The Toof Fairy and Pending Litigation

30 05 2016


I have problems with this parenting gig. It’s not that I am a BAD parent or anything. We get the big things done ok. She is fed. She is clothed. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she bathes EVERY day but definitely more often than not. The problems are more subtle than that.


I struggle with the nuances of my responsibilities. Eating dinner at a table. Keeping clothes folded and organized. Remembering to not play profanity laced music when I am dancing with her and her little friends.


I think my deficiencies are pretty well encapsulated by a question Ellis asked me a couple of days ago.


“Daddy why do you laugh REALLY loud every time I fall down?”


My answer, “I blame Benny Hill”,  is both completely true and totally useless.


As an example, Christmas has largely been an annual series of missteps. We get a tree up and all. Presents arrive. Some are even wrapped. (Although I have tried hard to convince her that Santa is transitioning to a “Present Bag” system to save on Elf labor). But we have decided the “naughty or nice” dichotomy doesn’t really work for us and that an Elf hanging out on the shelf making daily reports to his boss about our activities reeks of prepping us for life in a surveillance state.


ELLIS: Daddy have I been naughty or nice this year?


ME: El I think it’s time for you to realize that you and me are always gonna fall somewhere in the middle on the Naughty or Nice scale. We Kradels sort of exist in a gray area there. It would be best if we came up with a system that took into account our quirky sense of situational ethics. I mean – I think it’s GREAT that you have the confidence to argue with me about EVERY SINGLE THING I ask you to do. But in the black and white world of Santa that sort of thing tends to count against us.


ELLIS: (weeps uncontrollably)


ME: I mean I personally LOVED that you kidnapped and partially decapitated the Elf on the Shelf so he wouldn’t rat on you about breaking the lamp. But again, by the strict letter of Santa Law that might be considered a series of naughty, and perhaps pre-criminal, acts.


ELLIS: (giggling to herself then some fake weeping)


ME: Look E – I’m on your side. On a plus/minus scale I think you grade out pretty well. I will send an email to Santa. Aunt Nat and Uncle Jeff are defense attorneys so I’m sure they can help us out. It’ll be ok.




Which brings us to the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy is pretty simple and hard to screw up. She doesn’t have much backstory. She shows up, drops some cash, and bolts. What could go wrong?


Well the first issue is that Ellis got a 20 dollar bill for her first tooth.


ELLIS: Daddy how come I got 20 dollars and Breanna only got a dollar for her tooth?


ME: Hard to say. Maybe your tooth was just more valuable. But sometimes the Tooth Fairy isn’t properly prepared and only has a 20 in her wallet.


ELLIS: The Toof Fairy has a wallet?


ME: Of course. She keeps it in her purse.


ELLIS: Oh ok. The Toof Fairy has a purse?


ME: Well duh!


And then Ellis lost her first Front Tooth. This was a big deal and the moment was greeted with oohs and ahs and much picture taking and blood clean up. The dental treasure was washed and placed in a zip lock Baggie (to make it easier for the Tooth Fairy to grasp when fumbling under the pillow and to be in compliance with any OSHA regulations on the disposal of body parts) and placed under the pillow. All was good.


But that night Ellis’s father stayed up late by himself catching up on last season’s “Game of Thrones” episodes because it was a Friday and he has no life and he enjoys some pseudo-medieval nudity as much as the next guy. He fell asleep and awoke to Ellis jumping around on his bed yelping about how the Toof Fairy never came and waving around the zip lock Baggie as evidence.


Luckily her father is a quick thinker.


ME: Did you sleep on YOUR bed or on the trundle bed?


ELLIS: The trundle


ME: Well the Tooth Fairy must have gotten confused. Or maybe she was really busy. Based on the gap-toothed smiles of your classmates I’m guessing she has a pretty heavy workload.


ELLIS: (unconvinced) May-be


ME: Go put it back under your pillow. On your REAL bed this time. I bet she comes tonight.




We spent the day doing the things we do.  The park. Soccer. Honest to god arguing for an entire hour about whether or not it was okay for me to refer to other drivers that make me mad as “douche-nozzles“.  


(the argument went something like this:


ELLIS : Daddy would you like it if they called YOU “douche-nozzle”?


ME: Uh – no


ELLIS: Would you call ME “douche-nozzle”?


ME: Uh-no


ELLIS: Would you call anyone in our FAMILY “douche-nozzle”?


ME: Well ….


ELLIS: DADDY! It is NOT nice.  Maybe I should go tell that lady you called her a “douche-nozzle”.


ME: Ellis?




ME: I think you are starting to like saying “douche-nozzle”.


ELLIS:  Yeah – it’s a fun word.  )


Ellis interrogated all the children she met that day (after carefully examining their teeth). Did the Toof Fairy ever forget them?  What should she do? Was she in some sort of trouble with the Toof Fairy? Were there behavioral requirements for the Toof Fairy of which she was unaware? She wouldn’t have eaten that Klondike Bar before dinner and left the ice cream and chocolate soaked wrapper on her Dad’s chair if she’d known there would be these sorts of consequences.




We stopped at the ATM on the way home because having established a price point of 20 bucks for a measly bottom tooth it was assumed a front tooth would fetch a significantly larger number. Ellis had explained that in the world of teeth the front ones were “like diamonds”.  We arrived home and headed up the stairs to our front door.


ELLIS: Daddy is the Toof Fairy a grown-up or a kid?


ME: I guess I don’t know. I’ve never seen her. I always figured she was a tiny adult. Like a regular fairy. Sort of in the Tinkerbell ballpark.


ELLIS: (thinking about this as I fumbled with the keys). Daddy does she have a boss like you do?


ME: That’s a great question E. But I don’t know what sort of organizational structure they have. I always assumed she was sort of a solo free-lancer. Like the Easter Bunny.


ELLIS: Well if she has a boss I think we should call her. This wasn’t fair. Call Aunt Nat and have her send an email to the Toof Fairy’s boss. This really really wasn’t fair. Also – my friend Meredith knows lots of fairies. We should probably call her too.


ME: I sent an email to the Tooth Fairy this morning explaining the bed situation. I haven’t heard back yet. But if she doesn’t show up tonight I promise we will get Aunt Nat and Meredith on the case.




I woke Sunday morning to Ellis jumping on my bed, making it rain with a pair of 20’s.


ELLIS: She came Daddy!  You don’t have to call Aunt Nat and Meredith. Or maybe just tell them what happened because if this ever happens again there is gonna be TROUBLE!


ME: (remembering the fate of the Elf – just nods slowly)


The End


20 06 2015


I was against this whole cat thing from the beginning. I just want to make that clear. I’ve had pets before – quite a few. None of those pets are currently alive. This may or may not be my fault. 
It’s not that I don’t like puppies and kitties. I’m not a monster. They are cute and fun and furry and all that. I get it. I really do. 
It’s more that when I see a pet I see a JOB. It’s cleaning poop and buying food and remembering to feed them and changing vacation plans because you can’t get a sitter. I barely manage to do all that for Ellis – and she can TALK and stuff. 
Any-hoo – we have the Cat and she has been named and everything. That’s like saying “I Do” in the pet relationship. It’s time to make the best of the situation. 
Omah and Ellis have been reading books about Cats. Lots of books. About Cats. 
How to feed them and raise them. How to talk to them. What surgeries you are allowed to perform on them without being considered a psychopath. 
It turns out there are an incredible number of books about Cats. It’s an entire genre with its own labeled section in the bookstore. It’s about the same size as the “True Crime” section which might be coincidental but I don’t think so. I will say that NEITHER section should be at the top of your “good place to pick up a suitable life-mate” list. 
(In case you are interested that list would be:
1) FICTION – for your most thoughtful and well-rounded mate.
2) NON-FICTION – CELEBRITY AUTHOR – If you are conversant about ALL the Real Housewives, can name Ariana Grande’s boyfriend and have a favorite Wahlberg brother. 
3) NON- FICTION – HISTORY AND POLITICS – A secret gold mine if you have a lot of opinions and are comfortable being told to “F%#^ Off”.
4) ROMANCE – For the quietly desperate. 
5) SELF-HELP – If you want to meet a married person. 
6) SCI-FI – If you want to meet other lonely dudes like yourself. 
You are welcome – but I digress. )
Somewhere amongst all these books Omah and Ellis gleaned the nugget that for the first few weeks in her new home Mary Sparkles (The Cat) should be kept in a small room. 
Why this is the case hasn’t been made clear to me but Ellis is quite dictatorial on the subject. 
So Mary Sparkles lives in Ellis’s bathroom. Pretty much this has worked out ok.
For hours at a time Ellis will disappear and all I will hear is her voice emanating from the bathroom. She is carrying on conversations with the cat. And she speaks the cat’s responses out loud.
ELLIS: Do you like your cat litter girl ( pronounced “guwhl”)?
THE CAT (also Ellis): NO!
ELLIS: Why not girl?
THE CAT: It itches my bottom and smells funny.
ELLIS: (In a sing-song voice) You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!
And it goes on like that.
Ellis will emerge carrying the cat out in front of her (using both hands somewhat like toting a near overflowing glass of water) -and walk her around the house – pointing out various features like a tour guide. Mary Sparkles just mews helplessly and looks at me. I shrug my shoulders. They disappear back into the bathroom. I hear running water and quietly hope Ellis isn’t trying to teach her how to swim. All was good. 
After a week the problem came up of what to do if we want to go to my folks’ house at the lake. 
Of course we packed her in a carrier and took her with us – Ellis insisting on keeping the carrier in her lap. 
I tell her the carrier might fall. She says it won’t . I ask her to please listen to me for once in her freaking 5 year old life. She responds with words I find hurtful and rude. 
30 minutes later we are on the road and Ellis is fast asleep. We hit a bump and I hear a crash and that weird, awful, blood curdling sound cats sometimes make. Ellis wakes up.
ME: Told You!
ELLIS: (something that sounded like) Hmmph!
MARY SPARKLES: ( whatever sound cats make when they have a mild concussion)
(My parenting skills are a wonder to behold.)
So we get to my folks’ house and once again Mary Sparkles is banished to a bathroom – this time it’s the Master Bath. (We are classy like that. ) And everything works pretty well for a while.
 Kitten Chow is nibbled. Purrs are heard. Litter is soiled. Ellis is occupied. All is good. Until …
On day two I was trying to talk Ellis into a nap. (This was more for my sake than hers. She doesn’t really take naps anymore but I do and it looks better if I say I’m putting the kid down for a nap.) Ellis has to check on kitty before she will lie down.
ELLIS: Daddy – Mary Sparkles is GONE!
ME: (not moving one inch off the bed) I find that doubtful. 
ELLIS: She is! She’s GONE!
ME: Take a nap and maybe she will re-appear.
ELLIS: (Standing in the bathroom doorway with her hands on her hips and an EXTREMELY disapproving look on her face) DADDY!
ME: ( finally getting up) Crap!

Mary sparkles wasn’t actually “gone”. But she had somehow managed to get under the cabinets that surrounded the sink. This was a space that heretofore we had not known existed.
It turns out the base of these cabinets actually ends an inch or two above the floor. We hadn’t noticed this because on 2 sides are walls, on a third side is trim, and in front is a board that we thought was continuous with the cabinets but actually provided a 1 inch gap for an enterprising feline to go over and then get up under the cabinet. (Please see pic for a high quality diagram. )
It was really kind of impressive. 
We couldn’t really see Mary Sparkles – at least not her face. But every once in a while a white paw would dart out – like a fading boxer’s jab – searching for something.
At this point I did a lot of peering. It seemed like the appropriate thing do do. I would lay flat on the floor and peer across. Then I would say “Hmmm” thoughtfully and move to another position and peer from there. “Hmmmm” I would say again.
Ellis just stared at me suspiciously throughout this exercise – quickly grocking the fact that I was a moron stalling for time.
Like any good kid raised predominately by cartoons Ellis had a suggestion. 
ELLIS: I’m gonna call the Fire Department!
ME: (stopping my peering for a second) No! No we are not. I promise you Ellis I would sooner watch that cat DIE in those cabinets than call a bunch of volunteers in silly hats to come save my KITTEN. 
ELLIS: (stifling a sob)
(See – now THAT is quality parenting.)
I decided to attack this like Steve Martin in “Roxanne”. I opened a can of tuna and put it just out of Mary Sparkles’ reach. This succeeded in making the bathroom stink like a combination of kitty litter and canned tuna. Still the cat remained trapped.
Ellis has a little toy fishing pole with a magnet on the end that she plays with in the tub. I rubbed some tuna on the magnet and started tossing my lure into the cabinet and slowly drawing it back. 
ELLIS: (clapping) Daddy you are SO SMART!
ME: Yes Ellis. Yes I am.
The cat grabbed the bait and for a while we tussled – me lying on the floor working the pole like I was on “Wicked Tuna” – Ellis cheering wildly.

Then the line went slack.
ME: Crap!
ELLIS: Crap!
We tried fishing for another 15 minutes but the results were poor.
ELLIS: I’m getting POPPIE!
ME: No – why?
ELLIS: ‘Cause he’s good at doing stuff. 
ME: uh …..
ELLIS: Daddy you aren’t very good at doing stuff. 
The kid has a point.
ME: Ok – tell him I need a hammer, a chisel and … and maybe a flat head screwdriver. 
Ellis looks dubious. 
ME: Seriously – tell him I need a hammer, a chisel and a flat head screwdriver. 
Ellis scampers away chanting to herself ” A hammer, a chisel and a flat head screwdriver.”
I am very proud.

Ellis was gone a LONG LONG time. I just laid there on the bathroom floor, talking to Mary Sparkles like an EMT talking to a person trapped under a car who was awake and alive but everyone knew would die as soon as they tried to move the car.
“It’s ok Mary Sparkles. I’ll have you out of there in a jiffy. And if worse comes to worse you can just live a long happy life in there and we will feed you with the fishing pole.”

Ellis finally returned looking sweaty and worn out. 
ME: Well?
ELLIS: Poppie said your idea won’t work. He is looking for a drill.
ME: (barely audible cursing)
ELLIS: Daddy those are BAD words.

Poppie arrives soon after Ellis. He is wearing dirty overalls and has work goggles on his head. There are smears of grease on his face from doing whatever stuff it is Poppie does on weekends. He is carrying a very LARGE drill, a small toolbox, and a medium sized chainsaw. 
This is why Ellis always wants to get her Poppie. The man has TOOLS.
At this point I’m not worried about the cat. I’m mostly just offended nobody thinks I can figure out how to free a cat from a cabinet.
As I search for my hammer and chisel Poppie is squatting and bending, assessing and looking for angles. Basically he is peering just like I did. Ellis nods in wonder at his skill. 

I set about removing the board that was an evil false front – allowing our kitty to get trapped. It pries away pretty easily. I didn’t break ANYTHING. I am very proud and say so.
Ellis claps her hands.
The cat pops free and Ellis pounces. Mary Sparkles purrs and purrs.
ELLIS: I’m so HAPPY. Thank you Poppie!
ME: ( sigh)
I go to Ellis and pet her and the cat. Poppie is hammering the board back in place and the cat gets startled and jumps out of Ellis’s arms. Mary Sparkles sprints back towards the place she just got out of. 


The 4 Year Anniversary

27 02 2015

It’s weird how normal things are – or how normal they seem. Sometimes I think it shouldn’t be this way – shouldn’t feel this way. But it does. 

It seems that Ellis shouldn’t happy and perfect (in a self-absorbed extremely bratty kind of way that I think you would appreciate ). That Carsyn shouldn’t be grown and working and studying and sweet and a great big sister. That Hogan shouldn’t be about to graduate from high school and (despite being a remarkably bad shaver ) giving every sign of coming into his own, ready for the next step. 

It’s harder for Hogan and Carsyn. They don’t have E. 

I got lucky there. 

I’m trying to think of a way to describe what she is like. 

She is a little like me and a little like you – but mostly she is just this whole other weird cool thing. 

She hates getting in the bath but loves STAYING in the bath. 

She asks total strangers for help finding items in the grocery store. 

She loves TV but is suspicious of movies. 

She LOVES dresses but likes to wear pants with them. 

She runs out into the snow, slides down a hill of ice laughing, hits her head at the bottom and cries. Then goes back to the top and does it again. 

She loves flowers but hates bugs. 

She cries and throws fits for little reason – like because the Mac and Cheese was too crunchy. 

She wakes up in the middle of the night to give everybody hugs. 

She is proud of her hair but hates to brush it. 

She likes to make me go get her pizza from the fridge in the middle of the night – just because she can. 

She insists that she can only have one friend at a time at school. When I tell her she can have lots of friends she says “That’s not how it works daddy!” and drops the subject. 

When she is going to sleep she quietly whispers to herself, creating plots about which friend she wants to have the next day. She thinks about the best way to tell the previous day’s friend that they are now out of the picture. 

“SHHHH daddy – I’m thinking”, she says when I try to ask her what the hell she is mumbling about. 

She makes up stories about things she did with you. “Mommy bought me this when I was a baby. “. “Mommy taught me this dance. ” “Mommy said it was ok for me to not take baths any more. “

She has gotten older – so when she is sad and upset with me she sometimes asks for mommy. I think she does this because she knows it will stop me in my tracks, unable to think of what to say. 

She gets philosophical at night – at least as much as a 4 year old can. 

Two nights ago we had this conversation. 

ELLIS: Why did Mommy die?

ME: I don’t know

ELLIS: I wish I had a mommy like everyone else. 

ME: I know. I wish you did too. 

ELLIS: It’s not fair! 

ME: No it’s not. You kinda got screwed on that one. 

ELLIS: (thinking for a bit) Daddy?

ME: Yes E

ELLIS: Will you go get me some pizza from the fridge. I’m hungry. 

And that’s where we are. We are ok, maybe better than ok.  We have Carsyn and Hogan and your family and my family and everyone helps and everyone loves her. 

We are good. Weirdly good. There is pizza in the fridge and E will give me a big hug when I go get it for her. I can’t ask for much more than that. 

We miss you very much. But we are ok. 

Ellis Has A Boyfriend – A Valentine’s Lament

21 02 2015

Ellis has a boyfriend – sorta. She denies it to me but tells her sister she does. It’s good to know that the “keeping secrets from dad” thing starts at 4.

She is finally trying to sleep in her own bed at night – despite her father’s warnings that “It’s probably cold and scary up there”. This is a good thing, I guess, but I’m thinking of warning her about the monsters in the walls.

Last night (Valentine’s Day) as she was going up to sleep she took my cheeks in her hands, looked me straight in the eyes with her best “I’m being very serious now” expression and said “I’ll never forget you” and kissed me on the forehead.

The boyfriend’s name is Renfro (not his real name). He is in the class ahead of her so he is 5 or 6 but they share the playground at recess.

I have warned her about older guys trying to be all cool and impressive – with their reading and ability to tie their own shoes. But did she listen?

“He has a loose tooth” Ellis says with a dreamy look in her eyes.

She pointed him out to me whenI picked her up after their Valentine’s party, cruising down the hallway – holding his mom’s hand.

“That’s Renfro” she whispered as if a Greek God were strolling by.

Renfro is tall, maybe 3’10”, and his hair is pretty much a giant cow-lick. He has on mittens and waves nonchalantly at everybody as he makes his way past, too big jeans rolled up 2 times at the ankles, the tips of his sneakers lighting up with each step.

He smiles, a big gap in front. Ellis gasps. Actually gasps. How could a girl resist?

He stops when he gets to us “Hi Ellith” he says and stares straight up at me.

“Hi Renfro” she says, staring at him as if under a spell.

“Are you named after the Houston Oilers receiver who had a touchdown taken away in the ’79 AFC championship against the Steelers, costing Earl Campbell his best chance at a Super Bowl?” I ask with a hint of accusation in my voice.

“Huh” says Renfro, as he comes dangerously close to a full on nose pick, stopped only by the clumsiness of his mittens.

“DADDY!” Ellis says. “Don’t be WEIRD!”

I nod as we trudge towards the car. “You should probably get used to it”, I say.

The End

Ellis Goes To The Dentist

21 02 2015












The (not particularly) Magic Kingdom: A grump’s experience

1 01 2015

We were in Florida over the holidays to watch my youngest niece Maddie play in a soccer showcase. Since we were near Orlando and I have a 4 year old child I think there is some sort of federal mandate that you have to at least visit Disney World. I wasn’t thrilled about this.

I’m not a Disney sort of guy. If I want to get mashed by crowds, eat bad overpriced food, hassle with tickets, deal with falsely cheerful employees, and spend thousands of dollars then I can just go to about any airport.

New Year’s Eve probably wasn’t the best time to visit the “happiest place on earth”, but what are you gonna do.

We were funneled like lemmings into the giant parking lot. “Cast Members” tried to continue smiling while shouting orders at everyone who kept trying to pull into the wrong slot.

We weren’t a particularly bright group of lemmings.

We crammed into a big tram and Ellis started yelling “woohoo!” Over and over. She tired of this after about 10 minutes and joined the rest of us in silent resignation.

Ellis spotted the Castle from the ferry boat. ( No we still weren’t there) and started hopping around. She begged me to play “Magic” by B.O.B. and Rivers Cuomo on my phone.

I did it and tried to cover my face in shame as Ellis danced.

At this point, since it was cold and rainy, Ellis decided shorts were a BAD idea so she proceeded to get naked and do an “I’m really really cold” dance while I rummaged through my bag trying to decide if I needed to get her dress or my camera. I went with the dress since I figured photographing my naked child on a boat at Disney World might result in a felony charge.

Looking back this was the wrong decision.

After some bag checks and ticket checks a painfully cheerful teen asked if we could answer some questions about our experience so far.

“Fascist” I mumbled.

We finally emerged on Main Street USA and it was hard not to enjoy the look on Ellis’s face as she found herself in a living cartoon. Even the rather interesting aroma of the crowd – a subtle mix of excessive perfume, wet white people, failing deodorant, and fried meat – couldn’t diminish the excitement of our collective Haj towards the Mecca of children’s entertainment and capitalism run amok.

Ellis loved everything. She liked standing in lines and spinning around in teacups. She liked desperately looking for a place to sit and take a load off. She liked the dripping rain and the massive crowds.

We found ourselves in a ridiculous wait for Winnie the Pooh. About 30 minutes in 3 teenage girls with tweezed eyebrows and Mickey Mouse ears started climbing over the “exit” sign to cut in line.

“Uh – you guys can’t do that” I said in my best voice of aged authority.

“We’re meeting someone” the presumed leader said.

“You still can’t do that” I said wisely.

“Can too” they said in unison.

“Can not” I said – oozing maturity.

They cruised right on by.

“Good job Dad” Ellis said in sympathy as she patted me on the back.

Ellis REALLY enjoyed it when I nearly came to blows with two guys in line in front of us who tried to bring their entire families (about a dozen people) to the front of the line to join them.

“No cuts” I said – channeling my 13 yr old self from the school lunch line.

(Much like my 13 year old self I was praying this didn’t come to fisticuffs because if someone hit me in the face I would probably cry and that would just be sad for everyone involved. )

The brothers just looked at me quizzically, as if they didn’t understand what could possibly be bothering me.

“Seriously guys. That really is not going to happen.” I looked down at Ellis. She was standing next to me, arms crossed and shaking her head. She had my back.

We were saved the hilarity of me trying to fight when the guys stepped aside and decided to just screw over the people in line behind me.

Anybody who says they have faith in humanity hasn’t spent any time in the line for Winnie the Pooh.

At “Its A Small World” I wanted to explain to Ellis the not so subtle racism in the stereotypical figurines. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop staring at the spectacular rack on the Indian mom seated in front of us or thinking lewd thoughts about 2 middle aged Asian women dressed as mini-skirted ” sexy Minnie Mouses”.

I decided I should probably save my discussion of racism and sexism for a time when my soul was a little less unclean.

As dusk approached and the drizzle intensified my sister and mother and I began looking for excuses to leave. It seemed a judicious time to introduce my child to strategic lying.

“Well it looks like you’ve been on every ride Ellis, good job” my sister said.

“Every one!” Ellis replied. “What about TomorrowLand? And the Castle?!”

“Sadly closed” I said. “They got wet.”

We both watched as a 300 pound man waddled by, chewing on a huge hunk of meat-on-a-stick as his 300 pound wife struggled to keep up in her Rascal scooter.

“Ew!” Ellis said.

“Yeah” I said.

“Let’s go home” Ellis said.

“If you insist” I answered.

Another impossibly cheerful teen intercepted us on the way out and asked if we had any comments on our experience.

“It was fun” Ellis said. “But a little bit funny smelling”.

The End



ELLIS GOES TO THE SALON (for the first time)

26 12 2014








Ellis Goes to Boston (again)

3 12 2014









Goldfish Tales

28 09 2014

“Goldfish don’t bounce.”
-Bart Simpson

Ellis came home with a goldfish. I was pretty sure this wouldn’t end well.

She named her “Goldie” because she is creative like that. How the fish was determined to be a female remains unclear to me but Ellis is pretty sure on this point.

Goldie doesn’t look so good. She is in one of those plastic bags they come in from the Fair.

Her eyes are glazed and she keeps making that “O” shape with her mouth. Ellis insists she is talking and that she can understand her.

If Goldie could be understood I think she would be saying “Just kill me now – please!”.

Fish from the Fair are the lowest rung on the fish social ladder. To keep their little kid fish from misbehaving mommy fish tell them “Act right or I will let them take you to the FAIR”. The Fair is the aquatic equivalent of human trafficking.

Ellis made me go the the pet store to get fish food and a bowl. Goldie waited in the car while Ellis perused other, better, fish. She is fickle like that.

She also checked out a hamster and a few birds. She wants our house to become a menagerie. We have an ongoing disagreement on this point. In the end she just had Goldie.

Goldie made the transition to her new bowl. It was decorated by Ellis with a couple of rocks from the yard and one of her toy Octonauts (Professor Inkling if you are interested). Goldie sort of just drifted down to the bottom – fish food sinking by her face like snowflakes.

There are all these little things that our kids pick up from us. Little expressions and turns of phrase that we use without thinking. Like when Ellis was at school last week – she sneezed and passed gas at the same time and told her teacher “It’s ok – I just snarted.” Stuff like that.

Currently Ellis has picked up the tag line “That is NOT good” from somewhere. Okay – it’s from me.

I have always used it with a touch of sarcasm or irony or maybe understatement – say on seeing the Ray Rice video or maybe after paying to stream Lindsay Lohan in “The Canyons” – That is NOT good.

Ellis is more literal with her usage.

If I hear a glass smash on the floor or a bookshelf topple over it is usually followed by a (surprisingly deadpan and low key) “That is NOT good” emanating from my little terror.

The other night I was laying in bed and she ran and dove on me to give me a hug – her knee driving straight into my groin.

“That is NOT good” she said as I rolled around and cussed.

Or when we were at the park among a small crowd and I was wearing shorts and she insisted I carry her somewhere on my back. As she tried to get down her foot caught my waistband and pulled those shorts and my undies all the way to my knees.

“That is NOT good” she said.

Goldie was hanging on through day 2 – barely.

“I think she is very tired” said Ellis.

“I think she isn’t long for this world” I said. I’m a comforting Dad like that.

This morning Ellis went to check on her fish.

“That is NOT good” she said.

Goldie was floating on her side having finally given in to fate. I had troubling little visions of a hysterical breakdown from Ellis. I had even more troubling visions of me trying to keep an appropriately straight face through some sort of elaborate fish burial ritual.

“We can bury her when I get home tonight” I said in my best fake concerned adult voice.

Ellis thought for a second then pointed to the sink in the kitchen. “The gaw-bage disposal. That will be faster. ” she said.

And that is where Goldie went.

We had a moment of silence – but just a moment. “Ok Dad – can we go to the pet store later and get a new Goldie?”

That’s my girl.

The End

Ellis Is A Soccer Star

24 09 2014