Adventures in Babysitting


…phone ringing…

Mel: Hello?

Sam: Ayyy, whatupbro? Can you watch the kids for me tonight? My babysitter cancelled on me.

Mel: Dang man. Wish I could, but I have to teach tonight. I can ask Bri if she can do it. I’ll call you back.

Sam: Ok. Thanks.

Mel: No problem.

5 minutes later…phone rings…

Sam: Hello?

Mel: She can do it. Just bring them by the house after 7. She will be there.

Sam: Thanks bro. I owe y’all one.

Mel: No you don’t. Just enjoy your date night.

Jaylah and Kameron….Kameron and Jaylah. Monsters of the Midway. Twin Terrors….or my personal favorite…Sam’s kids.

At first glance, these two look to be angels sent from Heaven. They greet you with gentle smiles and warm hugs. Then they politely ask to play with building blocks just before they scurry away to amuse themselves in the corner. All the while, having you think that this will be a piece of cake.

My two little Angels.

My two little Angels.

Before the nights end, you could possibly be pulling out your hair. Soon you find yourself clawing at the door in hopes that their parents are just steps away from freeing you from your recent torment. You realize why their parents gave you the side eye as they thanked you for keeping their bundles of joy, and gave each other a high five as they walked out the door.

Just kidding. They are not bad. Not by a long shot. They just like to have their own type of fun which is coupled with endless amounts of energy. For Jaylah, it’s playing house with tiny dolls, and then sipping “tea” and “feeding you” a meal she just prepared in her brand new kitchen. For Kam, having fun means sprinting up and down the hallway until he falls…then hopping right back up and doing it all over again. He does this while totally ignoring your pleas for him to slow down and stop…endless amounts of energy.

Of course I’m joking about my little buddies being tiny monsters or even terrors. They are, in fact Sam’s kids, and so they act like he did so many years ago. Always full of energy and enthusiasm. If your not prepared for their type of fun, it could overwhelm you. This is what I feared may happen to my dear wife.

So as I made my way into class all I could think about was how tired Bri was gonna be when I got home. I can hear her now: “Boo, I’m soooo tired. I don’t know if I can do it again. They wore me out.” My poor baby was gonna be a hot mess when I got home.

A couple times a month I used to teach a class called Victim Awareness. In this class I, along with a co-facilitator, would baby sit, I mean, show the youth of Santa Clara County the importance of respecting their fellow man (with a very strong emphasis on victims of crime). This was a great way for me to reach out to my community and make a difference. Most of the young men and women who attended these classes were focused more on the clock than on our words of wisdom.

Those that did pay attention made positive strides in life. Those that didn’t usually ended up back in our class 30-60 days later. In spite if their total disregard of our teachings, we never stopped pushing them to do better…as if we were parents, legal guardians, or… sitters. Eventually it would stick.

On this night in my class full of juvenile delinquents, I found myself focusing on the Mrs. In between pleas to use the potty and gentle taps on the table to get “John” or “Joan” to pick their heads off the desk I fought the urge to call her and check in. 9 pm couldn’t come fast enough for me so that I could go home and see the outcome of our social experiment.

When I walked into the apartment, I expected to see a space that had been ravaged by twin tornados. Toys would be scattered everywhere. My dear wife’s face would be filled tears of fear and terror. Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but I did expect to hear her voice raised as my little homies ran a muck.

To my surprise, when I opened the door I was greeted with the exact opposite. Kam was in the corner building a castle with his blocks. On the other side of the room Jaylah and Bri both lay comfortably on the couch watching Dora the Explorer.

I gave my beautiful wife a cool smile and a nod to let her know that I was impressed….very impressed. She just turned and brushed her shoulders off as if to shame me for ever doubting her. Touché my dear….touché.

When they noticed that Uncle was in the room. Both little ones broke their silence and greeted me with their usual forms of child like affection. Kam stood up and did his happy dance (rocking from side to side while twirling in a circle). Then Miss Jaylah screamed “UUUNCLEEE!!!” As she ran and jumped into my arms.

For just a moment I was jealous of Sam and Renee. No matter how bad your day is, and no matter what life takes you through…to be greeted with such honest love and affection will melt any cold heart. They were very lucky to be greeted with this type of “welcome home” each and every day. I can remember thinking “I could get used to this.”

After we said our goodbyes, Sam and Renee took the kids home. I was preparing to take a seat on the couch and enjoy some quality time with the Mrs. Then she told me that she would be right back.

While she was gone, not gonna lie, I used the next few minutes to get drawn into the latest Dora adventure. “Swipers no swiping.” I whispered to myself as I became totally engulfed into what I was watching. You laugh now, but once a kid comes into the picture watch how much “adult” tv you watch then in comparison to now. Things will change my friend.

Then Bri came around the corner, and my attention shifted back to her. Her demeanor had changed. She seemed nervous and a bit jittery.

So, Miss lady walked towards me and uttered softly “here” as she handed me a small object. I glanced down at my new found prize only to realize that it was truly a game changer.

A white stick with a green plus. Is this really what I think it is? I looked up at her and asked “really?” She assured me that after 5 or 6 tries with the same result….yes really. WE ARE HAVING A BABY!!!

So, now there’s no need to be jealous anymore. In just a few short months Avery Olivia-Lynn Hughes will greet mommy and daddy with warm smiles and gentle hugs.

Here's our bundle of joy!

Here’s our bundle of joy!

Oh yeah. In my excitement of finding out that I was about to become a daddy, I tried my best to play it cool. I could feel something bubbling inside me that made me want to jump for joy (no, it wasn’t the burrito I had earlier). When I finally calmed down and brought myself back to reality, I paused and asked myself one quick question….”Did this chick just put a pee stick in my hand!?!”

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Urban Hunting

Soooooo….this week I was gonna put up a post in my Light Rail Diaries section.  It was about drunk passengers, ladies that talk too loud & spread their business, street walkers, unicorns, corporate businessmen, crazy people that drive Prius’, midgets, pregnant women, stray dogs, 6 ft tall crossdressers wearing bad wigs, dancing babies….and my all time favorite…Paula Patton.  Ok…maybe not Paula Patton.

Or, maybe not even the crazy Prius drivers.  Or, maybe I was gonna write about one or two of those things & the Mrs suggested I write something a tad bit different.

Yeah, let’s go with that.  Time to be different.  So here you go ladies and gents.  I present to you something different:

Urban Hunting

Her eyes are squinted so that she can focus on her target.  Her body is crouched low so that she can remain quiet and unseen.  Her movements are slow and steady.  She knows that the slightest noise will alert him. Just like the fiercest predator on the African plains, she stalks her prey.

Quiet & patient.  Slow & stealthy.  Patience is the name of the game she plays. Every step she takes puts her one moment closer to claiming her prize.  A prize that can only be held by one, but is constantly fought for by them both.

Here it is.  The moment of truth.  The opportunity she has worked for.  He is clueless.  She is fully aware.  Eyes still squinted.  Mind still focused.  Her muscles, once relaxed, are now tensed, flexed, and ready to pounce.

With one fluid motion, she leaps through the air.  Like a lioness stalking her prey for the pride, she leans in….. SLAP!  Right across the back of his head.  Then in a continuous motion using her arms to push him to the mattress.

Photo Nov 06, 11 12 25 AM

My buddy Jaylah. So sweet and full of energy.

Yup, she got him this time.  Jaylah is the Queen of the hill!  While baby Kam looks at me in disbelief like: “Dude, you really gonna let her do a brotha like that!?!”

Lets pause for a moment:

Why not say anything?  Well, because that’s what these two do (my neice and nephew…if you didn’t know).  They fight like cats and dogs all day, every day.

Had I stopped her, she just would’ve waited until I wasn’t watching.  How do I know?…well, Sam and I used to do the same thing when we were kids.

Back to our story:  There she stands.  Hands held high like a heavy weight champion who just won the title.  She feels triumphant.  So, she bounces up and down as if she’s lighter than a feather.  She’s the boss now.

Anger clouds his judgement.  So he makes it a thing of the past.  All he can think of is revenge.  Reclaiming what was once his is now his goal.

Unbeknownst to her, her most recent victim had already begun his plot of revenge.  Kam, not at all shaken by what just happened, walked away as if nothing had happened.  He used this time to chose his next course of action.

A master plan formed in the mind of a crafty and very intelligent 2 year old. Minutes later he took a totally different plan of attack than his most recent enemy.  He played it cool.  Instead of a slow stealthy approach, he chose to play the role of the double agent.

With a gentle smile and a warm hug, he embraced her.  By this time, all was forgotten by Jaylah.  She was still on cloud 9 after her recent victory. Not him.  Not Kam.  His competitive nature will not allow anything to be taken from him.  Even if what was taken was nothing more than an imaginary crown.

Photo Nov 06, 11 10 47 AM

Look at this guy. How could you say no to a face like that?

Revenge was on his mind.  It quickly began to show on his face.  That glowing, adorable smile that once graced his face had faded away just as quickly as it appeared.

With the swiftness of a cheetah and the skill of a football player, he wrapped his body around hers, taking her to the ground.  He looked so much like his daddy.  A chip off the ‘ole block…lil Sam looked like big Sam as he slammed ball carriers down to the ground when they dared invade his space.

Her shock was understandable.  His triumph was undeniable.  The rivalry of young siblings is only just beginning.  The crown was his once again.  In one swift motion, he used her body as a stepping stool as he stood in victory.

“STOOOOOP BABY KAMERON!” …”And now it starts” was what I mumbled to myself as the two of them wrestled and fought each other for the next few minutes.

These continuous battles that they fight day in and day out will only strengthen the relationship that they will have for years to come.  I know this because I can speak from experience.  What seems like hatred between two youngsters is actually the beginnings of a love and a bond that will not be broken by anyone else.

Moments later the screams and howls of anger and pain were replaced by cheers of joy and enthusiasm.  Oh, how quickly things change.  This is why I didn’t say anything.  I knew that at some point, they would kiss and make up.  The last thing that either of them will ever do is cause serious harm to the other.  At the end of the day, no one will protect Kam like Jaylah, and no one will fight for Jaylah like Kam.  Sibling rivalry soon blossoms into sibling love.

These two will forever share a bond that no one will break.

These two will forever share a bond that no one will break.

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A Letter Of Apology

Hey y’all.  It’s me.  The black man thinking.  I know it’s been a long while since my last post.

I could tell you all about me spending these last couple of weeks finding the meaning of life.  All while traveling to the far reaches of the earth looking for life’s mysteries.  Or maybe I’ll tell you about me going to places only seen on television and the internet solving world hunger and helping to end the war…..everywhere.

Truth is…if I said any of those things, I would most definitely be lying.  I ain’t done none of that.  Truth be told, I just got a little lazy.  “Oh, I’ll write something tomorrow”  or “I’ve got some free time this weekend.  I’ll do it then.”  All tiny little fibs I was telling myself.

You see, writing is like exercising.  You need to do it all the time in order to keep a healthy rhythm and a great pace.  If you stop for any reason, you need to put in twice the work the very next day to keep that flow going.  I wasn’t doing that.

Now I’m not saying that I’m about to be the Olympic triathlete of blog writing, but I will do better.  I gotta get my act together.  I have far too many thoughts floating inside this brain of mine to not put them down on virtual paper.

So, here ye here ye!  Today I make it known that I will do better.  I will write more, and I will give the people what they want (oh, if you want to know my thoughts on something…just ask, and I’ll write about it).

Here I am, formally apologizing for my shortcomings and vowing to write more consistently.

Peace and Love,




If you see me around, feel free to ask me if I wrote something today.

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Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Ok.  Picture this.  You’ve had a long, long day at the office.  Work has beaten you down.  You’re tired physically.  Mentally, you seem to be in another world.  With all of that, you still have to stay focused on the task at hand…which is getting home.  So, to keep your mind at ease, you set your speed to cruise control as you coast down the familiar path from work to home.

Getting home in one piece seems to be a challenge when Toyota Prius drivers want to cut you off at every opportunity they see fit.  WooooSaaaaaah, is all you can say as you breathe steadily and work your way south down the freeway.  What was once a smooth commute south on the 101 has drastically changed into a weave fest from lane to lane trying to avoid, seemingly, the worst drivers on the planet.

—(This is where I take over)

Apply the blinker.  Check.  Look into all your mirrors.  Check, check, and check.  Glance over your right shoulder.  Check.

Ok, now glide Big Baby over into the next lane so I can prepare to exit.  DANGIT!  There goes one of those *%$@% Prius drivers speeding up when they see me changing into “their” lane.  Really dude!?!  You’re the one that invaded my space.  Now you look at me like I’ve wronged you.  (Pardon me while I vent)  Like I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, change lanes and prepare to exit.

Finally I’ve reached my exit, and I’m parked at this red light.  Just 5 minutes away from the house, and total relaxation.  I can see it now.  Shoes off.  Shorts and a t-shirt on.  Television on.  Sipping a cool beverage.  Probably some kool-aid or pink lemonade.

All I have to do is make it down this hill.  Go through 3 lights.  Then I will be in the comfort of my own home.

I coast down the hill, and what do I see?  Some crazed man running into the road waving his hands like something is wrong.  So, I pull over to see what the issue is.  Maybe I can be the good samaritan and help him out.

HA!  What an idiot I am.  The joke’s on me.  Ole buddy didn’t need help.  He was helping…the great state of California, that is.  This “fine gentleman” (for lack of a better word) was one of Cali’s finest.  He was tucked away behind a bush with his handy dandy radar gun.  Apparently I just got caught in a speed trap.  Shoot!

Mel:  (as I shake my head) I can’t believe I let this fool pull me over.  I should’ve just drove off and pretended I thought he was a crazy man.  He better not ask me a stupid question either.

—The dude knocks on my window…then I roll it down extra slllllooooooooooooowly.

Officer:  You know what the speed limit is on this road?

Mel:  (thinking to myself:  “Yup…never fails.  They always ask dumb questions.”)  I think the limit is about 45 or 50.

Officer:  NO!  It’s 40 (as he shoves the radar gun in my face).  I clocked you doing 53.

Mel:  (thinking to myself:  “One inch closer patnah and you may draw back a nub.  Who am I kidding?  Jail ain’t for me.  So, hush up Mel.”)  Sooo is there some type of fine involved?

Officer:  Sure is (as he prints out the ticket).  You will receive a notice in the mail.  Follow the instructions and go from there.

Mel:  Yah.  Got it (as I took the slip of paper in disgust and drove off).

—At home

Now, getting pulled over didn’t scare me.  It just agitated me.  Staring the cop in the face didn’t phase me.  It just rubbed me the wrong way how the officer acted (granted, I probably didn’t give him any reasons to be a nice guy).

What scared me?  Maaaaaaan…..telling my wife the accountant!  DuhDuhDuuuuuuuuuuuh!

…to be continued…


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You Say Whaaaaa? 10k?

“Why run…when I can walk?  Why walk…when I can drive?” ~Mel Hughes~

Oh yeah buddy.  That’s my motto.  People that know me know that running is not in my top 100 favorite things to do in my spare time.  I would rather walk places rather than run.  Hey, call me lazy, but last I checked speed walking was an Olympic event.  Although, I can’t see myself strutting my way to the grocery store that way.  I prefer a casual stroll (with a cool “pimp” in my step).  Yeah, that sounds perfect.  What better way to enjoy the scenery…right? Continue reading

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