Diary of a SAHD: “This is not a rock kicking contest Mr. Linardo.”

And so began my relationship with one William McClory. In 1975 Mr. McClory was a teacher at my grade school, St Vincent de Paul, in Mays Landing New Jersey.  Several years later he became Bill Man, my brother-in-law. Married to my oldest sister Jane, or Jannie Cakes as my brother Tommy refers to her.  Then he became father to my godson, Sean, a great kid.  I’ll save you all the arithmetic, I have 7 brothers and sisters.  I am seventh in line, Jannie Cakes is third and oldest sister of five.  She was 10 years younger than Bill.

In the classroom doing work.

In the classroom doing work.

A year or two after they married, Bill Man became my beach buddy.  I got to spend a week with Bill Man and my sister at their house in Woodbine,  not far from Sea Isle City, NJ.  Osage Ave, as they called the place (this is a south Jersey/Phila reference to the Move org – google it) was a little oasis that summer.

Bill and I would hit the beach around 9:30-10am and pick our spot.  Had the whole joint to ourselves. Then we would mock the shoobies as they trudged onto the beach around 1pm. (shoobies – people from phila so named because they carried all their crap to the beach in shoe boxes in the late 50ies, now it’s just a term of derision)

Bill taught me to surf, we played endless games of horse shoes on the beach and he taught me how to pee in the ocean right before loading up to go home.  Quite possibly the funniest thing he ever did, Bill would put on his visor, sunglasses, pick up his can of coke that was actually rum and coke, and hoof down to the water, going in about waist high.  Then he would stand there, gazing out over the ocean and all of God’s creations with this go to hell stance, hands on hips, head moving slowly back and forth, all the while peeing as if no one knew what he was doing.

No one would mess with him anyway.  He grew up there.  Bill was mayor of that beach.

That one week became a summer ritual almost the entire time I lived in South Jersey.

A graduate of LaSalle College in Philadelphia, an ROTC graduate during the Vietnam era with a extremely high and extremely lucky draft number, Bill spent his life teaching kids in grade school. Hell he taught me a ton.  Not the least of which, it really wasn’t a rock kicking contest.  From that very first encounter in the schoolyard parking lot when I was in third grade, to the last time I saw him on a visit home to Jersey, he was always teaching.

He was cool.  And I miss him. Bill died suddenly this year, way too early.

My life in Knoxville has prevented me from getting home for some major family events.  But missing his funeral hurts the most.

Seems like only yesterday Mr. McClory was coming over to play ice hockey on the lake across the street with my two older brothers.

On the water with his son.  A smile that's hard to forget.

On the water with his son. A smile that’s hard to forget.

Today is Bill Man’s birthday.

No ocean to pee in here in Knoxville Bill Man. But today I taught Frank how to pee outside on a tree.

I’ll be damned if he didn’t put his hands on his hips and slowly look around while he did it.

Diary of a SAHD: Lenny goes to Finland.

When last we spoke, I was regaling you with the story of Lenny the Lamb and our newfound understanding for his importance.  The praying for his eyes to be open, etc… Read it here: She’s Eating Lenny!   I’m not sure if it was entirely clear in the last piece that Lenny is a male of his species.  The name Lenny should make that obvious, but some events have begin to unfold to cast doubt.

The last few trips to the pool Frank wanted Lenny to come along.  I said we can’t take HIM to the pool Frank HE’ll get all wet, and coincidentally much nastier than he is now. “She can stay in the bag Daddy.” That’s a direct quote.  Catch that.  Frank referred to Lenny as SHE.  I said, “Lenny is a he.”  I thought we had gotten past all this pronoun/gender confusion, but it appeared we were back to it.  So Frank says, “Daddy Lambie is a she.”

All this was going on while I was greasing him down with SPF 99 sunscream, as Frank calls it. Well,  greasin him and the ottoman down with SPF 99 sunscream.  In other words I was tiring of this conversation quickly as I thought out my excuses for painting half of the ottoman white with sunscream.  And yeah, I went with blaming it on the kid.  So I thought he was just mumbling when he said Lambie, instead of Lenny.

So the next day we head back to the pool after our round of golf, (yes it has been a great summer so far), the same conversation takes place.  This time it’s obvious he’s not saying Lenny and I ask him why he’s calling Lenny, Lambie. I get nothing.  Kid will talk you to your grave unless you actually want information.  Then he dummies up and you can forget it.  You get nothing but crickets.

A few days later I see Frank watching a cartoon he never liked to watch before.  Doc McStuffins, for the uninitiated, is a little girl who can talk to and do doctorin on toys. She’s not Board Certified mind you, but she hasn’t lost a patient yet, in case you were wondering.  Anyway, as a simple minded man I tend to get engrossed in cartoons quite easily and I settle in for the latest installment.

Lenny now Lambie.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Lenny now Lambie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Five minutes in I see this.  This is Lambie.  Docs assistant. A plush, stuffed, Nurse Practitioner if you will.

Again. I’m simple so it just then dawns on me that Frank has taken up a new cartoon and in the process regendered his best friend Lenny and renamed him…or her, Lambie after a character in the show.

So the good news is Frank is not regressing to a stage where he can’t distinguish between she/he, between boy/girl.

There really is no bad news other than Frank’s lack of awareness in the sacrifice to go from male to female.

Well that and the fact you have to go to Finland to have it done.  That’s to say if you want the state to pay for it. Finland does the most government funded gender change operations in the world.  Know who’s second? Iran.

Yes you read that right, Iran is second in the world in government funded gender change surgery. Maybe if Iran had a few more Lambies running around they wouldn’t be such chooches.

And why this incident caused me to look all that up is a mystery even unto me.

But that’s a different story for a different blog.

So main Lenny is now Lambie.  Deployed Lenny has decided to stay Deployed Lenny for now.

God help me.