Thursday, April 29, 2010

CJ finally gets a cell phone

April 29, 2010

CJ wants a dog, and a cell phone.  In no particular order, he wants to have access to the cellular world, and he wants to have a pet for me and mom to take care of.

I understand the dog thing, they look so cute and they are man's best friend and all.  Plus, if you get the right one, they can save you from a well, or get you a beer from the fridge, or get all your sheep back where they belong.  However, we have no sheep, CJ does not drink beer here at home yet, and there are not a lot of wells here in suburbia.

As for the cell phone, I don't get that either.  I have argued his case for the phone thing on occassion.  When he was on the cross country team and the bus driver would get lost on the way to every other meet, I would have loved for him to be able to call me.  If his beer drinking at those so-called slumber parties were to get out of hand, I would like him to be able to call me.  Then I could call him a cab to throw up in on the way home. 

For the record, CJ is 13, DOES NOT DRINK ALCOHOL, and would probably call his mom for a ride.  Nevermind that she cannot see at night when she drives, he knows my temper needs some cool down time before I give him a ride home from drinking at age 13.  Whereas, mom would lecture him on the way home, he could sleep with his eyes open on the ride (even with all the spinning), and then ask mom what age she was when she started drinking socially.  She would stop lecturing...and then find me and ask what conversations I had been having with our son.  Punishment deflected.

Anyway, the cell phone part I do not understand, has to do with the phone conversations I hear CJ having on our land line.  They go something like this:

CJ:  Hello.
Friend:  vnbowehskjhsdfihaekjeionsdnknddsnknv jkdeh
CJ:  I dunno
Friend:  nvoewnfrk nowivsdkljflas ndofklenronvlksJ' NOSIFKJH dikhj
CJ:  Okay
Friend:  jhowe nowiehkjsdb
CJ:  Bye

While I realize this conversation would not have cost me a lot of minutes, still....

So the dog.  Beth keeps telling CJ that we will get a dog, .....right after he moves out.  Not only that, but we will name it CJ.  This drives him a bit crazy.  Whenever he asks why, we just tell him that we would still have someone named CJ we could yell at outside to get out of the street when a car is coming, or bring us the paper, or turn on the coffee maker, or perhaps go for a walk.  All things we currently have to/get to do with boy CJ.  The silence from the back seat usually speaks volumes. 

Tonight though, CJ actually started getting used to the idea.  He asked what kind of dog CJ was going to be and other questions in order to prove that we could not get under his skin by saying we were going to get a dog after he moves out.  That is, until Beth reiterated that we were going to get a dog after he moved out...and buy it a cell phone.  Game, set, match.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


April 27, 2010

Today has been a good day so far.  I found another reason not to go to the gym.  You may remember that the gym is way far away from our house (5 minutes), that I already look like I work out (photo shop), and that they frown on members working out in their pajamas (though some of the outfits there today looked like something better to sleep in).  So, even with all these forces fighting against me, I went to the gym this morning.

I will digress for a moment.  A couple months ago, they informed me that I owed them $15.  Beth, CJ, and myself are all members at the gym, and we got a really good deal when we joined since they were running a grand opening special, and we paid for two years up front.  It is like $60 per month for all three of us.  Not too bad.  So I was a bit surprised when they told me I owed them another $15 for some yearly maintenance fee or something with equally clever wording.  I asked the 14 year-old behind the counter to check Beth and CJ's accounts to see if they owed it also.  They did not.  I figured that Beth had either already yelled at someone and got it fixed, or there was some acccounting error.  The third possibility was that I actually owed this money, but I was pretty sure Beth would have said something when she had to pay it.  Therefore, I told the Jr Highschooler that I would pay it next time.  She said okay as she played with her pigtails, and let me walk away.  I think someone else with more authority would have stopped me as it had been 3 months since I had been to the gym.  What were the chances I was going to be in again soon?  Factor in that I owed them money, and it seemed less likely.

However, I went home, found a receipt that said I had paid this fee up front when I joined, as had Beth and CJ.  I went to the gym a couple days later, showed this receipt to Hanna Montana at the counter and she showed it to muscle dude with the tight shirt behind the desk.  He assured me that everything was "cool", and it would be taken care of.

Fast-forward to today, and I noticed that, as I walked by the desk after checking in, that the screen still showed me owing this fee.  Awesome.  So, I went and worked out, then stopped at the desk on my way out.  Dakota Fanning back there referred me over to the grown up in charge, Taylor Swift.  She informed me that I need to bring in the receipt again so she can send it to corporate to get it taken care of.  Okay, I can do that, but what if I go back after 9:00PM?  It may be past curfew.

Wow, the price of looking this good is really taking its toll.  I think I hear a meatloaf sandwich calling my name.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why is working out so much work?

April 24, 2010

I know what you are thinking, that Steve was at the gym doing his cardio, then some weight lifting, then some stretching... whew.  If you know me or have seen photos, you are ready to comment that for me to look this good, I must already know that working out takes effort.  Well, there are several  issues with that thought process.

1.  I have touched up my photos so that I look that good.  To see me at the pool would actually make you subconsciously want to run home and iron everything.  (I am that wrinkled, you see)

2.  My gym membership called and asked what it did wrong.  "How come you don't like me anymore?", it wondered.   "Was I not there for you after you paid for me for the next two years?"  Thanks for rubbing it in, Ms. gym membership.

3.  The effort/work I was referring to had nothing to do with working out.

Here is what happened.  I was sitting on my arse playing a video game, when I started to feel guilty.  I felt like I should be at the gym.  But then I realized that the gym is at least 5 minutes from our house, and they frown on members who show up in their pajamas.  You see my gym clothes were all the way in the basement.  I know you are feeling me here.  So I came up with a solution that would take away this feeling of guilt, and get me in better shape, and allow me to stay home.  So I flopped down on the floor and told myself to give myself 20.  Proudly, I gave myself 25 push ups.  Here is where the problem arose.

As I did said push ups, I noticed that there were quite a few dust bunnies under the couches.  How did this happen, I wondered.  Did I not just vacuum in February?  We do not have pets of carpeting, so where did this dust come from?

So the next thing I know, I am hauling out the vacuum.  When I vacuum, I do the whole first floor.  We live in a cape cod totaling 1100 square feet, so to say I do the whole first floor is not equivalent to saying I had to vacuum the floors at Target.  It is a project that takes about 30 minutes, but hopefully Beth thinks it takes an hour.  Beth is not a fan of vacuuming, so she kinda digs me when I do this chore.  Plus, I recently put sliders on the bottom of the couches and ottoman, so moving the furniture around is not so bad and leaves less scrapes on the floor than before.

So there I was having a suck fest.  I take the 3 floor mats we have on the first floor, shake them on the back porch, and then vacuum.  I usually "forget" to put the mats back so that Beth will notice that I vacuumed.  I am pretty sure she sees right through this, but doesn't say anything.  Did I mention she is not a fan of the vacuum?

Anyway, it may be awhile before I work out at home again if cleaning becomes part of this routine.

Speaking of working out, I challenged CJ to give me some push ups last night.  I said I would give him one dollar per push up.  He struck the pose, and I now owe him approximately zero dollars.  He lay on the (clean) floor moaning, when I accused him of being 135 pounds of jelly doughnuts.  He replied that he was actually 130 pounds of love, 4.5 pounds of doughnuts, and....  Before he could finish, Beth finished for him.  .5 pounds of brains she said.  He immediately backed this up as I asked him if CJ stood for Cindy Jo, due to his push up prowress.  "I think not", he said, "Cindy starts with S".

That .5 pounds may have been a little high.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do waiters/waitresses have a union?

April 18, 2010

There is a site here in Cincinnati, or perhaps everywhere, I don't know, called Groupon.  You can order half price gift certificates if enough people order them.  They have to be posted, of course.  You can't just pick a place and say that a whole bunch of us want a gift certificate, and then they make them available.

So the one from last week was for The Original Pancake House.  If you are ever in Cincinnati, you have to go there.  It is in Montgomery and is de.lis.cious.  There are times when you may have to wait a bit as it is not that large, but if you have the time, it is worth it.  So we went on Saturday with our $20 gift certificate voucher thingy.  We ate exactly $20 worth of food, which was a pure coincidence.  We tipped based on our $20 tab, so we did right by our waitress.

All this info is to preface the fact that CJ wants to put the wait staff out of business.  He bears no ill will towards them, he has just come up with an idea that makes them expendable.  He has a thought that if there were some I-Pad type thing in the middle of your table, you could just come in and place your order without needing a waiter person.  There would still need to be cooks and hostesses and someone to bring your stuff to your table, but otherwise it eliminates some of the need for a waiter.

I am only putting waiter in now instead of waitress only because it is shorter to type, not because I prefer one or the other.  Please do not lick all of my food if you are a female in the waiting business.

Of course, by typing this long explanation, I suppose I could have just kept typing waiter/waitress.  Yeah, I'm pretty smart.

I told CJ that this may be easier for places with smaller or not so complicated menus, but do places like that exist anymore?  Even McDonalds' menu is pretty complicated for some people.  It must be, or why are some customers taking so long to order.  Most of the menu hasn't changed for a hundred years, but the guy in front of me is always staring at the menu board like he's hoping there is some new item, like McPasta up there. 

We love Chipotle because the food is great and there is no tipping since you order your food at the counter and they hook you up right there.  Everything is simple and you can see what you want and pick it quickly.  What I always want is a burrito bowl with rice, black beans, carnitas, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and lettuce.  Sometimes I throw corn on there, but it depends on which Chipotle we are visiting.  The one we go to makes it spicier than the other.  I figured you all needed to know this if you were ever coming to visit and wanted to pick me up something on the way over.  Please have them put the corn on the side.

So, does it seem possible to go into an Applebees and sit at your table, order on a computer, and then see your food show up just as you expected it?  Can it be done?  Or will the cook who is dating the waitress you put out of a job load you up with extra onions and a couple cockroaches just for flavor? 

CJ wants me to add, "Will it blend?" as a question to ask.  Where does he get the idea that random questions can be inserted just anywhere into this blog?  Beats me.

So let me know what you think of CJ's idea.  Do I still need to save for his college education, or will he be a rich entrepeneur very soon?  Or is trade school still in the picture?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What are you hiding in your closet?

April 17, 2010

My brother-in-law has a friend who has a brother-in-law who lives on his own.  Are you keeping up so far? 

This second person mentioned is a highly functioning, yet developmentally slow adult.  Therefore, he relies on his sister for many things, one of which is advice.  So the other day, he called his sister for some advice.  He wanted to know what to do with the leprechaun in his closet. 

I can only assume she has gotten some off-the-wall calls from him like this in the past, because her advice was to throw some Skittles in the closet and she would be over later.  I was not aware of Skittles as the primary dietary supplement of your average leprechaun, but she must have read this information somewhere. 

Surprisingly, her brother called back moments later, as apparently, he needed more information.  He still needed to know what to do next with the leprechaun in his closet.  How does one actually obtain a pot of gold?  Did he need it to be sunny on a rainy day?  His sister started to have some concerns about his mental well-being, so she said she would be right over. 

His sister arrived at his apartment, went to his closet, and received a surprise.  Indeed, in his closet was a little person.  A scared, shaky, candy-covered, female little person. 

As it turns out, this little person was a census worker who had knocked on the door to gather some census data, only to be picked up and wisked away to this gentleman's closet.

She was fine and is not pressing charges, but many things had been learned that day.  I am quite sure the census worker is going to find a way to be more careful, and may never wear green again.  The male adult has learned that some characters in stories are fictional.  And his sister has learned that little people do not really like the taste of the rainbow.

The life-lesson for all of us, is that, while we love it that our children have the wonderful naivete that comes with youth; there comes a time when we need to share some reality.  Most of us learn at an early age that fairy tales are not going to happen in real life.  Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and Ed McMahon will never actually show up at our door.  Unfortunately, a lot of us learn these things from older sibs or older kids on the bus, but there are some adults out there who are still believing in fairy tales.

Have you played the lottery lately?  Yeah, I know, somebody has to win. 

Are you looking for your soul mate?  Think there is only one perfect person in the world for you?  While that worked out for me, it may not be reality.

Have your ordered anything from an infomercial lately?  Are all your tomato plants upside down?  Did shining the light in your ear really remove the ear wax?  Are you shaking your way to fitness?

DISCLAIMER:  For all I know, some of these products work.  I haven't tried them, but people do look silly trying those shake weights out.

Are there people in Ireland who still believe in leprechauns?  My coworker is headed to Ireland in a month and says she is going to visit a city where they still believe.  Perhaps I better tell her to unpack the Skittles.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Those guests on Jerry Springer had it all wrong! Shocking!

April 13, 2010

Did you ever watch Jerry Springer or Maury Povich or one of those talk shows when they had people on who would beat their baby mama?  Or worse, beat their children?  "Why do you do it?", they would ask.  "I just love her so much that she makes me soooo crazy."  Or , "why don't you leave him?, they would ask.  "'Cause I know he really loves me", they would reply.  Really?  If you love someone, you don't beat them.  I read that somewhere. 

Why do I bring this up, you may wonder.  Well, my opportunity to test the theory came last weekend. 

As you know, CJ has been preparing for a month or so for a drum solo competition.  There were times when he was not as into practicing as I wanted him to be, so we worked that out through hours of discussion.  It was not actually hours, but I am sure it seemed like it to him.  Then we battled through illness and homework and all these things to get him to the point where he felt ready, and really was.  Then I came home from work Thursday night, and he needed pants and a belt for the competition.  I had just come home from 11 hours at Target, but I knew that was where we could get him some pants.  We headed back out, ate some dinner at Frisch's, and then went to Target.  Truth be told, we had a good time shopping because CJ is a real hoot to hang out with, but it was still two hours that I could have been lazing on the couch.  Nonetheless, he was ready.

Then Beth worked out getting CJ to the competition.  Both Beth and myself had to work, so Grandma had to become involved.  Thank goodness for Grandma over the years as she has provided many hours of assistance and "free" babysitting.  All systems were go for a great drum solo. 

I called home from work, and CJ answered.  When I asked how the competition went, he started with, "Well,..."

Now, my dad and my brother, and myself have an Erskine male tradition of starting not so good sentences with the word, "well".  It is never a good sign.  We knew grilling the family meal was not going goodly when my dad would utter the phrase, "Well, hell", from the back yard.  We knew it was going to be KFC for dinner.  If someone asks us a question like, "How did your drive home from school go?", and we started the answer with "Well, ..."; it may be likely that Mr. Police Officer was involved in our trip home.  If Beth asked me how the soccer game went that I had just finished coaching, she knew enough when I would say, "Well, it could have been worse."

So I knew things had not gone great with CJ's solo.  However, he continued the sentence by saying that the reason it had not gone well was that he had lost his sheet music.  You have to have the sheet music to give to the judge for the competition.  It is a rule.  He had lost his.

My first reaction was not good.  My brain starting setting off fireworks to rival that of the 4th of July.  However, one huge deep breath later, I asked CJ if he was okay.  He said mom had told him it was a good learning experience and everything would be okay.  My anger had not subsided, but two things popped into my head that kept me from popping CJ's head off like a Barbie doll through the phone.

The first was that I love CJ very much.  He is the most awesomest kid in the whole world, and his head is one of his most redeeming features.  The second was that I was 13 years-old once.  If I were to chronicle the stupid mistakes that I made when I was 13, it would rival that of the Odyssey trilogy.  (probably not a trilogy, but it was a tragedy, right?)  Besides, mom had acted calmly, so could I.  So I kept my cool, told CJ I was sorry this happened to him, and I let him live.

So the next day, I got home from work and CJ showed me that he found his music at school that day.  He held it up proudly.  I looked at him, I looked at Beth, and I felt the sarcasm rising.  Many questions popped into my brain.  Should I make a remark that showed I was displeased?  Should I whap him with said book?  Who invented liquid soap and why?  Is a low growl appropriate?

If you were thinking, I bet he did another good job of being calm and not using sarcasm on CJ at that moment, well...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Twisted sister

April 7,2010

I received a call from my sister, who lives in Atlanta, on Easter.  It is a shame that she had to call me as I am the one with one child who is 13, while she has 3 children under the age of 7.  In addition, she has a military husband who was deployed on March 27 to Qatar.  Therefore, she was alone at home with 3 young children who had been hopped up on chocolate bunnies most of the day. 

I assume Qatar to be a rather rebellious country as they have already decided to spell their name without the "u".  I mean, how many words are there with a "q", but no "u", like 8?  Okay, I just googled it and there are more like 50, but who knew?  Still, that is a rather small percentage.  It also explains why I am not good at Scrabble.

So CJ's Uncle Edward is over there in rebellios Qatar for 6 months.  When you deploy for 6 months, you get no leave, so my sister is on her own until September.  She already complains about not having time to read my blog, so I guess now she thinks she has a better excuse.  I would think my blog would rank ahead of laundry and feeding the kids, but we all have differing priorities.

So Qatar.  Don't you love how when you google one of these countries, they pop up with ads for hotels and such?  Are there a lot of people traveling to Qatar for leisure these days?  Maybe there are, again, I only thought there were 8 q no u words, so there could be lots of folks flying Qantas airlines to Qatar.  (Don't try that, I think Qantas flies to Australia).  Anyway, Qatar is in the Persian Gulf attached to Saudia Arabia and across the gulf from Iran and Iraq.  (So Iraq has no "u" either, maybe they can't afford it.)  When you look on a map, it makes it look like Edward and his unit will be huddled very close together in this tiny country as it is dwarfed by the surrounding countries.  Perhaps that is why the "u" is missing, there wasn't enough room.

Okay, enough about Qatar.  Our prayers go out to Edward to return home safely and for him to find his family safe and sound when he returns.  Beth and I have decided to travel to Atlanta for vacation this year to help check up on the sanity of my sister.  We are telling my sister that, but really we are coming to see our nieces and nephew.  I don't know how they managed it, but Ed and my sister spawned some really cute kids.

I know, that sounded rude, but someone actually said that to Beth and myself when we had CJ.  We tried not to be offended, because, we are pretty cute, right?  DNA is rather random I guess.

So we are the godparents to the youngest child, and she seemes to like Beth a whole bunch.  My nephew still likes the Cars movie, and the oldest niece is a movie star in the making, so it is best to visit them before they grow out of being cute and catch on that I am the weird uncle.  Every family has one, and I think I would qualify in mine.

So sister, if you are reading this before we travel there, most likely in June, there are some things we need you to prepare.  No, don't worry about cleaning, we aren't that picky.  It is more about the menu.  As Beth and I took a walk last evening, we discussed how Edward gushes about your cooking.  I remember you making a couple creamy cherry jelloish type dishes when we were younger for the holidays, but other than that I don't remember a lot of cooking.  You were always more partial to going out to eat and ordering prime rib.  We had hoped you would hook up with a husband who could afford to take you out for prime rib.  I think I also joked about him being blind, but that is what older brothers do, keep the younger sister down.  However, I guess you married for love, 'cause now you are cooking.  Therefore, Beth and I will do the shopping, but you need to do the cooking.  I know you planed on pulling out the family photos to show us when we arrive, but this will need to happen after the breakfast casserole thing has been consumed.  I can't remember what all specialties Edward has mentioned, so just dazzle us.  Perhaps you could email the link to this blog to Edward, and he could help us out.  Just a thought.  Do they have room for computers in Qatar?  I guess if they can fit a landing strip there, perhaps there is a least one computer and the whole unit can get involved in this blog.  Guest posts and all about being a perfect dad.  Then their families could link up here for info...

I was getting very excited about this, then I remembered my limited computer skills.  Still, stranger things have happened.  I have a kid with good looks and musical talent.  Perhaps God works in strange enough ways that He could help me with this blog thing.  Hmmm.

So we will chat later, and plan this trip.  We will plan the trip, you plan the menu, just don't forget to add the extra chuckle.  Chuckle???  See my blog from October, 2009.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fawn, for you

April 3, 2010

Fawn, I tried to comment on your blog, but it wouldn't let me since I have no google account.  It has given me different options before, but I may be too tired to figure it out this time.

All I wanted to tell you is that I thought the key thing you posted was that you guys "like" each other.  What I feel is often missing from marriages, relationships, or partnerships, is that people both love each other AND like each other.  When this exists, they are willing to compromisee, they make decisions based on how it will affect the other person, and they don't try to hurt each other's feelings.

Perhaps if you and Shawn tackle a potentially difficult situation together, you will see how you each react to the other person under trying circumstances.  Take the 7 kids on an outing or vacation together, or something like that. 

Either way, good luck to you.