Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Nosefrida Baby Care – No More Bulb Basters!


I recently made a post about my nephew’s clogged nose and the battle of the snots that ensued, lasting most of the night. A reader, Chris, pointed me to a cool new invention called the “Nosefrida”. This thing is ‘da berries’!

Really, every parent on the planet should know about this cool little tool – no more mini turkey baster bulb squeezing snot suckers! No siree – now I can insert this device in lil nephew’s nostril, suck on the attached tube and sloop the goop right outta Dan Jello! Say what? You suck out the kid’s snot? Through a tube attached to your own mouth? YUCK!?

Okay – at first glance it does sound gross but first the tube is attached to a filter, and a larger cylinder that captures every bit of the goo – nothing gets close to you. And for you mom’s and dad’s out there – it is safe, gentle (much gentler than the bulb thingies that I always fear will end up tearing through those tender nose membranes) and sanitary. There is no chance at all you get baby’s stickies anywhere near your own mouth – you are only providing safe suction. You are in effect a ‘Mommy vac’ – or ‘Daddy-vac’- to give equal billing.

Hey, the important thing is this little invention works and works better than anything else for unplugging the little snots – er – kids. PLUS – it’s cheap! Just follow the link to Nosefrida’s site and read all the pediatrician recommendations, or ‘google’ Nosefrida and see independent reviews from child care experts and other parents – the biggest experts of all.

Grandpockets wishes this thing had been around when I raised my little ones but my grandkids won’t be without one!

Just a disclaimer in today’s affiliate driven web – I DO NOT have an affiliate id for this, or get a thing for plugging it. I just really, really think every parent of small children should take a look at this – from Chris to me to you – Nosefrida gets my highest grandparental seal of approval.

grandpockets1

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January 6, 2009 Posted by | family | , , , , | Leave a comment

Legend of Aloysius Curveball!


camping_outCamping out waiting for another post? Well, grab a snack, and keep that flashlight handy. It’s gettin’ dark out there…

Dad painted our house one June when I was about 5 or 6. He painted it white, and it took several weeks, painstaking perfectionist that he was, all white, with green trim, and every inch free of runs and neatly cut in as if the paint was laid with a ruler.  Then he resodded the front lawn but it rained and rained for days after he’d skinned the old grass  and he had to put the sod on hold. Meanwhile there was this huge pile of mud in the yard, an irresistable chocolate earth playground. Soaked, squishy, mud pie packing and mudball rolling big ol’ pile of forbidden mud. Quite forbidden. Which made playing in it all the better.

Where or how I got my imagination I do not know, but I suspect it was a giant jape the angels played on my poor mother and father, because you know what I saw when I was six and looked out there at that giant heap of mucky clay? A pitcher’s mound. And I imagined I was the greatest hurler of all time…I WAS ……

aloysius

ALOYSIUS CURVEBALL!

“Nice arm, young fella,
Do you think you oughta stop now?”
Mailman Joe grinned at me.
No way, I thought, winding
Up and firing another juicy mudball.
I’m Joey Jay, after all,
Steely-eyed Redleg facing down
Those Brooklyn Birds – SPpla-at!
Try and hit my aloysius curveball
You pinstriped rat! 5 year old boys
Throw curveballs in their minds-
I had the best bender any ghost batter
Ever faced, even the mailman saw that.

I stood in drizzling mist, early June in ’59,
Proud and tall (tall in my own mind)
And blurred another mudder at the wall.
Someday, I thought, squatting to squish
Another dripping glob, Daddy will turn on
His radio and there I’ll be – chucking
Blazing fastballs – one and two and three!
Enthroned in favorite chair, beer in hand
Dad will yell “SHUT UP!” point at box,
“I want to hear my boy for once!”
The mudball kid, with his aloysius curve –
Granted audience with the Frightful Man!

(What really happened now)
When you’re 5, with accordioned socks
And everyone else in the world is tall,
You’ll get your frightful audience alright,
If you fire mudball strikes against your
House’s freshly white and painted walls.

frightful_audience

©Chuck Elledge2008

grandpockets1

December 29, 2008 Posted by | baseball, family, humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Gallery 2008


Its snowing like crazy outside now, already a couple inches down and more falling fast! It’ll be sledding time tomorrow!

I can go out with the grandkids and fall on my tookus a half dozen times just to let them laugh. Kordell will be happy – he got a new Rocket Sled from Santa.

Attack of the Paper Rippers

Attack of the Paper Rippers

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Santa themed in blue and silver this year but all the kids can think of is getting to those gifts!

They were ripping ’em open as fast as they could, then tossing them into piles behind them,

forgotten once open so they could get at the next one.

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02ohboy Hey, hey the gang’s all here…sister Lucretia, her hubby Joey, home on leave from the Army, and Renee, baby nephewDan Jello (DeAngelo but I like I’ve said, Grandpockets nicknames em all), Sadie and Ezzie – and the paper shredding is just getting started.

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03tired A little tired from all that hard work ripping stuff open. No wait, just examining her new Cabbage Patch doll ver-r-ry closely, I guess….

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04giddy We’re happy, we’re happy, oh, so happy, we are!

Lots of presents, lots of presents, makes us happy so far

at least ’til we’re sixteen and wanting a car…

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05ezzie Ezzie is getting into it, when you’re 2 the paper is almost as much fun as the presents inside, well, almost, but if you get a Princess package…Wow!

Princess is the hot thing for our girls, I’m ready to puke princess pink if I see one more gee-gaw done up in “Princess”.

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06takeoff Niece Ezzie is going to ride that dman bike, now, inside or out – and woe to the fool who gets in that girl’s way! Up and down the hall, into the kitchen, and did you know, if you’re 2 and very small you can turn a bike so sharply it will make a huey in the bathroom?

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07jetlag Grandpockets isn’t stunned. Really, I always have that glazed over half dead look on my face. The T-shirt was Sadie’s gift to me – it has her picture on it and on the back it says “Daddy’s Little Princess” Can you say thumb and wrapped around?

I try not to but she can…and does. Her mama was gonna spank her the other day and she twists around and says  “I want Daddy to do it!”  Tell you anything?

08more Dan Jello says “I wanna stay! I wanna stay! More presents, damn you! Get me outta this monkey suit! Do you hear, me? SomeBODY pick me up! Now!”

And someone always does, too. Babies always get there way.  Spoiled li’l things.

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09snow Grandson Payton thinks he’s slick. He thinks he’s going to get Grandpockets with a snowball if he acts innocent. There is no innocence in grandchildren. They are devious, cunning little creatures.

He’ll pelt me…I’ll pelt him. It’s a war no one can win. See? Lessons in world politics right in the front yard.

10tastesgood Yuck! @!*@! You ate that right off the car! I wonder how many hydrocarbons a grandchild can ingest before becoming an environmental hazard in their own right? It’s not the hydrocarbons he swallows I am so worried about. It is the noxious emissions.

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11snowball Sister Cissy hasn’t learned how to be devious yet. She telegraphs her intentions quite clearly. Unfortunately, the necessity of snapping the picture required that I stand bravely in the line of fire. I think she knew that. Perhaps she’s more devious than I thought. She’s a child creature. Of course! She is both brazen AND devious! You can’t win with these little guys – on a primal level they are smarter than us – and they know it!

12coldplay Sadie has retreated to the safety of the car. I will still get her back. It will be a most satisfying splat, too. A big wet gishy snowball right upside her pink hooded lil’ head. What worries me is I think she is luring me on. Payton must be lurking behind the car. Ezzie is smart. She’s getting the hell outta Dodge.

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13cleanup Just when you think you might have to put ’em back under that rock they came from they go and clean up after themselves. Ezzie shows her housekeeping skills. If the child learned to vacuum outside of that one single track it would help, but, oh well, at she does help. You may have notice that my children – nieces, nephews, daughter, all love being half nekkid. We consider it a major accomplishment to just keep a  diaper or shorts on the damn little nudists.

14pooped It all just wore Dan Jello out. A kid can only scream at adults for so long then ya gotta get some shuteye so you can get up fresh and start all over again. Babies – ya gotta love ’em. The only creatures known who do nothing at all except shit, scream, snack and sleep but manage to look cute doing it.

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15end And finally Christmas Day is done,

the gifts unwrapped,

the snow wars won

It’s time to snooze without a care

In hopes St. Nick will soon be there.

After all it’s never too early to start dreaming of next year…

grandpockets1

December 28, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family, humor | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

At the Zoo Don’t Feed The Animoes


zoolion

I love the zoo. Now is a great time to go see the polar bears. I love the zoo in winter. No one else is there. That is because they have more sense than I do. Some exhibits are closed, of course, but lots are open. Polar bears, and penguins and wolves. Even reindeer. Really. Real live reindeer. I tried to talk to them but they pretend not to be able to. Sometimes you can find a Lion to Ride.

elephantssadieSometimes its fun to give a glance to the giant funny elly-phance. They huff and puff and give great blows from their funny pachydermal nose. And even if the only thing you see is a marmet chirping happily…

daddysgirlzooIt’s still a blast to see what you can see. Perhaps an ape behind some glass so kids can watch him pick his…

dasdysgirlzoo2The thing to know is sun or snow, the zoo is sure the place to go! Just remember rule number one…PLEAZ…

Don’t Feed the Animoes!

At the zoo, I never feed the animoes
Afraid they might eat my feet or my noze
Striped Tigers are snacking behind too-tall fences
They bolt down their food until it’s past tenses
Lion’s are gnawers – I don’t want any closer
Being lunch for a lion isn’t good for composure
Hippos are hippy, and fatty, and huge
But the thought of us in the potamus doesn’t amuze
Those horny ol Rhinoze – how grandioze
Who’d want a nocerus to step on their toze?
After a while, we got to the ‘dile
A child for breakfast would make that croc smile!
Now speakin of lunch I can hear a low rumblin
All this walking and gawkin has my tummy a grumblin
So, lets take out a samwich and pull up our chairz…
But I’m keeping an eye out for those darn Grizzly Bearz!!

©Chuck Elledge2008

grandpockets1

December 27, 2008 Posted by | family, humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ho Freakin’ Ho


Ahhhhh….coffee!

Up at 5 something a.m. with my niece Ezzie tiptoeing into the room and saying “Time to open up!” Time to open up! Unca Chuck!Aunt Nee! Time to open up!”  Any other day and I’d have trouble waking but it IS Christmas and I am an old kid so I awake easily, make the kids wait while I fix hot cocoa and pass out the cups of steaming chocolate and then the ceremonies…passing out gifts…the unwrapping…the oohs and ahhhs that follow. A scene that repeats year after and never jades.

Now I’m looking at the path of package destruction and wrapping paper, and have the ham in the oven and the potatoes on the stove, the pies fixed and the dinner prepped, so I can take a break. Now I’m hitting that post morning “Ho-freakin’-Ho” Santa lag, tired, contented, and trying to ignore the cost of all this, telling myself there is no price tag on joy. Ho Freakin’ Ho.

Years ago when I was maybe 5 or 6 my Dad did something my mother almost killed him for. He gave his whole paycheck one early December to a man whose house had burned to the ground. He was from our  neighborhood but a total stranger. Dad simply told him, here, you can buy your kids some Christmas anyway and signed over his check. Dad had an impulsive generous streak in him. He told Mom – our Christmas is mostly paid and we’ll figure out the bills – they have nothing. The thing I remember most was Dad not thinking it was any big deal what he’d done. Someone needed the money more than we did. It was, for my Dad, that simple.

A few years later, I ended up in the hospital with rheumatic fever, dad lost his job, the economy had hit a lull and he couldn’t find work for the first time in his life. They’d bought a house in Lima, Ohio, on North Detroit Street, and after a few months they were in danger of losing it. Christmas loomed, dad grew depressed (the only time in my life that I remember him sick and depressed, he was normally always hale and energetic). He worried about the house, how he’d buy Christmas for his 4 kids and wife, and even how to feed us. He wouldn’t even think of the public dole. Ours was, to quote a Dickens title, a “Bleak House.”

A couple weeks before Christmas, a man knocked at our door. He was the same man my father had helped and he handed Daddy a check for a pretty considerable amount in those days – I know it was more than Dad had given him though I’m not sure how much it was exactly. And he told Dad he’d become pretty successful since the fire that took his house and he had a friend in Lima, a businessman looking for a salesman for his office supply company. He’d already recommended Dad. The next morning my dad had work, and the money was enough for us kids to have a great Christmas and to take the pressure off the bills.

A true story. A lesson I’ll carry to my grave. Giving – money or kindnesses done, tithes or volunteer work – is exactly like planting a garden. You never know for sure when it will bloom, but it will, my friends. It surely will.

grandpockets1

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family | , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Its Christmas Eve and the stockings are flung through the air by the stairs,

and the dinner is burning and so are my heirs,

its another year past and they don’t get my stuff,

Like the gifts neath the tree aren’t really enough.

Its snowing outside so the scene is all set

For that one to show up that I’d knew I’d forget.

They’ll have a big package all trimmed with a bow

Can I re-gift real quick so they won’t ever know?

Here’s my wish that everyone who might read this has a Merry Christmas, a wonderful time with the people you most care about and a tummy full of ham or turkey or punkin pie….

grandpockets1

December 24, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auld Lang Syne at Christmas Time


Christmas is a time folks often think of family and their memories of growing up. For parents with grown children it’s remembering when your own kids were little ones. My kids are flung from New York City to Arizona, and soon my son Jay makes his second meddle eastern tour (no that’s not misspelled). Besides the 12 billion pounds of paper litter we created on Christmas mornings, we also learned lessons I hope each remember forever – like how to seem really glad to see Uncle Bernie and his obnoxious brood again. Really, family is the place you learn you CAN tolerate anyone for even a short time. Even me and my obnoxious brood, Uncle Bernie. Christmas reminiscing triggers a spate of unrelated memories about the kids growing up –

Like the time when the boys were little guys and I told them we would grow a rock garden.

I took them out back and they all selected a rock which we then carefully “planted” under a soft maple, between two gnarly roots protruding from the ground that made a natural border. We sprinkled some sand on the rocks and watered them and at night while the boys slept I snuck out and replaced their rocks with a little bit bigger ones. They were so excited to find their rocks had grown! We raked and sanded and watered those rocks for a couple of weeks and every morning, bright and early, they’d all three rush out in their pj’s first thing to see how much their rocks had grown over the night.

It finally reached the point that I was lugging 3 small boulders from the Lake in the back of my truck each night, I’ll bet they were about 10 pounds each when I finally told them. Actually Frankie, the oldest, became suspicious first and then I started laughing and told them how I had tricked them and they acted all mad and then laughed and we took the rocks to the Lake and tossed them in so they made a huge splash – mostly on me.

Or how Shayne took his car onto the Lake one January night when it was frozen over but not enough for a car and it fell into the Lake, sinking halfway across the Lake. It took three tow trucks and a houseboat converted into a barge for the occasion to haul it out. Totally trashed of course. His explanation was that him and his buddies wanted to go ice fishing but it was too cold so they thought they’d sit in the car and fish out the windows with the heater on. Ingenious and stupid at the same time. Thankfully they all got out of that one alive – soaked and blue about the gills, though.

Or the time Richie climbed the KKJO radio tower on Faraon Street and got to the top only to discover he was afraid to climb down. After all he was 300’ in the air on what was basically a super tall aluminum ladder. That stunt took the police and fire department to extricate him. He just wanted to see what it looked like from up there. And I understood that. I would have done the same thing at his age. It made perfect sense to me and it pissed off the cops when I told them that. He got a trespassing charge but it was dismissed after a period of probation. I still think they need a higher fence and better “kid proofing” – what red blooded boy wouldn’t be challenged by such a ladder into the sky?

I remember the back-to-back years at Benton when Frankie and next year Jay were Homecoming Kings and their girlfriends Jenny and Rachel were Queen. 2 brothers in back to back years is pretty special. It is also pretty damn expensive. I suggest better spacing methods between children for future parents. You need the time to recoup your expenses.

Now they’re all grown, solid contributing citizens with kids of their own….and my revenge is complete…

December 22, 2008 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Say the Darndest Things!


Remember that old Art Linkletter Show and the books that followed? Every parent has those moments when their child says something so funny or embarrassing…last night was one of those moments…Ol’ Grandpockets was babysitting grandsons Nathan, Kordell, Payton and Kade so their Mamas could help Santa Claus at his local Wally World Workshop. It was getting late, around ten and Renee, my wife and a nurse, was in bed because she had a 5 am start for her shift. In an attempt to keep the boys occupied, edified and culturally educated we popped in that wonderfully educational Jackass 2 and when the laughter started getting too loud and raucous, Grandpockets put his foot down.

“Either quiet it down or I turn off your Sesame Street by Johnny Knoxville show” I growled, then repeated, then, well…shouted. Grandpockets has discovered his grandchildren are all nearly deaf because I have to yell before they hear me. The boys had finally quieted down when 7 year old Kade-alator mutters,

“Well, then we’ll all just sit here like monks and masturbate!”

Okay. When a child comes out with something like this, first I smack my ear to clear it from whatever caused me to hear wrong, then I ask for..ummm…clarification?

“What did you say? I asked. His older kith and kin were rolling around the floor, of course, howling with glee to rouse the dead – in this case, Renee from her sleep.

Kade-alator looked at me, baffled at all the laughter and worried because from Grandpockets look he knew he’d said something wrong.

“You know,” he explained, “like those Kung Fu dudes do, they sit around and masturbate.”

It was hopeless. I joined the other boys for a moment of uncontrolled laughter. Even Renee was laughing as she caught the tail end of things.

So what would you have done? Meditate on that for a moment….or maybe, take Kade-alator’s suggestion. Johnny Knoxville would.

~Grandpockets~

December 21, 2008 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bedley Snatcher Revisited:Children’s Poems


When you were little was there the terror of the night? With claws and big saucer sized green glowing eyes – you know – the horrid Bedley-snatcher! Every night I would moan a bit to myself as Mom and Dad tucked me in knowing there was no reprieve from the terror that lay ahead. Complaints would only bring the admonition to “be a big boy, now, Chuckie” and maybe Mom would smooth down my unruly bangs a bit but I knew neither would offer to stay and keep that monster out from under my bed. I think the darn creature came out of the vents from the attic but really, I’ve never been sure – I only know that the only defense against him was to curl up under the blankets and wrap ‘em up as tight as possible – nothing peeking out! Bedleys can’t get through blankets, don’t you know. So I’d snuggle thinking of…

The Bedley Snatcher!

My bed is warm and blankety,

Its underbed that frightens me,

Where dreaded bedley-snatcher lurks

with greeny claws and evil smirks.

The rules are clear…when woe! is I

and Bedley-Snatcher frights are nigh

Its keeper-eyes-closed-safe-is-free

Then mumble prayers real fervently!

“R Father who Art’n’Hebbin, Don’t let me

Die before elebbin, and if I die before I wake

Please let me keep my garter snake”

(God and little boys have this understanding)

Screw up eyes in squeezed-shut scaredom

Tent head and eyes – don’t unbare them:

For it’s a fact which all boys know

Bedley grabs whatever shows!

Now…quake and shibber, lay ensconced

in blanket shields for just a nonce,

He’ll shake your bed and moan perhaps

but soon will leave you to your naps.

If all else fails, leap up and RUN!

Just dash it all, and have some fun

Skitter me sliding down the hall

then jump in bed ‘tween Ma and Pa!

Chuck Elledge 2001

~Grandpockets~

December 21, 2008 Posted by | family, humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bedley Snatcher: Children’s Poetry


Were you ever frightened of anything as a child? Imaginary things that went bump in the night from in your closet or under the bed?

Boy, I was. I was scared of two things really – the dreaded Bedley-Snatcher and the Chutney Monster that lived in the basement. I have to explain that our house was on top a hill in “old” Loveland and was built by my great grandfather in 1902 when he emigrated from the backhills of eastern West Virginia. It had a stone cellar and was built shotgun style, 3 floors high.

By 1960, around the time of my narrative it was antiquated and sorely needing remodeling. It creaked and groaned from cellar to attic in the slightest breeze and it was dimly lit with tall but narrow windows.

Any wonder that a particularly imaginative little boy would find creatures in every corner? The Chutney Monster was my mom’s name for it – I thought of him more as a dragon that inhabited the darkest heart of the basement. Specifically he lived in the old coal furnace, where it was dark anytime of day and the black, sooty floor was cobbled with coal clinkers ground into the dirt, perfect habile for a scary fire dragon. Spiderwebs festooned every surface like lace on old tables and their hairy spinners hung suspended like bobbers on a fishnet.

Nothing much could be kept down there. It was dank and mouldy but bowed wooden planks were nailed along one wall and were stacked with soldierly rows of jarred produce from the garden. Steam kettles and stock pots were kept going from late July to the end of September putting by a large stash of winter food. That, and gunny sacks of onions, potatoes, bagas, and turnips were the only things stored under the big hewn beams that supported the floors of our house. Anything metal oxidized into a rusty pile of junk nearly overnight down there, and anything cloth was infested with mealy bugs and worms in no time. There was also the coal dust which coated everything and the occasional snake or rat, altogether making it a nightmarish sort of place.

Just looking down the rickety wood steps leading into that dungeon was enough to set me shivering. It was dark down there, with awful noises every time the furnace fired up. The open grate on its old coal burner, the mouth of the beast, belched flames that threw spooky, flickering shadows across everything in the basement. Oh, yes, I well remember the monster lurking in wait for me to be sent into the cellar for a jar of home canned beans, or apple rings, or chutney.  Here is my memory of the dreaded….

11

Chutney Monster!

“Is no light down there, mother?”

Already I protested my mission

Fetching up chutney, red relish,

From the stone-cool cellar.

No ordinary journey this,

For a boy of five with oversized

Spectacles but undersized courage-bones.

“Light’s on the landing, hon,”

Mother crooned,

“Shoo, now, fetch that jar for me.”

Oh, but it was tremboling dark

As I mounted gloaming stairbonators,

Held the pipe-rail and quickety-split,

Down dragon jawbone I wooshed!

No grab-ankle ghoulies reached from

Tween the dark teeth to snatch at me!

Tipping toe, I arrived at the jar shelves.

Sun-smiles through dusty pane high, high up,

Emboldened me and chutney in hand

I began my jaunty swagger back.

CLANK! CLANK! Rrrrrroaarrr! Terror!

What monster mythies these eyes see –

The Ogre-sulferous chasing me!

Chutney clutched in halfback grip,

Feet fly, bounding up, bounding up,

Slam! The door and “ollie-ollie in free!”

“That ol’ furnace acting up again?”

Mother snorts, bends and kisses me.

“That wasn’t so bad was it?”

Now my mother, well, I loved her dear

But the thought occurred to me

She’d forget to shut that door some night

And set the Chutney Monster free!

1999, Charles Elledge ~Grandpockets~

December 20, 2008 Posted by | family, humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , | Leave a comment