Archive for June, 2010

As we inch closer to the Fourth of July, I thought it’d be the perfect time to parallel two epic struggles for freedom — The American Revolution and one which you may not yet know about.

Freedom — it’s a tricky little paradox, no? Though entire wars have been fought to attain it, neither side of those wars has ever defined it the same way. To the British colonists, freedom meant escaping the tyrannical rule of the throne. Yet to England, that same freedom was experienced as nothing more than dangerous insubordination. Fast forward nearly 250 years to the other fight for freedom, the one that’s happening as we “speak” in my very home.

That’s right, Lovie and I have been under attack for quite sometime now, as our wee threesome have teamed up in an attempt to collectively undermine our authority. Though there are many small skirmishes each and every day, of late there has been one flat-out battle, and it’s waged at bedtime. Which brings me back to the paradoxical nature of freedom. To Lovie and me, it’s attained when we finally get our three monsters down for the night. Yet our trio will never go quietly into that good night because, to them, being told when to go to bed violates their freedom. Simply put? They’re not going down without a fight.

The parallels between our ongoing fight and the American Revolution do not end with the paradoxical takes on freedom. They’re only just beginning, though I will admit, they may not be readily apparent to the casual observer. No, there’s not an ocean between us, but there is a flight of stairs. And, no, the reigning authority doesn’t speak with a cockney accent, but we do roll with a mild southern drawl. And no, our insurgents haven’t gone so far as to throw a Boston Tea Party. But the do Often Pee in the Potty.

And though they haven’t come up with a slogan behind which to rally, it’s simply because they’re too young to formally articulate one. While the colonists were galvanized by “No taxation without representation,” our guys seem to circle the wagons with something along the lines of “Bedtime’s bullshit, y’all.”

Betime's bullshit, y'all.

Little cutie-pie C, believe it or not, was the leader of the charge when the attacks first began. The only one to have graduated to a “big bed,” she took it upon herself to repeatedly get out of that bed and scream bloody murder. At first we thought it was just a phase, which to be fair, it was. But it was also a grim harbinger of things to come.

Having roused the rebels into action, C now goes to bed without event. She’s passed the baton to her brothers, A and B, who currently carry the midnight torch while my adorable little peanut gets her beauty sleep. Each night, we can hear the boys plotting in not-so-quiet tones, speaking much like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid — with little or no regard for grammatical nuances such as tense or subject-verb agreement.

The Bedtime Bandits hours before the battle.

After such strategy sessions, a period of eerie silence ensues which will inevitably be broken by the tell-tale thump-thump — not the beating of a heart, mind you, but rather the landing of little feet. The noise serves as confirmation that one of our junior associates has scaled the thirty-inch crib wall and leapt onto the plush carpet of freedom, from whence he can and will openly defy the monarch by playing with his toys, grabbing a book, or perhaps even rocking a forbidden nighttime deuce on the big potty.

You know what will sometimes put an end to the uprising? A swift smack on the ass. That’s right. The King is a spanker. And while he completely understands and respects parents who don’t spank their children, his counter to their stance is but one sentence. Show the King a parent who doesn’t spank, and the King’ll show you a parent who doesn’t have toddler triplets. Once the King administers his can of whoop-ass, order is often restored.

But not always. You see, it seems as if the freedom fighters have learned to execute the landing of their forbidden jumps with silent agility, thus pushing their nighttime envelope further still. Yet even if they hit the carpet of emancipation without alerting the ruling party, sooner or later, the duo will slip up. Like the other night when the King and Queen heard the sound of muffled screaming through the royal monitor.

The King and Queen quickly scurried upstairs to see what was the matter, more than a little puzzled. Why are their cries muffled? they wondered. Predictably, A and B were out of their cribs. Unpredictably, they had locked themselves in the bathroom which adjoins their sleeping quarters which explained why the cries weren’t as loud as normal.

“Just open the door,” the King urged the rebels, though his words were probably inaudible thanks to their deafening cries. “I don’t get it,” he told the Queen. “They know how to open the door even when it’s locked. All they have to do is twist the handle.” Another thing he didn’t get was why the air was heavy with the scent of lotion. Or was it baby shampoo?
The King retreated to Princess Pookie’s quarters to look for something to help him spring the soldiers who by that point were nobly screaming “Mommy!” With the glossy cover of a Hannah Montana notepad, the King jimmied the lock and sprung the little idealists from their ironic and temporary incarceration.
The regal couple were not prepared for what they next saw. Virtually every single thing in the bathroom was covered with a mixture of lotion and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. (No more tears, my ass.) The floor was completely coated in a goopy mess. As was the vanity cabinet. Even the boys, themselves were covered with the concoction from head to toe, so much so that B’s ongoing cries were accompanied by bubbles each and every time he opened his mouth to emit one.
The doorknob was not immune, either. It got slimed, too, which, incidentally, is why A and B were trapped — their hands couldn’t hold a grip as they tried to twist the handle. In their efforts, they must have accidentally pushed the button and locked themselves inside. (Good thing the King used to be a garden-variety hoodlum, or they might still be trapped). Newly freed, A and B scurried to the Queen, slipping and sliding along the way like intoxicated chimpanzees ice-skating across a frozen pond.
The Queen gave them a bath after which the King gave them a spanking and order was eventually restored. But the ruling authorities weren’t born yesterday. They know another battle will soon be waged. And another one after that. And another one, still.

It is with equal amounts of dread and thankfulness with which they will await said battles. After all, their kingdom is a blessed one. And they know it. That’s why they fight to keep it in tact.

Happy Fourth of July, y’all.

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Radio Silence

For those of you here in Ktown who tuned in to Star 102.1 at 8:30 this morning to hear me speak too quickly in super-long, run-on sentences on the Marc, Kim, and Frank show, all you actually heard was…


As I turned onto their street, their broadcast (which I had been listening to on my way in) went dead.

Hmmm. That’s odd, I thought. Maybe there’s no signal when you get too close?

As I walked into the room adjacent to the studio, I was surprised to see Kim pop her head above a cubical wall, flashing me an infectious smile.

“Hey, there. We’re not on the air.”

“Well, I’d assume not,” I said. “I wouldn’t think you’d broadcast my arrival.”

“No. I mean we’re actually off the air! None of our listeners can hear us right now.”

So much for the too-close-to-get a signal theory.

Guess what happened?

A. One of those annoying emergency-broadcast-system tests went horribly awry.
B. I was so convinced that I’d make a fool of myself, I deployed Macgyver-type skills to intentionally sabotage the broadcast to salvage my (not-so-good) reputation.
C. Their transmitter went down.

Give up?

It was C. Their transmitter went down.

Kim felt horrible given that part of the reason she wanted to have me on this very day was to pimp my book signing, which is tonight. She couldn’t have been any sweeter or more fun to talk to (we chatted for about ten minutes)–and I knew that’d be the case. She stops by my blog from time to time, and I tune into her during my commute. We also go back and forth on twitter a bit, so we’ve developed a pretty good rapport. She’s just as great in person as she is on the radio or on the internet. Big fan.

Anyway, the bad news is that I wasn’t able to spread the word about my 6:00 pm book signing tonight at Carpe Librum. (Please come by!) The good news is that they’re gonna have me back in the next coupla weeks or so.

Geez. The transmitter goes down during one of the most-listened-to, morning radio shows in town mere moments before I’m about to go on. What are the odds?

Probably about the same as having triplets!

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You know what you get if you cross Pee Wee Herman with Ric Ocasek of The Cars? Hint: it’s a killer combination!



amy bishop

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My Best

I’ve experienced a pretty good spike in traffic the last couple of days, likely due to being on TV on Monday, and in the paper today. Since many of you might be checking me out for the first time, I thought I’d put together a list of my best posts. Click on them to get a feel for the type of writing you can expect should you decide to buy my book, Tales from the Trips.

What Happens in the Bathroom details my hapless efforts to bathe three toddlers without Lovie. It was picked up by the site Errant Parent.

Dear Elmo was also featured on Errant Parent. It’s a scathing open letter to that furry, red little Anti-Christ.

One of the Girls is a tongue and cheek reaction to a compliment one of my wife’s friends tried to give me.

The Trail is my most read post ever, and one that’s designed to make you think rather than laugh. I dedicated it to my friend Katie Granju and her entire family.

Thanksgiving, the Jungle, and a Machete is an open letter of spiritual gratitude for everything life has to offer, even that which is difficult.

Posts about my wife, “Lovie,” are always quite popular, likely because they feature her and not me!

The Driving Force details her shitty driving unique ways behind the wheel.

The Language of Lovie is a top five list of my favorite exchanges between the two of us in my book and showcases Lovie’s sparkling wit.

Sammy’s Scared is soft and sweet, a magical moment found in the mundane.

Do you like poking fun at pop culture boobs? So do I.

Top Ten Reasons Tiger and Kate Gosselin Should Get Married

Dear Ben Rothlisberger

Top 10 Reaons Al and Tipper Split

And, finally, a couple of video posts for you:

Where’s Mommy

Whiz Kids

Thanks for stopping by. If you’re in Knoxville, I hope to see you at Carpe Librum for my book signing.

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Note to Self

Dear Self,

Next time you get invited on TV to talk about your book, think twice about bringing your brood. Because you never know when your boys will break free and stroll onto the set. (Thank goodness it was during a commercial.)

What did you think they’d do? Just sit there quietly while watching hosts Russell Bivens and Beth Haynes do their thing? Well, yeah, as a matter of fact, I did. And, at least for part of the time, they did just that.

But even when they were being good boys and girls, they were a mere spontaneous meltdown away from making the wrong kind of news in chairs which were scant feet away from all the action. Lucky Lovie was there to keep everything under control.

Surely they’d be good for my interview. Right?

Um, wrong. The interview, appropriately enough, was littered with kiddie interruptions.

And honestly? I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Wanna watch it? Click this link.

Tales from the Trips is available at Carpe Librum Booksellers, Borders Books, on amazon or direct from the publisher. 30% of all proceeds go to Childhelp, a leading non-proffit organization which benefits victims of child abuse and neglect.

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Father’s Day

Have y’all missed me? I’ve not posted anything new in almost two weeks — the longest I’ve gone since I started blogging regularly in November.

The reason? It’s been a little crazy around here, and I’ve been out of town some, and work has been real stressful, and Lovie was gone on a tennis tournament, and bla, bla, bla, bla, bla… I’m still in the middle of it all, so, regretfully, I don’t have any huge post for you just yet.

I do, however, have a little, good-ol fashioned self promoting to drop on you. For those of you who are still reading, I’m excited to let you know that I’ll be on Live at Five at Four today. All you Knoxville peeps be sure to check it out. Also, be on the lookout for a piece on me, my brood, and the book in Wednesday’s Knoxville News Sentinel. Then, on Friday, I’ll be on Star 102.1 with Marc, Kim, and Frank from 8:30 to 9:00. (Do you think they’ll play Lady GaGa for me?) All of this leading up to a book signing at Carpe Librum Booksellers on Friday evening at 6:00.

So if you live in Knoxville and you’ve not picked up a copy yet, come on by Carpe Librum on and kick off your Father’s Day weekend with us. What better gift for any new dad or a soon-to-be dad than a book about a guy who went from full-blown bachelorhood to father of four in a mere thirteen months? Or, you can always get in on amazon, or direct from me if you can’t make the book signing.

For more information about Tales from the Trips, please visit the book’s website!

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Um, Al, I think you sucked up my esophagus.

10. Tipper was incensed every time Al sang along to his 2 Live Crew CDs.

9. Al grew frustrated that Tipper called BS whenever he mentioned his invention, the internet.

8. Global warming. Al was tired of all the greenhouse gas that Tipper continually emitted.

7. Try as they did, they could never quite duplicate that creepy kiss the nation had to endure during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

6. Al developed a disturbing Lady Gaga fetish.

5. Tipper developed an equally disturbing Justin Bieber fetish.

4. Every time Tipper encouraged Al to count their blessings, he demanded a recount.

3. Al got super-jealous when Tipper referred to Bill Clinton as an “incorrigible hottie.”

2. They constantly fought over the color of their house. Al wanted to paint it white.

1. Al hated Tipper’s come on lines. Her favorite? “C’mon, Poppa. Show Momma that adorable, little hanging chad of yours.”

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Call to Action

Katie and Henry

My beautiful friend Katie Granju is living every parent’s nightmare. Last night, she lost her eighteen-year-old son to complications stemming from a drug overdose coupled with a brutal assault. As I expressed in a recent post called The Trail, no amount of effort, dedication, or planning can prepare us for every single scenario that’s out there. The same holds true for parenting. All we can do is all we can do. The rest is up to someone else. Katie was reminded of this the hard way.

Still, she decided to detail every step of her family’s hellish journey in hopes that their story would serve as a grim example from which the rest of us could learn. Her platform became enormous as tens of thousands of people waited for her every post with bated breath. Her virtual community of readers cried tears that were real as they prayed alongside Katie and her family for the miracle that never happened.

But what did happen was a healthy conversation which encouraged all of us to tackle the issue of drugs with our children even more aggressively than we already were. A few cowards anonymously sprang from the woodworks during those conversations to sling their putrid arrows of insecure hatred, but Katie didn’t care. Perhaps because she knew the overwhelming majority of her readers saw her for what she is–an incredible mom turned heartbroken hero, tenaciously fighting for her son to the bitter end while simultaneously contributing to the greater good of her community, both virtual and real.

Thanks to Katie’s candor, bravery, and incredible writing, Henry’s legacy will live forever, and lives will be saved.

I strongly encourage each of you (particularly my Knoxville peeps) to read this post by fellow Knoxville blogger Shane Rhyne, who works with Katie at Ackerman PR. He details how you can reach out and help Katie and her family during this devastating time.

May God reveal the perfect path of healing to both of Henry’s biological parents, Katie and Chris, as well as to their spouses and their entire family. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be.

God bless you, Katie.

And, Henry, may you rest in eternal peace.


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