Friday, July 31, 2009

Choking, no problem

July 31, 2009

I have to leave for work in 15 minutes, so this one will be brief.

Last night Beth and I were leaving to run to Target while CJ and his buddy were playing PS3 in the basement. We asked if they would be okay for 20 minutes or so, and they said yes. My wife then jokingly asked if either one if them knew the Heimlich in case the other started choking. CJ said no, but his buddy said yes. "Well, then I guess I will have no problems", said my son. I believe that falls into the "funny but wrong" category.

Bengals training camp starts today which is exciting times for me. This is the time of the year that the Reds have turned smelly, so I need the football season to look forward to. Come October, the Bengals will start to have a foul order, so I will look to Xavier basketball for comfort. Xavier has carried me through March the past several years, and I am eternally grateful.

Until the Bengals start to break my heart....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mystery solved

July 29, 2009

Just a quick one tonight. As Beth and I came home from delivering CJ to the splash party at the pool (as opposed to the splash party at the place with no water??), we noticed that Beth's car was unlocked. We do not live in a real bad neighborhood, but locking the car still seems like a good idea. I always imagine the conversation with the police officer after something was stolen out of our car:

Officer: "How did the thieves get into your car, what is damaged?"

Me: "No officer, we left it unlocked"

Officer: "You are a duffus"

So Beth was curious as to how her car was unlocked as she is normally very good at locking it when she gets home. I made some crack about how she must have pushed the wrong button or been too busy looking at her new hairdo to remember trivial things like locking the car.

An hour later we were heading for my car to pick up CJ from the pool. As we neared my car and I pushed the unlock button on my key, Beth's lights blinked as the doors unlocked. Hmmm, perhaps we have solved the mystery. "Boy, Honey, your hair sure looks great!!", I said. Pleased, she checked the mirror and smiled. "It sure does", she said. Nice save by me. Whew.

CJ is home from the pool. When I went into the swim club to retrieve him, I noticed that he and his buddies were in conversation with a couple of girls. I asked what they were talking about and he informed me that he was not talking to them, his buddies were. I would think he doth protest too much, but then I remembered our vacation trip to Universal in Florida.

We were about to get onto a ride (The Mummy one I think), when a young lady asked him to take her picture with her boyfriend. She was from a foreign country with an interesting accent. She was also dressed in what could only be described as next to nothing. I would say bikini, but it was barely that. She was tall and slender, so there was plenty of skin on display. I was desperately trying to find somewhere to avert my eyes, but CJ stepped up, took the photo and handed the camera back. I looked at my wife and we were fairly certain his interest in girls has not kicked in yet.

Therefore, I do not think he went to the party tonight to chat with the girls. Until he does...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Day of Pampering

July 28, 2009

In about 30 minutes Beth will be done at the salon. I know this does not seem like a momentous occasion as some people go to the salon every week or every month, but Beth goes to the salon regularly once every 3 years or so. We have been married 18 years and this is salon visit number 6ish. She went for an eyebrow waxing first and then got up the nerve to go to a salon for a haircut and coloring. Did you know that at the salon, their hair color does not come out of a box? Beth has been coloring her hair herself out of a box for about 10 years. My favorite part of this is there have been occasions when she has left the bathroom and I called in the CSI team since it looked like there should have been yellow tape to keep people away from the horror scene that took place in there.

I would guess that about now Beth has freaked out several times. As stated, she does not go to the salon often enough to be putting her hair in the hands of these people. She is also not sure if she made it worse by insulting the hairstyles of the person about to cut her hair and her assistant. I assured her that when you work in a salon and are surrounded by hair-styling equipment all day, you get tempted to dye and cut in some styles that 43 year old women may not think are normal. The girl at the front desk had black hair with purple streaks. The stylist had very short hair that was very, very black. Her assistant had blond hair with colored streaks and many, many different layers. Beth assured them that none of these styles were for her. That narrowed down what she did want to 449, 997 other possible choices.

My concern is that Beth was going with a highlighted look for the first time I can ever remember since my favorite local newscaster has brown hair with highlights. Frankly, I am worried that this "new" look will be too good as I may have to get a second job to pay for regular salon visits. Beth suddenly spending money on herself can only lead to the purchasing of clothes, shoes, make up, tummy tucks, and other such enhancements. Since I still have CJ's college to pay for in a few years (as he does not currently have a marketable trade or skill), I will either have to get a second job or put off retirement for several years beyond my target age of 65.

If you are wondering what brought on this day of pampering for a woman who was raised almost as a boy by parents of 6 boys followed by a girl, it seems to be the high school reunion coming up this weekend. We can discuss, but time to go pick up Beth. Be back soon.
Okay, Beth is home. At least I think it is Beth. She looks like a supermodel. However, she is currently in the bathroom "fixing" the haircut that cost $xxx. (I am never again to mention how much this experience cost). I do plan on bringing it up if I ever want something that costs $xxx, but I do not foresee that happening soon. Does everyone "fix" their salon-styled hair? Actually, she is giving it more body. My son just ruined things for me two seconds ago. While in the basement, he was given instructions to tell her that her hair looked awesome, no matter what he actually thought. In the kitchen when I handed over his lunch, Beth came out of the bathroom and he looked at her and said, "It looks great mom". I turned around and her hair was still wet and not nearly done with the "fixing". She looked at him, looked at me, and I knew I was busted. She asked him anyway, "Did dad ask you to tell me it looked great no matter what?" If CJ were ever captured and tortured (perhaps with a feather) in a prison camp somewhere, be assured that all of our American secrets will be spilled.

So now the "fixing" continues. She just showed me phase one and it really does look awesome. I once told her she looked like Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels), but I cannot do that now as she looks better than Jaclyn. She is adding body to her hair. It will not be enough to start up her own 80's hair band, just more than they gave her at the salon. She asked for body at the salon, which apparently was like telling them we prefer our wine to come out of a box.

So now I am not wild about her going to her reunion without me. I have to work, of course. She is going with a girlfriend from high school. I am secretly hoping that the guys back then thought she and "Emilia" were lesbians so that she is seen as hands off this weekend.

Sorry, I was caught day dreaming there for a second. Well, I have a meeting to go to at work soon, so I better go gush some more about this hair style. Until the next treatment...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary

July 27, 2009

It is one of the few days during the year when I don't (or shouldn't) have to look at my watch to see what the date is. Without my digital Timex, there are plenty of days that I would have no idea what day of the week it is much less the date. Fortunately, I usually know the year. Since I know the year to be 2009, and I know July 27, 1991 was the day I made Beth my wife, I then know that it is our 18th anniversary. It was quite the occasion as Beth made for a gorgeous bride and the day went off without a hitch. The only thing that almost went wrong was after Beth walked down the aisle and came to stand next to me on the alter, she asked if her train fell off. I looked and was relieved to tell her no. She looked at me and said, "It was supposed to". I thought this to be strange, but had been waiting for something to go wrong, so I was worried. Beth then touched my hand and told me she was just kidding. Whew!! It was one of the first signs that Beth was going to be calm in pressure situations.

I did not suspect that this would be the case as Beth was your typical nervous bride during the planning and execution stages. I was not first-hand for this as I had taken a promotion with Kmart at the time and moved to Bemidji, Minnesota. FYI, Bemidj is 1000 miles from Cincinnati. My ego could be used against me at the time as I had been told that I was the only one the district manager could think of that could run the store and fix its problems. What I didn't realize, was that I was a good manager and they knew I could run the store, but I was actually the only one they could find that would move to Bemidji. I will gladly blog about Bemidji another time as it turned out to be a great place.

As it turns out, this was not the only obstacle for Beth to overcome during the wedding planning. I will usually not refer to the wedding as "our wedding" as we know it is really the bride's day. It is also not a good idea for me to call it "our wedding" since Beth did most of the work and I wrote the checks. Writing the checks was not hard as we were paying for our own wedding and there was not going to be anything extravagant. My salary was certainly not going to provide for extravagance. While I was writing checks, Beth was finding a church, finding a rehearsal dinner restaurant, finding a reception place, and figuring out a "honeymoon" spot. One at a time, here we go.

Beth was not raised Catholic as I was, so there were not a lot of Catholic churches that were going to marry us. She found one, but we got bumped when the priest figured out he had double-booked the church. They were parishioners, so we were the ones to go. She found another church and priest and that was good to go.

Obviously, the first reception spot had to go when the first church went. I do not remember where that was, but I know it went. Fortunately, the second church also had a place we could have our reception. Beth solves problem #2.

Then the rehearsal dinner place became a bust as it went out of business. Great! Beth solves another problem and finds another place.

I won't go into much else because I don't know all the details since, as I may have mentioned, my role was to write the checks. However, I did make it to town for the wedding and it actually went well.

Oh wait, I forgot one small detail. My parents lived in Louisville. At some point we realized it was time to find them a hotel room. This we did not think would be the hardest part when you live in a city the size of Cincinnati. What we forgot to take into account, was the Cincinnati Jazz Festival. This used to be a bigger event than it is now, and it would draw thousands of people to downtown Cincy for a weekend full of concerts. We could not find a hotel room anywhere near where the wedding was going to be. Finally, Beth and her dad had to drive into some of the seedier parts of town to find a motel that my parents could stay at. They found one and my parents stayed there. It even had a really nice strip bar next to the pool. Classy! To make matters more awesome, my mother had cancer. She was at a stage where there were no comfortable sleeping positions. She ended up sleeping in their car that night as the passenger seat reclined and this was the most comfortable spot she could come up with.

Anyway, like I said, Beth pulled it off, and the good Lord blessed us with a beautiful day and everyone we wanted to be there made it. We believe fun was had by all at the reception. It was one of the last times I saw my mother and she looked beautiful that day. We got a picture with all Beth's nieces and nephews that is still adorable to look at since they are all grown up now. The only thing missing in our memory is that it seemed so great, CJ must have been there dancing somewhere. He was not (he is 12, this is our 18th anniversary).

While I wish the wedding planning had gone more smoothly, and I wish some of the periods of our life together had gone more smoothly, I wouldn't change a thing. If changing anything meant that I was not sitting in this house, with CJ for a son, and Beth as my still beautiful bride, I wouldn't do it. I am a lucky man. Thank you God (and Baby Jesus) for looking out for us. Thank you Louise (my mother) for being our guardian angel through moves in our marriage from Cincinnati to Bemidji (aka the honeymoon), Bemidji to Buffalo, Buffalo to Erie, Erie to Winston-Salem, and Winston-Salem back to Cincinnati. She always wanted to travel more, so I'm pretty sure she tagged along.

It is time for me to go spend some quality time with Beth on our 18th anniversary, so here's to great times ahead. Until another great day tomorrow starting on the next 18...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I like cheese

July 26, 2009

My son's name is C.J. It stands for my wife's father-Charles, and my father-Joseph. My wife always wanted to call her son CJ, and since going with JC seemed way too religious or retail, CJ it was. We play with the name as you do with someone your are familiar with. My wife calls him Siege as the letters get merged together. With that you can very easily be "under siege" when he is doling out one of his smashing hugs. I also started calling him Charlie Joe on occasion as something different that was also casual. To call him Charles Joseph made it sound like he was in trouble. He has not adopted too kindly to any of these previously used nicknames. However, we have been surprised of late by the latest name I have come up with and how he seems to be going along so far.

I was making a sandwich the other day and spruced it up with some cheese. My favorite kind is Colby Jack cheese, and there it was, the initials CJ. Well, I couldn't wait to start calling him Colby Jack. I think it would be great if he could talk his future wife into naming his son Colby Jack. It would take some slyness to first talk her into the name Colby-which isn't completely far-fetched. Then he would just have to work on the Jack angle. If he could start to date a girl with a father named Jack, I might get all tingly inside anticipating the possibility of having a grandson named CJ-Colby Jack.

Since even nicknames need to be shortened, and I can't call him Colby Jack in public, it seemed much more logical to just call him Cheese. Well, CJ has frequently used the expression "I like cheese" whenever we are goofing around making illogical statements out of nowhere. That stemmed, incidentally, from the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when Willie's grandparents were shown lying in their bed and one of them just blurted out "I like grapes" for no apparent reason. The movie came out during a work period of my life when I was working from 3:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. Whenever I would make it home, I would usually climb into the bed. My son used phrases to describe me with his friends, one of which was that I was nocturnal. My wife and he also thought it was funny to start calling me Grandpa Buckets. I am not sure where he would get the notion to start handing our nicknames like that. In reality, I was rather impressed with that one. It also brought on the need to occasionally blurt out nonsense phrases. I would go with the more conventional "I like grapes", whereas CJ decided to go with "I like cheese".

Anyway, as we were riding through Northern Kentucky today (I kept my promise to take my wife to the gym over there), we passed the Newport Levee where events take place frequently on the weekends. On one of the upcoming weekends, my son announced that there would be a Gouda festival. True facts revealed that it will actually be a Goetta festival (which is a type of sausage native to the Cincinnati area I think). My wife did correct him on this. He has heard about the Goetta festival and is interested in any festival involving food. I do believe that Newport also has a Gouda festival some time this year, so he may get his wish sooner or later for a festival in his honor-all about Cheese. CJ admitted as we drove on past, "I think it was an honest mistake as Cheese is my first and middle name". "Gouda one", my wife said. Aren't they clever. :) He better be careful, this one may stick.

Until he calls the county....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What to do with a million dollars

July 25, 2009

Soon, we will be getting in the car and driving to the gym. Storms have rolled through Cincinnati this morning, so we have used that as an excuse to not go to the gym early. We did not use the extra time to read this morning's paper as the paper carrier did not watch the weather last night to see that it may rain. If he had, he may have double-bagged the paper such that it wouldn't have been a wet pile of black and grey mush. Since sitting in the car and throwing papers out the window is so time consuming, taking time to slip the paper in an extra bag may have kept him from getting to
White Castle a little sooner.

When I was 12 or 13, I had a paper route. I shared it with my brother at first and then had one of my own for awhile. I even had a route one summer when I came home from college. That was also the summer I had an addiction to soap operas for some reason. Anyway, I had to actually walk my route and put the paper on the front porch. When it rained, I had to put it inside the front door. I also had to do this if it rained the day before as the welcome mat holds water for a couple of days. I found that out the hard way one day. For me to say that my brother and I shared the route is an insult to my parents. Paper delivery starts around 5 or 6 in the morning. My brother and I handled this during the week ourselves most of the time, but my parents helped on Sunday. I can't imagine how exciting it must have been for my parents to get up at 5:00 in the morning on their weekend off. I suppose I kind of took that one for granted. Anyway, one day (the day after a storm), I delivered the papers to the front porches. I then went to school. My mother, who did not drive, apparently received some calls about wet papers after I left. She then had to walk up the hill to where my route was, on a bad knee, to deliver to the people who wanted a dry paper to read. Not one of my proudest moments. The only good thing about Sunday paper day, was that when we finished the route, we would go to White Castle for breakfast. When you are young, your stomach can handle a few sliders for breakfast. They were less than a quarter apiece back then, so we were really livin'.

Our gym plan for today involves driving across the river to Northern Ky. to an Urban Active over there. Yes, there is one 3 minutes from our house, but it is still expanding and is not as nice as the established one on the other side of the Ohio river. The Kentucky one has a track and the cardio equipment overlooks the river. My wife likes it there, so we will be leaving soon. I have readily agreed, because I saw a commercial that the Kentucky Powerball is up to 88 million dollars. We do not usually play since playing the lottery is just like taking money and throwing it in the garbage, but someone has to win the money right? Oh,and also, it helps the schools...right?

So the question becomes, what to do with that kind of money. I suppose the first thing would be to immediately delete this post so there was no evidence that I have money. While no one currently reads it, with my luck someone would stumble onto it and then also realize they were my long lost cousin.

Okay, so we're back. We never made it to Kentucky. We did make it to the gym, but we went to the closer one as the need to do errands won out. I am not sure how my wife puts up with my son and myself at the grocery. She likes to take us since she desperately wants us to make suggestions about what to buy. We accommodate to a certain extent. We are not picky eaters, but we are also not passionate about what to get since we will eat anything (and love kids!!) Therefore, my son and I spend our time at the grocery eating samples (which were especially good today), drinking coffee (just me, he does not drink coffee yet), making jokes, and running into things with the shopping cart. The best time to do this is when he is on the back of the cart and there is a pole to run into. Big fun! We have never been banned from Kroger, but I was banned from White Castle a short time while I was in high school. Apparently, if you are in with a group of guys who drink beer, take hot dogs to WC, and then ask the employees there to fry you up some, you may also get kicked out. Sense of humor, I think not. Anywho, we made it through Kroger and actually even remembered to bring our reusable bags. The girl bagging our stuff set a new world record for how many groceries you can fit into two reusable bags. She even kept it semi-separated as I load the belt at the checkout in a pattern so it gets bagged together, thus, making it easier to put away. My wife and son mocked me a bit as I kept the dairy products together, the fruits and veggies together, and the meats and dry goods separate. At least I'm pretty sure they were mocking me as they tried to decide if the canned tuna was allowed to be near the fresh salmon. (Obviously, the canned tuna goes with the dry goods, duh!) The purpose of this forced segregation is for the put away process once we get home. My job is to put the groceries away, and this is more easily accomplished if the food is organized. Does this make me sound anal? No, I thought not.

So I guess you figured out that we will not be wining the Powerball. You do have to play to win, and we are not playing. Therefore, I do not need to worry about spending the millions just yet. I have been left alone at the house, so my PS3 time begins now. Good day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


July 23, 2009

We have recently joined a new church that we love very much. This church is very involved in the community and that is something my family and I have always been interested in. Our old church was also involved, but something about the way this new church goes about it, seems to make it easier for us to see ourselves being involved.

My wife and I are different about the way we make major decisions. If the "spirit" moves me, I have a tendency to want to jump right in. My wife is more likely to analyze the situation and all its options before coming to a decision. It has made for a good match most of the time. Sometimes, I have to give her a bit of a nudge to get off the fence, and sometimes she serves her role well as "wo-man" and slows me down to wait for more information.

Recently, we have seen a lot of information about being foster parents. There have been relevant articles in the local paper, there has been talk of it at church, and there have been acquaintances getting involved in it in their lives. As we drove through our neighborhood on the way to the mall, we saw several lawn signs dedicated to recruiting foster parents and a phone number. I told my wife that if God was sending us a sign, He was being a bit obvious. Well, we are still in the analyzing mode of our decision, but yesterday brought more information.

My wife took our son and his friend to the art museum. Our family loves to go there as it is very eclectic and provides us with time to reflect on skills none of us possesses. We love to view art, but can never be commissioned to create it. The Cincinnati Art Museum is well know in the art community for its quality and rightly so. Besides, it fits into our budget as it is free to get in.

So going there as a family and taking a friend turned out to be different experiences. My son's friend has a tendency to talk a lot in a loud manner which really goes over great at a museum. He also did not see it as a learning experience or one to appreciate as he would have rather been at the pool or in front of the PS3. When you are with someone in this mode, child or adult, the experience loses some appeal. They just want to rush through the experience and do not stop to appreciate the event or show respect for others trying to do so. It even made my son uncomfortable as he tried to slow his friend down and stay out of trouble with his mom.

It made us appreciate the differences between my son and other kids. He has not been a problem to raise (which of course my wife and I think is due to our parenting skills), and has made life very easy for us. When we only had one child due to some medical issues, we used to tell people that God only gives you what you can handle. Well, if that were true, He must not have thought we could handle anything tricky as our son is not much of a challenge.

I was not an easy child to be a parent to as I was the middle child who always wanted a bit more attention. I found the trouble and caused my mother more than her share of grey hairs. At age 13, I wised up and started trying to make life less complicated for her, and by the time she died, I think she felt good about the man I turned out to be. However, before the age of 13, I remember something she used to say to me during these challenging times. "I hope you have 10 kids just like you." Having just had one child, I was sure he was going to be 100 times harder than I was. As it turns out, he is very much like me in some regards, but has a great mix of his mom and grandparents that has made him so fantastic to live with. His DNA pool is swimming with many great features. When people used to ask who he looked more like, my wife or me, we would just have to admit that he was a mutt. He good a mix of everyone.

He has my eyebrows, mom's height, Grandpa C's tongue, Grandpa J's hair, Grandma MB's heart, Grandma L's curiosity and love for a good restaurant, and somehow he got a sarcastic sense of humor. Huh?? Big feet too, that is also a mystery??

Anyway, when we think about bringing another child into our home, we have to decide if we can handle this kind of person and the baggage they come with. When my son gets sarcastic or can't stay away from the chocolate, we just have to look in the mirror to know where he got this from. When a child we didn't raise has anger issues or is suspicious of authority, it becomes guess work to know where this came from or what to do about it. Our search for answers continues, and hopefully we can make the right choice or find the right community activity that suits our desire to be involved and fits our skills-whatever they may be.

Until that moment arrives...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Warm moments

July 21, 2009

As you know, I work in retail. There are some challenging things in this field of work, but there are challenges in many other careers too. I have been in retail management for over 20 years, so I have taken on the challenges and tried to appreciate the good things about it. One of the good things I took a moment to gaze at yesterday, was a little girl and her mom walking through the store hand-in-hand. I love little kids. Not in the "creepy, don't live next door to that guy" way, or the "he'll eat anything, and loves kids" way (that I saw in an ad for a new pet); but in the way that you look at their little faces and they are full of wonder. This is, of course, in the faces of toddlers who have not yet been jaded by the real world yet. These youngsters are usually sitting in their strollers or shopping carts with a look on their face that lets you know they are just taking everything in. They have never seen that toy before, or they have never smelled popcorn before, or they have never seen the guy who works here with the goofy face before. It is a look I can never get enough of.

So yesterday, I see this mom and daughter, and it takes me back to one of the warmest memories my wife and I share. We just have to mention Winton Woods Park to each other, and we know the exact memory we are revisiting.

Winton Woods is one of the great parks here in Cincinnati. It has many features, but the one we go back to is the water park. There is portion of Winton Woods where there is a big lake with a walking path around it. You can rent paddle boats or canoes to go out in the lake. There are places you can fish. And there is a family area with a playground, eating area, and splash park.

When my son was around 18-22 months old, we took him to the splash park. He ran around and had a great time in the water, under the waterfall, down the slides, and in the puddles. It was awesome to watch. Finally, it was time to leave the splash park, and we decided to take a short walk along the lake. We took up our customary positions along the lake, my son in the middle, my wife protecting one way, and myself protecting him from venturing too far the other way (or into the lake some might call it). We walked for about 5 minutes just taking everything in, when all of a sudden, I felt this little soft hand reach up into mine to hold hands. I looked over and could tell the same thing had just happened to my wife by the enormous smile she had on her face. It was completely unsolicited on our parts, and just something he felt at that moment. It was as if he was saying, "I'm really enjoying this day with you two and I want to hold your hand right now."

Well, they almost had to have a bio hazard clean up in Winton Woods lake as this moment melted me until I oozed right into the lake. My wife and I will share it in our heads and hearts forever, and always have a reason to smile.

We don't have much planned today except haircuts and big fun. We know it is time to get my son a haircut when it gets a certain look. When he was little it was "Ted Koppel" hair. It looked like his hair was eating his head. Now that he is bigger, it is "elf that wants to be a dentist in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer show" hair. He does not like this analogy much, which actually cements my argument for thinking it may be time for that haircut.

We have fun to get to, so until next time...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hug commitment

July 18,2009

I need this on the record. Last night, my son came up from downstairs (where I can only guess he was playing PS3) to give me a hug. He does this every night that I am home and I get hugs everyday. It is AWESOME!! Last night, I made sure he understood that I expected to get a hug everyday for the rest of my life. He quickly agreed to this. That is the oral commitment I was looking for. A hug everyday from my son for the rest of my life.

My son is 12 and stands 5'4" tall and weighs 112 pounds. He is pretty big. I am 5'10" tall and weigh 160ish pounds. I realize that the current full body hug I am getting is not going to continue once he starts to get some testosterone pumping through his body, but I do believe I have a commitment. I also realize that he may move a way some day, but I have a commitment.

Before I forget to share why last night was so special when I do gets hugs everyday, is that last night was one of those wonderful nights when I received several hugs and some time on the couch where he sat right next to me and wrapped my arm around him while we watched television. Why was he more affectionate tonight, I wondered. Well, I have it figured out. We watched a movie together. Normally, he is in the basement and I am on the couch and we pass from time to time. Last night, we watched an Adam Sandler movie together. It was funny and we shared our favorite parts and such. He enjoyed the part where Adam (Skeeter) thought he was going to catch on fire later in the day and kept hearing songs about fire on the radio.

I have to go to work soon, so I am running out of time (speaking of commitment), so I will continue this another time. Until then...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feelin' sluggish

July 16, 2009

Did you ever have one of those days when you get home from work and all you feel like doing is eating a couple of burgers and laying on the couch? Of course you have, it is the American dream. However, I assume most of you do not do this. That is except for when I watch diet shows on television where it seems that half of America is obese. I am having one of those days today and it makes me feel like a slug. It is not helping that my wife is currently doing an exercise video (in the room with the couch and the television...grrr!), thus relegating me to blogdom. It is also not helping that I see neighbors coming home from their jobs and taking care of 3 small children, cutting their grass, and heading out for walks. Thankfully, my wife has let me know that when she is done exercising, she will still be available for a walk. "Thanks hon", I reply gleefully. Grrr!

The problem stems from a not so great night of sleep. I was probably dehydrated, therefore, causing one of those nights when you think you are awake, but you are in the middle of some dream that lets you know you must be asleep. The alternative is that I really did rearrange a dress department in my mother's store last night. My mother passed away in 1991 and never owned a dress store. I would go down some Freudian path with this, but I have not packed my overnight garment bag.

I was dehydrated because I love caffeine. I do not love it like I used to-4-5 Mt Dews per day, but I do love it to the tune of one coffee and a couple Coke Zeros every day. (Once this blog makes it big, I have the inside track on a couple of endorsements already!!) I have gone up to 40 days (the same length of time as Lent coincidentally enough) without my beloved caffeine, but I find that I miss it. I have even learned to justify it. I learned that children with ADHD are given a stimulant to help calm them down. It helps them focus from what I understand. Well, I need focus. I have an undiagnosed case of ADHD, I am sure of it. How else can you explain my ability at work to listen to a conversation on the walkie talkie, help the customer in front of me, notice the child about to fall out of a cart two aisles away, and never lose track of my original intent-make it to the bathroom without causing an additional "spill" problem in Health and Beauty Aids. I solve all the mini crisis es, and then start walking toward my destination. About half way there, I notice a sign on the ground, pick it up, and forget why I am standing near the men's' restroom.

I also cannot possibly sit and read a chapter in a book with the television on in the same room. My wife can do this, my son says he can, but I cannot. In other words, I need caffeine. Somehow, that all makes sense to me.

I would end here, but the exercise video continues. I think we are in the cool down. I am very pleased that my wife is exercising. She looks great, but wants to lose more weight. More power to her. She can do whatever she wants to lose weight as long as that British lady Gillian McKeith does not show up here to live with us for a week. I know in the show, the chubby Brits go to live with her at her house, but I think when I finished moving the dresses last night, I dreamed that Gillian came to live with us. I don't think she would be a big fan of the burgers and couch plan. I am not overweight, but that does not mean that I eat the type of menu she cooks up. If you've seen her show, you know that she piles a big banquet sized table up full of the food that the person visiting her eats in a typical week. I do wonder how much editing has taken place since I know one of these people has to have seen the food and started stuffing their pie hole causing Gillian to have a "bit of a tizzy". I'm almost sure after the commercial break one time there were some crisps missing from the red flyer wagon she had staged them in. (That is alot of chips in one week!)

Apparently, I better go stretch as my time to walk has come. I know I will feel better when I get back home, but isn't it better to look good than to feel good?

Until my return...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


July 15, 2009

This weekend is my class of 1979 grade school reunion. It is hard to believe I have been out of grade school for 30 years. I cannot go to the reunion since, as you know, I work every other weekend. If there is an event or holiday, you can assume it is my weekend to work. The reunion is 100 miles away which isn't insurmountable, but having to work 2pm-11pm both Saturday and Sunday nights makes it impossible.

It is just as well since I really only went to school with these folks for one year. I went to one grade school for kindergarten though seventh grade, and then my family moved. I went to Holy Trinity grade school for only eighth grade. It was however, my favorite year of grade school. My time at St. Albert the Great was not full of happy memories. Therefore, I wouldn't have hated going to this reunion.

I know my wife thinks the only reason I want to go is to see the girls and what they look like now. This isn't really my fault. Once the e-mails starting circulating about the reunion, I contacted the four guys I was friends with back at Holy Trinity. None of us have spoken to one another for the past 16-30 years, so it was cool to have the chance to catch up. In doing so, the one guy I was closest with (meaning the one I talked to a mere 16 years ago), replied that he had info on the girls we all thought were hot back then. I then made the mistake of looking on face book for them and seeing that the one we all pined for the most was still rather attractive.

Let me deviate for a moment. No, I am not a face book subscriber. For all I know, "face book" is both capitalized and one word. I have no account, I do not "friend" anyone, nor do I plan to. I do very little with the computer other than follow my sports teams, play in a couple of fantasy sports leagues (did your geek-o-meter just go off?), and read e-mail. Now, I do this blog that no one reads just as a way to get in touch with my inner voice. Therefore, face book is not something for me.

Back to the "hot" girls of Holy Trinity grade school (HTgs). My wife and I share the same e-mail address which is typically not a problem for me as I have nothing to hide. However, for some odd reason, my wife does not want to hear about other women I may or may not think are hot. (Except for the local news anchor who I have met in person and is on my laminated list of 5 exceptions just like Ross from Friends had).

Time for another sidetrack because this is a funny story. Hopefully, some of you are familiar with the episode of Friends in which Ross and Rachel have an agreement to come up with the names of 5 celebrities that they are allowed to sleep with should they ever make their acquaintance. Without rehashing the entire episode, I will tell you that I, like probably a lot of males, thought this was a GREAT idea. Like Rachel, my wife laughed it off and did not come up with her 5. I had my 5, which has changed several times over the years, but with one constant. I kept this particular news anchor from my local city on the "list" for two reasons. One, I really did and do think she is hot. And two, she is local and I was sure I would probably run into her someday. Never mind that I live in Cincinnati which is considered a rather large city. Fast forward 10 or so years to the season of Halloween. I work in retail, and was working at my store in the Halloween section. A voice from behind asks my where the fog machines are, I turn, and I am face-to-face with HER. OMG!! Well, being the cool customer that I am, I charmingly replied, "Duh....". I know, pretty smooth. Finally, I gave her directions to the fog machine in question, and then tried to decide what work I was supposed to be doing in the fog machine aisle. As it turns out, down the fog machine aisle are several motion activated Halloween decorations that make spooky noises as you walk in front of them. It is very difficult to pretend to work in this aisle without making a rather obvious ass of yourself. Finally, before the term "stalker" was to become synonymous with my given name, I decided to move on.
I told my wife the story (or at least some of it), and she asked how the lady of my dreams acted towards me. I explained that other than asking me the initial question, she basically did her shopping and ignored me. My wife then explained to me that when a woman thinks you are hot, she ignores you. This was quite the revelation. Now I feel bad for this woman because she must think I am quite the stud because she ignores me every time she shops at my store. How could one woman (or all the woman at the bars while I was in college for that matter) have it that bad for little ol' me. One of these days I will have to break it to her gently that I am married and the list of 5 was just a joke. I do not look forward to that conversation.

Back to the hot women of HTgs. It suddenly dawns on me that these girls also had it bad for me as many of them had the ignoring technique down even at the tender of age of 13 or 14. I remember my hair cut in the eighth grade, and I could see that with that hair and the pizza face complexion, I must have been "to die for". Anyway, I will not be seeing any of these people this weekend, but hopefully I will see my long lost buddies at some point. We can relive our fondness for Olivia Newton John and our desire to "get physical" with her (or any girl for that matter) over a couple of beers. Something to look forward to. Until then...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I love days off

July 14, 2009

The way my job schedule works out, I work every other weekend. I am off every Tuesday. Therefore, every other week I have 3 out of 4 days off. It gives me a great chance during the summer to spend some much needed time with my family. However, it does mean that I now have to work the next six days in a row.

Whenever I wake up on a day off, I am thinking about what will be the best course of action to make both my wife and son have a great day. My wife wakes up with the same thought about me and my son. My son wakes up thinking about PS3. Unless one of us has definite plans for the day, it makes for some interesting conversation in the morning. My wife suggests things to do she thinks I want to do. I try to get on board with these ideas since I think they may actually be activities she wants to do. I ask questions about things I thought she wanted to do (like exercising, shopping, honey-dos, etc). After a bit, we discover each other's methods, and reach some form of compromise. The best compromises are when I convince her that what I wanted to do, is what I thought she wanted to do. It is a win-win for me.

We then consult my son on his desires for the day, and learn he wants to play some PS3. He may want a friend play PS3. He may want to call a talk about PS3. He may want to go to the buy something for PS3. He may want to go to the pool (really, this is exciting) talk about PS3 while in the pool.

Sometimes, he even forgets to eat. At 1:30 in the afternoon he will come to my wife and ask, "Have I eaten yet today?" She will look at him and ask, "I don't know, what food wrappers, plates, or cups are there in the basement as evidence?"

He will go back down and report that all the food evidence in the basement is from yesterday. A conversation follows asking him why he did not bring these things up with him when he came, and he will give her the usual "Oh yeah", go back down, retrieve the items, put them in the sink (not in the dishwasher or garbage can, the sink), and then return to the play PS3. Thirty minutes later, he will return to the kitchen to ask, "Have I eaten anything today?"

Today ended in victory as my son and I met some friends at the high school to play some pick up soccer. Ninety minutes of real exercise that did not involve...PS3. Even these 60 year old knees and ankles were able to run around and try to recapture some lost glory. Yes, I am only 44, but my knees and ankles are 60. That is a story for another day. Until then...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tips for being "perfect"

July 13, 2009

Here are some tips to having your 12 year old son think you are "perfect":
  1. Don't try to hug him in front of his friends (especially if you are going to make those bear hug sounds you always do).
  2. Don't give his friends nicknames (even if one is named Graham and one is named Ted, and calling them Teddy-Graham seems really funny to you).
  3. Don't tell him every time you need to use the bathroom (even if referencing your "call of duty" seems both humorous and timely).
  4. Marry the perfect mom who doesn't use your time away from your son to let him in on the times when you are not so perfect (I may occassionally have gas).
  5. Make sure you tell him the things he is doing well, not just the things he is not so good at. I told him when he was five that he wasn't that fast, but he was better than everyone else on the soccer team with his left foot. Seven years later, he still thinks he is too slow, but the best player on the team with his left foot. Your words carry a lot of weight with your children, use them wisely.

Until next time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Being the perfect dad

Today is July 12, 2009.

I am a normal 44 year old guy who lives in a midwest city who is trying to be the perfect dad. On most days, my 12 year old son actually thinks I am coming pretty close. I even have my beautiful 43 year old wife convinced that she did rather well picking out a father for her son. I am a lucky dude.

The purpose of this blog is not to gain thousands of readers who care about what I have to say, it is merely to have a place where I can tell this computer what I think, express my gratitude to my family for accepting me as I am, and to thank the good Lord above for all the wonderful things I have in my life.

In doing so, I hope to accomplish a couple other things.
  1. I hope to practice patience with my typing skills, thus not throwing the computer across the room whenever it types the keys I am actually hitting instead of the ones I meant to hit.
  2. I hope to explore the side of me that keeps my thoughts bottled up inside. By that, I do not mean the thoughts that people will consider inappropriate (as what I think is funny, many others think is strange), but the thoughts that are fleeting and taken for granted.
  3. I hope to find a better understanding of what it means to be the perfect dad.

Whenever, I get the chance to post, I will explore random thoughts centered around these hopes and whatever happened in my life that made me feel like I am doing a good job as a father, a husband, and a person. Please feel free to do the same and we can share our strengths and our "developmental opportunities" as my employer likes to call them.

As for today, I am just wrapping up a three-day weekend with my family during which I let my son have two sleep-overs at our house with friends/family. I went on several walks with my wife and/or my son that kept us moving, active, and TALKING. When we walk together, we talk together. I think my wife likes this the most as I am not known for being chatty, but when we walk together, we talk together. It is pretty amazing, you should try it. And finally, I just finished playing some Call of Duty with my son on his PS3. He actually tried to teach me how to not get killed in the first 30 seconds. So far his efforts have not proven noteworthy, but the fact that we spent this time together was rather special. He is now downstairs reading a book instead of playing more video games since we had this special time together and now he wants to show his appreciation by doing something that will make me happy.

I am going to go revel in this for awhile, so maybe we will chat again tomorrow. Until then...