Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's REVolutions

I have decided to create a new concept.  Every year people make New Year's Resolutions to start on January 1st of the next year.  Basically, we come up a list of things that we would like to do to make our old acquaintances be forgotten and our auld lang syne-ing.  But I really think we should flip the script on this old way of thinking.  We are going to be 10 years in on this brand-spankin-new Millennium (had to use spell checker on that one).  Time to make something new out of something old.

The old way of thinking has us putting things on our list like: This year I plan to lose weight.  That is a noble goal.  We could all stand to lose a few poundages here and there (some of us more here and some of us more there).  But there is nothing wrong with the goal.  The only problem is that most of us never lose the weight!  Our goal in the year 2000 might have been to lose 5 lbs and NOW our goal is to lose 40 lbs (This goal has the potential to get worse as the years roll on).  So what does that mean??? That means we get to use it for the same goal for the next year!  That is awesome!

We also put things on our goal-list like:  I will give more to those in need (be it time, money, advice... whatever).  This goal also has merit.  The only problem is that the longer we are in this world the more we find out that WE are the ones that need the time.  We are the ones that need the money.  And we certainly are the ones that need the advice (I fall into all 3 of those categories).  That makes for another goal to be passed down to next year's resolutions.

We also get to use the goal that we plan to save/spend our money wisely.  This one is important.  But we all have different definitions of "wisely".  To some of us, wisely mean spending money on a more fuel efficient vehicle to save more money at the pump.  To others, wisely mean spending more money on a 52" Flat-Panel Sony 1080p HDTV so they can watch Desperate Housew.... I mean... FOOTBALL. **Ahem** Football.  Alas... the goal is a good goal but how do you know when you have met this goal?  I guess your definition of "wisely" will determine if/when this goal can be checked off the list.

There are hundreds of more resolutions, but as you have read just a few of these you will notice a trend.  We all seem to keep putting the same things over and over in our resolutions.  Well, the time to change is NOW!  I am calling for a paradigm (HA! I didn't have to use spell checker on this one.  I did, however, have to use the dictionary though to make sure it's the word I wanted to use) shift!  We need to stop this tradition of cutting and pasting resolutions from one year to the next! Let's bury those traditions and lists like I did all of my 80s Afro pics (they weren't pretty.  And don't tell my mother.  She still thinks I "borrowed" them to preserve them in a digital format. SUCKER!!... Don't tell her I said that either.  Remember this post?).

My crazy plan is that from now on we stop creating a forgettable To-Do list for the following year and we start creating an interesting To-DID list for the year that is ending.  Instead of recycling those good intentions lists for the next year we should start a list of all of the things we actually accomplished THIS year.  This will change the success rate of the lists.  Since most of us fail horribly on our resolutions this would be a way to see a list of 100% success.  To me, It would be much more rewarding.

So, at the time of writing this you have 2 days to answer the question: What did I complete this past year?  And your list is due Dec 31st at 11:59PM (odds say the due date should be earlier because as the clock winds down on the year the chances of doing something productive goes down as well.  Just call me around 11:00PM on the 31st for case and point).

For some of you this whole change is too last minute.  There's just too much to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  Don't worry.  We can make an exception in your case.  Just make it your New Year's Resolution for 2010.  That way it will SURELY get done!  Just add it to the list right below losing weight, or stop smoking, or get a better paying job, or to stop watching too much TV (minus Desperate Housewives), or to read more books... You get the picture.

(Excuse me for a moment while I add this to my 2010 New Year's Resolutions.  I spent too much time writing this into my blog.  I will have to opt for the exception as well.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary

This time of the year that brings joy to the hearts of almost everyone.  There's something about the holiday season that makes people forget about the unimportant things in life and focus on what matters.  But I have a small confession.  In addition to the other things that make this time of the year grand... I take a little slice of selfishness and overindulge in a present that doesn't mean much to others but means the world to me.

Every year, on December 25th, I get to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of the next year with my beautiful wife.  This is the only present I need and the only one I truly look forward to.  I get to open my eyes and see the most beautiful woman in the world next to me.

December 25th gives me the opportunity to let go of all of the problems in the past because I realize that I had to go through all of those things to get to this exact moment in time.  And I love this moment.  It allows me to forgive those that have wronged me and thank them for their contribution to leading me on my path to my wonderful wife.

This day reminds me that love is limitless.  Just when I think I can love my wife no more, she does something that proves me wrong again.  And I am all to happy to be proven wrong in this case.  It also reminds me that love doesn't solve all of worlds problems but it gives me the strength to do so.

Every year with my wife makes me want 100 more.  And since that is not possible, I will have to fill every moment possible showing her how much I love her.  I will have to spend every moment possible showing her she means everything thing to me.  I will have to spend every possible moment letting her know that I am the best ME because of her.

So, while everyone else is enjoying the holiday season, I'm enjoying the life I always wanted.  And it doesn't matter what I have (or don't have).  It only matters who I'm with.  Loving my wife doesn't mean we will never meet problems, it just means that there is enough love there to overcome anything.

To my wife:
I love you more now than I did when we got married.  And that's saying a lot.  So when everything else fails or you are not feeling your best, just remember that I will be there to make sure you know you are loved.  I will be there to strengthen you.  I will be there to make sure you know you will NEVER be alone in this journey.  GOD has appointed me and I will not let you or HIM down.  And in my eyes, life began and ends with you.

Love's too weak to define just what you mean to me.  I wasn't the first to say that but I mean that more than you will ever know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Changes to Man Night

What???  So, was anyone going to send me an email or something?!?!  I'm sorry.  When I heard "Man-Night" I was thinking something different. Now, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it or have fun.  That's just to say that I need to make some changes to my blueprint if that's the way things are going to be moving forward.

The first part was what I expected. I was late getting to the "get together" because I had to wait for the wife to get off of work so there would be someone here with the kids.  Personally, I think I could have left them home alone 30 minutes earlier.  What trouble could they have possibly gotten into in 30 min???

Anyway... I go to the Man-Night spectacular.  I get there right before the kickoff of the Cowboys/Saints game.  I would make a sports statement right now but I'm going to leave it alone... for the moment.  But this is the start to what I expected.  We had football.  We had beer.  We had wings.  We even had pizza (I love me some Papa Murphys!).  I wasn't expecting that but I completely embraced it as the way it should have been all along.  This easily carries us to halftime.

So what do we do for halftime.  Beer and Pool (or Billiards depending on where you came from).  That was fun too.  But since I suck at pool (as well as the person I was playing against) the ONE game lasted the entire halftime.  As I knock the 8-ball in (yes, I won) it was time for the kickoff of the second half.

We are going to fast-forward a little bit because the next hour and a half of football was exactly the same as the first hour and a half (Football, beer, wings, pizza, dip... yada, yada, yada).  The only thing I will mention is that my team won.  So I won at pool and my COWBOYS stopped the Saints undefeated run. Also, I am fully aware that I lost half of my readers just by mentioning I am a Cowboys fan.  But the game ended and I'm 2 for 2.  What next?  This is the coveted male Holy Grail.  Surely, we have something else to do.

I know... Let's play Mario Kart for the Wii!  Wait... Did I just say we should play Mario Kart for the Wii? The odd part of this is that it seemed like the right thing to say and more so it seemed like the right thing to do.  So we agreed.  Mario Kart it is.

And though this was fun, I can't help but feel like I just lost my MAN card.  Is this what MAN Night looks like now?  Have I forgotten what it's like to do manly things (I'm sure Spuds is going to jump all over this one)?  But between me and the friend that was hosting this there are a total of 2 men and 7 women!  The guy-to-girl ratio is WAY off.

Most of the time I try to write something funny but this time I have a genuine concern. I'm not really sure what I was expecting out of Man Night.  I was, however, expecting something to happen that I would have to explain to my wife.  And I don't mean that in a Tiger Woods kind of way.  But I was thinking that I would at least have a YouTube video with me dressed in a chicken suit running down the highway doing the Macarena with bells on.  I guess I will have to save that until the next Man Night.

In the meantime... if any MEN have any ideas as to what I can plan for the next Man Night, just let me know.  Women, no offense... but I already get enough of YOUR ideas.  But thanks anyway. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where are the Penguin Pjs? - Part 2

Sisterhood of the Traveling PJs.

Well, fellas (all 3 of my male readers (and you know who you are)) you will appreciate this story. It didn't take long for all to be right with the world.  There is this weird feeling you get when you NOTICE things balancing out.  Most of the time it happens and you miss it.  But when you catch it... pure poetry.

Note: If you have not read PART 1 of the Penguin PJs then go ahead.  We will stop so you can catch up.  No, go ahead.  I'm serious!  We are going to wait right here until you finish.

Now that you are done...

This day started like any other.  My job is to make sure that when I leave for work, I have gotten 3 girls ready for their day at school.  There's the feeding.  There's the clothing.  There's diaper changing.  There's the doing the hair (which is always (NEVER) fun).  You get the routine.

Occasionally, my daddy to-do list looks a little different.  And men being creatures of habit hate when there is something different on the list.  Well, today I have to add that the 4-year old's class is having a PJ party.  So my instructions are to take the cookies that my wife made the night before (with love) and to let the 4-year old decide which PJs she is going to wear.  She had the Cheerleader PJs (that I didn't even know she had (even though she has probably worn them several times in my overly observant presence)) and the infamous Penguin PJs.  Now I'm going to give you one guess as to which one she wants.

Because my beautiful wife is always thinking she KNEW that the 4-year old would want the Penguin PJs.  So she had them washed and all I had to do was take them out of the washer and put them into the dryer.  Even I couldn't screw that up (that's not true (but I didn't screw it up!  And that's all that counts!)).

I got the kid fed (early).  I got the kids dressed (early).  I even finished the 4-year old's hair (early).  She didn't fight much because she was wearing her favorite PJs today to school.  Now, it's time for school!  Oh... I almost forgot the snacks.  My wife wouldn't be happy if I forgot those.  So I grabbed the cookies.  NOW, it's time for school.

We get to the 4-year old's school (did I mention... early?).  For some reason her legs were broken and she didn't tell me until now.  So daddy had to carry her into school.  Which is fine for me because the other option was trying to negotiate with her.  Those of you with kids know... what's the point?

On the way to ESP I look into the window and see ALL of the other kids whose parent have to be at work before school starts (I don't know who thought of that concept but I need to have a talk with them).  As I got closer... I noticed... that NONE of the other kids were wearing their PJs.  At first I thought that their parent got up too early and must have forgotten that today is PJ and party day.  Then I thought there was too many un-PJ'd kids for that to be the case.  There must be another reason.  Like... maybe this little fun day was only for my daughter's class.  Sounds reasonable.

We get into ESP and now we are being looked at.  I know my 4-year old couldn't feel it but I could.  There was this "one of these kids is doing his own thing" moment.  That's when I decided to open the backpack.  The note from the school was in there with all of the party information.  I read the bring a snack for x number of kids.  We did that.  I read the wear you favorite PJs part. We did that.  So what is wrong?  We did everything right.  We were ready for the party that was...

...wait for it....

...3 days away.

I hate to admit it, but my very first response was... :).  Fellas (all 3 of you), you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.  It's that moment when someone screwed up, and it wasn't YOU!  For 1 millisecond I had that HA-HA feeling you get when the world finally spins the right way and all is well.  I'm going to take another moment right here....

.... That still feels good.

But that feeling didn't last long because reality took over.  We were standing there and my daughter was the only one in the whole school that was wearing her PJs.  So what now?  Luckily, we keep a spare set of clothes in her backpack.  They are just for emergencies and I'm pretty sure this counts as an emergency.

Happy ending.  Crisis averted.  Penguin PJs have yet another story to tell.  I can't wait until Thursday to see if cycle continues and the PJs take another victim.

Another Note: I told you my wife is smart.  She got ahead of this story (something Tiger Woods should have done).  She broke this news story on FaceBook.  So this was for all of those people that are not FB friends with her.  You guys got the REAL story.

Also as a friend of mine pointed out, I'm only kidding myself.  Somehow, someway, this is really my fault!  I must study this theory.  I will get back to you with my findings because I'm sure he's right.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where are the Penguin PJs?

Yeah, I did it!  And I would do it again!  I made a statement and I'm sticking to it.  Some may say it was petty and misguided but to them I say, with the style as grace of a literary genius.... :-P <--- Oh, yeah... Don't mess with the QUE because you might get the tongue! (For some reason the BULL and the HORNS original quote sounds much more... menacing.  I'm not sure why).

This time of the year becomes interesting.  My wife is in retail so she works all the time and late hours.  So that means I get to spend a lot of fatherly time with the kids.  That ALSO means that for those few hours of the day... what I say goes!

If I want to feed the kids Cheerios for dinner (Multi-grain, though.  I'm a good father)... I can. And I'm not saying I have ever done that.  I'm just saying that if I wanted to, there is no one there to stunt my awesome parenting skills.  If I wanted to feed the baby beans when I know it's my wife's night to deal with her... I can.  Again, that's not to say that I would (or have EVER done that).  That's just to prove the point that for these few hours each night during this time of the year are MINE.  (I really should tell you the story about me taking the 4-year old and the 1-year old to the "salon" to get the 4-year old's hair cut.)

With that unwritten rule (which apparently should be written), I have the freedom to dress the kids anyway I choose.  A few nights ago I had one of those "I'm in charge" nights.  So I went through the mental checklist.  I played with the kids... check.  I fed the kids...check (I will neither confirm nor deny the involvement of any said Cheerios).  I gave them baths...check (separate baths, of course.  Those who read this post know why). I put the little one to bed...check.  Now it's time to get the 4-year old ready.

This is where the fun comes in.  She hates brushing her teeth.  So there is always this song and dance when it comes to the teeth brushing thing.  It normally starts with the word NO (GRRR) and it usually ends with me giving my VERY authoritative, VERY stern MANLY voice commanding her to brush or else.  I even stand up sometimes for the affect (Since I'm 6'3" and she's much, much smaller.  That technique has the opposite affect on my wife, though).  She's pretty smart, however.  So I have to watch what and how I tell her things.  If I just tell her to brush her teeth but don't tell her how long, she's usually done in 2.7 seconds (personal best).

Now it is time to change into her night-night clothes.  She always wants to wear her Penguin PJs.  This is an easy one.  But of course... not this night.  When I go to look for them, they are no where to be found.  GREAT!  That usually means they are currently in one of 2 places: the washer or the dryer.  Either way, that's not going to help me now.  DING, DING!  That signaled the beginning of Round 2.  Time for the yelling, kicking and screaming (and that's just me)!  I get to spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince her that her Minnie Mouse PJs are WAY COOLER (they aren't).  What about the Butterfly PJs? NO! What about the Flower PJs? NO!  What about the Panda PJs (which are too big because they are her older sister's hand-me-downs but she likes them anyway)? NO!  What about these???

I reach into a pile of newly dried clean clothes and grab some PJs.  Hmmm... These are cool.  What do you think about these?  And there is was... the 4-year olds approval.  YES!  That's all I needed.  So I put the PJ bottoms on.  Wow, these are kinda tight and a little short.  This is probably the last time she gets to wear these.  I'm not sure if I said that out loud or not, but I was thinking it.  Now for the PJ top.  I had a little problem getting it over her fro (even though I just had it cut a few days earlier).  But I finally shoved her head through the neck hole.  These PJs were too much trouble.  This is definitely going to be the last time she wears these.  4-year old in her night-nights... check!

Parenting skills were in tact.  I started the night with 2 kids and ended with 2 kids (the other was at gymnastics) so that night was a good night. Until... my beautiful wife came home.  As the 4-year old sees mommy, she goes running to her yelling "Mommy, Mommy!" like normal.  But what wasn't normal was my wife's expression.  She was trying to keep a straight face.  She looked a little confused.  She knew it was daddy's night but something was still wrong.  She looked at me and with a very lovely tone asked...

"Why is the 4-year old wearing the baby's 12 - 18 month PJs?"

... What???

... That can't be right.

I really wish I had a good excuse for that one.  All I had was... "She wanted to wear them."  (Which was true) I said that with as much sincerity as I could muster all the while still trying to figure out how that happened.  But my wife knew.  She knew that I had a nice, classic daddy FAIL moment.  And I knew she knew when she fell out laughing!  Then I started kinda laughing (trying to not give it away that I didn't even notice it was the baby's clothes).  But when I viewed the scene with my new perspective I noticed that our daughter did have her Homer Simpson on.  As well as her father... DOH!

We let her sleep in the PJs.  It wasn't cutting off the circulation (that I could tell).  She liked them.  AND she wasn't going anywhere.  So I thought all was done.  But I guess my wife's FaceBook Status Update had a different set of plans.  The next morning, it decided to let the world know that the 4-year old looked like the Incredible HULK that morning and proceeded to tell why.  It turned a wonderfully fun, beautiful and PRIVATE father/daughter moment into something PUBLIC.

Needless to say, dirty or clean, the ONLY PJs my 4-year old will ever wear (on my shift) are the Penguin PJs.  Take that, FaceBook! (notice how I didn't point the finger at my wife.  I blamed FaceBook.  I'm more than a foot taller than she is but sometimes when I stand up next to her I still find myself looking up.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Awesomest Gymnast!!!

It looks like I have finally convinced the judges to see things my way.  I have been telling them all along that my daughter is the AWESOMEST!  And they didn't believe me... until yesterday.

(Unfortunately, this post will not be too long because we still don't have the internet at our home.  Our NEW internet should be on Tuesday (we shall see).  2 1/2 weeks in the making)

Yesterday, my daughter competed in the State meet.  We were worried because of the disaster from last year.  Last year she fell off the beam (twice) and that was the very first event.  And for those that know gymnastics... there goes your whole meet.  But this year was different.

She started off interesting... We didn't have to wait long because she was the 3rd person on the vault.  So she lines up, addresses the judges, they give her the ok and she takes off down the runway (I'm pretty sure that it is not called the runway but she doesn't read my blog so I'm not worried about her correcting me).  I have seen this a few hundred times so I'm waiting for her to get to the takeoff line (another plane reference (not sure why)).  And she runs right by it!  She also ran by the springboard.  Then she ran past the horse as well!  I had no idea what that was all about.  She was supposed to jump, spring, flip and land.  She was 0 for 4.  As my 4-year old would say: "That's not supposed to happen."  Luckily, her walk back to the starting point gave me time to think about what had happen and to assure myself that she didn't, all of a sudden, start thinking she was running track.  That would have been embarrassing for all.

So she lines up (again), addresses the judges (another time), they give her the ok (come on, come on!) and she takes off down the tarmac (last airport reference... until the next one of course).  This time she stays on the path.  However, she jumps from the wrong side of the line.  If she had been bowling there would have been that annoying BUZZ that would have accompanied her step.  She also didn't hit the horse right.  And she didn't land right, either.  I just shrank in my seat.  I was mentally dusting off that "you'll do better next year" speech that I had used at last year's State.  But since she didn't actually jump on her first pass, she gets another.  This time she lines up and nails it!

To make this not-so-long story shorter... SHE WAS THE BEST!!!  With each event I was refiling the old speech in my mental rolodex (for the younger generation: mental iPhone contact list).  I editing all of my words line-by-line until I finally had to rename the speech.  It became the "how does it feel to be the best 11-year old gymnast in the state" speech.  That right!  My daughter won the Bronze on the Floor.  She won the Silver on the Beam.  She won the Gold on the Bars.  And she took the coveted GOLD in the ALL-AROUND!!!  I would have given her the Platinum but the medals don't go that high (except in the mind of the fathers).

I will say this... I kinda teared up a little bit.  And not in that "why do they keep killing off my favorite people on Desperate Housewives" kinda way (even though I haven't finished watching this past episode so please don't spoil it for me).  No, it was a much more.  It was that MANLY "I just stubbed my pinky toe really hard on the corner of the entertainment center while my kids were watching and I can't say a bad word or cry" kinda way.

Either way, I'm very excited!  I'm very proud!  I'm even more happy about that than about finally getting the internet back working at my house after 2 1/2 weeks.  But truth be told, getting the internet working again will probably make me do the above Desperate Housewives cry.  I will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just a word to the wise...

Don't ever cancel your internet provider without having the other one installed! That's all I'm saying.

My ISP has assured me that I will be back in the land of the living Wednesday, 12/02/09.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Earning Parent Stripes

It has been a while since my last post.  This has been one of those crazy weeks that parents with multiple children have every now and then.  If you have kids (especially multiple children) then you can relate.

About a week ago, the little one was having trouble sleeping.  She woke up several times that night and kept my wife up all night.  For some that would be an issue but our little one has only slept through the night 5 times in the 14 short months of her life.  So we just thought it was a little worse than normal but nothing big.  Well, the next night was my night.  So I had the same night as my wife.  I was up with her the WHOLE night.  Nothing like going to work on 3 hours of COMPLETELY interrupted sleep.

After 2 nights, we decided it was time to take her in.  She had a slight fever but nothing crazy.  But this is our 3rd child so we are seasoned pros.  We know when it's time to take the kids in to the doctor.  It was time.  We take her in and find out she has a double ear infection.  YEA!!!  She only has 2 ears so might as well infect them both so the other doesn't feel left out.  They gave her medicine and that night she slept through the night.  I wish I could say the medicine worked multiple nights, but it didn't.  She's not sleeping again... So we are back to normal there.

3 days later... The middle child wakes up and is calling me into the room.  I go in there because she doesn't usually wake up early.  When I go into her room she says, "Daddy, I need to go to the doctor."  I had never her say that sentence in my life.  So I ask her why.  And she grabbed her ear and said her ear hurts.  What really tipped me off that she was really sick was when she held our her arms for me to pick her up.  The middle child is NOT one of those huggy-feely children.  She'd sooner hit you than hug you.  But that morning, she wanted daddy hugs... We immediately took her to the doctor!  I bet you can't guess what it was.

Yep, another ear infection!!!!  I know those aren't (supposed to be) contagious.  But what are the odds!?!?  I should have gone out and bought a lottery ticket.  But I didn't.  We are still poor (as one of my other blogs suggests).  And we have sick children.  They gave her the same medicine and life was back to normal... for a few days.

The story goes back to the little one (who was just getting over an ear infection).  2 days after the middle child had her ear infection, the little one gets up in the morning throwing up and looking sad.  We didn't know if it was an isolated YAK or if there was an encore performance.  Well, on the way to daycare, the encore started like she was playing The Beatles Rock Band.  So my wife decides to keep her out of daycare.  Actually a little bit later the decision would have been made for her.  One of the kids at the daycare tested positive for H1N1.  So they closed the daycare down anyway.

With the H1N1 scare going around, the doctors decided they wanted to test the little one because of her symptoms.  So my wife took her BACK to the doctor to get tested.  After 2 trips to the doctor (within a few hours of each other) and 2 individual tests, they find out she doesn't have the Swine Flu (good news) but she does have a highly contagious stomach bug (BAD NEWS).  Now we have to nurse her to health and keep the other kids away from her at the same time.  The old kid juggling trick is in affect!  That part I'm kinda ok with.  I get to test my cat-like reflexes when separating the kids.  It's also the only time I get to stiff arm and push kids to the side... for their own safety (of course).

I wish the story ended there...  But 2 days later (today, this VERY morning)...  The middle child wakes up PROOKIN'.  That is just awesome!  My reflexes failed me.  If I had just knocked her out of the way ONE MORE TIME we would be fine right now.  Now I get to play the lets-not-get-the-internal-juices-on-the-carpet-furniture-or-other-kids game.  This will definitely count as one of the father/daughter moments I get to cash in on later!  Let just hope the oldest doesn't get this bug.  She has a gymnastics meet today (that I will miss because my day will consist of carrying the middle child back and forth to the bathroom with super speed).

Hopefully we are on the backside of this mess.  I will let everyone know if I need to "part two" this story.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is it my turn already???

I wonder... If I start acting sick now will my wife believe that I have Conjipti-functu-itis in a few weeks.  She must not only believe that it is a rare (VERY RARE) condition but also that it is so rare (VERY RARE) that Google doesn't even know what it is yet.  The only cure for it is bed rest, TV, lots of food and... well I'm going to stop there (adding the next item would insure she wouldn't believe me).  Really, she just has to believe that I'm too sick to take the little one to the doctor.  It's time for the 1-year shots in my house.

I was there for the middle child's shots.  I think I saw all I needed to see.  So if she's worried that I'm going to miss this wonderful rite of passage from tod to toddler then she can rest assured... I got it!  I think I'm going to sit this one out.

I think she's got this thing ALL wrong.  She's measuring the shot situation in quantity.  And I'm measuring it in quality.  A few years back our middle child had an infection in her finger.  And I took one for the team.  I had to hold my pre-toddler daughter in my arms (and not in a loving way.  It was more of a please hold your daughter down so I don't get slapped kinda way...) while they gave her three shots down to the bone.  They sent my wife and oldest out of the room for that one.  So doing that one act should have bought me more than 3 years of reprieve from shots.

And if for some reason that doesn't fly then I think I'll see if I can categorize this as a father/daughter moment.  That way if it's ever said that I don't spend enough time with her I can say, "Hey... We just went to the doctor last week (or month or year (I'm not sure what the statute of limitation is on that argument though)).

And when none of those pass my wife's BS-o-meter I will just have to man-up and do what I have to do.... reverse psychology!  I will let her know that she is right.  This IS a job for a man.  And she did right by BEGGING me to take the little one in for her shots.  The kids need MY support for strength and the love that only a father can give during these tough times.  And to top it all off... I might even FORBID her from ever taking the kids to the doctor.

Just so everyone knows... If things go down so far that I have to resort to my previous paragraph then this might be my last blog entry.  Because if I say any of the above to my wife... I will probably be one that needs to go to the doctor.  And she will probably let me take that rite of passage all by myself.

Friday, November 6, 2009

House FULL of Women!

When I was in elementary school, the thought the idea of a house full of women was just yucky!  When I got to high school, I began to realize that the idea had a LOT of merit.  When I got to college, it was the things that wishes and dreams were made of.  Now that I'm older (and live in a house full of women) the dream is MUCH different.  Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.... when you least expect it.... sometimes years later.... with strings attached.  This, in NO way, resembles what I had in mind in my college days.

I will always be outnumbered.  The "girls" have this unspoken union (though I think the 1-year old is TRYING to tell me but it just keeps coming out: DA, DA, DA. (need to brush up on my baby Morse Code)).  Of course, anytime I try to bring up this... theory, I'm met with hysterical laughter followed by a demand for me to fetch her shoes (and that's from the 3-year old!).  So something is not right!

This is a hidden, high-tech operation.  It is complete with spies and obvious modes of sabotage.  Enter the Stealthy Ninja Investigative Tween Childlike Human (or S.N.I.T.C.H for short).  The model we have is 10-years old (going on 11) and it hasn't lost a step!  She is designed to sneak up on the target (me) and report all findings to the "mother"ship.

Most of the time I'm doing something completely innocent (as ALL fathers do) and that's when she strikes.  So, I'm in the kitchen making myself a nice, healthy breakfast (most important meal of the day).  My breakfast is done and I turn around... and... BAM!!!  There she is asking, "Whatcha doin'?"  It's obvious what I'm doing.  I'm making a healthy breakfast to get my day started right (as ALL fathers do).  But she is asking in hopes I'm going to give away more information than I need to so her report will be complete.  Now, I've seen this trick before.  She going to leave it at that an act like that's all that's going to happen.  So I go and enjoy my breakfast and listen.... And there's the report: "Mommy, daddy's eating pizza for breakfast." or "Mommy, daddy's eating a hotdog for breakfast." or "Mommy, daddy's eating spaghetti (or chips, or candy, or some other healthy meal) for breakfast."  You get my point.  And even if she doesn't see "MOMMY" for a whole day... the report is as detailed as if just happened.  Half the time I don't remember doing the "crime" but I won't deny it when questioned.  If she said I did it, I probably did.

Then there's the "Better Recognize" Undersized Toddler Enforcer (or B.R.U.T.E.).  She's only 3 but, apparently, she's the muscle of the operation.  Her job is to make sure I don't get out of line.  I didn't know that's what her job was before but I have since figured it out.  I should have known by the way she laughs when I trip over, run into or drop something that I'm not supposed to.  Also, I find it odd that she only wants ME to read a book to her at night.  I originally thought she just loved me more than her mom.  But now I see the real genius behind the reading.  She only enjoys the book when I allow her to smash my hand between the pages or otherwise hurt myself during the course of the reading.  What in the world was I thinking?!?!?

And the last one is far more devious than the other 2.  Her code name is A.N.G.E.L. (I thought there was some cutie name behind it but there's not.  The name is meant to distract you from her real purpose).  But don't let that name fool you.  Her job is to make sure I wake up every 2 hours on MY night to cater to her needs.  She makes sure I am good and tired every other morning.  Because if I'm sleep deprived, I won't be able to concentrate on a plan to strike back.  But the true evil of the plan is that she does all of this and when you just can't take it anymore... She smiles.  It's like a Jedi Mind Trick!  There's no defense for it.  You just have to avoid it.  And if you don't... She gets what she wants.

Some of you are are doing the math right now then you are probably wondering why I left someone out.  My wife.  You really think I'm going to come up with some acronym to describe my wife.  What kind of fool do you take me for?!?!  You can't make a cute little sentence to describe a woman that is Special With Elegance, Ethics, Talent, Intelligence and Excellence.  That would just be wrong (plus it would get me absolutely nowhere)!  So I'm going to leave it at that.  I just hope the 10-year old doesn't read my blog because I can guarantee my wife will get the message that there is an update before I can finish this sentence.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I am truly the Man Of The House (at least that's what my wife tells me)!

I AM the man of the house and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!  I know, I know... That's a very Old Testament approach to marriage.  But when you've got it... YOU'VE GOT IT! And how do I know I've got it??? My wife and kids let me know.  Plus, I have 5 reasons that fact can't be disputed.

First off... The remote is MINE!  I only ALLOW my wife and kids to use it every now and then (even though the baby just chews on it.  She's not old enough to know the power of the remote.  She also doesn't know that it's DADDY'S!).  And just because they have the remote more than me doesn't mean anything.  I'm a generous MOTH (when I write the acronym for Man Of The House like that, it doesn't sound as manly).  So I let them watch their little silly Hannah Montanas, Micky Mouse Club Houses (I kinda like that one) and their Private Practices.  But when I'm ready to watch my MANLY shows like Football, 24 or Desperate Housewives... they'd better hand over the remote.

Second off... I pretty much do what I want to do.  For example, I go play golf whenever I please.  Whenever I feel like going, I grab my clubs and tell my wife I will be back when I get back.  Now, I haven't played golf since March but that was MY choice.  I CHOSE to not go play golf.  I might CHOOSE to go play soon... like March... 2012. Then again... I might not.

Third off... When the kids want something, they know to go to their mother, FIRST.  Not because she's the final word, but because it's like a corporation.  When you have a concern you don't start out by going to the President.  You start lower and work your way up.  And I have a GREAT wife.  She makes sure most decisions don't get past her because she knows I have more important things to deal with (like golf and Desperate Housewives).  But when something does make it past my wife, I'm a nice MOTH.  I go back and ask my wife what she thinks about the issue.  And a lot of times I just let her have her way.  Then I put my foot down so everyone knows the decision is final!

Fourth off... They all treat my words as law!  When tell them something, they do it.  My 3-year old was taking a bath with the baby.  She decided to "clean" the baby's eyes by getting her hands all lathered up with soap and poking them into baby's eyes.  So my job as MOTH was to straighten this issue out NOW.  Whereas her mother counts to 3, I just told her ONCE!  I don't believe in all of that counting mess.  I told her once and she stopped.  Now... I had to tell her again a little later because 3-year olds have a short memory.  It wasn't that she was challenging me. She just forgot.  It's not her fault.  It's just our species.  And you know what... she stopped again!  That's what I'm talking about.  I did have to take the baby out of the tub after the 3rd time, though.  I didn't want her to be a 4-time victim of the "goldfish" memory of a 3-year old (It's not her fault).

And Finally... I made the decision to NOT have any boys.  My wife wanted at least 1 boy and I told her NO! I didn't want to deal with the inevitable power struggle between fathers and sons (too much of a hassle).  He would stand up to me. I would knock him down. Everyone would be mad.  I would have to put my foot down...  End of story. And then there would be hard feelings for years to come.  So being the intelligent MOTH that I am, I made that decision to save the family a few generations of heartache.  And it was my insight and willpower that made it all happen.  I kept ALL of the Y-Chromosomes to myself (See... even my genes yield to the awesome power that I hold).

So to those thinking I don't have the MOTH status, come on over to the house and see who has the remote (make sure you call to give us at least 5 minutes notice... you know... out of courtesy).  Then if that doesn't convince you, I will show you the control I have over the kids.  I'm sure watching that will shock and amaze you.  And if that still doesn't get you... count how many sons I have.  If that doesn't tell the story, I don't know what does!  Now excuse me... Desperate Housewives is back on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Purpose in Life

(Inspired by a family member)

When people go through a traumatic event they often experience something... life changing or at the very least philosophy of life changing.  For some of us it is a defining moment in the sculpting process of our souls.  We start with a square slab and events give us shape.  They help us chisel away a lot of the loose, weak and unimportant parts that cover up the solid foundation of our core.  But what happens when the event is so powerful we find it has dug too deep?  What happens when we find that it has caused a crack in our very foundation?

In most cases, one of two things will happen.  One... We let this define us as flawed. This is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy.  When we take on the definition of being flawed it makes us flawed.  We also run the risk of the cracks growing into a grooves.  And the more these events bores into us, the less there is of us.  The end result is one where we look around and find nothing but pieces of our life around us but nothing holding them together any more.  And that's a mess.

The other thing that could happen is that we let the events define us as a work in progress.  I would like to say that we can use these events to define us as perfect.  But that's not possible.  But we can use these events as an indicator of where we should start the rebuilding (or healing) process.  We can use the cracks they form to refocus and change our mindset.  The cracks give us a visual starting point as to where we need to start building and stop chiseling.

This process is different for everyone because everyone has a different "shape."  We've all been molded by the events of our past.  So no matter the event it will always be a unique experience for each of us.  And it is this uniqueness that makes me think about our purpose.

What if our GRAND purpose in life is simply to be... US?  I don't want that small sentence to be mistaken for one that is of small importance.  If there will NEVER exist anyone else like us then I think we serve no greater purpose to ourselves and those around us than by being ourselves.  I don't think we should ever stop chiseling away or filing in the cracks but sometimes you should look at the life you molded and realize that it is exactly what it should be... and be happy with the results.  While you are admiring your handy work, you should take a few minutes to check out the "blocks" of those around you.  You will probably notice that the people you care about and those that care about you have designed parts of their masterpiece in your name.  And those who REALLY love you stay around long enough to help you clean up the mess!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Date Night - The Forgotten Episode

A few nights ago, my lovely wife and I had something called a "Date Night."  I'm not sure if any of you have heard of that but it does exist.  I know if you have more than one child below the age of 14 then there is a greater chance you will not believe anything I'm writing in this post.

Date Night is this "thing" where you and your spouse get to go out and pretend you don't have kids for an hour or 2.  I know I just lost some of you there so I will say it another way.  NO KIDS + NIGHT OUT = FUN YOU HAVEN'T HAD IN A LONG TIME.

We didn't even do anything spectacular.  We just went to dinner and a movie.  I think we only did that because we had forgotten who we were without the kids.  And since we left our 3 little pieces of identification at home with the grandparents, we defaulted to the status quo.  However, the experience was like I was getting to know my wife again (and, yep... she's still wonderful).  When we went to dinner, I ate a little more than usual because I wasn't worried about how much it costs to feed 5 people these days.  My belt was screaming for mercy before I was half done with the food.  Of course I told it to shut-up (a word I can say because the kids aren't around (not sure when that became a bad word, though)) and I loosened it to the next loop.  I really didn't want to be listening to THAT all night.

We also went to see a movie.  We watched "Couples Retreat." It was refreshing (and VERY funny).  I had almost forgotten what it was like to watch a movie that WASN'T rated PG.  We both loved it.  I will say this though... It will also make you look at the things going on in your own life and re-evaluate your priorities.  This is a good thing.  I helped me realize that there are certain things in life that you can't wait until you FIND time for... You have to MAKE time for them (or they will never happen).

And that was pretty much the Date Night.  Now, the funny thing about Date Night is that the closer you get to your home, the more you start to think about the crap that goes on in everyday life to make you really want another Date Night.  But after trying to pass the house for the 5th time, my wife made me pull into the driveway.  I guess she wasn't too keen on my idea about going away until the kids are ready for college.  She thought the idea sounded good in theory but had too many problems in the application.  I took that as a personal challenge.  So I will be revising my plan and submitting it in the next date night (penciled in for 08/19/2010).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Teaching a 4-year Old a Lesson They Will Never Forget

I am writing this post from timeout.  My crime?  I told a 3-year old that she couldn't have any more Cheerios.  I'm not completely sure when this became a punishable offense, but it has.  I did the crime. Now, I'm doin' the time!

I guess the denying a 3-year old of Cheerios is a Class-A felony because I haven't even been told how long I am to stay in here.  And every time I try to leave the little timeout chair I get yelled at and time added to my sentence (I'm not sure about the time being added but if denying Cheerios is a Class-A felony then I'm sure trying to escape is at least a Class-B).

Since I've been sitting here I've had time to think...  Whatever happened to old school discipline?  There is no drug powerful enough to make me imagine a scenario where I would have been able to put my mom into timeout.  My mouth is hurting just thinking of slap I would have received for letting that thought go through my head.

Today's parent has to be more creative than my parent's generation.  Tools and Techniques they used are shunned in today's society. Their forms of punishment were not creative.  They were not pretty.  But BOY were they effective!

**DISCLAIMER** - I am not condoning nor condemning the "Tools" and "Techniques" in my post.  I think each child is different.  And one thing that works for one child may not work on another.  With that said.... here is my story.

My mother was the disciplinarian in the house.  She learned from the absolute best (my grandmother).  With the power to punish she also had the power to make the rules (attorney, judge and jury all rolled into one (kinda Andy Griffith style))

This particular day we were going through the local Big-K (This was not a BIG K-Mart.  The store was just called Big-K).  And like any other 4-year old, I wanted to go down the toy aisle.  My mother said no (because we were very poor when I was little and couldn't afford such things).  Usually, that's the end of it.  It WAS the end of it for the moment.  But life had other plans.  I was about to learn a lesson that can only be taught through experience (as in my friends blog title).

All was well while we went around the store.  Then right before we left, we passed the toy aisle.  I asked again and this time my mom gave in.  In retrospect, I don't know if she gave in because she felt sad that she would never be able to get me the toy and she wanted me to have 5 minutes of happiness instead of none... OR... she really just wanted to teach me a lesson that day.  She let me go but explained to me that we didn't have any money and I was to not ask for anything.  I agreed.

So I went down the aisle playing with all of the toys like it was Christmas and Santa accidentally dropped off everything at my house (Thanks Santa)!  But then I saw it.  A sliver of light began to shine on it like GOD was pointing to it as if to say, "This ones for you, little one."  In retrospect... I'm not sure if GOD (being the gracious and loving GOD) was doing this because I was from a poor family and would never be able to play with this toy under any other circumstances... OR he had the same lesson planned as my mother!  But there it stood... the 12 inch tall G.I. Joe action figure (doll).  AND I WANTED IT!!!

So I asked nicely if I could have it.  And my mother nicely told me no.  Then she reminded me of that EVIL pact I agreed to that said I could go down the aisle as long as I didn't ask for anything.  I was 4 so didn't remember back that far (3:47 seconds ago).  At that point the issue escalated.  I found myself breaking family rule number 1.  It had been passed down for ages.  My grandmother said it every time we went into public.  My mother agreed with it and refined it.  But family rule number 1 is "Don't show your @ss!" It was a very simple rule.  It was a easy to understand.  You didn't need a lawyer to interpret it.  You ALWAYS knew what it meant.  So what did I do... I showed my @ss!  In retrospect... It had to be done.  I was learning my lesson.

I yelled.  I screamed.  I kicked.  I rolled around on the floor.  My performance was truly Oscar worthy.  My mother's performance wasn't what I expected.  She didn't yell.  She didn't scream.  As a matter of fact, she didn't say much.  That doesn't mean she wasn't up for the same Oscar.  It just meant that she was the real star.  Her silence spoke volumes.  My 4-year old ears just couldn't hear it.  She let me continue my performance on up to the check-out line.  That whole time I was showing out, I didn't realize that my mother was setting the stage.

When it was her turn to pay, she told the woman behind the register to hold on for one minute.  I stopped crying because I thought I had won!  I thought I had worn her down.  I thought she was giving in and was going to get me the G.I. Joe I just had to have.... That wasn't the case.

She calmly grabbed my hand and took me in front of the registers.  She proceded to pull down my pants... AND my Superman Underoos (even the Man-of-Steel couldn't help me today).  In my head, I was thinking she's breaking family rule #1 by LITERALLY showing my backside.  In her head, she was teaching.  She gave me a bare-butt spanking in front of everyone in BIG-K.  Even GOD turned off the G.I. Joe light as if to say the rod was not spared this day. Game... Set... and... MATCH.

Some of you might be reading this saying that was barbaric.  But as I said before, it was EXTREMELY effective!  I never asked for another toy at a store... EVER.  I never showed my backside in public like that again... EVER.  As a matter of fact, 30+ years later, I'm STILL quiet when I go into Wal-Mart with my mom.  If she asks me if I want something I always say "No Ma'am." 

After that day, I didn't even like G.I. Joe anymore.  All of my friends wondered why I didn't watch that cartoon growing up.  Well, there it is.  G.I. Joe was not the same after that.  The G.I. Joe movie came out earlier this year.  As good as it looked, I just couldn't bring myself to go to the theater to watch it.

Life-Long Lesson Learned: The 4 "L"s.

Well, it looks like I'm about to be released from timeout for good behavior.  At least that's what she's telling me.  But I really think it's because she just said she's hungry in her tummy.  Either way, peanut butter and jelly is a reasonable price to pay for freedom.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fatherly Advice to My Middle Child

There are times in a dad's life that he truly has to be a father.  He has to put away the Guitar Heroes, PS3s, golf clubs, gym memberships, internets (yes, I know), cars, food and even the NFL Sunday Ticket (that last one might have been a bit too far but you get my point).  He has to stand up and learn to balance the dichotomy of being so small and inconsequential in some universes and being the most important entity this side of GOD in others.  He has to get rid of the biases and prejudices that have formed (and sometimes clouded ) his believe structure in order to teach one of his own the truth as it as and not necessarily how he sees it.

I feel that day has come in our home.  It's one of those days that one finds it hard to distinguish between fear and excitement.  The two emotions blending together like words on a page at 3:00AM.  I would imagine it would be the same feeling when one of my daughters is getting married or having a baby for the first time.  I find it difficult to accurately describe the feeling to someone who has never been in this situation.  But if you have been in this situation you will always remember it.

I realize the my middle child is not quite 4 yet but my message to her is no less important than if were talking to my wife about our finances or our childrens' futures.  I must find the right angle of approach so as to not lose my words in the sea of Dora and Spongebob that might be swimming in her head.  I must let her know that this is timeless advice and should be treated as the 11th Commandment.

To my middle child:  I love you.  I hope and pray for your happiness for years to come.  That's why I'm giving you this advice....  If you don't stop stepping on your little sister, she is going to BEAT you to a pulp in another year.  Yeah, you're bigger now but you have a 3-year head start and she is already 2/3 your weight.  She will outweigh you in another year and I fear for your safety.  You might not think that she will, but she WILL remember everything.  One day she is going to wake up and decide that enough is enough and you will be in some kind of trouble.  As a matter of fact, I'm convinced that the only thing saving you when we go to bed at night is the fact that she is in a crib.  But I'm here to tell you, she won't be in a crib for much longer.  The bars are set to come off soon.  And, at that point, the only things standing between you and a late night beating are 2 bedroom doors and about 25ft of carpet.

Remember this IS a warning.  You still have time to change your ways.  You might be ok if you STOP stepping on her feet every time you get the chance.  She MIGHT not remember ALL of the times you pulled her legs as she is trying to crawl to her favorite toys.  She just might decide to forgive all of the times you sat on her and tried to ride her like a pony (not making any promises on that one).  I hope she doesn't remember all of the times you walked by her and knocked her down just because you felt like it.  I will try to make sure she doesn't hold any resentment for all of the times you wouldn't let her play with any of your toys (or her own toys for that matter).  That's the least I can do.  I'm your father and I love you both.

So I will leave you with this parting thought: If you don't straighten up and fly right when it comes to your younger sibling, there won't be enough timeouts in the world to save you from the revenge of a BIGGER little sister.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When did the Mid-30s mean... OLD!?!

I must have missed the memo on this one.  And I guess the fact that I used the word "memo" means it's true.  When did the 30s become the NEW 80s?  I know they say you're only as old as you feel.  If that's true then I was 147 years old a few weeks ago.

I suffered the first back injury of my short life.  It was very painful and it put me out of commission for several days.  I have a really high pain threshold and I seldom go to the doctor or take medicine.  I did both after this injury.

Everything about this injury was VERY serious... except how the stupid thing happened.  I would love to tell the tale of how I hurt my back while saving 10 orphans from a burning building.  

I had even thought about telling everyone that I hurt my back while I was skydiving and my parachute didn't open.  It was a crazy free fall for at least 38,000ft!  As a matter of fact... if the plane hadn't SWOOPED down at the last minute to catch me, I wouldn't be alive to write this Blog.

I only wish I could tell you that I hurt my back while trying out for the Titans (because they REALLY need my help).  I won the starting QB AND starting WR spots.  We were working on plays where I would throw the ball to MYSELF.  On one of my amazing pass plays I threw the ball 65 yards... to myself.  And when I realized that I was going to embarrass the entire defense with this truly wonderful feat, I decided to one-up myself.  Since no one could catch me, I JUMPED from out of nowhere and had a HUGE diving tackle... on myself!

Unfortunately, none of those stories are true.  I know most of you are shocked.  You were expecting me to tell you that one of the three stories is legitimate.  But, alas... I can't.  I'm going to have to use one of those stories for the next injury (I'm not going to waste a good story).  SO I trade in those good stories for this crappy one.

It was a school morning and everything was routine.  I fed the kids. I got them ready.  I did the middle child's hair.  This would have been an awesome story if that was how I hurt my back.  Because any given morning she throws a fit so bad that just watching it is enough to make your back hurt a week.  But not this morning.  I mean, she threw a fit (like normal)!  But it wasn't enough to throw out my back.  She did cause a pain with her fit but saying it was in my back would be an improper ASSessment of the location of said pain.

Moving on... I got everyone ready and we got into the car.  We were running a little late (normal) so we were in a hurry.  We got in the car, pull out of the driveway and turn onto the next street.  Just then I hear a little sound from the back seat.... "Daddy... I forgot my yellow blankie."  If she hadn't used her mutant make-daddy-do-what-I-want-with-my-cute-smile ability, I wouldn't have this story to tell.  But she used her magic and I turned the car around (We had just left anyway).

So we turn around, go back home and pull into the driveway.  I turn to get out of the car and.... that's the end of the story!  I told you, I told you, I told you!  That's the story.  That's how I hurt my back!  I went from being in my 30s to being in my 140s on one turn to get out of my car.  I want to continue writing but the arthritis won't let me.  The Titans are doing terrible without me.  I guess I'm going to go to bed.

Now, where's my cane?!?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Family Dogs

There are 2 dogs in our immediate family.  There is my dog: Smokee.  He is a red and white Shih Tzu that comes from a very good line of dogs (3 champions in his pedigree).  He is a very lovable and *quiet (most of the time) dog.  He wasn't hard to train.  He can do a few doggie tricks like sit, speak and lay down (I know that proper English would be for me to tell him to lie down.  But he's a dog so he doesn't know proper English).  He *doesn't beg for food nor *does he eat "people" food if I lay (see... proper usage of the word lay) it on the floor.  He doesn't eat or chew on objects that weren't made for a dog (minus a friend's aglet (thanks to my oldest I know what the plastic tip of a shoestring is called)... sorry Spuds.  I will buy you another shoestring one day).  He has too many wonderful qualities to post them all.

Now some of you might have noticed that I added a few *'s next to some items.  That means there are moments when he's just being a dog.  For example the quiet part.  He IS quiet most of the time.  But if you leave him closed off from people like in another room with the door closed, he goes nuts until you open the door.  That's only because he isn't tall enough nor does he have the thumbs necessary to open it himself.  His barking is just to remind you of that.  The other stars are all together different.  He didn't beg for food or eat people food when he was younger.  He has somehow learned this and other BAD behaviors from... the other dog...

Enter my wife's dog... Pal.  I wish I could tell you what breed he is but even the Vets don't know what to call him (I have made several suggestions on what I want to call him).  He is pretty much red all over (like the devil) and only 3lbs heavier than my dog (even though he acts like he's Godzilla toward my little Smokee).  If you have ever seen the movie "Marley and Me" then you would recognize him as a pint size Marley.  If you haven't seen that movie then he is a mini Cujo (If you don't know then YouTube it)!

This dog will eat anything.  I have the Vet bills to prove it! He has eaten several items that should have killed him by now, like: a pound of chocolate from Godiva (Dead); a boot from one of my daughter's dolls (got lodged in his intestines... DEAD); a bag of balloons (although this could have killed him, it was by far the funniest thing he has eaten.  He had multicolored poop for days).  That was just to name a few things!  And he has survived them all!  So I'm convinced that the dog is going to live to be 300 (in dog years) just so he can see me go first.

If we don't watch him, he will walk right over to the kids and take whatever food they are eating.  He's also a big BRUTE even though he's a scaredy-cat!  And if he does something wrong, you can't yell at him or you run the risk of him just peeing right where he is.  Then, you can't yell at him for that because you run the risk of him running and peeing at the same time.  So the lake of pee now becomes a river of pee that winds around the house like the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. So there have been a many of times where I have had to just stand there and bite my tongue (instead of calling him some of those creative names I talked about earlier) and just watch him pee.  And he always looks at me with that look like, "It's either this one spot on the carpet or the whole carpet.  You decide.  One way or another... I'm peeing!"

And here is the end all, beat all....  I gave that dog to my wife as a present.  So I can NEVER get rid of him.  I guess I will have to use some of his quirkiness to fill some pages on my blog.

At least he's not a cat!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

OK... I'll Do It.... But, You First.

It's funny how most men will attempt some of the most dangerous things in life for some of the DUMBEST reasons.  I can only imagine how many appendages have been lost within 10 seconds of hearing "Hey, watch this!"  I can only wonder about how many broken bones or spleens (yes, I said broken spleens) have been involuntarily waged in a friendly game of dare (double that number for a double dare (and quadruple that number for a TRIPLE DOG DARE (Trust me.  The math works.))).  We (men) have a problem of looking past our 15 seconds of fame, glory and stupidity to see the numerous possibilities of supreme failure at our current task.  And if there's even a hint that our painful venture would land the newest viral video on YouTube... BONUS!  For some reason we are willing to throw such caution to the wind without a second thought.  That brings me to my question... With all of the bravery (and stupidity masked as bravery) we exhibit, why do we have a problem with going to the doctor?

For the sake of this argument we will leave the cost of healthcare out of the equation.  That is a completely different post and also good money says that even if there was a FREE option, we still wouldn't go.  The logical approach says that all you would need to do is DARE a man to go to the doctor and we would do it.  But logic fails in that scenario because there is no YouTube moment for success or failure.

I think there is a fear among us about going to the doctor.  I believe the fear to be real but I believe it to be misplaced or misdiagnosed, if you will.  I don't think it is the fear of the professional that is trying to heal us.  I believe it is the fear of what they might find.  Basically I will sum it up as this... Most men would rather die of something they didn't know they had than to live with something they knew.

I'm a guy and I don't understand it myself.  When I hear my car make a weird noise the first thing I want to check it out (or have someone more qualified to do it - like a geography teacher or something).  But if my body made the EXACT same noise (as unnatural as that is) I would think I could just sleep it off.  I would put the noise on the MAN-SCALE.  Headache - 30 minute nap. Backache - rest for a few hours. Diphtheria - this one might take a few days.

So MEN... You need to face that irrational fear of doctors.  We need to show BRAVERY in face of unknown.  You need to get checked.  This holds more weight if you have a spouse and children.  If the doctor says take a "deep breath and hold it" then by all means hold it like you are trying to get into the Guinness Book.  If the doctor tells you to bend over and cough... then make THAT your YouTube moment!  And when you come back with a clean bill of health... there is your 15 minutes of fame and glory (minus the stupidity). And look... I didn't even have to triple dog dare you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gymnastics... A Father's Curse

I am the father of 3 girls (insert: SPUDS joke on not putting the stem on the apple (totally ripped from Cosby!)).  So my dreams of watching my son(s) throw the game-winning pass in Super Bowl L have been all but shot.  I could look at it that if the little cells carrying Y-Chromosomes weren't even quick enough to make it to the egg in the first place then why should I think that they would even have made good football players anyway.  But I choose to not look at it that way.  They would have played and they would have been GREAT!

So... Where does that leave me?  I'm competitive by nature.  I love sports.  And I have NO PROBLEM living my dreams through my kids.  So one way or another, they were going to play something.  I'm the father and that's just the way it goes!  So what are my *ahem* daughters' choices? Well... The 2 youngest are too young to really have a say so we will have to focus on the 10-year old.

She doesn't particularly like kicking things.  So no soccer or martial arts.  She doesn't really like hitting things.  There goes softball, tennis and golf.  She can't swim very well.  That takes out... well... swimming.  She's not that fast of a runner.  So no track (or field... doesn't like throwing things either).  Just when we were about to give up, she turns a cartwheel in the yard and a STAR IS BORN!  Gymnastics it is.

Just to temporarily fast forward... My daughter is AWESOME at gymnastics!  She has improved over years.  I am amazed every time I see her doing anything on the bars and beam.  I am amazed about the other things too.  But the bars and beam make me excited and nervous at the same time.  In a recent event (that I missed because of an injury of my own (another post probably)) she received 2 gold medals and was 1 slip-up away from receiving a silver in the all-around.  So she's got skillz!  And no matter what she does out there I think she's great!  Therein lies the problem for fathers.

Rules of Baseball:  You pitch, I hit.  If I hit and no one catches, I run.  I hit it far enough, I keep running.  If I run all the way back home, I score.  If I do that more times than you, I WIN!

Rules of Basketball: I bounce the ball.  You try to take the ball.  If you miss, I keep bouncing.  If you try to take it again, I bounce it behind my back, between my legs, off your forehead and then bounce it some more.  Then when I'm done bouncing the ball, I shot it at a hoop.  If it goes in, I score.  If I do that more times than you, I WIN!

Rules of Football: Someone hikes me the ball.  I either throw it to someone or I hand it to someone.  We keep doing this pattern until someone stops us or we get to the other side of the field.  When we get to the other side of the field we try to cross the opponents goal line.  If we cross the goal line, we score.  If we score, we do a silly dance, jump into the stands with fans, reenact a scene from Shakespeare or just slam the ball down so you know we scored.  If we do more dances than you or more scenes of Romeo and Juliette than you, WE WIN!

Rules of Gymnastics: ???

That is not to say that there are no rules to Gymnastics.  That's to say that there is a clear-cut and very concise scoring system.  It's a fathers dream!  It's very technical (even down to the tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a point (that's 3 digits on the RIGHT side of the decimal (even money doesn't do that))).  It's logical (a standing back tuck means you from the standing position you do a back flip while tucking your legs in your body).  It flows in a predictable pattern (If I do this, that happens (If I fall, I lose this many points)).

But then... There's this seedy underbelly that they don't tell you about... The JUDGES!!!  I mean no offense to the judges in this sports (especially to those that might be judging my daughter's future performances).  I'm sure this is a tough job.  But I personally think this position was created just to curse fathers!  First off... What gives them the right to judge my daughter anyway? And you mean to tell me that I have to sit there and take it when this "judge" gets a headache halfway through the meet and starts to judge harder... and my daughter competes LAST.  I just have to suck it up when the judge looks away to write something or sneeze or daydream about whales when little-miss-crooked-cartwheel performs but is watching my daughter like a hawk ready to a pounce a field mouse.  That's where I lose it!  My daughter's routine was a 9.7 and YOUR critical analysis says "hmmm... 8.2."  Now it's not a sport any more... now IT'S PERSONAL!

I must end now.  Just thinking about it is making the curse come back.  And for the record, I can neither confirm nor deny anything that happened to the car of one of the judges at the last meet.  I didn't even know she drove a 2005 hunter green Honda Accord with 68,423 miles and a coffee stain under the floor mat on the rear passengers' side of the vehicle.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.