Posts Tagged ‘parenting’


Man of Steel

I have to admit that I am as excited as anybody to get out and see the newest Superman movie. Although DC comics pale in comparison to its counterpart, Marvel, Superman has been a longstanding part of every man-child’s upbringing. We, the masculine form of our species, have long been enamored with the idea of this spectacle Superman. A dude from another planet with values and morals beyond reproach, with only one weakness, if you don’t count Lois Lane, which I never do, because having a woman / love interest also be a weakness is so cliche it isn’t even funny. I could never stand that Lois would rather see Superman weak and get beat up in a diner rather than just be an awesome lover who could fly her around Metropolis on Date Night Fridays. That is not why I write today, although I would like to expound upon Lois and Superman’s relationship at some point in my life. I write because today is Father’s Day. I want to talk about the old man who brought me up and instilled in me the tenants of being a man.

There exists a thousand stories that I can tell that would prove the assertion that my pops, Lane started me early in training. If you have ever read anything about Teddy Rooselvelt, you would understand that, as a kid, this mountain of a man was weak and fragile. Afflicted with asthma and possessing a generally frail body, Teddy wasn’t the guy who one could see later leading the Rough Riders or hunts for wild animals in far off countries. One day Teddy’s father came to him and said, “Teddy, you weren’t given the strongest body, so you have to make it yourself.” From sick and weak to the Presidency–no big deal. The rest is history. I don’t really tell that story to glorify Teddy. He was a good dude, but I wanted to to point out his father, because in his father, I realize what it is my father did for me.

Lane Phillips, quite possibly the meanest man to have walked the earth, a man who is destined to be the subject of many an outlaw country song, the man who when cut bleeds like a wounded knight from a Monty Python sketch. Lane Phillips, the man who spawned me from his loins and then surrounded me with sisterfolk, the man whose mustache is rumored to be more full and thick than that of God himself. Lane Phillips, my father, and now my friend.

This is my dad in a nutshell.

I got in a bike accident as a sixth grader. I hydroplaned for one thousand feet (read ten or so feet) and came up with road rash all over my arms and legs. I was out of myself in pain. I was running around in circles, and according to my father, I was shedding my clothes like some moron, like I had entered into a state of shock and lost control of myself. People were gathering and watching the entire show. I was a star! My dad grabbed my bike. Walking right onto the stage during the drama, he grabbed me and looked at all of the wounds, probably making sure there were no bones broken. He put my hand on the bike and said, “you need to get yourself together and limp out of here pushing this bike home. Nothing you’re doing right now is going to make any of this better.” His voice was riddled with a tone that said, “wrecking is one thing, embarrassing yourself is another thing entirely, push through this and move on.”

A few years later, I watched my dad catch a fish. The fishing lure he was using had a treble hook and and was barbed to ensure the fish, once caught, stayed caught. While removing the fish from the hook, the fish jerked as fish do, one of the hooks went into my dad’s finger. My dad said one word and it was profane. With the hook through his finger, he still removed the fish and put it on the stringer to be cleaned later. The barb was through the skin so he had to push the entire hook through in order to get it out. He bled like his index finger was actually designed incorrectly and attached to an artery, but never said another word. I saw what a calm and cool reaction did for him and was amazed..He just pushed through and everything was better.

A few years later, I was attending Officer Candidates School for the United States Marine Corps. After jumping into a huge hole full of water, I felt an extremely painful and audible pop in my right ankle. Another Marine had to lift me up and we both kept running. I stayed calm, cool, and collected and finished three more weeks of training on a foot that was missing all anterior ligaments. When I told the doctor that I kinda was just brought up not to act like an idiot when you hurt yourself. The doctor responded, “How admirable, but its the stupidest thing you could have done.” What does he know, right Dad?

My Dad has raised me to be courageous in adversity. Something Superman never has to do. My Dad has built in me a longing to be responsible for my actions–a trait far too lacking in society today. My Dad has raised me with the values that your wife is the someone to be taken care of and cherished. My dad has raised me with a longing to be tough when things get difficult. My dad instilled in me a longing to give my child every single opportunity, but not to give them every “thing.”

My dad said to me recently that he sometimes forgets that his father is gone on to a better place and that there are moments when he will be thinking and he will have a question for his dad. He relayed to me how sad it was to realize again that his dad is gone. He told me stories about his old man, and how amazing and brilliant my grandfather was. I heard emotion in his voice and longing to have just one more discussion with the man. In that moment, me a mid-thirty year, became a boy again. And sitting there, in an honest voice my dad taught me another lesson. My Dad has taught me to slow down and not be as tough–to take the time to be a dad–to look at him as an example of all things good and bad–to take the things about him that I love and apply them, but to build upon other areas. He has taught me that he is not perfect and that the best parts of men are found in how they respond to their own failures and shortcomings. My dad has taught me to be a better dad than even he was.

My beautiful wife has given me a daughter. Today I thank my dad, because he has given me the foundation to be a Man of Steel for her.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


The restroom with the romantically lit changing table, nestled in the dark corner of the handicap stall was more attractive than practical to me. I should have known. It would, however, become the infamous locale of my first public diaper change. Like Chernobyl, Mount Vesuvius in Pompey, Mount St Helens, Omaha Beach, and so many other explosive landmarks related to less than happy occurrences in humanity’s illustrious history, this romantically lit changing table, nestled in the dark corner of the handicap stall would become a place of infamy.
Such an unassuming changing table extended from the rear wall of the roomiest stall, in an elegantly lit bathroom, where candles caused shadows to flicker and creep across the walls marking my movement from the entryway to my pending doom. Darkness came to gather in the corner of the stall and ultimately settled over the innocent looking changing table smothering any existing light and dulling it to an orange glow.
Reaching out my hand and placing the perfectly organized diaper bag on the cozy table, my finger grazed the top of the hard plastic meant to hold a soiled and yet sleeping baby girl. Sleeping for the moment….The resulting cold permeated through my hand resonating outward, inward, and upward following paths forged in the womb decades ago. It should have been the omen I needed to turn away–my impetus to seek refuge elsewhere, but inside the darkened catacombs of my brain, came a reassuring echo. The echoing voice should have been the omen I needed to turn away, because it was the same voice that has failed me repeatedly, relentlessly and reliably. The voice was there at the grocery store and told me to steal that candy and sealed my fate. I heard its words tell me to drink the beers that made me run when the cabbie came. The voice is pleased to meet you, I hope you guessed its name….
My daughter rested in my left arm with her head kind of hanging off of the side like a drunken sailor being carried back to his ship after an all night bender by the shore patrol. She wore a onesie covered in dancing kittens made of the softest fleece Target could import from China. I remembered the steps leading me to this moment, and the looks from the other diners at this fine establishment with an equally fine changing table, nestled in the dark corner of an elegantly lit restroom. My walk was met with the approving eyes of mothers at other tables. Their smiles seemed to say, “Look at you, fine sir, taking an active role in caring for this child…” I nodded at them in recognition of their recognition of my contribution to my child’s rearing. I was proud and knew that, in me getting this changing right, I was showing my wife that we were still normal and could function outside of our home. This moment had to happen, and I had to be successful, because the world hinged upon the outcome; the entire world hinged upon this single instant in my life.
Changing the child is a routine that offers little forgiveness. The child cares not whether she is wearing a diaper and will do her business even if it is not convenient for the individual changing her. I know that this is true because earlier in the day, Whitney had been very kind in explaining to me that my method for changing the child was flawed. I was surprised at the detail with which she was able to describe the flaws in my style; furthermore, I was surprised at the rehearsed nature of her suggestions. Whitney spent quite a bit of her suggestioning on the amount of time I leave the baby without any diaper beneath her when transitioning from old to new diaper. I remember thinking, “What does she know? I am a winner and I am not going to be trifled by suggestions.”
The stage was set; the players were in position, and the show was about to begin. You enter into the changing process happy. You are happy because you are doing something to help your child be more comfortable. I hate sitting in my own urine, and therefore, I do not want my child to sit in her urine–it seems logical that this child would be extremely happy to not be sitting in their own urine. I learned in the elegantly lit stall that a baby girl is just as illogical as a grown one.

All Hell Breaks Loose

My routine is simple: I undo the bottom portion of the onesie and fold it backwards so that it is not directly underneath what I call the blast zone. At this point, I am ready to make the move and remove the diaper. Things are going so well to this moment. I remove the straps from the diaper, grip her feet together and gently lift her little butt off of the soiled diaper to remove it. Again, complete success. Flashback to the cold I described earlier in overly, and unnecessarily verbose hyperbole. That same cold was about to travel through her tiny cheeks paralyzing her body and causing all hell to break loose even with the thin paper changing pad I put down to pad the plastic. The resulting chain of events has changed the course of diaper changing history. Initially, this baby girl was stunned by the cold and relatively silent, but her face contorted into that of an old man, and in the candlelit orange glow, I thought her face was a cherry red hue. To increase the cold factor two times, I forgot to warm the baby wipe with my hands before “prepping the landing zone” for the new diaper. It didn’t seem to increase the old man face, so I continued. In the slowest possible manner, I turned my attention to the new diaper.
Diapers come all folded in a manner conducive to packaging into the smallest container possible, and this in itself is not a huge issue, but the fact that I left the diaper in the bottom of the diaper bag, is. I pulled the diaper out, extended the diaper to the correct proportions for applying, and I looked back to beautiful baby girl. To my surprise, laying quiet and warm, on top of the folded up legs of her onesie, in a pool of her own urine, was my daughter. Urine. The amount of pee was unreal. It was like a urine-soaked crime scene. The folded up onesie had absorbed a great deal of the urine, but there was still excess enough urine to pool off of the sides of the table, making splashing sound as it hit the tile floor, which echoed through the elegantly lit bathroom. I picked up the child and looked onto the carnage from above. There was no doubt about it, my daughter would not leave the elegantly lit restroom in dancing kittens. Her onesie was the first thing to die that day–the second was my pride. Maybe Whitney would think it was normal for a changing to take 20 minutes….Maybe Whitney would not remember that it was dancing kittens, and would accept little monkeys without question. Maybe, if she did recognize these small details, she wouldn’t immediately connect the dots and ask if I waited too long to get the new diaper under the baby….
I cleaned up my mess. I wrung the urine out of the dancing kittens. The torque from my wringing of the fabric had left the dancing kittens looking like a bunch of white people dancing on the club floor. I dressed the baby in the spare onesie with little monkeys and said, “Monkeys look a bit like kittens,” and I walked out from the elegantly lit restroom into the cacophonous conversations of diners chatting on the path towards my table. I could see the look on Whitney’s face from forty feet away. I swear I saw her mouth the word, “monkeys?” inquisitive tone and all. How did this woman see monkeys from that far away. I tried not to make eye contact and just pretended all was normal. Whitney leaned in and smiled at the baby and said in a happy sounding, make your baby smile kinda voice, “daddy didn’t listen to mommy, did he……” I stayed quiet and thought, “stupid dancing kittens…..”

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years……


Read and watch a man, who has no earthly idea how to raise a child, raise a child.

I have been a father for about twelve days. This means that I possess the experience and all the prerequisites necessary to be deemed an expert in parenting by whomever deems people such things. As such, I can and will offer you unsolicited advice on the subject for the next, well, forever. For those of you who are not parents and have no interest in the matter, have no fear! Continue reading. I vow that my rants, advice, and rumblings will have value on a general life level. You just have to trust me, and help me–help you…

I want to talk to you about what nobody will. But I have to first write this disclaimer: I love being a father, and I am looking forward to every second of fatherhood. My wife loves being a mother and is also looking forward to every second of motherhood. It’s just not all rainbows and unicorns. Babies these days are just not as self sufficient as I was at two weeks old.

I am a bit concerned. All of this crying every time my daughter is hungry isn’t going to get my daughter married and out of the house anytime soon?

It’s two weeks into this raising a child thing, and every time my wife and I see a couple enjoying their life, or who looks like they may have slept more than three consecutive hours, we are quick to point out that they must not have kids.

My child is like an unhappy, non-contributing citizen of a communist government. My wife is the branch of the government that provides food. I am the part of the government that polices its citizens and enforces governmental regulations. As such, I have found my daughter guilty of a heinous crime–leeching off of all facets of government without contributing to its greater good. There you have it, I have illustrated the inefficiencies of communism by paralleling it to the state of my household. She is thankless in her leeching. This is not a trait I would have passed to her, I grow more and more concerned my wife has passed communist tendencies to my daughter.

I am not sure about a lot of things, but of these I am convinced:

1. My daughter seems unequivocally disappointed in my fathering abilities, but is willing to deal with it if I am holding a bottle.

2. My daughter is hellbent on killing her parents by systematically depriving them of all pleasures they once held dear. Mostly sleep, but followed by all other things I once derived joy from such as, but not limited to: beer consumption, eating a warm meal, smiling, not changing diapers, not being peed on, not being yelled at by a baby who refuses to use her words to specify what she is frustrated about, and finally, being able to touch my wife’s breasts without a look of horrific pain shooting through Whitney’s face.

3. She spawned from the womb well versed in Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War motivated and ready to utilize all aspects of warfare to annihilate her foes, and it seems we, her mother and I, are her mortal enemies.

I have developed a few Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that help me in my struggle against this skilled, thinking, and adapting foe. They are as follows:

1. In a sweet and nurturing voice I say what I really feel to my baby. Just like I would say, “look at my beautiful baby girl, is she a happy baby, yes she is…..” You know the voice, I say, “look at this little terrorist who steals my sleep and consistently tries to make me fall asleep while driving to work….” I feel like saying exactly what I feel helps me get through the process. We both win in this scenario.

2. I have also become the most wicked swaddler of babies, I want to call it what it is; I don’t swaddle I straight-jacket, and it is amazing. I was reaffirmed in this process by a movie I watched about making your baby the happiest baby on the block, so, now it’s a free for all.

3. I have began conducting reconnaissance patrols of my child’s living areas when she believed no one was paying attention. Imagery from this patrol has confirmed my worst fears–I may be fighting a much more formidable foe than I first thought. This snapshot was taken just before my daughter snapped her eyes open. Of note, the recon team that took this picture has not been seen or heard of since this transmission. We are convinced that this picture is evidence of some form of telepathy; yes, my daughter is a Jedi, who may be leaning towards the dark side.

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In the early hours of Tuesday morning I was awake holding the most beautiful terrorist imaginable. I felt what I can only describe as resignation. This darling girl, my nemesis, was already beginning what my mother warned me about years ago: That being; I would one day pay for my transgressions against my parents in the form of my own child–this is my reckoning.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years…..


This is the second edition of a two part blog that documents my wild ride to meeting my daughter. If you did not read my blog yesterday entitled, From the Womb to the Cold, Cold World, you are reading from the middle of the story. I encourage you to go back and read it. I also encourage you to pimp this blog to everyone you know at the expense of your friendship. Think of it like your friends that sell AMWAY, Tupperware, or some other pyramid scheme that you avoid, because they are always trying to sell you something, except in this case, you are doing it to them and you don’t benefit from it at all—to tell the truth, nobody really benefits from it.

When we last talked, I left you as my wife had invented the Two Pushes and a Gag method of pushing a baby from the womb into the cold, cold world. Without sounding like the beginning of a television show that recaps last week’s adventure, Whitney was doing well and was pushing like it mattered.

True to herself, Whitney did not change anything about her demeanor through the entire process. During the Active Labor portion of the entire show, the woman tends to get tired and needs pushing, or at least I thought that she did. I also thought the best way I could support her was to treat her like I would a Marine who worked for me and was showing the initial signs of fatigue. Marines have a horrible tendency to pontificate that everything can be overcome purely by being mentally tough and exhibiting stick-to-itiveness. Compounding this issue, Marines don’t coax one another, we belittle one another—it is our way.

So, as Whitney pushed and pushed and grew tired, I thought I should step in and motivate her. Raising my right hand exactly two feet in front of my body, while simultaneously forming a “knife hand,” and subsequently thrusting it on every other syllable towards Whitney’s tired face, I said the following: “Whitney, you need to rise above this pain and start pushing for real.” The problems with that statement exist on at least two levels.

The Most Obvious Level: Using the collection of words, “start pushing for real” to motivate somebody relies on the hope that the person you are motivating doesn’t read into the statement and search for what it actually means. To start pushing for real negates every facet of pushing that occurred until that point in time. I could have worded my motivational phrase as follows and received the same look from Whitney, “Whitney, here’s what I am seeing. I am seeing a lot of work and no progress….I need you to start pretending this means something and get your head in the game.” I do not know what I was thinking, but again, you don’t need to worry your little head, because the Whitney that we all know and love doesn’t take shit from anyone particularly when she is in labor.

The entire labor stopped.

Doctors, nurses, janitors, and other patients faded into the surround like ethereal spirits. The air grew so cold that I could see my breath misting as it rose towards the ceiling. Whitney’s head spun 360 degrees and stopped as she centered her wicked gaze upon my trembling soul. Reaching forward and parrying my knife hand to the side like a child’s toy, she spoke. She spoke in three different languages all at once, and to this moment, I do not know what she said, but I do know that what she summoned in that moment is following me. Its every shadow creeping and crawling across my floor, and it is a constant reminder that I need to shut my mouth when I am talking to Whitney.

The temperature returned to normal, doctors and nurses went about their business of delivering a baby, and the world was normal. Whitney smiled and continued. I decided that would be the last time I would use the, “Whitney Needs My Words of Motivation” technique, and all was as it should be.

Whitney pushed for an eternity. Before we entered into the process of labor, we understood that there was a distinct possibility that Whitney would not be able to deliver this child naturally. Without getting into the science of it all, Whitney has the perfect body for bearing a child, minus the minute detail of a pelvic bone structure to let the baby out. The perfect incubator with a bum trap door, but we wanted to try as hard as possible before making the final decision.

Enter the Surgeon.

I would not be exaggerating if I said to you now that George Patton reincarnated would be the doctor who delivered our baby. I could not pick a more emotionless surgeon to conduct the cesarean section. He walked through the doorway and stood there just long enough to appear only silhouetted in its frame. Making his way into the light, George Patton matter-of-factly marched towards Whitney. To shed even more light on the man, this surgeon is honored every year as the oldest practicing doctor in the Army….AWESOME.

He was, by nature of his title, allowed to scour my wife’s nether regions and as such smacked on a rubber glove and began the magic show. While doing so, he made random statements like, uh-huh, yep, okay, there it is, hmmmmmhh, and other sounds of discovery. At the conclusion of the show, he retracted from his scouring and looked at Whitney. This was the doctor’s entire pre-op and informative session with Whitney prior to surgery and it consisted of three sentences:

We can do this for four more hours and you won’t get any farther along, let’s cut this baby out of there, any questions? Good. Let’s do this.

I half expected George Patton to slap Whitney in the face and walk off, but he refrained and we geared ourselves up for the upcoming surgery.

I do not want to make light of the surgery, because it is a major event and it was an exceptionally surreal process. They dressed me up in a big bunny suit and let me record the event as long as I didn’t look past the curtain. As one would expect, Whitney rose to the occasion and was pretty amazing. Britney Spears scrubbed in for the surgery and aided General Patton as he began cutting.

I have never been more nervous in my life as I watched Whitney laying there. She was talking to the doctor about what was being cut and when and she did so with just a tinge of drug induced hilarity, but damn, I was impressed by my little warrior wife during the process.

The doctors made a big deal about the moment before they cut through the uterus, and I thought it was an appropriate amount of drama.
I heard General Patton say, “I’ve reached the uterus.”
Britney Spears says, “Whitney, you ready to meet your baby?”
General Patton continues, “Cutting Uterus.”
Silence………and then boom a baby cries. Britney Spears, breaking protocol, grabs the baby and lifts her over the curtain showing Whitney our daughter. I’m crying, Whitney’s crying, children everywhere are crying, midgets show up again and start crying, General Patton does not cry; instead he made angry eyes at Britney for her breach of regulations.

My beautiful wife Whitney was ecstatic about meeting this baby, and I knew that she was overwhelmed with emotion, tired, and ready for this process to be done. As she calmed down and in true to herself, my wife opened her mouth and said her first words regarding her daughter. She asked, “Is it normal for the baby to sound like Yoda when she cries?”

That was her first question, and I think I have it recorded. I cannot wait until this girl is old enough to understand me, so I can tell on Whitney.

I am not emotionally driven. I do not like when emotions are overly advertised and things like this. It’s my father’s fault, but it is a flaw I think helps me as much as it hurts. But in that moment, when my daughter cried and I saw her make her old man face and look so incredibly unhappy to be joining us in this cruel world, I was a broken man. This girl, this little baby girl punched me right in the heart, and in “Whoville, they say-that Heath Phillips’ small heart grew three sizes that day.”

As I was relishing the moment, things started to change in the operating room. Whitney could feel more pain than she was supposed to, and as a result everything went into some weird bizarro world.

This is an exact transcription of the conversation that occurred next.

Whitney: Shouting “I THINK I AM DYING!!!!”

General Patton: Emotionless “Somebody give this woman something.”

Britney Spears: Excitedly “No you are not dying, Whitney, I am holding your uterus in my hand.”

Whitney: Curiously inquisitive, but emotionally charged and shouting “YOU ARE HOLDING MY UTERUS?”

Britney Spears: Honestly and excitedly, “Yes, and look, you are still alive!”

General Patton: Emotionless, but sternly spoken, “Someone give this woman some drugs.”

Whitney: Very inquisitively shouting, “ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE IT BACK?”

Britney Spears: Excitedly, “Yes, I have my own.”

Whitney: Passes out in a drug induced sleep.

Seated in a wooden chair in the corner of the recovery room, I was holding my beautiful daughter. Outside in the hallway, it sounded as if a parade was approaching and we were about to see the front end pass by our door. The first event in the parade was Dr Britney Spears, who I love for being there, behind her was a train of nurses; doctors; random men and women; midgets and orphans; and last but not least, in the most dramatic float of them all, rode Whitney Phillips spouting out drug induced nonsensical phrases. Britney Spears approached me and my mother-in-law. She leaned in and said, “I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but in the post-operating processes, the following words were heard coming out of Whitney’s mouth: Dildos, Mike and Ike Candies, Hot Tamales, and dear God, Don’t Let the baby look like my husband.”…………..

On October 10, 2012, Shakespeare Ian Phillips entered the world. In doing so, she has given me more material to blog about, I’m sure. I cannot wait to shoot her first boyfriend. There have been many people who have questioned the name we have given her. My favorite is when they tell me it is too long, and I point out that it is only two syllables. Another common concern is that Shakespeare is a boy’s name. For instance, the doctor we have been seeing asked me in a very concerned voice, “You do know that William Shakespeare was a male author, right?” I acted completely surprised and embarrassed of our mistake…

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years…


This blog is the first of a two-part blog. I would have posted the blog in its entirety, but I wanted to get you to come back and read more tomorrow to boost my ego. Also, I know that the people who read my blogs don’t have four hours to read all at once. But, rest assured; I will tell the entire story of my daughter’s entrance into the world.

Opening a Red Hook India Pale Ale, I was sitting down to watch the nightly news and enjoy the evening. I have routines, and I do not like them to be interrupted; I get anxiety when I am not doing exactly what I did yesterday at the exact same time today. At my most comfortable moment, it happened—everything that I wanted to be doing became the least important thing going down in the city. We were going to the hospital, and we were going to have a freaking baby! But let me not get ahead of myself here. Let me give you the introduction you deserve.

Having a baby is the exact same thing as a 13 hour road trip to Vegas except your chance of winning any money is less likely. I would argue that you are on the losing end of the money train by introducing children into any venture, but that will most likely be the subject of future blogs. When you first hit the road to the city of lights, you and your gang are ecstatic about the impending journey. You scream out the window into the night air, “Vegas!!!!!” Everything in your life has come to a focal point and that is the trip to Sin City you are embarking upon–things could not be more perfect.

Flash forward six and one half hours and take a glimpse into the car now. The gang of committed friends that were hell bent on ensuring you didn’t drive your car off of the road, or worse accidentally take a wrong turn and end up in Show Low Arizona, in the middle of a snow storm, are all passed out in the back seat. The enthusiastic scream into the night just a few hours earlier is more of an apprehensive question, “Vegas?” And your question is overpowered by snores and fogged up windows from the sleeping duo in the back seat.

As you arrive in Vegas, the Dynamic Duo of friends that accompanied you seems revitalized and ready for the ensuing three day bender. As I said, this is exactly how labor and delivery unfold except the three day bender following the delivery of a child, while just as sleepless and physically exhausting, involves less alcohol (barring the swabs for the belly button), just as much coffee, and as far as I can tell, there is no legal prostitution going on post partum, but we still have a few days left, so this could still go either way (If I ever write a blog entitled, You Won’t Believe It, There Was Legal Prostitution, you will know to come back here and read.)

So, that is the way it started—like a road trip to Vegas, but in this instance, you never know how far Vegas is away. When the journey towards meeting my daughter started I was as excited as I have ever been, but my excitement would clash head on with the demands of sleeplessness, watching a woman deal in pain that I cannot understand, and finally the homestretch towards fatherhood. Before, I go any farther into this, I want you to know that I am going to speak frankly about childbirth, its processes, what I had to witness, and most importantly, I want you to leave this blog with a much deeper appreciation for the woman as a species. Regardless of whether the mama receives an epidural or not, pregnancy and subsequently labor–both natural and through c-section are the most harrowing experiences a human can enter into, and I have a newfound appreciation for the experience.

Leaves hanging from the trees colored our drive a blur of oranges, yellows, browns, and fading greens as we made our way down the winding, country road leading from our front door to the interstate. We were on going to the hospital, and I was about to meet my daughter for the first time. I was nervous. I had done my homework, spent the hours reading about what is going to unfold before me, talked a big game about how I was going to be in the delivery room, and of course, I understood that the process we were beginning would end in a life changing addition to our home. Things were getting real, and if the moment itself didn’t sell this to you, then you need to know that Lieutenant Colonel Britney Spears was to deliver our baby. I was out of my mind not to use Britney lyrics in every piece of dialogue with this woman. I even accidently broke out into Womanizer once when she was in the room, but I guess she was ignoring me, or get this, during labor, I was not the center of attention! I know, it was a difficult role for me to bear, but it was my burden to hold.

At 6:00 pm, 1800 military time, Whitney was in a gown and progressing into labor. Contractions are a bitch, and the bitch was visiting the Whitness often. We knew we were going for the drugs, and it was time to make the decision. It is easy before the moment to say we will get the epidural, but the actual event of getting the epidural is a different beast in itself. Enter the drama. The anesthesiologist had to come brief Whitney on the what’s-it’s and how’s-it’s of the epidural process, and we were anxious to ask the doctor questions. The door swung open and I shit you not, in walked a woman who looked like Bill O’Reilly with a mullet. Bill O’Reilly looked like the last time she slept was during Nam and she had lived through a world of shit since her harsh days in the jungle. Helping complete the “This Is The Craziest Experience Ever” trifecta, she was dressed in a Kermit the Frog green set of scrubs and nestled on top of her head rested a shamrock chef’s hat perfectly accentuating the party end of her mullet—her entire ensemble screamed that what we were getting was a professional put you to sleeper.

Bill O’Reilly is, of course, required to convey to us the risks and such of the process of being “epiduraled,” but let me make sure you understand completely, there was nothing about Mullet Bill O’Reilly that compelled me to let her stab me through my spinal cord and deaden my body from the legs down, much less my wife. In the end of the fiasco, I had to go get Britney Spears to convince Whitney to let Bill O’Reilly plug medicine into her back. Very weird.

Enter my first task of the evening. I was to hold Whitney while Bill O’Reilly plugged her with meds. I remember watching a class we attended earlier in the pregnancy. I was a statue and I was unbelievable. Sure, Whitney had a needle in her back, but I had to hold her steady. Who wants that job? It was the scariest moment of my life, and I straight up rose to the occasion. I was better than the silver spray painted statue guys that work the streets in New Orleans. I was locked so stiff and for so long, that I was sweating. I would say things like, “you’re doing so well, Whitney,” but I would do it like the Tin Man asking for oil in The Wizard of Oz. Again, I was amazing, and as such Britney Spears gave me accolades.

As the epidural epiduraled Whitney’s legs and girlie areas, the contractions began coming more and more regularly. We were not pushing yet, and I say “we” because I want some credit in this whole deal. From my count, there were four people who at any given moment were allowed to scour my wife’s birthing canal, I was not one of them. They checked for all kinds of things, and I kept waiting for them to pull out a rabbit, or a long string of multi-colored handkerchiefs that never ended. The four would scour and then discuss, scour and then discuss, and then they would all busily read printouts and type things into computers. I had the distinct feeling that Whitney was glad she neither saw, nor felt the excitement taking place three feet south of her nose.

I wrote in an earlier blog about the types of fathers that exist in a delivery room. As the process unfolded, I never had a choice—I was going to be a part of this thing from the get go, and things were getting ready to go, but not before the doctor showed up and we paused. We paused so that we can discuss important information that needed addressing before we had this kid. For a 15 minutes, I worked feverishly to teach the doctor about the Pumpkin Spice Latte that Starbucks offers. I explained to the doctor that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is a warm glass of the season of Fall. You drink it in and you are magically wisped away to a pastoral environment like in the Viagra commercials (minus two bathtubs) where the trees are changing colors, and you can feel the harvesty goodness going on all around. I pleaded to the doctor that as soon as his shift is over, he needed to go to Starbucks and get the latte. He agreed that he was missing out and made me a promise to try it immediately, or as doctors speak, STAT. After he conceded, we decided we should get back to delivering the baby.

Two Pushes and a Gag

I never attended any breathing classes. I have seen television shows that are all based around the HEE-HEE-WHO method, but we never discussed the breathing to my knowledge. However, all of the classes that I did attend had pregnant ladies and their respective breasts in them and I may have been distracted, because pregnancy is sexy and boobs are, well, boobs. In the end, Whitney breathed like a marathon runner and I was in no place to say something like, “Whitney, you’re not breathing in the proper sounds…” I will tell you this: Whitney came up with a much more productive means to pushing this baby. Her method was simple and involved two incredible pushes followed by a severely destructive dry heave. Britney Spears and her gang of scouring thugs all commented that the dry heaves were actually very productive pushing mechanisms, and so it began that Whitney patented the Two Pushes and a Gag method to birthing. I plan to start conducting a travelling school that visits all major cities and metropolitan areas in 2013 to instruct this method to expecting mothers.

My second task of the evening was to hold her right leg while she pushed. There was no curtain, no stirrups, no separation from me and the vagina. I was right in the mix and it was amazing. I am not sure where the man would stand in the room should he not have wanted to witness this, because I could have caught the baby should she have made a move. I am a man, I wanted to help her, and the only thing I could do was just be there and not say stupid stuff. This was more difficult for me than one might think.

Here’s how it went:

The nurse would say a contraction was imminent and then I would act as a force for her to push against. The problem was that I underestimated my wife’s longing to get what is on the inside of her body out. My wife is strong. I was not ready for the forcefulness with which she pushed and found myself ineffective during her first push and pretty much ruined it. “I am better than this,” I thought to myself. I am a man. I fixed a mailbox with my bare hands and a hammer only two weeks ago. I can punch a hole into dry wall (as long as there is no stud directly behind it). I am a freaking man, and I just nearly got thrown through a wall by my wife during her first official push. I messed up, and Whitney in the midst of the warzone that is labor was still a very efficient identifier of my weakness during the push. She stopped and looked at me and said, “I hope our daughter is stronger than you….” I just wanted to curl into a ball and drink a pumpkin spiced latte…alas; I would have a chance to redeem myself.

Whitney pushed for two and a half hours and she looked like she could’ve done it for five more. I was extremely proud of her, and I was also overjoyed and thankful that I was without a uterus and vagina, because I would have made it to the first dry heave and been cashed.

As I said, I will continue this in the next blog, but as a teaser, I offer you this excerpt:

Seated in a wooden chair in the corner of the recovery room, I was holding my beautiful daughter. Outside in the hallway, it sounded as if a parade was approaching and we were about to see the front end pass by our door. The first event in the parade was Dr Britney Spears, who I love for being there, behind her was a train of nurses; doctors; random men and women; midgets and orphans; and last but not least, in the most dramatic float of them all, rode Whitney Phillips spouting out drug induced nonsensical phrases. Britney Spears approached me and my mother-in-law. She leaned in and said, “I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but in the post-operating processes, the following words were heard coming out of Whitney’s mouth: Dildos, Mike and Ike Candies, Hot Tamales, and dear God, Don’t Let the baby look like my husband.”…………..

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for a week and one day….


As the due date for my Daughter arrives, last night was marked with restless sleeping and odd dreams. Subconsciously, the idea of the due date must have been more profound to me than I initially thought. When the doctor first relayed to me the dates, forever ago, I was certain that the method he came to the date was through voodoo, or a dart board with random dates at which to aim. But, here we are, at the due date of my daughter, and it’s early, I’m awake, and my wife sleeps two rooms away from me. Why the sudden dreamfest? I wish I could tell you my dreams were deep and had these prophetic events that just needed an interpreter to explain, but they were kind of cheesy. The significant thing about them was their seemingly long length and quality of repetition.

Into the Sleeping Mind of Heath Phillips

However, the great news for the reader of this blog is that I will take my seemingly cheesy and superficial dreams and go to great lengths to make myself seem a viable mind in interpretation. The reader will leave certain that they only marginally wasted their time. Or, this will be the last blog you read of mine and decide I am preaching to you. Either way, I want to discuss with you my dream, and what it ended up teaching me.

The Bagels Are Not For Eating

In my first dream, my wife had placed a buffet table up in our bedroom whose contents included only bagels. The conflict in the dream was simple: I was to keep the dogs from eating the bagels while my wife got her rest. My wife didn’t explicitly say, “protect these bagels, or you will die,” but the implication was there. You see, even in my dreams I understand my wife’s intent…that is all from training. Returning to the dream. It was stressful because all three dogs were being exceptionally irritating with their insistence that the bagels be their own. As dream time went by, I was pretty successful at parrying the dogs away from the table, but what I noticed was the dogs maintained the same relentless fervor for the bagels.

I woke up once during this dream, but the second I returned to sleep, the bagels were waiting for me to protect them. With the bagels came the dogs.

On the eve of the due date, I dream of protecting bagels. Its embarrassing…..protecting bagels?….However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was brilliant. The dream is as deep as any book that high school English classes force students to read and bagels are delicious.

Breaking it Down

The Bagels.

My unborn daughter manifests herself as the bagels. Now, why my wife decided to put my daughter in bagel form on a buffet table and sleep is probably another blog in itself, but trust you-me, Whitney and I will be discussing her treatment of the bagels later.

The Dogs.

The dogs are life and life’s funny way of relentlessly attacking you with random problems.

I believe that I am coming into my own as a father-to-be. I am developing the instinct to protect her from the dog that is life. Before bed last night, I had a long conversation with my wife and her mother about raising kids in today’s world. The topic stemmed from the news earlier in the week about a teenager giving himself an alcohol enema. On a quest to find the quickest buzz, the teenager deemed the enema his best option. End result is a teenager who had a blood alcohol limit of .40.

I have been playing over the scenario in my head of what must have gone down in the moments leading up to the alcohol being introduced into the butt. I was as reckless a teenager as there ever was. I loved drinking beer (through my esophagus), and I partied like life was ending the day after tomorrow. For the life of me, however, I cannot figure out the chain of events that would have had to occur to get me to try expediting the drunken endeavors through the use of my rectum, but this is what is happening now.

Teenagers. I have written extensively about the phenomenon that is the teenagers. These individuals have lost sight of what matters. But they have me running scared. Last night, we discussed how you raise your kid to avoid making decisions like the one above. It is not as simple as saying teach them right from wrong and they will go forth and do good things. Think about your life. You were probably taught pretty well about what is right and what is wrong, what is a bad decision making process and what process is better, but you still found yourself up to no good. What decisions come down to as a teenager is really a simple compromise between the values and mores derived from their raising, and the gravity of the decisions the teenager is facing at any given time. More simply stated: We are going to experiment, this is unavoidable, but our raising will, to some extent, dictate how far we are were willing to go with our behavior.

Can you imagine being the parent of the kid who is laying on a bed, near death, in the hospital from an alcohol enema? You have to go back and ask yourself, “What did I do or not do to protect the bagels?” My contention is that those statements are too interwoven to break down as opposing actions. When you choose as a parent to be your child’s friend, often times, you choose not to be an example. With every parenting decision you make, you are choosing to let certain things into your child’s life and keep certain things out. By avoiding harsh realities that good parenting is accomplished through leadership and mentoring, we have decided to leave decision making to adolescents. These adolescents have yet to develop the faculties necessary to function well in complex environments like adulthood where poor decisions they make today are tomorrow’s reality.

When you are a teenager, the idea that tomorrow means something is still very much in its fledgling state. One can argue that today’s teenagers have to be more aware of tomorrow and that this is evident in the school environment where students make decisions about colleges and intellectual tracts at 14 years old. I contend that a child knowing that adulthood is the next logical step does not mean that they understand how every action they undertake affects how adulthood will play out. In other words, understanding that one needs to prepare for the future doesn’t equal an understanding of how to prepare for the future.

It is Leadership 101 and it is what will kill you as a leader as quick as any poor decision you make. The people you lead, in this case, your children, do not need your friendship, they may think they want that, but they do not need that. They need leadership. They need to see a living example, and it needs to be consistent. What you see today is a battlefield. Parents are in a struggle to become authority figures that matter; examples that lead; and a moral compass that directs the behavior of their children against a dark enemy force—The inherent longing to be liked by their kids. In the process, parents essentially throw their bagels to the dogs of life and their ravenous appetites. We have to find a way to stray from our longing to be liked and develop a longing to be respected.

The Crux of My Dream

How long can I keep the dogs away from the bagels? The sad part about the bagels analogy is that eventually the dogs will get a chance to eat the bagels, because I can’t protect them forever, nor should I. It is life, and it is the scary part. Even scarier: if adolescents are facing alcohol enemas now, what decisions will it be in fifteen years.

This is where the dream gets difficult to apply, because life doesn’t have to eat us. It doesn’t have to be a series of traps that are lurking around every corner.

In the end, there at no guarantees that your kid doesn’t choose to self destruct. All you can do is engrain in them the faculties to make quality decisions so that when they face the moment of compromise I alluded to earlier, they do it better than the horror stories we read about today.

Or…….maybe, I was just hungry.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


I saw the teenagers out tonight, and I noticed one thing.  Besides the fact that none of them wore respectable clothing and most decided skinny jeans were a great idea, all teenagers now are kind of weird and unruly.  I don’t think I was ever this bad as a teenager, myself.  I don’t want to get you all hyped up first thing on a Sunday morning, but these teens were… maybe, you should sit down before you read this…these teens were, well, they were being loud in the mall.  I had to usher my pregnant wife away from the craziness of these teens and their reckless bantering back and forth.   I made eye contact with everyone of them, and my eyes said in a stern and unwavering manner, “STOP BEING LOUD IN THE MALL!”  It would have worked except these teens were looking through their bangs at me.  They were Bieber-Blinded and therefore did not get the full on effect of my enraged stare. 

There was this specific band of teenagers that kept converging on my wife and my journey through the mall.  Once, the teens had hijacked a shopping cart from some poor store owner and decided it would be a good idea to put the fattest member of their group in the cart and push him or her around (could have been a girl, but the boys dress like girls, and I don’t want to offend this teen and make him or her want to shoot up a school or something).  They all laughed and carried on like they were the first to think of this—like, as if teenagers of yesteryear were so inept that we were never put together enough to grab a shopping cart and push a fat kid around. 

I love being hypocritical in my views of teenagers.  I think as 30 plus year olds, we earned our hypocrisy.  Furthermore, I think that teenagers today are so awkward and goofy that their trouble is just annoying.  I know that I am different.  I know that I am a man now, because I look at teens in groups of three or more, and I cast judgment upon them, and they are all GUILTY.  My looks are no longer based in a nostalgic longing to feel young and unbound by the chains and shackles of life that we attach ourselves to in our adult years.  Maybe, I look at these teenagers being loud in the mall and think, “this is the best idea you could come up with, huh?” 

I also worry about how my daughter is going to want to dress.  I have to believe that every father and mother of the girls I saw in the mall yesterday started out with a hard-line stance against phrases written across the asses of their daughters.  In the very least, and maybe more importantly,  these parents were dead set on the idea that the asses of their daughters were going to be covered completely…

The teenagers all walk around the mall like they own the place.  They looked at the pregnant lady to my right as if she was too slow and needed to get out of the way.  And, while I agree that the pregnant lady to my right is very slow, she has a right to waddle down the same path these kids do.  Who is more likely to spend money?  Probably me, and I proved it.  The teenagers all have conversations.  I hate when teenagers have conversations, because their conversations are superficial, I can just tell.  I wanted to walk into the crowd of loud teenagers conversating* superficially and get all of their parents’ names and numbers and call them.  I would say, over the phone, in a very rhythmic and well enunciated tirade, “Do you have any idea what your kids are doing right now?  Well, I will tell you.  Your kids are being loud in the mall.  If that isn’t bad enough, they are doing it dressed like court jesters and whores.”  That would show them.

Teens in groups are all slowly marching to trouble or some lawless behavior.  Townships and cities need to make rules addressing this and they need to act quickly.  Even if your teen is a calm and collected responsible nerd, when he or she is in a group of three or more like-minded fools, trouble is a second away.  Sometimes nerd trouble is worse than pushing a fat kid in a shopping cart.  Just saying.

The teenagers are a powerful force because they have no fear.  Fear is important in a society.  I know they have no fear, because they wear stupid clothes.  Fear starts in the home.  I recommend instilling fear into your children today.  We need to rise against this barbaric movement of teenagers and their loudness.  We need to take the power back.  We need to stop fooling ourselves that our kids are trustworthy and are all on the sacred and pure walk to heaven.  They are not.  They are at the mall right now and they are loud and obnoxious. 

Step it up parents.  Get up, Stand up!  It starts by taking away their skinny jeans and making these kids dress like real people, like we did in the nineties.  Make them wear corduroys, and make them put on a pair of Doc Martins and dress like decent people preparing to be men and women.  If they want a different hair style make them shave the sides of their heads and let the top grow long, that was okay, because it was cool.  Remind them that the music they listen to is nothing when compared to bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Sound Garden, Alice in Chains, and bands that actually had lead singers that used their man voices.   Do your best and may God have mercy on your souls…

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.

 

*Conversating should be a word.  Conversing is cool, but conversating is more cool.


I have spent the last few blogs documenting some of my father’s abilities. I am not going to come back to you now and tell you that those things were not necessarily the truth about the big guy, because they are absolutes. Actually, if he were to come here and tell you, he would admit that the things I am writing about him are points of pride for him. Not only this, but I also think he is surprised I came out of my childhood able to put together groupings of words that form readable sentences. Somewhere in Albuquerque, NM, the man is sitting at the table remembering the days when I was right there to torture, and on his face is that little smirking smile of nostalgic satisfaction.

He is everything I have described from the earliest blog where I talk about his driving issues, to the last blog where I, to your horror, at least the 15 of you who read it, exposed the “television to my cranium” incident of 1984ish where my dad let it slip that on the level of importance list, his son falls somewhere below a 1970s television. Of note, the television still sits on Lane Andrew Phillips’ shelf at home as a constant reminder of an unfinished job.

Born in 1950, and the son of a Sailor, my dad is as old school as they come. Some things he does deviate from a complete stereotype, but they speak more to his reckless disregard for society’s expectations. For instance, the man cannot stop wearing socks with sandals. I think worse still, the man wears ugly sandals that no one wears. Even the company that makes the sandals hates them; they feel guilty about selling them. If you bring up to him his cheesiness, he will remind you that the problem is not him, the problem is people caring about what other people think about them. The problem is that people get so caught up in nonsense that sandals have somehow become an issue that says more about a person than the fact that the person has a 9 to 5 job and can pay all of his bills. Lane Phillips would look you in the eye and tell you that you are petty and weak. He would tell you that the second you can shed your desire to be accepted by the cool people, you’ll be free. On Father’s Day, I offer up to you ten facts about my dad.

1. Not a huge hugger. On the rare occasion we do hug, I have seen him sneak away to wash the hug off of him.

2. He has used his pinky finger and spit to clean my face off before a family picture. During this occasion, I got the distinct feeling he cleaned my face off quickly, but was actually trying to rub the skin off of my face.

3. He lives by a code, and one of the points of his code is never to trust a child. I have seen him break this rule once and it cost him dearly. He asked his son, me, to put a truck into neutral so he could use his motorcycle to pull the truck up a driveway. He said to his son, “Do you know what neutral is? Son, this is a very important question, because the truck will not move if it is in gear, and then I risk the possibility of causing damage to the motorcycle. . You do! Great, when I tell you to, put the truck in neutral and let me know when it is ready.” 500 dollars later and a new clutch for his motorcycle, and the cat was out of the bag; I had no clue what neutral was. I just got in the truck and jiggled some stuff, but definitely did not put it into neutral. Ooops, my bad.

4. He has weak thumbs and cannot hear out of one of his ears. That being said, he could still kick my ass in a fight.

5. Very involved in his son’s high school extracurricular activities. On one occasion, Lane Phillips came home from work and asked his son how track practice was. When his son brought up the fact that he did not participate in, nor would he ever run track, Lane Phillips mumbled something like, “that’s because you are weak and walked out of the kitchen.” It was the thought that counts.

6. My father actively hates, has hated, or will soon hate everyone he comes into contact with.

7. Unforgivable sins to my father in order from most unforgiveable down:

a. Wearing a baseball cap backwards. If his son were to come home after breaking curfew, escorted by the police and in cuffs, and had his hat on backwards, he would be yelled at for the hat being on backwards. In his mind, catchers are the only human beings allowed to wear their hat backwards, and oddly enough, if you played catcher, you could wear your hat backwards when dressed in everyday clothing. I think he does this so that if he is ever throwing together a pick-up game of baseball, he doesn’t have to ask a lot of questions. He can just grab the first guy who wanders by with a backwards cap on. It is much simpler this way.

b. Communism

c. Crying over physical pain.

d. Disagreeing with him regardless of topic, issue, or actual correctness

8. Lane Phillips will only stop on road trips at Denny’s. If he is ever forced to eat outside of his comfort zone, he will order fried shrimp. If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “stick with fried shrimp, you can’t go wrong there.”

9. Lane Phillips does not like to be in places where there is even a small probability that he will have to be around other people. People annoy my dad. People are the worst invention ever.

10. Lane Phillips believes that all kids are inherently evil and should be treated as such. All kids want to ruin your life; they are plotting to right now. . If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “Kids are great to have around as long as you remember they are trying to destroy you inside and out. Economically, spiritually, physically.”

All of these facts aren’t saying that he isn’t a great father, because the dude is amazeballs. I love him, but it makes me feel icky to tell him, but that’s his fault, right? So instead of calling him and saying something mushy, that would make him continue to question his decision not to finish the job the television started, I wrote these facts. I wrote these facts because I love him…and I’ve said it before, I am definitely my father’s son.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years.


This is now actually part two of three.  If you haven’t read part one click here it will give you some context, plus it will give me more readership on that blog, which in turn, will make me feel better about myself. 

4.       I have been threatened and subsequently nearly killed over one US dollar.  I wanted to keep this on the subject of my father because I can do whatever I want to.  If I wanted to reference Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I can.  Like, for example, do you remember the song, “I got the golden ticket, I got the golden ticket….” 

      Okay, so my father… I think your initial reaction should be to feel sorry for me for my life spent with such a scary tyrant of a dad.  However, I bet that by the time you’re done reading this, you will wish that you could get in line to help him beat my ass. 

      Long story short.  I had pretty much recovered from the candy bar fiasco and was back to some semblance of normalcy.  It was summertime and around our house, we had this really cool Tupperware container for holding Kool-Aid.  As a matter of fact, I first developed my fondness for Tupperware because of my childhood Tupperware collection, which included this container.  This container was used so much by us that it actually had permanent stained Kool-Aid marks on the sides.  It featured a sliding top that let you pour Kool-Aid through a strainer like opening or a full wide mouth opening.  The top fit snugly down inside the bigger, bottom piece.  As a fourth grader, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…) 

      So in this situation, I thought that the container top fit so snugly inside of the bottom that it could actually withstand the weight of the Kool-Aid and would remain closed if I tipped it upside down.  Unfortunately, what I hypothesized (that the container lid would stay nestled into the bigger bottom portion even when forced to hold the added liquid’s weight) was incorrect.  However, learning did occur.  This science experiment taught me about potential energy and kinetic energy, one of Newton’s Laws, and about how sugar reacts to linoleum flooring.  To be clear here: The Tupperware container’s lid did not support the weight of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid.  The experiment further illuminated that Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid spreads across a kitchen like oil does on water.  To be clear here:  One gallon of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid has the ability to cover at 12 square feet of kitchen surface area.  In full on panic mode (see yesterday’s blog on my father as Satan), I grabbed the roll of paper towels and just started unrolling them onto the mess on the floor, counters, crevices of the stove top, under the fridge, everywhere.  I must have used two rolls just to soak up the Kool-Aid.  I felt like I had averted near disaster, and best of all my dad hadn’t happened upon me during the science experiment.  I was going to walk away from this unscathed.  I threw the soaked towels away, and walked away with satisfaction over my new found knowledge of science. 

      Hours later I heard yelling, and like a dog that had forgotten all about their earlier transgressions that walked right up to his owner when he discovered urine on the carpet, I wandered right to the point of the yelling hoping to see my sisters getting skinned alive.  Instead, what I saw next looked like the scene of a crime.  Red paper towels everywhere; did my dad actually just skin my sisters alive?  Not only that, but everywhere he walked his shoes were making this weird sticking sound like he was walking on glue.  I quickly saw that what was going on in the kitchen was somehow coming back on me.  I tried to slink into the background, but he saw it my eyes……fear. 

      I remember being held against a wall; I remember my dad’s voice; I remember that his index finger bounced off of my nose on every syllable as he repeated the following phrase over and over and over, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS COSTS, THEY COST A DOLLAR!!!!!”   I woke up seven days later with no recollection of the events that ensued after being pressed against the wall.

5.       I was nearly killed by a falling 32 inch television set.  This was in the 80s, so you know that the set weighed at least 70 Lbs.  To be clear here:  The set was probably built in the 70s, so you know that the TV weighed at least 100 Lbs.  More specifically, the TV didn’t even have a remote, so kids were often used as little remote controls.  But, in our house, my dad, who I have mentioned before as being wary of children, would not allow kids to touch anything.  Kids carried “magic sticky” and everything kids touched was contaminated and broken. 

      My dad cherished the television.  It was his baby.  We kids were there because my mom loved us and convinced my dad that we were worth keeping around; I am sure that she pointed out our potential for slave labor when we were older and stronger.   Out of protection for the TV, my dad placed it high atop a set of shelves to keep kids from ruining everything he worked so hard to get.  The problem with shelves, though, is that they form a ladder.  Being left alone to watch TV, I decided that I wanted to watch The Dukes of Hazard and see what trouble Bo and Luke were up to in Hazard County. 

      I began the climb to the top of the shelf.  The shelving, I shit you not, was like 15 feet high, and I expertly negotiated every shelf.  As I reached up for the TV, I made a couple of bad decisions.  As a child, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…)  I failed to understand gravity’s effect on human beings and televisions.  And I think more importantly than this, I failed to understand the distribution of weight across an object that extends vertically from the ground, more specifically, that the vertical object cannot have its heaviest point be off center and higher than midpoint, or else, said vertical object will tip over in the direction the heaviest point is pulling it.  (See Figure 1.1) 

  Figure 1.1, this photo is my personal property.  I spent hours drawing it 

      Needless to say, I reach for the TV and this movement sets in motion a horrible sequence of events that tells you my entire childhood in a nutshell.  Everything starts to fall.  I cling to the TV and pull it with me.  Halfway down I am now holding the TV pressed firmly against my head, at this point all of the lessons I needed to learn were learned, but unfortunately, there was no stopping this from happening.  I was falling, and this 80s TV was going to smash my skull in, and I looked death in the eye, and I screamed like a bitch.  When I landed, my head cushioned the blow for the TV, but I swear this is what I heard in the surround: 

Mom:  Oh my god, my son, he’s dead…..he’s dead, I know it.

Dad:  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN HERE, OH MY GOD, MY TV, WHAT DID HE DO TO MY TV… 

Stay tuned to part three where I will do what I originally said I would do during this blog. I will finish my last two personal tidbits of information and recommend some terrific reading.    


An Award for Versatility in Blogging…. Part One 

If it weren’t for Lisa’s Rant, I would never win any awards, but I am cool with that because she is a cool chick.  Cool chicks can give me awards anytime.  Because she continues to pull me along on her voyage to the top of the blog world, I will continue to write, and I am glad to be considered worth reading by Lisa.  So, what are the requirements for this award you ask?  Well I am going to tell you seven things that you may not know about me and then recommend a bunch of blogs worth reading, but all of this will happen in two parts.  These are three of the seven things will change your life, or in the least, they will give you a new found appreciation for me, or not.

1.  I got caught stealing a Caramello from a local grocery store in Idaho Falls, Id.  This is kind of boring, right?  Well let me add some context.  I was in 4th grade and the next day of class was  going to be reading all day and lounging around.  We were allowed to bring snacks, and if there is one thing I love, it is snacks.  My mother dropped a friend and myself off at the entrance to the store and then she was going to circle until we were done buying a soda and a pack of chips.  Well let me tell you something, a soda and a pack of chips does not suffice for a day of reading and lounging.  I wanted a damn Caramello, and I was willing to pillage a store for it.  Plus, it was the 80s, how good could security be at a grocery store in Idaho Falls in the 1980s?  PLUS CARAMELLO’s ARE WORTH IT, so stop judging me! 

So, I put the candy bar in my pocket and exited the store.  At this moment a mustached worker of the joint ambushed me with questions about having something that doesn’t belong to me.  I did what any self respecting boy would do, and just broke down crying.  Crying like a bitch.  As planned, my mom pulled back up and rolled her window down intrigued by this man accosting her innocent child.  While the mustached man explained, I continued crying.  My friend’s reaction was one of pure stoicism.  But, he was a career criminal after that instance, so he doesn’t count against me as a man.  I thought for sure that my mother would rescue me and take me home; sure, I would be punished, but get me home where I can run off into the safety of my room.  Instead, the following words fell out her emotionless mouth.  “Take him to jail with the rest of the thieves.”  I did what any crying boy would do.  I looked at my mother, this Judas, and thought, “this woman is serious as shit right now.”  She was so serious that the mustached man had to talk her into taking me home so that he didn’t have to do additional work. 

People, this is the last time I stole anything—mostly out of fear that my mother would seek further retribution on my ginger ass.  I am still not allowed in the Buttrey’s located just off 1st Street and South Fanning Blvd in Idaho Falls, Id.  Right now, somewhere in the Idaho, a mustached man walks the aisles of a grocery store keeping the place a bit safer.  Kudos to you mustached security guard.

2.  I have been threatened by a man with a hot iron before.  Sounds kind of boring right?  Well let me add some context.  Long story short, but I had just been caught stealing a candy bar from a local grocery store in Idaho Falls, Id.  After my Judas of a mother (who I love more for it) was finally talked into taking me home vice a stay in the local juvenile hall, I was presented in front of the scariest judge and jury known to all of mankind, Lane Andrew Phillips, my father and my worst nightmare.  You see, I grew up in a family where, “Wait till your father get’s home” were the six words that could cause an immediate ulcer.   When I hurt my sisters, I would beg to the point of payment that my sisters not tell my dad.  More over, it was rumored around our house that our father had skinned children to death just by cussing at them until their skin just fell off. 

There is no real way to describe my dad except that he is comparable to the leader of hell.  Standing there before me, he may as well have been Satan; the only difference is that Satan is timid and weak in comparison to Lane Andrew Phillips.  My mom kind of just forced me in front of him and then she quickly vanished into the catacombs of the house.  I looked back once and saw her peering over a dark rock amidst my siblings, who had claimed front row seats for my slaying.  I just sniffled and murmured.  I am certain I blew a snot bubble out of my nose and drew asthmatic breaths while viscous liquids hung from my face in long strings.  My father was facing away from me ironing his uniform, but since he feeds off of little children’s fear, and I was scared shitless, he sensed I was broken and turned slowly in the most diabolically foreboding 180 degree turn.  The iron blew smoke out of the holes on the bottom and hissed at me.  Flames shot out of my dad’s fingers.  I had resigned to the fact that after this moment, my face was going to have the tell-tale iron burn starting from just above my right eye down to my lower left jaw area.   I closed my eyes, I went internal.  I watched my dad’s mouth move and heard nothing.  The iron was flailing to and fro.  All I heard was my own heart beating, thump, thump….thump, thump.  I woke up seven days later, no burn, no nothing.   None of my family members have told me what happened during the seven days following The Hot Iron Incident of 1986. 

3.  I have gone to a restaurant with my parents and been forced to eat bread and water while sitting in the corner.  Sounds kind of boring right?  Well let me add some context.  Long story short, but I had just recovered from a near-death situation where I was threatened with a hot iron.   I was in the initial stages of serving a life sentence of restriction at home.  I was permanently grounded.  Here’s how it worked.  I was actually allowed outside, but only to the end of the driveway.  This is my dad at his best.  I could go to the end of the driveway, but no one could play with me in the driveway and I couldn’t play with those out of the driveway.  In essence, it was my dad’s way of making me wish for freedom even more.  It was also my little version of a Scarlet Letter.  Kids would whisper about the poor kid, who they heard pissed himself when threatened with an iron, that couldn’t leave his driveway.  To this day when I visit, I am stuck in my parent’s driveway. 

Anyway, my parents didn’t trust me at home anymore and they had a dinner date with another couple.  I got to go with them.  We loved eating out when we were kids because it happened very infrequently.  I thought I won the lottery, and shit, if stealing got me restaurant dinners, I was ready to go for broke.  We got to the eating establishment and my parents met their friends.  They were laughing and everyone was very joyful.  The foursome and I made our way to the hostess for seating.  When we got there here is the exchange that happened.   

Hostess:  Good evening!  Is it just five of you tonight? 

Lane Andrew Phillips:  No, it is four of us.  The fifth one here is my son, of whom I am ashamed.  He is a thief and cannot be trusted.  He cannot be at home with his sisters alone, because he is half a man.  He will sit at his own table where I can watch him.  He will eat bread and water.  Please do not leave anything you want to see remain in your restaurant on the table where you seat him, because he will likely steal it.   

Hostess:  I have just the table. 

This really happened.  I do not lie, cheat, or steal anymore.  Trust me, I work for the government, I wouldn’t lie to you.   

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post where I will finish this up and recommend six or seven blogs to read that are far better than the one you just read.  If you read this and regret it so far, you have Lisa’s Rant to thank…