Sunday, December 13, 2009

I really never liked you Minnesota

December 13, 2009

My bumbling Bengals lost to the Vikings today in rather embarrassing fashion. I knew they were going to, but it was still disappointing. This is due to the fact that I also knew they were going to lose to Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore, Green Bay, and others. They beat 9 teams that I would have easily believed that they would have lost to, so why not beat the Vikings? Well, because they are not as good as the Vikings, that's why.

So speaking of Minnesota, I have told people in the past that I really enjoyed my 14 month stay in Bemidji, Minnesota. I worked for Kmart at the time, and was promoted from a store in Northern Kentucky, to the store in Bemidji. It was a 1000 mile move and took me away from my girlfriend/future bride, Beth. To this day, I wonder why I did it except that the people who asked me to go played into my ego by saying that I was the person they hand-picked for the position and that I could clean up the problems at the store. Since I then took 3 more promotions in the next 5 years based on the same criteria, I guess you could say my ego was kind of a mo. I cleaned up the store in Bemidji, went on to clean up a store in Buffalo, New York, and then cleaned one up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and then almost died trying to fix one in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I finally figured out that Beth and having a family was more important than playing to my ego after that.

Anyway, I really did like Bemidji. If you have never been there, it is (or was then) a town of 11,000 people. Almost everyone I met there was super nice, especially my assistant at the store, Carrie Moe. Ironic, yes. She was the one who taught me how you could assure the sex of your child, which is a "scientific" fact that I still quote to this day. If you need help in predetermining the sex of your baby, let me know and I can share this secret. As for everyone else in the town, they spent their time rooting on the Minnesota teams, drinking, and figuring out ways to play outdoor sports. The summer in Minnesota was on July 24th and 25th, so the rest of the year they were convincing themselves that it wasn't cold outside. In Spring, once it turned 30 degrees outside, the shorts started selling.

You may know that I am not fond of the cold, so when I pulled into town and parked at the motel, I should have known something was up when there was a post next to every parking space with an outlet. When I asked why, I was informed that this was where you could plug in your engine block heater. Pardon me?!? Apparently, this was just the beginning. I laughed when someone told me that the lake would be frozen over by Thanksgiving. It was not only frozen over, but people would drive their trucks out on it, build fish huts, and cut holes in the ice to fish. Inside these fish huts could be found heaters, televisions, and alcohol. One guy came into the store the day after building his fish hut on the ice with an ear that was red and swollen. When asked what caused it, he said he forgot to wear a hat and kept that side of his head towards the wind the whole day so only one ear would get cold. Did I mention the alcohol?

It was nothing for the people of this town to travel from Bemidji to Fargo, North Dakota or The Cities (Minneapolis/ St Paul) just to go shopping. Both of these shopping excursions took 5 hours to drive, one way. My wife and I moved from one part of Cincinnati to another because it took 10 minutes to get to the grocery store instead of the 3 minutes it takes now.

So, since this is a blog and not a novel, I will wrap up my feelings on the town of Bemidji by saying that both Beth and I enjoyed our stay there, brief as it was. We still talk about the Taco Juans fast food place, the bar we used to go to and drink Killians, the dog man, and the people we met there. They sure knew how to have a good time, though we don't remember all of it. Did I mention the alcohol?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bless this weekend off

December 12, 2009

Finally. It seems like a long time between weekends off, mostly because it has been a long time. I know that for those of you who have to work every weekend, I will evoke no sympathy, but it has been a month since I have had two days off in a row. I guess I have gotten soft, but I really need the two days to get body and mind back together in order to do it all over again. Things have been so busy at the store this year that it leads to a level of frustration when you walk out of the store knowing the closing team is going to have a rough night. I know the team working this weekend is going to be challenged as well, and I will consider it a blessing if no one calls or texts me about something going wrong.

Anyhow, my main concerns for the weekend are having fun with Beth and CJ and staying warm. Boy, am I a whiny child about being cold. Our new furnace is getting a workout. CJ generally walks around in boxers, a tee shirt, and bare feet; while I have on pants, socks, shoes, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt. Still, my hands are cold and if I pressed my nose against your belly, you would probably take a swing at me. You may think it's funny, but it's snot.

Thus, I need an explanation about this jogging thing. It is 0 degrees outside with the windchill, and there are people out there running in shorts. Sure, they have on a knit cap and gloves, but really? I also know that exercise generates body heat, but how do you convince your mind to walk out the door and make your legs start moving. I once saw a movie about a runner and it really drove home the point about how large a role the mind plays in the ability to run, especially for distance. You have to convince yourself that there is no pain. Apparently, my mind is not equipped for such things as I am in pain just THINKING about running.

What surprises me about this though, is that I actually have a strong threshold for pain. I have bad knees and ankles, and feet, yet I go about my business every day without too much complaining. When I bang into something or cut myself, I just rub some spit on it and get back to work. However, ask me to walk to the car in the cold, and my brain causes my whole body to tense up and makes my ass pucker.

I dream of living some place warm someday, but it all depends on the future CJ chooses. I think it reflects my unconditional love for him that if he opts to live in Cincinnati or somewhere near these parts, I won't be able to live in the south and not see him or his kids often.

So, I am going to go jump in the shower (not literally, that would be dangerous) and see if that warms me up a bit. I realize I could also work out to generate some body heat, but did I mention what a weak mind I have? Weak mind, weak body. They seem to go together. Actually, I plan on working out today in some manner. My gym membership has not been getting much use lately. If I stepped onto a Wii Fit board today, the little thing would go "one at a time please". I suppose it could happen...just like me putting up the Christmas tree the other day. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beware the ghosts of Christmas

December 8, 2009

Beth let me in on the fact that she changed my blog's password, and that is why I could not access my account. She has restored it and I am back. Since there has been a lot going on, I will give you snippets on the happenings.

As for work, I still haven't lost my temper with coworkers or guests, though they seem to be challenging me to do so. If you are ever in a big box retailer, look up and see how high the ceilings are. Then imagine a dude telling you that he "dropped" his phone which is currently stuck above one of the ceiling tiles. He was a big dude wearing a University of Cincinnati shirt, so I assumed he is on the football team. They are currently undefeated and playing in the Sugar Bowl on New year's Day (congrats), so I think these guys may be a little too giddy right now. Without reviewing the video, I'm guessing one of his also rather large buddies took his phone from him and tossed it into the air where it entered and stayed in the ceiling. I obtained a very large ladder from the stockroom and retrieved it for him with the promise that any more shenanigans would bring a beat down from me. They chuckled (I am 5'10", 160 pounds). Fortunately, they left not long after.

Another adult female the same night decided to bounce one of the super bouncy balls very hard on the floor, thus, knocking down one of the decorative ornaments hanging from our ceiling. She then had the nerve to complain that it almost hit her on the head.

While I can't say that I was pleasant with either of these two folks, I also refrained from losing my temper. I am really trying this year. Our whole management team has tried very hard to stay calm and get the job done, and I think we are managing thus far. We are all very tired though, so if you shop at our store, or just about any retailer this season, please be gentle.

As for more personal things, I created a stir with a comment on June Garden's blog inadvertently this past week. She has asked for volunteers to perform random acts of kindness towards strangers, and then report back. It was and is a great idea and has spurred many good tidings. One person paid for the Starbucks order of the person in the line behind her at the drive thru. At first I thought that paying for another person's Sbux seemed like helping the not so needy. Other people had gone to their respective downtowns and handed out money to homeless people and such. However, the more I thought about her act, I realized that it is about the act of kindness, not monitoring the income levels of the recipients. Besides, what if this RAoK spurred the recipient into a pay it forward mentality and a whole bunch of people started being nice to other people. That would really be something. So I posted a shorter version of this sentiment which was promptly received as an insult by the person who had performed the act. Wow, was it taken out of context. She posted a rebuttal, her sister posted a scathing rebuttal, during which she threatened to cut me (I assume cut metaphorically), and it got ugly for a bit. I never posted back as I had headed off to work and didn't know what had happened, but it got touchy for awhile. I have decided to just be a lurker on June's blog as there is no reason to create that kind of stir again.

At home, we have stimulated the economy of late with a television purchase, a computer purchase, and a new furnace/air conditioner. We got great deals on all three, and two of the three were necessary purchases. It has caused Christmas to come early at our house. CJ was very sweet when he saw these purchases as we have already put them into use. He realized how lucky we were to be able to get these things and said to just buy him some chocolate for Christmas. Beth and I love the fact that he has a sense that money does not grow on trees and there won't be much more money spent on gifts. Beth and I do not exchange anything big as we like being able to spend money the rest of the year without having blown our whole wad on Christmas. CJ's birthday is 12/20 and he will be a teenager. That is the subject of a whole other post, but it sounds scary. However, we do plan on getting him a birthday gift, please don't tell him.

So while I am really looking forward to the holidays being over, I am trying to keep in mind that an almost 13 year-old may actually like this season. I'm thinking of putting up our tree today to let him know that I don't need to be visited by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. I'm workin on it...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blecchh Friday

November 30, 2009

Yeah, it has been awhile since I last posted, but did you know I worked in retail? I have been crazy busy at work and have found very little time for Call of Duty even. This time of year I generally have to choose between a relaxing family life or doing a good job at work. Doing a good job this time of year means dedicating yourself to long, thankless hours trying to satisfy both your boss and those pesky guests. It, unfortunately, means being tired and cranky with your family and not being around as much as you would like. It does, however, mean you stay employed and can afford to buy them lavish gifts and take them for outrageously expensive dinners.

Speaking of which, did you ever make a facetious suggestion that took fire and became the idea everyone adopted? Well, that is what happened for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. I was reading the paper one day and a Steak and Shake ad popped out. On it I saw that they were having their half price shakes and drinks happy hour special all day on Thanksgiving day. Wouldn't it be awesome to go to Steak and Shake for Thanksgiving was my suggestion. And that is what we did.

Beth loved the idea because it eliminated two of the things she dislikes the most about preparing the Thanksgiving dinner (or any dinner for that matter), the shopping and cooking. I KNOW!! Quite the catch!! Then the idea took flight as Beth's mom got involved. First, it was my idea, which carries a lot of weight with mom-in-law as I married her daughter when it appeared that no one might.

I do both like sex and dislike being suffocated in my sleep, yet I continue to give Beth a hard time in this post. This is mostly because anyone that knows Beth, knows that I am the one who married up, and because it is really cute when she stomps her foot and punches me in the arm...REALLY CUTE!!

Continuing on, the second idea that made mom-in-law go along with his idea, is that having my brother-in-law into either her house or ours may involve getting some bed bugs as new pets. As the daughter of the best man in my wedding once eloquently stated, "Bugs, sick!"

So there we were at Steak and Shake getting our chicken sandwiches and burgers and shakes for our Thanksgiving meal. The wait staff was SO excited to see us when we came in. There were six of them crowded around the counter and no customers. It was 5:00pm. I don't think we were the first ones in there all day, nor were we the only ones that ate there that night, but that did not stop them for showing their enthusiasm for our entrance. I heard one of them tell another after we ordered, "And they all want shakes". This was not said with joy as you might have guessed.

Anyway, we had a great time. I think it may become a tradition. We are all fancy like that.

So Black Friday was also great fun. I worked from 3:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon and watched all you crazy people go after the big deals. It was actually the best Black Friday I have been involved in and my store did its highest one day sale total ever. The top store in the company was in Delaware.

So House is on and we can catch up with the DVR (on our new tv, which is another story), so I will post again later (on our new computer, which is another story). Obviously, all the ads on my blog are generating scads of income. If you can't see them, make sure you take off the pop up blocker.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

November 17, 2009

Remember how scary the flying monkeys were in The Wizard of Oz? Well, now they just look like kids dressed up for Halloween in their flying monkey pajamas. Is it the colorization? I think so. We showed CJ a clip from the movie right before he went to bed last night (trying to give him nightmares, I guess) and he looked at us like we must of been the most scaredy-pants kids in the history of kids wearing pants. I explained that the movie came out in the 1960's, and then Beth corrected me that it came out in 1939. I was very close. He let this go as an explanation, but I do remember being rather afraid of these monkeys. "And your little dog too", still rings in my ears. No, the monkeys don't speak, but the bad witch says that, and the monkeys are her friends...duh.

As for the length of this post and the infrequency of posts in general, I have been very busy with work and Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2. I decided to buy the newest version despite the warnings about inappropriate scenes involving terrorists. I have seen this scene, and deemed the purchase okay for two reasons. First, the scene is in story mode, which CJ hardly ever plays. And second, there is the opportunity to skip this scene and CJ will be doing so if he ever plays story mode. Otherwise, I have found the language to be less offensive in this version than World at War, except from the on line players, but they can be muted. Therefore, I have taken to playing this game instead of posting more. I received no comments from my last post, even though there was some begging on my part, so this has returned to being my own personal journal.

The next couple posts will have something to do with The Bengals, Xavier basketball, or Modern Warfare 2, as none of these things have let me down of late as much as "my faithful readers". Sniff.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are you saying my kid's an idiot???

November 4, 2009

I just found out one of CJ's teachers reads my blog. She was out sick for our parent teacher conference, so I wanted to give her a bit of a start upon reading the title.

The most surprising thing I learned at the PTC, was...THAT CJ'S TEACHER READS MY BLOG!! I know, I am supposed to be way more interested in what the teachers had to say about CJ (and we will get to that), but the fact that I now know of 3 people that occasionally read this bit of frivolity intrigues me. Since no one ever comments (besides my favorite blogger, June Gardens), I had no idea that anyone besides Beth reads. Are there more lurkers out there? Hey, feel free to leave a comment every once in a while, just let me know you are breathing and I will make more of an attempt to post instead of taking free time to play Call of Duty.

So anyway, we did get good news and not as good news about CJ and his schoolwork. Sitting there with the teachers made me feel sorry for my parents at PTCs as they always had to hear about my behavior problems from the teachers. "He is really smart, but he gets so distracted.", or "He would get better grades if he quit pulling Lisa Child's hair and caused less classroom distractions." Well, sure, Lisa was not a big fan of the hair pulling, and I'm sure Billy's parents would have really liked it had I not pushed his face down into the water fountain and chipped his tooth. However, I think going undiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder could have been a problem for many kids of my generation.

Speaking of ADD, perhaps I should get back to the original point of this post.

My point of bringing up my own PTCs, is that it is a tremendous feeling to have never been told of any behavior issues from CJ's teachers in the 8 years we have been going to PTCs. He is a good kid at home, and apparently is a good kid at school. Mrs. Science Teacher told us how he helped some classmates understand some science they were having issues with, and Mrs. Math Teacher told us how he was a leader amongst his small group and she liked how his brain worked. (Fortunately, I don't think she has seen his brain work after a glass of Dr Pepper or too much sugar, yeesh!)

So he has a problem with his writing skills. If Mrs. Language Arts had ever read my blog, she would be more understanding of how genetically he has a lot to overcome. Thank goodness for spell check and creative license. I choose to whip out my license anytime you think the sentence I just typed is strangely structured (like this last one for instance). I think the reason Beth does not comment on my blog is that most of the comments would be something like "could you use a few more parentheses", or "how about finishing a thought, ya mo", or "you know a lot is two words, don't you? What exactly did your parents pay to send you to Xavier?"

Wow. Where is this hostility coming from?

So to attempt to wrap up (and I wonder why no one comments..too exhausted wading thorough the muck), we discussed with CJ how important it is to be able to communicate well through the written word. He gets it, and says that he will try harder and ask for more help from his teachers. "This is why they get the big bucks", I explained. If any of you are reading, he also says you are the best teachers he has ever had, and the funniest, and the smartest, and he hopes this year will never end. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heavens to Mergatroid!

November 1, 2009

So, apparently sometime last night or this morning, I popped a hemorrhoid. One time in a Magnum P.I. episode, Thomas Magnum taught me that if you were scared of something-say being circled by a shark while treading water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean-and you gave it a silly name, it will swim away and leave you alone. Well, I would love for this thing to leave me alone, so I have started calling it an asteroid. Seems both appropriate and silly enough. Now if it will only swim away.

I just got finished raking the leaves after emptying the dishwasher. Beth asked me why I did these chores as it is football day. I had said earlier that my plan was to lay on the couch and watch football. However, I decided that to take my mind off of my asteroid, I needed some activity. It worked. The reason I decided this was the best course of action, was that the only other time I wasn't thinking about my asteroid today was when Beth and I were doing our volunteer shift at Kid's Club. This is the day care at our church. We take care of 3 year olds whilst there parents attend service. We chose the 11:45 shift today so we could sleep in, go to the 10:00 service, and then do day care. The original schedule showed them short-handed for this time slot, so volunteer we did.

At first it looked like we were not going to be too busy as kids were slow to arrive. Kid's Club has an electronic check-in system, so you have a screen that tells you who to expect. Then you use the touch screen to move them from "on-the-way", to "checked in". The supervisor said that with the time change, this service may not be too busy since most people had an extra hour to get to the 10:00 service. Then, they started to come. And come they did.

When the kid shows up, you check them in, give them a sticker to designate what room they are in (we are the snake room), and put a sticker on their jacket with their name to facilitate the parent pick up. All was going well. Kids were getting checked in and were joining in some activity. There are toys to play with, coloring to do, puzzles to build, and all kinds of things for a 3-year old to do. Then...the 8th kids came, followed by 9 and 10. The touch screen wasn't working to change the status from OTW to checked in. Then numbers 11 and 12, and 13 came. On the screen we could see 5 more kids were on the way. One of the new arrivals was crying for mom, and then number 14 started to cry as she was checked in. Beth called the front desk using the same tone I remember her using when I was fixing a faucet in the house and the water started to spew everywhere. It was if she were yelling to the front desk "TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF!!" This was not actually what she said, nor did she yell, but from my side of the phone, I could tell she wanted to.

Anyway, it was just Beth and I in this room, but they sent another volunteer down to help us out. We were outnumbered 18-2, so another helper would reduce the odds some. That is, if the other person could actually live up to the name "helper". Kid's Club has a system in place that you can alert the parents in the service by flashing a 4 digit number on the screen that corresponds to their child. The parent then leaves the service to retrieve their child. We did this with one of the girls who would not stop crying, and thought it would be a good idea to do the same with the other. However, our "helper" decided that she had calmed down enough to stay. She was wrong unfortunately, but Beth and I were involved in the large group activity already, and taking care of the other 17 kids, so the opportunity was lost. As those of you in child care know, two adults taking care of 17 3-year olds, is very similar to herding cats. You may be able to get them where you want them to go, but food better be involved. So we get them back for snack time, and our "helper" has prepared 17 Dixie cups full of pretzels for the kids.

The choices are pretzels, Goldfish, and Cheerios. Given these choices, which would you prepare? One other time, a "helper" had said that we could not mix the cups. I have heard about not crossing the streams when it comes to bustin' ghosts or peeing in a men's trough style urinal, but who thinks it's a bad idea to mix Goldfish with Cheerios?

So we sit 17 kids down in front of Dixie cups full of pretzels, two kids are now sobbing, and 10/15 kids are saying they want fish, not pretzels. Well, yeah, me too. So we started to switch things out. A calm came over the room for awhile. Our "helper" got a phone call and had to leave. However, the worst was hopefully over. We then took to having them make crowns for themselves as this was today's small group activity. It went surprisingly well as they stuck stars onto their "King David" crowns. Beth and I were holding our own. The one girl was sobbing, but doing so quietly while eating. The other girl was sobbing and crying for mom, so we took turns holding her. Yes, this made the odds 16-1 for kids to the other parent, but they really were doing okay. The room isn't that big, you have to get one down off a step stool or table every once in awhile, and only a couple of them had to go potty. We survived. God tested our mettle, and we survived the storm. We even got to appreciate how cute some of the kids were, and we even memorized most of the names.

Fortunately, today's parents have decided that naming any child Michael, Stephen, John, or Mary, is against the law. We had a room full of Devon, Justice, Jenesis (yes, with a J), Goddess, Shomfe, Grayson (2 of them), Marcus, and a Brenner. For some reason, I am blanking on the two girls names who sobbed the most.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, the church had an event for the volunteers of the parish that was free and rather extravagant. Food, entertainment, drinks, etc. Beth and I felt a little guilty for attending since we had only volunteered a couple of times each. We looked at each other after today's Kid's Club, and said we did not feel any guilt anymore for attending the event.

Thank you God for the opportunity, and for helping us help them. We will be back as we know that we love these kids and Your guidance will see us through. AAAmen.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hold the chuckle please.

October 31, 2009

There is a character in the sit com, 30 Rock, named Kenneth. His character is from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Stone Mountain is where my sister and her family currently reside. I had no idea that they were part of a population that thought chuckle-the part of the pig located between the tail and the anus-was a delicacy. I can just see my brother-in-law, Edward, having himself a Po' Boy Carp sandwich with extra chuckle. They are on the menu at Fatty Fat's Sandwich Ranch.

I have been to Stone Mountain to visit my sister's family, and they took me to some pizza place. Whenever I visit a city, I prefer to eat at a local establishment as opposed to some TGI Fridays or some other franchise. Next time we go to Atlanta, I will need to make sure Edward takes us to Fatty Fat's.

Edward keeps bragging to me about what a great cook my sister, Kathy, has become. This is always difficult for me to believe as I remember her having trouble serving pre-made ice cream at one of her summer jobs. Making the ice cream would have been totally out of the question. Actually, the job did not work out for Kathy as her boss didn't think her customer service skills were up to snuff. When I asked her about it after she got fired, she did not disagree. (or you could see she agreed, if you are an English major or something). She said she found it difficult to be nice to the customers as she found she did not really like people. Yeah, probably not a good fit.

In other news, you probably noticed that the date of this post is Halloween. Beggar's Night just ended here at 8:00. It lasted for two hours and we had around 200 "kids" show up. They ranged in age from newborn to 20 something. CJ is 12, and he did not go out this year. He had 3 friends over and they handed out candy for a bit. They then abandoned their post and went downstairs to play video games. Beth and I took over, which was cool with us as we really enjoy seeing the little kids in their costumes.

The best costume of the night actually belonged to 4 guys who were probably high school age. One was Pac Man, and he was followed along by 3 of the ghosts. Only one of them had arms free (the other three did not qualify for Honors classes I don't think), so he was the one collecting the candy.

There were a whole bunch of cute costumes though. Quite a few of them were homemade, which explains the number of costumes I will be having go on clearance at the Target. A lot of our neighbors ran out of candy, so I was proud of my preplanning skills as we bought 4 big bags of candy and ended up with about 6 pieces left over. I even taught CJ a lesson on planning as we prioritized the order of the bags. The first two bags were the candy we liked the least, the last bag was the candy we liked the best. That way, if you have some left over, you get to eat the candy you like, not a bunch of Tootsie Rolls and Dots. It did not used to matter as CJ would be coming home with a bag of candy, but now it matters. He was impressed with me.

It was a bit cold out tonight, so my brain and fingers are stiff. Therefore, I will wrap this up and see you in November.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Party at Betsy Ross' House

October 25, 2009

So I saw on the visitor's guide map that Betsy Ross' house was a "must see". I told Beth that I was pretty sure she has parties there every Wednesday night. I was going and was hoping to get a dance with Betsy 'cause she was probably really hot, even for being like 200+ years old.

I also e-mailed a manager back at work that I was going to visit Betsy Ross' house, and her response was "Who is Betsy Ross?" Really? The maker of the American flag?? I won't tell you which manager it was (who may have graduated from "the Harvard of the Midwest"), but I will tell you that... No, I won't do it. I desperately want to use my best line from one of our meetings, but I will need to see a comment from someone requesting it to let it loose.

This is my CJ playing some mean percussion at one of the band concerts. CJ scared me last night when he was getting ready to go to a Fun Night at his school. When he came upstairs, I took one look at him and informed him that he looked like crap. I wasn't being mean, he looked ill. We immediately took his temperature and he was running a fever. He had had a cough part of the day, but not one that seemed worthy of worrying about. However, one of the boys on his soccer team has had the H1N1 virus, so Beth and I decided to worry a lot about him.

He is doing better today with no fever, and he looks better. He slept for like 11 hours last night while Beth and I slept a total of 11 hours combined due to the stress. We are very happy that he is doing better, but he has been forbidden from causing us this much worry anymore.

I gotta go, but I hope to blog again on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Back from Philadelphia!!!

October 24, 2009

I have returned from my trip to Philly where I provided support help to some Target stores that recently went through remodels. It was a lot of work, but educational. I once thought I would like to be some sort of business traveler, but I have changed my mind. Dealing with the airports, the hotels, the time tables, the roads, and the unknowns can be tiring and boring. Not to mention the constant eating out. Now, there is no way I would make this part of a career move as being away from my family is not something I enjoy in any way, shape, or form.

I do have photos from the trip though, so I will put in some of the better ones.

This is obviously the US Mint. They were not handing out any money samples on this day, but everyone walking out of the building did have really fresh breath.

Because it is the US MINT...and mints smell good...oh, forget it.

This is the cemetery where Ben Franklin was buried. I have a picture of his tomb stone, but it did not come out well at all. Sorry, too much glare. People throw pennies and nickles on his grave stone though. At first I thought it was because it had his picture on them, but then I realized I am a doofus. Instead of being as stupid as everyone else, I threw a twenty dollar bill on his grave. Who's stupid now, huh?

This is Independence Hall. I keep picturing Nicholas Cage in National Treasure finding the glasses invented by Benjamin Franklin up there on the deck below the steeple.

Beth needs the computer, so I will post more later. It is great to be back.

Friday, October 16, 2009


October 16, 2009

The weekend has come for me as I had originally scheduled a mini vacation for Fri-Tues. I used the past tense "had" because I now only have a 3-day weekend and then am off to Philadelphia for a week. Target has asked me to go there for a week to help with something yet to be clarified. Perhaps it is a big surprise party for me? Perhaps they are taking me to a Phillie's game in the championship series against the Dodgers? Perhaps they needed someone to fix the Liberty Bell and heard I am the master with a roll of duct tape? Not Super Glue ya mo, that doesn't make any sense! Perhaps they wanted to send me somewhere colder than Cincinnati thinking I love me the cold weather? They are WRONG!

Anyway, that gives me a couple days with Beth and CJ before party time for them begins. They have already stated that they are going out to eat every night. I know there is homework and activities and work, but eating Micky Dees and Wendy's is quite the treat. I had no idea the reason we ate at home most nights was because of me.

Therefore, tonight we are going to a volunteer party at our church. It is not a party you volunteer for ya mo, it is a party for those of us who are in volunteer activities. They are feeding us, so night one of eating out begins tonight.

Tomorrow, CJ has a cross country meet in the morning, and then we got nothin going on. Woohoo! I have to get my stuff together for the trip, but have you ever noticed that Target employees always wear red shirts and khaki pants? That makes packing a bit easier. I have to ask the question though, as a guest in the store yesterday, who had a question, made me think that perhaps not everyone notices that Target team members wear red and khaki every day. I was helping another guest at the time who was wearing a shirt and tie, while I was wearing my red Target polo, complete with name tag, and my khaki pants. I also had the worn out useless look on my face of someone who works in retail. Guest number 1 that I was helping had the intelligent (yet shady) look of someone who works as an attorney by day. So guest number 2 that needed help (apparently immediately as she interrupted guest number 1) jumped in with a question about drop cloths for painting. The funny thing was that her question was directed to guest number 1 in the shirt and tie, not me. He looked like he wanted to answer, and since I actually know him and know him to be rather sarcastic, I jumped in with the aisle location for drop cloths. She went on her way, but I always find it interesting when someone asks you if you work at Target when you are dressed in red/khaki with a Target bulls eye on your shirt.

Have I ever told you the advertising campaign CJ came up with for Target when he was 5? I thought not. Target used a pit bull with a bulls eye painted around his eye (I just now got that-pit bull, eye, bulls talk about being a mo!)for their ad campaigns back then. His thought started with, "dad, you know how the target dog has a bulls eye around his eye? Well, what if they got a bow and arrow..." I stopped him immediately as I did not want to hear what was coming next. Macauley Culkin from the movie The Good Son popped into my head, so I had to change the topic right away.

So, time to get off this computer before Beth gets home. Hopefully, back with ya tomorrow.

Until I figure out why Budweiser used a pit bull in their ads too...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You have to be nice to me today.

October 13, 2009

I just returned home from giving blood today. I do so about every 8 weeks as I have O+, and they say they really need it. They send me letters saying they used it, so I figure there are quite a few people walking around with some of my blood in them. I try to tell who it is by looking for people who used to be smart, but are now more dumber than they were, but I'm not smart enough to catch all the signs. If you see anyone who:

-looks at their watch to see what the date is, they could have some of my blood
-stands in a grocery store aisle trying to figure out what it was that made them come down that aisle, they could have some
-turns their wipers on when they are trying to turn their head lights on...
-forgets to take their socks off when they get in the shower...
-forgets to wash the shampoo out of their hair...
-leaves their car in drive when they park it and then can't figure out why it won't start when they come back out to the parking lot...
-leaves their lawn mower running when they go to adjust the wheels...(ouch)
-spills their coffee because they turn the doorknob handle while holding their coffee cup

Anyway, I'm not saying I have done all these things, that would make me sound really stupid, I'm just saying all these things aren't that smart.

So at the blood removal center, they take your vitals when they are prepping you. My blood pressure was 92 over 64. I said "92, really?", cause that sounded low to me. I am usually around 100 for my systolic number. They said it must be because I work out. Well, thanks for noticing, I thought. But in reality, I haven't worked out much the past few weeks. I have worked hard at the Target, so that could be the reason, but it sure seems to me that my heart is real lazy. The systolic number is your heart beats when active. The one nurse said maybe I was just really relaxed. It is my day off and I am relaxed, but boy is my heart taking advantage of a day off. One nurse asked if I had had dizzy spells, and I have, but I didn't tell her. They have only been when I have bent down and gotten back up. Apparently, this is too much work for my heart with the bending, standing, and groaning all at the same time.

Anyway, if I pass out at work tomorrow, please tell them I will be okay, just ask my heart to step it up a notch.

This computer must have a low systolic number as well, because it is running really slow right now. Therefore, I am going to get a couple more rounds of COD in before time to get CJ to drums today.

Until me heart g-i-v-e-s o---u---.....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You love the dog more than me!!

October 11, 2009

As I worked back in the Halloween area last night, I overheard a conversation between a college age young lady and her mom. The mom was gushing about how cute the costumes were for the dogs and cats, and how she must get one for her little dog. The daughter was very upset as she remembered all the Halloweens she spent with no costume. "So you are willing to get the dog a costume when you wouldn't get one for me as a kid?", she said rather sadly. The mom tried to defend herself by saying she had painstakingly hand-crafted many a costume when she was a child.

At this point I bailed on the eavesdropping. It sounded like the humor was gone.

If there is anyone who reads this blog that I don't know about (which would be anyone besides Beth), please say a prayer if you would for Shawn's daughter. He is a coworker, and his daughter has H1N1. It is very scary, and I would love to get him some extra help from above. Thanks.

The Bengals are on soon and I have to go to work also, so I will let you go for now. Back at you later.

Until I figure out why CJ and his friends keep saying "cool beans"...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I feel like Miss America!!

October 8, 2009

You know when they put the tiara on Miss America's newly crowned head and she does the hand wavy thing to try to dry the tears very quickly so they don't ruin her make up? Well, I had to do that today as I ran around excitedly proclaiming that THE June Gardens had commented on my blog. What a highlight.

The other big thrill of the day was my dentist appointment. I know, you thought I was going to say working at the Target tonight, but that was not really as thrilling as it sounds.

Anyway, the gentleman in the dentist's chair ahead of me was both amusing and providing angst for the dentist and his hygienist at the same time. They were trying to explain to him that he had some bad teeth going on. I could hear everything as they were having to practically yell to get him to hear them. Apparently he had a lot of tooth decay. He could not understand why as he brushes and doesn't eat a lot of sweets like cookies or cake. They asked if he sucked on mints and he said no. However, he does LOVE suckers!!! Not suckas. He was not in a gang as best I could tell. He REALLY loves the Dum Dums. To the tune of 10 or so a day, he loves the Dum Dums. When he is not sucking on the Dum Dums, he is chewing gum. "Sugar free?" they asked hopefully. The answer was Juicy Fruit or something the opposite of sugar free.

Therefore, they loudly tried to convince him that sugar free was the way to go from now on. Then they tried to decide what to do with his current teeth. Some he was going to lose no matter what, but they wanted to try to save the rest. Money was apparently an object for him though. Finally, still loudly, they found out his money wasn't readily available right now due to the $2000 he just spent on hearing aids.

Not money well spent, I'm guessing.

Fortunately, my teeth are okay, but I am very seriously considering giving up all sugar. Or at least the Mountain Dew and sweets. I certainly don't want my hearing to suffer.

Until someone figures out how dentures and sinuses are connected...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Im baaaaack!

October 6, 2009

I know all of my faithful readers out there have been wondering what happened to me. Well, life happened. Nothing bad has occurred, but there has just been a lot going on. CJ has had cross country meets and homework and soccer games and homework. Beth has had work and tutoring. I have had plenty of work and taken some blog time for some Call of Duty time. I have found that not only am I enjoying the game, but it really has given CJ and myself something to discuss. That is my favorite part.

As for work, I have been asked to go to Philadelphia for a week in October to help some Targets get set up. I am very unhappy about being away from my family for a whole week, but it is a good opportunity for me to make myself more indispensable. My city will be getting some remodels the same as Philly soon, and if I am the only one around who has helped out, my value increases. In today's workplace, having value is important. What would the Muppets have been without Fozzie Bear? I guess that makes my point pretty clear.

On the radio today I heard the Dan Patrick show and he was interviewing a swimsuit model named Brooklyn Decker. For the purposes of this blog, and to better serve the right to information act, I will google her now. Okay, I am back. Seriously, I was only gone 30 seconds. I have never heard of this young lady (born the year I graduated from college), and did not know what the big deal was, or is. She is from nearby Kettering, Ohio, but I will not be adding her to my "list of 5" as she is blonde and I do not care for her type. If she were interested, I would let her down easy by showing her my wonderful wife and what real beauty really is. Her boyfriend is Andy Roddick, and he is away a lot, so the possibility exists.

Therefore, why bring her up, you may be asking. Well, I found her to be quite funny on the show. One example was when they were asking her what pick up lines to avoid. She responded that anything involving her name was not good. She had heard plenty of lines that related to her name being a city, Paris Hilton's name is a city, and Paris made a sex tape. I couldn't really follow this line of thinking, but the funny part was when she said, "besides, Brooklyn isn't really a city, it is a burrough". The guys on the show then had a good time referring to her as a burrough after that.

Secondly, she inadvertently made a funny when asked if she liked men in uniform. She responded by saying that she "came from men in uniform" meaning that she had plenty of male relatives who had served in the military, but it did come out quite right. Reminds me a bit of Beth's "staff meeting" story that I am sure she will tell Dan Patrick whenever she is being interviewed on his cougar series shows.

My fingers are cold from typing, so I will close for now and try to be more regular in my posts. Thanks for stopping by.

Until life slows down to 55....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Looks like trouble!!

This a picture of CJ and his Great Aunt Rhetta. She is a retired Sister of Charity and is in her nineties. She looks great, doesn't she? She is as sweet as she is cute.
CJ has had the good fortune of being a mutt of the family. He has gotten all the good parts. I have discussed this in previous posts, so we will jump forward to today.

September 25, 2009

Today is the 22nd anniversary of when Beth and I had our first date. Beth has now known me longer than she didn't know me. She was 21 when we started dating. She says she would not change a thing, and neither would I. All the places we went on our first date or that were involved in the beginnings of our relationship are gone-McAlpins, Garcia's restaurant, Barlycorns bar, and the apartment pool where Beth and I would hang out and drink Busch Light. However, we have outlasted all these places and hope to go at least another 22 years.

Speaking of trouble, CJ was disciplined today for the 4thish time in his 12 year life span. Beth took away PS3 privileges for the entire day today when he woke me up by using his blue tooth at 6:30am. I worked late last night and did not get home until midnight, and did not get to bed until 1:30am (suddenly I have a Call of Duty addiction). Beth was hoping to give CJ a memorable enough punishment that he would remember to respect sleep next time. I think it will work.

Today was not without some fun for all though. CJ has a band thing tonight and will be playing with his class before the football game. He is practising as I type, and no, I am not sad that he chose drums. He sounds great and I feel like marching right now. It is hard to type with this head bob going right now. I am so HIP. So we needed to get him some jeans as he has grown since last winter and wears mostly track pants. A mom at work calls her son's track pants "swishy pants", so you get the idea of what kind they are. Her son wears little else (even though he attends a Catholic school, hmm), and when she tried to put him in khakis for class picture day, he complained that his boys couldn't breathe. I like track pants too, for this reason mostly. So, we shopped for jeans, and 12 pair of try ons later, have a winner. (I accidentally typed winer, which is actually closer to the truth when boys are trying on clothes-whiner).

We then went to Target to deliver some goodies for the United Way bake sale. I did not realize that it was a baking contest, so my cookies from Fresh Market should have been on a plate and not in the box still. I would have felt bad winning though. But since we were there, CJ and I had to do some sampling to help decide the winner. Number 2-the Mountain Dew sauce cake-was our favorite. After 4 samples, one of which was Mountain Dew laced, we were ready for some more shopping. Whoooo, bring it on!

After Target, we did Chipotle for lunch. CJ has not had a bad day away from his PS3. I hope we haven't reinforced the behavior that when you wake dad up early in the morning, you get lots of desserts and Chipotle. During those PMS days, Beth may be waking me up early just to get some...Chipotle.

Anyway, we have to go to the football game soon, I will let you know how it goes. I once thought I would be going to football games to watch my son play football, not be in the band. As it turns out, I am more excited to see him out there with the drum line than I would have been seeing him on the Offensive line. BEE BOP with me now...pah pah pow, bom bom bow....come on, you know it....

Until someone takes away my pah pah pow...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An interesting threesome.

September 20, 2009

Don't get any weird ideas about our weekend based on this title. In fact, I may get smited for even having those thoughts.

The three way that did, unexpectedly, take place this weekend, is that CJ's soccer team won Saturday, the Bengals won today, and my fantasy football team won today. Normally, these three things never all happen on the same weekend.

First of the trifecta was CJ's soccer game. They won 4-1 as a boy on their team named Trenton had 4 goals. Trenton was not on our team when I coached the team. When I coached, we had a lot of 0-0 and 1-0 type games as our offense was nonexistent. I am, however, not bitter, AND really happy for his team. While CJ's contribution has been mostly on defense, I still enjoy watching him play. I was very impressed that whatever end of the field the ball was on, there he was. He is getting in shape,and I am proud of him for that.

As for the Bengals, I had 471 heart attacks during the game. First, I was shocked that they were in the game. Second, they kept trying desperately to lose the game once they seemingly had it won. There are reasons to cover couches with plastic that don't include owning pets. Being a Bengals fan will first make you say s***, then actually do it. I will not bore you with the details, but I am very excited that they beat those Cheesheads.

Since I have no desire to lose the one reader I do have, I will never give you details of fantasy football. I won, more than you wanted to know.

The highlight of this weekend was Kids Club. Kids Club is the place to send your children while you attend service. Beth and I just started volunteering there today at the early service before we could then attend the 10:00 service ourselves. We never thought volunteering at Kids Club would be this AWESOME. I can only hope they assign us to the room in which we worked permanently, because the children in this room were ADORABLE!!!! There were 8 of them, and I will give you all their names: Hayden, Griffen, Niko, Taylor, Kaytlin, Seelah, Leah, and Kennedy. I know I should use fake names in case anyone ever actually reads my blog, and it sounds like I did make these names up, but I didn't. They are 3 years old and you could star any one of them in a commercial tomorrow and make ten billion dollars. Unbelievable.

Beth attracts children like moths to our back porch light due to her warm smile and big brown eyes. At one time, she had two little girls sitting next to her on the floor like they were her own adoring children. I have a mental picture. I could not take a photo with my phone (as if that were actually allowed), since my phone's only ap is paperweight mode. I also had a couple of boys that I would adopt in two seconds if there were ever a need as they were totally way too cute. The only challenge they presented, was when one of them went to the bathroom. I don't think we are allowed to go in there with them (I'll have to check the rules on that), but the person in charge left the little dude in there by himself, with an adult size toilet, and a look on his face that was something like, "how am I supposed to get this thing all the way up there?" I came to the rescue and all was not lost, or spilled for that matter. It was truly an experience that leads me to know the path for why I am on this planet. Sleeping in is not an acceptable trade for this experience. I am already sad that I cannot do it next weekend due to my Target work schedule.

Anyway, the last bit of info I have for you today, is that this weekend is apparently "Talk Like a Pirate" weekend. Therefore, I will leave you with this thought: Aaaarrrgggh matey, I think Captain Feathersword is a weeee bit creeeeepy, now don't ya know. Sorry, that's all I got.

Until I meet the Wiggles in a dark alley and they kick my butt...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's give 'em somethin' to talk about...

September 17, 2009

Could I be less inspired? I have been sitting here for a while trying to figure out something interesting to blog about, but nothing is coming. I have napped today, had some caffeine, and done well on my crossword puzzle (Bingo is its name-o). Therefore, I know my brain is functioning, but it must all be left-brained, as nothing creative is coming. As you have probably noticed.

I am hoping Beth decides to take her yental holiday next week. No, I did not misspell it, she needs a mental holiday from work, she needs some gentle foot massages, and she needs a break from her boss whose name may rhyme with yen. Put all those things together and she needs a yental holiday. That would allow us to spend most of Thursday together before I have to go to work. I work late on Thursdays which means 3pm-12am. I usually leave for work right when my kids are getting home from school. Bummer. Next week, we then have Friday off together. I have discussed driving to North Carolina for the day, but me having to work Saturday morning makes Beth think this is a bad idea. She could be right.

I don't think Beth is having the best day of work as we speak. She texted me and needed a reminder that she should not beat the children. When one of us is tired or stressed about going to work, the other gives them some advice before they leave the house, "Don't beat the children". I forgot to give her that advice today, so she needed a reminder in text form. She works with high school kids as an aide, so some of them act like high school kids. Actually most of them do. I would guess there are times when beating the children would seem like a good idea. Funny but wrong.

CJ had his third cross county meet this past Tuesday. It was in Hamilton-Ross, Ohio, which is about 40 minutes from here. Beth and I made it in time for the boys seventh grade start, but the team was not there. This is the second meet in a row that they have showed up just as the gun was about to go off. The last one, CJ had to pee while on the bus, so it was worse as they got off the bus. However, the race was starting, so there was no time to pee. He finished near last as he tried to carry the extra weight around the course without having an accident. Therefore, this past Tuesday, he made sure this was not an issue. However, the bus showed up just in the nick of time, they ran to the line, and took off. He did better even though it was really hot. I am just impressed that he can run two miles as I am not sure I could escape from coyotes if they were chasing me and all I had to do was run two miles to reach safety. They would have to wait to bury my remains until all the coyote poo had been gathered.

On that note, I will sign off. Hopefully, inspiration will come this weekend as I am off, CJ has a soccer game and then we have two games to referee together.

Until my right brain recovers from a tough September...

Monday, September 14, 2009


September 14, 2009

You know what is great about being me? Beth and CJ are what is great about being me.

I just had a challenging week/weekend at Target, but am rewarded with today "off". Off today means I have to be at work at 10pm tonight and work overnight helping with inventory until 7 or 8 in the morning. There is nothing like throwing an overnight shift into the middle of your week to really throw off your eating, sleeping, and pooping routines.

Anyway, we were sitting at breakfast this morning, and the twos of them were not feeling especially jovial about heading off to school today. However, since I have never met two people with better attitudes about mornings and life, things turned to incessant giggling before we knew it. Our running joke involves CJ and his desire to have a dog and how it intertwines with his PS3 and the game Call of Duty. We have rolled our parental eyes (while chuckling inside) whenever CJ refers to his game and how he "loves knifin'". He is referring to how, when under zombie attack or in the middle of a death match, he can rather adeptly knife his opponent without getting killed himself.

One day I was playing Call of Duty by myself (as it is embarrassing to have anyone watch me play so poorly), and during the battles I was involved in, I must have gotten killed by knife around 20 times while I was being shot another 30 times and killed by dogs another 40 times or so. I joked with Beth and CJ that I got knifed so many times that I think even some of the dogs were knifing me. Beth added CJ's catchphrase with a twist, "I ruv rifing". It was as if Scooby Doo had just morphed into a German Shepherd and caught me from behind to slit my neck open.

So there we are at the breakfast table when CJ tells us how he and his buddy were able to surrive a dog zombie attack when they ran out of machine gun ammunition by using their Bowie knives. Our chest swelled with pride. Calmly, Beth explained to CJ that this is why he does not get a new puppy like his friend on the soccer team just did. She fears that PETA will have to intervene when a call comes into the "puppy in distress" hot line regarding our dogs fear of Nerf guns. Picture this happy puppy bounding into CJ's room heading for CJ to give him a good morning lick, when suddenly he comes under fire by zombie-crazed boy and his automatic fire Nerf gun. Should puppy break through this initial attack, he would probably be met by CJ's pipe cleaner knife. While no harm would be done to puppy physically, the mental scars would be insurmountable. So no dog for you young man.

Until I figure out why David Bowie had the need to create a special knife...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

soccer dad

September 12, 2009

Today was the first soccer game for CJ that I have been able to attend this season. It was only his second, but my work schedule is not cooperating very well with his game schedule this season. Since God works in mysterious ways, I have learned to accept that it was His doing that led me to not signing up to be the coach of CJ's team this year. Not only would I have had trouble making it to games, but the frustration that goes with my desire to win versus the desires of the boys to just play, don't always coincide. Now, I don't want you to think that I become an in your face coach or that I yell at the boys when things don't go well, I just happen to feel the losses or ties more deeply than they do. I get upset and mull over ties as if I had to actually kiss my sister. Ugh! I take the losses even worse (what is worse than kissing your sister...kissing your brother I guess). Excuse me for a second, I just ate.

The thing that would have put me over the edge today, as it did last season, was that his team only had 11 players. There are 15 on the team, but 4 did not show up. As 40 somethings, we look at 12 and 13 year olds as if they have all the energy in the world. However, you put them in the heat on a Saturday morning, and they start to run out of gas somewhere in the second half. They had a 2-1 lead in the 4th quarter, but could not hold it. The final was 2-2. CJ played well, but was one of the boys dragging a bit near the end. The elbows he took to the midsection and the eye did not help, but he would have gotten tired anyway. Even the boys who usually do not tire, ended up walking when they should have been running. This is very hard to deal with as a coach. You cannot give them caffeine or uppers durning the game (can you?) as that would be wrong (right?).

What compounds the frustration is that one of the boys who did not show up chose his band activity over soccer today. Three other boys had the same choice, and chose soccer. We certainly cannot fault the boy who chose band, but it is difficult for the soccer coach to watch his team falter when a sub would have helped. Two of the other boys are currently hurt, and the last was out-of-town. Oh well, you can see that even as a fan/dad, I do not take the ties very well. Fortunately, CJ will probably not be playing soccer within a couple of years as he and his band hit the road for some gigs. They will need me along to handle the roadie/manager type stuff, and Beth will need to be there for fan club/tutoring. At least we have a plan.

I have to go to work later, so it is time to spend some time with CJ and relax a bit. Those Target shoppers will probably want me to actually help them with some enthusiasm later.

Until I find my third wind...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Then one day...Julia Roberts walked by.

September 8, 2009

I have a very long day tomorrow with work at 6am and CJ's cross country meet afterwards, so I won't keep you in suspense about "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.

So one day I am working, very hard I'm sure, in the Young Men's department, when this long-legged brunette walks through the other part of my department to return some jeans that had wandered over to the Juniors department. I looked up just in time to see her lay the jeans down on the other register, and exit stage right to return to her department. I am not sappy enough to say that all the lights dimmed, or that suddenly there was less air to breathe around me, or that the Muzak in the store starting playing The Carpenters (Why do birds suddenly appear...), but I will tell you that I was very intrigued by this girl. She had a look about her that made me "wish that she was my girlfriend" (The Pussycat Dolls are very romantic).

Immediately, I went over to a coworker named Lynn who was working at the fitting room in my dept. Fitting room checkers work at different fitting rooms throughout the store checking the number of articles you are taking into the fitting room with you. (Otherwise some of you will hide bras under the pile of clothes on your arm and then wear them out under your clothes as you leave. Me bitter, heck no). Therefore, Lynn knew almost everyone. As I asked her who that girl was that passed through the department, she got very excited. Lynn was fond of me, and as it turns out, fond of Beth too. She knew Beth was recently out of a relationship, and she wanted to set us up. She volunteered to get me her number, and since I had no skills on my own to make this happen, I agreed.

Several days later, Lynn held up her end of the bargain and produced Beth's number. I did all the things a guy is supposed to do before he calls a girl he REALLY WANTS TO GO OUT WITH. I waited a week. I had my brother walk by her department to check her out. Frankly, I do not remember what his review was. I think it would have been weird if he came back and said, " dude, I'd do her". You'd have to know my brother for that to be funny, yet wrong. Finally, I never called her. Before you get all worked up, the reason I never called her, is that I actually walked all the way over to Juniors to speak with her in person. Juniors was about 50' from Young Men's. I know, you can see why it took me a week to make contact with her being so far away and all.

My first face-to-face with Beth must have surely sealed the deal for her. I was carrying an umbrella, like all cool dudes do. I was wearing my favorite outfit, plaid shirt with one of those maroon cut off knit ties that were popular, and these blue pants with white flecks in them that I think were called moonlight pants, or something really cool. I can't believe these styles haven't returned from the late '80s for all of us, instead of just for college professors in movies. I owned a gray Members Only jacket, so I must have been wearing it if I was cool enough to have on my cut off tie and be carrying my umbrella.

So I don't recall what we talked about during this first conversation, but Beth did agree to go on a date with me. I called her, we set something up, and she gave me directions to her house.

Our first date was to a restaurant called Garcia's, which was a Mexican place. Beth looked wonderful and was vibrant and witty. I think we also went to Barleycorns for a beer afterwards, and we had a great time. My memories of what we talked about or what she wore are all gone. The things I remember about the first date are meeting her father and a couple brothers when I picked her up. I found out she had 6 older brothers who were all bigger than I. Her father was also rather imposing. While none of them declared out loud that if I touched their baby sister's boob on our first date, I was dead, I assumed it. I don't think I even gave her a good night kiss at the end.

Our first kiss came at the end of our second date. I remember it well as I leaned in for the kiss, 90%, just as recommended by Hitch, and Beth came the other 10%. It was quite the kiss. There was something in that kiss that told me that this girl was a big fan of CHIPS in the early '80s. It was everything in a kiss you would want, or at least I would want. You cannot kiss Beth to find out.

I do not remember at what point I pulled this off, but I do remember getting a friend to deliver some roses to Beth in her department on our dating anniversary. I chose roses because roses had had a bad connection with her due to some previous boyfriend giving her roses and then breaking up with her. I let her know in the card that she was a girl that deserved roses and that I had no plans to let go of such a good thing.

After that, we were dating. The only hiccup in our relationship came whenever we were at my apartment or at a Xavier hangout and old girlfriend showed up with old roommate. It would have been awkward anyway, but they never thought it was weird to flaunt their relationship in front of me. Whenever I saw them together, I would get very quiet, and feel less of myself, as a person would who had significant people in their life treat them like dirt. Beth used to interpret this quiet as me still having feelings for old girlfriend. Now while it is true that when we broke up, I sent her a cassette with the Billy and the Beaters song "At This Moment" on it, as time passed the feelings I had for this girl were more along the lines of seeing her drowning in a lake and hoping Phil Collins was the only one who could save her. Finally, on the day that this couple announced their engagement in the presence of our friends and us, I told Beth I loved her. For some reason, Beth was skeptical. Not only was I drunk, but I said it right after they showed me the engagement ring. I would certainly change the timing of this if I had the chance and a time machine.

When I mention that there may have been a hiccup in our relationship, I think Beth may have thought I was going to mention how disgusting that old apartment used to be. We hung at my apartment since Beth lived at home (and had 6 big brothers), which meant she had to use the bathroom at an apartment lived in by 3 boys. Apparently, we were not known by our girlfriends as clean freaks. They would have to put towels down on the floor of the shower to feel okay about standing in there. Really? I don't recall it being that bad.

Well, things worked out for Beth and myself as we dated for 4 years and have been married for 18. My next post will take us through the dating years followed by each year of our marriage. Bring snacks.

No, not really. :)

Until Beth comes to her senses and I find out she always like John on CHIPS better than Ponch...

The story of Beth and Steve, the background...

September 8, 2009

Our favorite blogger, June Gardens, recently told the story of her courtship with Marvin, her husband. It was an interesting story that will be made into a movie someday. While I do not think the story of Beth and Steve will be nearly as romantic, entertaining, or emotionally riveting, I did think it would be a good idea to get it down in writing for Beth to see my side of the story.

First, before I forget, there are options for the actors that will play us. As you read the story you can picture the younger me played by Erik Estrada and the older me played by George Clooney. I was called "Ponch" by some people in my high school days due to my hair and the way I looked in a California Highway Patrol Officers uniform. Beth never saw me in high school, or she would have come after me sooner I reckon. Currently, I think George Clooney would be the best option as he has the dark circles under his eyes, the five o'clock shadow, and the big smile that lights up his face. He is also from Kentucky, as am I.

Beth has been said to either look like Geena Davis (not Bette Davis!) or Julia Roberts. I don't see Geena Davis because I always picture her in the movie "Fletch", and she is all lips and eyes. Beth's beauty is more like Julia Roberts to me with the soft brown hair, the big eyes, and the big, warm, friendly smile. Younger or older, let's go with Julia for Beth.

That takes us to the actual story. The background is that we were both living in Cincinnati. I was finishing my last year at Xavier University, and Beth was working on her stenography degree at the University of Cincinnati. That is probably not what you call the degree, but that is how I remember it. She was studying to be a court reporter. To pay our way through college, we were both working at a department store called McAlpins. It is currently called Dillards, but will always be McAlpins to us. The store was in Kenwood Mall, and we both lived fairly close. I lived in an apartment building called Kenwood Towers with a couple guys from school, Steve and Brian. Beth lived at home with her parents as she is from Cincinnati and was paying her own way through school.

I ended up at McAlpins since my mother worked at the Louisville, Ky. version, Bacons. She convinced me that retail was a good way to go for someone still in school. I got the job and was placed in the Young Men's department.

Let me digress for a moment to my dating history in college. I had not dated much during high school as I went to an all male high school in Louisville, and I wasn't especially outgoing back then (as opposed to now??). I had a wonderfully severe case of acne and no social skills to speak of. Therefore, when I got to college, I was looking for love. What I found was beer, but I did love beer, if that counts. Actually, I did date 3 girls while I was in college, one for my Freshman, Sophomore and start of my Junior years, another for the first couple of months of Junior year, and a third from the beginning of Junior year through most of Senior year. For those of you with a keen sense of the obvious, yes, I was dating three girls at the same time. The first girl had left Xavier for a nursing school in Cincinnati, so we started to not find time to spend together. At the start of each year, Xavier has an orientation program called Manresa that I was involved with as a small group leader. When men open up about themselves in a non-macho way (and look like Ponch Clooney), women are attracted to them. Therefore, I found myself dating one girl I met during a Manresa mixer, and starting to date a girl who was in my small group. The girl from the small group was apparently impressed with my ability to play the drinking game, "quarters", as I can very skillfully shoot with my mouth using the gap in between my front teeth. Don't be jealous. This was all while the other relationship was winding down. It was a weird time for a homely redneck from Louisville. Anyway, long story short (too late), I ended up dating one of the girls for the last two years of college.

We broke up in January of my Senior year on the weekend of Martin Luther King's holiday. I remember since it was a three-day weekend during which I went home to visit my parents. I lived in an off-campus house at the time with 5 other guys. My girlfriend hooked up with one of these guys that weekend and this seemed like a good reason to break up. I am not bitter about it at all, but sometimes when I think about it, the bile rises in my throat until I can taste it in my mouth. Well, maybe I am a wee bit bitter.

After this incident, having a relationship did not seem like a good idea, so I decided to just try to hook up with girls for a while. As it turns outs, my "hook up" skills were not only out of practice, but I forgot that I lacked social skills and looked like George Estrada.

Then I moved away from Xavier's campus with the aforementioned roommates, and starting working at McAlpins while I finished my last semester of college. I was on the 4 1/2 year plan, which parents sending their children to expensive colleges really enjoy. Therefore, student loans galore, a car payment, and rent payments forced me into the workplace.

Whenever I mention my early days at McAlpins, Beth remembers me trying to date a girl named Michelle Frost. I remember her name because she and I were in a cashier training class together and the fake American Express they used had the name Robert Frost on it, which was her brother's name. Yes, she was cute, but made it rather clear she did not date boys that looked like Erik Ocean (too abstract?).

Then one day...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Keys Have Turned Up!!!!

September 6, 2009

Beth is currently on her way to Kings Island to pick up my turned in keys!!! Miracles really do happen. Not only did someone either take the time to look for them, or they found them and took the time to take them to Lost and Found. There truly are good people in this world. Thank you kind soul!

You know what is weird, or others may say significant, to notice? That a couple of really special things just happened based on the fact that I admitted that I was judgemental of someone yesterday. For me to try to imply that I was only judgemental yesterday, would mean that I am just half right, as I am "mental" every day. I am not unlike many people who go out in public or watch television and think that anyone different than ourselves is the one who is strange. I do this and try to know I am wrong by noticing that they are different, yet applauding their differences. People that are more creative than I, or more outside the box than I, or like different things than I, are not the abnormal ones. They are just different. If everyone acted the same as me or liked the same things as me, the world would be one boring place.

However, there I was at the front gate of the amusement park yesterday looking for funny blog material when I spotted a man dressed in a way that I thought was funny. His son was wearing an Elder tee shirt which is a high school on the west side of Cincinnati. There is an interstate that runs through (not our front yard John Mellencamp) the middle of Cincinnati that divides the east side from the west side. It has also been said to separate one culture from another. I was not raised in Cincy, but I am aware of this rift. I have always lived on the eastern side, so other than some exposure to the hills and roads and Mt. St. Joes on the west side, I am pretty ignorant to the whole argument. Nonetheless, when I saw this man and how he was dressed, I decided to blog about him and make fun of the west side at work on Monday when I saw a coworker who lives on the west side.

This gentleman was wearing a ball cap, a tee shirt that was too small that he had tucked into his shorts, and sandals. The shorts were coaches shorts which were last popular in the 1980s. If you have ever read my posts before, you know that this guy was going to be made fun of today.

Shortly after having this thought, I went on the Diamondback roller coaster and lost my keys.

The sermon at church today was about many things, but one of them was how poor people often get judged by others simply based on their economic level or manner of dress. Don't invite Ricky to your kids birthday party because he probably can't afford a present or may steal something from you if he comes to your house. Shocking but true.

Upon arrival home, I shared with Beth that I lost my keys yesterday because I had judged coaches shorts guy at KI yesterday. She shared with me that she didn't know that God was in the revenge business and had not planned His day around smiting me for judging another person. However, not long after sharing this admission with Beth, we found out my keys had been found and then I found out someone had posted a comment on my blog (THANKS HB!!). This is a rarity, but way welcome.

Anywho, sure these things may be a coincidence, but I am not sure I am willing to take that chance. Something to ponder.

Finally, there is a funny story from yesterdays excursion that I can share without fear of God's wrath. :) We got off a ride and Beth and CJ had to use the bathroom. Both headed for the bathroom area, but did not notice they both headed in way to similar of a direction. The men's and women's bathrooms were actually on opposite sides of the building, but both of them headed for the same side. The bathroom had two entrances and Beth arrived to door number one first. She knew something was amiss as soon as she walked in since the room was quiet and empty. I am not a frequenter of the women's bathroom, but apparently this is unusual. She stopped in the entryway, and then saw CJ enter door number two. He looked at her for a second, she looked at him, he gave her a little "hi mom" and a wave, and they went their separate ways-she out the door, he on in. There was no harm done and there was no men's uninvited wanker sightings, so it became just a funny story that mom and son can hopefully share for a lifetime.

Until I lose the phrase "hello west side dude, the '80s called and want their shorts back" from my judgemental self...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When are free tickets really not free?

September 5, 2009

Happy holiday weekend to everyone. We decided to make our first and only trip of the season to Kings Island today. Beth had gotten some free tickets from her boss at work, so it seemed like a great idea. She only received two, so the idea for awhile was for just CJ and myself to go, but we really wanted Beth along, so she bought an online ticket. We still were not lamenting the cost, as she was able to purchase a discounted ticket based on the fiction that she used to work at Kings Island. Her brother worked there, so he could have bought the ticket and given it to us (there were no restrictions), so we did not do anything wrong for those of you getting ready to turn us in to Kings Island security.

The trip out was easy as we got going early and paid our $10 to park. The park opened at 10:00 for rides, we were there at the gates at 9:30. So far so good. The newest ride at KI is called Diamondback (after the snake). We went to that ride first so as to avoid the later in the day long wait. We were on in less than 20 minutes,and LOVED the ride. It was high, fast, and smooth. No complaints. CJ and I even got seats in the very front as they do not make you get in a special line for front row on this ride, it all happens by chance. What could go wrong? Well, a sniff of trouble began when the guy in the third row started talking at the end of the ride about how something flew back and hit him during the ride. Since you know I was in the front row, and Beth was in the second row, I reluctantly reached for my pockets. My sunglasses had been secure on my face, so the only thing left to have been lost was something from my pockets. I secretly hoped that the dude had been hit in the head by a bird or a comet or a piece of the ride, but alas, my right pocket was empty. In this right pocket had been my car keys. I don't understand physics enough to know how keys from my front right pocket slid out and flew back hitting this guy sitting behind me and to the left, but it happened. I also don't know why Beth did not grab my keys as they flew past her at 70 miles per hour. All I know is that we were suddenly at KI at 10:30 in the morning with no keys to the car, no phone (we packed light), and remote chances of the keys being found under this ride which stretches for over 5200 feet.

I do have to call out the area manager named Brian Kosmac who spent the next 45 minutes walking the ride looking for my keys. It was customer service above and beyond what I could have expected. The only thing keeping him from getting a big hug from me (though one from Beth he would've rather had) was the fact that he did not find my keys.

Therefore, Super Trooper Beth had to step up and get her mom involved. Fortunately, Marybeth was home, and came out to pick up Beth, take her to our house for Beth's keys, and then bring her back to KI so we would have a way home. Thank you Marybeth and Beth (yes, they have the same name, long story). While Beth was gone, CJ convinced me to quit feeling stupid and go on some rides. We rode a ride whose name has changed, so I can never remember the new name, but it used to be called Top Gun. Son of Beast was closed, as usual, so we went on to the Racer, Adventure Express, Vortex, and The Beast. All good coasters, except AE and The Beast are older wooden coasters, so they beat the crap out of you.

We then met up with Beth, and took advantage of some lunch, followed by the ride formally known as Face Off, and then Delirium. Delirium is my new favorite ride which is odd since I have never ridden it before thinking I would lose my lunch on it. It was smooth and great. We then followed this with a 45 minute wait for Flight of Fear, which none of us had ridden before. It is an in the dark coaster that is very fast, and I think I may have gotten a concussion from the ending. Wow. We then were going to ride Firehawk, but the wait was 90 minutes. On to the ride formally known as Tomb Raider. This was to be the last ride and the one CJ has considered in his top two for a long time. We were going to wait it out no matter how long. When we were almost there, the dreaded announcement came that they were having technical issues, and did not know how long it would be. I suspected that someone lost there lunch on the ride. We never found out as they finally said it was going to be a while longer. We lured CJ out of the park with the promise of food and killing zombies.

We made our first ever trip to Sonic on the way home and enjoyed it. It isn't worth the normal drive from our home to the only location on our side of town, but we did enjoy it and the concept.

Therefore, here is what the free tickets cost us today:

-extra ticket for mom: $24
-parking: $10
-refreshments at the park: $40
-dinner at Sonic: $11
-eating to get fat Saturday: trip to the gym Sunday
-debt owed to Beth's mom: priceless
-price of new key for my car: $???
-possible price of new key for Beth's car: $???
-gratitude to Jesus that:
*no one was hurt by flying keys
*we still got home safely
*my store keys were not on the same set with my car keys
*I love two people that are good in a crisis and don't hold grudges
*I don't have to take these guys to the WEBN fireworks Sunday


A day of firsts (Diamondback, Flight of Fear, Delirium, Sonic, and lost keys on a roller coaster) has come to a close. It turned out to be a good day, but one I will not forget soon.

Until I get arrested for sneaking into KI Tuesday and looking for my lost keys...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't corporate people know I'm old?

September 3, 2009

I have to go to work later today, but not until 3:00. It is strange and new due to the extended hours we are switching to at my Target. My store is a test store for staying open one hour later each day such that we are open until 11:00 Mon-Sat, and until 10:00 on Sundays. You're right, it is only September, not the holiday season. Why do we need to stay open late? I agree.

I guess what makes me ask questions from a general perspective, is how hard is it to make these decisions from a higher level, when you never have to actually work the hours? Staying open until 11:00 means not leaving the store until midnight. It's not just about me (we will get to that in a second), but what about team members who have to work their full time jobs the next day or attend classes in the morning?

On a more personal level, I am 44 years old. I start looking at the clock around 10:00 at night thinking it is time to go to bed. I am fairly certain that my team members will not cover for me if I take a nap from 10-11. I guess this starts to answer the questions I've been wondering about as to why the company has been hiring so many new managers fresh out of college. They are used to staying up late, so midnight is no big deal. Anyway, if we get more sales from 10-11 to justify the added expense of payroll and electricity, then it will become a standard at all the Targets. As potential Target shoppers, are you sure you need to be shopping so late?

I missed my chance this morning to be outside when CJ's bus drove by our house. I won't have the opportunity again until next Tuesday, so the local blow dart store will have to wait on a potential customer (as CJ has threatened to use one on me if I wait outside to throw kisses at him while his bus drives by). Would me throwing water balloons at his bus get him suspended, or me? Hmmm.

Labor Day weekend is coming and I am actually off work. I have to work the actual holiday on Monday (as it is LABOR DAY, shouldn't we all be working) because Monday is one week until inventory-lots of work left to do. However, with the weekend off, we are actually planning some things. There is a potential visit to King's Island on Saturday, and the WEBN Fireworks event on Sunday. If you don't live in Cincinnati, both are fun events. King's Island is the local amusement park that you may have seen on a Brady Bunch episode, heard Grissam mention on a CSI episode, or seen on television when Evil Knievel jumped some buses there 100 years ago. CJ and I plan on riding the new coaster, Diamondback, so we will let you know what that is like. I have not been to the fireworks show in almost 20 years, so we are working on the strategy of that. CJ has never been, so this is our chance to have a local family outing weekend before he becomes a teenager and wants nothing to do with us anymore. Sniff.

Until updates and Photos abound (as I am sure we will remember our camera this time)...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here we are at our house

Actually, this is from vacation in Florida this summer. There are no Palm trees in Cincinnati.

Things that amuse me

September 1, 2009

It's two for Tuesday!! Days off without a honey-do list sometimes provide for two posts. If only there was enough inspiration in my brain for two posts. Hmmm.

I was going to post about my weekend at Target as it was a rather tough one. We were busy and trying to transition out of back to school/back to college season to get ready for the next season. We were short-handed in a critical area, so this old man had to do more physical labor than I would have wanted. Instead of posting about that, I will combine some things that amused me about people at Target with questions in general that amuse me about people and things to see if they amuse you too. I hope it to be more whimsical than complaining. We'll see.

1. Why are customers asking where folders and binders are on the last weekend in August when school started one to two weeks ago? Can't you see we have plenty of binders and folders right there on clearance? Sure they have the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and kittens on them, but your boys needs a folder, right?

2. Why did the buyer purchase the Jonas Brothers merchandise again this year when we clearanced out somewhere around 8,000 Camp Rock items last year?

2a. Are people that shop at Goodwill (where Target donates their never sold clearance) bitter when the only school supplies they can find are Camp Rock?

3. Why are you asking me for Halloween decorations and candy on the last weekend in August? Halloween is two months away. Are you having a Halloween themed party for Labor day? Does candy in a spooky bag taste different than the candy we carry year-round in the plain ole bags? Really? (FYI, Halloween candy arrives September 10Th, don't rush me).

4. Why do people going to the gym have to park close to the door? If it is sunny and beautiful outside, can't you get a little walk in before you jump on the treadmill?

5. Why do we need 12 construction workers to pave one parking lot? Is it really beneficial to your bottom line to have one guy operating the steam roller while 11 guys watch and smoke from the side? Does it take that many guys to roll the machine back upright if the operator gets up too much speed and tips the steam roller?

6. Do I sound stupid for still calling it a steam roller? I'm sure it has a much more technical name now, like blacktop smoother.

7. Is it weird to need your reading glasses to cut your fingernails? Or sad?

8. Who decided that the crossword puzzles in the paper had to start out easy on Monday and work there way up to being impossible on Saturday?

9. If I am horrible at playing Nazi Zombies on PlayStation 3 (playing the sponsorship angle there), will I be able to defend my family from a real zombie attack should the need arise?

10. Why do I wish I was playing golf on my day off when the weather is beautiful, when I know that once on the course I will forget about the weather and just get upset about how bad I am at golf?

Until I get an answer to these and all the unanswered questions...

Big ups, and little waists

September 1, 2009

Update alert! A good friend of Beth's actually spent some of her valuable time looking for photos of Beth in clothes from the '80s. Major thanks have to go out to Rena for the effort. She has always been one of Beth's nicest friends which is why Beth knew her in the '80s and still knows her today.

The clothes in the pix were not ultra reflective of the fads of the era, but very cute nonetheless. While Beth was cute with her bangs covering her forehead, I prefer the more extensive view of her face that comes with her bang-free hairstyle of today.

One thing also evident in the photos was how little the waistlines were of this very cute couple of girls. Are you still girls in high school? Very cute couple of young ladies would probably be better. Beth is tall and thin, while Rena is not as tall, but is quite svelt. She is turned sideways in the photo, and without the striped outfit, may hardly be seen at all. I am hoping this is a compliment, as I am very grateful to Rena for taking the time to find said photo. Finally, I am also not saying that Beth and Rena are not thin now, because they are both runway model thin!!

Geez! Until I find the right way to talk to young women...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Favorite Photo

Beth, get the sign ready

August 28, 2009

I took CJ to school today and we were discussing his normal bus ride and its route as we drove. I did not realize it, but he says his bus picks him up and then turns down our street on its way to the next stop. It would, therefore, drive right by our house. We discussed that this was a bit strange since he had to walk to the corner to get the bus that was then going to drive right by our house.

I am a little skeptical of this as a couple days per week I am home after he goes to the bus stop, and I don't remember a bus going by our house around that time, and CJ is usually chatting it up pretty good after he gets on the bus, so it wouldn't surprise me if he were wrong about this. However, if he is right, I need to be ready.

Once confirmed, my plan is to let him get on the bus as usual, and then wait out in front of our house for it to drive by. My plans include waving, blowing kisses, and having an "I love you CJ" sign ready as they go by. Wouldn't any kid be thrilled? When I mentioned this plan to CJ, he did not seem thrilled. His counter measures included squirt guns and sling shots. Really? Do you really think this would be embarrassing to a seventh grader? No...that's what I thought.

Next Tuesday, I will be ready.

Until he gets the whole bus to moon me on the way by...

Were you cute in these?

August 28, 2009

I was listening to the radio in the car this morning after dropping CJ off at school, and they were discussing fashions that are making a comeback that had been popular in the '80s. Now, I was not a big fan of the early and mid '80s as that was middle school and high school for me. I have tried to block these times out just like Ruby on the Style channel. Therefore, I didn't think I remembered much about the women's fashions from this era. I mean, sure, I remember leg warmers, but only 'cause of Flashdance. What else was I forgetting?

The first few things they brought up were ones they wanted to come back or already had, like boat shoes and some style of shirt I did not recognize (something neck??). Then women started calling in with fads they loved back then but did not want to come back. Spiral perms, stirrup pants, and the shirts that buttoned at the crotch all made the list. They even mentioned that they wore the stirrup pants with the crotch-buttoning leotard-looking shirts. This sounds like it was a lot of work to me if you had to escape from your clothes quickly. I do remember somebody in a movie or video wearing one of these shirts and while I can't remember who it was, or what movie, I remember thinking it was a pretty awesome style. The deep recesses of my brain are trying to say it was one of the Baldwin brothers with...Kathy Ireland or Cindy Crawford. The Baldwin brother was not wearing the crotch-buttoning shirt.

Anyway, finally a woman called in just as I got home that stole the show for me. She brought up wearing your hair in side pony tails along with an extra big tee shirt so that you could then use a tee shirt disc to thread your shirt through, thus, achieving a pony tail for our shirt. HOW COOL WAS THAT!!

Therefore, since I did not meet Beth until the late '80s, I need photos of her in these outfits. I can only assume she looked darling in them, so I must see. Please help!!

Until someone can come through for me...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The kid

The mystery of the old man and his clothes

August 25, 2009

I watched my father, my father-in-law, and the older men on my street as a kid go about their lives as they aged. I noticed that they started to care less about their image to the outside world and more about their own comfort. By comfort, I mean they way they dressed, what they ate, and what they surrounded themselves with. At that time of my life, there was only one category of older man, the one who was 45 and up. Now that I am 44, I have split older men into two categories: older man still in the the work force, and older retired guy.

What I noticed as a kid was simply that old guys dressed funny. They wore black socks and plaid shorts while they cut their grass. They wore straw hats, even when it was not sunny outside. They wore socks with sandals. The hair on top of their head was not always washed and/or combed, and they were likely to have hair growing in weird places.

As for eating, they were very likely to eat the same thing 4-7 days a week. They frequented the same restaurants, and if they could have smoked and ate at the same time, they would've.

As for comfort, it was not unusual to see them wear the same clothes 4-7 days a week, they had a particular chair they liked to sit in, and their life had routines. These routines involved what time they slept, what time they ate, and what time they pooped.

As I became one of these older guys, I started to understand some of these idiosyncrasies. I understand that if you go to work all day in clothes that include dress pants, dark socks, and a tee shirt under your dress shirt, when you go out to cut the grass that night, you only change your pants and shoes. You grab a pair of shorts that are your "grass cutting shorts", you grab your "grass cutting shoes", and you head out to the lawn not caring that you have a pit-stained tee shirt on and dark socks. Why care what the neighbors think. It is a more practical way of thinking.

As for eating, you may have done some experimenting in your youth, but as you age you tend to stick to the foods that you enjoy, that don't upset your stomach, and that keep things moving-if you know what I mean. Surprises are likely to upset the delicate balance of life as we know it and life is too short for that.

Therefore, I feel like I have explained everything except one. Why was the retired guy from down the street going for a walk this morning in shorts that would have been snug on my 12 year old, and a very small tee shirt on that was tucked into said shorts? What happened to comfort? There is no way his "boys" had enough room in there for this walk to result in anything but the need for some talcum powder. I can understand that he did not care how he looked (or as CJ would have asked, "Doesn't he have mirrors at his house?"), but there is a very good chance that several functions us old men consider valuable will be compromised. Color me confused.

Until I leave the house in clothes that make CJ hide his head in shame...