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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme is ‘Threshold’.  The idea may be to add in a philosophical note with the photo, something about how the photo is a metaphor for something else,  view to a new beginning or something like that.  I don’t have anything very philosophical to add this week, nothing about how being a ‘Stay at Home Dad’ has changed my outlook, or the idea that I’ll be entering a new phase soon as Mr. C enters kindergarten in the Fall.  All I have is a very literal contribution, it’s an actual threshold on my workbench.

Two years ago, we had our bathroom floor redone.  As a result of the new tile having a different height than the old linoleum, the old threshold no longer fits in the same spot.  The floor guy was skilled enough to be able to take out the threshold in one piece though.  It wouldn’t take much work to get it back in to the same spot, I just need to remove a bit from the bottom.  I’ll probably need a special router bit to do it. Have I been able to make any progress at all on this project in the past two years ?   No.    I’ve been working on plenty of other things though, this is just getting pushed further and further down the big list of things to do around the house.

Oh well, that’s what it’s like having an old house. I think ‘replace the threshold to the bathroom’ is number 174 on the big list of things to do around the house.  Or maybe it’s just being too exhausted chasing after the 4 year old most of the time that I haven’t done this yet, which may qualify as the philosophical portion of the post after all.



Before and After

I hardly ever post anything about the differences I see between what it’s like being a ‘Stay at Home Dad’ versus a ‘Stay At Home Mom’. I’m sure that one of them is that I don’t really feel as though I’m contributing a whole lot to the “household”. Sure, I do laundry, and vacuum, and all sorts of other cleaning, but it’s not the same as working. So, I do home improvement projects instead. My former work was very much project based, so I’m sure I miss the sense of completion that I’d get when a big project was finished. So now, I have a substitute with all the home improvement things I do. It’s definitely different than finishing vacuuming the house. I know that in a few days, I’ll have to vacuum again, especially since we have two cats that shed a lot of cat hair and track kitty liter all over the place. While once a home improvement project is finished it stays done for a long, long time. Very satisfying for a former project manager type person like me.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how starting one home improvement project just leads to another one. So I’ll just show off one completed project. Our pantry cabinet doors were badly in need of refinishing, and some of the knobs were missing as well. So here’s the before photos:






And here’s the after photo. These are the same doors, with new knobs, cleaned up, washed, sanded, and stained, and finished.

Yeah, a completed project!



Who wants more pie ?

When I pick Mr. C up from his preschool class one of the teachers will help him get into the car and give a quick run down of what they did that day. It’s usually standard preschool things like ‘We talked about the letter ‘D’ today!’.

This past Friday when I picked him up, the teacher said that they talked about Thanksgiving and how it’s a good idea not to eat too much pie since pie is a ‘sometimes food’. I was too shocked to think of anything to say at the time, but as we drove away I told Mr. C that Thanksgiving was the one day a year when he could have as much pie as he wanted. That’s the tradition of Thanksgiving, everyone in the US sits down with their family for a multi-course meal, at which they eat as much as they possibly can. Once they have eaten to the point of bursting, we all sit around and watch either a football game, a classic movie, or a parade. Only some of us will really be following whatever it is we’re watching, we’re either falling asleep from eating all that turkey or talking to relatives we haven’t seen all year. That’s Thanksgiving.

He has some kind of Thanksgiving party at preschool this week where each student is supposed to bring in some kind of “Healthy Food” to share with the class. I should send him in with a couple of pies.



Recycling Art

Amy had a post on her  Share and Connect blog about artists using recycled material to create new artworks.  I made a comment about how we will sometimes  use old metal containers for some art projects for our 4 year old and Amy asked to see what we’ve been up to, so here are some examples.

Believe me, these are not nearly as artistic as what she included in her post,  but at least it keeps a busy 4 year old occupied on rainy days! For some much more impressive works, check out her post as well!

Here’s a McCann’s Oatmeal container that Mr. C painted.  My recycling urge just can’t resist doing something with a container like this, just can’t throw one of these metal canisters away!    We use the painted one to store raisins now.


Here’s an Illy coffe container that we painted in a variety of blue and green colors.  Mr. C uses this one to store the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that we lost the box for.


Here’s a small metal box that Mr.C painted, inside and out.


Here’s what the inside looks like.  He calls it “The Nature Box”,  he puts anything interesting that he finds from the forest in the box,  the current occupants are a small pile of leaves.


One more,  here’s a tomato can which Mr. C wanted to turn into a candle holder.  We filled up the empty can with water, put it in the freezer, then punched holes in the sides with a hammer and nail, and then painted the outside of the can in various reds, yellows and orange paint colors.  The frozen block of water is supposed to make it easier to punch holes in the can, I’m not so sure that’s really necessary, but it does make it more fun for a four year old to see what happens to a frozen block of ice when it’s struck several times with a nail.


And here it is with the candle lit:


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.