Why Daddy Drinks-Reason No. 11: Um…I Don’t Remember…

11410875-memory-loss-alzheimer-s-ahead-road-street-signMy wife and I have hardwood floors in our living room and kitchen. And not that fake wood that you can pick up by the cord at Home Depot, snap together and can glue in place in an afternoon for that almost-realistic “hardwood” feeling.

No, this is the Old School stuff, built back when JFK was in the White House. It’s hard as iron and my knees feel it every time I get down on it and play horsey with my daughters riding on my back. And with real hardwood floors come real nails. This house is 50-plus years old, and with time it has done some settling. As such, one of these real nails has begun sticking up from the floor. Not too much, but it is a nail and a nail sticking out even a little bit from the floor is enough. Especially when you keep snagging your socks on it, like my daughter Maddo did the other day.

I finally decided it was time to take action against this sock-rendering nail and over the weekend, I dug out my trusty tack hammer to do the trick. I went to the garage, took out the hammer and held it up in front of my face as I walked into the house. And as I went inside, Maddo asked me for about 376th time to set up the easel that she and her sister, Little Sis, got from my brother and his wife for Christmas. I couldn’t put it off any longer, so I set the hammer down somewhere, spent the next two hours putting the easel together, and for about an hour after that, I helped the girls paint and try not to splay blue, red, green and yellow colors all over the living room wall.

And by the time I was done managing their modern art, I had completely forgotten where I had put the tack hammer. Three days have passed and I haven’t been able to locate the thing. And I don’t just mean I can’t find the hammer; I have absolutely no idea where it is. Not a clue.

This is because since having kids, my memory is shot.

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Top 10 Second-Banana Siblings

SOLANGE-KNOWLESAs someone blessed (ahem) to have not one, not two, but three children, I spend a lot of time thinking about their relationships as siblings.

I’m fascinated by birth order theories used to explain personality traits. I’m intrigued by their dynamics — the oldest, youngest and middle kid, as well as boy and girls.

Will they grow up to be tooth-and-nail competitors, or each other’s biggest supporter? Will they be close, or barely tolerate each other? And what role will their mother and I play in any of this?

It was with all that in mind that I read a review of Solange Knowles’ newest album. Don’t know Solange? She’s the sister of a certain Mrs. Shawn Carter. Or is he Mr. Beyonce? Anyway, you may have heard of her. It got me to thinking about other famous people and their lesser-known brothers and sisters.

So here are my top 10 second banana siblings:

10. Solange Knowles
9. Kenny Letterman
8. Simon Townsend
7. Jim Belushi
6. Don Swayze
5. Natali Germanotta
4. Billy Carter
3. Eddie Bird
2. Pippa Middleton
1. Fred Ripken

Honorable mention: Jamie Lynn Spears, Ashlee Simpson, Eric Roberts, Derek Hough, David Arquette, Harry Windsor, Donnie Wahlberg, Doug Pitt, LaToya Jackson, Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson, Jermaine Jackson.

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Football With My Daughters: A Playoff Game Day Diary

imagesI love football.

Like millions of middle-aged American dorks, I once fancied myself a sort-of jock. In high school, football was the only sport I played, and left tackle was the only position where I was able to start. As much as I wanted to play in college, I pretty much knew that scholarship offers weren’t likely to come flooding in for left tackles that only weighed 180 pounds. Had I known how important protecting the blind side of most quarterbacks was, I would have probably started on a steroid-and-three-steaks-a-day diet in my sophomore year.

Although I love my alma mater, Washington State, and watched every Cougar game on TV this season (Bless you, ESPN and Pac-12 Network), it really doesn’t matter who is playing. If Northern Illinois were playing Coastal Carolina, and it was on the box somewhere, I would want to watch it. Same with the NFL. I live in Oakland, and the Raiders suck, but if I’m at home on a Sunday, the Silver and Black’s latest on-field disaster is going to be on my TV. That is, unless I switch to the NFL Red Zone Channel. My God, where has the Red Zone been all my life? If your local game is crappy, just turn on the Red Zone and you will see the best plays and drives and scores from any game that is going on. And this season, more than any other team, it seemed like the Red Zone would cut in to show the awesomeness of my hometown team, my beloved Seattle Seahawks.

However, I have a wife and two young daughters, now. My wife isn’t much of a football fan and my girls…well, Maddo is four and Little Sis is two. They want cartoons and the Disney Junior channel all the time. And even though the iPad has been a lifesaver in terms of giving my daughters something to watch so I can have the TV for the game, let’s face it: they always find a way to interrupt Russell Wilson’s latest drive downfield. Usually, this involves them needing another in a string of 45 snacks and sippy cups full of apple juice.

But, I am trying to indoctrinate them into the glory that is loving football. And today, I have decided to try to document my latest effort during my Seahawks playoff game at Washington against the Redskins. The goal here is to keep a running diary of the game and the insanities visited upon me by two toddlers during the three-plus hours of what I hope will be Seattle’s first road playoff victory since Ronald Reagan’s first term. Depending on how many brawls Maddo and Little Sis get into, this diary could come to a sharp end long before the game does.

With all the preceding 450-plus words in mind…

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Christmas Is Over, Can We Start Boxing, Now?

I make no bones about it when I say that Christmas is awesome. BOXING_DAY

I love all the build up to it, the anticipation over the Big Day, getting the tree, putting up the lights and all the classic and modern-day Christmas music that comes with the season. My wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, and I, gorge on a prime rib on Christmas Eve, watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life,” then have our daughters, Maddo and Little Sis, “write” a note to leave out with the cookies and milk for Santa. Come Christmas Day, it’s a hurricane of crazed unwrapping, surprises, and a continuous loop of “A Christmas Story” going on the in background until we head over to our relatives for more prime rib and daughter-inspired mayhem. This year, I even got more of a kick out of watching my girls opening their gifts than I did from tearing into my own. I guess I must be growing up.

But the days immediately after Christmas? Those really suck.

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You Better Not Cry…Well, Maybe A Little

It's a good thing Santa's got a strong grip. Little Sis is a thrasher.

It’s a good thing Santa’s got a strong grip. Little Sis is a thrasher.

Christmas is unavoidable. From the time we are able to utter our first sentences, we learn that it comes on December 25 every year. You get a tree and throw some lights up on it. And there are presents involved. Lord, are there presents involved.

But nothing says Christmas like Santa Claus.

He is the all-seeing oracle of all things Christmas. Just like the song says, “He’s making a list and checking it twice/Gonna find out who’s naughty nice.” He is, indeed, coming to town. And letting your kids know that becomes great leverage for when they get out of line and start fighting over that plastic cup that, suddenly, both of them are willing to brawl over like they were in an MMA cage match:

“Maddo! GET OFF OF YOUR SISTER!” At this point, Maddo, my four-year-old daughter, had her two-year-old sister in the toddler equivalent of a Figure Four Leglock. “We are going to talk to Santa about you!”

“NOOOOOO! I’ll be good! I promise!”

She had good reason to make such a promise, because the next morning, she would be meeting The Man himself. She would be going to see Santa Claus.

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Christmas Is Coming. Look out.

Typically, Christmas is all about your kids. And getting them stuff that they want, will fixate on, and if they don’t break it before you serve up the prime rib, will likely forget about and/or lose by New Year’s.

We’ve all bought our kids things we regret…I’m pretty sure most of the boxes under our tree are full of things my wife and I are already questioning. I can’t say I know for sure, as my wife has done all the shopping this year. For all I know, all the Amazon boxes that have shown up are full of hammers, arrows and brownie mixes.

With that in mind, Drew Magary at Deadspin has given us an outstanding primer of some of the main types of gifts you can, but probably shouldn’t get your kids this year. Do yourself a favor: Read and learn.

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peter-gabriel-so-album-cover-croppedIn the fall of 1986, on my way back to school from a doctor’s appointment, my mom made an unplanned detour.

The detour took us to Capitol Centre, where — I had heard moments before on DC 101, my favorite rock radio station — Peter Gabriel concert tickets were set to go on sale at 10 a.m.

I was a high school senior, of average academic profile and perhaps slightly better than average social profile, thanks to being an amalgam of band geek (percussion) and varsity athlete (baseball). I went to a big high school, which was fine with me, for it enabled me to move pretty easily between worlds, mostly unnoticed if I so chose. I struggled with a hideous cystic acne condition, which rendered me painfully self-conscious, though if my classmates made fun of me for it I was blissfully unaware. I still avoid eye contact with people to this day because of it.

Also, I was becoming absolutely obsessed with music.

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