i meant every word i said

Dinner is finished, and Anne is helping Nolan with some homework at the dining room table. I’m sitting outside by the fire pit, enjoying the fruits of our weekend of patio labor. I am surrounded by freshly-planted wildflowers, two types of tomatoes, and the sweet smell of lavender, roses, and just-turned dirt.

I was listening to Big Tracks on XM, through DirecTV, on our home stereo. I sang REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Lovin’ You a little too loudly while I sipped a Stone Pale Ale and digested the most amazing chicken soft tacos (marinated in tequila, lime, salsa and Tapatio) I think I’ve ever cooked, when Ryan came out to the patio from the kitchen.

“Can I turn off XM and put on Live Aid?” He said.

“No, you can’t,” I said, a little perturbed that my REO Speedwagon rocking had been interrupted.

“But you’ve been monopolizing the TV, and you’re not even inside,” he said. Very reasonable.

. . . I meant that I loved you foreverrrrr, and I’m gonna ke–” I sang. “Dude. I’m trying to get my rock on, and you’re totally harshing my mellow.”

“You’re trying to get your rock on . . . to REO Speedwagon?” He said, incredulous. Tough to argue with that. “You’re the only one listening to this, so isn’t it fair to consider the rest of the family?”

Dammit. I raised him to think like this. I’m so proud of him, but . . . Big Tracks, and Stone Pale Ale, and sitting by the fire pit! Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Did you ask your mom what she thinks?” I said.

“She’s going to say that she doesn’t care, because she’s helping Nolan with his homework.” He said.

REO Speedwagon ended, and Asia began: “I never meant to be so bad to you . . .”

“Okay,” I said, “let’s go inside and ask your mom what she thinks.”

We walked into the house, and found Anne and Nolan at the dining room table. Ryan related our discussion, and asked Anne if she cared if he changed the channel.

“I don’t care,” she said.

Ryan jumped up and pointed at me. “Ha! I told you!”

“I don’t care about the radio, either,” Nolan said, with a pointed smirk at me.

“Yes! I get to put on Live Aid!” Ryan said. He started toward the living room.

“Uh, wait.” I said, “we haven’t reached consensus.”

“Oh, we totally have, Wil,” he said with a grin, “you’re 25% in favor, and mom, Nolan, and I are
75% opposed. We have a majority.”

I was done. I’d lost, and now it was time to take it like a man.

“Dude, I have, uhm, extra . . . uh . . . powers.” I said.

“What?” Ryan said.

“Yeah, I went up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start,” I said.

“Okay,” Ryan said, “so you get extra lives on Contra. What does that have to do with the radio?”

I don’t know how he knew that it was the Konami code, but I’m sure he picked it up from me, somewhere over the years.

“Okay,” I said, “just because you knew that, you win. Go put on Live Aid.”

Queen is blasting out We Will Rock You, from Wembley Stadium in 1985, as I type this.

38 thoughts on “i meant every word i said”

  1. “Dude. I’m trying to get my rock on, and you’re totally harshing my mellow.”
    Truer words have never been spoken. For any thing in any context.

  2. I’m with Kelly on this one. Everybody got the better end of the deal. Queen is far better rocking material than REO Speedwagon or Asia. But damn, that kid has some skills at the table.

  3. “You’re trying to get your rock on . . . to REO Speedwagon?”
    Um…Wil?
    Come on now..really?
    Kids are not that naive!
    Yes it is hard to be mad at them when they use the things that we have taught them…. Kudos to the kid for nailing the negotiations..he has a bright future!

  4. Well, maybe it was a bit of a stretch . . . but until you’ve sat by the fire pit with a beer and sung along with REO Speedwagon, making sure to really hit those r’s . . .
    Okay, you’re right. It’s pretty damn indefensible.

  5. Your son knows the cheat code to Contra–that is TOO COOL!
    If Wil’s life was a sit-com, and this was the end of the season finale, the camera would now pull back out of the room, up into the sky leaving earth in the background of the shot…
    “…gonna take on the world someday, you’ve got mud on your face…”
    Fun. It made my day.

  6. tequila, lime, salsa and Tapatio
    Proportions, good man! Give me metrics!
    Sorry – it’s my turn to make dinner tomorrow, and I’m tapped for ideas. That sounds like perfect relax-on-the-porch-later food, though I’d need about 3 of those Pales before I could crank up the Speedwagon. (4 Pales, and it’s time for Fleetwood Mac.)

  7. Just recently started reading this. Totally worth it just so I can find somewhere to use the phrase “you’re totally harshing my mellow.”
    Thanks

  8. To be honest I would think that it was really great that my kids wanted to listen to Live Aid at all. It was 20 years ago.
    Wow it makes me feel really old to think about that. =)

  9. Wil:
    Ryan turned a 25% in favour, 25% opposed, and 50% abstaining into 75% against! Smart kid. What a negotiator! I’d recommend not playing poker against him, unless you want to take on an extra job or two to pay off your poker losses. :D

  10. Dude, You like totally taught him well. LOL. I could talk like Stoney from Encino Man. I was screencapping that movie yesterday for the community I’m in. Anyway I agree, who can’t compete with QUEEN? LOL. It’s nice to hear that you and Anne raising those boys up really well.

  11. the fact that you rock out to Keep On Loving You, makes you (in my opinion) a very cool dude (since i love that song too)…
    the fact that your kid knows the button code to old games like that?..
    that, sir, makes you a god.
    well done, that man… :)
    for my own official pat on the back, i can state here that my daughter can sing ‘call me Al’ by Paul Simon, (all of it)
    and Witches Promise by Jethro Tull…..
    she’s not even 3 yet…
    now THAT is cool :)
    next up is a few Neil Diamond tunes, followed by some Pink Floyd, and possibly Metallica… ;)
    ty

  12. Hey Wil… it’s been a LONG time since I stopped by. Hubby’s squadron is getting ready to head back overseas again, so it’s been hectic. Sounds like you’re doing well though. Take care!

  13. You guys have raised some seriously cook kids. It says a lot about what kind of parents you guys have been that Ryan could be so adult in asking, have a sense of humor in winning, and still be respectful. Congrats.
    Oh yeah… you should never use the words “Rockin Out” and “REO Speedwagon” in the same sentence. It’s bad karma. – Chris (engelfish.net)

  14. Taht’s hawesome. I know that you feel that the boys ‘other’ dad (or birth-father as I’m sure you prefer) has tried to ensure that you don’t have as close a relationship as you’d like with them.
    From our side, and listening and reading the stories you tell – I want to say this loud and clear…
    It is obvious that they not only love you dearly – but have welcomed and entrenched the geek in themselves. You have provided them a wonderful opportunity to grow up as well rounded, intelligent, capable, humourous and respectful gentlemen. (Who speak geek.)
    I strongly doubt that their ‘other’ dad could come CLOSE to remembering – let alone keying in “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.”
    You win. Rock out. Enjoy the mellow. – Greg (scratchley.org)

  15. Getting your Rock On strengthens your creative juices that are so essential!
    Next time, tell Ryan to respect he who is king, and not to ever again disturb your valuable zen moments.
    If he needs to watch gatoraide, tell him to punch it up on the web, and/or pay for his own portable XM radio.
    For now, or until he has any of his own clout, tell him he should feel lucky that he wasn’t grounded for violating your space.

  16. Gotta say I’m with Ryan on this one. “Getting your rock on” to REO Speedwagon? What’s next? Air Supply? Now if it were The Cult or some similiar band of rock gods, well then the little man would have to wait his turn.

  17. It continues to amaze how absolutely … hawesome… your family is. Someday, I pray I can have one that’s even 42% as incredible as yours.
    Also, I can’t fault you for REO Speedwagon love. It’s so bad it’s good. \mm/

  18. Wil,
    This is my first time posting but I’m a long time lurker.
    I’ve got to agree with everyone; you and Anne are doing a great job with the kids.
    Keep on Rockin’… To Queen!

  19. I don’t think you can win this one Wil. Queen wins everytime.., unless you are listening to Limp Bizkit.
    \\jk
    \\Limp Bizkit is teh suck

  20. Wil, your post reminded me alot of jersey girl, but in particular the scene where Gertie interrogates her father and liv tyler in the same fashion he did to her. Contra huh? maybe you shoulda used IDDQD for degreeless or Disagreeless mode ;)

  21. Heh…I love Big Tracks; that and 80′s on 8 are usually what my car XM is tuned to.
    Ryan is one slick dude…and he didn’t even have to use the argument that you could have punched up XM Online and continued rocking to the streaming audio. Next time, pick a less-widely-known cheat code. :-)

  22. dont even think that they didnt beat you cause of your parenting.
    you totally got trumped:)
    and that is impossible if good parenting isnt part of the equation.
    admittely, i would beat a kid who trumped REO speedwagon. i love them.

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