Friday, September 25, 2009

Looks like trouble!!

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

September 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until someone takes away my pah pah pow...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An interesting threesome.

September 20, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

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

September 17, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 14, 2009


September 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

soccer dad

September 12, 2009

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

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

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

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

Until I find my third wind...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Then one day...Julia Roberts walked by.

September 8, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, not really. :)

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

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

September 8, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then one day...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Keys Have Turned Up!!!!

September 6, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When are free tickets really not free?

September 5, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't corporate people know I'm old?

September 3, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here we are at our house

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

Things that amuse me

September 1, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big ups, and little waists

September 1, 2009

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

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

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

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