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...

Monday, August 24, 2009

When did they change math?

August 24, 2009

CJ was doing his math homework tonight and started telling us how he was figuring out the problem he was working on. I had seen the first sheet he was working on and there were word problems that I could have solved if asked. You know, what is a 3-digit number multiplied by 11. They were trying to show that there is a trick to the solution without having to just multiply it out the long way. I get it, I could do it, no problem.

I was a math major at Xavier University, so I have taken a few math courses in my day. I am not surprised these days when 8th graders are doing Calculus as opposed to us doing it as Juniors in high school. We had to use those chisels and stone tablets I have mentioned before, and everything took longer. Plus, the textbooks were really heavy and we were walking to school up hills both ways in the snow, if you'll recall.

We are going to skip the paragraph during which Beth would be laughing hysterically thinking about how I was a math major in college, yet proceeded to give a waitress a $5 tip based on my abilities to figure out 15% of $20. I was really tired, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, since we have skipped that paragraph, CJ was telling us how he was trying, using graph paper, to illustrate how the word "Jack" became the word "Jackson" by using a different size box. Beth and I looked at each other as if CJ had just learned how to speak Latin. What he said sounded smart, yet totally useless all at the same time. Beth suddenly became very interested in her word jumble leaving me to say, "Why don't you show me what you are talking about". Well, he showed me and I saw what he did to make the "problem" become solved, but I can't help but wonder what the heck this is all about. Shouldn't he be learning how to figure out which train would get to New York first if one left the station at 6:00 pm and traveled at 65 miles per hour and was loaded down with new contestants on The Biggest Loser while a second train left the station at 6:30pm traveling 67 miles per hour with a car full of nuns on board?

I don't know, I always thought I would be able to help CJ with his homework should he ever get stuck, especially in math. Now I wonder if perhaps my life would have turned out better had I been taught in 7th grade how to turn the word "fossil" into the word "fuel". I don't know, that's all I could come up with. My other thought was "duh" into "doofus".

Until I come up with a better ending...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rub some dirt on it.

August 22, 2009

I assume the statute of limitations on making light of the death of a friend's pet is a couple months, so I have a funny story to tell. The actual death of the cat is not the funny story, it is sad and I wish it had not happened to them, but the reaction of a 12 year old to the story was funny.

Our friends had the misfortune of watching their cat cross the road only to get hit by a car that was greatly exceeding the speed limit. It is important to mention the exceeded speed limit part of the story because you know that a cat would never cross the street if it knew it did not have time before that car arrived based on the posted speed limit. In this case, the unfortunate family witnessed said incident and therefore knew their pet was no longer going to be with them. The children are 12 and 10, so they were going to have some lasting memories of this incident. Having personally witnessed it, there was no cover up story available for the parents like:

-Fluffy ran away
-Fluffy requested a move to a farm so it could chase mice all day
-Fluffy is on vacation visiting Garfield and Odie
-Fluffy met her soul mate and went off to wed and have kittens with Mr Fluffy
-Fluffy has a cat nip problem and we tried to send her to rehab but she said no, no, no

Anyway, the son of another friend, who also happens to be a budding football player, was told this story as a hopeful cure for wanting to have a pet. There were other stories told about the poop picking up, the cost of veterinary bills, and the walking of the pet on cold days, but none had worked so far. Therefore, the harsh story of losing a cared for pet was brought out. However, having been a football player and being told things when he was run over by a linebacker or fullback like "Spit on it", or "Rub some dirt on it", he wasn't fazed by this cat's injury. He said that if he saw something like this happen to his pet, he would just tell it to "walk it off". Funny but wrong.

Until the SPCA finds out where I live...

Who put you in charge?

August 22, 2009

Beth bought CJ a blue tooth devise for his PS3 last night. Remember when a blue tooth was what the weird old man at the creepy house down the street had since he didn't have a good dental plan? My friend had an Atari (I never had a game system, not even the handheld football one with the little blips that you could try to make go across the screen for a touchdown), and he never had a blue tooth phone thingy with his system. I think those invaders from space were going to drop out of the sky whether you were talking to them or not.

Anyway, all of a sudden there is a lot of talking coming from my basement and CJ is alone down there. As it turns out, he is also rather bossy. It is a zombie killing game and there is direction to be given (apparently) for what weapon to get, where to take a stand, and what door to open. However, when CJ did not have a blue tooth, he was always annoyed with the dudes that did, as he was not keen on taking their advice. All of a sudden he is SGT. Hulka, the leader of the toes. I can't help but picture some Proctor and Gamble CEO who got on line this morning for some relaxing Nazi Zombies, only to be spoken to like he was 6 years old being told where to go and what window to watch.

Then again, maybe it's like those CEOs who dress up in a diaper and have some mistress spank them on their day off to relieve the stresses of the job. I watch a lot of CSI, by the way.

So I have gotten Mr. Bossy Pants upstairs to get ready for soccer, so I better go to.

Until he tells me what route is best to get to soccer on time (and subsequently walks the rest of the way)...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hi Mom!!

August 20, 2009

It is often a discussion amongst sports dads as to why an athlete gets on camera during the middle of a game and chooses to shout, "Hi Mom!" It's not that these men do not think the athletes love their mom, they just feel that if they help their son get to practice, work on their skills, and then root them on at the game, that the occasional "Hi Dad!" would come into play.

Before I go on, yes, I do realize that this is more old school as today's sport athlete is more apt to shout hello to their homies or to their girl than they are to their moms.

Anyway, I realized last night what some of the "Hi Mom!" is all about. When CJ goes to bed, usually one of us takes him. When mom takes him, he will usually score a back scratch or something soothing. When I take him, it usually turns into me squishing him with a pillow, giving him a bear hug, or the two of us goofing around until he laughs so much he gets the hiccups. The hiccups usually get me in trouble with mom as that turns into a drink of water and then another round of taking him to bed. He typically falls asleep fine either way as soothing or laughter are both good things to have right before bed.

However, when something is bothering CJ, the rowdy approach does not work. Last night, he came back upstairs and had a discussion with mom about some of the things that are bothering him about the new school year. It took a while and Beth was very sweet to him. By the end, his mind was more at ease, and going to bed was much more peaceful.

There are things that CJ and I discuss calmly and like young adult to old adult, but there are some things that only a mom can fix. Whether you are an athlete, a doctor, a retail manager, or any profession, when you reach a certain level of success, the first normal thought should always be to thank your mother.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Hold off on that thumbs up doc!

August 18, 2009

CJ went to the doctor's office for a physical yesterday. When you enter Jr. High and play sports, you have to have an individual physical. I tried to warn him ahead of time about the "turn your head and cough" portion of the physical. This is how the doctor checks males for a hernia. Why it is called a hernia and not a himnea, I will never know. Further explanation in this forum is not permissible, go ask your husband/brother/dad. CJ was not looking forward to this part of the exam as he will not even let his parental units see him naked anymore even though we have tried to explain to him that some of the happiest moments of his toddler-hood came when he was naked. There were so many times he enjoyed running through the yard in just his diaper that a single neighbor told us it was just like livin' in the ghetto. I have never lived in the ghetto (though I do like Elvis' song about it), so I often wondered if it was just children or adults as well that ran through the streets in their diapers. I never asked.

Anyway, I checked with CJ when I got home from work as to how the physical went. Everything sounded good. His height and weight are normal, he is still ticklish when they check his abdomen, and he does not have strep throat. There was no mention of the cough test, so I asked about it. He let me know that they did not perform this test, but that area was checked and was okay. Beth was there, so I will look to her for further explanation as I am sure that area is better than okay if he is anything like his father. Yes, I went there.

I was not disappointed that he did not have to cough for the doctor, but I felt the need to ask if there was any uncomfortable probing that took place. He said there was not other than the throat culture swab, but wondered what other possibilities he should be grateful that he missed. This was the segue I was looking for as, for some strange reason, I like to gross him out a bit.

I explained that adults get to undergo a gloved exam in their rectum (rectum, nearly killed 'em!). "Why would anyone need to put their fingers or hand up your poop shoot", he wondered aloud with some alarm in his voice. Beth and I explained (you thought she wasn't here for all this, didn't you) that there are prostate exams and other things that need to be checked up there. It is always nice to know that things are okay in the inner regions we explained. After a minute of thought, CJ came through with a classic line, "well, as long as the doctor waits to give you the two thumbs up until his hand is out of there". Yeah, I couldn't agree more!

Until all men realize it really is an important test...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Did you know that God makes chips stale?

August 14, 2009

So upon leaving work last night I called Beth and asked if I could bring home a taco salad from Taco Casa. She readily agreed as that is one of the few things she cannot refuse. It comes with a side order of chips as it is a taco salad. We do not eat it with the chips as the salad alone is plenty yummy and plenty bad for you. We also do not order it minus tomatoes or beans the way CJ would like it as we would then have to share with him (may need to change the name of my blog). Thus, there sat the leftover unopened chips on our table all the ding dang day with Beth all by her lonesome in the house. It is like torture to a woman who had lost weight and wants to keep it off (except when eating taco salad).

So I arrived home to a dinner prepared and ready by my wonderful bride (jealous much) and then sat in front of the computer to check out my sports world and fav blogs. I could not resist the call of the chips and dug in. They were stale and not so yummy. I called to Beth to share this news. She was ubber proud of herself for abstaining all day, but was eying the OPENED bag of chips with longing in her eyes. I told her they were stale and she gladly exclaimed that God must have made the chips stale. I was unaware that He had time for this sort of intervention, but was glad that it worked out for her. I also told her that perhaps she should not drink so much Coke Zero tomorrow as she is a bit hyped up right now.

Beth is going to go to the mall to continue her search for clothing appropriate for 43 year old women who don't want to dress like 23 year old women. I am going to go watch my Bengals play some preseason football. Hopefully, no one breaks their leg and is carried across the goal line by their father. Beth found that video and attached it as a comment for me. I punched myself in the shoulder several times to keep from crying, and I think the feeling has passed. Now my shoulder kinda hurts though. Hmmm.

Until I find a better way to handle my emotions...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Did you ever want to be that guy?

August 13, 2009

I was watching the Reds game tonight, which is a pretty good indicator of the quality of tonight's television lineup, and I saw Jonny Gomes for the Reds just hit his third home run. It is only the 6th inning, so he has a chance to hit his fourth of the game later, which I think has only been done once before. Whenever I see accomplishments like this in a sporting event, or in a made for t.v. movie for that matter, I start to weep like a little girl. Don't be upset, it's just an expression. I don't know that little girls weep more than little boys, it is just an expression I have always used. Anyway, I think there are two reasons I start to well up whenever an athlete has a big moment or a television show has a tender moment.

First, in a television show, it is usually a lost child type moment where a child is reunited with a parent. I can't imagine being a parent in that situation and not having CJ right where I know he is safe and sound. Worse, if I ever lost him or Beth, I don't know how life goes on. When I contemplate these types of scenarios, it makes me cry (almost). I lost CJ in Dave and Busters once for about 30 seconds and it seemed like 30 minutes. Fortunately, a girl had seen him run around the back of a machine and knew I would be looking. He was only 5 or so, but already he was being called by the video games.

The second near tear jerker for me, is when an athlete does something special. What hits me in the soft spot is either how hard they worked to get to that point and finally get there, or that I wish it was me doing something that awesome. I think since I want it so bad, it makes me that much happier for that person to know what it must feel like.

It's not like when the Dolphins make Hootie (Darius Rucker) cry because he is just sad that his team is losing. If I cried every time one of my teams lost, I would be constantly dehydrated. I just would like to stand in that moment when you reach a goal that you have worked hard to achieve, especially if no one thought you could. Then I would soak it up and realize what an opportunity it would be, like winning a championship coaching one of CJ's teams or something.

Did you ever see the highlight of a track athlete who was either in the Olympics or the Olympic trials, I forget which, and pulls a muscle in the backstretch? He gets up and tries to finish the race even though it is obvious he can barely walk and there is no way he can win. Finally, his father runs out and helps him finish the race. OMG, I am welling up just telling you about it. If I was ever needing to act out a scene that involved me crying, I would just need to channel that moment.

Gomes is due up soon, and I am too tired to go on (and a little emotionally spent). Therefore, I will finish this post. Thanks for the shoulder to ALMOST cry on. Until I need another box of tissue...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

All good things must come to an end

August 11, 2009

Sadly, this is day 9 of my 9 day vacation. Returning to work tomorrow will not be a welcome addition to my life as it means getting up at 5am and probably working a 12 hour day. I am going to read my work e-mail in a couple minutes, as there are around 70 waiting for me in there, and I would like to take some of them off my plate for tomorrow. I have been good about not reading them this vacation as there always arises some problem that just gets me irritated. It is also back to college/back to school time, so I know there will be some work for me to take care of upon my return. Unfortunately, I can't make a living killing zombies with CJ. I think he would let you know that if there were money in playing Nazi Zombies, I would go very, very hungry.

Just a quick word to Beth and CJ, thanks for making this staycation rival any vacation I have ever been on. It is extremely nice to know that staying home can be as much fun as going to Florida, or anywhere else for that matter. You guys rock!!

I just got one of those mocking fruit flies! In college, my roommates would kill the cockroaches in our dorm room and then tape them to the wall to warn off the other cockroaches. I would do the same with this dead fruit fly, but I don't remember that cockroach/tape thing working very well. It always amuses me that all of us actually graduated from college after some of the things we did. Remember how funny David Letterman was back then? Out afternoon learning was centered around The Price Is Right. The things I can recall learning had more to do with what groups my suite mates would listen to when they were getting stoned (Rush mostly), than they did learning what the significance was asking if the hole in a doughnut actually existed. Pardon me professor, did you say there were doughnuts? He was not taken aback quickly as he replied "no, just the holes are left". I guess that is why he got to put the letters D and R in front of his name. That made them more handy when I asked questions in class. When he could not think of anything snappy, he could just say "drrr".

Until I get another day off, 6 days from now...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is that a banana in your window?

August 10, 2009

If you were to go in our kitchen right now or walk through our backyard, you may ask that question. "Is that a banana in your window?" Well, yes that is a banana in our window. I placed it there to try to entice the fruit flies out of the house. I don't know what it is this year, but the fruit flies are worse than ever. I don't recall ever having them, much less this bad (badly?). We have bananas in our kitchen frequently, so it is not due to us suddenly striving for 5. (Does anyone else rely on Gwen Stefani for help in spelling b-a-n-a-n-a-s?) The flies are mocking us at this point as they play "now you see us, now you are clapping at air" games. If all our lights were controlled by The Clapper, we would have some sort of disco thing going on right now.

As you know, Monday is free coffee day at United Dairy Farmers. Beth and I went this morning for a refill, went a block to wash our car, and then drove to a market for some humus and carrots. Around the block from the market was another UDF, so we got another free refill. Beth has to go to her eye exam in about 30 minutes, so I think our mugs will be going with us. We are going to take CJ on the pretense of getting ice cream (united DAIRY farmers), only so we can get some more free coffee. CJ doesn't think I can call it coffee anymore as I usually fill mine about 2/3 of the way with French Vanilla Cappuccino before topping it off with coffee. Not French Vanilla flavored coffee, that would be excessive.

As for Beth's eye exam, she had dutifully taken care of her doctor's visits this year. She has had a physical, mammogram, seen her special females only doctor, was looking on the hair doctor web site today, and is now going for an eye exam. She is afraid her prescription will need to be updated. I don't know, do your eyes change after 25 years? I doubt it, but she is already looking at spending some of our HSA account on new frames and a prescription. I just hope she picks a style for her frames that will be fashionable for all of the next 25 years. I just caught her eating a carrot a couple minutes ago. I accussed her of doing the same thing I do by using the Sonicare toothbrush 4 times and the Waterpik 3 times within the half hour before I go to the dentist. I am not sure carrots can have an affect on your eyesight quite that quickly though.

A storm is brewing, so I am going to drive Beth to her appointment. This is one of those appointments during which you get your eyes dialated, so driving yourself home with those nice big sunglasses on can be a problem. So until my rap names becomes French Vanilla...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sitting on the front porch

August 9, 2009

Today is day 7 of my 9 day vacation. Most people take their vacation from weekend to weekend to get their 9 days, whereas I worked last weekend, so I get until Tuesday. It is weird to go back in the middle of the week, but I will certainly take the break. I feel much more recharged now than I did this time last weekend. This is due mostly to the fun I have had with my partners in fun, Beth and CJ. Today's fun had us at church this morning followed by brunch. The preacher discussed how we need to get back to being front porch people within our communities like people used to be. This was strangely appropriate for Beth and I as she had just come home from her walk last night and mentioned how the street she had gone down had more houses with front porches than our street does. It seemed like neighbors could see each other more easily and strike up conversations more readily. Beth wants a front porch on our house. We are not back deck people, which was the other category the preacher mentioned, but I am hoping to meet lots of people as I begin construction on our front porch. I am just hoping some of these people are lumber suppliers, handy men, and women with lemonade. I am hoping none of these new friends are ambulance drivers or firemen. Who am I kidding? I am never going to build a porch on this house. I do hope to find more ways to mingle with my community though.

Our second activity today was brunch. We do not often do brunch, but that does not mean we don't love it. We just love having money in the bank and pants that fit more. Today was special since it is nearing the end of my vacation and the end of summer vacation for Beth and CJ. Therefore, we went to the revolving restaurant on top of the Raddison just across the river. The food was good, though not long on variety, the air conditioning was broken, and the chair I sat in had, at one time, been patronized by a very heavy individual. Nonetheless, we were able to have a good time, enjoy the view as we revolved, and found our table every time we got up and came back. We also managed to not look at the floor while we ate because catching sight of the floor moving had the possibility of causing one of us to have to puke and rally. Finally, they charged CJ as a child even though he is 12, stands 5'4", and weighs 117 lbs. Someone was not counting the 8 trips he made back and forth to the buffet when they made our ticket.

We then managed to stop back by church on the way home to participate in the blood mobile they had going on. I have given many times before and they always send me a nice thank you postcard whenever they use my blood. Whomever receives my blood today, is going to have to take with it the richness of the sauces and desserts swimming through my bloodstream. I suppose that if they are having to have a blood transfusion, the fact that the blood is a little on the rich side is the least of their problems.

As for the rest of today, I am attempting this week's crossword puzzle and failing badly so far. I find that if I start out well and scoff at the fact that I figured out "smote" as an old-style way of saying walloped, suddenly everything else seems to require the obscure name of a Dutch painter (obscure or not, I don't know it), or something to do with history. They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Since I did not pay much attention in history, I am going with ignorance is bliss.

Now CJ wants me to come kill some Nazi zombies with him. I plan on going for it and hope to be able to gloat on how adeptly I smote them just like Napoleon did to the Nazis back in the Crimean War. Until dead zombie flesh starts to stink up the basement...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Made it home from Kentucky

August 8, 2009

We made it home from Kentucky last night. We went the 60 miles or so between Cincinnati and Georgetown, Ky. each way without going on any major highways. Most of our trip went on Route 27. As it turns out it was one of the better roads I have ever been on. It was smoothly paved almost the whole way. It had one lane that turned into two lanes whenever there was an uphill climb, and the views were not that bad. It took longer than the higway, but was worth the time spent. My son got to revisit his relationship with cows, horses, and even goats. There were fields of corn WITHOUT any fireworks signs in them. CJ even worked on his animal noises for us. You know it is obligatory to "moo" whenever you pass a field with cows in it. He was able to make elephant sounds when we passed a place that sells bird baths and statues, as one of the statues for sale was an elephant. He improvised when we passed a hay field by shouting "Hey" as we passed. He then came up with an original song about corn as we passed a corn field that went something like "corn, corn, corn...corn, corn, corn, corn". Beth and I are easily amused, so we liked it. It also continues to disprove the theory that sugar has no affect on children whatsoever.

As for training camp, it was fun. The scrimmage was shorter than I had hoped it would be, but we got there early enough to get good seats, got cheaper parking than expected, and the weather was outstanding. Beth and CJ are not interested in football nor the Bengals, but were awesome to put up with it to make me feel good. I like them.

As for today, we attempted to do something Beth wanted to do again. We went to Findley Market in downtown Cincinnati that is like a farmer's market that is there permanently. It is one of the draws to downtown in an area that needs a draw. We had never been, and it was cool. We tried to feed CJ before we went so he would not jones for every food they were selling (more the desert stuff than the vegetable stuff), but he managed to find room in his hollow leg to ask for food. He scored a couple of samples that looked pretty good. Beth got some 2/$1 cucumbers and some tomatoes, and we learned that it is something we may do again someday.

When we got home, we found that our next door neighbor had put blacktop sealer on his driveway. Normaly, this would not be significant, but we have lived here 8 years and had never seen him do it before. I do mine, but I am on the even year plan, so I only do it every other year. Every year would be very anal as it is holding up just fine. However, I did wonder how come my neighbor jumped on this blacktop bandwagon after so many years. Then the pieces came together as we reviewed the things he has accomplished this year:
1. Bought an edger for his sidewalk (and used it)
2. Planted flowers
3. Put down mulch
4. Put a fountain in his back yard (this should have been the clincher)
5. Got a dog (actually inherited as his daughter moved somewhere she could not have pets)


It all fits. We actually knew he retired, but forgot that there is an unwritten code that you need to start doing these things to be considered permanently retired. My next hope is that he starts to get a nicer lawn, because I have found that weeds will spread from lawn to lawn whether you treat your own yard against them or not. I am hoping that if he gets actual grass instead of weeds, perhaps they will spread to my lawn. I am not obligated to do this as yet, as I still have to go to work for 20 more years.

I am going to go help Beth get the salad ready for tonight. She has not read the post yet about fantasy drafts at Hooters, so it safe to be in the same kitchen where the knives are. Until she gets her own orange shorts...

Friday, August 7, 2009

vacation day-training camp

August 7, 2009

Today is the day we are going to do the one thing I requested to do this week, Bengals training camp. My other requests to achieve some rest and relaxation and to spend great time with CJ and Beth are also being achieved. However, this is the big event that I called out as something I wanted to do. I am sure something will go wrong.

Yesterday, Beth tried to get her "wish" of going to the park downtown and crossing the Purple People Bridge into Newport to get a cupcake at Cold Stone Creamery. It didn't go as planned as the cupcakes only came in 6 packs (which has worked out well for CJ), and then CJ fell on the bridge on the way to the park. Fortunately, CJ did not fall OFF the bridge, that would have been a whole other suckfest as I would really have had a decision to make. First, I am not a great swimmer. Second, the water looked really muddy and gross yesterday. I really like CJ, but did I mention that the water looked gross? As it turned out, he scraped his leg and we had to cancel the park tour.

I do know the cupcake thing has worked out for CJ as he ate two yesterday and wants the last one today. I just sent him outside for a bike ride and before he left, he opened the freezer door (they are cupcakes with ice cream in the middle) and whispered "goodbye cupcake" into the freezer. I heard him and clarified his affection. He owned up, we laughed, and he is out biking. I think Beth liked the cupcakes as well, but did not like the scale this morning.

As for the trip to training camp, I have made the potential for disaster even greater by suggesting we take all back roads from Cincinnati to Georgetown, Ky. I have never done it before, but I know we will end up stuck somewhere with a flat tire and some banjo playin' dude showing up to help us in his pickup truck. I realize it may be difficult to play the banjo while driving his truck, but with all the texting and kids playing guitar hero while driving, how different can it be? Besides, I think you missed the point, we will be in the back roads of Kentucky, and I have a really pretty mouth. Ugh, I think I went too far.

Anyway, I am the one who put pressure on us to leave by a certain time, so I better go get in the shower and make this thing happen. I hope to post tomorrow about how awesome it was, provided we all return alive and well. Until Ned Beatty comes to my rescue...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

vacation day 4

August 6, 2009

Is it wrong to have just finished eating a pecan pie that was bought on Tuesday? Yes, a whole pecan pie just eaten by me in three days. May I remind you that I am on vacation? I am using this as my excuse. I have also exercised almost every day, so in my diet book, I am okay to eat poorly as long as I have worked out. While I think many people would subscribe to my diet plan (minus the working out part of course), I don't think I will get my own weight-loss show based on my basic principles.

I have also justified no more projects for today by having unloaded the dishwasher. Beth is usually very impressed with me when I get a few projects done rather early in the day, but she doesn't know that this generally means I plan on doing very little the rest of the day. Don't tell her, okay?

The Call of Duty sleep over will be ending in a half hour or so. The only hitch in this plan (to buy the map pack 3 with CJ's buddy) is that PlayStation has still not released it. I do not know what the hold up is as they do not need to wait for UPS to deliver it or for the check to clear. Color me confused.

I have just finished ranking my players for the upcoming fantasy football draft 2009. Can you say fantasy geek? For the record, I have played fantasy sports (football and baseball only) for 18 years. I keep doing it because if you have been working at something for 18 years, and you like it, why not keep doing it?

I do not know if it reflects on me more positively or negatively to say that I do an automated on line draft, I do not go to the bar with buddies to have a live draft. I have done this before when I was in my 20's, because computers did not exist back then. We had to chisel our teams into stone tablets which took a bit longer. This was, however, made more exciting if you had a beer in one hand and one eye on the Hooters girl serving a the next table. The only real reason to keep an eye on her was to not catch her hair in your back swing while chiseling. No, really. I just went there for the food. I do remember a grouper sandwich that was quite tasty. I am surprised I remember much about my last visit (in 2001) as I got caught up in the "one more beer" phenomenon. You know how you would have been fine the next day had you not had that "one more beer"? I had to work the next day. I remember waking up fully dressed (on time by some grace of God), coming my hair with the snow brush in the car, and being very grateful that the Asset Protection Office at work was kept very cold. If only I had not had the last beer...

Those days of drinking are behind me and I don't miss them as much as I would have thought. I don't dislike a tasty beverage or frown on the intake by others, I just don't find that I "need" it when I go out or come home from a long day anymore. I do wish I knew what my friends meant when they would tell me how funny I was the night before at Dana Gardens when I had tied one on. Funny-hysterical, funny-embarrassing, or funny-peculiar I always wondered but was afraid to ask. Donald Trump once said that he and his father would not imbibe when they would go on business lunches with potential partners or adversaries, and they always seemed to come out ahead in the deal. I doubt this was due to coincidence. I'm guessing Donald's potential dates also imbibe a bit in order to not notice that hair style. Another unanswered question.

We are leaving soon on a downtown adventure, so perhaps I will post later. There is a Hooters down by the river, so maybe Beth and CJ are hankering for a grouper sandwich. Hopefully, they do not still have chisels. Until I come home unscathed...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

vacation day 3

August 5, 2009

Can you believe it is August 5th already? This is very horrifying for Beth and CJ as school starts on August 18th. If something good were happening on August 18th, it would seem like a long way away, but for school starting back up, it is coming like a freight train.

There are no big plans for today, just a play to go to at the high school tonight put on by high schoolers, and then a sleep over for CJ and his buddy. The sleep over is due to a new release of some map pack for Call of Duty coming out on August 6th. They boys hope to buy it as early as possible on Thursday so they can play all day. I have not even made the suggestion that if they buy it at midnight, they can just play all night. I am assuming it is available at midnight since it is an on line release. Should I say something...still deciding.

Today will probably be a continuous post since I have nothing major to bring up. Hanging around Beth and CJ means something amusing will happen soon.

Do garbage men try to be annoying? I do not in any way, shape, or form envy the job of a garbage man (like I do that of a milk man), but I do not understand the mentality of their actions. We get two pickups on Tuesdays, one for garbage and one for recyclables. We are allowed one can of each as more would cost extra. So the garbage truck goes down our street and it has an arm that they push a button and it picks up the can, dumps it, and then puts it down. I think this is a nice invention for the guys since then one guy can drive the truck and handle the dumping. I used to wonder who got to decide who drives the truck. I always assumed seniority. Anyway, the one can that has been dumped so far is now sitting in the middle of the street. How hard would it have been to put it back up on the grass? Mr Bake, the neighbor from across the street, is able to park his car up on the grass, why can't they roll the can back up there? Perhaps that costs extra as well.
Can you believe Beth just got into her mom's BRAND NEW CAR with muddy shoes? Sure they don't look muddy now, but they were muddy after our walk last night. She stepped in some mud after vacating the sidewalk for some bike riders. Bike riders apparently have the right-of-way on the sidewalks. So her mom has this new car as her old car was causing her 3 hour long grocery trips since they frequently included calls to AAA to wrap them up. She thought the 1994 Mazda was going to be her last car. She is 70ish and her mom lived to be 90ish, so Beth decided it was probably not her last car. After some arm twisting, she bought a new Honda. Beautiful car. She loves it. She puts towels down on the floor to protect the floor mats. Did I mention Beth has muddy shoes on in her car? Two left, perhaps only one comes back...
I just watched garbage man pick up can #2. He does not even need to get out of the truck to hit the button and have the claw arm of destruction pick up and dump the can. I used to wonder how people with physically demanding jobs would become overweight. I am not wondering so much anymore. He did have to get out of the truck next door as the claw arm of destruction knocked over the can before it picked it up. He looked a bit miffed.

I put the cans away even though Beth asked CJ to do it. He was just going to finish "one more round of zombie killin' before he got to it. 30 minutes later, I did it myself. He did not get off scott free as I made sure he knew I took care of it. He came to give me a hug (right during the middle of a fat princess game). I asked if he thought this made up for his transgression, and he correctly said yes. BTW, he has been told by mom that she does not like the name of this new PS3 game, so he has taken to calling it "weight challenged princess".
Both have returned. Apparently unharmed.
Today has taken on no new developments, so I will post this and hope for some unusual happening later. Until the paper boy comes....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

new toy for Christmas

August 4, 2009

It is possible to post multiple times when you are on vacation and a storm is rolling through. This one will be short though. I was reading my work e-mail (yes, I know I am on vacation, but did I mention storm), and I was reminded about the new release toy coming out today. I know it is only August, so I don't know if it is intended to be the hot toy for Christmas, but you never know. This toy had a big coming out several years ago when Tickle Me Elmo premiered, so Fisher Price has been trying to equal or top it ever since.

This year they have come up with Elmo's Tickle Hands. Yes, tickle hands. Does this not sound a little creepy, or is it just me? Beth, what do you think, should I buy them?

vacation week

August 4, 2009

This is my R and R vacation week from Target. We have no out-of-town plans for the week, except for Bengals training camp on Friday, so it is a chance to just rest and recharge. The fortunate happenstance for me, (is that I was able to use happenstance in a sentence) and that I really like my family. Beth and CJ are fun to hang around, so it is not like we have to escape town to have a good time. Besides, the money we save by staying home lends itself to some splurging while we are here. There are certain things we like to do, but try not to do too often as they could get expensive. These usually involve eating out. Our favorite restaurants are on this list in no particular order after the first two:
  1. Ambar Indian Restaurant-Clifton (Tiki chicken and Tiki Masala...YUM!)
  2. Don Pablos-our favorite is in Rookwood (luv me a good taco salad with chicken)
  3. Chipotle (now that I have learned how to order there)
  4. Taco Casa (taco salad sounds healthy with the world "salad" in the name, but it has a lot of cheese and ranch dressing)
  5. Wendys (we are a simple folk)
  6. Montogomery Inn (CJ has never been to the boathouse and is really pushing for some ribs, can't say I blame him)
  7. The Irish Pub place in Newport (I can never remember the real name, but that's what we call it-great sandwiches)
  8. Cheesecake Factory (not just for the cheesecake, but the meals are excellent too-we split meals since the portions are HUGE)
  9. The Pancake House in Montgomery (get there before the lines and be ready to loosen your belt when you leave)
  10. First Watch (see above comment about your belt-perhaps elastic waist pants would be better, mmm)
  11. Revolving restaurant above Quality Inn in Covington (haven't been there in forever, but promised CJ we would go sometime and eat while we are spinning)
  12. Subway (5...5$ foot longs...) It is in walking distance.
  13. AM PM at BP gas station (Beth and I have a french vanilla coffee addiction-we don't actually eat there)
  14. Kroger Fresh Fair (we do sometimes eat there for convenience and CJ likes their pizza, but we really like to graze on free samples-moo)

I can't think of any others. It's not like we don't eat anywhere else, but these are the top ten. I know there are 14 places listed, but you can't really count a gas station, a grocery store, a place you haven't been to in 20 something years, and a place with a cool jingle, can you?

I don't think we can make it to all these places this week. We were counting on a free meal and a good time tonight at National Night Out. It is a volunteer event for Target put on by the police department to get in touch with local communities and build partnerships between the police and fire departments and the local people. Target has been involved for several years and Beth, CJ, and I love to go and help out. However, a storm is passing through and it sounds like it has been cancelled. Bummer! I guess seeing the fire department and medical squads in action first hand due to lightning strikes wasn't the partnership they were looking for.

Until they decide what to do with all the donated food...

Monday, August 3, 2009

celebrity sightings

August 3, 2009

I saw Gillian McKeith at the gym today. You know the British weight loss meanie. It wasn't strange to see her at a gym even though the only exercise I have seen her get on her show is to ride a bicycle with extra large handle bars, but it was strange to see her at my gym.

Okay, it wasn't actually her, but she did look like her. I have the unusual ability to recognize when normal people look like celebrities. Since celebrity sightings are very exciting for us normal folk, it usually gets an arousal of sorts from those I share the information with. They are pretty sure that it is not the real star (especially if they have known me for a long time), but since they so desperately want to believe that it could happen, they look and hope.

I have seen Tim McGraw in Old Navy. Christie almost peed herself.

Melissa Manchester's drunk double thought I was real hot back in my Kmart days.

My best friend's dad looked like Conway Twitty. I was ordered by my friend to NEVER tell his dad that.

My dad looked like Andy Griffith when dad was in his later years and Andy was in his Matlock years.

A little kid once called me Ponch because I looked like Erik Estrada in Chips. I had some big hair back then, yeesh.

My store got very excited when I mentioned Carson Palmer was in the store because the real Chad Johnson (now aka Ocho Cinco) had been in the store a couple days before. I believe someone smacked me when they saw the dude was about 300 pounds and Hispanic. He was wearing a Palmer jersey though.

I must interject a question I just thought of. Beth was talking to her friend on the phone about her high school reunion from this past weekend. She has told me quite a few stories that happened and I have listened intently. I love to hear about other people who are 43 and have grandchildren as it makes me feel better about myself. Don't know why, it just does. However, what caught my attention, was when she told her friend that people were drinking so much that she knew it was time to go when some dude kissed her full on the mouth. Hmmm? Why did I not get this story first hand I wonder? I know she did not like the event because she did not say it like it was a good surprise. She also did not come home all riled up for some lovin', so no one at the fiesta got her aroused like that I assume. However, I wonder what reaction I would get if Beth got wind second hand about some intoxicated female planting one on my lips. Hmmm?

Today is free coffee Monday at UDF. We went this morning and are considering going back. Would that be wrong? We are on vacation... I think we go. Until they run out of french vanilla creamer...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Clever lines

August 1, 2009

From time to time I will try to share with you the witty lines that come from working in retail. I currently work for Target and there are some very clever people that work there and shop there. I will sometimes overhear conversations between guests that I will try to share with you and/or things said by team members that I wish I had thought of to say. Hopefully, when taken out of context, these things still sound as witty, funny, or clever as I thought they did in person.

An example is one of my all time favorites. I have to go back to my Kmart days to find this one. I have had some experiences with Kmart that are story worthy, so I will share them from time to time, but this one story is funny. As you know, Kmart had the blue light special. This blue light used to be truly special "back in the day". People used to come to shop there hoping that we would have some blue light specials. One day, there was one that people became very excited to go and check out over in the clothing area. The actual event was a sale on men's' pants. I do not recall if they were khakis, dress pants, or jeans, but that is not important to the story. There was going to be a special reduction on these pants, so the person announcing the special over the intercom peaked every one's interest by announcing that they needed to immediately come over to the men's department "where we are taking our pants down." Suddenly, instead of a blue light special, we had a blue light district.

My second favorite story took place in Target. We use visual aids to direct the guest to the merchandise they are looking for ranging from the exact (you will find light bulbs in aisle G33), to the less precise (go down the aisle to the grills and the bug repellent is on the counter to your right). One day there was a guest looking in toys for a Mr. Potato Head. The employee she asked didn't have time to take her to the aisle, so he pointed down the main aisle and used a general reference. "See the gentleman standing by that shopping cart", he started. Before he could finish with "that is the aisle you want", the guest looked at the gentleman by the cart and asked, "Is that him?"

Finally, my third all time favorite came when I was ringing a guest at a cash register. She had an eclectic mix of merchandise that included a man's ball cap that had a fishing theme and some ladies spiky heeled shoes that were an animal print. I rang these two items and told her I thought they made for a rather strange outfit. She looked back at me and said she wasn't so sure about taking fashion advice from a man who wears red and khaki to work every day. Ouch! Funny though.

The most recent addition to funny lines does not crack the top three, but was clever at the time. When a department has been straightend at the end of the night, it needs to be "inspected" by a closing supervisor. The team lead is summoned over the walkie talkie to come and "walk" their area. Well, last night Andy's area was finished, so he got on the walkie and said "you can get a leash for my department because it is ready to be walked". Really Andy? Not bad though.

Until the next funny line...