Friday, August 30, 2013

Fortunately, GF does not stand for Gigi Festora. See, things are looking up.

August 30, 2013

CJ has not been getting  a lot of sleep lately.  Between school, band, and work he has been a busy boy.  So yesterday when he came home from his day completely spent, I asked him if he was okay.  His reply was that he had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night prior since he was worrying about something.  It turns out that that something was the issues his GF is having.  In addition to all of the same things CJ has been dealing with, GF has been troubled by the less than encouraging feedback she recently got from her soccer coach.   He is not a man to candy-coat things and his opinion of her play in the last game was not covered in sprinkles.

So I stopped worrying about CJ for a few minutes and decided to worry about GF.  I would love to sit down with her and say some things to make her feel better, but since she has been witness to some of the decisions my son has made and probably assumed they were due to my parenting skills, my advice is certainly not something she would seek out.  However, my contention is that his inability to keep a tidy personal space, or his friendship with Rowan, or his unkempt facial hair choices, or even his entertainment preferences ("Hey, let's go see Kick Ass 2"); are not issues to which he first sought out my guidance.

Therefore, I thought I would get the advice out of my head and onto my blog so that it would be out there and available.  Do with it what you wish.

Here is what I, as an elder in the community, have learned about life.  Sometimes it sucks.   There, I'm done.  Just kidding.  Actually, I have decided that there is a reason that sometimes life hands you a challenge.  I firmly believe that each of us has a plan.  It is not a definitive plan right up to the point when you know you are going to die due to the expiration date on your birth certificate, but it is a plan from up high.  I am not going to declare outright that the plan is from God as I am not in tune with your religious inclinations.  Therefore, you can believe the "plan" can be from any of a number of gods or god-like influences:  Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Ozzy Osborne, Hillary Clinton, Yahweh, Alf (you may have to look him up-it is short for Alien Life Form), that little talking dog from Men in Black, Vidal Sassoon (I know how important your hair is to you), or Lady Gaga.

Nonetheless, there is a plan.  Along the way you will make choices involving right and wrong, vanilla or chocolate, and Coke or Pepsi, but these decisions are not going to make or break the plan.  Ultimately, you will be where you need to be.  For you, the sky is the limit.  With your talents, personality, and parents that care about you, your job simply becomes rolling with the challenges you face along the way.  AND learning from them. 

Since I am brand-loyal to Jesus, here is a religious example.  In The Bible, there is a story of how the Apostles (Jesus' friends) were in a boat on a lake when a storm came upon them.  They were frightened for their lives.  Out of the darkness, Jesus came walking up to them on the water.  No jet ski or inflatable alligator.  He invited Peter to walk to Him on the water and he did.   At one point, Peter started to doubt that Jesus would protect him, and he started to sink.  He lost faith.  Jesus then saved him.  The point some people miss from this story is that Jesus did not calm the storm right away or take away the cause of their dilemma, he simply guided them through their troubled waters.  Two of the apostles, Simon and Garfunkel, later wrote a song about the experience.

So take some advice from your elder.  I have been through countless times in my life during which I wondered why I was being handed such a challenge.  They never stop coming.  You have seen some already in your tender years.  Divorce, tough coaches, and bad haircuts have caused you strife. 

No, your hair looks fine, why do you ask?  Oh, I forgot how sensitive the female psyche can be.  I didn't mean a bad haircut, I meant an unfortunate wardrobe choice. 

Ugh.  No I am not referring to the time you wore boots with your shorts and came over to our house.  I thought you looked fine.  And by fine, I mean perfectly appropriate given the event and weather and...oh never mind.

Anyway, my point is, that all of the events that we encounter along the way are meant to shape us for who we are to become.  Survive, learn, grow and move on.  This is how we do it.  ( Now get that song out of your head the rest of the day.)

For all you know, your current coach could be the turning point in your life that helps you either become the next Abby Wambach, or the President of these United States.  My only caution to you is that if you choose to keep my son around for that second choice, I am not sure how good a First Lady he would be.  First Man?  First Gentleman?  First Dude?  Not sure.  His inability to clean up after himself and his drum set in the White House basement could be a problem.

From which you would have to survive, learn, and grow.

Friday, August 9, 2013

How much was that warranty?

August 9, 2013

Today was computer shopping day.  Earlier this week, CJ's computer died.  Beth informed me that he was pretty devastated and was going through the 7 stages of grief.  She had seen anger, sadness, confusion, sneezing, Donner, and denial.  I did my duty as a father and put him through my grief counselling class.  "You could read a book." I suggested.  Wow.  If looks could kill.

So we took the computer to a fix it shop guy who said that one side where the lap top opens around the hinge had come loose, thus creating a strain on the other side where a wire connects.  This wire had come loose creating a short.  Therefore, every time that CJ touched the computer, it turned off.  Not especially helpful if you are trying to use it.  That sounds rather easy to fix though, don't you think?  Well, he could fix it for a mere $250, but he could not guarantee that it would stay fixed.

This led CJ and his friend, Rowen, to scour the Internet site Newegg in an attempt to buy and build the perfect computer.  You can buy the necessary parts there, have them shipped to your house, and then put them together.  If it is anything like buying a bicycle and then assembling it in your living room on Christmas Eve, I am assuming it also involves eggnog and cursing.  The price for this venture, they assured me, was $694.  I thought this was something I could maybe live with.

Oh, by the way dad, we forgot to add in an operating system.   How much?  Another $150.  So an operating system is essential?  It is if you don't want all the other parts to become a large, over-priced paper-weight.  Perfect.  And, the person helping you assemble it is the same friend who cut himself by swinging an axe and missing the log?  Yes.

Okay, let's go to the computer store.

So dude at the computer store takes CJ's parts list and assembles one of his own.  By the time he was finished, this computer was going to cost around $1100, assembled.  Awesome.  We did not make any purchases today.

On the way home, I noticed the license plate on the car in front of me was 694 YDA.  (Please do not use this info for anything illegal!)  I could not help thinking that this plate was a omen.  It was trying to tell me that me agreeing to, or believing in the original computer price of $694, really meant You're a Dumb Aaaaas.  Here, let me check my pockets for an extra $700 much less $400 more.

So we were at home and Beth and CJ went online to bring the price back down into dad's acceptable blood pressure range.  They found a prebuilt Dell for around $700 that would work and we would even get a 10% rewards bonus if we used our Discover card.  Okay, I am back in the game.

About 20 minutes later, the guy called from the computer repair shop.  We had asked him to put the broken lap top back together and then we would pick it up.  He had obliged with the putting back togetherness, and suddenly Peaches and Herb starting singing.  "Reunited and it Feels so Good..."  The computer was working again.  The price, $45.  And several hours of my day off that I will never get back.  CJ, I love you.  The proof is in the pudding...or travel time...or whatever.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What did I ever do to you Montezuma?

August 4, 2013

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted.  I have been working so much that I just don't feel like being on the computer that much.  And any funny in my head is very gone by the time I sit down to type.  You will see the reality of that statement very soon.

I have been working  a lot due to various reasons, but a good reason was that my sister was coming to visit from Georgia with her family.  I worked 13 days in a row to be able to get the time off when they were here and then 5 more right after they left.  Fortunately, it was for a good cause.  It was a very good visit with awesome weather and fun times.  We went to Kings Island Friday, Newport for GameWorks and a walk on the PurplePeople Bridge on Saturday, and a fun-filled family day here at our house Sunday as my brother and his family drove up from Louisville to visit.  It is always good when my brother visits as he has way more health problems than I do.  He was diagnosed as a diabetic when he was in the 8th grade when no one else in our family had ever been one.  Boy was our mother thrilled with that circumstance.  The strange thing about mothers is that they can blame themselves for their child becoming a  diabetic even though there was absolutely nothing she could have done to prevent it.  Now he has a Thyroid condition and Low T.  Dude is falling apart.  I showed my empathy towards him by making several low testosterone jokes.  He was thrilled he told me.  As was his wife, though she did seem to confirm his inabilities in the bedroom. 

Aside: does anyone else miss the days when we cut our grass by having cows graze on it or with one of those push things with the blade going around?  Man, it seems like every time I sit down to relax, my neighbor cuts his grass.  We don't have large yards so I could probably deal with just the cutting more sanely.  However, not only does he use a gas lawn mower, but then a gas-powered trimmer to be followed by a gas-powered blower.  Boy do I  want to break his toys some times.

Anyway, I should be grateful next door neighbor did not feel the need to cut his grass during our family day.  That typically happens.

So family day on Sunday finished up around midnight when whatever stomach bug my brother-in-law had contracted reared its ugly head.  As Beth and I heard him and his body's food evacuation plan starting up, we both did a systems check to see if we also felt ill.  Food poisoning at a family outing is always a joyful end.  However, since it has taken until Friday night for me to catch the bug, I am guessing it was not food poisoning.  Furthermore, with all the potential germs on the money I handle every day, it is not without question that I caught my bug from someone other than my brother-in-law.  Thank goodness I have this weekend off so I can feel better just in time to go back to work. 

The past two weeks have also included band camp for CJ.  During these two weeks they learn their show for the year and, thankfully, have fun doing it.  I got to see it Friday night, and in my fever ridden state, thought it was better than any show they did last year.  I hope I was right and that this year goes better for them than last.  The final night involves initiating the Freshmen by toilet papering their houses.  Thank goodness it does involve beating the crap out of them as it did at some colleges.  Therefore, if you are drving though our neighborhood this weekend, we are not a community of vandals, those houses belong to the incoming freshmen in the band.  I'm sure the parents that have to clean it up are thrilled.

Gotta go.  From the hills of Montezuma......