Monday, December 27, 2010

Got any butter?

December 27, 2010

It is not too much longer that we can type 2010.  In a few short days, we will be typing 1/1/11.  Who needs curved numbers?  I know there are couples that decide to get married on special numerical days like 8/9/10, or 10/10/10, but will anyone try to get married on 1/1/11?  New Years day seems like a bad idea.  The rehearsal dinner would be off the hook, but the hangover at the wedding?  Not a great idea. 

I think these special dates and deciding to get married on them, are just a trick by the bride to get the groom to remember their anniversary.  I am skeptical that it will work, because their anniversary will never fall on the special number day again.  Will 8/9/11 be special?  I guess we will see. 

I remember the anniversary of Beth's big day because it was one of the highlights of my life.  7/27/91 was the date.  We will be married 20 years in July.  When I call it Beth's big day, I am not saying it was a bigger day for her than me, I am just reminded how everyone kept referring to the wedding as the bride's day. 

So that is not why I am here today.  First, I am off..woot, woot. Second, the holiday is over...woot, woot!  Unfortunately, I have cancelled my sister's visit as I am way too burned out to be my usual entertaining self this week.  Also, I could not get my schedule switched to accommodate the visit.  My hope is that we can get together up here sometime when it is warmer.  When CJ heard the news, he cancelled his appointment with the locksmith.  He was going to have a lock installed on his side of the basement door (aka the man cave) just in case his cousins decided to play the "hit the big kid in the nards" game.

As for the holiday season, we survived at the Target.  We had very good sales and no one got hurt.  People were ready to spend this year, but most of them waited until the very last minute.  Thursday and Friday were both wack and doodle.  By the time I left on Christmas eve, I was exhausted. 

I do, however, have one funny story to come out of the season.

One night, I pretended I was back in college, and ate a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner.  The whole bag.  It is the perfect meal for a 46 year-old intestinal tract.  The next day, I was feeling it in my innards.

I took my 2 minute break at work, and went to my favorite stall in the men's bathroom.  As I was doing some thinking, in came a man and his 3 daughters.  Apparently, he was unaware of the family bathroom we have over by the pharmacy.  It was totally relaxing to have the four of them share this experience with me.  However, the dude sounded like a very good, patient father (plenty of patience required to be the father of 3 girls, I would think).  The girl he was helping was the youngest.  She sounded very cute, even when she asked dad, "why does it smell like popcorn in here?" 

Quietly, I washed up and departed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The only good lawyer is...

December 14, 2010

Beth is on the Griff today.  Well, hopefully not really, cause she is tutoring a boy named Griff this afternoon after school.  To be literal would be gross and creepy.  Griff is like 15 for those of you thinking that he is a high schooler and they are almost 18 and ... stop it.

Beth is also the subject of today's lesson on dream interpretation.  She had a bad dream last night which woke us both up, surprisingly, and led to a nice back rub for her and a weird explanation from CJ this morning.  (I had a typo there that Beth got a bag rub, but I think I may have gotten in trouble for that).  As Beth left for school and drove herself and CJ to the high school, she explained her dream to CJ and his friend.  She told how she and CJ had been driving, but stopped to walk across a bridge.  The bridge was rather high and had no support rail.  There was another man walking along near them who was wearing a suit and tie, for no apparent reason.  The man accidentally fell off the bridge into the water below.  Beth had awoken due to the fear that either she or CJ had been so near to falling off the bridge also.  CJ's reaction was not as panicked about his near death experience, but more matter-of-fact about how the world lost another lawyer.  I guess only lawyers wear suits in CJ's world.  Kinda speaks to how often he sees me in a suit.  Really not necessary to wear one around the Target or the trailer park.

Speaking of Target, we are surviving the holiday season thus far.  We had 5 inches of snow over the weekend which did not help sales by any stretch, but if the weather holds until Christmas, I am confident we will get it all back in the long run.  Mixed in there along the way is CJ's birthday.  He will be 14.  Both yow and zaa.  He is taller than me now and has a deep voice and hairy legs.  However, for the record, I am still receiving my daily hugs and he has not started smoking the ganja yet. 

After Christmas, my sister and her family will be stopping by.  They have never been to our house, so it should be fun.  They live in Atlanta, so I am not sure how much snow the kids have seen.  Hopefully, there is still some on the ground and it is not 10 degrees outside so we can take them sledding or something. 

Finally, since I obviously do not post very often, I will tell you that we are going on vacation at the end of March and looking for tips on great warm places.  We have been to Universal in Orlando twice and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, AND LOVED IT!  That is CJ's suggestion again whereas I have suggested the Caribbean somewhere.  Being that our budget is around $3000, my idea is starting to sound out. 

So where do you guys go that is warm and teen friendly?  And old people friendly for me?  Anywhere that has a theme park or fun stuff and a cafeteria style restaurant that closes at 6:00?  Places with big print on the menu and none of that crazy after hours loud partying?  Ya know, after the hours of like 10:00.  And finally, a place where me and my banana hammock swim gear can fit right in? 

Looks like we will be staying home for vacation again this year.  Rats!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

But it worked for Todd Marinovich's dad

November 4, 2010

Hello to any of you that may actually stop by here to see if there is a post.  I appreciate your faithfulness.

There have been some things going on, so I wanted to get some of them down on computer, if you will.

With cross country season done for CJ, he has really thrown himself into homework and drums.  The same way a feather is thrown into a fan.  Well, not really that badly, but there seem to be some distractions in his brain.  No, not girls so much yet.  He and Taylor....

Wait, we have a story.

Halloween was last weekend.  CJ and his friends had a Latin Club thing to go to during which they collected cans for a food drive, and then it was trick or treat time.  Except that CJ is an eighth grader and 13 and does not want to trick or treat anymore.  That is fine with me.  I see plenty of older "kids" in their twenties out there treating, but if CJ wants to end his begging career early, who am I to judge.  I hope he never ends up homeless (for a lot of reasons), but he is going to lack the skill of standing on a corner and begging for food now that he gave up beggars night.

So the activity became bringing boys back to our basement.  The game system and computer are all that a few eighth grade boys need for entertainment.  At least the ones CJ had here.  Beth and I gave out candy, and along came some more eighth graders.  The group in the basement was four boys strong, and it quickly became 3 more boys, AND TWO GIRLS when I told them CJ was in the basement.  One of the boys could not even actually take candy from me as his one hand held the baseball bat that was part of his bat wielding bunny costume, and the other hand held a young lady's hand.  Letting go for either of them would apparently end the relationship right there and then, so the grip was maintained for the duration of their stay and beyond.

So in keeping up with the headcount in the basement, just like the Nintendo DS game, Brain Age, I had it at seven boys, TWO GIRLS.  Then along came two more GIRLS, and one of them was Taylor.  At least I thought it was through the costume and makeup and the "no talking to the weird dad" thing.  So GIRL #1, (who is an adorable CC team mate of CJ named Lydia), did the talking and asked if they could go to the basement and say hello.  Absolutely.  Headcount now, seven boys and FOUR GIRLS.  If you have not seen our basement, eleven toddlers down there would be crowded.  Eleven teenagers all hopped up on candy with You Tube access?  Smells like trouble. 

However, before I could get nervous and think about getting the hose, two boys and two girls exited the house.  Trick or treat was about over, Beth and I were cold, so we came back in.  There seemed to be a lot of giggling going on in the basement, but that was actually one of the boys.  13 year olds mature at different rates, as do 43 year olds as it turns out.

So rather than make much ado about nothing, eventually all boys AND GIRLS leave our basement, except of course one of the boys.  There is always one kid who you have to offer to drive home before they get the clue to leave on their own.  No, it was not CJ, he is a keeper.

Anyway, we will call that our first boy/GIRL party, and I think all went well.  Pretty harmless, I think.  It may take awhile to get the smell of Axe out of our basement though.

So here are the parenting moments I have taken from this and one other thing that has happened.  First, as it relates to Halloween night, I think it is cool that CJ is willing to stay here and invite kids over.  I interpret it that as I am not nearly as embarrassing to him as he likes to make me think.  I did make an effort to not "say anything funny", though references to hand checks and pot sniffing dogs were pulsating through my brain.  Beth and I would like to keep him close as long as possible.

Second, I would like to give advice to any dad out there that has been in my predicament.  I am a big fan of sports.  Loved playing them, love watching them.  CJ, not so much.  Does not care to watch them.  Isn't obsessed with playing team sports.  His favorite part of the games when he did play involved the treat after the game.

Therefore, I had two choices if I wanted to bond with my son, which I wanted to do very badly.  Actually, I did not want to bond with him badly, I wanted to bond with him goodly.  Carp, you know what I mean.

The first choice was to force/guide/guilt trip/push CJ into sports.  Keep signing him up and coaching him to be better or want it more.  Try to convince him that it was more fun than he thought.  Take him to games and bribe him with concession fare so that we would watch Xavier basketball or Cincinnati Reds baseball and have some awesome father/son bonding. 

The second choice was for me to start taking an interest in his interests.  That is the path I have chosen.  It isn't as hard as you might think, and fortunately, he is not into ballet or opera.  So I have found a PS3 game that I could play without becoming so frustrated that I threw the controller against the wall.  Scaring your kid, not the same as bonding.  Also, I go to his music ensemble practices to watch him play percussion and then ask questions about music and his part in it so that I can learn and be a part of it.  Did you know that playing the triangle is much trickier than it looks?  No, really.

And finally, I have started reading some of the books that CJ likes.  I wanted him to read The Hardy Boys series when he was younger because I grew up on them, but he wasn't into Frank and Joe and all their mystery solving.  However, he is into The Hunger Games Trilogy and now The Last Apprentice Series.  I told you about The Hunger Games already, but I just finished reading The Last Apprentice, Revenge of the Witch, and now when he does his book project this weekend, we can share out thoughts from the book together.  It really works.

So if any of you are dads, or play one on TV, or know one in real life that is trying to bond with a youngster, let him in on what I have discovered.  For all I know, it may even work for mothers and daughters.  I am not sure because I thought all girls were crazy about cooking and dressing up and have been for generations.  Is it a good thing I do not have a daughter?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Even Meatloaf can't write a song about this.

October 19, 2010

I went a little Deepy McDeepster the other day on ya.  I can't be Hi.Larry.Us all the time don't ya know.  Or any of the time, some of you are saying.

Does anyone remember the Meatloaf song Two Out of Three Ain't Bad?  Not to be confused with On Top of Spaghetti, all covered with cheese...

Well, I have realized I am oh-for-three.  Here is what I am talking about.

I was revisiting why I started this blog back in July of 2009, and I came up with three reasons.  One was to become famous as bloggers have a tendency to be.  Actually, I do not know how many famous bloggers there are, but I do know that some have gazillions of followers and I wanted to be one of those special contributors to society as we know it.  As it turns out, I am not funny enough, thought-provoking enough, dedicated enough, or wild and crazy enough to have good blog fodder every day.  I have some faithful readers (thank you Katie and Beth), but that falls a little short of the gazillion mark.

Wow, a little self-important you say?  Yeah, it sounds like that, but that is really not the main reason I started the blog, it was just a hopeful by-product so I could quit my job and make a living sitting on my arse.

The two more important reasons I started this here blog have to do with my family.  For some reason, I have had the Michael Keaton movie, My Life, stuck in my head since I saw it 100 years ago.  He finds out he is dying around the same time he finds out he is going to have a child.  Therefore, he videotapes segments of life-teaching moments that his child can watch in the future to know about his dad.  It was a real up-lifting movie.  Can someone hand me a hanky just thinking about it.  However, I always thought I was Michael Keaton, or at least his character in that movie, so I decided that some day I was going to die before CJ was old enough to hear all my words of wisdom.  As it turns out, I mistook which Michael Keaton movie I really wanted to emulate.  It should have been Mr Mom.  Beth did not really help me out with that one either as she has not gone out and gotten that corporate job with the opportunity to sleep with her smarmy boss.  Thanks sweetie, no really, thanks.

So I had a brush with my mortality earlier this year.  It was not a big broom-sized brush with death, it was more like one of those little paint-by-numbers paint brushes brush with death.  I had this brain/ear thing for which I was tested for MS only to find out there is nothing actually in my head.  Apparently, the pain in my ear when I am sleeping is actually caused by the hamster that spins the wheel in  my brain taking the night off to sleep, and he falls out of bed sometimes with gravity smashing him into my inner ear.  What?  That is what it said on the diagnostic printout.  They would not charge me all that money and lie to me. 

So, I am not dying.  Well, I am, but really slowly.  My death certificate does not have an expiration date on it.

So the last reason I started this blog was to communicate with my family.  A friend of mine from college writes a letter at Christmas time every year that he sends out to his family and friends telling what has happened with his family.  It is usually quite funny, especially the year he tried to convince everyone that they had another baby and named it LeBron.  He grew up in Cleveland, and LeBron James used to play basketball in Cleveland.  I thought I better explain that for people that live in Portland where they do not know of such things.

It was not a stretch, therefore, to think that I could have a blog, and my brother and sister could check in on my family whenever they wanted.  They could also then give me less grief about how little I phone them.  However, their lives are rather hectic, and they have never gotten in the habit of checking in on my blog.  Plus, they grew up with me, so they stopped finding me funny a long time ago.

So, I am finding less and less incentive to keep blogging, at least regularly.  If you can call two or three times a week regular.  I know people trying to poop certainly would not call that regular.  So I will probably become even more constipated, or less regular.  Depends on how you want to look at it.  I will be posting when something comes up that I want to chronicle for CJ to refer back to someday, but how often Beth gets pulled over by a police officer is about as unforeseen as how often CJ misspells a word like "Sindy". 

Perhaps I will be here more often than I think.

Finally, in other news, congrats to CJ for finishing his cross country season with a personal best time of 14:40 for two miles.  He did awesome and even recovered from tripping over another runner at the beginning.  CJ, if you read this, I am very proud of you and look forward to seeing you grow up.  Please try to be funny every once in a while so I can find something to post about.  Or you can do something awesome like joining the Junior Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble and nailing that triangle solo.  (He is a percussionist, and they bang things to make sound-again for Portland where they are still trying to figure out if sounds are made from trees falling in the forest.)

Thank you all for reading this rather long post, but they may be longer now in correlation with being less frequent.  That actually does not make sense, but I cannot think of another appropriate poop reference. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

I wonder what district we are in?

October 15, 2010

As you may know, I am always efforting to find things for me and CJ to talk about.  He is not into watching sports, so there goes a lot of potential material.  We both play Call of Duty, Modern Warfare II on PS3, and that is good for some conversation.  We talk about school and girls as much as a teenager can tolerate with his dad, so that takes up about 10 minutes per week.  We talk about how awesome Beth/mom is, but after a lot of "isn't mom the best back scratcher ever", or "how about that delicious dinner mom made last night?", or "I want to find a girl just like mom someday", or "aren't I lucky to have picked out the perfect mom for you?", or "when will mom be home, I miss her so much!"...we need to move on to other topics.

Therefore, I decided to read The Hunger Games.  A lady at Barnes and Noble recommended it for teens, and CJ has ready the whole trilogy.  He really liked the first two and wrote a paper about the third one and how a better ending would be.............  I don't know since he did not want to spoil it for me.  So I read The Hunger Games a couple weeks ago, and read the sequel, Catching Fire, this week.  Both of them end in cliff hangers that make you want to read the next.  Thus, I am waiting to acquire the third, Mockingjay, as soon as CJ retrieves it from whomever he lent it to.

So, here is why I bring this up.  It is a little surprising to me that this series is meant for teens.  The style in which it is written is obviously at a level to aid the comprehension skills of this age level, but the content is very challenging.  Partly, the challenge comes form all the killing that takes place.  Additionally, the reasons behind the killings are very thought provoking. The premise is that our country has been divided up into districts after a rebellion, and the Capitol keeps everyone down by having peacekeepers in place and rules that squelch any potential rebellion.  There is no travel between districts and food is scarce.  Finally, every year, each district draws the names of two teens from their district to represent them in The Hunger Games.  These participants kill each other off in an arena until one victor remains.  Everyone is mandated to watch and the theory is that each district will understand that the Capitol is in charge and that the games are punishment for past rebellion attempts.  It is a very elaborate affair that is treated like the Olympics or something similar, which is quite a mockery of the real fact that they are killing off children.

I am way oversimplifying the story as you should read it yourselves, but I hope you are getting my point that it is a rather deep premise.  I wish I had read the books at the same time as CJ so that we could discuss it as he went along.  Now I have to finish the whole trilogy before we can discuss some things about it.  It is also not a book that the whole class read together, so CJ was on his own to come up with content interpretations.  I am really curious how he went about understanding the political undertones of the story.

However, yesterday, I started to really feel the need to share part of what I was getting from the book.  I know very few people read my blog, and even fewer read my blog and have read The Hunger Games.  Therefore, take what you will from this thought. 

Do many people realize that every thing we do is ultimately a learning experience?  There is a reason that ancient civilizations used to hold their elders in such high esteem.  They have experienced more of life and can mentor the younger people.  I think about my relationship with my coworkers and how much I have learned from them, but one of them told me Friday night that she appreciated the fact that she learned from me what work ethic was.  It came as a shock to me.  I thought I was teaching these newbies about processes and best practices, and concrete things.  It did not dawn on me that leading by example is still something that works for people.  I mean, sure, we have had discussions about leadership style and how your mood or delivery affects it.  But that seemed more concrete to me and that I was just speeding along their development.  But work ethic?  I always thought you had it or you didn't.  But I wasn't born with it.  My mom bugged me all the time as a youth about how lazy I was.  As I grew older, I realized that all her nagging had turned me into a responsible adult.  It would have been nice if I had been born with it so that I didn't have to listen to all the nagging.  Wouldn't my mother be proud today to hear someone tell me that she learned about work ethic from me.  If she weren't dead already, she may have had a heart attack.

Therefore, as you go through your day, your week, and your life, please try to remember that each thing you encounter is a potential learning experience.  Every learning experience is then something you are welcome to share with others.  It is teamwork, people.  Ultimately, we are all on the same team.  I will throw a little religion at you-the team we are on is God's team.  He gave you a special skill set, just like Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, or Prim?  Do you realize the impact you can have on others?  Think about it, work with it, pass it on.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I have a brother?

October 11, 2010

Does anybody remember this commercial?  I lived in Louisville at the time and used to see it all the time.

Speaking of Louisville, I spoke with my brother yesterday.  I know.  Emails go unanswered, blogs get ignored, and phone calls stay unreturned.  Well, I actually never call my brother, I do not do good phone, but the other two things are fairly accurate.  So why did I get a call from my brother?  Well, he is selling something of course.  His daughter is selling cookies for a fund raiser and wanted her favorite uncle to have a chance to get in on the ground floor.  Hopefully, that is not where the cookies are right now.  Anyway, like a good neighbor, and a great uncle, I have signed up for three tubs of cookies.  Won't my peers at The Target be so excited to be getting cookies for Christmas?  I think so too!

So they are not baked cookies, that would not contribute to the warmth of me (or hopefully Beth) baking cookies to give out for Christmas.  They are frozen, pre-proportioned, and fresh cookies.

As it turns out, my brother has the same sense of humor as myself.  It is one of the few traits that let us know he and I are not adopted.  He is blond-haired, pale-skinned, blue-eyed, and nice to people.  I am brown-haired, dark-skinned (for a white dude), brown-eyed, and not nearly as nice as he.  However, we have the same sense of humor, and the same facial structure.  We are also about the same height.  So there you go, practically identical.

So back to the sense of humor thing.

As we discussed these cookies, I told him I liked the idea that the cookies were the same as how I liked my women-meaning fresh.  He thought I meant that I liked my women frozen and pre-proportioned in little baggies.  Somebody is watching too many episodes of Bones.

So we chatted for a bit and they are doing fine.  He should get the cookies in a couple weeks and then we have to arrange delivery/pick up.  For all his local suckers, I mean customers, his son is delivering the cookies on his bicycle.  I have asked for the same service, but 100 miles is outside of his delivery window.  Fortunately, my brother has a good-sized freezer in his basement to store my cookies until I see them next.  Hopefully, the cookies do not smell like rotted flesh after being stored in the freezer with the limbs of missing women.

As for my family, they are off to school and work today whilst I lounge around in my jammies and enjoy a week away from The Target.  Got to get the juices rejuvenated for the impending holiday season.

Today's activitiy beyond the lounging will include gathering up clothes that do not meet the one year rule qualification.  If I have not worn them in a year, they get donated.  There are some clothes upstairs that I do not think meet the five year qualification, so Goodwill will be seeing some clothes that are currently out-of-style.  Anyone need some jean shorts or Hammer pants?  Speak now or find them at Goodwill next week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Somebody give me a @#$% cup of coffee!

September 28, 2010

Monday morning was trying to tell me something.  I had just worked all weekend, so it isn't the typical Monday morning other people face.  Mondays are supposed to be good for me since I am off on Tuesdays.  However, yesterday started with Beth offering me coffee in the morning.  She had not made any because she isn't drinking caffeine right now (health nut), so I turned her down.  Seemed kinda cruel to drink coffee in front of someone  who loves coffee but has sworn off of it.  I did not think it would matter since I normally stop at BP on my way to work for coffee anyway. 

I love me a BP 20 oz mostly cappuccino topped off with french roast coffee.  MMMMM!  And for a mere $1.09-buy 3, your 4th one is free.  Monday was going to be my free one.  Perfection! 

I arrived at BP only to find that they had waxed half of the floors in the store thus roping off the side of the store containing my precious coffee.  I looked at the wet floor, looked over at the coffee, and tried to decide if I could successfully scale the tops of the fixtures to reach the coffee oasis.  And then escape without getting arrested.  Hey, no big deal I decided, there is another BP on the way to work.  I do not usually frequent this one since they do not give me a 4th coffee for free.  Nonetheless, today they would get my money.  All $1.09 of it.  Yes, I am a tight wad.

I arrived at BP #2 and entered the store.  No caution tape equals good sign.  Actually, in this particular neighbor HOOD, no caution tape is a VERY good sign.  I approached my beloved cappuccino machine to find two young ladies pondering their cup filling decision.  Empty cup in hands, they seemed ready to dispense.  5 minutes later we have: empty cups still in hand, comments about making this poor man wait for his coffee, and to hot chocolate or not to hot chocolate musings going at a snail pace.  I glance at the machine only to find that they do not even have the flavor of cappuccino I prefer anyway, so I leave the store.  My Target does not have a Starbucks (which is the way I like it), but they do possess my friend, frenchie vanilla cappuccino machine.  I knew I would have to wait until after 8:00, but what are the chances someone will poke this coffee-less dog before 8:00. 

"Take me on a store tour," says my boss.  Excellent.  So we tour, all goes well even though I can feel the hamster that makes my brain wheel go round struggling to stay awake.

Finally, I arrive at Target Cafe, money in hand, ready to order my large coffee.  Order complete, cup in hand, we are almost home.  I press the button on the cappuccino machine, and out pours clear, hot water.  I pour out the hot water as this does happen sometimes if you're the first one there.  I press the button again. more hot water.  Grrr!  My mind flashes to a scene with caution tape and me in cuffs being led away from The Target, while in the background flames shoot out of the cappuccino machine. 

I am not in jail today.  I poured myself some regular coffee with some French vanilla creamer, and went to read my email.  I let the young lady at Target Cafe know that the machine needed tending to, and was able to go back later to refill my cup with the nectar that is my cappuccino.

I know that you may be thinking, "Is it possible that God wants you to stop drinking coffee?"  You and me, no longer friends.  God loves me and would never take this pleasure away from me.  I spit on your coffee free world.  Of course, my spit is a nice warm brown color as I have had two cups of coffee this morning already.  Hyped up a little, yeah maybe, why do you ask?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Are you ready for some football?

September 18, 2010

Last night was the first home game for the local high school.  Beth and I went together.  Because she loves to go to football games?  No.  Because CJ had gone up there to meet his buddies and hang out?  Yes.  Because CJ's "girl of interest" was also going to be there?  Heck yeah.

So Beth and I went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner without CJ because we are mean like that, loaded with money, and party every Friday night.  No, no, and no again.  CJ was meeting his buddies at Penn Station for food, Beth and I split a burger and bought no cheesecake, we had a gift card, and going out to eat sounded way better than cooking.  Not even any alcohol for either of us.  We are animals that party all right.

So we then walked over to the high school and watched the game.  At half time, we left as we both had very tiring weeks and we could hear the couches calling us all the way from home.  On the way out, we saw CJ and his group of friends...and Taylor.  I tried not to stare, or investigate, or walk over and see what was going on.  It was like a bug being attracted to a blue light and knowing it was a bad idea.  CJ saw us as we neared and gave us one of those waves.  You know, the kind that is impulsive because he likes us and wants to acknowledge our presence, but also wants to warn us off before we hit the blue light.  It worked.  We turned left and headed home.  It looked like they were having fun and staying out of trouble, so we felt good about the situation.  CJ made it home safe and sound an hour later. 

I think it helped that I was able to have a teaching moment with CJ on Wednesday night due to the misdoings of the trainee I had this week.  He turned in a time card for time he did not actually work, forgetting that Target has cameras and he was not going to get away with it.  I was able to use this as an example for CJ that getting caught in a lie only serves to take a bad situation and make it horribly irreparable.  Planting those seeds in his little sponge brain is good.  He knows that if he spray paints the walls of the high school and runs through the halls singing "I want to be an Airborne Ranger, I want to live a life of danger", that chances are, word will get back to us.  And he may have to become and air born ranger...when my foot meets his back side.

So today, CJ has a cross country meet in an hour.  I have told him that he will get a quarter for every runner he finishes in front of.  I have always been a fan of to reach a goal.  I think that when you are running two miles, it is way too easy to finish in 34th place when finishing in 29th place would take a lot of extra effort and still get you no accolades.  In this case, it would increase his earnings by $1.25.  He has gone up to the school to take the bus already, so I can go get some money out of his wallet to pay him his incentive.

 Is that wrong?  Are there cameras up there?  Okay, I will do it right.  Big brother is watching.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Medicine cabinet for nosy Marvin

September 14, 2010

You can look through our drawers because our cabinet is just a mirror and does not open.  See below. 

It's a bird, it's a plane..grab me the fly swatter.

September 14, 2010

I will start with a health update.  Apparently, there is a bug coming over here from India that we cannot combat.  Sounds like something from a movie, but it was right there in my free Tuesday paper. 

First about the paper.  I think Beth is wondering if I am having relations with our paper delivery person since every once in a while we receive a paper on Tuesday mornings.  I am off every Tuesday, so it is nice to have a paper.  We only subscribe to the Sunday edition, and we do receive papers on the holidays as our local Cincinnati Enquirer loves us, but we are not supposed to get a Tuesday paper.  Or any other day paper.  Yet, there I was this morning reading about the Red's win last night in black and white instead of the multi-colored Internet version.  Why is this better?  Well, I prefer to not take the computer with me into the....ya know...terlit.  I can never figure out where to put the mouse.

I will use this forum to categorically deny any improper relationship with the paper carrier.  Beth, I have not had relations with that man.  And, eeeeeeew.

Second, the India bug.  It is a bug that wears a little costume with a "B" emblazoned on the front, because they are calling it a superbug.  Able to leap over any antibiotic with a single bound.  Able to travel the globe through the air.  It is a bacteria, so even though the the persons affected with it here in North America recently received medical treatment in India, it can be transmitted from person to person through contact.  So go wash your hands right now.

You back?  Hand check.  Okay.

Maybe I should not be glad about this free paper thing.  TMI.

So I assume you really wanted to know about my health.  My sibs are obviously concerned since they have diligently read my blog to ensure I am well.  Thank you for your concern.

I went to the neurologist last week and he gave me a series of tests and declared me a complete hypochondriac.  Medically speaking.  He could find nothing wrong.  Nothing in my brain anyway.  So I am good.  Even that Nystagma thing he could not find with my eye-twitchy self.  Awesome.  I am relieved since the other symptoms I had can be traced to stress.  The eye-spasmy thing was not stress related.  So all I have to do is get rid of my stress and I can go back to sleeping without ear issues.

Actually, I have been sleeping much better.  My ear pressure has decreased, but not because I have less stress-believe you me!  Work is a stress sandwich.  "Would you like extra trainees with your sandwich?  How about some back to school transition into Halloween with sprinklings of big wig's visits on top?  Maybe some inventory next month to take home in a doggy bag?"  Yum!

However, I have been able to sleep better and I think it relates to a couple things.  Less caffeine is one.  Less Call of Duty is another.  More Beth and CJ is the third.  All of these things make me grind my teeth less which in turn makes the ear pressure I was feeling lessen.  It's a theory anyway, and I am going to keep trying it.  Plus, it is probably better if my teeth do not become little nubs in my mouth.

So I am going to enjoy my day off and work on my stress-relieving crossword puzzle.  If I need a 7 letter word for "cause of hysteria", I now know to plug in "superbug".  I can make it fit.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shouldn't you be working on something?

September 4, 2010

Happy Labor Day weekend.

I just made fun of Beth for misspelling something on June's blog (ptichfork, which people used a long time ago to kill pterodactyls), so the spell checker function on this blog is going to get a workout today.  Karma can be a real bugger.  I will try to correct them all, but I have already misspelled September and "misspelled".    Karma think she so funny.

Beth is not feeling well today.  The mold count around here as spiked and it is kicking her butt.  By "around here", I do not mean that we have allowed the leftovers in the fridge to get so out-of-control that mold is taking over our house.  It is this Ohio Valley weather that drives the nasal area insane. 

Beth works as an aide at the local high school, and as the day went on yesterday, she became a runny nose mess.  You may think that is funny, but it is snot.  All her coworkers noticed that she was not feeling well, but none of them mentioned going home.  So she stuck it out.  One of the kids she helps asked if she was sick since her nose was running so much, and Beth explained that she was not sick, but her brain was melting and coming out her nose.  I did not know that Beth was allowed to listen to Marilyn Manson music on her Ipod while at work.  So we are taking it easy today as Beth slowly turns from a solid into a liquid.

Speaking of Ipods, did you know the new Ipod Touch is 64g?  How many songs does a person need to download?  64g can hold around 14,000 songs.  It would be less if you downloaded movies and such, but that is still a whole bunch.  I could probably come up with a couple hundred songs I like, but never 14,000.

Beth decided she needed to drag herself out of the house today, so we went on a trip to the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Sounds rather like we are quite into smarts to take our child on an educational trip on the weekend, doesn't it?  As it turns out, I had some gift certificates for the Museum Center that we wanted to spend.  The Children's Museum is somewhere we have taken CJ several times, but not so much since he turned 10.  The exhibits are not really for older kids.  However, we read the fine print on the gift certificates and found out they can be used for the food area and gift shops.  Who doesn't love free useless crap-in food form or trinket form.  Therefore, we went down there and had Starbucks, chicken tenders, and barbecue.  Oh, and ice cream.  We also loved the fact that they gave you your change from the gift certificate in cash dollars.  CJ was extremely influenced by this and wanted to take the $10 gift certificate to the window and see what was the cheapest thing on the menu.  "I would like a pack of ketchup.  No, I insist on paying you 10 cents for it."  We have trained him well.

Today begins a 4 day weekend for me.  It is much needed.  I know the holiday is called Labor Day, but I do not want to be working on Monday.  I really can't remember the last time I was off on Labor Day.  Perhaps I will run the vacuum around here to make up for not actually being at work.  Besides, I do need to reduce the mold count so Beth will feel better.  She is currently napping, so if you could all be a little more quiet, I would appreciate it.  Thanks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Looking through Cindy's drawers did not help at all.

September 2, 2010

Here we are on day two of my life changing ways.  Yesterday, which was day one if you are not good at math, I did okay with the diet part.  I did not eat any chips or popcorn-type substances, and I did not add any salt to my food.  I never really do add salt, but I do love me some chips.  They are dead to me now.  Though I do miss them so.  Why did they leave me so soon?  Okay, where was I?  Oh yeah, salty.  So far so good.  Beth has vowed she is going to try to cook more at home and started last night with a delightful chicken/mushroom/pasta dish.  It was going to be a Marsala kind of chicken thing, but bottles of Marsala wine sell in the range of $19-$29, and what if you mess up?  Also, what if you accidentally drink all the wine before you start the chicken?  We are not wine drinkers, but Beth might turn to a life of booze now that she knows I won't be dying off sooner than later.

As for caffeine, we have been together a long time, so parting will take some doing.  My normal day caffeine intake was 20oz coffee in the morning, 12 oz Diet Code Red late morning, and possibly a Lipton Green Tea (also diet) in the afternoon.  The Lipton has about 1/3 of the caffeine of the Code Red, so I thought I would begin with the morning coffee and the afternoon tea.  Yesterday I was on pace until the afternoon blew up around 3:00.  Some Target visitors came in unexpectedly, which threw off my day's plan and made me run to a second Lipton after the visit.  Who's weak, yeah it's me.  I may have turned out okay if my office partner had kept more change in her desk.  I was going to purchase a 20oz decaffeinated beverage from the pop machine-cost $1.25-but I only had one dollar and one nickel.  She had two nickels in her drawer, and we had together a bunch of pennies.  The machines do not take pennies.  So here were my choices:
  1. turn in the pennies for silver-too much trouble
  2. go to the sales floor and purchase an 8-pack of Gatorade-too much trouble
  3. shake the machine until a drink fell out-dangerous
  4. drink tap water-dangerous
  5. grab another Lipton from the already purchased package in my office
Ding ding ding ding!

Daddy's little helper got me through the rest of the day which concluded with me leaving work 90 minutes late. 

Whenever visitors come in, the last thing they always ask is if they can do anything to help us.  How long do you think I would be employed if I told them to stop visiting? 

Since none of my life changing ways include becoming unemployed, I better not go with this option.

I guess it is obvious that the less stress life-changer did not go well yesterday.  Until I got home that is.  CJ and Beth were their normal fun-loving selves, and good mood and serenity were rather quickly restored.  CJ was aware of Katie's comment about beating your children as a stress reliever, so he did keep hugging me to make sure we were cool.  We will always be cool.

I have also decided to play little to none PS3 to see if that helps with my symptoms.  I catch myself gritting my teeth and saying bad things to the game sometimes, so perhaps it is not the best thing to do for relieving stress.  That has left me with extra time this morning until I have to be at work around 3:00.  I keep thinking about eating, so I will have to check with the doctor to see if getting fat is a good part of my new routine.  I am distracting myself with crossword puzzles and the Internet.  I know puzzles containing cross words do not not sound relaxing, but they really can be.  However, there are some puzzles that make me feel rather stupid. 

Currently, I am trying to figure out, without using the Internet, an 8 letter phrase for confident words.  It starts with "I".  I am smart?  I can do it?  I run fast?  I so funny? 


Uh, anyone for a pedicure?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Who me worry?

September 1, 2010

I am writing this while I am still waiting for the doctor to finish whatever hole he is on and then call me.  I will schedule it to post on Wednesday, but something I found funny just happened and I will never remember it a whole day from now. 

Beth came home for lunch and left her phone here.  It just rang (buzzed) and I got excited.  It must be the doctor calling her phone since he did not get my message this morning to call our home number instead of Beth's cell.  I answered to hear the dude on the other end ask, "Mike?"  I hesitated.  As if there were any other explanation than that this was a wrong number.  Sure, I had answered Beth's phone, but she does not go by or look like a "Mike".  I am not "Mike".  I am not like Mike.  I am not currently miked.  He did not mean to say Steve but pronounced it "Mike". 

I have a brother Mike, so perhaps dude was calling Beth in a city 100 miles away to find my brother? 

Okay, you're with stupid.  Dude on the phone figured out he had the wrong number before I could say anything.  I guess "Mike's" normal response when he answers the phone is not dead silence.

I have heard from the doctor and he has said that there is nothing to worry about so far.  I do not have any brain lesions, nor does he think I have Multiple Sclerosis.  My blood work is normal, and there are a couple of white spots on my MRI that he will have a neurologist look at.  The radiologist thinks there are nothing, so we are just going for a second opinion.  Sure, there has been no explanation for what my ears feel like, but I am going to try a couple things.  One is less salt.  Okay, I can do that.  Another is less caffeine.  Not really looking forward to that, nor are my employees.  Finally, less stress.  I am going to have to find a good stress release, but the search starts tomorrow. 

What are some good stress relievers that you know of?  Can you think of any for me?   Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What makes you feel pretty?

August 31, 2010

I am waiting for test results today.  Apparently, doctors do not have to be at work until noon.  Then comes lunch maybe, and then some work before tee time.  Well, I guess they do work harder than that, but when you are waiting for test results that could possibly change your life, you really want them to get up a little earlier in the day.

So I just worked the weekend, which wasn't bad, but I was just trying to get through it to get to test result day.  When I am trying to make myself feel better at work, I wear gym shoes sometimes.  I did so this past weekend.  My gym shoes are too cool since Beth found them for me on line (maybe from JC Penny?)  and they are Adidas skater shoes.  I am not a skater boy, see you later boy, but I really like the padded tongue.  Insert your own gutter joke here.  Besides, they look really cool.

People noticed them and were way jealous of me.  What they did not know, is that these shoes are not as comfortable as my Rockport casual shoes (not complete with Velcro), but I wore them both days anyway.  When one of my team leads saw me wearing them, he commented about how comfortable they looked.  I explained that they really aren't so comfortable, but they make me feel good.  He said he knew what I meant because he has a pair of pink pumps he likes to wear around the house.  They squish his toes, but they make him feel pretty.  Classic.

So what makes you feel pretty?  Is it socks that look like your cat?  (Katie)  Is it the finest necklace in all the land?  (Beth)  Is it a fur stole made from monkey butt fur?  (Michael) -I am trying to figure out if my brother has started reading my blog.  If this does not bring him out of the closet, uh, woodwork, nothing will.  See, he plays for my team, not the pink pumps team and ...or forget it, he does not read this.

If what makes you feel pretty is sexy lingerie, and you are not a dude, pictures are mandatory.  I will send you my private email address, don't tell Beth. 

I am trying to get Beth to start commenting on my blog also.  She is very funny even though she does not think so.  She just has a tendency to drive herself crazy making her comment perfect.  As you can tell, that is not one of my criteria when creating my blog post.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Black Hole

August 24, 2010

I am going to the doctor today to have my head examined.  Every once in a while, CJ will put his palm against my head and tell me he is using his brain sucker.  He will then make his hand play dead as apparently it starved to death.  No big brain on Steve.

The doctor will not be looking for signs of intelligent life today, he is an ENT and will hopefully find a reason for my earaches and dizziness.  I believe I have a fluid build up within my sinuses that I cannot seem to be able to relieve with medication.  It has caused me 3 or 4 infections in the past 18 months.  I can remember two ear infections and a sinus infection.  While I realize I spend plenty of time around the general public and their germs, I do not believe I should be getting infections this easily.  I am also tired of the side affects such as dizziness and ear pain, especially while I am trying to sleep.  So we will see what he finds out.

I am also hoping he can find a reason for other troubling things in my life.  I went downstairs today to take a shower and then found myself walking back upstairs still dirty.  Fortunately, I was dressed, but how much short term memory does it take to walk down 14 stairs and remember to get into the shower?  Troubling.

I also told Beth that I was hoping to blame some other things on this fluid build up, and curing this ill will solve other things.  Like repeating myself apparently.  I am hoping my eyesight will return to 20/20 when the fluid is gone.  Possible?  Probably not.  It will not stop me from  making a list of things that will hopefully be gone after today:
  • poor typing skills (I just hit spell check and the page lit up like fireflies)
  • acne (you can't have gray hair, black socks with sandals, and acne at the same time)
  • the overuse of parentheses ((((()))))
  • a quick temper
  • bad ankles and knees (a lifetime of walking on concrete floors)
  • the inability to pick out a wall color for the kitchen (if I obtain this gene, do I also have to give up my affection for boobs?)
  • my belief that it is okay to use the word boobs in my blog (I am not really sad about that)
  • the St Louis Cardinals (I know they are going to beat out my Reds, I just feel it)
  • the Pittsburgh Steelers (that smug Hines Ward just bugs me)
  • my hatred of cold weather (it is coming soon and I am not ready)
  • the dark circles under my eyes or all the mirrors in the house
  • facial hair growth (I hate shaving but would look even more stupid with a beard)
I will actually post this after the doctor visit since I will not have time tomorrow.  That way I can let you know what issues have been resolved.  Stay tuned.

All right, I am back.  We will go with the no news is good news theory for now.  The doctor conducted a serious of physical tests which he concluded were inconclusive.  The pressure reading in my ears is normal, but the vertigo and pressure I am feeling are not.  I also have some nystooptia (don't look that up, it is not correct) thing with my eyes during which they spasm when I look all the way to the left or right.  This is apparently not normal.

So the next steps include some exercises to do at home, a diet change,, and then an MRI.  I cannot have the MRI until next week, so I will be doing some eye exercises, some head exercises (my cranium is too fat maybe?), some sitting, some standing, and some moving about.  I will then stick my whole self in and shake it all about.

Actually, I will do things like changing from sitting to standing and back again with my eyes open, then with my eyes closed.  I will need to shrug my shoulders 20 times.  I will neeed to walk back and forth across the room 20 times with eyes open, and then with eyes closed.  I will then need to ice any body parts injured while doing it with eyes closed.  Finally, I will need to clench and unclench my buns several times.  No, not really.

The diet change is no added salt.   Does this mean I cannot add salt to the peanuts I have been shoving in my pie hole today?  Probably.  That would be wrong.

I will let you know more when I know more, but it will be awhile.  You know how things go with tests and doctors and results.

The main relief I am feeling is that it can't be a brain tumor.  I saw the movie Phenomenon (do do dah do do) with John Travolta in which he had a brain tumor.  He got really genuis-like smart.  You can tell very easily that I am not genuis smart.  Uh, doy!

For instance, one of the instructions is to prop up pillows so that I sleep at a 45 degree angle.  Can I borrow a proctractor?  How is this supposed to happen.  I may lay awake all night trying to do the math.  Woe is me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maybe I am tore up from the floor up

August 22, 2010

I was watching the end of the movie Juno yesterday when CJ wandered into the room.  I have seen the whole movie before and really enjoyed it, but yesterday I tuned in near the end.  Fortunately the part I did see included my favorite scene. 

There is a part where June is troubled by the relationships she sees breaking up around her.  She goes into the kitchen where her dad is repairing some appliance on the kitchen table, and he asks her what is troubling her.  She explains that she wonders if any relationship ever actually works out.  Her dad asks if she is having boy troubles and includes that he thinks dating a boy in her present condition seems a little wrong.  (She is pregnant, if you have not seen the movie.)  He defines it as skanky, skeevy, and tore up from the floor up.  I love that!   He goes on to give June the perfect fatherly advice about relationships which answers all of her life's questions.

That is the kind of dad I want to be.  One who has all the answers to life's questions, but can still be funny in the process.  It is a tough balancing act that plays out way better in the movies.

As we wrapped up the movie, CJ asked me how June got into her condition.  Hmmm.  I wondered if my 13 year old meant, "How did she get pregnant?", and in what way did he mean it?  Did he need the meat and potatoes of the birds and the bees?  Did he wonder how someone so young was able to get pregnant?  Did he wonder why she was pregnant but giving up her child?

I found out later that he was asking what happened to the father, but that did not calm my brain down.  I know we have to start talking about this stuff more, but he only wants snippets of it.  I have not figured out if he is just uncomfortable with the whole topic, uncomfortable discussing it with dad, or fatigued at my use of sarcasm in every discussion.

What I am learning is that there are times when being funny works, and times when not so much.  When he had a bad day of school on Friday, it was cool to joke about cow farms, finding ponies, and having a couple beers to take the edge off.  But when discussing anything to do with girls or sex, humor is not working.  As we headed off to the local street party dance last night, I asked him if he had his wallet, his phone, and his condoms in case he got lucky.  He gave me that look and asked mom if I had a mute button.  What?  That is funny stuff right there.  Okay, maybe only to me.

So, I will keep learning and maybe figure it out as I go.  Or perhaps it will be like trying to figure out women, it will remain one of life's mysteries.

To close with something else I am finding hilarious, but CJ does not, here are a couple of photos of a bad hair day.  That is funny stuff right there.  The look in photo number two is him asking mom (with his eyes), "What is so funny?"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Oh! Luke and Laura were today's Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher!" Who?

August 21, 2010

Yesterday I had to go to a training session for The Target.  Target is very good about HR friendly stuff when it comes to personal development.  We do leadership statuses during which we discuss our strengths and developmental opportunities.  I am rather old school as I prefer to be out on the sales floor filling and helping guests and making sure things look good, but I understand the need to get personally developed.  Therefore, even though yesterday was the end of a week that was very busy, and I would have been better served to be in my store helping people, I was scheduled for a training class.

So off I went to learn about generational differences and then learn how to organize my time and resources.  I figure it was a big step in the right direction for me that I knew when and where the meeting was.  In the past someone would have called me and asked where I was.  The meeting is about to start, where are you?  So compared to that, I am way more organized.  Who needs a meeting?

However, when I arrived in the meeting room, I understood why I was there.  The first two hour training session was called Understanding Generational Differences.  I looked around the room at all the 20-somethings and realized I was the elder.  I would be the representative of someone who had heard of radio.

So we were asked to clarify what era we belonged to.  There were the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers, and the Millennials.    I played along and classified myself as a Baby Boomer even though the cut-off date was 1964 and I was born in 1965.  There were a couple of Gen Xers in the room and the rest of the group were Millennials.  I decided to go older because we had started the exercise with a checklist of names or events and had to group them by era.  I could overhear all the questions being raised.  Such as:

Who is Benny Goodman?
Who is Harry Belafonte?
What is the big deal about a Luke and Laura?
MTV used to play videos?
Is that related to Friday Night Videos?
Why would someone pay $1000 for a VCR?  Was it a collector's item?

Please shoot me.  I would say to Dr. Kevorkian me, but no one would know what I meant by that either. 

Some of the group was trying to say they weren't really that young, they were born all the way back in 1987.  1987?!!!?  I was graduating college in 1987!  I have clothes older than you!

So here is what the majority of the class learned about having to communicate with my era:
  • Speak loudly so they can hear you
  • Do not ask if they were in a flood, they wear their pants that high on purpose
  • Keep the aisles clear so they can get their walker through more easily
  • Don't stare at that hair growing out of the place hair does not normally grow
  • Know where the Depends aisle is in your store
  • If they ask where light bulbs are, don't ask if they helped invent them
  • Records were like big Cd's
  • When explaining the cameras, start with why there is no slot big enough for the picture to come out of
  • Don't call the ladies "ma'am", I'm just warning you
  • If you are working the drive thru, that motion they are making is rolling the window down
  • You too will make a noise someday when you get off the couch
What am I forgetting?  Please help the young whipper snappers who may read this blog communicate with us old folk.  And just in case, here are Luke and Laura to explain the whole title dealio:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Have you seen the muffin man?

August 17, 2010

Today is one of the most saddest days of the year for Beth and CJ.  Day one back at school.  Alarms have gone off, showers have been taken, doughnuts are being eaten, and they are getting excited.  Well, not too excited.  They are taking it much better than I would if I just had the entire summer off.  I am quite sure I would have developed pink eye, had some bad pizza last night, or run off with the gypsies.  Not these two, they are downright giddy to go back and see their friends and learn about Algebra.  They are looking for the pony.


Haven't told you that story yet.

I had a talk with my team last week about choosing the correct attitude when they come to work.  I also had a mirror in front of myself during the talk so that I would also see the coming workload with my half-full glass.  This week is the start of school and the last minute purchasing of school supplies for many K-12 parents, AND the start of college for many local colleges.  Combining the two perfect storms makes this the 6th busiest week of the year for my Target.  The other 5 weeks are around the holidays.  That tends to make this week a bit crazy , so choosing the right attitude is key.

Therefore, I have asked everyone to look for the pony.  You see, there are generally two kinds of people.  There are the ones you can put into a room with a pony and toys and such and they remain sour that at some point the pony is going to poop.  There are others that get put into a room with a pile of poop and start shoveling because they know there has to be a pony underneath there somewhere.  Thusly and therefore, whenever I see one of my team leaders having a bad moment, I ask them to look for the pony.  Beth and CJ are pony seekers.  I am trying to be more like them when I grow up.

Speaking of growing up, I really felt like I was gaining weight earlier this week.  I stepped on the scale once, but I found I was still 155 pounds.  I have been within 10 pounds of that weight since high school.  I thought I was gaining weight since my pants had fit a bit more snugly than usual that morning. 

You could see my muffin top sticking over the edges of my belt.  Quite the image, I'm sure.  However, since the scale told me I weighed the same, I just chalked the moment up to being a little bloated that day.  Too much Chipotle the night before perhaps. 

So, on Saturday, CJ had an event to go to.  His friend from school had had his Bar mitzvah that morning, and there was a party celebrating the event that night.  It was cause for nicer attire than the shorts and tee shirts CJ has been wearing all summer, so Beth went looking for his khaki pants.  She called me at work to find out if I had seen them, but I had not (or so I thought).  She later called me back to let me know she had found them in the laundry pile.  Ohhhhh. 

I wear a size 34x30 khaki pant, and CJ wears a size 32x30 khaki pant.  Ohhhh.  I was not livin' large that day.  I had not expanded my domain.  I had actually fit into pants 2 inches smaller than I normally wear.  Who hearts himself for being able to eat a bag of chips and not fatten up.  Having a tape worm has proven to be quite lucky for me.

I just saw my family off as they departed for school.  I took a paper towel with me to soak up the tears since I will miss them sooo much.  What is that sound in the back ground?  Silence.  Weird.  Hmmm.   It actually is rather weird.  What was that sound?  Did you hear that Bethie?  CJ are you shooting your Nerf gun in the house again?  I'll be right back.

There is no one here.  Just me.  And my thoughts. 

All right, I do have to cut the front grass and go to the doctor today.  I am having my head examined.  I have had fluid behind my ears for a long time and it is causing problems.  I am going to see if my doctor will drill a hole, drain the fluid, and fill the hole back up with some wood putty.  I hope someday to be a real boy.  I am going to check in with Katie and June, so I will let you know what the doctor says, hopefully tomorrow.  And there is one doughnut left. Num num num.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stop! Or I'll spray you with chocolate!

August 8, 2010

Beth and I know that someday CJ is going to do something wrong.  He is going to get in trouble for being immature or stupid or both.  We thought last night might have been the time. 

This week, CJ has attended Tech Camp.  He has been on the lighting crew for a play put on by middle schoolers.  He has had a good time and learned some things as well.  We saw one of the performances and it was very well done.  Last night was the final performance.  Beth and I had already attended Thursday night, so we dropped CJ off and went on to service.  Part way through the service, Beth checked her phone, grabbed my leg, and motioned me to follow her out.  As we were leaving, she said that CJ had sent a text to pick him up and he would explain on the way home.  While there were an infinite amount of possibilities, we were sure he was either hurt or in trouble.  Beth texted him back and asked if he was okay.  He said sorta.  It took 15 minutes of angstful driving to arrive and find him sitting outside the auditorium.  He looked way guilty.  As he got in the car, we asked what was wrong, and it turned out that he was ill.

THANK GOD YOU ARE JUST SICK!  Great parenting at work right there.  He then explained why he was sick.  No, it was not the 4 pieces of pizza he ate before we left.  Please do not call social services on me.  It turns outs that CJ was in the balcony where the lights were, when he heard a friend mention the word chocolate.  Remember when you were 13 and ate 4 pieces of pizza and still had room for chocolate?  Always room for chocolate?  Okay, so he started jogging down the ramp towards the backstage area, and the chocolate.  He rounded a dark corner and heard his friend say stop.  He tried to stop, but had been jogging downhill with a belly full of pizza.  He did not stop.  Therefore, friend sprayed him with chocolate flavored Axe, right in the mouth.  Not as tasty as you would think.  CJ started to have trouble breathing and then got nauseated.  That is when he texted Beth.

So he came home, took a shower, swallowed some Pepto, and laid on the couch a few minutes.  He realized that he was starting to feel better, so he asked if he could go back and finish his work with the lighting for the play.  I drove him back, and took the opportunity to ask if any of the girls in the play had become suddenly attracted to him after he had been sprayed.  He rolled his eyes since he is not at the stage where he particularly cares if the girls are attracted to him, but it turns out that they were not.  Just a tip in case any of you were hoping to attract multitudes of women by spraying yourself down with Chocolate Axe.  You may be better off just rubbing yourself with a Snickers bar. 

Now, without further ado, here are the pictures of the kitchen with completed counter tops and back splash.  The counter top is Formica, the sink is a Sea Salt colored Kohler, and the back splash is subway tile. 

There will need to be some color above the cabinets on the wall and on the other walls.  Right now we are leaning towards a color called Lime Wash.

The face plates are getting spray painted white before they are rehung.

It turned out fantastic.  We are thrilled and excited.  Over time, you will see some new accessories and paint and stuff, but right now the big stuff is done and the bank is broken.  I may have to fight for space on the corner next to homeless guy.  All my money is gone, please throw me a nickel.  Or 200 nickels.  How much money is that?  Enough to live on? 

Finally, since this post is not nearly long enough, I want to appease my one true faithful reader, 12days, and put in a picture of Beth.  I found out that she had one taken yesterday when her long time friend, Rena, came by for a visit.   Here they are:

Since you know I prefer brunettes, obviously she is on the right.  Rena is very cute, but Beth is even cuter.  There are a whole bunch of extra pixels because the two of them were going to go in the witness relocation program, but changed their mind.  Or this was an older camera and the photo did not translate very well.  Definitely one of those two reasons.  You pick.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walk it off

August 3, 2010

Last week ended with us doing a couple of actual vacation-type things.  Friday night we went to the Reds game and had a great time.  The only thing missing from the game was a win for the home team.  The evening started with us being prepared with drinks and snacks.  You are allowed to carry in unopened drinks and bags of snacks.  You really can afford to go to a baseball game these days if you plan ahead.  And if you don't drink beer at the game.  A beer is, wait for it, $8.  Yeah, a bottle of beer you can get at the grocery store for less than $2 will cost you $8 at the game.  Ouch.  Plus, beer would not go well with the snacks we bring, other than the peanuts.  Our other go to snacks are sugar covered orange slice jelly candies and Twizzlers.  I do not partake in the candy stuff, so I made the mistake of buying Red Vines for Beth and CJ once....just once.  Talk about a stare that would kill.  The skinny is that Red Vines taste like flavored turpentine.  I am not sure how they know what turpentine tastes like.  Perhaps they swallowed some paint and needed to counteract it.

Anyway, the other shocking thing about our start to the evening was that we left early enough for the drive and walk to the stadium to be casual.  The last couple of times we went, there was rushing.  Steve does not like to rush to a ballgame.  Neither do Beth or CJ, but they also do not care if they are in their seats before the first pitch.  Steve likes to see all the pitches.  So we got to our parking spot with plenty of time to walk to the game and be in our seats with peanuts in our mouth before the first pitch.  Nice.  The game itself did not disappoint through the first 9 innings.  There was a clutch game-tying home run by the Reds, and a home run saving catch by the Reds' right fielder.  We witnessed this with 40,000 other fans.  It was the biggest crowd we have seen a game with.  It really added to the excitement.  Then they lost.  Oh well.

Sunday included a trip to the city of Columbus for the Jeff Dunham concert.  If you do not know who he is, google him.  He is a comedian/ventriloquist who has been doing an act for 30-40 years.  And he is hilarious.  What we did not realize, was that the show's venue was at the Ohio State Fair.  I have never been.  The last state fair I attended was in Kentucky, over 30 years ago.  My memories of it were that it was smelly.  Hay and farm animals.  Smelly people in wife beaters.  A side show of circus freaks.  And that was just the general admission crowd.

However, we figured attendance at such state fairs was probably down, and Columbus was probably a much more uppercrust type crowd.  Wrong on both accounts.  For a Sunday night, the crowd was huge.  Some of the patrons even smelled good.  However, the animals were not good smellin'.  Since I am not a frequenter of state fairs, I am not one who understands the need to have farm animals on display.  If it is anything like Charlotte's Web, maybe they still do judging for best pig, biggest heifer, and furriest lamp.  You got me stumped.  I may be looking at it all wrong though.  I am fairly certain when we passed the sheep pen, a couple of the sheep looked at each other, made a face, and gave each other the universal sign for "boy they smell funny".  You know, the hand waving in front of their nose gesture?  Yeah, I think they did that.  And me without my camera.

We got to the fair early enough to eat some dinner, so we walked along the feeding grounds and selected some of the best the fair had to offer.  Steak on a stick (tasty), grilled chicken sandwich (way tasty), french fries (oily), and deep fried buckeyes.  If you are not from Ohio, or have never heard of buckeyes, they are balls of peanut butter covered in chocolate.  Then you deep fry them.  Tasty, and good for you.

We purchased 5 buckeyes for $5, and left CJ alone with them at a picnic table.  As we started to walk away to purchase the steak and chicken, we had a moment of clarity.  Beth turned to see CJ about to stick the fresh from the deep fryer buckeye right into his pie hole.  She stopped him and warned him about the potential for burn blisters and the subsequent skin grafts.  She gave him a final look and said to him, "what do you think I will say to you if we come back and you are in mouth pain?"  He looked at her and came up with an answer.  "Walk it off." 

Who needs comedians with CJ around? 

In case you were wondering, the deep fried buckeyes were delicious.  They also sold deep fried Snickers, Pop Tarts, and human fingers.  We did not try any of the above, but even the finger would probably taste good deep fried in grease.  Perhaps next year. 

What is your state fair like?  And what would your favorite deep fried morsel be?  Let me know.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I've got range

July 30, 2010

Not only am I a tremendously gifted actor, but I've got a new stove.   Well, we have a new stove.  But I helped with the purchase.  As you can see, it matches the other two appliances and officially puts and end to our appliance purchasing for a while.  Thank goodness.  So, take a gander.

People keep telling us that the smooth surface cook tops are tough to clean, but how much tougher can they be than coils and drip pans?  I dropped a screw under a coil the other day and found food we haven't eaten for years.  I think we will give this smooth thing a try.

We also had Joe over today to move the plug behind the island so we can plug in the microwave without a cord showing.  Moving the window seemed like a much tougher solution.  Like Barbie would say about math class, moving the window is tough.

Friday is the last weekday of my vacation and is supposed to be the best weather day of the week, so we plan on doing something outside.  We thought about going to see the Bengals practice down in Georgetown, Ky, but with Terrel Owens joining the team, it seemed like every crazy would be out.  We have gone the past two years and I have enjoyed it, but I am something of a sports junkie.   I stand alone in our family.  Beth always pretends she is enjoying it so I won't feel bad about dragging them along, but CJ is not into it.  Unless the guys started pulling out AK47s and shooting each other, he would rather be playing PS3.  Therefore, putting up with the media circus was not in the cards this year.  We may go see a Reds' game since there are fireworks after.  That would prove big fun for all and not as much driving.

The next step for the kitchen is the last big step-counter tops.  When, hard to know.  Even in this tough economy, it seems that Cabinet Pak is busy.  Until then, I may have to find something more interesting than our kitchen to talk about.  How could there be anything more interesting than our kitchen?  I know.  Maybe CJ will steal something.  We can only hope.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honey, the refridgerator is here. Grab the saw.

July 29, 2010

???????   Beg your pardon?  What was that? 

So in the never ending search for reasons why The Genius Society has not called me to submit an application for membership, I give to you our refrigerator purchase.  While we were in Lowe's, we witnessed a buyer exchanging their first fridge to buy one that was smaller.  What a dumb butt.  Everyone knows you need to measure your fridge hole (not to be confused with pie hole) at three places to make sure the hole is cut big enough for your new fridge. 

As it turns out, one of the places you should measure is along the floor where your quarter round is.  So there we were, with two guys delivering our brand new fridge, having to leave it in the middle of our kitchen floor since it won't fit in the hole.  AWESOME.  The worst part of this, is that we did not have them do their due diligence with the water line before they left.  We were able to get the saw, cut the quarter round, and squeeze the fridge into the hole.  However, I then went to turn on the water line in the basement that had been installed the night before, and was greeted with drip....drip....drip....drip.  You get the picture.  Not a real one, I was too disappointed for a photo montage at that moment.  Real long story a little shorter, we finally got hold of the guy who had installed the water line the night before and got him to stop at our house first thing today to stop the drip.

I know you handy people out there are thinking I should have been able to do this myself, but hello, have you met me?  Besides, we prefer to only have one shower in the basement, if you know what I mean.

So as we speak, the fridge is tucked into its alcove (a term Beth much prefers to "hole"), and we have a fridge with water and ice in the door.  Beth's mom warned us against such things as though people who have water-in-the-door fridges are evil, but she is 77 and had to get her water from a well at one point in her life.  As those of you with moms know, however, the opportunity for them to say "I told you so", is waaay scarier than running into Sasquatch with some beef jerky in your hands.

So Beth may have freaked out a little.  I may have yelled at her. 

It took me back to the time Beth and I went on vacation to Atlanta, and took my dad, her dad, and her mom with us.  Great idea, huh?  It actually went rather well, if you don't take into account the bottle of Tums that was consumed by Beth and myself.  That is until we got to the last airport.  I was carrying the garment bag and Marybeth (Beth's mom) asked me if she could help with it. 

Me:  No thanks, I'm good.
Mb:  Can I help you now?
Me:  No thanks, I'm okay.
Mb:  How about just letting me carry it for a bit?
Me:  I'm really okay, but thanks.
Mb:  I'm worried about your back, let me have a turn?
Me:  My back is good, I got it.
Mb:  Your arms must be getting tired, my turn yet?
Me:  I have two of them, they will be just fine.
Mb:  What if you hurt your back and then have to sit on a long plane ride?
Me:  They have alcohol on the plane.
Mb:  Look, there's one of those carts people use for their bags.
Me:  We're almost there, don't worry about me.
Mb:  I would really like to just carry it for a minute...

Oooooops.  She won.  I looked over my shoulder where Beth and her dad were walking behind us to see how much trouble I was in, and the two of them were sharing a high five and I think money exchange hands as if there were some sort of wager just settled.

So I yelled at Beth yesterday.  I am not sure what the clinical name for how she was acting prior to my outburst, but I think textbooks would say she went a little scooters.  She had a chicken in her pants.  Our kitchen was a cow farm.  Her timing was bad as I had the saw in my hands at the time, but we will not be on an episode of Cops anytime soon.  I have apologized and everything is cool now, but they are delivering the new stove today.

So without further ado, here is our new fridge:

Looks a lot like the old one, huh?  Just kidding.

Fits like a glove.

And looks great with the cabinets and silver pulls.  And phone.

And the fridge handles match the dishwasher handle!!  Aaaaah.

As I said, the stove is coming today, and involves no new hook up or anything that should present a problem.  As far as we know.  Maybe Marybeth will stop over right when they are delivering it.  Let the wagering begin.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Anniversay, I bought you an island

July 27, 2010

Today is the 19th anniversary of the nuptials of Steve and Beth.  At this time 19 years ago, we were preparing for Beth's big day, and Beth was helping find her brother some pants.  Yes, that is what the bride's big day is all about, making sure one of her six brothers wears pants to her wedding. 

Fix hair and makeup, check.
Look beautiful in dress, check.
Get to the church on time, check.
Make sure brother number five has pants and a sport coat to look good in the family photo, check.

Ironically, said brother is not in the family photo at the wedding as he had disappeared to the reception already.  For the record, he did look good.

Beth looked quite awesome as well.  It had been a trying time to get to that moment, and it went off great.  Nineteen years later, it has still been great.  There are still some trying times in our lives, but we have certainly become very comfortable together and are able to get through the trying times together and are still in love.  I think I love her more and appreciate her more every day.  As I look at our future lives together, I am always grateful that I will be spending them with my best friend. 

Not to spoil the sentiment, but I accidentally typed tying times instead of trying times, but I assure you that Beth is not into that.

In fact, I love Beth so much, that I bought her an island.  It is not so much like those commercials that advertise that you can buy a loved one the perfect gift-a star.  You can pay to have a star named after whomever you choose.  And they can get a certificate, and a photo I think, of the star named after them.  Do people really like this sort of gift?  Talk about a gift for someone who has everything.

Well, Beth does not have everything, she needed an island.  I will show you a photo of where Beth will be getting leid.  CJ, if you are reading this, not to worry, a lei is one of those things they hang around your neck when you swim ashore in Hawaii.  You can still slice your bagel on the new kitchen island.  And Ewww, I know.

Ta daaa, our neighbor's window!

This wonderful piece has been purchased at Ikea and assembled by the two people who like each other enough after 19 years of marriage to assemble furniture together.  Impressive, I know.  So is the new light fixture above the island.  And our neighbor's back porch.

Beth would have preferred I cleaned up the shoes or let her arrange the shelves or move the electrical outlet or figure out the wall paint color or any number of things before I took the photo, but she understands that my followers (and lurkers) need to see the new island AND THE BRAND NEW FLOOR!!

I know we kind of seem like Imelda Marcos with shoes in every photo, but really it is just that CJ has two pair that he leaves just about everywhere.  And anywhere for that matter.  So the lighting quality is not great, but the new floor is awesome.  We also love the island.  New appliances were purchased on Sunday and will be delivered this week.  I told Beth I hurried along the appliance purchase because I wanted the kitchen finished (she was starting to talk about Labor Day sales), but I really needed stuff to blog about.  Don't tell her, okay?  Obviously she does not read my blog.  Do you see her as one of my followers?  No.  Does she ever comment?  No.  I think I am in the clear.

So here are the latest dilemnas with the kitchen.  You see in photo number one that the phone has to go.  Also, the outlet the phone is plugged into needs to be moved behind the island as there is no outlet back there.  The microwave can be plugged into the left wall outlet, but would require an extension cord with the island in current position.  Otherwise, we could shift the island to the left into the corner, AND THEN move the window to the left for balance.  What say you?  Move the outlet, or move the window?  Voting starts, NOW.

I am off to celebrate anniversay time with Beth, so the rest of you please discuss amongst yourselves the decorating that needs to carry on in the kitchen.  And how big CJ must be with the size of those shoes lying about.  You know what they say about people with big shoes...they must have really big feet.