Snakey shed his skin yesterday before dinner. He (yes, he, you can check that on snakes and we did) is a beautiful red rat snake my son, SweetFaceBoy, has. We've had him for about six weeks. He lives comfortably in the screened-in back porch in a 10-gallon aquarium furnished with indoor/outdoor carpetting, a water dish and a handsome stick for climbing. Every Friday afternoon he dines on a pre-killed pinkie mouse. Watching him slowly swallow the pinkie while we enjoy Slurpees is the highlight of the week.

Anyhoo, it was Supervixen that spotted Snakey shedding. This is highly ironic since it took about six months of discussing, cajoling and verbal aikido with her for her to agree to get it. She screws up her face every time she sees it, although she did allow herself to study it during the shedding process.

RunningHammer had just woken from his afternoon nap so I quit cleaning the pool filter and ran and got him from his crib. I had to keep telling him, "No, you can't hold the snake."

We knew Snakey was going to shed soon. He was growing steadily and his eyes had gone bluish gray over the weekend and cleared up yesterday. I reassured my big guy (age 8) that even if he started late at night or early in the morning, I'd wake him so he could see.

"Oh look! His eyecaps came off clean!" SweetFaceBoy said, one of our main worries put to rest. He continued to wriggle insideout of his old skin until the final thread of it snapped off the tip of his tail like a rubber band. We all cheered.

Snakey then showed us all that reptiles feel joy as he corkscrewed over, under and around the stick in his house, relishing his new skin. He is gorgeous and bright.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all shed our skin every once in a while?

SweetFaceBoy picked out the old skin and put it in a bag for safekeeping. He gave Snakey fresh water. I had to lift him up and carry him to the dinner table because he could not tear himself away from Snakey. On his face he wore a giddy look of awe and love.

By the way, he's named Snakey because he's long and thin and wiggley and slithery and overall basically, er, umm, snake-like.


I learned earlier today I did not get the job I had interviewed for last week. (Cue the heavy sigh.)

Just as well, really.

There was a group of us invited for a career fair/interview. After an hour of slick presentations, we were subjected to another hour of schmoozing with a group of employees. The longer I talked with these people, the longer I thought, "I will go crazy if I work with these phonies."

Each one represented a type of person I have loathed since junior high, which is a goddamn long time ago. They had the well-trained but forced, welded-on smiles of people who have learned to bullshit in order to keep their jobs.

The first person I talked to was a girl who seemed startled when I asked her about her job and proceeded to wait for other people to gather before she would talk. Then she turned her back to me and spoke to them. One guy would not look me in the eye despite the fact that I kept moving in order to speak with him face-to-face. I promise you, I had bathed, brushed my teeth and dressed professionally.

Phonies. Every single one of them.

Then I was ushered in to a room with four executive VPs. I was told I had exactly seven minutes to sell myself.

"Great," I thought. " I couldn't sell a boat to a drowning man."

However, they went over my resume and I answered all their questions without my usual stammer. If I was not confident, at least I faked it well. They asked me if given the choice, would I rather work in their QA department or as a programmer coding in VB and COBOL. I told them I would be comfortable in either position. I just wanted to put my knowledge and experience to work for them.

This seemed to satisfy them until they looked at the gaps in my resume. I have a few years here and there when I was either a stay-at-home Dad or held a variety of odd jobs. This apparently did not sit well with them. Frowns all around.

"Planning to have any more kids?"

I knew this crossed the line as a legal interview question, but I answered anyway. "No."



SweetFaceBoy's second-grade class had an open house last night. They recited poems (true to form, my son picked the shortest one he could find) and showed off a village they've been working on for the last few weeks.

The village had all the normal things a village has: bakery, restaurant, police station, school, neighborhoods. They were all made from milk and orange juice cartons with windows and doors cut out. Tiny gingerbread boys and girls stuck their heads out of doors and windows and walked along sidewalks.

It was all very innocent until I noticed the big black and green building on the edge of the village.

"What's that?" I asked the teacher.

"That's the military building," she said. She then proceeded to tell me that in eight years of teaching she had never had the children demand to have such a building in their village.

I'd call that a barometer.


It's just March, but it is getting warmer here. Heavy rains recently have the lawns coming back from winter dormancy. Everything is green and blooming.

This weekend I'll get the pool crystal clear and keep it that way so that once it warms up after a couple of 85-to-90-degree days, it'll be ready for us to dive in.

Then my lovely warm-weather morning routine can resume.

Wake up and run or lift. Either way, I'll be drenched in sweat when I finish. Slip on to the backporch. Strip. Roll out the yoga mat and, depending on the time, perform anywhere from a few sun salutations to the full primary series. Then out to the pool for some pre-dawn skinnydipping.

Ahhhh. Life am good.