Month: April 2015

The Tooth Hurts, Baby. 

Nine year-old Everett Baker Beadling is at it again. There does not appear to be an impulsive, impatient bone in his body. Nor tooth. I think a tooth is different than a bone. As I may have hinted before, on occasion, Everett does not like to do anything he does not want to do. Does not like to be told what to do. By anyone. Parents, uncles and aunts, and now, dentists. 

At our last visit, Everett displayed a burgeoning second row of shark teeth. You know, like the ones we all lost sleep from seeing in the movie, Jaws

Yeah, something along those lines. Apparently, there is a reason baby teeth start to get wiggly. Tempting to youngins, too tempting to resist tugging and twisting. They need to come out. They need to make room for the big boy teeth pushing up from below. 

It never occurred to me that a child would simply refuse to pull out the baby tooth. “Not gonna do it. Don’t try to tell me to do it. Just watch.” In the past, Everett has continued to allow baby teeth to reside in his mouth way past a PG-rating. Hanging by a thread. He once twisted a tooth 720 degrees around, inducing dry heave sounds from the people around us, and it still didn’t come out. 

So now he has a second row of teeth. Well, really only one tooth waiting its turn. But that tooth is not located anywhere near where teeth should be located, in my professional opinion. It’s not even immediately clear, at first glance, precisely which stubborn baby tooth the wayward adult tooth intends to replace. Maybe it just plans to stay where it is, sort of playing zone defense for any morsels that need an extra little chew after passing through the front line. 

Maybe Everett is on to something here. Some superior adaptation that would help propagate his genes on down the line. An extra tooth no one else has, save for my son, my grandkids (his kids), my grandchildren (his kids’ kids), and so on. 

Perhaps Ev has inherited this tooth situation from someone else before him. Not on my side, I don’t believe, unless it is a generation-skipping extra tooth gene. I pulled my baby teeth out at the slightest provocation. So cavalierly that I occasionally still dream about pulling out my adult teeth for no good reason, waking up euphoric that my mouth in actuality is not missing any teeth. So I don’t think he got this particular super-power from me. 

I have leveled threats and bribes. To no avail. The tooth fairy’s seemingly deep pockets mean nothing to Everett. The dangling tooth will come out whenever Everett — and Everett alone — is good and ready. I just hope I live long enough to witness it firsthand. 

Thanks for reading. 

Stairway to Heaven.

One year ago.

The Lemonade Chronicles


Turns out I’m actually not afraid of heights.  Rather, my fear stems from concern about my companions’ well-being at great heights.  I stumbled upon this discovery yesterday, while hiking an especially infamous, anxiety-provoking rock feature in Zion National Park — Angels Landing. 

Known earlier as the Temple of Aeolus, Angels Landing juts up from Zion Canyon to 1,488-feet.  That’s not a particularly daunting data point, though.  Even considering that the Canyon floor itself sits at 4,300 feet above sea level, so the summit tops out at about 5,790 feet.   A bit of altitude is at play, for sure, but it’s a minor player in this drama, at best.  And it is definitely a drama.  The National Park Service website officially recognizes five, non-suspicious fatalities along Angels Landing.  And at least 7 additional deaths have been reported here and there.  I’m amazed this number isn’t 7 per day

The main protagonists at work…

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Swimming in the Bay, Part 5: Fungus? What Fungus?


I have been swimming in the San Francisco Bay, now, for about 16 years.  I’ve blogged about this before; again and again, in fact.  So I won’t belabor the point about how gee dee enjoyable it is.  Suffice to say, if you haven’t tried it yet, get thee into the Bay.  Pronto.  Or…maybe not so pronto.

Truth is, I’m starting to wonder.  Getting increasingly suspicious.  Putting the pieces together.  Could it be that one of my favorite pastimes is slowly turning me and my coldwater comrades into Swamp Thing?  Please allow me to shed some light via the most recent example of this phenomenon….

One of my neighborhood swim buddies texted me last night with a photo of himself.  Inquiring, essentially, whether the odd rash on his neck might be cause for concern.  In keeping with longstanding Lemonade Chronicles policy, I’m not going to share the photo or name the friend.  Much as I’d like to.  Rules are rules. But I can share some facsimiles to help the reading audience form an idea in the mind’s eye.  To wrap the arms around this medical marvel.  To conjure up the proper image.

For example, there’s this thing in San Francisco called “The Land’s End Labyrinth.”  Eduardo Aguilera evidently first constructed this ephemeral maze of rocks in 2004.  Let me just say that Mr. Aguilera would take great interest in my swimming buddy’s neck right now.  The rash might be sufficient, even, to inspire Mr. Aguilera to dash out to Land’s End ASAP and kick every single one of those rocks over the cliffside.  Wipe that slate clean just to avoid any sort of association with my neighbor’s neck.

Screenshot 2015-04-17 08.20.46Or how ’bout this one? Recognize this?

Screenshot 2015-04-17 08.26.20

That there is a galaxy.  Dreamy.  Super-cool to view projected in an IMAX theater or as one’s screensaver on one’s Samsung smartphone.  Not as super-cool, nor as smart, I suspect, when branded on one’s neck.  I don’t believe my neighbor is feeling dreamy right about now.

And for GOT fans, perhaps this will help you imagine what we’re dealing with —

Screenshot 2015-04-17 08.29.42

Khal Drogo is about the only character badass enough to be able to pull off my neighbor’s texted neck rash.  The rash pattern would, in fact, fit right in with Drogo’s tribal tats.  And vice versa.  Alas my neighbor would likely lose his full-time employment with a tat pattern like that, even if it would help cover up the neck rash.  And I don’t think Drogo would be a fan of coldwater swimming.  I wouldn’t even want to ask him about this.  He looks pissed just sitting there.  Fair to say Drogo would laugh at the rash, mock the rash-ee.  Surely he wouldn’t blog about it.  So perhaps this is not the most helpful example.

Let me try one more.  Remember this?

Screenshot 2015-04-17 08.35.42

This is actually a painful memory for me.  I was regularly crushed playing Risk in grade school.  I made the mistake, repeatedly, of accepting a school chum’s afterschool challenges.  This particular chum is the one with the self-constructed Space Shuttle models hanging from his bedroom ceiling, and the four decimal place IQ.  So I was in way over my head. We all had this friend, right?  Well I hope you didn’t play him or her in Risk, like I did.  You’ll suffer the deep and lasting wounds of numbing intellectual inferiority.  Worse yet, 35 years later, your swimming buddy will develop a neck rash that looks just like North Africa under enemy occupation.  This is to be avoided.

At some point here, well, how about right here, I should apologize to my neighbor.  I apologize for making you, or rather, your neck rash, my blogging muse this morning.  Truth be told, I’ve had a lovely little rash of my very own on my right eyelid for about 6 months now.  I just haven’t gotten around to texting anyone a photo of it yet.

Welp, gotta run. Time to pull on the wetsuit and jump into the Petri dish.

Thanks for reading.

The ChapStick Conspiracy.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 08.35.48

ChapStick is out to get me.  Not the company that manufactures the sneaky little suckers, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.  The actual tubes of lip balm themselves.  All of them.  And not just the ChapStick brand.  Every brand.  All of them.  At this very moment, the 40 or 50 tubes of lip balm I’ve purchased over the past year are all hiding.  Snickering with their own little smirky lips, giving off a faint whiff of nothing, vanilla, strawberry, coconut, whatever.  I can feel their beady little eyes on me.  They would rather waste away to nothing — evaporate, if that is even physically possible — than stay in my pocket or within my arms’ reach.


The ChapStick addiction has been handed down in my family from generation to generation.  From my father to me, from me to my own sons.  I suspect that the lip balm lineage goes father back up my line, too.  Turns out a physician and “pharmacological thinker” named Dr. Charles Browne Fleet invented ChapStick in the 1880s. The original product looked like a wickless candle wrapped in tin foil.  I wish it was still wrapped in tin foil.  That way the little bastards would be easier to find.  I’d see a glint of reflected sunlight in the backyard and then pounce on the wayward balm.  I’d notice that the telltale sting of foil pressing against my leg from within my pants pocket was suddenly missed.  Then I’d search furiously my immediate vicinity.  Recruit my family members to cast a broader net for capture.  Hell, I’d even press complete strangers into service on the city streets if it meant catching an errant ChapStick before I lost another one.  I’d happily channel Tommy Lee Jones’ The Fugitive sheriff character if it meant I’d hang onto one more tube just a little bit longer.  And unlike Sheriff Tommy, I’d control the situation and pull the trigger before letting my lip balm jump off the waterfall.  If I can’t have it smeared on my lips, then no one can have it smeared on his or her lips. It’s like that.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 08.52.44

I mean, look at Mr. Jones (Mr. Lee Jones?) here.  The man has lost control of the situation.  And look at his lips.  Chapped! Not me.

I am not picky.  When I finally give in and purchase a new lip balm unit, I am mindful of the planet and my place on it.  I delicately pull the tube from the shelf. Ensure words like “organic,” “cage-free,” “really freakin’ good for you,” and such, are printed somewhere on the packaging.  I hand it to the cashier with a puffed out chest and self-righteous air (me, not the clerk. I won’t stand for that kind of attitude from my cashier).  I watch the $17 disappear from my bank account with the swipe of my red plastic card. 

And then the high-end piece of wax is gone.  Just. gone.

Faced with dried up lips, I will scavenge.  Overturning hampers holding my sons’ filthy clothes, hoping to find a stick in one of their pockets.  Digging to the bottom of our cars’ center consoles.  Pushing through the cracker crumbs, dog treat remnants, and half-melted pieces of gum.  Go ahead, get yourself deep under my fingernails.  My lips are burning.  I don’t care.  I’d thrust my fist into a bucket of needles right now.  Bring it.

In these dire circumstances, you see, I will resort to just about anything to sooth the savage beast.  Cake-battered flavor lip balm bearing a logo of some young girl in a bonnet? Manna from heaven. A drop of olive oil — at least I hope it was olive oil — found on the kitchen counter?  Don’t judge. My wife’s lip balm (OK, I admit it may have nudged closer down the spectrum towards actual lipstick)? Jergens yellowish hand lotion in one of those big bottles?  Let me tell you something: You don’t need to threaten my dog, just hand me the lotion.  Yes, it puts the lotion on.  I will put the lotion on.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.17.50

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I am no longer that smug yuppie at the Whole Foods.  I am reduced, essentially, to dumpster-diving my way to healthier lips.

I’d love to keep typing here, but my mouth has run dry, my lips are starting to sting, and there isn’t a ChapStick to be found.  There must be something around here that will do the trick….

Thanks for reading.

The San Francisco Groints Opening Day (a/k/a Wait ‘Til Next Year)


It’s over before it even began.

Today the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants will hold a presumably lavish pregame ceremony befitting the, um, reigning World Champions.  There will be flag-hoisting, tear-jerking speeches, doling out of heavy and bejeweled rings, and lots of palm-stinging clapping at AT&T park this afternoon. 

I’d like to get excited about that.  I really would.  But I just can’t.

First, the Giants won the World Series back in October, like 6 months ago. We already had a big parade all over the place with podium-pounding pronouncements from elected and appointed officials after a conga line of cable cars.  At least I think it was cable cars.  The ticker tape parades have all begun to blend together.  I may be conflating one with the others.  (See what I did there?). 

Second, the Giants are off to a pretty unimpressive start this year.  And by the way, yes, the season has already begun. We are two uninspiring road trips deep.  And before that there was the spring training season.  All of which was dutifully covered ad nauseum.  I have the MLB 2015 “At Bat” iPhone app alerts to prove it.  At this point, 7 games into the season, our beloved home team has lost more games than it has won.  We sit alone at the bottom of our division. 

Third, we are a motley crew.  One of our best players has a busted arm and is on the DL.  A replacement for one of our former best players (now with the Red Sox) has kicked the ball around the infield like a Little Leaguer.  I cringe when the ball is hit in his direction, grinding my molars at how far up into the stands he will chuck the baseball.   But at least I can avoid having to cringe for a couple games, since he too is on the DL.  Groin, knee, hammy, whatever.  He took an unproductive and seemingly innocuous swing, and next thing you know he is genuflecting or Tebowing maybe three feet up the first base line. Not impressive. 

Our presumptive starting first baseman — he of the sweet swing — has already been on the DL with a groin.  I mean with a pulled groin.  I suppose all of our players have groins.  But our first baseman is the only player thusfar who has managed to pull his and miss a couple games.  No doubt there will be many pulled groins this season.  We should check with the people at Guiness (the book, not the beer) to ascertain the modern day record regarding pulled groins in a single season.  I feel really really good about our chances in this category.  Maybe I’ll even commission a new screen-printed tee shirt in anticipation of our new world record.  I think the “San Francisco Groints,” in the proper font and color scheme, would be a big hit on the sidewalks outside the ballpark. 

Our starting pitcher of Ruthian proportions (both throwing the ball and hitting the ball) threw batting practice the other day.  Only it was during a real game.  The Comcast Sports Net people must have breathed a sigh of relief that they ultimately didn’t need to figure out a way to add a third column in their graphics package as the Padres seemingly approached 100 hits in said game.

Another pitcher of ours who once threw a perfect game my family and I witnessed first-hand — his is now a creaky arm.  Bone chips removed in the off season from his elbow.  Don’t think he’ll be chucking baseballs through a pizza box on Youtube anytime soon, let alone pitching perfect games. Another of our pitchers has suffered of late with a “dead arm,” then a “dead back.”  He gave up a gut-punching grand slam the other day.  To a player who hit his first career grand slam.  At 37 years old.  With something like 300,000 previous at-bats without hitting a home run.  I’m exaggerating slightly here.  But only slightly.

Our backup catcher nearly had his arm Barbie-Dolled right out of his shoulder socket during a play at the plate a game or two ago.  A little while later, an opposing player dropped his bat head on the catcher’s skull whilst our catcher was not wearing his helmet.  Inadvertent, mind you, but something that just never happens.  At least I’ve never seen a Barbie Doll-Arm Wrench-Followed-by-Bat-to-Skull sequence before. 

None of this stuff bodes well.  It’s simply bad juju.  No bueno.  So at this point in the season — 4% of the way through — I’m officially throwing in the towel. 

Bring on 2016!

Thanks for reading.