Saturday, March 16, 2013

Toy Story T-Family Style

Hasbro, Mattel, Fisher Price, whomever – you can all send me a thank you note and royalty check later.  I have four ideas for toys and one for a product catering to parents that I’ve never seen and need to be made.  I have no idea if the goods would ever succeed on the market but I know at least my family would buy each of them, so that should obviously be sufficient grounds to at least launch some focus groups and an exploratory research panel.  Here goes.

1.) A freestanding drawer constructed of real wood that appears to have a truly functional purpose in the real world, as opposed to a plastic version that may fit nicely next to a toy kitchen.  The height would be adjustable but ideally at a level that is at the tippy-toe reach of a toddler. 

When the toddler reaches blindly into the drawer, he/she will find (toy) sharpened pencils and pens that he/she may chew, jam into their eyes, or use as a stabbing implement on his/her unsuspecting sibling.

I'd call it the "Juvenile Delinquent's Junk Drawer."

This drawer exists in real life next to our refrigerator and it’s one of Tilly’s hot spots on any given day.  Unfortunately for all involved, the pens and sharpened pencils are real.  The drawer is now empty.

2.) A freestanding door and door jamb that sits in the middle of a room.  A parent could adjust the resistance to control the level of noise made upon closure, which might range from silent to annoyingly loud slam. 

The door would have to at least have the appearance of genuine wood.  However, the edges would be made of some type of foam so that any fingers getting caught in between a door and a jamb would not be amputated. 

Gus would pay $1 million for this toy.  And it may occupy him for twelve straight hours, so long as an unattended stairway is not within sight.  Let's call this one "All Jambed Up."

3.) Notebooks, sticky pads, or packaging of any translucence that is actually a vegetable or fruit pulp with nutritional value.  The key to pulling off this sham is leaving the item in a location that suggests it was abandoned accidentally, say while attending to the diaper of a different child in the house.

Like a barn mouse, Tilly sniffs out these little gems from miles away.  I’ll stumble upon her as I turn a corner dirty diaper in hand after having just changed Gus and there she is, gnawing away on a grocery list or sticky notes from a deposition transcript I took home from work.  Maybe the product will be called “Edible Papyrus” or something to that effect.

Maybe we could resurrect fruit roll-ups and fashion them into some type of Trapper Keeper.  That would be like Tilly’s Thanksgiving/Christmas meal all combined into one secret snack club.

4.) A toilet bowl complete with water and flushing mechanism.  To ensure the bona fide appearance of this number one Christmas gift in 2013, I don’t recommend locating it in a bathroom.  Instead, I’d stash it in a closet or something with the door left slightly open.

Gus eyeballs the bathroom door in our house whenever he’s doing rounds just in case someone didn’t close it all the way during a hasty exit.  Upon seeing any daylight at the entrance, he charges in there and immediately inspects the john before he promptly splashes his arm shoulder-deep as if digging for catfish in a riverbed.

The "Hideaway Head" could retail for a cool $59.95 at Target on Black Friday.  Could you imagine the unintentional comedy of the television commercial?  

5.) The Dexter edition industrial-size plastic wrap wallpaper for moms and dads.  This product would be a transparent adhesive that lies invisible over kitchen walls, window sills, moldings, and other fixtures to protect them from the shrapnel in any meal involving kids under five within a twenty-five foot radius of the kitchen table.

I swear we painted our kitchen within the last two years even though it's beginning to look like an abandoned dining room from a house in Chernobyl.  We might as well let Crips and Bloods tag the place as if it was a subway car because it would look a thousand times better than the current state of dried-up, partially chewed remnants of fruit morsels and Cheerios that pock mark the vicinity at random locations from five feet and below.

3M is probably working on a prototype of this product as we speak.  Home Depot can set up a nice display at its entrance.  The DIY network might even have an episode to show nincompoops like me how it's so easy to install myself.

And there we have it.  If I see any of these products on shelves this year, I expect at least a free sample.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Glass is Half Full

I’ve been at a loss for words the past several weeks.  Bad funk.  As for writing, I wasn’t struggling to come up with any ideas.  I just knew that I would likely regret whatever it was that I wrote because my pants were so full of poop. 

There is no dramatic backstory to explain.  No specific incident or anything like that.  Actually, my bad mood (not the first, not the last) developed mostly as a result of the banalities of my daily routines.   

One morning probably in February, my mind suddenly became overwhelmed with the grind of crying/teething/fighting kids, a house crumbling from damage caused by said kids, too much Disney/not enough Hemingway, grilled cheese sandwiches smooshed in hair and wiped on walls instead of meals with peaceful conversations, low energy, winter blues, etc.  And repeat the next day.  Every day.  Every week.  Then start again the following week.  Blah, blah, blah.  The only respite was going to work, but really, how messed up is it that a job becomes the place to recharge one’s energy? 

Fortunately, I maintained perspective.  We have our health.  We have a roof over our heads.  We have food in our bellies.  We have clothes on our backs.  As cliché as that may be, everything else is truly just gravy. 

But being American, I of course want everything, right now, because of my self-perception that I’m the hardest worker I know.  These yin and yang debates raged on mostly inside my head, while I toiled through the daily drudgery. 

I felt myself becoming unlike myself.  Almost like when Jack Butler (Mr. Mom) yells at Kenny for coloring outside the lines and enjoying the same television shows as his one year old.  Although I wish it was that lighthearted in my case.  (Again, no real drama but my heart is guilty for slacking off in the patience department to name one example.) 

Eventually, I think I just annoyed myself into a better mood.  I decided to be Billy Ocean when the going gets tough. 

I’m launching a system upgrade.  Dad version 4.0.  (Greta turned four last month.)  Hopefully, the new software will be the kind that doesn’t wreak havoc on the server causing an eye-rolling, belly aching uproar among the employees and calls every day to Help Desk people named “Joe” and “Bob” in sub-continental Asia.

With that confession out of the way, I’m ready to emerge from hibernation.  I’m re-booting the computer now.