Saturday, August 25, 2012

This morning's brunch conversation

Todd: So you're taking Ethan to Office Depot today?

Jennifer: To look for one-cent notebooks.

Ethan: I saw a commercial on TV. I'm going to re-sell them for one dollar each. If I buy ten, that's only ten cents, but I'd make ten dollars. If I buy fifty, that's fifty dollars.

Todd: If you buy twenty-five thousand...

Ethan: I don't think they'll let me buy that many.

Todd: Then you could buy Samuel a DeLorean.

Ethan: Well, I'd probably just pay taxes.

Samuel: You wouldn't owe that much in taxes. Why would you pay more than you owe?

Ethan: Well, I'd pay off more, so that I would have less to pay later. Paying off taxes is the most important thing to me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

First in-store sighting

As Jennifer was walking out the door to go to Barnes & Noble last night, she said, "Do you want me to look for your book while I'm there?" (It's been available on Amazon and since Monday.)

I said, "Don't bother. They won't have it out until the official release date, which is September 4." (I didn't mention that I'd been there two nights earlier, innocently snooping around.)

Twenty minutes later she sent me these photos.


Monday, August 20, 2012

"Dad, what 3 things would you want if you were stranded in the wilderness?"

Todd: A mobile phone. A car. And a hotel.

Ethan: We agree on one.

Todd: Which one?

Ethan: A phone.

Todd: Okay. What else is on your list?

Ethan: Water.

Todd: Could it be Coke Zero?

Ethan: Sure.

Todd: Okay, then I agree. What's the third thing?

Ethan: Soap.

Todd: Soap?? If you were stranded in the wilderness, soap would be on your top-3 list??

Ethan: You have to keep yourself clean.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ocean Grove, NJ

So our new official favorite beach is in a town that doesn't serve alcohol, features a daily Bible quote at the entrance to the beach, and whose slogan is "God's square mile on the Jersey shore."

It's called Ocean Grove, and I love it because it's an entire town of well-preserved Queen Anne Victorian houses, one after another, up and down every block. People fly American flags on their front porches. The beach is pristine. It's like stepping into a time machine.

You know how much we love time machines.

I said it's a square mile, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. How square is it?

Well, there was a concert tonight in the 1894 Grand Auditorium--by Neil Sedaka. (We didn't attend, but I did sing "Right Next Door to an Angel" on the car ride home.)

Next week: Bobby Vinton. Seriously.

I have no explanation for why I feel more at home here than I do one mile up the shore at Asbury Park, home of Springsteen. I guess I've grown less rebellious in my old age. I no longer identify with "I went out for a ride and I never went back." (Dude, you had a wife and kids and you went out for a ride and you never went back? You're an ass.)

Whatever. We like Ocean Grove. We're coming back.

Oh...for the is Samuel in front of the pagan monument we built. And we peed in the ocean.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Splashdown Beach

I'm back from my trip to Iowa, and we wanted to do something this weekend even though there was a 40% chance of showers. I persuaded Jen and the boys to go to a waterpark based on my theory that the lines would be short due to the forecast. (If you think about it, there is really never an excuse not to go to a waterpark.)

We made a little grid of all the waterpark options: Dorney Park/Wildwater Kingdom, Hurricane Harbor, Camelbeach, Splish Splash Long Island, Mountain Creek, Lake Compounce, and Splashdown.

We've already been to Camelbeach this year, we hate the crowds at Splish Splash, we're burned out on Mountain Creek, and Lake Compounce is over 2 hours away. We figured Hurricane Harbor might be crowded as well, so we narrowed it down to Dorney Park and Splashdown.

Splashdown Beach is 30 minutes closer and $50 cheaper for a family of four, and since every dollar and waterpark minute is precious when there's rain in the forecast, Splashdown got the nod.

It turned out to be a nice day--some dark clouds now and then, and one 20-minute downpour in the afternoon (which we waited out at the snack bar). But sure enough, the lines were short.

A good day. Roll tape.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I survived the Iowa State Fair

Today's highlights:

Pretending not to be annoyed that our team just lost in the company scavenger hunt.

An extremely large pig. This is really the kind of thing you need to leave the Upper West Side to see.

Ditto for this.

Anything you can think of that could possibly be deep-fried, they had it.


My new Hawkeye cap and matching tattoo. I look like a cross between Pony Boy from "The Outsiders" and Ernest T. Bass from "The Andy Griffith Show."

It's been a good day. Tomorrow: back to boring old New York City.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


It's nice to be in Iowa. It's always nice to be in Iowa. Even though I'm without my little family, 1,000 miles away in a place called Manhattan, it's still nice to be in Iowa.

Tomorrow I have some business meetings, then I'm going to the opening of the Iowa State Fair.

I sat behind a toddler on the plane. We both had window seats, and we conversed about all the things we could see outside: farmland and clouds, mostly. He said he's going to visit his cousins. He showed me his Woody doll, from "Toy Story," just like Samuel used to have. Sniff.

I'm sitting in my room at a Holiday Inn eating a Long John Silver's fish sandwich; I had to go through the drive-thru because it was the only thing open after 9 except for Walgreens. My hotel room overlooks an interior courtyard with a pool, and I've even got a little Juliet balcony with a sliding glass door.

The the ivy in the planter on my Juliet balcony is made of plastic. My ceiling looks like it's made of asbestos. I can find a way to complain about pretty much anything.

But no more complaints. Glad to be alive, good to be in Iowa.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


No matter how loudly you rev your engine, your Toyota with a spoiler still looks silly.

How Samuel and Ethan are spending their summer

Today it was 87 and sunny, so the boys took advantage of the weather by staying inside and playing Minecraft for 8 hours while Skyping with their friends. Around 2pm Jennifer forced them out of the apartment by making them accompany her to Laytners to buy storage boxes. I didn't realize they'd left their Skype connection on, and when I heard one of their friends cough loudly, I looked around the empty apartment and said, "Bailey?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I gotta re-think the barbershop thing

I have to give a presentation to an advertiser this afternoon, so I decided to get a haircut over my lunch hour.

I never go to a salon, because I feel like I'm paying extra for the pampering and preening and faux artistry. I just want a haircut, not a day at the spa. I don't want it shampooed. I don't want it blowdried. I want it to take 10 minutes and cost $20 and get back to work.

So I went to a regular old barbershop near my office. And I really should've known better simply by looking at the hairstyles of the 95-year-old men who work there. But I went in and said, "Just a trim." And I came out with a 1990s Rudy Guiliani combover and reeking of that crap that 95-year-old barbers  like to use. Cod liver oil? Saddle wax? Formaldehyde?

I got back to my office and went straight to the restroom to rinse all the crap out of my hair and muss it back up so it looks halfway normal. But it doesn't.