Monthly Archives: July 2009


Well, it was bound to happen.


Our beloved LCD TV has a big crack in the screen.

Little C. was playing with the stick horse she rides around the front room when the horse bumped into the front of the set.

The result is a colorful shatter pattern in the lower left corner.

The TV sort of works, if you don’t mind lots of lines on the lower half of the screen. Every once in awhile, the picture freezes up as well. But the audio is fine.

Looking around the Web for stories of similar mishaps, it looks like we’re pretty much out of luck. Folks say when this happens, the set is pretty much toast.

The bummer is that is makes guilty pleasures such as “Mad Men” and “MI-5” pretty hard to enjoy.

We’ll get by. In the big scheme of things, it’s just a minor glitch.

What TV makers need to do is sell a child-proof version, able to withstand flying Hot Wheels and sippy cups.

Maybe one with a Kevlar film on the screen. Or a chicken-wire cage to keep kids out.

In the meantime, we’ll keep the set we have.

It’s kind of like watching the radio.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kids On A Plane

To all the parents who are brave enough to travel by air with small children, I salute you.

It’s been more than a month since we took a family summer vacation back to Washington, D.C., our first such trip with two little ones.

It’s about an eight-hour journey door-to-door, from Sacramento to Arlington, Va.

Sacramento to Chicago’s O’Hare, Chicago to Dulles.

All crammed into a stuffy flying cylinder zooming eastward at 37,000 feet.

Luckily, grandpa and grandma’s house in Arlington is a great place to stay and they made us feel at home. Plus, we had a fine time seeing the sights of D.C. and Baltimore.

But it’s the plane ride that sticks with me, begging the question: Why is flying so unpleasant? Maybe it’s the idea of being trapped in a sardine can, elbow-to-elbow with strangers. Maybe I’ve gotten a little fatter in recent years, but I swear the seats are smaller and closer together than they used to be.

We set out from Sacramento with a battle plan, trying to anticipate any kind of kid meltdown. Pacifiers? Check. Diapers? Check. Cereal bars? Check. DVD player? Check. Flask of whiskey for daddy? Dang, we forgot that.

My wife is a great traveler. She started out our first leg in Sacramento by apologizing in advance to an older woman sitting near us for any screaming or flying pacifiers yet to come. The woman nodded with a smile, adding that she remembers the days of raising small kids.

Little C., who is not even 2, did a fair amount of fussing as we winged over Utah, and we had our work cut out for us to keep her occupied with books and snacks. Six-year-old A. was fine, spending much of the time looking out the window and watching SpongeBob on DVD.

On the Chicago to Dulles leg, C. was getting a little weary somewhere over West Virginia. But a little game of peek-a-boo got her laughing with delight. Shreiking with laughter, actually. That was when a guy leaned over to my wife and asked if there was any way we could keep C. quiet.

We didn’t really respond. But what would he prefer? The bone-chilling screeches of a tired baby? Mister, that’s much worse than a laughing toddler.

On the trip back, things went much smoother.

During the leg from O’Hare to Sacramento, we were sitting in the back of the plane in the screaming child section, which was fine by me. As a parent, you don’t feel so bad when your baby is crying if you’re already surrounded by other wailing children. At one point, four kids were howling. It was actually quite pleasant to have company in the misery.

I’ve made a promise to myself. When I’m an old guy and traveling without kids, I’ll always be sympathetic to young parents on planes with little kids.

Like the woman who smiled in acknowledgment of my wife’s pre-flight apology, I’ll take it all in stride. And just turn up my iPod to tune out the noise.


Filed under Uncategorized

Meet The Ping Pong Shark

So how did my 6-year-old son, A., develop such wicked skills in ping pong?

He amazes me every day, but this afternoon he schooled me several times.

The day started out well. I was out for a walk with my daughter, C., when we spotted the mother of all yard sales.

I ended up picking up a ping pong table and paddles for just $10.

Back at home, I set it up on the patio. I lobbed a few gentle shots to A. just to get things going. Clearly, he was taking it easy on me.

During a second round later in the day, he didn’t hold back. He served the ball with spin, and several times it zipped past me in a white blur. Where he learned this, I don’t know. I got thumped often.

I’d like to think it was the heat that made me weak — Sacramento hit a high of 105 degrees right about the time we were playing. It had to be at least 100 in the shade of the patio.

But I can’t blame the temperature for everything. The kid has talent. Once he gets a little more practice, I’m in real trouble.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

First Sentence

My 21-month-old daughter, C., proclaimed her first sentence the other day, and a beautiful one it was.

I came home from an early morning jog and my wife shared the good news.

The line?

“Mama, my bibi uh oh.”

Translation: “Mother, my pacifier seems to have fallen out of my crib. Please come and pick it up.”

Many times I’ve heard C. say “Mama,” “bibi” and “uh oh.”

But to hear that she strung them all together, and added a pronoun in the process, well that’s just something to make any parent proud.

I haven’t been able to get her to repeat it. But I’ll keep trying.

My name is Jason Montiel. I’ll be stringing a few words together from time to time here. During the day, I write news stories for in Sacramento. This is about my other job: Dad.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized