Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm guessing not

May 31, 2011

I hope everyone had  a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Ours was interspersed with projects and some family time.  We were able to get the driveway done and the grass cut and some recon shopping for future projects.  We were also able to go out for pizza, have a couple of nice walks, and go to a graduation party.

Some of these things did not involve CJ as he and his man cave are not soon parted.  We lure him out by placing food on the steps and once he is in the kitchen we trap him so he can be exposed to sunlight for awhile.

Surprisingly, he did go to the grad party with us though.  I was shocked since I usually have lure him out with trips to The Garden of Eden for pizza or pretend we are going to a video game store that also sells cheesecake, but he rarely falls for it.  However, this time I asked if he wanted to go to Becky's house and get a burger and he said yes.  It was as though we had starved him enough that a burger at Satan's Village Kitchen would have sounded good.

NOT THAT BECKY IS SATAN!!!  Becky is the younger sister of the young lady the grad party was for.  CJ goes to school with Becky and they rode the bus together for all of middle school.  During those four years they spoke audibly to each other maybe 12 times.  It's not that they don't like each other, it is that neither one of them are big talkers Betty Crocker.

Yet, there we were at the grad party eating food and learning things about high school band.  I got the impression that we were talking to the couple that none of the other people wanted to talk to.  You see, they were the ones with the awesome kid who has a scholarship to college and did great in the band and did all sorts of wonderful things.  Some people do not want to hear how awesome the life of your kid is going.  I used it as a learning experience about band and what CJ will be encountering as he enters high school.

Of course, the other possibility for why I was getting stolen glances from other moms at the party was that I was looking especially good that night.  I had not thought of that.  Go me and my hot self.

I just asked Beth if she thought that was why women were staring at me during the party and she spewed coffee on her IPad.  What do you think that means?  Hot or not? 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Are you ready for some futbol?

May 28, 2011

My sister called last night and left a message to see if we had gotten hit by any of the tornados in our areas.  Fortunately, the answer is no.  I am  thinking she was more curious to see if they had to make hotel reservations for their stay as opposed to staying at our house.  Which had fallen down around us.

Her favorite movie when we were kids was The Wizard of Oz-which she watched 90,764,218 times.  When she wasn't watching the Oz she was listening to Barry Manilow.  Kathy was a Manilooney.  I realize he writes the songs that make the whole world sing, but for the love of God!  And his little dog too.

So I think tornados worry her some.  Auntie Kath, Auntie Kath, we are okay.

We are so okay today that we were able to get the driveway blacktopped.  I did the clean up and crack filling, which is just as glamorous as it sounds; whilst Beth has done the rolling of the blacktop.  Girl is serious.  She has been at it for 2 hours making it perfect.  Perfect may be wrong as every couple of seconds she groans and proclaims that she got more black on stuff that is not supposed to be black.  She is now finished and it looks awesome!

You know what is fun about blacktopping your driveway?  It is when every neighbor that leaves their house always points to their driveway and beckons us over.  Yes, we are having such an extraordinary time of it that we will do yours next.  Tom Sawyer has got nothing on us.  Actually, he does since none of our neighbors thought we were having so much fun that they wanted to come black wash our driveway with us.

So that is done and the EUFA Championship match comes on in a couple minutes.  It is the championship game for all the European Club teams.  This one is between Manchester United and Barcelona.  I know that 1% of you that will read this care about the outcome, but I am rooting for Manchester United.  I like the rough and tumble style of English futbol as opposed to the flop and dive style of the Italian and Spanish leagues.  Barcelona has the better players including the best player in the world right now-Lionel Messi-but some of them would rather fall down as if their leg is broken whenever someone kicks a ball near them.

We will see what happens, but I am hoping for a quality contest in which we do not even know there is a referee.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It just might be a lunatic I'm looking for

May 24, 2011

Why do wives always make us men go to the doctor?  Sure, I looked like crap, I was coughing up a lung, and my chest hurt badly enough to grimace every time I laughed or coughed; but doctor?  Not necessary.

So Beth made me an appointment followed by an ultimatum.  I have bronchitis.  The only good thing that has come from the bronchitis so far is that I can cough on my food at the food court and CJ stops stealing my fries.  I have been taking my antibiotic and my steroids and now I use my right hoof to count to ten.  The steroids have a side affect of making things taste a bit metallic.  Oh, and that counting with your hoof thing.

Enough about illness. 

Today is CJ's last exam at school.  Tomorrow he has to go to school for games and grub day followed by a cinematic experience.  Worth every nickle we pay in taxes for his schoolin.  I guess it is a good school if they call it a cinematic experience instead of a flick.  Thursday is 8th grade graduation, and Beth has assured me that CJ's grades are sufficient for him to graduate.  Then summer break starts for those two and they may be a little ready.  Beth has a staff picnic to go to after school today and is not even over-excited about an event with free food.  She was approached by the school psychologist who told her she was looking forward to talking with Beth at the picnic.  Beth told me she wasn't sure why this young lady was wanting to speak with her, and I reminded her that she is a psychologist and that Beth is nuts. 

While this may look like an adorable photo of CJ and his girlfriend Taylor from the 8th grade dance, it is actually an example of two things.  First, it exemplifies CJ's regret that his parents are learning to use the computer.  Second, it is an example of Beth being crazy.  Please notice how CJ's shirt matches Taylor's eyes.  No really, please notice.  As it turns out, the shopping trip for this shirt for CJ had everything to do with finding something to match Taylor's eyes.  While we were shopping, I kept picking out shirts that I liked due to their color.  Beth kept saying, "How about this blue one?"  I admitted that it was nice but wondered if it was too boring.  I would pick another.  "How about this blue one?"  Finally, I remembered my number one piece of advice to make a marriage work, don't take a stand on something that doesn't matter.  You'd be surprised at how many things don't really matter.  It works for me.

So the shirt matches Taylor's eyes.  We did not know anything about her dress in advance, so matching that was impossible.  Beth went with her eyes.  Admittedly, it worked out very well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Apparently there is nothing funny about being sick

May 20, 2011

I just want to thank the helpful commenter from my last post about NOT having a puppy who said, "puppies are soooo cute!"  Thanks, June.  To make matters worse, one of CJ's classmates has a Facebook photo of herself holding Jack at the pet store.  Beth came across said photo (because Beth is all about spying on CJ's friends on the Facebook), and if I could figure out how to load it from Facebook into this post, you would see that he is not really cute at all.

Tonight is the big 8th grade dance at CJ's school.  For those of you keeping score at home, CJ did finally ask Taylor to the dance.  He did it over Skype just like we used to do when I was in school, and her answer was "Yes!!"  Hopefully, we will have some photos to share of them at the dance.  I am not sure how this will happen as neither Beth nor myself are going to the dance and that leaves the photo taking responsibilities in the hands of a 14 year-old boy.  Back to the Facebook.  I will download you a link since I am just like Link Martindale.

So I am killing time right now until I have to be on  a conference call for work at 9am.  It is about the new intern I will be training over the summer.  It is cool to have an intern because then I do not have to clean up nearly as many spills at the Target since every good manager needs to know how to clean up a spill.

I am also trying to recover from being under the weather the past couple days.  I started feeling poorly
Wednesday which I think correlates with the work I had to do on  Monday and Tuesday.  Our compactor is broken at the store.  This is what we use for all the garbage we don't recycle.  With this rather important piece of equipment down for the count, we were forced to have an open top dumpster delivered.  Yours truly was the main man designated to take out all our garbage to the open top.  Fortunately, it is May and the weather is awesome-you know, 55 and rainy-so multiple trips to the dumpster is exactly what this tired old man needed.  Therefore, by Wednesday, I was sick.  I had also proven why a manager at the Target needs a 4 year degree.  If I had not taken all those business management classes, there is no way I could have handled taking out the garbage.

In the good news department, Beth did not kill me in my sleep last night.  I have not been sleeping well with this cold which meant she has not been sleeping well with this cold.  Then CJ did not feel well this morning and spent 30 minutes in the shower.  He has a Latin test this morning, drum practice after school, and this dance thing tonight.  There is no time to be sick.  Beth put on her best mom face and told him to get well before she punched him in the face.  Mom of the year, my wife.  I think the two of them are so ready for May 26th to come-also known as the last day of school.

Okay, I am going to go take my conference call.  I have tried to contact the new person I am going to train, but he has not returned my emails or phone calls.  Perhaps he has gotten the word that I am going to make him take out all the garbage.  You don't think he reads my blog, do you?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't look at me cruel human

May 14, 2011

First, condolences go out to June Gardens, blogger extraordinaire of Bye Bye Pie.  Her cat died yesterday.  She is who introduced me to blogging-June, not her cat.  Her cat taught me how to paws for effect.

Second, congrats to the middle school band, of which CJ is a part, who went to a competition today and scored the highest rating.  They did awesome, especially since they had to meet at the school at 6am and perform at 8am.  Well worth getting up early to hear them.  They sounded great.

Third, my sister and her family will be visiting us in June.  Exciting news!  We are still hoping her husband can make the trip as he is in negotiations with his boss for the time off, but it sounds like they are coming either way.  However, the puppies are not making the trip.  They have two new puppies and we have seen photos-very cute.  CJ was perhaps a bit more excited about the puppies coming than the kids, but I'm sure it was because he is still trying to covertly get us to buy him a puppy.  He does not want us to buy him a little sibling.  CJ even told me he has picked out a name for his new puppy-Rowen.  I think he is naming it after his good friend from school, at whose house he only had a bad time because he had to leave earlier than he wanted and there was still more fun to be had.

Can you tell one of CJ's friends has started reading my blog?  Do you think his name might be Rowen?  Is he cuter than a new puppy?  Uh, no.

So we are starting to get ready for the visit by...doing nothing just yet.  It is still a month away.  Why start early?  We will find them a place to sleep, make sure there are Popsicles in the freezer, and Coke in the fridge.  They are from Georgia, so they must be simple folk.  I will also try to track down some chuckle.

No, I have not lost my laugh, chuckle is something everyone eats in Georgia.  I learned it on the show 30 Rock and blogged about it a while back.  Some people find my blog by searching the words chuckle and pig.  They will be sorry they did that today I bet.

Speaking of puppies, Beth and I visited a pet store last night to look at some puppies.  We only window shop since we are not in the market for a puppy, and if we were, we would be more likely to rescue than purchase.  Looking is fun though since you can pet and play with them, and then leave them there for someone else to feed and clean up after.  However, this puppy last night made us sorry we stopped in.

He was a Jack Terrier.  I did not look to see his actual sex, but his name was Jack, so boy puppy, right?  Anyway, I played with him for a bit and he was quite rambunctious.  Then we left.  Through the glass we could see him lay down and look sad.  As we walked past the store's window, we looked in and he made eye contact for a second.  He then took his ears and rolled them up over his eyes because he could not bear to look at me anymore.  Sniff.  I am glad Beth saw it too as I had a hard time believing that this little puppy could portray this message of abandonment so well.  Tissue, please.

Gosh, Beth and I would so spoil a puppy.  Can't do it.  Would someone please tell a story about how expensive it is to have a sick pet?  Please?  Those are the best puppy buying contraceptives.  Or deterrents.  Yeah, deterrents.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How aloe can you go

May 12,2011

Last night was Mayfest night at CJ's school.   I know you are picturing a maypole, streamers, fair maidens all in a row, and lambs eating ivy; but that was not what it was.  It was an event for the 5th through 8th graders to run around, eat ice cream (Graeters), and cause general havoc.  Meanwhile the middle school choirs and bands put on performances.  There was even an impromptu flash mob.  That is probably redundant, but the whole flash mob concept is new to me.  We did not have a lot of flash mobs back in my day.  The only flash we had wore a red suit with lightning on the front, and mobs involved numbers running and cement shoes.

 I can really paint a historical picture with my words.  Takes you right back there, don't it?

Nonetheless, the performances were interesting and the weather was dry (something to be said for that these days), and I really enjoyed watching the 8th grade band.  There are only two percussionists in the band, CJ and Jack, so they each have to play several instruments during each piece.  Gotta be on their toes, those two.

Apparently, the 8th grade teachers did not see the schedule regarding Mayfest, as CJ had the most homework he has had in weeks.  Couple that with the fact that he had an after school activity which lasted until 5:00, and homework wasn't being wrapped up until 11:00.  I think Beth even did some of the math problems for him (allegedly), so I hope she got them correct.  Actually, Beth was a tremendous help to CJ by helping him understand radicals (math, not politics), and helping him look up information for his science homework.  Beth gets a gold star for last night.

As I said before, the weather last night was dry.  However, it was also very humid.  Here in our town, we go straight from early Spring to late Summer.  There are rarely those light, breezy, comfortable Spring days that I love so much.  Yesterday was mid 80s and humid.  Therefore, when CJ arrived home from band practice, he had hisself a case of the prickly heat.  Heat rash, some people call it, though he really wasn't all that rashy.  He was just in itchy misery.  We told him to go take a shower, but forgot to tell him to not take his usual hot water til your skin melts off shower.  Thus, the shower did not fix the itchy.  It wasn't until we stopped at the drug store on the way to Mayfest and bought some aloe lotion that he found relief.  As the lotion was being applied, we noticed that he was wearing the same boxers that he slept in last night and had worn the day before.  14 year-old boys.  Hygiene much?  Garsh.

The whole Mayfest ended on a happy note when we were walking to our cars.  The three of us walked past the Taylor family, otherwise know as the family of CJ's girl friend, and neither Beth nor myself said a word to them.  They do not truly "date", so family contact is not allowed.  I looked at CJ as we cleared the contact zone and asked if mom and I got points for our behavior.  He looked relieved and did not even play it off as something he had being fretting about.  He gave us each an appreciative, yet surprised, look of thanks. 

I do not know what history there is of us embarrassing him in public.  I should be happy he does not have his own blog or I may have the answer to this question and more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quad city

May 10, 2011

I arrived home from work yesterday to find CJ a little melancholy.  I don't think he knew he was melancholy, he thought he was just sad.  Mensa refunded their admission dues.  CJ was not chosen to run in today's final track meet. 

His Spring schedule has been loaded with homework, drum line tryouts, and track.  Weather has not helped the track season at all.  He has only run in a couple meets this Spring and missed some practices.  Couple that with the large amount of participants on the track team and the fact that you can only enter two participants in each event per school; and you have a lot of kids being left out.  CJ was their third best miler and third best discus thrower.  He was especially disappointed by not being able to throw discus as he has not gotten to do it in a meet yet this year.  When it rains, the discus circle you throw from, and the field you throw into, often get too wet to allow for competition.  I had encouraged him to join track mostly for the opportunity to throw the discus.  He is a big kid with quick feet and I thought these two things would meld him into a competitive hurler.  No such luck, at least this year.

So I thought of something to cheer him up.  I had run into a father/son combo at The Target Saturday who were doing their last minute Mother's Day shopping.  The son and CJ had been on the same soccer team a couple times, so we chatted for a few minutes.  The son, Kevin, is a year ahead of CJ and is also in the marching band at the high school, so I asked how that was going.  He said well and asked how CJ was doing.  I explained how he had been working out with the percussionists this past month.

 This is something they do at the end of each year to get ready for the following year, and to hold tryouts for drum line.  Since CJ is our oldest, we were not aware of the significance of these practices and how the drum line tryouts work.  We gradually learned that there are not unlimited percussionists on the drum line ( I may have seen that movie too many times).  There are only two snares, two tenors, and three base drums.  That is why not everyone makes the drum line. 

So, Kevin asked if CJ made the drum line.  I said that he had and was going to be a tenor.  Tenors are also called quads and are a set of four drums you carry over your shoulders like continental soldiers.  Kevin raised his eyebrows and said "wow!"  That was weird to me as you do not get a look of interest from a 15 year-old that often.  Or was it surprise?  Or was he impressed?  I could not be sure.

I told this story to Beth and CJ last night, which led Beth to tell her story.  She works at the high school as an aide and looks 18, which allows her to walk the halls and hear the gossip.  She also keeps it quiet that she is CJ's mom so that she can possibly hear things.  The thing of interest she heard this week was, "Did you hear a freshman made tenors??!!"  Oh, is that a big deal?  I guess it is.  Apparently, it is no given that freshmen make the drum line at all. They sometimes have to spend the first year in orchestra band and then tryout again the following year.  And if they make the line, they are almost always a base drummer.  You know, the big drum you carry in front of you and pound the sides of.  It is cool, but chicks dig the snare drummer.  There are a couple upper classmen who have snared the snare drum positions, and the chicks, but here is an incoming freshman that is gonna play the tenors.  Woot!

CJ, I am very proud of you.  I know you are not always happy about taking extra lessons and having to practice, and all the nagging; but it seems to have paid off.  You have a talent kiddo and your mom and I are busting with glee that you have shown that hard work and talent can pay off. 

There is a band camp the last two weeks of July for the marching band.  One of the traditions at the end of the two weeks,  is toilet papering the trees at the houses of the incoming freshman.  While, I do not look forward to pulling tp out of this big tree in our front yard, I guarantee you, I will be smiling the whole time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wonder Twin Powers, Activate

May 3, 2011

Saturday April 30th was Beth's birthday.  The year of her birth will remain a mystery as women who are half way to 90 do not want others to know their age.

I tried for a wondrous celebratory day for Beth, but it had a couple of hiccups.

Things started out well as I accompanied Beth to the BMV.  What says "I love you" more than volunteering to go with someone to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  Sarcasm?  No!  Think about it.  It was one of the most romantic things I have ever done.  How many of you would volunteer to go with your spouse to the BMV, or any government run institution, knowing there was a chance that you and your 50 closest friends will be sitting in chairs with screaming children, people talking loudly on their phones, disgruntled employees, and a number system that has been touched by thousands of people and their grubby paws every day?  None of you?  My point exactly.

However, we were surprised to find this wonderful Saturday morning that the number of people renewing licenses and such was minimal, the employees were friendly, and Beth's new license photo was adorable.  Birthday off to a good start.

I then took Beth for coffee at her favorite Starbucks.  I did not even know she had a favorite Starbucks.  As it turns out, it is a quaint little yuppie coffee house at which we secured the best couch in the place and drank coffee and discussed life together for a good while.  Step two of birthday going well.

Then we got CJ off to his soccer games (he referees games) and we cut the grass.  I know this does not sound like big fun, but since Saturday was the only day with no rain predicted this week, it had to be done.

Here is where things started to turn a bit.  I did not put 2 and 3 together when Beth had told me she bought a Groupon for a place called ZZ's Pizza.  Her desire was to go there on her birthday on the  way to the Red's game, which we have had tickets to for 6 weeks.  Beth isn't the biggest sports fan ever, but she does enjoy going to the games.  Plus, it was Joey Votto bobblehead night.  Woot!

However, I screwed up this plan by telling CJ it was okay to go to his buddie's house after reffing as long as he was ready to go by 5:30 for the 7:00 game.  This rather ruined the pizza thing.  Carp!

Then, I picked up CJ from his buddie's house and CJ announced he did not have a very good time.  Silence!!  Too late.  Then the route I chose to the game had a detour in it that I was unaware of, which took us on a path that is way more stressful than our normal route to the game.  It brought us into downtown Cincinnati from the opposite side that we usually choose which then meant choosing a different parking lot from our norm.  Oh, the stress.  Add in the fact that it was bobblehead night, the weather was ideal, and therefore, the game was sold out; and you got yourself a whole mess of stress.  Help me baby Jesus.

The night got saved when I found a parking spot, we walked swiftly to the gate, and were able to secure 3 Joey Votto bobbleheads.  Thank you baby Jesus!

Now, here is where things got interesting.  Beth's family is made up of her parents and six older brothers.  Brother number six, in descending order, is her twin-he is a few minutes older.  And before you ask, no, they are not identical.  THANK YOU GROWN UP JESUS!!!  As you geniuses out there have probably figured out, they share the same birthday.  So far, on this day, they have not called each other.  Why, I do not know, maybe they forgot the other's birthday.  Awkward.

So, let me remind you that there are 40,000 people attending this ballgame and who do we see walking to their seats in the same section of the stands as us?  Twin brother Chuck and his wife and friends.  Seriously, they were sitting like 12 seats away from us.  What are the chances of that?  I mean come on.  Is it too late to play the lottery?

So, Beth and Chuck were able to wish each other happy birthday in person.  Chuck turned 45, but I am not telling you Beth's age.

Then, a poor Red's performance for 7 innings turned into a comeback victory and all possibilities of a bad birthday were gone.  Our crops were saved. 

Mother's Day is coming up, so I was thinking pizza sounded good.  I sure wish we had saved a coupon for a good pizza place..