That’s How They Do

Sir Monkeypants recently got his hands on all five seasons of The Wire, a show few people in Canada have seen but one that is widely regarded as one of the greatest series of all time. He started watching it late at night after I was in bed, but then he got so sucked into it he wanted to watch it the very minute the kids were in bed.

As a result, I jumped in at about episode six of the first season, and OH MY GOD. I totally see what the fuss is about. The show is so amazing — absolutely mesmerizing and a true-feeling picture of a completely different world. The police on the show, with their electric typewriters and “secret” tape recorders the size of my arm, and the drug dealers, with their fabulous wardrobes and constant paranoia, and the drug addicts with their terrible hand-to-mouth existence in the projects, are all just so compelling. I loved it right away.

But I hate watching stuff out of order. Don’t even think of trying to get me to watch a sequel before the original. For the two hours of constant whining, bitching, and sulking you’re going to get, you may as well have driven to the video store and rented the original and made it a double bill. Ask Sir Monkeypants. Trust me, HE’LL TELL YOU.

So, since I had already missed several earlier episodes, and Sir Monkeypants was still watching it after I went to bed, he’s now hours and hours ahead of me in the series and getting farther ahead all the time. Each evening for the past week, he’s dashed to the TV after the kids are down.

I didn’t even get to watch Dance Show this week, people. THAT’S HOW HE DO.

Anyway, I find myself suddenly with a couple of hours of free time on my hands in the evenings now. Turns out, if you keep your butt off the couch at the end of the day, you can actually get something accomplished — who knew?

Last night I was working on labelling some of our old photos and getting ready for my book club meeting tonight and making lunches for the next day. Then, while tidying up the art supplies, I got distracted with this:

Pretty Pretty Ponies

Oh, that’s right. I coloured. Pretty Ponies. For a good half hour. There I was, picking out the perfect shade of pink or purple or yellow for a pony’s mane, while the TV showed drug dealers in jail and teenagers getting beat down and plenty of cops using the word, “motherfucker.”

Just another typical evening in the Turtlehead household!

What a Dad Wants

Last night I was surfing on my laptop on the couch, while Sir Monkeypants flicked around on the TV and tried to find something to watch. Since it was Saturday night, pickings were slim, and he ended up watching the second half of What a Girl Wants, a teen movie starring Amanda Bynes.

I know! I could end the story right there, and it would still be rich in entertainment. But there’s more.

We were passing the time by accurately predicting what would happen in every single scene, and by watching the minor characters and extras for faces that had also appeared in Four Weddings And A Funeral (the film is set in England). Then I had to take a break from the festivities to go see Little Miss Sunshine.

She’d had an unusually long and late nap, and was still kicking around in her crib over an hour past her usual bedtime. So I went and got her and brought her downstairs for some milk, to help her sleep.

As soon as she arrived, the Little Miss said, “HI DADDY WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING,” because I may have mentioned this before, she is loud.

(But, endearingly so. Side story: a couple of nights ago, the Captain was sick in the night with croup, and crawled into our bed around 5:30 a.m. and finally fell asleep. When Little Miss Sunshine showed up at 6:30 a.m., Sir Monkeypants whispered to her, “You have to be quiet, the Captain is sleeping,” and she said, “CAPTAIN? SLEEPING?” It was so cute we had to giggle as we quickly whisked her from the room.)

Anyway, the Little Miss snuggled right in beside her daddy in front of What A Girl Wants. They curled up in a blanket while I got the milk ready and very quickly, they were both engrossed. In case you’re concerned, What A Girl Wants is absolutely safe for your two-year-old. It’s nothing but a series of close-ups and mid-shots of people in pretty clothes talking in monotones (or, occasionally, English-accented monotones), with a couple of music-video style montages of people changing their clothes thrown in.

The movie is about a 17-year-old American girl who goes to England to track down her richie-rich Brit father, who didn’t know that she existed. Naturally there are many, many scenes of father-daughter hijinks. Each time Daddy and daughter had a bonding moment, Sir Monkeypants got a little bit swoonier. He’d pull Little Miss Sunshine closer and closer.

Meanwhile, the Little Miss was completely entranced. Dora can SUCK EGGS. We are now all about Amanda Byrnes and her pretty, pretty dresses.

While Little Miss Sunshine drank her milk and cuddled with her daddy, the movie reached its climax. Amanda is back in America, having turned away from the rich life in England and rejected her father and his “all about appearances” ways. Of course, the dad has had a change of heart, hopped a plane, and shown up at the wedding where Amanada is working as a waiter (and also, her mother is working as The Wedding Singer, uh-huh!). The dad tells Amanda that he was so wrong, that he wouldn’t change a hair on her head, and that he loves her. “I love you, Dad!” says Amanda, and Sir Monkeypants’ heart just about burst with joy as he gave Little Miss a squeeze.

Then the movie people totally usurp the actual bride’s dance with her father by crashing the dance floor for their own father-daughter dance. I pointed out that the dad was dancing with his little girl at a wedding.

And Sir Monkeypants and Little Miss Sunshine agreed that it was the BEST MOVIE EVER.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Top Gear

Some guy at Sir Monkeypants’ work (thanks, Ken) gave him a DVD full of episodes of some TV show called Top Gear.

It’s a British show where three middle-aged dudes take really fancy cars — BMWs, Astin Martins, Ferraris — and drive them at full speed on a closed course. Then they gush about how awesome it was to drive such a fine vehicle, all the while using cute British sayings and putting each other down like a pack of frat boys.

I seriously do not think I have ever found a TV show so incredibly boring.

I cannot fathom for the life of me why anyone would want to watch someone else drive around in a car, and then talk about it. A car that we are never, ever going to get to drive ourselves. Especially not on a closed course in top gear. I guess it’s kind of like car porn? Like, not at all like actually doing the deed, but titillating just to watch it? I guess? I don’t know, I still don’t get it. It’s not like I can watch Top Gear and get all wound up and then go out for a drive in my minivan just to get off.

Sir Monkeypants is totally over the moon for this show. The other night he stayed up after I did so he could finish the episode he was watching and then first thing in the morning, before I had even unstuck my second eyelid, he was right there giving me a scene-by-scene play-by-play. Over breakfast he started up the episode even though I told him I was too busy to watch it, then provided scene-by-scene commentary while I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. With lots and lots of giddiness! and joy! in his voice.

And I saw his passion, and his love of this show that I am completely, totally indifferent to, and I had an epiphany.

“Oh! This must be what it is like for you when I watch So You Think You Can Dance! Got it.”

Mommy Monkeypants

[Editor’s note: We apologize for the excessive use of the all-caps emphasis technique in yesterday’s post. We were feeling a little PMS-related stress. We have addressed the situation with lots of advil and half a container of Pringles. We’re better now.]

Little Miss Sunshine has been able to say “Mommy” quite clearly for over two months now. When we’re out somewhere and she calls out, “Mommy!” everyone within earshot (which is a lot of people — she is quite loud) gives me a sweet look that says how charming the baby is being, and how happy and warm and mushy inside I must feel. What they don’t realize is that her call of “Mommy” does not mean, “Oh great lady who gave me life, who cares for my every need, how I love you!” but rather, “I have spied something I reeeeeeally want, and I will screech this word over and over again until someone gives it to me.”

So needless to say, we hear the word “Mommy” a lot around here.

Although she is quite capable of saying “Daddy,” about 95% of the time Little Miss Sunshine will scream “MOM-EEEEEEE” when Sir Monkeypants comes in. That’s because she wants him to pick her up immediately. Only the repeated squealing of the word “Mommy” seems to convey her pressing need. Usually Sir Monkeypants points out that he is, “Daddy, my name is Daddy, it’s Daddy,” but he still picks her up, so what does she care?

The other morning she woke up unusually early, at around 5:45am. She immediately started with the “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” Sir Monkeypants and I were playing Parent Chicken, which is when you both lie in bed semi-awake and hope that the other one reaches their breaking point with the yelling first, so you can roll over and go back to sleep. Sir Monkeypants eventually caved and went to get her.

As soon as she saw him, she yelled out, “MOM-EEEEE!” As per usual.

Then he brought her into our room to hand off to me in the bed, so he could go shower. And he said to her, “Look who it is! Who’s that?”

And of course, looking right at me, she said, “Daddy!”

Poor Sir Monkeypants. Someday, honey, someday.


Someone I know is turning 40 years old this year, and other people I know are planning a surprise party for her. Well, they were planning a surprise party, but I have been quite bitchy about it. I absolutely HATE surprise parties, I’m morally opposed to them, and of course, my opinion is the only one that counts. We all know that.

Surprise parties always require so much work for so little payoff. The person closest to the Birthday Girl (BG) has to be completely committed to the plan. He has to create elaborate fabrications designed to convince BG that she needs to keep a certain day and time completely free — and he needs to remember which lie he told when. The planners need to make secret plans and do secret shopping and take secret phone calls, which results in the BG either guessing what’s up, or getting pissed off that no one is available on her birthday.

Plus there’s the political problems. Maybe the organizers don’t invite Judy from work, and BG has lunch with Judy every day, and now it’s awkward because BG can’t talk about it at work because Judy wonders why BG’s family have never heard of her and didn’t invite her. Or maybe, some other invitee suggests inviting Kathleen, and it turns out Kathleen is a good friend of the invitee but a mortal enemy of BG, and there’s issues, and OH THE DRAMA.

And sometimes you’ll be having the party on a day when the BG had a tough day at work, or didn’t get good sleep the night before, or else hates surprises SO much that she turns on her heel as soon as everyone yells “Surprise!” and stomps off, never to return. I won’t name names, but you know who you are.

Seriously, is all that crap worth it just for the two second look on BG’s face when she walks in? I think not. It’s not like I expect the Birthday Girl to make up a guest list, and a menu, and pick a theme for the decorations, and book a hall, and maybe make a few party favours. We’ll do all the work, there will still be wonder and surprises and exclamations of delight, just let BG know the day and time so there’s no sneaking around, and also, give her some guest list input. That’s all!

Anyway, last night I was talking about this to Sir Monkeypants and warning him that he should never, EVER, consider throwing me a surprise party. He got this guilty look on his face and said, “Um…too late.” And I was all, “WHAT THE HELL?” and he said, “I already invited a bunch of people and they’ll be here in about five minutes. You should probably put some pants on.” Then I punched him.

He went on, however, to tell me all the fabulous famous people that would be dropping by. He invited the creators of Etsy, he said, and they were coming by both with gifts from my favourites list and a job offer. He said Shannen Doherty of 90210 would be able to make it, just as soon as she was done her dinner theatre engagement over in Carp. I suggested he invite Jennie Garth too, because maybe then there would be a catfight, and all the good parties on The O.C. always had a catfight.

Sir Monkeypants also said that Ken Jennings would be coming by, and I admit I actually squealed with excitement, such is my love of the KenJen. And Brett Favre and family would also be able to make it, so I better wear my cheesehead with my party outfit.

He mentioned that Anna Maria Tremonti and Lucy van Oldenbarneveld from the CBC would probably be able to make it, and later we’d be seeing Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni trade daughter/father witticisms just like they used to on Veronica Mars. Joss Whedon was a maybe, but Angelina Jolie would definitely be coming by so that we could all bask in her glory. (I told Sir Monkeypants it was okay if she needed to bring the kids. We’d get KenJen and his wife to watch them — they’re all responsible and stuff.)

Then Sir Monkeypants asked me who I would invite — famous people only — to his imaginary surprise party. I told him I’d invite Aaron Sorkin and the entire cast of The West Wing. Sir Monkeypants said that would be fine, but only if we could yell out the names of each West Wing actor’s character as they entered the party — just like we used to over the opening credits of the show each week.

I knew Lance Armstrong was in for sure, and there were probably some other cycling dudes whose names I don’t know who would hover with Lance over the snacks table. Randy Moss would be dropping by — but only on the condition that he keep his hands off Angelina, who would also be attending Sir Monkeypants’ party, having had such a great time at mine. The quarterback of his favourite team — Tavaris Jackson of the Minnesota Vikings — would be invited, but that was only so that Sir Monkeypants could kick him in the shins when he arrived, then make him serve drinks all night like the goat that he is. Sir Monkeypants liked that idea.

I told him I’d get Tegan and Sara to come do an accoustic set in the living room. The members of the Barenaked Ladies would arrive later, and once slightly sloshed, would probably jam with T&S to hilarious effect. I also offered to invite the founders of Google, so Sir Monkeypants could convince them to give him a really great job that involves him getting paid tons of money for working about 10 hours a week, all from home, and he said that would be fine, but that there was no need to invite Linus the Linux guy because Linus would probably just feel awkward, or else get preachy once he got a few beers in him.

Oh, and arriving late at the party would be a few super cool poker players, like Brad Booth (since he’s Canadian and all), Antonio Esfandiari (again, only if he keeps his hands off of Angelina), Barry Greenstein, Phil Ivey, Phil Laak (feel free to bring Jennifer Tilly along with you), and, if he isn’t too whiny, Daniel Negraneau. They’d play a few hands around the dining room table while Tavaris Jackson brought them beverages.

Who would you want at your imaginary surprise party?

Tape Emergency

Shopping List

Sir Monkeypants: Are we having a tape emergency?

Me [rolling eyes]: Yes, we’re having a TAPE EMERGENCY.

Sir Monkeypants: What kind of tape? Duct, masking, or scotch?

Me [adding the descriptor to the list in ALL CAPS]: SCOTCH.

Sir Monkeypants: So, would you say this is a DEFCON 1 type emergency? Or are we only at DEFCON 2?

Me: Let’s call it DEFCON 2.

Sir Monkeypants: Good GOD, WOMAN! We must get to the Superstore, NOW! LAUNCH THE ALERT 5 AIRCRAFT!

Me: You are VERY FUNNY.

[Later, when I return from the Superstore with a massive club pack of 10 rolls of scotch tape…]