Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Estrogen Lab 3.0

Since my last post my family has grown by 1. It's another beautiful and healthy little girl. That brings the female to male ration in my casa to 3:1, not that I am counting. Children are amazing and beautiful miracles. However, I know live in a sea of estrogen. While "Mitch and the Ladies" would be a great 80's cover band name, there are some realities to the situation for me:
  • I know the name of most of the "My Little Ponies."
  • I attend more than one tea party per week......a number that will likely increase.
  • I know more about "Pinkalicious" and "Purplelicious" than the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback.
  • My days of tearing the limbs and heads off Barbie dolls is likely over.....banning a REALLY bad day at work. However, if needed, I will have access to plenty of plastic doll mass killing opportunities.
  • I am responsible for the end of the Hoffman family name.
  • Knowing a little girl is a daddy's girl is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Levels of Domestication

I've resisted, and continue to resist, growing up. The effort is relatively futile as I am married, have a child, house, job, etc. Don't get me wrong, none of the aforementioned are bad things, but sometimes I find myself doing or thinking about something I never really thought would be on my radar. As I mowed the lawn today, an absolutely gorgeous day, I found myself reflecting on my level of domestic integration.

I pulled out the John Deere push mower and did my version of a 'spring tune up.' I'm not gifted mechanically with anything that runs on fuel. I do pretty well with general mechanical skill, but for whatever reason the gas engine skill was clearly a skip generation trait in my gene pool. Short story long, tuning up the mower for me generally involves wiping it clean to bring back the shimmery green lustre of the that green paint job on the deck and calling my father-in-law if anything else looks awry or doesn't, I dont' really do anything to the mower.

As a well trained and domesticated beast, I find myself obsessing and debating about all that goes into proper lawn care. My lawn is far from the fairways at Augusta, or for that matter the grass at the local school, but I still have this gravitational pull for unobtainable perfection. I will battle the weeds (with below average success), fertilize, and obsess over the care of each of those millions of blades of sweet, green, relatively useless turf. This paternal pride for the lawn finds me today debating how to mow the yard. Efficiency says the horizontal pattern is best, and definitely easiest. However, like those who dress their small dogs in clothes, I want more. Feeling in the zone, I went for the diagonal cut. A majestic diagonal bisection of the property that I can stand on the deck with a cold beer and admire those clean lines left by the precision 5 inch tires of the mower.

After the job was done there was little satisfaction as I dream of the yard I can mow cool patterns into like the big league ball parks. However, I did my best, and the Hoffman turf is maintained for now, and I stand proud. Not unlike the individual who enters their '96 Grand Am in a classic car's not that people don't understand, it's just that they don't care.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Losing Stuff

Everyone has lost something and knows it's in their house, but can't find it anywhere. Well, I have that going on. I have a few misc. photo accessories that I can't find, but I know are in my house and hiding together. When this happens we have this ingenious idea that we can just start in one room and literally scan and ransack every inch, therefore, making it impossible for the missing item to elude us. It never works, we have all done it looking for a set of keys. Maybe it's my obsessive compulsive tendencies, but this stuff consumes me. I lack focus to move on......I want to start tearing stuff apart, it's like a dog obsessing over a tennis ball, but probably worse. I can't sleep, my attitude is terse, I'm on edge. Damn, I need a drink. I will find the missing items, I'm as dedicated a Frodo to deliver the ring, however, I'm not a hobbit and don't have a 3/4 naked creature lurking around behind least I don't think so.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's a's a, it's AJ Hawk on a mountain bike!

It was beautiful weekend. After the sun exploded sometime during the past winter, it was nice to see a new glowing orb decided to appear and finally allow Minnesota's mountain bike trails to dry out. I snuck in a few rides last week, and getting on the bike felt giddy like climbing the rope in gym class. As a result many rides started with pent up energy explosion and ended with slow pedaling back to the car, but that's all good.

Several of our crew spent the past couple months cobbling together parts and pieces to get our buddy, Mike rolling down the trail this year. After finally gathering the pieces and parts it was time to get Mike out for his first mountain bike ride.. His only other experience involved "riding a mountain bike over something and almost losing his sack." Sounded painful enough, so I didn't ask any more details upon hearing the story. I was hoping this outing went a little smoother, and hopefully would be more enjoyable for his sack. The spectacle that unfolded thereafter was a visual feast for the eyes.

First, we have the "rig" or "unit" that Mike was about to saddle up on. Cue up "One piece at at Time" by Johnny Cash and sit back and enjoy. We took a mid nineties Schwinn Homegrown frame (one of the nice Yeti's from back in the day) and paired it with a Tora fork that I think one of the guys traded bodily fluid for at a party. We then decked it out with a smattering of parts we all had laying around and that we would never use. A pair of bolt on FSA wheels and tires Brian got for polishing shoes at the airport and an LX drivetrain from a sweet Novara hardtail that died in my garage sometime ago......still don't know where or how it ended up there. Novara is not my first choice in bikes. We had a hardtail with 8 speed cassette, 9 speed shifters, oldschool Flite ti saddle and yellow cable housing.

Mike met me at the parking lot at 10 a.m. with his shiny new steed loaded in the back of his pimping mini truck with "PACKERS" painted on the tailgate. He mentioned the training for his inaugural ride involved drinking tequila until 3 am the night before with someone we will just call Tyler, for the sake of anonymity. Mike looked pretty sharp, all things considered, from the night before. His custom riding kit for the day, as he promised me, was a pair of Jordan basketball shorts and a well ventilated AJ Hawk, Packers jersey. The ride was great, Mike did well and only mentioned the tequila coming up once during the ride after a decent climb. Maybe it was the leftover confidence from the night before, but he rode a lot of the technical stuff with pretty good success. I look forward to Mike joining us for many more rides in the future and think his humor and candid approach will be a breeding ground for his success in our group.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reflections on Parenting: Year One

I've now been a parent "successfully" (meaning I'm still alive) for a year. A significant accomplishment for me considering my wife frequently tells me I'm a twelve year old. After all, who knew a twelve year old could take care of a baby? All that considered, it's been pretty interesting. While I don't think I'm ready to write any books on the subject, I have made some significant observations over the past year I wanted to pass along to the world:

1) You can invent anything for a baby and people will overpay for it. The best part is you feel like it's a must have item in your sleep deprived-internet surfing-new parent daze, yet the kid will only use it for about 6 days then be too big for it. It's similar to that phenomenon your college buddy has where he absolutely HAS to buy 6 shots of tequila a 2am.

B) Why can't one of us figure out a way to make formula? Reality is that that crap costs about 4 cents to make and they are charging the cost of 1/2 of a vital organ for a can. Thank god beer doesn't cost that much, as I'm almost out of vital organs after one year.

IV) Puffs taste like nothing. Some crazy ass scientist found a way to make a solid form of air and then started selling it. It makes the kid stop crying, but seriously. (see point 1)

iii) Having a child totally redefines your idea of noise. I used to get really annoyed by the smallest creeking, whistling or buzzing sound. Now, I have been conditioned to the simultaneous harmony of battery operated toys, crying and the radio all at once while I take a "nap." I sometimes turn on the table saw and test the carbon monoxide detector just to create some noise to relax.

XI) Kids spill a lot when they eat. I have saved all the food little baby E has dropped on the floor and will be able to have lunch at work the entire next year. You actually only feed the child 1/10th of the food you prepare. Our vacuum, however, eats very well. If we only still had the dog, she would love this baby!

iii) As a male with normal sized fingers those damn buttons on baby clothes are ridiculously small. I would have better luck playing Playstation with my feet than getting some of these clothes on the baby. It makes you feel like the people who are so uncoordinated that they fail sobriety tests when they are sober.

7) It used to be that getting peed on meant your roomate in college mistook your bed for the toilet. It usually ended by kicking him (or her) in the balls (or ovaries) and then having a beer together to "talk it out." Now you get pissed on (presumably by your child) and you just hope it dries before you get to your office.

J) I sometimes think small children have magical powers and can move really fast when we are not looking at them. One minute they are playing quietly with blocks in the living room and then 1/2 second later they are bathing in the toilet and there is 200 yards of toilet paper on the floor.....WTF? How did that all happen so quickly? The kid can't even walk yet! I'm telling you, it's magical powers.

It's been a really fun and crazy year little baby girl.....Happy 1st Birthday, Ella!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tight Pants?

We all have to have a cause. Something we are passionate about, dedicated to and our little way of making the world better. This worry of Nate Holland', not exactly. You can read the story here. One would think as snowboarding gains momentum and credibility for it's amazing athletes and crazy tricks that the worries of others clothing (which could actually make you faster) would be resurfacing the snowboarder stereotype of slacker, pot-smoking misfits who have no place on the hill or in the Olympics (a stereotype I do not agree with). If the 'heritage' of the sport is so important, why doesn't Nate ride on the vintage board and see how he fairs against the rest of the world? Or possibly you should revisit the Picaboo Street downhill race that was won by 1/100th of a second? I think I would choose the gold medal over the pants of my choosing, dude. Maybe if you were good, you could get press by winning instead of super lame soundbites like this one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daycare Driving

My wife and I carpool to work and while she takes the baby into the daycare, I chill in the car and listen to sports radio. I've noticed that the people dropping off their children seem to have a complete inability to drive or park a car. There are a couple of prototypical drivers I've seen.

First, is the SUV lady who seems to have no idea how to cram her super giant Tahoe into a parallel parking spot, regardless of how big it is, so she doesn't. She just pulls in forward and gets as close as she can then throws it into park. This usually results in the 80% of the car out in the middle of the narrow road and the driver is amazingly unaware of the 60 degree angle between her mammoth vehicle and the curb (which should be parallel for those slow on the uptake). After all, it is her world, and we are just lucky to be living in it. Out jumps the 5 foot 1 inch parent with her 4 month old. I hope that semi-truck has enough room for that giant baby, and how many phone books is that lady sitting on?

Next is the 7 point Prius Parker. This person has one of the smallest cars made, yet is totally unable to fit it into a spot twice it's size. Here's how it goes down: Prius pulls into the spot forward trying to avoid showing the world that they don't actually know how to parallel park a car. Then as they pull forward the brakes 'malfunction' and she hits the car in front of her. Next, she backs up and the accelerator 'sticks' and she hits the car behind her. After all of this, they do the forward and back about 6 times and still leave 1/3rd of the car out in the road. I don't want to give away the identity of the driver, but the gender rhymes with squirrel. If I knew how to take out the batteries, I would.

Last, is the Minivan Mastodon. This beast has the minivan that has hit 7-9 drivers and has all the wounds to show it, including the dangling and dragging ground effects on the front end (no doubt from pulling it in just a hair to fair on a snowbank last week). This sweet ride also came with some sick wood panelling that was probably an upgrade at the dealer, if it is in fact even stock. She doesn't care about the parking job, because she will eat anyone that says anything to her. She gets out and unloads about 7 kids, crams down a few more bites of donut and herds her team into the daycare. Truly a site for all to see.

In conclusion, if you live in a city learn how to parallel park your car or just tattoo moron on your head to let us all know to drive a block farther down to save on the insurance claim.