July 11, 2007

Milking the birthday cow

In case you hadn't heard, Stew had a birthday last month (June 25th to be exact). There are quite a few important people who share June 25th as a birth date: George Orwell, Phyllis George, George Michael and Jimmy "J.J." Walker. And, I'd probably get an earful if I failed to mention my Uncle Frannie. A verbal restraining order from Frannie prevents me from using his real name on this blog, but his initials are also "J.J.", which is sort of creepy. What's with all the George's and J.J.'s being born on the 25th of June? Anyway, Stew and Frannie were born on the same day... at the same hospital... in the same room... but to different mothers. Back in those days, their moms shared the room. I dare anyone to ask either fella to tell you the tale of their bazaar friendship growing up together in Pierre, SD, as an outgrowth of this happenstance. They seem to constantly rip on each other, yet they are strangely close. It would also seem to me that God was running low on "quality" on June 25, 1968, but it appears Stew got what good looks, brains, charm and athletic ability God was handing out that day (relative to Uncle Frannie, that is). I can tell you Frannie was a decent wrestler in high school. Oh, and he once dated a sexy number from Brazil or Peru or someplace warm and exotic... she could've been one of them there he-she's from Thailand for all I know, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, to celebrate his 39th birthday in style, Stew somehow managed to milk three separate birthday festivi (I'm sure this is the plural form of "festivus"). The first party took place at The Karl Invitational Croquet & Lawn Golf Tournament in Waubun, MN, over the June 23rd weekend. In true Stew fashion, he showed up with a couple (gluten-free) cakes, demanding that everyone in attendance recognize his birthday and wish him well. Incidentally, if you live in Minneapolis and are looking for a FABULOUS gluten-free and low-glycemic baked good, then please check out Madwoman Bakeshop & Foodery (http://www.madwomanfoods.com/). The Peter Karl family even provided a sign for our tent, as well as a Dwight Schrute for President 2008 t-shirt (I don't have a picture of the t-shirt, so I'm posting a pin instead). Additionally, Stew was surprised with two magazine subscriptions from The Erickson Clan... one to Bon Appetit and the other to Cooking with Paula Deen. For those who don't know, Paula Deen is always on the Food Network cooking with tubs of mayonnaise and pounds of butter... right up Stew's alley. So, needless to say, Stew made out like a bandit in that he was not expecting any gifts. His only mission was to force his friends into honoring the date of his birth.

Upon return home from The Invitational, we had Sunday evening dinner with the notorious Johnson Family from Chicago. The family is comprised of Momma's cousin Jane, her hubby Scott (aka SexyFatDad101), and the three "hitmen": Spencer, Blake and Nash. I'm starting to believe that all little boys who visit this house are given instructions to chase me and attempt to capture my tail. I'm not sure what they plan to do with my tail IF they were to catch it, but I'm not about to find out. Anyway, another unexpected surprise presented itself to Stew when The Johnsons gave him two books - a David Sedaris book (the greatest writer ever), plus an Al Franken book (that Stew plans to send to his mom after he has finished reading it... even though she'll likely use it as a coaster rather than actually reading it). One thing Stew DID plan for this dinner was to have Aunt Karen bring a German Chocolate cake (this is not an actual photo of the cake, but it will do). Somehow I think Stew knew there would be leftover cake and that Aunt Karen would "suggest" that Stew just keep the extra pieces of cake for himself. Of course, he'd have to somehow manage to keep Momma away from the leftover cake, so Stew licked every single piece while standing in front of her. It was gross, but it worked. For that, I applaud Stew's ingenuity... no matter how disgusting.

On July 4th, Aunt Veronica and Uncle Mattie showed up with their weiners - Theo and Tucker (http://www.weinerdograces.com/). So, since the Fargonians were in town, Stew decided it would be an appropriate time for another modest gathering so people who had not yet had the opportunity to toast him would have the chance to do so... although "roast" is a more appropriate term. Knowing how much Stew and I love cats, Aunt Dee (Rosemount) showed up with a huge Hello Kitty balloon, complete with Hello Kitty bubble necklace party favors (to be used at a yet to be determined future party), a Hello Kitty tiara, and a t-shirt with flying monkeys on it (with the phrase, It's all fun & games until the flying monkeys attack). I couldn't find a picture of the t-shirt on the web, so I'm posting this monkey with a rocket strapped to his back instead. Either way, flying monkeys are evil. Another guest, Newman, gave Stew a t-shirt that had an educational message: Don't swallow your gum. Apparently there was a sale on young men's tee shirts at Kohl's Department Store this past week... Nonetheless, Stew loves his tee shirts, especially now that he doesn't have to wear a shirt and tie to work everyday. Although, it would be nice to see him dress up every now and again instead of prancing around the house in his Fruit-of-the-Loom tighty whities (with ginormous holes in them... and I'm not talking about the holes through which he puts his legs). Anyway, in addition to the tee shirts, Stew also received a VERY nice bottle of Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey from The Rios Gang... and if Grandpa Bob happens to read this blog entry, there's a good chance Stew will be required to share said bottle with Bob on his next visit (Bob -- this stuff is smooooth... notice how the bottle cap is sealed with melted wax, which must be a sure sign of goodness). And, our family also received some fresh ears of corn from The Tufvander Trio (Wally, Shannon and Luke). Luke is just a few months older than Claire, and boy can that guy move. He was walkin' all over the place, and I think I even heard him singing a Johnny Cash tune. "What about dessert, Bogey" you ask? Well, since Stew didn't line up anybody to bake him a cake, he bought $1.75 worth of Little Debbie snacks and called it his "White Trash Dessert Tray." All in all, it was a very nice evening, except for the broken air conditioner and the 101 degree temperature outside... So, Stew went to the basement to get his industrial fan, which he placed in the living room so all the hot air coming from Uncle Kermit's mouth would circulate through the kitchen and out the back window. Regardless, it was still very warm in our house, and Kermit's stories just kept flowin'.

Luckily, after Newman arrived, we learned that he's not only just a food chemist by day, but he's also an A/C repair guy by night. Additionally, he's a responsible member of the golf community, as well as a Jedi Knight, so the guy has a lot going for him. The Jedi picture is not Newman, but the resemblance is uncanny. So, he and Stew disassembled the A/C unit and sprayed it with the garden hose. Very technical work. They re-assembled the unit and only had three screws left over when they finished... which is par for the course whenever Stew's involved on a project. Whatever they did worked, and the house returned to a brisk 72 degrees. Unfortunately for the few guests, this didn't happen until about 4AM the next morning. Fortunately for us, everybody left before midnight!

Well, ever since Claire learned to crawl, it's my job to keep track of her whereabouts while Stew naps or watches his stories downstairs. So, I need to go find what piece of furniture she's managed to crawl into or under and pull her out to safety. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from this past week...

[LEFT] Stew modeling his Hello Kitty tiara with Claire and me
[RIGHT] Claire models her "Cutie on Duty" onesy that Aunt Dee (Florida) sent

[LEFT] Claire helping her Papa with the laundry
[RIGHT] Claire and I model more Hello Kitty crap from Aunt Dee (Rosemount)

[BELOW] Total humiliation


Duane's Depressed 8:13 PM  


You mentioned that Stew and Frannie had different Mothers. Did they have different Fathers? This is an important question that needs to be answered.

Also, do you know that Carly Simon of "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you" fame was born on June 25th? Given that, who is more vain, Stew, Frannie, or Benham?

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Commentary from a stay-at-home dad on daily happenings and misadventures while helping raise a wonderful little girl. The goal is to employ wit, sarcasm and/or humor to make the blog pseudo-entertaining. Then again, setting goals never really worked for me, but maybe you'll chuckle anyway.

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