Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Mayor

December 20, 2011

December 20, 1996, aka, the day the Charles Joseph turned zero.  My little boy turns 15 today around 6pm.  Beth has told him he would have to wait until 6:00 to get his present as that was his actual birth time, but he threatened to take away hugs for a month.  He will be receiving his gift after his History final at 10:30.  It is 8:00 now and CJ is in the middle of WWI, or The Depression, or The Roaring Twenties; but I gotta believe his brain is not all in.  He has been waiting for his birthday present for months and today is the last day of finals before a nice long Winter break from school.  If he can distinguish Herbert Hoover from a vacuum right now, I will be impressed.

His present is a new laptop.  We did not go top-of-the-line as he really wanted, but we were dangerously close for awhile.  Our original thought was that the computer we purchased now would be the one he takes off to college.  Then it delta dawned on us that our current laptop is only a few years old and is already out-dated.  College is too far away for this present to still be college worthy 4 years from now. 

It is strange for someone my age to see technology advance so quickly now.  Every time you turn around now there is a new Ipod, LED/3D television, or computer processor.  I remember upgrading from the $1000 computer with the flux capacitor processor, to the Pentium to the Centrino to whatever there is now.  When I was young, technological upgrades went from outdoor to indoor toilets for everyone.  Calculators went from the desk top to your pocket.  Photos popped right out of your camera and you shook them like a Polaroid Picture.

So, in two hours, my little boy is going to bust in the door, throw his hoodie on the floor, dump his shoes at the back door, leave his back pack in a pile in the dining room, take his socks off and leave them somewhere as yet undetermined, forage through the "hiding place" of his present, and start the disc back up process.  He may never eat again.

I hope to eat one last supper with him by getting his favorite meal as carryout for tonight.  We love an Indian restaurant near downtown called Ambar.  Their Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tikka Masala are to die for.  Yum!  Perhaps if he does not eat, there will be more for me.

Therefore, I would like to take this time to wish my favorite kid a most Happiest Birthday.  I have given you many nicknames over the years including:

  • CJ Destructo-since you always delighted more in knocking the tower over than building it
  • Charlie Joe-since you remind us of both your Grandpas at times
  • Colby Jack-due to the "CJ" thing and your tremendous love of all things cheese
  • Mayor McCheese-since your are a friend of the people and, the cheese thing

However, we continue to promise to never call you Charles, or Chuck, of CJoe, or late for dinner.

We also promise to continue to love you forever and to never forget the cute you even when you stop being so cute.

  •   I will always remember the infant who said the word "ham" while I was reading to him about Sam and his eggs.
  •  I will always remember the knock me over hugs you would give me when I would come home from work and you were a toddler. 
  • I will always remember you initiating hand holding with me and mom at Winton Woods as we walked along the lake. 
  • I will always remember the face you would make when someone would "gobble, gobble" at you around Thanksgiving.
  • I will always remember you giggling when Cookie Monster would shake his whole self over your head.
  • And, I will always remember you putting the cologne on your face while looking in the mirror and then screaming because it stung.

Hey, wait a minute!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Apparently there was no class at XU or UC on Saturday.

December 11, 2011

For those of you who are not sports fans, the next few paragraphs are going to read like a lot of blah de blah blah.  I am using this forum as my "personal" diary to voice my frustration with the basketball game I watched yesterday.

Xavier and the University of Cincinnati played their annual crosstown shootout yesterday and XU won 76-53, but no one cares about the score.  They had a brawl at the end of the game that was both ugly and embarrassing.

I am a graduate from Xavier University back in 1987.  I LOVE Xavier basketball.  As much as I have tried to not let it happen, the performance of my favorite basketball team affects my mood.  I realize the stupidity of this when I watch Beth worry about stuff somewhat more important like the international finance market and how it affects our 401K, but I cannot help myself.

So there I was yesterday, prouder than I have ever been of my team during the game-for 39 minutes. 

They played their best game of the year and they did it without any of the thuggish behavior that has occurred in games past.  Sure, you could tell there was some woofing going on.  Trash talk is part of the game sometimes, especially when you get a bunch of 20-something men together.  In fact, I sometimes walk through a Walmart and trash talk the managers there.

Nice smiley face on your name tag!

Made in America, whatever!

Did Kathy Lee design your outfit!

Okay, I have not been in a Walmart in decades and I do not know from trash talk, but that is somewhat my point.  I understand that college boys who came from different backgrounds than I, may go about things a different way than me.

 They may listen to rap music.  They may refer to themselves as gangstas or talk about putting the other team in a body bag-metaphorically; but that is where it needs to end.  Especially when you are on full scholarship representing a university on a court in front of paying fans-AND THEIR CHILDREN. 

You want to fight somebody during or after a game?  Go back to your neighborhood playground.  Don't get paid to represent my school, where I would love my son to go for free, and then instigate or participate in a brawl.

Good Lord!

It was like watching my son being born...and then finding out I wasn't the father.  (No, this did not happen to me). 

Watching the game was like watching boys learn how to play tough and SMART and like the better team, and I was proud to be their fan; only to find out at the end that they were not proud to be my team.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Idiot prevention devices, priceless.

December 6, 2011

The rain has stopped for now which is good because Noah needs some time to finish his work.  We have had over 96 inches of rain this year in Cincinnati which is 30 inches more than a normal year.  I am hoping that means we are due for some dry times as continuing this trend with cold weather coming would spell disaster for this town.  Cincinnatians do not handle snow well.  That is partly due to the fact that the temperature is usually hovering around the freezing mark and the beginning of the precipitation is usually in the form of ice.  Ice under snow is bad news. 

Couple that with the reality that drivers around here have issues with dry pavement and you got trouble right here in river city.  When we get bad driving conditions here, there are two types of drivers that hit the road.  The first thinks you have to drive 20mph and keep your right turn signal on the whole time, and the second takes a toboggan approach and drives faster so you can get to the bottom of the hill quicker.  These two techniques do not mix well.  Like ice and rain.  Or fire and rain.  James Taylor was on drugs, right?

Part of the issue is that a lot of us drive SUVs now.  I have one too, and I realize that I count on the 4 wheel drive feature to keep me out of trouble.  I drive up a hill in the rain counting on my 4 wheel drive to kick in.  This is a feature I do not understand.

The vehicle's computer is so smart it can sense when it needs the other 2 wheels to have pulling power.  I don't understand it, but I am forever grateful for how smart vehicles have become.  Whomever came up with the feature that makes the car ding at you when you leave your lights on-love that person.  And the person who made it so that you cannot take your keys out of the ignition unless your car is in park.  Hugs.

I know it is sad that I need these features, but I do.  Every year, around this time, I used to have an issue with my car.  Every year it came down to me being tired and burned out and doing something stupid.

Like the one year when I tried to leave work and my car would not start.  It was late at night and I ended up having to stay over at one of the other manager's house since I worked 40 minutes from my apartment.  That meant wearing the same clothes to work the next day and not shaving.  I looked good.

"Fortunately", the store for which I was employed, had a auto repair place attached.  They towed my car into the garage.  They came to find me later with good news and bad news.

Good news:  The reason your car would not start is that you left it in drive.

Bad news:  The fee for being an idiot is $25.

I figure whatever I have had to pay extra for in a vehicle over the years for features that protect me from idiot fees, have probably balanced out.

That was a nice gramatically correct sentence, huh?

I am going to take care of some Christmas shopping and wrapping before Beth get's home.  Don't tell her, but I am getting her a piece of chocolate but wrapping it in an extra large box.  Snicker.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I can explain why the mermaids are on dry land today

November 29, 2011

I am somewhat sure that someone broke into our house this morning.  The odd thing is that the only thing they stole was all of our hot water.  I just went to take a shower, and about 30 seconds in, it was as if all the toilets in our house flushed at the same time.  In fact, my first thought was, "Who flushed the toilet?"  My second thought was reality setting in that I was the only one in the house.  Unless someone was upstairs helping themselves to our toilet. 


That horror movie line was left on the cutting room floor.

Then I remembered that I have a teenage son.  Beth had gotten him up and scooted him into the shower around 6:50.  Approximately 7:05, I heard the water still running.  Fearing that he may have fallen and hit his head, I rushed downstairs to the shower to find that he was okay.  I called out to him that Neptune had called and was running a quart low.

It is, actually, hard to imagine any water supply running low right now as it has rained here almost nonstop since Saturday night.  The smaller rivers in the area already have flood warnings and the mighty Ohio River is really high as well.

If water thievery weren't a good enough indicator of me not having any exciting news today, what I am going to share with you next will surely seal the deal.

Looking for an easy dinner option for two people?  Here is a recommendation.

I tried something new from The Target this week.  It was called Buitoni complete meal for two.  It is on sale buy one get the second half price.  I think they were $8 apiece making them $12 for two.  BUT THEN, if you can find the ones with the $2 off coupon on them, you start to get a really good deal.  $4 apiece was more in my price range for trying something new.  And, the one we ate last night was quite delicious.  Plus, being ravioli, it took like 6-7 minutes to prepare.  We tried the chicken and mushroom last night and also bought the shrimp and lobster.

Disclaimer alert, when one of the participants in the "dinner for two" is a teenage boy, your share may be lessened.  My goal for the next box will involve an addition of salmon or more plain ravioli or something to try to stretch it out for three of us.  I am assuming Beth would like to eat as well.

So there you go.  A rainy day in November and nothing going on.  I have a coupon for a free donut at Dunkin Donuts since one near us just had a grand opening.  Perhaps I will partake and then flop down on the couch to watch Once Upon a Time on DVR.  The witch in it is just so evil.

Maybe she stole my water.  Hmmmm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hold the pepper please

November 27, 2011

Today is Sunday at 6:30am.  I have been up for 30+ minutes since I fell asleep at 9:30 last night.  I had just taken my Geritol and it makes me drowsy.  Plus, the episode of Matlock was not especially intriguing.  Yes, I am trying to say I am old.  When the reality of the situation is that I am tired.

Why tired?  Can't figure it out.  I closed at The Target Wednesday night which meant working 2pm-1am.  Thanksgiving meant a trip to see Great Aunt Rhetta at 10:30 (who still thinks I am her greatest joy), and then a trip to Cracker Barrel for dinner.  Along with the rest of Cincinnati.  When we got there, they told us the wait was 97 minutes.  97.  I think they chose this arbitrary amount of time to throw us off.  First, I doubt very much that the management there had any clue how long it was going to be before they sat us.  Second, 97?  My theory is that by saying 97 minutes instead of ONE AND A HALF HOURS, they don't get as many upset people. 

Beth, being as smart as she is beautiful, decided we needed carryout.  This only took about 34 minutes and gave CJ and me time to look at some of the things in the country store there and for him to remind me what a Goofwegian he is.  It also gave us time to make fun of people's last names when they were being called to be seated.  Our personal best was when they called the Naily family.  When they had to call them a second time, we decided they must be out getting hammered.

So after a delicious CB dinner, I took a nap for a couple hours.  Then it was off to The Target at 9:30 to be ready to open at midnight.  At midnight everyone rushed in and we had a couple of crazy hours until about 3am.  Then all the guests went home and went to bed.  We waited for the second wave, and waited.  My boss finally told me to go home around 7:30.  On the way home I heard about some lady using pepper spray on other shoppers to keep them away from what she wanted to buy.  I think she was in California and Kelly can probably let us know if everyone in Cali is that cray cray.  I do not think the lady remembers that Santa sees you when you are awake too.

I grogged my way through the rest of Friday and even went out with Beth to the mall around 6pm.  The mall had a lot of foot traffic, but not many people had shopping bags.  Santa arrived while we were there and and had some elves with him who had some rather long faces.  I don't know where they go from here if they are unhappy on November 25th.  Do they realize that they have 30 days until Christmas? 

I was reminded of one of CJ's jokes from our time together Thursday.  A horse walked into a bar and the bartender asked him, "Why the long face?"  Horse: "Because I have cancer."

At lease we are not paying for his high school education.

I worked again yesterday and those of us who had done the midnight thing on Friday were making the best of it though most of us looked like zombies.  It is a good thing we weren't actually zombies as finding human brains to eat on Saturday might have been difficult.

That leads to today and I am off.  It will be nice to go to service, get some Chipotle, watch some football, and spend time with Beth and CJ.  I was going to rake the rest of the leaves today and clean out the gutters again, but it is raining.  Does anyone else hear the couch calling me? 

Be right there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Life's funnies

November 23, 2011

Things have been a little bat poop crazy at work lately as though there was some sort of holiday shopping day coming up. Fortunately, there have been a couple of funnies that happened at work to make a small part of each day a wee bit less stressful. Now I will share a couple.

A guest came up top me in the movie department and asked if I could help him find a movie. I asked which one and he said, "Secret". I said, "I'm sorry, I can't tell you." He said, "Why not?" Some people just don't get me.

A team member was speaking with our Human Resource Manager one day and asked her if she was leaving for the day. HR lady said, "no, not yet." The team member followed this up with, "when you do go home, will you not be in your office anymore?" For the record, it is fairly common knowledge that HR lady does not live in her office.

Finally, CJ had a friend over yesterday. This friend had a birthday recently for which CJ gifted him a PlayStation Network card and some Snausages. The Snausages were a gag gift since this friend has shared with CJ that he detests the Snausages commercial with every fiber of his being. Ever since we learned that at our house, we randomly yell out, SNAUSAGES whenever this friend comes over. Us, gracious hosts since, like, never.

So I was taking friend home last night and I asked him if he had eaten his Snausages yet. He said no. I asked why he did not want his coat to be thick and shiny. He thought for a second and followed up with, "I guess I could feed them to my coat."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The prettiest princess of all was sitting on my front porch

November 1, 2011

I have a couple of updates here to share from October.  First, I bought CJ his first razor.  It is electric as that is what I use and my dad used.  His dad used a sharp rock or something, not sure, it was a long time ago.  It is not that CJ has 5:00 shadow every day just yet, it is more that he has 5 day scraggly hair going on.  He looks like one of those old men that misses the same little hairs every day.  You talk to them and can't stop staring at the long hair next to their ear or under their eye.  And he has that bad romance moustache thing going on.  You know, when it is obvious that they have a hairy upper lip, but it looks more like something Aunt Edna would have than Uncle Jim. 

Needless to say, Beth was a little sad about the razor.  She knew he needed one but gets a little more sad each time he takes another step into manhood.  THANK GOD he still gives us hugs.  When those go away, we will probably get arrested at the mall for randomly hugging little kids.

Speaking of little kids, we had about 180 show up at our house last night for Halloween.  Yes, there were plenty of high school kids wearing a tee shirt with a food stain on it saying their costume was "messy eater dude", but there were also plenty of adorable little children.  Beth and I always try to exchange in a dialogue about their costume and how cute or scary it is, but most of the kids are just like, "give me the damn candy and shut your pie hole!"  They have two hours to collect more candy than their parents normally let them eat in an entire year.  The most discussed costumes belonged to a set of 13 year-old twin boys we know who were only attired in Speedos and socks and shoes.  At the beginning of the night, it was in the mid 50's.  By the end, it had gone into the 40's.  Shrinkage?  DON'T LOOK!!

Actually, there were way more "trick or treats", and "thank yous", and "happy Halloweens", than there usually are.  We truly enjoy that part.

The other thing to share and record for posterity, is that the marching band season concluded this past Saturday at the OMEA State Competition in Columbus.  They received a Superior rating.  They were only the third band from this high school to complete the season with Superior ratings at all six competitions.  Congratulations to the band and all the instructors who worked so hard to make this happen.

CJ has a new app on his IPod that allows him to hack into our home computer and view or interact with whatever is going on.  He has even been known to pull up a You Tube video of a cat playing a piano to try to freak us out when we are not looking.  When I catch him, I try to interact with him.  Today, he pulled up the cat video, and I countered by typing in the You Tube search box, "CJ gets punched in the face".  There are actually videos of a CJ out there getting punched, but he is not mine.  Yet.  He just now hacked in and tried to add lines to this post until I won the contest by typing how he looked like a girl in his costume.  The student has not yet bested the master.

Besides, I am wondering why he isn't paying attention in class right now?  He forgets that his mom works at the school.  I may need to have her go to his classroom and see what shenanigans are going on.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I do love the drama

October 27, 2011

One of the things I enjoy doing with my free time is crossword puzzles.  While sometimes they make me feel really stupid, I can manage to get through most of them over time.  I certainly cannot do them in pen like the brainiacs out there.  And, the more you do them, you know some words are more commonly used than others, and that helps.

Every once in a while, the creator of the crossword puzzle impresses me with their cleverness.  Sarcasm is a big part of figuring out clues, and that I am familiar with, but also knowing common phrases is helpful.  Many times they will take a common phrase and alter it by one letter to change the meaning.  Those are fun to play with.

However, the creator of "Take it from the Top", Joe Dipietro, just cracked me up with one of his answers.  The puzzle is reprinted in my very local suburban paper, but originally came from The New York Times Magazine.

The clue is, "Proof that a Jersey Shore character has an incontinence problem?"  The answer is a commonly used phrase, unaltered, but taken literally.  Spoiler alert.  If you do not want to see the answer, read the rest of this paragraph with your eyes closed.  Answer, "Depends on The Situation."

How funny is that.  And sad.  These Jersey Shore people have made their way into the New York Times Magazine crossword puzzle as if they are mainstream.  Gooz, as June would say.  I am frackled, as Duffylou would say.

I had heard that Jersey Shore was the number one show amongst a very large demographic on television, and instantly I felt smarter.  Not sure why.  Can I feel superior if I continue to watch the Bengals whenever I get the chance?  I give Beth a hard time regarding her affinity for reality tv (mostly Hoarders and Intervention and People with Spending Problems), but she fires right back that sports are reality tv.  Gooz.

My favorite shows are actually some of the dramas that are popular now:  NCIS (reg and LA), CSI, House, Unforgettable, Revenge, Castle, and Pan Am.  Wow, I watch a lot of television.  Perhaps I should read more.  Or take up looking at Facebook.  Or go back to video games.  Or see what Snooky is up to in People magazine.

 Maybe my television viewing is not so bad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gotta catch em all!!

October 25, 2011

Have you heard enough about my son and the high school marching band?  Quite enough?  Well, too bad.  This is essentially a blog for him to read after I die in a horrible disfiguring accident, so let's keep it about him and how proud I am of him.

(I just spelled "die", "dye" up there and for the record, I would rather not anyone use RIT dye to make me another color after I am hit by a truck.  Not classy.)

Did you ever see the uplifting movie starring Michael Keaton called My Life?  It came out in 1993 and was about Keaton's character with a baby on the way discovering he had a life-threatening disease.  Keaton, not the baby.   He (Keaton, not the baby) decided to video tape pieces of wisdom for his child to watch and get to know his/her now dead father.  A real laugh riot this movie.  Anyway, that is what I thought of after my opening paragraph up there.  For the record, my birth certificate does not have an expiration date, and I do not have a countdown timer on my arm telling me that I have only a specific amount of time on planet Earth; so that was just me being morbidly funny.  And that is why you cannot drink coffee and read my blog since you may spew it on your screen with the jocularity and all.

So last Saturday was another band competition.  We traveled to Newark, Ohio for this one.  The site was Versailles High School.  I am assuming there are no classy people reading this blog, so I do not need to explain that no one pronounces it like a city in France here in Ohio.  We were at Ver-sales high school.

It was a 2 hour drive during which Beth and I were really nervous.  The drum line was going to be short two people.  The second snare has been ill, and the first tenor had a state tournament soccer game.  The young lady playing second snare has missed a couple competitions as her illness was somewhat serious (she is doing way better now), but CJ has never played in a competition alone without his tenor buddy.  And, they were trying to be the first drum line from this high school to take the "Best Percussion" award at all five of their competitions.

As it turns out, Beth and I were way more nervous than CJ was, and the drum line played that funky music like a bunch of white boys and brought home the title again.  I would put their names in here with hearty congratulations, but I do not use real names without permission.  They have given themselves nicknames based on Pokemon characters, but I do not know all of them.  So congratulations to Geodude, Squirtle, Syther, Charizard, Eevee, Arcanine, Machop, Ash, and Magicarp.  Gotta catch em all!  Done.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What about Santa Grandma?

October 21, 2011

I know I promised a photo shoot, but two things have prohibited this from happening.  Number one, Jane spoke for all of you and said you like me just the way I am.  Me Steve, love Jane.

Number two, I tried to download a link to one of the Geico cavemen posing without a shirt and it was possible, but made you jump through some hoops to get to look at it.  I know you make time to come here as an aside to your busy day, so any extra time spent would not be worth it.  You get the idea though-Geico caveman.

I would never put any body shots of myself online anyway, but after I weighed myself yesterday, that seriously not gonna happen.  I told you guys that I weigh 160, but in reality I weigh 166.  I KNOW!  If they sent me to a fat farm, they would have to turn it into a ranch!  The only trip I made out of the house yesterday was to the grocery store to buy Fritos, animal crackers, Mission tortilla strips, and waffle fries.  And this was after I weighed myself.  I may need an intervention. 

What?  Guys whining about weighing 166 pounds is not evoking sympathy?  Oh. Okay.   Moving on.

Wednesday night, I had to sit Beth and CJ down and have a stern talk.  At 3:30, CJ was supposed to do homework while Beth and I ran to The Target, and by the time we returned, he was not very far along.  Distracted much?  The key to homework, I think, is to do it right when you get home since later on there is either band practice or his brain is starting shut down procedures.  This was on display Wednesday as he was having trouble doing math-his best subject-and then Beth tried to help him.  For the record, Beth is the math tutoring guru at the high school, so he is lucky to have her as a resource, but after a certain time she starts to get short with him if he is not getting it fast enough.

Finally, I explained to both of them, that being on vacation for me meant not having to listen to this kind of bickering bs. 

The great thing about these two though, is that after homework was done, 30 minutes later they were giggling together about some nonsense on You Tube.  Whew.

So last night was my turn to help CJ with homework since all it entailed was quizzing him on vocabulary words.  Other than the fact that reading CJ's writing and discerning his spelling can be a challenge, it was an easy assignment for me.  Until he got slap happy and I tried to remain serious while he gave me definitions such as this:

disposition-how I am laying on the couch right now
deride-Millennium Force at Cedar Point
antiquated-dad again

His test is today.  I guess we can look forward to another year as a freshman in high school.  Class of 2015, not so much.

The other thing he and I did together yesterday was go to the dentist.  It was his six month cleaning, but it took a little longer since he still had a baby tooth in his head.  His dentist was asking me if I wanted him to pull it, and I was all heck yeah!  That sucker should have been out of there ages ago.  Use a hammer if you have to, or some rusty pliers.  Why rusty ones, not sure.

So out it came.  Dr. L. assured me that he did not use a hammer, he finds his right elbow to be enough force to jar teeth loose.  I think he used to be a professional wrestler.  The surprise was that CJ refused the offer to bring the tooth home to put under his pillow.  I told him that since Grandma is going through this dementia thing, a baby tooth may be worth $40.  He still declined.  Too cool now for the Tooth Grandma.  Growing up too fast.

Then he got in the car for deride home.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I, ain't got no bahdeeee

October 20, 2011

I was looking around the house wondering what to blog about today when I saw my latest issue of ESPN, The Magazine.  They are calling it their body issue and it came out around 10/17/11 (in case you are in the future).

CJ picked it up yesterday and said, "what is up with this guy!"  I will let you search it on your own as putting a link to it here means putting a link to all the photo shoot participants up, and I don't know how that will be received.  You see, they are all naked.  Hey wait, come back!  Okay, see you later. 

ESPN subtitles their article as Bodies We Want.  I don't think they even mean this in a smarmy way.  They are just assuming that we would want to look like the athletes in the photos.

You may have seen my photo on this blog in a couple of previous posts, and I assure you I am fully clothed in all of them.  However, if I were to choose to pose au naturale, I would look something like Blake Griffin on this magazine cover.  We both have two legs, two arms, and a head.  I think we both have the same quantity of muscles in our body, but there seems to be something wrong with his.  It's like he is swollen or something.  Perhaps he is allergic to fruit and just ate an apple.  Perhaps he should see a doctor.  Where did his fat go?  I use my spare fat, blubber if you will, to keep me warm in the winter.  I realize he plays in Los Angeles, but it gets a little cold there, does it not?  Gonna freeze to death, this guy, in 50 degree weather.  We should start a telethon.  Call in your Twinkies pledge now.

For the record, I did work out last night.  I did like 30 push ups and 60 abdominal exercises.  I checked this morning and I still do not have a six pack.  Got a one pack going on down there.  How many sit ups does a guy have to do to get a little definition?  Like 300?  Forget it.

Beth will be excited because Apolo Anton Ohno is in there.  Not that she is a big fan of his or finds the little dude attractive, but she truly enjoyed seeing Cincinnati Red's pitcher Bronson Arroyo in a store and saying he had a haircut like Apolo Ohno.  Oh no is right.  I think she still chuckles about it from time to time.

Finally, while there are naked females in there that are surfers, soccer players, hockey players and such; there is also a female bowler in there.  Her name is Kelly Kulick and she goes 5'7", 160.  Without the bowling ball.  She says bowlers, in general, are not known for being in great shape, but she has worked really hard to get stronger and better.  She does look it, as she is rather defined.  And I think it is awesome that being 5'7" and weighing 160 pounds is worthy of posing in a magazine naked. 

I go 5'10" (with shoes on), 160, so I am going to get the camera and get my pose down going.  Tune in tomorrow for the photo shoot layout.  Gather round, grab a milk shake, and try not to laugh so hard that it comes out your nose.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Victory at Bandusky

October 19, 2011

This past weekend, I chaperoned the marching band trip to Sandusky, Ohio.  It was a special trip for the band as they got to perform at an OMEA competition at Perkins high school, stay at Castaway Bay hotel, and go to Cedar Point amusement park.

It was an early morning call time on Saturday-6am.  We loaded the trucks, trailers, and buses and got on the road around 7am.  I was one of two chaperons on bus number 3 (which is apparently the cool kids' bus) and we headed out.  Unfortunately, we watched as bus number 2 blew a tire about 45 minutes into our trip.  Thank goodness buses have 6 tires, as 5 of them still went round and round.  However, I guess there are rules about driving a long distance on 5 good tires while the 6th makes the same sound as when you drive over those grooves on the side of the road.  You know, the ones that wake you up if you are catching some zzzzs while driving and start to head for the abyss on the side of the road?  So we pulled into a truck stop to switch buses.

Grace was with us as this only took 90 minutes and high school kids have the ability to stay out of trouble for 93 minutes.  I am not sure why Grace Kelly was there, but she is always welcome.

Therefore, we made only one more stop the rest of the way (at McDonald's in Mansfield, Ohio) and made it to Sandusky's Castaway Bay around 1:30.  The 90 minutes we lost were supposed to have been part of 3 hours free time the kids had at the hotel, so we were not in danger of missing our competition time.

We met for food and a precompetition talk at 3:30 and I found one of the motivational speeches quite interesting.

When your band gets judged at a competition, the judges use tape recorders during your performance.   They then make their comments available to you afterwards.  Apparently, one of the judges at a previous competition had said that they should play their music so well that the crowd would want to throw their babies in the air.  I am not sure where this judge grew up or if this actually a common practice anywhere, but it was a memorable critique.

So one band member got up in front of the group to give his motivational speech and remembered this comment.  He tied things together very well for the group as everyone was expressing concern about the 30-40 mph winds.  He explained that they needed to play so great that when the crowd threw their babies in the air it was worth it since there was a possibility that the wind would blow their baby away and they may not get it back. 

The band played so well that they brought home 7 trophies.  My favorite two were the best percussion for their class and best overall percussion out of all the classes.  I beamed with pride at my freshman percussionist out there.  Sure, I was happy for the whole band, ecstatic even, but it is always gratifying to see your own kid and his line mates win big when you know they have worked so hard for it.  Yay!

Then, Sunday, we went to Cedar Point.  I have never been, but have heard it to be better than the local amusement park, Kings Island.  I found this hard to believe since KI is a bit more nationally known.  Evil Knievel performed there, the Brady Bunch did a show there, and KI has been mentioned on CSI and other shows.  Still, plenty of people have told me the coasters are better at CP.  It turns out to be true, at least for me.  In general, the coasters are faster, longer, and a smoother ride.  At 46 that last quality is important.  The weather was pretty crappy on Sunday, but that kept the crowds down,  I got to ride 6 or 7 rides in the 5 hours we were there.  This would not have happened on a good weather day.  I truly enjoyed the rides even though it rained while I was on a couple of them which makes it feel like you are getting hit with ice pellets during the whole ride. I would have even been willing to throw my baby in the air on a couple of them.

On the bus ride home I was revelling in the day.  The win, the behavior of the kids, not sharing my seat on the bus, and my life in general; when suddenly I noticed the bus driver's head bobbing.  HELLO!!  From my angle, it looked like me driving late at night with the nodding off every 10 minutes head bob thing.  Alarm bells went off in my head as I remembered the safety instructions he was required to give me before we started the trip.  Pull the red button and the bus will stop.  I had laughed it off when he had told me this, but suddenly it seemed really important.  I repositioned myself such that I could spring into action from my seat two behind the bus driver in case I had to jump up and grasp the wheel.

I eventually, scooted up close to the driver and asked if he was okay.  He said that he was, that he had to keep checking stuff, and thanked me for asking.  I returned to my seat and watched him some more.  From my angle, I could not tell if whenever he looked down, he was checking his side mirror or closing his eyes.  I wished I had watched him more on the ride up the day before.  I was more worried as he adjusted his window and air conditioning as that is what I would do if I were trying to keep myself awake.

Fortunately, we were only 100 miles from home, so I only had to watch him for 90 MINUTES

As you may have guessed, we made it home safely.  I was not called into action, but I assure you I was ready the entire time.

Therefore, I would like to thank some individuals personally:  Mark and Cherri for organizing the trip, CJ for behaving himself and making me proud, Zane for surprising me with his stellar conduct, and the good Lord for making neither Billy nor me a hero on Sunday.  I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I am getting a new pole today.

October 4, 2011

This is my sister-in-law, Betty, when she found out.

Then she kinda came around to the idea.

This is actually what is happening.

We are getting new utility poles on our street this week.  Can you tell which one is the new one?  There is one down the street that is no longer a straight line at the top.  Around where the oil-drum looking transformer box is, the pole has bent to about a 15 degree angle.  Seems like a good idea to change them out.

You can probably tell that I have found some photos we had not imported to the computer as I imported my new pole photo.  There were some from my niece's wedding and some of CJ and the marching band.  Here are some wedding photos:

As brides go, Miranda was not all that unfortunate looking.

Can  you tell that CJ is still a little awkward around females?  He is somewhat handsome though.

Beth managed to look even more beautiful than the bride.  Our smiles reflect the best man's speech as it entered its 2nd hour.
CJ and his quads.  And a bothersome facial hair.

When the photo was smaller, I did not notice the face scratching.  I thought he was playing his drums.  There is not a good photo of him playing, but I am leaving this photo up since he is looking good in his uniform.  He doesn't read my blog, so do you think I should post it to his Face Book page and tag the rest of the band?

Did I actually just use any social media lingo correctly?  I may have just outed myself that posting and tagging is not going to happen.

I am going to ask the pole planters how long it will take for the new ones to take root.  I will let you know what I find out.

The formatting is way off on this post, but the more I try to fix it, the worse it gets.  I am giving up for now, so I hope it is still semi tolerable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hey, umbrellas are practical

September 27, 2011

Beth reminded me this morning that last Sunday the 25th was the 24th anniversary of our first date.  Lest you get the wrong idea, she did not have her hand on her hip and was not giving me either the evil eye or the head bob thing.  I am not even sure she can do the head bob thing.  Dating anniversaries are nice, but we no longer recognize them.  Especially when you have an out-of-town wedding to attend and one of us has to work on the actual anniversary day.  Beth did promise, though, that for our 25th dating anniversary-on the 25th-a celebration would ensue. 

Before I get too far along, just in case some of you are hopeless romantics and think I should done something special for our dating anniversary; let me remind you that I drove in laws and all to the wedding.  Nuff said.

So I am now looking forward to September 25, 2012.  I can only assume that this first date anniversary will be a reenactment of our very first date.  It should go something like this:

Sometime in August 2012, Beth will have to walk in my vicinity wearing an off-white skirt and her beautiful smile, thus catching my attention.  I will then have to ask someone who knows her, "Who dat?"

I will then need to go two to three weeks of working up the nerve to ask this enchanting creature out.  I will need to pick the perfect time and make sure I am wearing my Members Only jacket (to show how cool I am), and carrying my umbrella (to show what a loser I am).  I think Beth remembers the umbrella more than the jacket, but she also thought my name was Scott, so maybe she was distracted by the jacket.

She will say yes and give me directions to her home which WILL include the fact that there is a stop sign on the way to her house at the bottom of a hill for no apparent reason, but WILL NOT include the small detail that she has six over-sized brothers at her house and a father that wants her date to kiss his ass.

We will then proceed to Garcia's for a very nice dinner and Barleycorns for a beer afterwards.  This is more difficult than it sounds since both Garcia's and Barleycorns no longer exist.  We can sit in the parking lot of both and make our own seafood enchiladas and drink from a six pack.  I am fairly certain I can no longer fit into the black Levis or the pink-striped Levi shirt I wore back then.

Hey, I worked in Yong Men's at McAlpins and got discounts on Levi merchandise.

Actually, the hardest part to reenact will be the taking her home part.  Not that I got lost or ran the no reason stop sign, it is the dropping her off part.  I don't think I can ever again go out on a date with this gorgeous woman and leave without kissing her.

 Why did I not kiss her that first night?

Please see previous reference to six big brothers.  As it turns out, none of them would have cared that much, and most of them had moved out by then.  I am really just not the kiss on the first date kind of guy.  Little did I know that Beth was wanting some of this.  I found that out on our second date. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Because I am a little, little person

September 24, 2011

5 people left here for Indianapolis yesterday at 3:00pm (only 45 minutes later than Steve had planned), and 5 people returned unharmed.  In actuality, the car ride up and back may have been the least confusing part of the evening.  We made excellent time, traffic wasn't too crazy, the directions were step on, and we found a good place to park.

That was when things got interesting.

The invitations had told us to be there for the wedding on a Friday night two hours away at 5:30.  We showed up a bit after 5:00.  We found that the 5:30 starting time was actually for a cocktail hour.  And with the time change in Indiana versus Ohio, apparently an hour lasts 90 minutes.  With an open bar.

What you do know about me, fortunately, is that my father was an alcoholic.  He wasn't violent or abusive towards anything but his liver, but it did make for some interesting car trips.  We once spent an hour looking for an eatery by driving around one particular block about twelve times.  Even my 8 year old self knew we were not knowing where we were or getting anywhere quickly.  I think us kids in the back seat suddenly volunteered that we were no longer hungry.  My mother did not drive (except for the time she pulled the car into the garage and went too far almost creating an addition onto the house), so we were left with impaired dad to get us to and fro, and to and fro, and fro and to, and not so much to, but more fro.

Therefore, an open bar is a weird situation for me.  My inner being, built by DNA and fueled by Jack Daniels, desperately wants to partake in the openness that is free bar.  However, my desire to be CJ's dad and not Steve's dad has me committed to setting a good example and staying sober. 

I am normally that quiet guy with the sense of humor that catches you off guard.  Me in college, was occasionally that guy you didn't know could be so outgoing and funny.  At least I'm guessing I was funny since I was often told, "Steve, you were so funny last night!"  I never wanted to ask what made me so particularly funny last night because I could not remember.  I did not want to know whether they meant funny ha ha, or funny peculiar.

So I drank nothing but sodas and water.  I took the opportunity to point out relatives to CJ (from Beth's side of the family, of course) whose lives had been influenced by alcohol.  See your Uncle there with the crutch, he used to have a job making 6 figures, and he is currently homeless.  His good friends casino, alcohol, and recreational drugs helped him with his life choices.

See that Uncle, your grandma says the only time he has worn those shoes is when he has been to a wedding or stood before a judge.

Both of them were drinking. 

I really hope the evening made an impression on 14 year old CJ.

Some of you may be wondering what happens next at a wedding with a 90 minute cocktail hour, BEFORE the wedding. 

Well, the ceremony took place and lasted about 11 minutes.  It was nice, but really just served as an intermission before everyone was ushered into another room for the reception.  We were not allowed to eat food as the bridal party was rehashing the ceremony for a bit, but there was still an open bar. 

Finally, around 8:00, I was able to get some food.  I know this does not sound late to any of you, but we normally eat between 5 and 6 and are ready for snacks at 8:00.  Thankfully, the food was good and the wedding cake was cupcakes that no one seemed interested in.  CJ and I may have gotten a good sugar buzz going for the ride home.

I did get to visit with folks, everyone we ran into made over how tall and good looking CJ was getting, and the bride was beautiful.  Her husband really out kicked his coverage, but that is all I will say about that. 

They had a table set up asking people to write down keys to a good marriage and tie the answers to this fixture.  I wrote that the husband needed to learn the phrase, "whatever you want dear is just great with me".  I noticed another person had written, "lather, rinse, repeat".  Hmmm.

I wonder if this was written by the best man (who made the longest best man toast in the history of the world) who ended his toast with the lovely sentiment, "may all your ups and downs happen between the sheets".  Beautiful.  Let's drink to that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roadie resume building 101

September 20, 2011

This past Saturday I got my first chance to be a roadie.  For marching band, they actually call it the pit crew, but it is the same dealio.

As you know, my son plays drums, more specifically quads, in the local high school marching band.  As a freshman, he is new to all things band competition.  As his parents, Beth and I are new to being band parents.  Therefore, when someone said I or we should help with the pit crew and said how fun it was and how great the food was, I was in.  Did I mention that they mentioned food?  That usually gets me unless they also mention Fear Factor.

So here is how the days goes for a band parent/pit crew member. 

Show up at 1:00 with 3 pounds of ham.  This was not a requirement for everyone as that would make for a rather boring buffet.  That is what we signed up for.

Load band equipment onto trucks for 90 minutes.  This includes the bell kits/xylophone looking things, the brass instruments, the drums, and the uniforms and such.

Drive 90 minutes to Circleville, Ohio.

Unload all things band from the two trucks.

Eat sandwiches and side dishes prepared by band parents.  Yum.

Carry and guide percussion instruments to the field.  This is the interesting part as the rest is mostly fun grunt labor.

As members of the pit crew you have to take your specific instrument (the gong for me) out of the trailer and place it in its specific location where the pit will be using it.  HOWEVER, if you set one foot on the field, your band loses points.  This was very good information to have as I could have easily seen myself turning my backside the wrong way to place my gong and dangling onto the field.  Yikes.  (Taken out of context, that is a weird sentence).

Then the band performed and then we scurried to remove the pit and skedaddle.  If the performance plus set up/take down time surpasses 15 minutes, you are once again penalized.  We made it.

And, before you think this post is all about me and my pit crew performance, here are the results the band achieved at their first performance of the year:

First Place Band, Class B
Best Overall Color Guard, Class B and C
Best Overall Music, Class B and C
Best Overall General Effect, Class B and C
Class B and C Grand Champion
Best Percussion (CJ, the drum line, and the pit rocked the house)-they tied another Class AA band for the best score out of 21 bands.

They also received a Superior rating which has qualified them for state.

If some of this is confusing to you, welcome to the club.  I am starting to understand some of it, but the end result is that they brought home 6 trophies and did fantastic especially considering this was their first competition of the year.

Congrats to the Marching Mustangs!!

After the awards, we drove home and unloaded the trucks again and then got to our own home around 1am.  It was exhilarating.  Can't wait to do it again.

Now, if I can just find some liniment for my aching biceps.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why was George Clooney at The Target?

September 15, 2011

Yesterday at The Target was fairly busy and the workload typical with two semi-major exceptions.  The first was that Target released a new line to Target by the well-known Italian designer Missoni.  Yes, I know that it is a team of designers, but that is really not the point to my story.  Nor is my point about how crazy people went for this stuff, cause they did. 

As an aside and obvious contradiction to my point that the release was not the point, I knew this line would do well.  I have learned to judge the popularity of "the next big thing" by whether or not I find it appealing.  If I think it is odd looking or even ugly, I know it will do well.  Other than my ability to pick an awesome wife, I have no sense of fashion or awesomeness. 

I think Missoni is interesting, but nothing I would wear or have in my home.  Whenever I see the trademark zigzag print, I think of Charlie Brown.


You may have to right click on that link and then click upload to see it.

I once gave a female guest a hard time about the outfit they were purchasing (how to help guests 101 on display there), and she felt free to tell me that she refused to take fashion advice from someone who wore the same clothes everyday.  Touche.

So the beginning of my workday had me rallying my team to fill in all the empty space where the Missoni product had sold. 

Then came the phone calls for interviews.  This sometimes happens during the holidays as TV news gathers info for seasonal shopping stories, but it does not usually happen in September.  However, due to this big release making national news, the local news wanted in as well.

Since I was really the only manager in the building yesterday, I had to field some of these reporters and their questions.  The first interview was with this young lady for WLWT Channel 5.  Her name is Valerie Abati.  She was very nice and weighed about 75 pounds.  Here is her picture since some of the guys in the store were jealous that I got to speak with her.


She is an experienced reporter, I decided, since she interviewed guests about Missoni, but not me.  She knew who belonged on camera and who did not.

However, another reporter from WCPO Channel 9 came in and wanted to interview me as a follow up to a national survey regarding seasonal hiring.  She came in and she took some store video and then hooked me up for the interview.  I have been interviewed before, and they generally ask you about 10 questions, your answers take about 15 minutes, and then you watch the news later.  For me, that usually means they can scratch together about 30 seconds of quality material.

The same thing happened last night as Beth watched the news.  After first wondering why George Clooney was being interviewed and identified as me, she put on her glasses and realized it really was me.  Fortunately, she recorded it because she blinked the first time and missed it.

So there I was on the television last night.  If you stop by, I will show you the recording, otherwise, you may be able to find my name (spelled wrong) mentioned in a story, but the video was not saved for posterity.  I am pretty sure it will not go national.

I sincerely hope it won't since as I watched myself; I could actually see the wheels turning in my head wondering when she was going to be finished so I could get back to work.  Also, the content of what I said may or may not have been entirely accurate.  It is weird what your brain tells you to say versus what actually comes out of your mouth.  Phenomenon, do do da do do.

I figure if you add all my TV interviews together, I should accumulate enough for my 15 minutes around 2022.  By then my hair may be as gray as George's.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

So that is what little girls are made of

September 4, 2011

I picked up CJ from his sleep over yesterday around 11:30am.  As we were going to McDonald's for a healthy carry out lunch, I quizzed him about the night and it went well.  They watched a couple movies including Paranormal Activities (which made everyone jump at the end), and ate lots of cookies.  Good thing I was taking him to Mcd for a bit of nutrition in his life.

As we were talking, I also warned him that at some point he was going to be asked to try on some clothes, and if he did so willingly, he could avoid his self a mall shopping trip.  Me, providing awesome father-son advice since 1996.

Good thing with the warning as he was asked right after the Big Mac (which does have vegetables on it), and he obliged.

Therefore, he got to stay home while Beth and I went all over God's creation shopping.  The good news is that I now have pants, a shirt, and some shoes that I can wear to the wedding.  Whew.  All I have left to find is a blazer that will not cost me $200.  Apparently, prices have gone up since I last purchased a sports coat in the 1990's.  CJ has an outfit also.  We are so close.

We also fit in some grocery shopping and some Starbucks.  Not to mention the quality time Beth and I had fueled by a goal and some caffeine.

As we finally returned home from our trip, a conversation started amongst the three of us that included talk of Beth's death.  I have no idea where this came from, perhaps we were having a discussion about a  Disney movie.

 Look it up, almost every mom dies in a Disney movie.

This is where it gets funny....stay with me.  Fortunately, CJ assured Beth that he would rather she doesn't die anytime soon.  Beth took the opportunity to remind me that she wants to be cremated.  I assured her that I would make sure it happens, right in our back yard if necessary.  CJ thought the neighbors may wonder what is going on, especially when they see the flames and smell the coffee and chocolate.

There may soon be a family film about a boy who gets punched in the face.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My hips would tell all sorts of lies

September 3, 2011

It is Labor Day weekend.  I'm guessing that there are no neonatal nurses with the weekend off.  

I have the weekend off since I am not needed for any labor at The Target.  We are in the middle of clearing out the back-to-school stuff and getting ready for the Halloween stuff.  By September 16th, you should see plenty of costumes, decor, party supplies, and candy in your local Target.  And Christmas lights.

No, I do not know why.

Remember when school did not start until after Labor Day?  Because we were all farmers and needed the extra day light to bring in the crops?  Of course, we then had to be in school until the end of June practically, but starting school in the middle of August just seems wrong.

This weekend, I need to buy an outfit for my niece's wedding.  She is getting married in Indianapolis on September 23rd.  Since my work attire lacks variety, I have not worn a coat and tie for a long time.  I cannot even remember the last time, but it was probably for a funeral.  During the anti-hoarder summer purge of 2011, all my remaining dress pants, sports coats, and suits went away.  Most of them were the wrong size or had holes in them in places clothing should not have holes.  We are not talking about arm holes, we were looking through crotch holes and such.  Even Spencer Gifts-tacky gifts and crotchless underwear since 1963-would not sell you a pair of dress pants with easy crotch access.

I know a family wedding is the best place to meet eligible chicks, but I am taken.  Thus, I will stop speaking of pants with holes in the nether regions.  Too late, I know.

It will be interesting to go shopping with Beth and CJ today for a couple reasons.  One, CJ slept over with his fellow drum liners at a buddy's house last night.  For those of you who have been around a while, you know that CJ does not actually sleep over.  He wakes over.  Or something like that.  I took him for breakfast one time after he had a sleep over only to watch him fall face first into his pancakes.  We bonded, but more like bonding his face to the car window since it was covered in syrup instead of having one of those father-son bonding moments. 

The second reason it will be interesting is that while CJ and I are almost the same size now, we will not be getting the same size clothes.  We are almost identical in height and I have him by ten pounds.  However, he still has a butt and I do not.  I am quite sure Beth will feel free to point this out at some point.  "Those pants are nearly the same, but CJ's look better in the back.  Do you think yours are stitched wrong or something?"  Uh, no.  CJ has back and I got nothin.  When I do karaoke at the reception, no Shakira for me.

Crazy thought coming in, what if we get matching outfits?  Brilliant!!!  We will look like the Warblers have shown up to sing at the wedding.  Except we are not gay.  And cannot sing.  Otherwise, just like the Warblers.  Man I have great ideas.  I really should write this stuff down.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


August 30, 2011

How is your relationship with your mother?  I am speaking to the women here as there seems to be some dynamic in the mother/daughter relationship that us men cannot understand.  Last night it was on display in two separate, yet similar ways for me.

Beth and her mom have the kind of relationship in which Beth's mom has always played a mind-controlling game with Beth.  She knows that Beth will try to make her happy and do whatever she can for her, but her mom uses it in a way that seems like she was always jealous of Beth liking her dad more. 

In case you are wondering if I am worried the my mother-in-law may stumble upon my blog, uh, no.  She can barely use her home phone without getting Beth over to the house to explain it to her.

So once again Beth tried to play the part of wonderful daughter by inviting her mom to CJ's band practice last night.  The marching band practices every Monday night from 6:30-9 and usually goes through their whole routine around 8:45 at the end.  The idea is that Beth could get her mom to see the routine without her having to go to a Friday night football game or to a band competition.  Brilliant. 

Therefore, all that had to happen was Beth's mom arriving at our house by 8:15, us getting to the high school by 8:30, and watching the practice for 20-30 minutes so she could see her grandson in action.  Simple, right?

To make this happen, Beth told her mom to be at our house at 8:00.  Good idea as the woman with nothing to do all day (no job, no husband, no commitments) is always late.  She did arrive at 8:15.  Okay.  However, as soon as she walked in the door, she had a head full of stories she wanted to tell us about one of her other sons.  I think it was her way of letting us know that she had come to see CJ, but he was not the most important person in her life. She was doing us a favor.  So, she would start the story, tell it in a rambling, nonsensical way that would lead to Beth and her mom performing a take on the Abbott and Costello, Who's on First routine.

What I found funny, is that she would get to a point in the story, we would get interrupted by something like, you know, a band performance, and as soon as the last note was wafting away, she would pick up the story in exactly the same spot.  It was as if she had it memorized and her sole purpose for coming last night was to tell this story.

Beth was going a bit crazy since all she was trying to do was have her mom see her grandson perform.  It wasn't working.

That was fun to watch, kinda like a dog trying to carry a stick through a doorway with the stick turned sideways.  A lot of confused stops and starts and tail wagging.

To top it off, as we got to our vehicle, I saw and mom with her sophomore daughter trying to put daughter's bicycle into the back seat of her Toyota sedan.  I knew this was like stuffing Mama Cass into a pair of bike shorts, but I let them give it a go.  As soon as it became obvious that the bike was not going to fit and the two of them may soon come to blows, I offered to load the bike into my CRV and follow them home.  Even though they did not know me very well, the risk of me fleeing with their bike was better than the risk of damaging the car or damaging each other.

I loaded, followed, and delivered the bicycle and also restored peace to their family.  I may have been nominated for some smaller scale Peace Prize last night. 

I am sure this was short-lived though as I would guess the two of them have found something to butt heads about this morning. 

I have always bemused the fact that Beth and I have never had a daughter.  I see how adorable Beth is and just know that any little girl we would have had would have wrapped me around her finger at birth.  However, as I watch the world's mothers and daughters go through their life dance, I cannot imagine what would have happened if my two favorite women had grown up to form a pact of driving each other insane.  Getting caught in that crossfire may have been devastating.

I  am once again thanking God for knowing what is best for me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There I was, there I was, in the Congo

August 23, 2011

You know the problem with only posting when I have time, is that funny things happen and I think they make great blog fodder, but by the time I get around to posting, I cannot remember what it was I thought was funny.  I certainly have no problem creating really long sentences as it turns out.

So this past weekend was my weekend off.  The work week had been exhausting and stressful, so I spent a lot of time recovering.  I had managed to rub a blister in between my big toe and my second toe (picture not included since feet are ugly) that is a great thing to have when you work on your feet.  I had been walking on it a couple days in some degree of pain before I decided I had to drain it to start the healing process.  You're welcome if you were eating breakfast.  I performed this procedure in a very safe, sterile way, but the area still remained angry.  Finally, on Thursday, I decided to wrap both toes together with a cotton ball and some ointment between them to see if they could get along better as a team the next couple days.  It worked.  After stopping the revolt against the captain of my toes and some rest over the weekend, I was back to blister-free walking yesterday.  Bill Murray and Sergeant Hulka would have been proud of the teamwork.

Yes, I know I just mixed the actor with the character he plays opposite in the movie, Stripes, but would you have known who I was talking about if I had said John Winger?

I also just learned how to spell the word "sergeant".  How does that get abbreviated down to "sarge"?  Or have I always spelled that wrong too?  Probably.


I couldn't find the whole scene, but if you don't know it, you are missing one of film's most iconic moments.  It probably also means you have not seen the movie, Stripes, so you must go get it today. 

In other news, school has completed one full week in session for Beth and CJ and too excited are they to be back.  I can tell that CJ's brain has started to regenerate from a summer of uselessness.  This morning, I asked him what the largest country in Africa was (since he studied Africa last year), and he proudly stated, "Saudi Arabia".  Thank God he was kidding.  I know this because he laughed and immediately changed his answer to Mexico.  I am having trouble making the letter x work into my crossword answers.

Finally, we did something last Saturday that I would recommend to anyone with children.  The three of us went to Panera for bagels for breakfast.  Panera is not the key to the operation, nor are the bagels.  The mission was to simply connect as a family and review the week.  Electronic devices were forbidden and questions were raised.  These teenager/high school years are very important and we want to stay involved.  Some of CJ's friends are already experimenting with alcohol and the opposite sex (not necessarily at the same time), and we want to make sure this does not become an issue.  It is also a good time to discuss classes and friends and whatever so we can provide support and wisdom in case CJ needs trouble shooting in any of these areas. 

The benefit for me in doing this at a public place, is that if CJ has a question about geography or the opposite sex (or about the geography of the opposite sex) there may be someone in the crowd who may know the answer.  Both of these topics are beyond my scope.   The way CJ was looking at the girls walking around in their workout clothes, those questions may be coming soon.

I am off to the store to buy a map....of Africa.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hi School!

August 16, 2011

It is day one of CJ entering high school and day one of school year 2011-2012 for Beth. I cannot tell you how excited the two of them were to get back to school, because neither one of them was at all excited.

Last night at precisely 9:53pm, Beth put her head in her hands and started lamenting her long gone life choice to not be a princess. Sure, she had offers in her prime, but she turned them down to stay with me. Suddenly, faced with the choice of going back to work versus leaving me to marry a prince, she could have been swayed. Her kingdom for a clown. Bad choice.

While Beth pouting can be adorable, I decided not to egg on this upstairs situation and wandered downstairs to see if CJ was getting ready for bed. They have to get up at 6am, so getting to bed at 10pm would allow them the beauty sleep they so richly deserve. CJ was sitting in his throne eating a bowl of cereal and watching television. I asked if he was going to bed after finishing his last bowl of cereal for the summer. His look told me that he too wondered if he still had time to become a princess.

I tried not to laugh hysterically at the twos of them as I am not as excited to have the house back to myself on Tuesdays as they think I am. I am missing them awful right now. The reports from the neighbors of loud party music and me dancing around the house in my underwear are greatly exaggerated. Frankly, I do that when Beth and CJ are home, so that is not a new development.

Somewhere in this house, but apparently not on this computer, we have a photo of CJ's first day of kindergarten.  He is sitting on the front porch with mom in almost the same pose as you see above.  How we got him to pose for us this morning is a miracle.  He was not eager for this photo op, but somehow relented.  When I find the original kindergarten pose, I will post it and you all can be ready to say aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! and ooooooooooooooh!  Or, if you live in Minnesota, you can say, "For cute!"

As for the above photo, if you look close enough, you will find hints that neither one of them is excited. It is in the eyes.  Beth has a little Michele Bachmann on the cover of Newsweek look in her eyes, and CJ is thinking of researching those Menendez brothers he has heard me refer to before.

I miss you guys too!
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

We went on the see food diet.

August 13, 2011

Last night, Beth, CJ and myself went across the Ohio River into Newport, Ky for the Great Inland Seafood Festival.  We had gone a couple of years ago and stumbled upon a booth selling this sampler platter that was OUTSTANDING.  We have fantasized about it ever since and I promised them I would make it happen this year.  So after a long day at The Target, I got my second wind and braved the traffic through downtown Cincinnati (there was also a Red's game last night) and we arrived safely.  Beth released her grip on her hand brake and we waded ashore.  As we walked along the row of food booths, we attempted to remember what the place was called or looked like so we would get the right thing.  We thought we found it and ordered a $15 dollar plate of food to share.  CJ also ordered a $7 kabob of shrimp that we maybe didn't share so much, at least I never say a tiny shrimp. 

While the food was good, we seemed to be tasting a lot of mystery seafood and a whole bunch of vegetables.  I am not a hater on vegetables, but if my cheap self pays $15 for a plate of seafood sampler, I want more seafood. 

To make matters a wee bit more disappointing, since it was an outdoor event, we sat to eat in a tent with our 200 closest friends of the sea.  And gnats.  They were kamikaze gnats hell bent on dive bombing my cornea.  I guess they thought if the first wave took out my vision, the second wave could steal the food.  My resolve was strong though, and we powered through the sampler platter and some seafood fettuccine.  CJ was still hungry and asked for some money, so I sent him off with some cash and a dream.

I did not realize his dream was to eat some fried alligator, on a stick.  I have always assumed that the chances of me biting into an alligator in my lifetime were significantly less than an alligator biting into me, but there we were.  Noshing on some alligator on a stick. 

I know you are waiting for me to say it tasted like chicken, but it really kinda tasted like alligator.  Not bad, the whole thing ended up gone, but certainly not like chicken.

Finally, we got up to leave feeling full but not all the way satisfied.  We decided to check out this lonely set of booths farther down the line and came across the booth selling the sampler platter we had originally pined for.  We pretended we were not full and forked out the $12 for this platter.  It was AWESOME!   There were real large bites of seafood and some special spices that must have had crack as one of the ingredients.  I will have to check with Katie on that one.

Anyway, after finishing off this plate, we did our best penguin imitation and waddled back to the car. 

I made it home and sat down to watch the Bengal's game.  Fortunately, my stomach is strong or I may have lost all the contents based on the horrific display my team turned in on the field.  Good grief.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Too much emphasis on the muffin

August 11, 2011

A guest came in The Target yesterday seeking the whereabouts of an item.  She said it is a belt you can wear but not see.  Really?  I have heard of people taking belts of whisky like shots, or getting belted by someone elses fists, and you can generally not see "the belt"; however, I am guessing this is not the belt of which you seek.

They thought maybe it was called an invisible belt.  Ah, the invisible belts you say.  Well yes, we have those.  They are on this rack right here.  They are $20.  Here is a blue invisible belt and it will be in this bag, you just pay me the money.  It is a part of our new "Emperor's New Clothes Collection".  Enjoy.

And I quote, "No, I do not think it was from any Emperors New Clothes Collection."  Do people still read anymore?  Do children just watch Dora and play video games about Dora? 

I realize that I am old and the ENC story I read was carved on a stone tablet and we had to share it with the whole class while we avoided the dinosaurs, but I thought stories were passed down from generation to generation.  Not any more, I guess.

So I have looked it up and found something called an Invisibelt that you can buy on line that "has an instant slimming affect of a belt without the clunky buckle".  The belt fits waist sizes 2-14 and up to a 45 inch waist.  I am not sure how much slimming affect it has for the 45 inch waist, but I may try one on and get my male muffin top going.

My only concern, were I  to purchase this innovative belt from the Wonder Woman collection (still nothing?), is what happens when I lay the belt down somewhere?

You see, because it is invisible?  Oh, never mind.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It was like the blonde leading the blind

August 9, 2011

I have new follower!  Why is this soooo exciting when I have such awesome followers already?  Two reasons.  One, it skyrockets my number of followers to 11 which is almost double digits.  Second, it is Duffylou who has come over from http://byebyepie.typepad.com/bye_bye_pie/  and has frequently made me snort in the comments over there.  Welcome!

Speaking of snorting, Katie from http://twelvedaysold.blogspot.com/ can "allegedly" hook you up with some crack if you are in the market.  Does one even snort crack?  Not sure, check with Katie.

Who is the best husband around?  It's my blog, so I nominate me.

Yesterday, I took Beth, CJ, and Beth's mom to see Great Aunt Retta, the nun.  She is 97 years old and still teaching!  Not really.  She is 97, but is retired.  She is still spunky but does not get around like she used to.  Geees, I am 46  and I don't get around like I used to.  She is a real joy to visit as she never has a negative thing to say, she lived an exciting life, and she thinks I am one of the most handsome men she ever met.  Right up there with her dad and Jesus.

What proved to need some work is how CJ deals with old people.  As I observed his obvious boredom as Retta told us a story she has told us before, I realized I would be old soon enough and CJ would need to be a little nicer to me than he was being with Retta.  It also came back to me that as we walked to Retta's room, CJ had walked through a door opened by his 77 year old grandma as if it was okay for her to hold a door for him.  This got corrected right away.

Later on in the day, Beth decided that we should go to a park down by the river and it turned out to be a great idea.  Beth and her mom strolled and talked (or bickered, whatever moms and daughters do), while CJ and I walked and talked.  Interspersed with our conversation about zombies and video games and who could throw a rock farther, we discussed how one handles being around older people. 

I explained that when I moved back in with him when I turned 80, he was going to have to listen to my stories as if he had never heard them before, he would have to put up with my walker being in the way, and he would have to take mom to the grocery for me as she would still be as spunky as ever.  AND,  he would have to push the cart and open doors and carry the bags and look at her butt and drive the car and pick out the cereal.  In other words, all the things I am responsible for now. 

Yes, he did catch me on the butt thing and all butts may be off. 

In other news, Beth found a spot in our attic where she confirmed that we had a leak where a pipe meets the roof.  We had a heavy rain last night and water was dripping down the outside of the pipe from the roof to the basement.  It may be time to move.  Darn it.

We went to a freshman orientation at the high school last night to meet the administration and learn about being a freshman.  The funniest part was the explanation of the dress code and how none of the shorts the girls were wearing to orientation met the length requirement.  It was also humerous how CJ's girlfriend blew him off as they walked by each other and he was like "whaaaa?"  I don't know dude, you don't talk to her all summer and she gets mad?  Go figure.  Women are strange.

Finally, we went to CJ's locker while he went back to band practice, and we tried to open it.  We could not get it open.  The neighboring teens thought we were lame until we had them try the combination and it did not work for them either.  The two girls who tried it for us were both blonde, so between old people and blonde girls we were out of luck.  We were going to try the math geek who walked by, but CJ got a top locker and math geek was too short to reach it. 

It brought back high school age memories for me as I was the math geek, and I could not get blonde girls to open anything for me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

No, I will not explain the Cornelius part.

August 6, 2011

I grew up in Louisville, Ky and went to a great high school called St. Xavier.  My father and brother had gone there before me and I had always wanted to carry on the legacy.  Plus, I really liked the name.  Something about the letter X I think.  I was also a big fan of Malcolm X as a wee kid even though it turns out I did not know what he stood for.  Not that I am now against what he represented, I just think it was weird that a 6 year old white kid in Kentucky in the 1970s thought that Malcolm X was cool. 

Anyway, before I go down a road unintended, back to St. X. 

I lived about 5 minutes from the other popular private high school in Louisville, Trinity.  Most of my friends from grade school were going there.  Their school mascot was the Shamrock and I could not get behind that.  During pep ralleys at St. X before the big rivalry game, we would chant "Beat the Weeds" much to the delight of the Xavierian brothers running our school.  Our mascot was the Tiger and who wouldn't want to be a tiger versus something that grows in your yard?  Plus, I attended St. X from 1979-1983 and if you'll recall, there was a Rocky movie during that time span that offered us a great fight song. 

Can't remember?  How about "Eye of the Tiger" from Survivor in 1982.  We were certainly rising up to the challenge of our rival.

So why am I blogging about my high school?  Well, yesterday I received the alumni magazine from St. X in the mail.  There was a period of time after college while I worked for Kmart that I moved around quite a bit (5 states in 7 years) and St. X lost track of me.  I became one of the lost alumni.  I was not particuraly concerned since X's concern for my lostness was more about where did my checkbook take off to as opposed to caring about my well-being.  So I remained lost for years until my brother was nice enough to let them know I had moved back to Cincinnati and was again under their radar.  Now I am on the mailing list again for donation requests and the alumni magazine.

So I was looking through the magazine to see if I recognized any names, and they had an article in there about a guy named Eric Barnes.  He graduated in 1986 and I do not remember him.  I am trying to picture him with hair and a bad tie on since I would have been a senior when he was a freshman.  Can't come up with him.  Of course, there were 1600 young men at my school and most of them had hair and bad ties.

As it turns out, he has become rather successful.  To give you the microwave Reader's Digest version of his life, he went to Princeton, started a business there that became Ivysport, then started another on line business in 2005 called ePrep, and also found time to design and market a reusable water bottle called KOR Water.  You can look up what each of these things are on your own since this is just a blog.  I am not bitter as my life has turned out great, but Eric has turned out rather well and meets the criteria Beth's dad has laid out for a winner.

He used to sit outside a movie theater or event that we were about to partake of and watch the people coming out.  He would try to notice if any of them were smiling.  Smiling meant we go in, not smiling meant we go for ice cream.  Pretty good method if you think about it. 

Eric was smiling.  I am happy for him.  And me.

However, as I turned the page, I saw tidbits of some people from each class.  From the class of 1983 was a tidbit about a guy I do remember as we had gone to 7 years of grade school together and 4 years of high school.  Both our fathers had worked at the same company, Brown-Forman Distillers.  His father had been more successful there since my dad was very brand loyal and drank enough to get himself some early retirement .  Timothy, my class mate, must have followed dad into the business and has worked his way up to Vice President, Director of Route-to-Consumer/Alliance.  Nice title.  You need some good-sized business cards for that one. 

I remember Tim as being a short, immature kind of kid.  I guess he has matured a bit since grade school.  Probably still short though.  Once again, not bitter.  I will not be looking him up on Facebook though.

I think I will submit a blurb to the St. X magazine about my success in life.  It does need a business card and may not sound as glamorous as Tim's, but it means way more to me than any old title or globally used green water bottle.  Here goes:

Steve (aka Cornelius in high school), 1983:  wife Beth, son CJ, full head of hair.  And I am smiling. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Is 14 too late to change my parenting style?

August 5, 2011

I am off work for a long weekend.  I know it seems like I am off work all the time now, but I assure you, I am not.  I have tried to take short spurts of vacation time now as we will start to ramp up for the busiest seasons soon.  I have over 100 hours of vacation time left and once we get to November, I won't be able to take any until next Spring.  Who will be cranky for Easter?  Biting ears off real live bunnies?  Maybe.

What huge plans do I have for this weekend?  Well, sit down and prepare to be amazed.  Nothing!

I know.  Want to hang  out with me, but are afraid you can't keep up?  Old people with walkers could keep up with my crazy lifestyle.

Who knows, we may head up to Kings Island, go see Beth's Great Aunt Retta, or go grocery shopping.  Beth says we are at threat level orange for available eats in the house, so we need to go buy one of everything.  I told her I would go with her since that is much better than sitting at home trying to tell her what to buy.

The great thing about being me though, is that down time with family is one of my life's greatest joys.  It is like pizza flavored ice cream.  Let me give you a couple of examples from an innocent trip to see Wendy for dinner the other night.  (Why? No food in the house, remember?) 

As we were noshing on some sandwiches off the value menu (partying like rock stars since 2011), CJ decided to get a frosty.  I gave him a ten dollar bill and he went to buy it.  How he can see over the counter, I will never know.  He came back with some chocolate Oreo frosty thing.  I asked for change and he said, "Oh sorry, it cost $10."  I laughed and held my hand out.  He said, "you're right, it was $2, but I told the guy to keep the change."  Nice.

Then on the the way home, we were discussing a young man that works for me who is saving money to go to school for video game design.  This is CJ's dream job still, no matter how tactfully I try to dissuade him.

I do this by telling him you have to be good at art, have parents willing to foot the bill, and I am pretty sure video games are not going to catch on.  Hasn't worked so far.

Anyway, I described this young man as someone who will just come up to me and start talking about video games, or art, or what I can only describe as blahbety, blah, blah.  Beth said it reminded her of her brother.  CJ agreed, but then felt free to add "except for the part where he has a job."  I almost wrecked the car.  ROTFLMAOACJ!

It has become apparent to Beth and me that our choice of parenting with sarcasm may come back to haunt us at some point.  The jury is on their way back in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What would Mr. Whipple say?

August 2, 2011

As you know, last week was band camp week for CJ.  It was plenty hot and way more intense than he or we ever thought it would be, but he survived and did well.  The whole band exceeded expectations for learning their routine, so congrats to all of them.

At the end of the second week, the seniors initiate the freshmen.  In some ways, the seniors actually initiate the freshman's parents.  I am going to show you pictures of said initiation as soon as Beth gets out of bed.  She has the camera and the camera cable.  Not in the bed with her, but in her purse somewhere.  It is 8:00 and not the right time to be asking or searching.  You guys wait days between posts from me, so I would guess you can wait a few more minutes before I put up the photos.

So as you can clearly not see, the seniors go around and toilet paper the houses, trees, cars, bikes, and pets of the freshmen.  We did send CJ out to clean it up, but Beth was the one who actually did most of the tp removal.  It was slightly windy that day and we have a neighbor who readily complains about anything that inconveniences his yard.  Therefore, Beth got out there with stick in hand and step stool under foot and removed tp from the tree.  I drove around our neighborhood and some trees still look like May fest, so not everyone has neighbors who complain or Beths who know from hard work.  Apparently, the final key to toilet paper removal from trees is water.  It has not rained here in a couple weeks, so I would guess we will see tp flapping in the breeze in some yards until we finally get some rain.

The bonus news is that some of the rolls used in the yard decoration were still rather intact as we cleaned up.  We may not have to go shopping for toilet paper for a few months.  I know!  Hey don't give me grief about using something to wipe my arse that was once lying in my yard.  I know you have gone camping and used a leaf at some point in your life.  Steve, grossing out readers since 2011.