers her prize. It will clash horribly with her. It is obvious that the feel good vibe of the women at the counter—who aren't going to board the plane I might add—is having the desired effect on the passengers. They smile. They relax. The same employee is now offering early boarding to anyone who can guess where she went to college. She dangles the familiar white and blue logo of North Carolina from a lanyard around her neck. People are calling out answers all around me and they are rewarded with places at the head of the line. They feel like they are flying first class.

My section, E, is called and I slowly move towards row 6, seat A. I'm about to take my place, when a familiar voice says, "Hey, Five Guys guy, how was your sandwich?" I look up to see the pretty face from the coffee shop. She and the self conscious man are our flight attendants. In a flirtatious manner that I have whenever I'm alone, I rub my belly and say satisfyingly, "It's brewing." Her face mirrors mine in that we both realize I just alluded to the fact that I will soon have to take a very large shit in a very small public bathroom. Hopelessly, I continue on about the technical merits of the crumbled bacon, but I have lost her. I sheepishly take my seat and immediately forget my gaffe. It is time to start thinking about death.

March 25, 2009

Whoah, did you see how well manicured that bush hedge is?

Let us return to a recurring theme here at Unfinished Dad. The following is not a commercial I hate, in fact it's quite effective, in that it will certainly spark debate. It took my rewinding it to actually believe that I saw it, but that's what they wanted, right? I'm posting it here because, someday in the nearer-than-I-would-like future, my daughters will want some kind of explanation. And I'll say confidently...go ask your mother.

March 24, 2009

The Hazards of Love

Yes, it's a rock opera originally conceptualized as a stage piece, but when it comes to their albums, it may be, "ask not what the Decemberists can do for you-but what you can do for the Decemberists."

March 22, 2009

Annie Burps and Hiccups the Family Tree

March 20, 2009

The Picture of Chaos


We are a nickname family—as those who had to endure the phase where my wife and I called each other "puppy" can attest—and the kids have had their fair share of quirky monikers. These nicknames usually evolve over time-I wouldn't dare tell you what came before "puppy."

As such, Matilda became Tilda, which became Tildabear, which developed into Tilda-Bear-Workshop, which inexplicably morphed into TB, which then turned into T-bone, and currently, my second daughter goes by the befitting name T. Bone Pickens.

March 18, 2009

My Daughter the Elitist

When companies craft commercials, they do so with a target demographic in mind, no? Millions of dollars are spent honing the message in order to get a specific person to open their wallet.

Apparently the people behind The Ladders—who once said their website was “only for 100K plus people”—are still working out their spiel. When we wake up in our house, we have coffee and watch Morning Joe on MSNBC. The Ladders air their commercials often in this time slot. Every time Annie sees the ad with the little dinosaurs running around, she says "blesh you" to the teeny one at the end who coughs. Minutes later, when the spot with the ridiculous hunters lassoing office chairs in Africa airs, Annie puts down her eggies, points at the screen, and laughs at the absurdity of it all.

The idea of commercials is to stop people in their tracks and slap them into attention. Good news for The works. Annie will be sending in her application post-haste.

March 16, 2009

This just in...

Baby befriends food.

March 15, 2009

The Rain Falls Mainly On...Chevy Chase

Ugh. Rain, rain, and more rain. We managed to get the kids out between downpours and you know what, even cold, bundled, and red, their cuteness amazes me. And I'm not even biased.

March 13, 2009

The After

Two and a half days of non-stay-at-home-dad labor, and this is the result. We have gone from an unusable yard to one that will give us nothing but joy this summer. A quick list of what we accomplished: Raked and blew the whole yard, pruned all of the old bushes/hedges, rebuilt sections of two small patios, rebuilt the pond, fixed two holes in the fence, fixed the gate on the fence, tore the skin off the palms of six hands. Now we sit back and wait until all of the unknown trees and flowers bloom. I may have to start a gardening blog.

March 12, 2009

Nana, really?

Nana, really, when you put my eldest daughter to bed, you have to comb her hair.

March 11, 2009

Dirt under my finger nails, yuck!

Our yard, depending on how you fancy cleaning dirt from all of your crevices, is either heaven or hell. The woman who owned this house for fifty some odd years was the quintessential English gardener. There are trees on top of shrubs on top of flowers.

My parents are in town, so I immediately put them to work cleaning and pruning. my father and I also tackled the task of cleaning up our festering cauldron of a pond in the backyard. Annie was a great help too, as she can step on a pile of dirt like no other. Here are the before pictures. Tomorrow and Friday I will post the afters.

March 8, 2009


Watching Annie, and her mother, duck out of every incoming plane's way, reinforced how amazing Gravelly Point is. How is it, exactly, that thousands of people are allowed such intimate access to landing jets?

March 6, 2009

More Sun

The weather gets better with each passing day here in the nation's capital. Annie and I continued to celebrate the trend by getting out and gobbling up the fresh air. Tilda remained stoic.

March 5, 2009

For Dani

I know this one is cliche. She just loves trees so much.

Thinking of Highland Lakes

The sun is shining, the snow melting, and the crocuses are out. This makes me think of spring, and Highland Lakes, and my mother. As far as Annie learning that you can eat snow, I only have one thought on that. Bob+Snow=Heaven

March 4, 2009


Your day is always a little cheerier when you play some Bishop Allen on the hi-fi. They have a new album titled Grrr... out next week, with the digital version available now. And bonus, they are playing a DC show on the 13th of March, which, yours truly, has tickets to. Here is the first track, Dimmer. Enjoy.

March 2, 2009


Dear Wife (who sometimes leaves her suits out for me to hang up),

I told you so.



Fish. Fish.

We went out to the Aquarium today for our last activity in Myrtle Beach. We head home through the snowdrifts tomorrow morning. We had a great time, though pushing one baby in a stroller and keeping up with the other on foot is not easy. Fortunately, the Ripley's Aquarium has a couple of places where an unwatched toddler could actually drown, so my reflexes are considerably honed.

I was planning on posting the only picture I could muster during the day, but realized at the last second that the photo shows a bit of unreleased baby gear that my family is fortunate enough to be testing. Sorry. I can describe the picture well enough though. Fish, fish in the background and Annie in the foreground looking sullen, with a dash of Tilda looking content.