Catching Up

On Sunday, we decided to beat the heat by going to the Shedd Aquarium. It was a spur of the moment kind of decision. Once the decision was made, A went into speed-packing mode. I was lolly-gagging about with the uninformed opinion that we could take our time and just get there when we get there.

But when you have 2 kids with nap schedules, you can't lolly-gag. Total time from decision to car: 1 hour. We got to the Aquarium with no traffic, which is a small miracle. Once we got in, C and W really got into the fish and lizards and frogs and other assorted inhabitants. C loved watching the big fish and W must have worn out his little arm pointing.

The highlight of the day was the dolphin show. It was crowded, so we got our seats early. C wasn't about to sit still for the 15-20 minutes until the show, so A took him down and saw the penguins. C exclaimed "They're so sweet!"

Attempting to console and contain 2 little kids can make minutes seem like hours. So it was a great thing when the trainers came out and started the show. Unfortunately, the first 15 minutes of the show was a trivia contest designed to educate the audience. Did you know that Dolphins are NOT the fastest animal on earth? Or that they are not in fact aliens? Now you do.

Then they started to get the Dolphins to do tricks. Yay! Oh, wait, they're just playing ball with a 5 year old. Yawn. I felt like yelling "DANCE DOLPHIN DANCE." But, I held out and tried to amuse C while he was alternating between asking for his mommy (who was holding W), and kicking the poor people ahead of us.

Then the Dolphins started to actually dance. They started with swimming upright backwards, and then did a series of coordinated jumps. First one of them, then in pairs, and then all four at once. After each jump C got the biggest smile, clapped, and yelled "YAY! DOLPHINS!" It is this kind of moment that is my favorite part of being a dad. Pure. Unadulterated. Joy.

After that, the rest of the aquarium didn't quite live up to the level of the dancing dolphins. And C & W were losing patience, validating A's rush to get ready. So we headed out of the Aquarium and found a little food stand. To my great joy, our best bet for caffeine and food was Dr. Pepper and soft pretzels bathed in butter and salt.

This little interlude provided a couple memorable moments. C and every other kid loved feeding the pigeons. I personally hate pigeons and was thinking horrible thoughts about them while C threw them butter-soaked bits of pretzel.

I was looking around, people watching. Every day I'm out in a crowd, I get a little older. I keep seeing these teen-age girls wearing little skirts a foot higher than their knees, skimpy little tops. It used to be that I'd get the 30 second dirty old man feeling from looking. But now, I feel like Dad Gone Mad did here.

A and I have on on-going dialogue over whether or not to have #3. For me, seeing teenage girls dressed like this is the best reason not to try again. I would be a paranoid, gun-toting, 'she's never gonna date until she's 30' kind of dad. Just thinking about boys dating my future teenage daughter sends me into worrying fits. Nonsensical? Yes, I know.

Anyway, so there I was taking in the sights. I see this guy at the picnic table next to us. He's mid-50's, balding, gray hair. He's wearing a light button down short sleeve white shirt that is only using on button. It's unlcear whether the buttons have given up trying to contain his significant girth, or if they were undone on purpose.

He's wearing a large gold chain that dangles around his hairy chest, and bad 70's sun glasses. His man-breasts (large enough to make Eva Longoria jealous). This was unappetizing enough for me to donate the rest of my pretzel to C's feed the pigeons campaign. But there was more.

He was so overweight that the skin folded over between his man-breasts. I mean, that takes work, doesn't it? Fat & Sloppy is no way to go through life. He was eating a vat of french fries that was slathered in ketchup. And he wasn't just eating them, he was making eyes at them. He was taking his time and building up the anticipation.

I thought about getting a photograph of the guy, but after the comments I've received about the belly-button dancers, I thought I'd save your eyes.

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