Notes from Leap Day, 2008

Hi again, Chandler here writing on Leap Day, Feb. 29, 2008.

Some of our customers are still buried in snow. Bennett, who writes many of our scripts and is the Gecko’s voice, reports his Mom is expecting to be snowed in New England this weekend by another blizzard. March will come in like a lion. But the funny thing is other customers are feeling a Spring awakening already. My kids here in California just got the season’s first grass stains on their pants yesterday playing in the yard. If any of you reading this have a good inexpensive remedy for removing grass stains, please write in and let me know it!

My youngest, Cooper, has been speaking in sentences since the New Year began (thanks to those of you who asked after him), and my second, Ollie, tells me he will grow up to be the doctor for the whole city. He has the kind of personality that makes me believe he probably will. Otis, my oldest,  seems inclined toward Rock Star. What are your kids interested in? Write in and let us know. HAPPY LEAP DAY!

How do they do it? What’s their secret?

Every year, the Cooke-Chandler clan gathers for the annual Christmas family photo. Many of our freinds and family ask about the process of this photo. So, the following is a behind the scene look at the Organizational genus of the Cooke-Chandler Matriarch team leadership. In this scene, displaying calm in the center of the storm, Chandler, entering from the right and Brenda, my wife, seated center, discuss what needs to happen next. Allen Cooke, Chandler’s brother, standing top left, studies last year’s photo and discusses with Pat Chandler, Chandler’s husband, to his left, how it should really unfold. Me, Bob Cooke, Chandler’s dad, seated center, seem to be talking to an empty space in the chair. Please notice that no one seems to be paying attention to the Patriarch side of the Cooke-Chandler leadership. Humm, wonder why?

Post Christmas Post

It’s a lazy day after Christmas.  The kids are  busy, busy, busy with all their loot, people are grazing on Christmas left overs, I’m returning customer support calls. Then the baby gets sick and throws up all over his bed. We assemble a crisis team. Hubby hands out plastic gloves; I strip baby down and bath him in the laundry room sink.  Hubby takes the crib apart, hand washes everything and starts the first of five loads for the washer.  An hour later, baby is clean, happy and eating a cracker.  Then, he throws up again…and again.

After a second round of commando cleanup, the Christmas Honeybaked ham isn’t looking so good. Happily I put it back in the fridge and opt for some water.

My other two sons are still in their pajamas  – a luxury that only happens a few days a year when a family of five has no place to be.  After four hours of Guitar Hero, I decide the ten year old needs a break.  I have a few hundred hours of arcade games behind me.  That’s right, I tell my son and nephew, I had to put a quarter in for every single game I played and I played A LOT.  “That’s lame,” one replies unsympathetically.  They don’t know who their dealing with. I slip the strap over my shoulder and choose  “Rock Me All Night Long”.  The kids start snickering. Strumming proves to be a bit of a challenge but I’m getting the hang of it, I think, until I am being booed off Guitar Hero’s stage.  The sting is real as my laughing ten-year old son takes the guitar back to start his hundredth song. He strums it like a pro hitting every note perfectly. I vow to practice when the kids are sleeping.
With the baby back in bed safely, with lots of clothes and no covers (five loads from vomit and five normal family loads are my limit), I  move on to try the three-year old’s toys.  Sesame Street games, building sets, train sets and more train stuff; I’m already bored.  You do have to fake it until you make it when you have Thomas the Train fans in the house.  I start drooling worse than my toddler, who drooled worse than a Saint Bernard.

I’m yearning to try Guitar Hero again.  Of course I’ll have my spotlight alone tonight when the kids are passed out from the results of hyper consumerism.  The moonlight is here and the family room is getting ready for Mama’s descent into Rock stardom. Of course that’s assuming the baby is sleeping soundly too.