CSotD: Domestic grumbling

It used to be nearly impossible to win one of the giant teddy bears depicted in this Rhymes With Orange (KFS) strip, given the various tricks and outright cons employed by the carnies who run the midway games at the county fair. But, yes, you would see some parent or two dutifully schlepping one of them around, which, if nothing else, meant no more rides for the rest of the visit.

And likely a lumpy toy that would soon fall apart if it weren’t simply sagging dejectedly in a corner of the kid’s bedroom at home.

The good news, however, is that these cheap monstrosities now show up in grocery stores and at prices that won’t break the bank.

Which suggests that they’d be good products for the Non-Custodial Parents’ Gift Shoppe, a dream of mine for years, where they would be listed along with toys that come in a million tiny parts and hand-held games that make obnoxious noises and have no mute buttons.

The motto of the Non-Custodial Parents’ Gift Shoppe being “Revenge may not be sweet, but it sure is cute.”

I’d have made millions.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Rhymes With Orange — KFS

Pardon My Planet — KFS

It’s apparently Clean Underwear Day on the comics page, and RWO once more pings a scathingly brilliant plan I never put into action, which was packs of women’s underwear with, instead of the days of the week embroidered on them, the months of the year.

It would have been a great gag gift, the problem being that gag gifts need to come in bundles. You can’t successfully market just one, unless it turns out to be a Rubik’s cube or pet rock. You need to have a full catalog if you expect to play the odds on making a profit from ephemeral crap.

As for fretting over clean underwear in case you’re in an accident, I’ve got some bad news/good news for Mom, depending on what she was hoping for: As the father of a first-responder and having several nurses in the family, I can assure you that the odds of having both a serious accident and clean underwear simultaneously are very low, regardless of how you left the house.

Juxtaposition of the Day II

Mike Smith — KFS

Liza Donnelly/Carl Kissin

I used to respond to football widow jokes by pointing out that, ferchrissake, it’s only 16 days out of the year, but what with Monday and Thursday games and extended playoffs, not to mention a longer season, that argument won’t do anymore.

Then again, the Monday and Thursday games are at night, and so what you miss is not a chance to go antiquing or hitting craft fairs but a chance to watch “The Masked Singer” or the 400th season of “Survivor.”

You’ve still got more than half the Sundays and nearly all the Saturdays to check out the decoupage and crotched statuary with delighted hubby in tow, while even if you aren’t among the 82% of US homes with a second television, you can still download an app to watch “Love After Lockup” on your cell phone while he’s watching football.

I’m more open to complaints about Fred, though I’d say it’s a good argument in favor of long courtships, if not in support of cohabitation before marriage. Some men are persnickety about having a place for everything and everything in its place, but an awful lot are, as Rita Rudner put it, “bears with furniture.”

Well, Rita says a lot of things about men, most of which I can’t dispute, or at least won’t, because, in my post-divorce second bachelorhood, I learned a lot about first husbands that let me know why there were so many women in the 35-45 demographic available.

Particularly if you showered occasionally.

Still, first marriages seem to be how women learn, which I guess explains why there are so few women skydivers.

Another group-created cartoon from the New Yorker, this by David Ostow and Lindsay Arber, which touches on something I blame for turning out people who won’t eat things today that they didn’t eat yesterday.

Kids menus are for parents who have long since given up.

The real key to turning small children into interesting adults is in that third item, only it’s not “everything” on your plate but something from your plate. There’s no need to order anything but an extra plate for a very small child, onto which you put some of your food so that they learn new flavors and textures.

This, of course, assumes that when you cook at home, you don’t serve up lobsters for the adults and Spaghetti-Os for the kids on the Dickensian assumption that “they wouldn’t appreciate it.”

Of course they won’t, if you force them to subsist entirely on a diet of chicken nuggets and toaster pastry.

It would also be nice if they’d seen a china plate and utensils made of metal before you bring them to a restaurant where such oddities are in use.

Though I’ll grant you this much: If you have to ask the server more than once to bring the breadsticks now and not with the first course, the restaurant deserves whatever pint-sized chaos ensues.

Someone at the dog park yesterday confessed to being a “helicopter owner,” and, Lord knows, those of us who make the trek at least once and often twice a day are guilty of a bit of that.

But The Other Coast (Creators) reminds me that while it’s still ridiculously warm here and the leaves don’t show any inclination to turn, autumn is indeed approaching, and at the first hard frost we’ll start seeing dogs decked out in their little snowsuits.

If only the dogs who needed jackets wore them, you’d have to make your own. The fact that it’s a thriving business is testimony to people who think that their dogs need them.

I finally found a jacket that Suzi can’t wriggle out of, after having bought several out of which she could, but she only wears it when the temperature is below zero Fahrenheit. And then the reason isn’t that she’s cold enough to want it but because other people demand to know why she isn’t wearing one.

She loves the snow and cold. My role is to let her.

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Domestic grumbling

  1. We had “New Food Tuesday” for our daughter, where for Tuesday dinner we’d make something different she’d never eaten before. She had to eat three bites, and if she didn’t like it we’d make something else simple for her.

    Didn’t hurt that we cooked with her from an early age, as well. First thing we made together was cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving when she was five. She LOVED mushing the berries down.

    Now she not only eats a wide variety of foods, but cooks and experiments for herself since her early teens.

  2. There are definitely some foods I hated as a kid, but enjoy now.

    Mainly due to the fact that my mother (god bless her) would often make the cheap processed stuff and not the real thing.

    For instance, there’s a HUGE difference between real beef stew and the canned garbage of the same name. Furthermore, pretty much any canned vegetable tastes like s*** compared to freshly prepared ones.

  3. Our daughters grew up to be well-rounded eaters and adventurous cooks who as adults will try almost anything once, and I think it’s because we, like you, mostly fed them what we ate. (They also became neat eaters because one of our rules was if food hit the floor it belonged to the dog and they weren’t getting it back.) They have their preferences–one won’t touch fish–but they could basically walk into any restaurant in the world and find something to eat. However, I’m reluctant to take too much credit and think we maybe just got lucky, because I know a lot of fine parents whose kids won’t eat anything but cheese, or cereal, or bologna, or jugs of milk. I’m increasingly convinced that, when it comes to kids, you get what you get and most of it comes baked in before they’re born.

    I won one of those giant stuffed toys once. I was an adult at a family reunion in Reno (it was a good midpoint) and tossed a ring over the top of a bottle at the Circus Circus casino. I got a life-size Scooby Doo, and let me remind you that Scooby was a Great Dane. I had a small car and no way to get it home; had to ask my Mom if she had a spare seat heading my way. For the next 20 years or so, wherever I went, I had to figure out what to do with that furshlugginer Scooby Doo. We finally gave it to some friends who were big fans of the character, where I’m sure it looms over them when they awaken in terror in the dead of night, just as it did me.

  4. Rule at my place was always, you had to taste the food we made, if you didn’t like it, get yourself a slice of bread or a banana or something else. (we wouldn’t make anything special for them). However, next time we made the same food, even if it was only a couple of weeks later, taste again. You have to build up the tastebuds of kids. When my youngest asked me when we could have eggplant lasagna again I considered my case won.

    My young people will eat basically anything today. Of course you like some things less than others but that’s not being picky.

    Once a very picky friend came to our place for a dinner party. We had langoustine for the appetiser which she said she didn’t eat. I of course “enforced” the rule, which she thought was really funny but complied. And she loved it, just had never tried it before because she thought it must taste awful. Funniest thing was her daughter (my eldest’s best friend, about 8 at the time) saying: Mom! See! I told you so!

  5. When the kids were young I explained to them that Emily Hoogelyboogely did not like ice cream. Astonished they would ask why and I would tell them it was because it was cold and wet and looked worse when melty. But didn’t she like the taste? Well, that was the problem I said, she had never tasted it.
    Had some limited success with this even when all acknowledged it was a made up story.Point being you might find that your favorite food is just a taste away from you discovering it

  6. At least one restaurant now has a kid’s menu that looks like this:

    I Don’t Know ……. hot dog with French fries

    I Don’t Care ……. breaded chicken tenders with French fries

    I’m Not Hungry …… grilled cheese sandwich

    I Don’t Want That …… Fish sticks with French Fries

    1. Some years ago, I was at a convention in NYC and a lot of people brought their families to do touristy things while we were in meetings. When we arrived, a bunch of us went to the restaurant the hotel concierge recommended, and an 11 year old was fried from a day on airplanes and intimidated by a place where the waiters wore tuxes. She didn’t want anything and went into a sulk, but the owner came over and talked to her, asking her what she likes. The two of them came up with something simple not on the menu involving chicken which he went back and had his chef prepare.

      Tuxedos or not, that was a classy restaurant.

  7. Good column today and great responses . ? Do your best ideas come from your family or the screwy world we’re all living in?

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