Missing: Sharkie



One of Mr. C’s favorite toys is a small Lego shark. It came as an accessory of their Coast Guard helicopter set. It’s less than two inches long, white, with a mouth that can open and be made to bite Dada’s finger if he holds it out when instructed by Mr. C. He sometimes puts it in his pocket and will sometimes show it to people he meets. ‘I have a shark!’ Not very often, maybe twice a month or so. I usually don’t even know when he has it.

Yesterday C, Ms. J, and I all took a trip to a local playground. It’s not the closest playground to us, but it’s the largest in the area, about a fifteen minute drive away. Since it was a sunny and warm day, it was packed with kids. While he was running around, I saw him take the little shark out of his pocket and show it to a little girl. He’s on his way to being quite the flirt, he’ll start off with something like ‘Wow, you’re shoes are sparkly!’, and then move on to ‘I have a pet shark!’, and then ‘Let’s play tag!’.

‘Oh, he has the shark with him’ I thought. I try to monitor when he has it since I’m sure he would be very upset if he ever lost it. ‘I’ll have to make sure he holds onto that!’ Since he was running around so much, I didn’t get a chance to see if he had put it back in his pocket though.

Ms J and I ended up being recruited to play ‘trolls’ so we ran around chasing a bunch of the kids around the slides and swings. After an hour or so of running around with a number of kids, C was looking exhausted, so we made our way out to run a few errands. I may have been more exhausted than he was though. That was quite a bit more running around than I had expected to do. We then went to the supermarket, and a craft store to pick up some supplies for a project C wanted to work on. Then it was back home.

On the way home, C asked from the backseat. ‘So, where is ‘Sharkie’, Dada?’

‘ I thought you had him.’

‘We’ll look for him under the car seat when we get home’ Ms. J said. ‘Maybe you just dropped him in the car when you got in.’

I look in the rearview mirror, and see his expression change to one of utter sadness. His shoulders slump, he lets out a huge sigh and is quiet for the rest of the trip.

When we get home, we search the car. Under the seat. Under his car seat. Under the front seat. Even looking in the trunk in the mistaken belief that we had opened the trunk at some point when we were leaving the playground.

I remember losing favorite toys like that when I was a kid, and how upsetting it was. Where was I last?, where did I put it?, maybe I left it at a friend’s house?

One memorable incident was a lost Matchbox car I had been playing with in my backyard when I was about seven. Days later I remembered where it might be. Down a drainpipe next to the basement. I told my Dad where I thought it might be and he went out to the pipe with a small magnet tied to a string and fished the car out of the drain. There were plenty of other times though when my Dad would just say ‘Oh well, you just have to watch where you put your toys’, in his best ‘Let this be a lesson for you’ tone.

We go inside the house and check C’s pockets. Front and back pockets of his pants. Nope, no sharkie. Mr. C slumps down onto the sofa. ‘Oh well, Sharkie is gone, I guess’.

J and I review our steps. Did C have it when we were in the supermarket, or in the craft store. No, we didn’t see him with it when we were in either store, it must be in the playground.

So, should I go with the ‘Let this be a lesson for you’ solution or should I be inspired by my Dad’s search with the string and magnet. I decide to go with the string and magnet solution and drive back to the playground to begin the most likely futile search for the 2 inch long sharkie.

I search and search the playground. Under slides, under swings, under trees, in the grass, in the woodchips, outside the gate, in the parking lot. No sharkie. Sharkie is gone. I think I looked for it about a half hour in the playground and another fifteen minutes or so in the parking lot.

By now I have been away for more than hour. When I arrive back home, C is making a ‘Missing’ poster that we’ll put up at the playground tomorrow.

Here it is. There’s a picture of the shark, with small tabs that we would write our phone number on for people to call with information.



Ms. J can see from my expression that I have not had any luck with the search. C is still sad, but he’s more interested in making the poster than he is in being upset. Ms. J has a new idea that should help in the search, maybe C can trace his steps and remember where he dropped it.

‘Hey, where did you put Sharkie after you showed it to that little girl’ Ms. J asks.

‘I gave it to Dada to hold onto so I wouldn’t loose it, and he put it in his pocket’

I checked my pockets… and there it was.

Spongebob’s New Foot

I wrote a post about poor Mr.
Spongebob’s broken foot a few days ago. Thanks to the superior creative mind of Ms. J, he now has a choice of three new ones.

A big purple boot:


A red elf shoe.


A blue high heel shoe.


You may have also noticed that his nose is broken too. That could be the next project.

Ow, where’s my foot ?

Ow, where’s my foot ?

Some time ago, I wrote a post about how organized I was with Mr. C’s toys. This parenting thing is easy, I wrote, how can someone not be organized, I know where everything is. That was when he was much younger, his toys had fewer parts, and they were much larger parts so small children could not choke on them. Now though, the number of toys has increased, and the number of parts has exploded. I am no longer at all organized, I can’t even find that old post much less locate specific parts for his toys. I know, he should learn how to keep track of his own things. He does to a certain extent, but I think that if I can help locate things then I will.

So I started filling up a bureau drawer with the random bits and pieces I came across on the floor, behind furniture, stuck between the radiator fins, or anywhere else I might find things. I thought I would then take some time and then find where the piece belongs and put it back with its matching set or do some repair work if needed. But I hardly ever actually do that. Partly because I don’t end up having any time to do that, but mostly it’s because I usually can’t find the matching toy the broken bit goes to anyway. At some point I’ll just have to go through that drawer, sort it out, and probably throw out most of those little bits. He’ll most likely be in high school by the time I get around to doing that.

Mr. C almost always does not get upset when he comes across something that is broken. So it’s not as though I’m keeping these parts around to stop a potential tantrum. I suppose I’m keeping them since I like a mystery, or solving a puzzle. Or maybe it’s just my frugal nature and I can’t bear to think that something is not being used to its full potential. Aha, here’s that missing truck tire! Now we can get that farm set going again, with this missing tractor tire we’ll have the farm set up and running in no time!

Of the parts I find, I’d say that I end up making a match back to the toy 10% of the time. The rest of the time I have no idea where the part is supposed to go. Here’s an example; what is this, looks like a glove. Where does it go, I have no idea. Should I keep it ? Will Mr. C be upset when he comes across his hand-less figure ?


Or this? Looks like a part of a farm gate, or maybe a truck gate. Is the truck it goes with still around ? I have no idea.


Does this go with the piece above ? Looks similar.


I know what this is. It’s a hand from a Lego person. Somewhere there is a Lego person with one hand.


Ms. J has a slightly different policy regarding these toy parts. She doesn’t think its crazy of me to try to keep these random bits aside, but if there is a ‘clunk clunk’ sound when she is vacuuming she will continue with the vacuuming. Oh well, bye bye Lego hand. I however will scan the floor beforehand to see if there’s anything around. If it’s completely unidentifiable, off it goes into the vacuum. But if it looks like it could be fixed, I’ll set it aside. And I do admit that I have opened up the vacuum, taken out the bag and searched for a piece that I have sucked up. Yes, that is a little crazy, I know. I can’t say that Ms. J’s policy is completely wrong, especially since the drawer of broken toys that I’ve picked up, aka the ‘mystery drawer’, is now overflowing and I have trouble closing it.

I will sometimes be able to fix a broken piece, and Mr. C will be thrilled that the toy is restored. Hooray, hooray, he’ll shout. However, an unintended consequence of this is that Mr. C assumes that I can fix anything. While vacuuming a few days ago I came across a little black piece of plastic. It was about the size of a raisin cut in half. Kind of looked like a raisin cut in half too. What is this, I asked Mr. C. Normally, it would have fallen into the ‘completely unidentifiable’ category and I would have let it go up the vacuum tube. To my surprise, he knew exactly what it was. That’s Spongebob’s foot, he said.

He has a Spongebob Squarepants keychain which he likes to use to pretend to lock the door when we go out. He found it and showed me where the missing foot was supposed to be.

You can fix it, Dada!, he said.

Here he is, sans foot.


Maybe as an added incentive to get me to fix it, he started to have the little figure walk around. ‘Ow, my foot is gone, ow, ow, where’s my foot ?’ he would say.

Whenever he wants to have me fix something he will suggest I use Gorilla Glue. It’s a brand of glue that uses a gorilla as their mascot. It works on everything. Everything except a tiny Spongebob leg that is about the size of a strand of spaghetti.

“Try Monkey Head Glue!” he shouts


What if we put a bandage on his leg ? I asked him.

How will he drive his car ? he answered.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

I was going to skip this week’s photo challenge since I don’t have a lot of photos that feature orange, but it is Fall in New England and there’s still a few trees with spectacular foliage around. So here’s at least a couple of photos featuring orange.

Why orange ? I’m not sure I noticed until someone asked our son what his favorite color was. He said ‘Mine is red, and Dada’s is orange!’ That came as kind of a surprise, but I think he’s right. Fall is the best season here in New Hampshire, and it’s the best season to see some orange outside.

I took these two photos this past Sunday while we went apple picking at a local farm.


On one side of the small parking lot at the far was the tree pictured above, on the other side was the farm stand and its rows of pumpkins.


Maybe Mr. C said my favorite color is orange since I will often wear this orange T-shirt when I do home improvement projects. It must be about 15 years old now, covered with splatters of various paint colors, though it is still mostly orange. It’s on it’s last legs, but it’ll still take a few large holes in it for me to get rid of it.


One more story about the color orange:

A few years ago, Ms. J was looking for a new bike. She spent quite a few months comparing features, reading reviews, checking web sites for design features. Finally she picked a bike she thought would be a good fit for her needs. She called a local bike store to check if they had the model she was looking for, they did. So off we went to the bike store to test it out. She tried it out on the road and it did turn out to be a great choice. We went back into the store and I happened to see an orange Bianchi bicycle. Bianchi bikes are usually a striking light green color, similar to but not quite the same as the color Tiffany uses. But this one was different, it was orange.

‘Will that be all ?” the bike sales person asked.

“I’ll try out that Bianchi over there.” I said.

After doing absolutely no research, no checking of reviews, no checking of web sites for its design features, I bought the orange Bianchi bike.

Ok, so I guess orange really is my color.

Here it is, in the garage now since the season is unfortunately over now that we’re into October.


One of these things is not like the others

One of the things that Mr. C likes doing is painting. Wether it is on a big sheet of paper or a block of wood. Some time ago, he told me that he wanted to try to paint some of his Matchbox cars. ‘They need a fresh coat’ he says.

Since I’m always on the lookout for something new to do I thought ‘Sure, why not, let’s paint some of your Matchbox cars’. We have a set of acrylic paints that are designed for kids, they’re water based and are great for painting on paper. For some reason crazy reason, I thought it would be a good idea to try to find paint that was made for metal. Why I thought this would be a good idea, I have no clue now, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. I guess I thought the water based acrylics would just get scratched off of the little cars since he uses them so often. I had no idea if there was even paint available that was made for metal that was also water based, but I thought it would be worth a look.

So, Mr. C and I took a trip to the local hobby store. This hobby store was one of those stores that specialize in things like radio control airplane kits, plastic car model kits, model train accessories and things like that. Not really a toy store, this is a store for people who know what they’re doing regarding this type of hobby. So I asked if they had any special paint for metal that was water based. To my surprise, the owner was happy to direct us to a large rack of hundreds of tiny bottles of paint. All water based. I picked out seven or eight and off we went. We’ve used them a few times, with great results.

We’ve had great results up until now, though we had not used all of the colors yet. Here are some of the bottles below. Can you see any difference between any of these bottles ?


Ok, so it might be obvious now, but I didn’t see it when I bought them. The bottle on the left, the bottle of red paint, has a different label, it’s a silver label instead of white. Why is it silver instead of white ? That’s because it’s oil based paint, not water based. This is the color that we had not used yet.

I realized the red paint was oil based as Mr. C was painting his ‘Lightning McQueen’ car on the kitchen table. (Yes, this one is not a Matchbox car, as anyone with a toddler will know. This is a somewhat more expensive tie in to the Disney movie ‘Cars’. Mr. C thought he could use a new coat of red paint. He even went so far as to cut out tiny pieces of masking tape to make sure the windshield would not get paint on it)

As he was putting on the finishing touches he says ‘This paint is very sticky’. ‘Ok, well we’ll just wash it off after we’re done’ I say. He’s old enough now that I trust him to be able to wash his hands by his self, so I send him off to the bathroom. After a much longer than usual time in there, he comes back into the kitchen to let me know that the red paint does not come off. He said this as he was rubbing his hands on his shirt and paints.

The bathroom is on the second floor. To get to the bathroom from the kitchen you have to go through the dining room, through the living room, up the stairs, through a hallway, and then into the bathroom. I forget exactly what I said when I suddenly pictured all the things that are on the way to the bathroom. Maybe it was “Yikes”, or “Ackk”, something like that. After he said “Crisis Sakes” a few times a few months ago, I resolved to try not to swear, so I don’t think I swore, I could be wrong though.

I managed to get the paint off his hands after about fifteen minutes of cleaning. His shirt and pants though will just have to have red smears on them.

Here’s what also had red paint spots. This was a few days ago, and we’re still finding more red spots on things.

– Kitchen table

– Kitchen chairs

– Kitchen floor

– Two coffee cups – (these might have been my fault)

– Three plates

– Stairway wall

– Three bathroom towels

– Bathroom sink

Most of the paint comes off, with a rag and some thinner, though we might still have some spots on the towels.

The car looks nice though. That’s some high quality paint, it’s never coming off that little car. You’d think that after all that work to get the car painted that I’d at least have a photo of the car, but no, it has gone missing just like the train. Maybe they’ll both turn up under a radiator some day.

Update: We found the car!


Mystery Train

How can an entire train engine go missing ?

For Mr. C’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, we bought him a Brio remote control train engine.  He already has a big box of wooden tracks and a variety of other engines, ramps, bridges, and tunnels.  So we thought this would be a good addition.  He can use a hand held remote to make the engine move forward and backward, and turn on its lights and have it make a whistle sound.

He played with it for about two days before the engine disappeared.   We still had the remote, but could not find the engine.  We looked everywhere.  Under beds, under chairs, in the basement, under radiators, in the closets.  This is a house that is filled with stuff.  It’s not as though it’s too messy, it’s just packed as full as it can be.  Ms. J and I got together when we were well into adulthood, so when we combined all of our stuff we ended up with two of everything.  Not just two of every kitchen item, like having two blenders and two coffee pots,  but also two of each piece of furniture.  We’ve been slowly paring down all this excess stuff, but it’s still a pretty packed house here.  So to look for anything that is lost can turn into a major project involving emptying out closets that are filled with boxes and looking under beds around more boxes.   We looked and looked, but  it was gone.    We still had the remote, but not the engine.

Then the engine appeared.  It was just sitting on the carpet in the living room one morning as if it had just been used. How did it get there ?   Did the cat take a joy ride in the middle of the night ?

Problem was that  now the remote had disappeared.  We looked everywhere again.  Under beds, under chairs, in the basement, under the radiators, in closets.  Now we had the engine, but no remote control.

I then lost track of the engine and it too went missing again.

A few days later the remote appeared under a bookcase.  Where did that come from ?

Since his birthday two weeks ago, he’s been able to play with the train for about 45 minutes.   Now it’s been about a week since we saw the engine last.  I’m trying to keep the remote in a safe place, and I’m watching the cat.

I’m sure it will turn up again,  most likely 10 years from now when Mr. C is a teenager



Top of the Charts

As the aging hipster that I am, I consider it my responsibility to expose Mr. C to all the best music out there.  Raffi is perfectly fine, but what else can we listen to ?

Here’s what Mr. C is listening to this week. It’s the ‘Aba Dabba Do Dance’ by The Coctails. I know it’s a cover of a song first recorded sometime in the 50’s, but I’m not sure who originally performed the song.

The lyrics are pretty much three lines “Clap your hands, stomp your feet, Aba Dabba Dabba Do !!! ”

Last week while he was listening to this song, clapping his hands and stomping his feet as instructed by the singer, I heard a loud crash from the basement. The stomping caused two fluorescent light bulb tubes to shake out of their fixtures in the basement, crashing to the concrete floor below. Getting tiny shards of glass all over the floor.

This never happened with Raffi.  Being a hipster parent is expensive.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

It’s been raining here in New Hampshire off and on for the past two weeks now.  Mr. C was going stir crazy with staying in the house so much. So what do I do when we finally get some sunny skies ?  I take him to the playground.

Seems as though one of the differences between Stay at Home Dads and Stay at Home Moms might be the ability to do some advanced planning.  Once we arrived at the playground I wondered why there was only one other car there, usually the parking lot has ten or so cars in it no matter what time of day it is.

Then when we get into the enclosed playground area I realize why there is only one other car there.  The playground is surrounded by at least 4 inches of water.  It looked like the other car belonged to another Dad, as he was on his way out with a very wet toddler in tow.

Taking Mr. C to a playground means there is no way we’re leaving without playing at least for a few minutes, no matter what the conditions are.  So I reluctantly tried to steer him towards the one swing that appeared to have dry wood chip below it, but that didn’t last long.

‘Let’s play boat, Dada!’

He was soon going down the slides, ending up in the water logged wood chips, up to his ankles in water.  Eventually he went down this spiral curvy thing, below.  He’s grabbing a handful of the watery wood chips.  Which I think ended up down the back of my shirt.

Here he is Captain of the S.S. Playground.


Lost in the Seattle Zoo

Seattle Zoo Security Employee:   “How old is the missing person ?”

Ms. J:  “He’s 47”

Zoo Employee; “Oh…. Ok”

On our recent trip to Seattle we spent an afternoon at the Seattle Zoo.  It’s a much larger zoo than I had expected.  There are large exhibits for elephants, lions, monkeys, birds, a large area devoted to the mammals of the Pacific Northwest, and beautiful zoo architecture throughout. I saw very little of it though.   After about an hour into our visit I got lost.

While we were at the meerkat exhibit, I saw one of those information poles with arrows pointing to a number of other things in the area.  Arrows pointing to where the elephants, lions, birds, food, and rest rooms could be found.  I decided that going to the rest room would be a good idea so I told Ms. J: “I’ll be right back, I’m just going to run over to the rest room.”    At least that’s what I thought I said.  Maybe I was in such a rush that I said it while I was starting to do my run to the rest room, so maybe she didn’t hear me.  What she heard was “I’m going to the restroom”. It will soon become apparent why I  then proceeded to get lost in the zoo for the next two hours.

I had assumed that since everything else on the info pole was nearby, then the rest room must be nearby too.   That turned out to be incorrect.  The restroom the info pole was referring to was all the way at the entrance of the park, about a 1/4 mile away.  Maybe less, I’m not sure, it seemed like a long run to me at the time.  Or it might have just seemed far, because by then, I really did have use the rest room.  So, as I was passing everything else mentioned on the various arrows; elephants, lions, food court, I started to wonder where this bathroom was supposed to be.   After running through what seemed like the whole park, I finally found it, and realized that I was back where we started, at the entrance.

When I exited, I ran back to where we parted, at the meerkat exhibit.  Ms. J and Mr. C were not there.  So I waited, and read all about meerkats, and took a picture of them, and watched them run around their enclosure.  I started to get concerned after about ten minutes.  Took out my cell phone and saw that I had no coverage.  So, I decided to go back to the entrance area.  Maybe they had followed me and thought I was going to meet them there.  I waited around at the vast entrance plaza for a few minutes and started to wonder if they were back at the meerkat exhibit.  So I went back there and wondered why we didn’t have an emergency meet up area planned.   Because we have cell phones, that’s why.

Yes, meerkats, I’m back.  Please stop laughing at me.


When I was a kid, my parents always told me to stay where I was if I got lost.  That always seemed like sound advice.  So maybe it would be a good idea to stay here at the meerkats since that was the last place we were all together.  So I stayed with my new friends, the meerkats.  Did you know that the meerkats are native to the Kalahari Desert regions of Botswana, Namibia, and SouthAfrica.  They have sentries that help to protect their burrows by making calls if a predator approaches. They are very social, with burrows having long histories of meerkat families living in them.  Yes, all very interesting, and all this and more I learned while reading about them at the Seattle zoo over the next hour and a half.  I started to recognize some of them after awhile.

Maybe they went over to see the lion cubs ?  J mentioned that she wanted to see them.  Hmmm… not there.  Maybe they’re back at the entrance.  Now back to the meerkats.

It continued like this for an embarrassingly long time so I went over to a large map of the zoo and decided to plan my next move.  When I turned  around a zoo security man sitting in an SUV called out to me “Does your name happen to be Peter?”   I’m sure that the zoo security had given my disappearance a low priority considering how concerned he looked.   After confirming, to his surprise, that neither my cell phone had service, and that he could not call Ms. J on her cell phone either, he told me where they were and I ran to meet them.  Yes, even though he was in an SUV, I was not offered a ride.  So for the unknown number of times, back to the entrance area I went.

They met me back at the entrance, where we immediately decided to start having a designated meet up spot when we go on one of these outings.  They had been at the entrance area pretty much the whole time.  Seems as though it’s just such a large area that I missed them and they missed me in my journey back and forth between the meerkats and the entrance.

We also discovered that while my parents favored the ‘Stay Put’ plan when lost, her parents favored the ‘Go back to the entrance’ plan.  A plan that I’m not about to disagree with, but one which I had never heard of.  Luckily it was just me who was lost and not Mr. C.

We then went back into town for a delicious meal, and since I had more than my share of exercise for the day, I fell asleep within minutes of returning to the hotel.

Where Did We Go ?

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days since we took an almost vacation trip for close to two weeks.  ‘Almost Vacation’ since the first half of the trip was me and Mr. C tagging along with Ms. J for a conference, and the second half of the trip was to attend the wedding of Ms. J’s sister.

So, where did we go ?  Can anyone guess where we went based on this photo ?


This is a huge fountain that randomly shoots massive jets of water through 40 or so spigots while “world music” plays in the background.   Hours of fun for Mr. C.   I have no idea how many hundreds of times he ran towards the water to see how close he could get without getting wet.   I also have no idea how he was able to not get wet at all, except for his shoes.  I got soaked trying to keep up with him, yet he was completely dry.    How about guessing from this one  below?


Yes, anyone who guessed Seattle would be correct!

A delightful city of wonderful restaurants and a variety of other things to do, especially for kids.   Wish we could have spent more time there, but all we had was 3 days.   So, me and Mr. C spent quite a few hours on the monorail in the mornings, and then we would go over to the “Children’s Museum” for an hour or two before meeting Ms. J for dinner.  I say “Children’s Museum” because as nice as it is, I would not call it a museum, it’s really more like a nice educational indoor playground.  But I guess you can’t really call it the “Seattle Indoor Somewhat Educational Indoor Playground” and still charge $8.25 to get in.

Something else we found out was that Mr. C is starting to not believe us when we make things up like calling it the “Space Noodle” instead of “Space Needle”, and saying that the round thing on top will take off into space once we get out of the elevator.

Our trip was way too short, there’s a lot of things to do and so many great restaurants in Seattle that we wanted to try, but we’ll have to go back some other time.

The rest of our trip was spent in another exotic destination that will have to wait for the next post since I now have to spend the rest of the evening on a call to Southwest Airlines to complain about one of the worst flights back that we’ve ever had.  Which will be great material for another post, but was not so much fun at the time.