This morning at 3:10 A.M. I was awoken by the sound of my son singing/groaning, and I quickly realized that he was performing a startlingly faithful rendition of the repeating vocal sample used in the classic Arrested Development song “Mr. Wendal.” I went in and there he was, happily sitting up in his crib awake, continuing his homage to that great philosopher-hobo. It sounded exactly like this:
In our family, we also make it a practice to slightly modify the lyrics of “Mr. Wendal” to refer to one of Virginia’s heroes, Sister Wendy. Perhaps this is how the young lad has developed such a love for the song.
On Tuesday I happened upon this tweet declaring a new “mission” from one Amy Krouse Rosenthal, via her blog Mission Amy KR. Her mission was simple: she commisioned “agents” at twenty locations throughout the country to hide copies of her picture book Little Pea under random mattresses in random furniture stores; a play on the whole Princess and the Pea fairy tale. She posted the following youtube video, which gave clues as to the locations of the hidden little peas:
I actually sat and watched through all five minutes of this video, which was strange behavior for me. Perhaps I could sense that destiny had called me on this day. Or perhaps I just like it when people do goofy things like this in stores and public places. I was just a little curious to see if there was going to be one planted somewhere in Utah. Whatever the reason that held my attention for the duration, my hope beyond hope was confirmed as I watched some lady on the video place a copy of this book under a mattress of a “rustic mountain home” bed display in the R.C. Willey furniture store only a couple of miles from my house. I knew not only where this store was located, but, having visited it once a couple of years ago, I even had a general idea of where this type of furniture was located within the store, unless they had changed everything around. Further, I was on vacation from work for the day, and would be willingly aided and accompanied by a picture book-loving wife and little Lord Fitz himself, who would be our go-to man to find the book. And as a final motivation, I myself am currently on a professional and personal quest to explore the world of children’s picture books and discover new titles; what better way to enact my quest than by rummaging through the bed displays of a furniture store as a prank to get a free book? And so it was decided that we would assay that very afternoon to retrieve the Little Pea.
Before I proceed with the recounting of our adventures, there is something you should know about the nature of my relationship with R.C. Willey stores: they frighten and irritate me to no end. Each R.C. Willey location, in addition to being filled with furniture of varying stylishness, is also crawling with salespersons on commission. They will follow you around, and if you tell one to bug off it does no good, because no sooner will he or she leave you alone than another salesperson will find you un-chaperoned and start tailing you. If you are in any way paranoid or unsocial it is not a good place for you. So, I was glad to have my two cohorts with me on the trek.
We arrived at the store parking lot, strapped the lad into his stroller, and entered. There were people all about, which seemed encouraging for our Tuesday afternoon quest, until I realized that virtually all of them were employees. There must have been a 3-to-1 salesperson-to-customer ratio, which meant that we had no chance of being inconspicuous, and also that the salespeople would be extra hungry for business. We proceeded into the store with caution, browsed some furniture, and then made our way to the goal area. I had remembered the mountain cabin type furniture, such as was shown in the video, being in a strange basement showroom of the store. I was unsure whether this would give us more privacy to search for the book, or would leave us to be cornered by a salesperson as the only shoppers in the area.
I made one great error in preparing for our quest for the little pea: I failed to a get a screenshot of the placement of the book. I had remembered it was a rustic looking bed with a TV next to it, and I thought that would be good enough to find it. As it turns out, I was both right and wrong. As we reached the area, I quickly found a bed that matched my memory, with a TV next to it playing at that very moment a ridiculous scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in which a bunch of guys are shot and fall down a hillside in slow motion. Really put me in the mood to buy some rustic furniture right then. I pulled up the mattress from the foot of the bed on both sides, but found nothing. We then wandered around the area for a while, but could not find another bed that matched what we had seen in the video. I wondered if they had already re-arranged their showroom since the book had been hidden. I hoped they hadn’t put it on display on a nightstand in the children’s section or something, thus making our retrieval of the book appear as stealing.
During this time, a salesperson approached us, offering to help us find something, and to my horror my wife straightly told her we were looking for a book that was hidden under a mattress in the store, according to a video that we had seen at a website. Our subtlety gone, now the vast and mysterious mechanizations of the R.C. Willey superstore would be set into motion to thwart us. The salesperson told us that the floor designers would surely have found anything like what we were looking for, and we should check with Customer Service to see if they had our lost book. She then quickly went away, I assumed to inform security that strange persons were in the basement trying to mess up and steal display items. I’m the paranoid one in the family, if you haven’t noticed.
We then came up with the wise idea to try to pull the video up on our phone, but the reception down in the basement was too poor. We went upstairs, I found an obscure couch to sit on where I could attempt to search for and load the video on my phone, and my wife checked with Customer Service and continued to talk to salespeople, who all seemed to be somewhat confused and nervous by what she was asking them. Ten minutes later, after being solicited for sales assistance by three different individuals, I finally had the video cued up and paused on the shot of the bed under which the book had been placed. We showed it to the salesperson, the first one who had helped us. To her credit, she immediately recognized the bed and knew exactly where it was. She led us back downstairs and directly to the very first bed I had checked, with Butch and Sundance playing next to it. My wife pulled up the mattress, and there was the book, in a plastic bag, at the very head of the bed. I had not checked thoroughly enough. Roosevelt Fitzwallace himself pulled the book out (see photo above). We found the note inside the book and showed it to the salesperson, and she, although still somewhat confused, let us take it.
So, the pea was not found by a princess or a prince, but it was found by a little lord, certainly on his way to greatness.
As we made our way to exit of the store, we ran back into other employees that my wife had talked with. She informed them that we had found the book, and tried to relieve them. Apparently they had commenced searching the R.C. Willey website and called the corporate offices to try to find out about this secret book giveaway promotion that they hadn’t known about. Tomorrow they had a “Walk-Through” scheduled, and they were extremely concerned about mobs of people coming in and tearing apart their displays looking for hidden stuff. We tried to comfort them, saying that we were probably the only people who would come in looking for the book.
So, thank you, Mission Amy KR!!! Lord Fitz has deigned to lend me his copy of Little Pea, and so it shall be added to the collection of books I need to read and review for my massive picture book project:
*It should perhaps again be mentioned that, for the purposes of this web site, the boy’s name is Roosevelt FitzWallace, a.k.a. Fitz, Fitzy, or Little Lord Fitz. The original goal was also to avoid the accurate rendering of his facial image at all costs, but once again I have failed in that obfuscation. I could not bear to put a black box over his eyes; he is just too cute.
By both popular and regal demand, I have returned this picture to its proper station and title, using the term “fancypants” rather than the vilely vernacular “Bossin’.” I have also exalted this posting with a more auspicious date, it now being placed on the day on which is memorialized the insurrection of the American colonies, whose patriotic colors the plaid of the lordly pantaloons so represent.
P.S. I really wanted to spell “Fancypantz” with a “Z.” There, I did it. Fancypantz Fitz.
It comes with an emergency ejection system, parachute, rocket pack, regenerative environmental control and life support system (for extended space travel), and an iPod dock: pretty much everything he will need if our planet Crypton is ever destroyed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t breastfeed or change diapers.
I have to confess that this cute red bear suit with its criss-cross pattern has always secretly reminded me of Radiohead’s bear icon (courtesy of their longtime album art collaborator Stanley Donwood, I think.)
They won’t let you give tattoos or piercings in the hospital, so we had to settle for this hardcore boy bow. Made out of blue and clear plastic LEGO Technic parts and stabbed right into his skull with a needle, this is a bow a little tough guy can be proud to wear in his hair. We wanted them to safety pin it into his skin, but we had to settle for tape. Still, it looks rather good with neo-natal faux-hawk.
Turns out that it also doubles as an intravenous access device for the administering of medications, making it an extremely useful newborn accessory.
The Froz-T-Freez staff is growing! We are currenly on-site at the Intermountain Medical Center, recruiting and training our newest member. Due to contractual restrictions, we cannot yet reveal his or her identity. However, I am prepared to admit that he is but a young, little lad.
For some time I’ve been debating whether to write about or show images of my new child publicly on the Internet. I know a lot of other people publicly post photos and anecdotes of their children, including numerous of my own relatives and friends, and I don’t know that there is anything wrong with it. At the same time, I am very cognizant of the fact that he currently has no say on whether I make any and every facet of his young life public or not, and yet it will potentially remain available and accessible for his entire life. Fourth grade bullies, potential employers, and future authoritarian dictators alike will all potentially be able to judge him not only on his own thoughts and merits but also by what I may write about his potty training experiences.
And yet, at not quite a week into this whole parenthood thing, I already have the urge to share some things. So, inspired by some comments I heard once from an unremembered celebrity guest on a talk show, I have arrived at a compromise. (Indeed, I make most of my major life decisions based on advice from celebrities on talk shows, so this one should be no exception.) This is the compromise I offer to the world:
I shall at times mention or write about my child in the text of this website, which does indeed constitute a public forum, with the following exemptions:
I will not be sharing his true name, but shall create a pseudonym for him.
I will not show pictures of his face.
The picture part will be the hardest to remain true to, because he’s a cute little baby, but it will also be a fun challenge.
So, without further ado, I present to the world the name of Roosevelt FitzWallace, affectionately referred to as Fitz, and perhaps occasionally as Little Lord Fitz.