Friday, September 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Kiddies (Part 2)

After the first game, NO ONE will forget my daughter!  I would love to say they will remember her because she left a lasting impression of greatness and wonder like Niagra Falls, the Grand Canyon or Fruity Pebbles.  I would love to say they will remember her because her performance inspired others to achieve like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Tom Hanks or the “Miss Congeniality” Sandra Bullock.  It would even have been nice if she were remembered as the beautiful little girl whose smile lit up the field and warmed the hearts of all who gazed upon her.  I assure you, that was so far from the truth Momma L. and Daddy Que wondered if that girl still existed.

As established in my previous post A Tale of Two Kiddies (Part 1) there was “another” team on the field.  So, our 5YO was going to learn her first lesson in competition.  She didn’t like that lesson.  She didn’t like the fact that if she had the ball someone from the other team would keep trying to taking it.  She expressed her disgust when I told her that’s how the game is played.  I’m sure if she had it her way they would all part like the Red Sea and she could walk right down the middle in her own little personal Homecoming parade (with her as the queen of course).  Having all of those other kids trying to take the ball from her was just “too hard!”

She DID have an answer for that though.  An amazing plan went through her head!  I wish should would have told me her plan so I could explain to her that it wouldn’t work.  But, I guess you have to learn some things on your own.  So, the next time the ball was in her area she did the smart thing and just bent down and grabbed it.  Just like America, my daughter ignored the fact that the game was cleverly called “Football” for a reason.  (At least she didn’t just completely change the name to Soccer or something like that.  That would be absurd!)

This whole “no-hands” thing in soccer really confused her.  And while they were explaining it to her, you could see the frustration on her face.  She just didn’t understand why she couldn’t use her hands.  I know the game is called Football and I really wanted to explain to her the fun of just using your feet.  But to be completely honest... I have the same reservations with the sport.  Just pick up the ball and throw it!  You have 2 good hands and arms... use them!  Just my opinion.  So, I really couldn’t argue against her logic because I’m in the same boat.  But our problem with the rules didn't change the rules. So they let the other team kick a penalty kick and the game started again.  This time was different, though, because now my daughter knew if the ball comes near her she must use her feet (no matter how effective her hands would be) to stop it or kick it.

She picked up on that rule much better than I expected!  The next time the ball was near her she went through the mental check list.  One... They are trying to take the ball from me so I must try to take the ball from them. (CHECK!) Two... I am not supposed to use the these absolutely... ummm... “handy” hands to move the ball. (CHECK!)  And Three... (She picked up on this one all by herself) If I kick the ball into the net people will cheer really loudly for me!  I was really proud of the logical progression her brain made and how that translated into play on the field.

She applied all that she knew, came up with a plan and it led to her first goal of the season!  The other team had the ball.  She ran up to them and took that ball right from their feet.  (Flawlessly, I might add.) She snatched the ball and proceeded to beautifully give THEM a lesson on how the game was supposed to be played.  She dribbled left.  She dribbled right.  She avoided defender after defender.  It was a work of art!  The goal keeper didn’t have a clue what was going on.  The dazzling display had everyone mesmerized.  My daughter saw the goalie standing between her and the cheering she knew she would receive for kicking this ball into the goal.  She stared the goalie down.  She brought her leg back and kicked!  The goal keeper went right.  The ball went left.  GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!  

The crowd went wild!!!  This was an exciting moment to say the least.  And normally, this would have been one of the proudest moments of my parenthood.  I wanted to get up and scream like half of the people in the crowd.  But, it’s a weird moment when you daughter scores her first goal in her first game.... and it’s for the OTHER team! So my wife and I were not on the side that was cheering.  But I can’t fault my daughter for her thoughts.  It’s the old “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” philosophy.  (Really, it was just that when my daughter got the ball, her own goal was the closest goal to her... just like in practice.)

This is where things got sad.  When they explained to her what just happened.  She just started crying.  She broke down right there on the field.  She was so upset and she was crying so much that they had to call for a substitution.  She didn’t want to do anything but come back over to mommy and daddy.  So she did.  They resumed play while my daughter sat in our laps crying. :-(  It literally broke my heart.  I have seen her kick, scream, yell and cry for not getting her way.  That doesn't bother me. But I very seldom see her crying due to pain or something I truly feel is tear worthy.  If you are a parent, you know how bad that hurts.  If you are a father, you know I COULDN’T let me wife and kids see that one bothered me.  But it stung.

Also, if you are a father, you know that sting generally goes away much quicker than it does with mothers.  So after a few hours (which really was just a few minutes of real-time but an eternity of  “father-time” (pun might have been intended... I’m not sure)) it was time to rub some dirt on it and get back out there and play.  I told her in my nicest fatherly voice that it was time to suck up those tears and get back in the game.  She told me, “NO!”  My wife tried her caring motherly tone and asked her in the way that only mothers can.  She told her, “NO!”  She kept saying she wanted to be the goalie because it was “easy!”  She was crying saying that the game was too hard.  She wanted to play goalie because she could use her hands.  

My wife and I didn’t truly understand what she was meaning by all of this easy and hard stuff.  But to me, this was starting to be more than a little annoying.  (I know.  Bad father, right?  I just can’t take all of the whining. And that’s all it was at this point.)  So I told her she basically had 2 choices.  She could go out there, have some fun and keep playing OR she could go out there and stand in the middle of the field and cry.  Either way she wasn’t sitting on the sidelines with us and crying.  I gave her the... *ahem*... fatherly nudge and pointed her toward the rest of her team standing at the goal.

She had finally calmed down enough to go back out there.  The coaches were picking the positions for the next quarter (4 quarters for children’s soccer).  Little did we know our daughter only agreed to go back out there because she thought she might get a chance to play goalie.  When the coaches took the special RED shirt to signify “goalie” off of one of the children and placed it on another child... that wasn’t my daughter... the waterworks started all over!  This time people were treated to a dramatic encore performance staring... well, you know who.  My daughter put her hands over her face and hit the ground right there in front of the net.

(Side Note:  Thank you to the coaching staff as well as the officials of that game.  They did all they could to console her and to get her to play the game in the position she was designated to play.  They did a wonderful job.  My daughter looked over the the sidelines like she didn't want to play and my wife and I pointed for her to stay on the field.  So, the coaches and officials had to deal with the fallout. But they did a wonderful job and I commend them.)

My little angel :-) remembered her 2 choices.  And neither of them involved coming back over to the sidelines with us.  So (since she didn’t get to play the “easy” goal keeper position) she chose option #2.  And that’s where her day finished.  She ended the day standing in the middle of the field... just crying.  She wouldn’t run.  She wouldn’t kick.  She wouldn’t move.  She just stood there for the entire 4th quarter... crying. I was slightly (very) upset.

With all of the mistakes that were made, I was fine.  She’s a child.  Several other children made mistakes as well.  (Not as many as mine, though.  I didn’t tell about the other time she grabbed the ball and some other issues as well.)  But that’s all part of the learning process.  I will never be mad about that.  What REALLY upset me was that she gave up and didn’t try at all.  She didn’t get her way and just called it quits.  There are completely reasonable reasons to call it quits: When your ethics will be compromised... When someone else is going to be harmed in the process...  When you run out of money and can’t afford to pay your gambling debts and the Australian Mob (who, BTW, are the nicest Mob in the world) threaten to fly around the world to “come pay you a friendly visit” and you sell your entire Brittany Spears Collection just so you can bet it ALL on double-zeroes... again....

All of those (and many more) are good reasons to quit something.  But not getting you way is NOT one of them. (I love a well placed double negative!)  We told her that she was eventually going to get to play goalie.   Everyone gets a chance to play all of the positions.  She just needed to be patient and trust in her parents and coaches words.  And, no matter what, keep trying!  That was now going to be her new focus and getting her to understand this was mine.

To recap:  The first game... She played. She made a couple of mistakes. She cried... and cried... and did I mention... CRIED! Soccer is too hard. Playing goalie is “easy” because she gets to use her hands.  And that’s where we will end because it’s leads into the next post about the following Saturday... A Tale of Two Kiddies (Part 3)

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Kiddies (Part 1)

She was the best at times, and was the worst at times, she’s at the age before wisdom, she’s at the age of foolishness, blah, blah, blah.  You get the point.  She’s a 5YO.  So, what exactly am I yapping about? After much blood, sweat and debate, my wife and I decided to sign our daughter up for America’s 17th favorite past-time (just below Cow Tipping and Water Ballet... SOCCER. (That would be FOOTBALL for everyone else outside of the US of A.)

This past weekend, my middle child (5YO) played in her very first soccer (football) game.  We couldn’t have imagined how this day was going to turn out.  (Really, we could... if we had just remembered most of the days of her young 5 years of life.  As parents we sometimes forget history when we are excited for our kids.  It gives us the wonderful experience of learning the same lesson more than once.)  We glossed over ALL of the warning signs designed to give parents a heads up on how to predict the behaviors of our offspring.  

It’s kinda like those parents who insist on taking their crying, whining or otherwise LOUD children to a movie or a dinner at a nice restaurant.  You know your kids.  You know they are going to be bothersome.  Being a parent you give up the right to have any kind of fun whatsoever until the kids are old enough to take care of themselves... stay home.  (My wife and I dodn't have a problem with this because we didn't go anywhere.  We don’t and didn't have any money. So we never took the kids out in public... until now.)  But this was one time we just acted like new parents and threw her into soccer (football). So the blame is really on us.

Everything started fine.  And by everything, I mean the walk from the car to the field was fine.  When she got out to the field she noticed there were people like her (with the green shirts on) and people not like her (with the purple color shirts on).  Something wasn’t right here.  So I told her the purple shirts were the OTHER team.  It was the team she was to play against.

Up to this point, she had only been at soccer (football) "practice".  Everyone was on the same side. There were no teams.  Only friends sharing a common goal.  So, in her mind, she had to come to grips with this new scenario and it meant she was going to have to play against another team.  But more importantly, It meant she was going to have to SHARE the field with some other kids she didn’t even know.  Well... she HATES sharing (just ask her little sister).  So that was officially the first flag in her mind.  And the game hadn’t even started.  At this point I should have used my fatherhood skills to explain "competition" to her.  I kind of quickly glossed over it.  We have been trying to get her to "cooperate" and now we were having to teach her to be stingy.  And I'm OK with that.  But I knew I was going to have to have the competition talk.  (This is the equivalent of the sex talk the mothers have the have with the daughters.  Just trust me on this one.  Men and competition will be a whole 'nother post.)

When I finally do have "the talk" about competition, I’m not going to use great historical rivalries like: Lakers vs Celtics, Packer vs Bears, Red Sox vs Yankees, University of Tennessee vs Alabama or even (within the sport itself) Liverpool vs Manchester United. No, those don't have the impact.  I need to use something that shows MUCH more of a battle.  I need to use something that epitomizes competition at a child level.  I need to explain what childish competion is and still makes sure it relates to soccer (football) so my 5YO can understand.  

So when I have this conversation, I will give her a live lesson and soccer (football) lesson at the same time.  I will explain soccer (football) using the best child-like competitors in the history of the US: Democrats vs Republicans.  (Yes, it's political but it's not that bad.  I'm talking to a 5YO for goodness sake.) I fugure this is the perfect way to explain the difference in Cooperation (sharing and compromising: basically, what we’ve been trying to teach her) and Competition (me vs you, win, lose, compromise = lose/lose).  So, I imagine my explanation will eventually sound a little like this.

The Democrats vs The Republicans make it to the World Cup.  The Republicans immediately tell the referees (much to the dismay of the Democrats) that they will not be needing their services.  They feel that less of them (referees) trying to control everything would make for a much better game.  The Democrats, of course, don’t agree.  They feel more rules and people watching over everything keeps the teams honest.  

So, the Democrats want to not only KEEP the current referees but to also hire MORE refs.  They just can’t really find the money to pay this new labor force.  (Minor Detail)  The Democrats and Republicans continue to fight over this one little issue... for hours and hours and hours and hours.  The crowd gets restless because they thought they were going to watch soccer (football).  But before the two sides can come to an agreement, compromise or resolution they BOTH decide to start the game anyway (typical).

The Republicans get the ball first.  (I’m not sure how that happened but it always does.)  They take the ball and keep it only on their side of the field.  A strange strategy to say the least.  The Democrat think this is a horrible, unfair tactic.  They feel that the best game for the fans would be one where the ball is “spread around” between the two teams.  The Republicans assure the Democrats that through the logical progression of the game itself the ball will eventually “trickle down” to them... on a flat field.  (Hmmm...)  The Democrats feel that’s a flawed logic and the only way for the ball to ever get to their side of the field is to go get it! They decide that that Republican tactic is not only unfair but also does a terrible job showing the true meaning of the game. 

So, the Democrats talk to the rules committee and they create a rule on the spot.  The rule states that it doesn't matter whether they go get the ball or not, the Republicans HAVE to give it up after a certain amount of time.  When the Democrats get the ball they completely enjoy what it means.  And not only that, they enjoy it so much they decide that EVERYONE should have a ball to play with.  This creates a small problem since there are 20+ players on the field and there is only 1 ball.  That doesn’t matter to the Democrats.  As a matter of fact, even after the numbers are presented, they PROMISE that everyone will have a ball to play with whether they want one or not.  The Republicans laugh at this because they see the math... and it doesn’t add up.  They see the 20 players on the field and only 1 ball.  How will the Democrats manage this mathematical impossibility???

The Democrats refuse to be limited by logic and go to the fans to ask for more money.  They explain it’s the right thing to do.  The fans should give more money to purchase more balls.  The fans originally think that’s a great idea because they want a fun game to watch.  And more importantly, they just want the game to start!  They really want to see what their taxes... I mean, ticket prices paid for.  But while they are waiting to hear all of the sides on this issue the Democrats decide to get the money from them whether they want to give it or not.  They do so in the name of the “best interest of the fans” clause.  They really feel this will start the game.  But, for some reason... it still doesn’t.  

Then to insure they are elected to play in the game next season, the Democrats AND the Republicans decide that working together is the only thing to make sure the fans get what they paid for and to get this game started.  They figure they will work together for the benefit of the fans and to insure a better game for all.

The only problem is that no matter how much they say they are working together, they are on different sides of the ball.  No matter the good intent of either side, one side is ALWAYS trying to take the ball from the other side.  Then the Democrats say "we have a right to play here, we are entitled" and the Repubs say "yeah, but we own the park and here are our guns to prove it!" Then it just starts an all out brawl! 
And, basically, in the end, you find a whole lot of people kicking the ball around but no one is actually playing soccer (football).  Surely, my 5YO will know what I mean.  Kids can figure out a few things before grownups do sometimes.

I guess I will end this one there.  I got off on a tangent.  Who would have known that explaining soccer (football) would be so tiring?  I did all of that and I didn't even get into the Tale of the first Kiddie.  That will be my next post.  I promise.  Stay tuned for what I was really planning on writing about with my next post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Greatest Blog Post Ever

This is the greatest blog post in the world...

...tribute. (Thank you Tenacious D)

I was putting together... (Hmmm.... I need something stronger to show the significance.) I was  assembling... (Still not there.) I was designing and constructing from the atomic level up what was going to be the greatest blog post to EVER be displayed in digital format!  (better) It was complete with plot and subplot with an occasional sub-subplot on the side.  It had action!  It had adventure!  It had guns and knives and puppies.  (Don’t ask.  I’m not sure why I grouped those together either.  And if you ask why I did it I will be forced to make up something that sounds pleasing to the both of us even though we would both know it’s a lie.)  

It had mystery and romance.  (Probably had a little more mystery than romance since, one, I know a little bit about and the other I have absolutely NO clue at all about.  I’ll let you figure that one out on your own because I will never tell. (See... pretty good at mystery part.)  It had earth, wind and fire. (The elements were there, not the band.  Although, there were already plans for the band to show up in the made-for-tv movie.)  And then to top it all off, there was a complete section just on naked mole rats!  (I hope your filter didn't block it because I used the word "naked"... twice.)   As you can see, this blog post would easily have been the first blog entry in the history of the world to win a Pulitzer.  Now, why am I not able to bring you this (potentially) award winning post?  I blame my wife.

My wife took my words (which I’m surprised didn’t glow with the power of the ages) and tossed them into the trash.  You have to know something about my wife.  She has this weird thing where she wants our home to be clean.  (I know... the nerve, right?  I mean... who even does that cleaning thing anymore?)  It’s not at an OCD level (except on those really special occasions like when company is coming over) but she likes the place to generally stay clean.  If I had known that BEFORE we got married...

But anyway, she just threw them away.  I had carefully scribbled all of my important words onto the back of an envelope and placed on top of the entertainment center where important papers are supposed to go.  I thought that location would automatically give the paper an inherent level of elevated stature.  I was bold enough to defy the unwritten rule of not putting "paper" on top of the entertainment center.  So that should have let her know right away how truly important those words were.  (Honestly, I think the unwritten rule was actually WRITTEN but my wife was cleaning one day... well, you know the rest.)

Also, the words were on the back of an envelope.  They weren’t on a regular sheet of paper like mere common words.  These were specially designed words written on specially designed paper.  See the connection?  My words were meant to carry a message.  Envelope... message... That’s the level I’m talking about right there.  You would have had to raise your level of consciousness to even get though the first paragraph.  The post would have been life changing.  

And I know some of you are still doubting the idea to scribble such important words on the back of an envelope to begin with.  And to those (who are obviously not writers)...  You never know when or where the inspiration will hit you.  You have to take what is in your environment to make sure the words are immortalized.  I can’t begin to tell you how many of my blog entries breathed first life on a couple of sheets of toilet paper because that’s what was available.  (After reading that last line I realize that sounds kinda disturbing.  But it just goes to further my point that you never know when you will be inspired.  It might be a sound.  It might be a smell.  You just never know what will inspire you.)

I did all of that warn you that the next post will not be as great as it would have been if I had been inspired at a different place or time OR if my wife didn’t like things to be clean and orderly.  The kids and I have been trying for years to change her way of thinking... It’s not working.  So that means you will be stuck with the reheated leftovers of one of the greatest meals of your life.  And if you are ok with that I will see you in a few days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whoever said size doesn't matter... lied! (Part 2)

When I'm driving my Civic, I feel like Toad from Mario Kart.  Everyone else is driving normal sized vehicles and I'm driving this little go-kart from a Nintendo game.  And not only that, while I'm driving I keep looking around waiting for someone to hit me with a banana or something.   As a matter of fact, because of the Mario Kart mentality, I come to a complete stop when I see a turtle crossing the road.  The people behind me tend to think I'm this UAH (Uber-Animal-Humanitarian - if that's possible).  But really, I've seen what happens when Toad runs into a turtle shell... and it ain't pretty.

I'm sure the car isn't all bad.  I'm just used to driving bigger vehicles.  I'm used to driving BIGGER vehicles with BIGGER engines.  When you think of bigger engines you think of horsepower.  I'm not even sure if mine has ponypower.  It DOES have a blistering 0 - 60 miles per hour time.  I can go from 0 - 60 mph in about 4.7... days.  I think that lands me on the speed chart somewhere between a scooter and old school pair of L.A. Gear sneakers.  (Don't laugh at the L.A. Gear.  I used to run pretty fast in those!)

It does have a little bit of passing speed.  But that comes at a price.  When I'm on the interstate and I try to pass someone the car literally take a minute or two to negotiate the requested course of action.

Me: (Pressing the gas pedal because I'm merging onto the interstate)
Car: Really?
Me: Yes.  Right now please.
Car: (Deep breath) Are you serious?
Me: Yes.
Car: What's wrong with going 45mph?  A lot of respectable people never went over 45.
Me: Name one.  Never mind that! You are the car.  When I press the gas pedal you should do as I say!
Car: How's that working for ya?
Me: Grrrrr!!!!
Car: Ok. Fine!  Whatever. (Continues to the desired speed while taking a small break at 55 to make sure the desired speed is in the best interest of all parties involved.)

All of that and I'm not really a speed demon.  But I do like a healthy number of horses in my stable.  I went from having 300 horsepower to about 140.  That's 160 horses!  When you consider the cost of the average horse ($1500 - $15000 - I would get one for around $10000 because that's how I stroll!) then you can see how my investment has really taken a nosedive.  160 horses at $10000 per horse... That's means I will have lost $1.6 million throughout the life of this car going from the Expedition to the Civic.  (You can try to look farther into this but the math is sound!  Ask anyone.  I do realize with the gas savings between the two means I come out about even but lets not look at that very minor, almost non-existent detail.)

I guess the real problem with all of this is that I just feel so small next to the other vehicles on the road.  My Oompa Loompa Mobile can't weigh much more than a fat chihuahua.  To be honest, I get nervous when I even pass dogs on the street.  I was going to work one day and a dog on the side of the road was having one of those sneezing fits (which I used to find hilarious until this) and he blew my car to another state.  Needless to say, I was late for work.  But they understood when I told them what happened.  To recap, I was in Tennessee... the dog sneezed... I ended up in Atlanta.  Not a good morning.  (And for those who don't believe me you can follow that story on a very reputable website... MY BLOG!)

There is also a directly proportional relationship between the size of the car and the size of the horn.  I think this is the single-most annoying thing to me.  The horn is so wimpy.  You can barely hear the horn over the engine.  Someone can cut me off on the road and I can't do anything to alert them of what happened.  No matter how mad I am and how hard I press the horn all I can give them is a little... beep.   Sadly, the sound in your head when reading the word beep is 17 times louder than the actual sound of my horn.  And THIS is the horn that's connected to my alarm.  THIS is the horn that is supposed to alert the world when someone is trying to steal my car.  THIS is my first line of defense.  THIS is also the alarm that if I'm more than 10 ft away from the car and a housefly goes by when it starts "blaring".... I cant even hear it.  And that's weird because it registers a strong .0000017 on the Richter scale.  The only reason I set the dumb thing is to see the lights flash when I do so.  (It's sad... but true.)

It has been a few weeks so I'm really trying to come to terms with this.  I can even see a really great positive.  My job is between 37 and 45 miles away (depending on which way I go) and I'm getting between 34 and 37.5 miles per gallon.  So I would say that's pretty good and, really, it's the main reason I even got the car.  (Especially since I was getting 16 before.)  I guess the main problem I'm having with all of this is that It's hard to come to terms with  the fact that on the road I used to be the pigeon (the BMOC) and now I'm just the statue under the pigeon.  (You can figure that out for yourself.)  It happens.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whoever said size doesn't matter... lied! (Part 1)

Men... We have been told a bunch of mess since we were little.  We were told that it doesn't matter if you win or lose but how you play the game.  (Although that's true to a certain point, it has its limitations.  Like say... the lottery. Or... like the Super Bowl. Or, even a game of chicken.  You can play those games as well as you want but it's really important thing is that you actually win!)  We were also told that if you keep making that face it will stick that way. NOT TRUE! (At least I hope this one is not true.  I have at least one child who makes some... interesting faces.  I will leave it at that.)  We were also told that money doesn't grow on trees.  (The government dispells this myth every single day.  After hearing about the budget I'm 100% certain that there is a money tree somewhere!  I just need to find me some money seeds!)  But I'm not here to talk about any of those.  I'm here to talk about the BIGGEST myth of all.  The myth that size doesn't matter.  (Some of you are ready to stop reading my blog here.  And some of you are anxiously waiting to read on.  One of these 2 groups is really going to be disappointed.  But you will need to read on to figure out which one that is.)

I don't even know why we (men) fool ourselves.  Even the ancients knew the importance of size.  Imagine how the storied history of Egypt would have been altered had the GREAT Pyramid was just been average or small.  We would never even have heard of it.  What about the EMPIRE State Building?  It once stood as the TALLEST building in the world.  That record lasted for 40 years.  But the title couldn't last forever.  Our infatuation with size doomed this marvel of American ingenuity into a mere footnote in the annals of record breaking building heights. And lets not forget about the Titanic.  Would there have been countless movies, books and deep sea excursions if the ship had been named the Dinky (maybe) or the Pee Wee (probably not) or the Scrubby (not sure about that one)?  I mean, the smaller the ship the less of a chance you would even hear about its tragic end.  (The only exception to this one would be the S.S. Minnow. (Bonus points if you know about that famous ship wreck without doing a search.))  So, with size being such a very important part of everything else, why not this?

After much research on the subject of size I have found out that the average is 6.  8 is pretty big.  10 is just HUGE.  And there are those very, very rare occasions when you find a 12 (or higher, Yikes!).  And, unfortunately, for every 8, 10 and 12... you find a teeny, tiny little 4.  And this brings me to the crux of my story.  I didn't want to admit this because I'm a little ashamed.  This is much worse than admitting my fear of horses.  (I'm only telling my blogger family about this so let's keep between us OK? Thanks.)  But, believe it or not, I'm a 4!  And, the only thing worse than being a 4 your whole life is going from being an 8 down to being a 4.  (That really stinks.)  But there's even something worse that that... I'm a 4 and my wife is an 8!  How in the world did THAT happen?

I'll tell ya how that happened!  I went from driving a Ford Expedition (BIG powerful V8) to driving a Ford Explorer (respectable V6) down to driving a Honda Civic (a freakin' 4 cylinder baby car)!  And now my wife is driving the Expedition.  Some things I pass off as the universe righting itself and some things are just plain wrong.  Writing this has upset me to the point that I'm going to split this up into 2 parts.  (Ironically, 2 parts is what you could split my wife's engine into and each part would still be bigger than mine.) So I will see you all in the next part.

(To be continued...)

P.S.  Make sure no one tells Spuds about this.  I'm sure he will have some words to say after the ribbing I gave (and still give) him about driving a minivan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Local Celebrity is Born

My fame and fortune have grown 10 fold since yesterday!  (That's a slight exaggeration.) My silly little blog was featured in the Lifestyles section of our local printed and online newspaper, The Daily News Journal.  I just wanted to let all of my readers know that I will not let this new success go to my head.  I promise to not make any extra demands on any of my royal subjects. Now, would one of you fetch me some water.  My throat is feeling a bit parched.

I may be royalty now but I'm not without compassion.  I'm going to treat all in my kingdom (Queopolis) with more of... well... me.  I will present you with the article that has elevated my status.  One thing you will have to do, though, is substitute my REAL name, Que, with my royal name of Toma.  That's not asking too much.  I'm sure this will be just a minor inconvenience.  I guess the price you pay for success is 2 names.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, feel free to go to the article that gives a more personal view into the life of my royal family.  This article was written by Nancy De Gennaro.  I think she did a wonderful job.  As a matter of fact, I think it could be the best article ever written! (I might be a little biased, though.)  So click the pic to be taken to a land of enchantment. (That's another slight exaggeration.  It really just goes to the article.  I will let you decide if there is even an ounce of enchantment in that.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick Father’s Day Challenge

A lot of fathers in the US are waking up today to the smell of breakfast:  Pancakes, sausage, eggs, Fruity Pebbles and bacon. (Because NOTHING says Happy Father’s Day like bacon!  Really, any holiday can start with bacon and be ok.)  In addition to breakfast, there will be other gifts given: Ties, wallets, cards and bacon. (See, bacon is so versatile that it can be a meal AND a gift!) There will be many things going on today in the name of Fatherhood.  But my challenge takes a different angle.  It does a 180 (degrees) on the tradition on Father’s Day.  It does a little switch-a-roo on things.  (If you are a father you should be used to doing things like this.  Switch-a-roo is your specialty!  Just ask the mothers.  They have been trying to get you to do things the right way for years.  And in defense of fathers… we don’t do things the WRONG way.  We just do them OUR way.)

Fathers… Take some time today to focus not on the things you are receiving for being a father but on the things are you are “giving” because you are a father.  Nothing has been more challenging for me than Fatherhood.  (Although, being a Cowboys and a Titans fan has had its share of challenging moments over the last decade or so.)  But because of that challenge Fatherhood presents it has helped me grow as a person.  I’m supposed to help my little ones grow into adults but they are the one who are helping me do the same.  Fatherhood is like most things in life.  The more you put into it the more you get out of it.  It’s like the old computer science statement: GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).  And for that, I want to make sure this Father’s Day I remember to give them gifts to help them grow as well.
Fathers… Make sure your kids start out in a better position than you did.  I have no complaints about my childhood. (Well, not many.  I’m still mad that a 2nd cousin of mine broke my Optimus Prime Transformer and her mom (my 1st cousin) NEVER paid for it.  But other than that, I’m good!)  My childhood was great!  We didn’t start out with a lot but we were in a much better spot when I moved out on my own.  And I think that’s how a family grows from generation to generation.  We, fathers, need to make sure we do what it takes to make sure our kids start out in a better position in life than we did.  And that’s what I’m trying to do.  I have been working a lot to make sure my children start the race of life with a little bit of a head start.

Fathers… teach your sons to how to be men.  Now, that in itself is not MY challenge.  I’m the father to 3 girls.  And you would think that lets me off the hook completely for this challenge but you would be mistaken.  My challenge is not to teach my daughters to be men but I can teach them how a man is supposed to be.  I challenge myself to treat not on only them but also their mother with respect.  I don’t want there to be any confusion with my girls when it comes to the proper way they should be treated.  I don’t want them to ever settle for anything less than what they deserve.  And it’s my job to give them an idea of what that looks like.  So when I tell the fathers to teach their sons how to be men, I do it for their own good.  If they ever want their sons to have a chance with some beautiful, funny and intelligent women (like my daughters) they will need to know how to treat a lady.  I may not intimidate your son like in the movies when he comes over but I have NO problem with raising the bar so high that he’s gonna need MY help just to get over it! (This paragraph is kind of funny to me since my daughters aren’t dating until they are in their 30s.)

So, whether you are an average Que (like me) or a celebrity like Kevin Bacon (Amazing!!!! A food.  A Gift. A name. Bacon is just grand!), this challenge is something you should take a few moments to really think about.  We all have our way to celebrate this special day.  But today is the day we get to flip the script just because we are fathers!  (Kinda gives you a sense of power you don’t get the other 364 days of the year, doesn’t it?)

(Also, thanks to my kids!  Without you I wouldn't be the father I am today.)
(I think that's how it works, right?)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Goodbyes are Never Easy

To my library friends:

Saying goodbye is never easy.  It's especially difficult when you have so much emotion invested in the time between the aloha and the aloha.  If the moment had been but a brief encounter all would have been well.  A simple "Ciao" would have sufficed.  But the longer the interaction... the longer the circumstance... the longer the story, the longer the ending.

Each second, minute and hour unknowingly adds more and more words to the final paragraph.  Each day, week and month changes the plot and the course of the final page.  Each year adds character and true meaning to the final chapter. And only when the novel is complete do you realize how important every single word was to defining who you are and what you will become.

Another thing about goodbyes is when the time comes, how do you let go?  No matter what you say or how you say it, feelings of words left unspoken never leave you.  It's almost like that feeling you get when you are packing for a long vacation.  Whether you spend a little or a lot of time on the task you always have a feeling that you are leaving something essential out of your luggage.  The feeling is natural.  It will eventually pass... just not today.

Today it will nag you to no end.  Every time you think, your mind will be filled with thoughts of "Should I have said..." When you speak, your words might seem calculated or prepared.  And the more effort taken to ensure the event will go without an awkward moment almost always ensures the awkwardness will be there... two or three fold.

You almost wish you could skip past the moment of goodbyes and move right to the feelings of relief that come afterward.  But you eventually come to understand that denying the moment means denying the relief.  The relief comes because of the moment.  And as time further advances you come to understand that saying the goodbye is a gift within itself.  There are many times in life when we would give up most of our future hellos for one chance to go back and give a missed goodbye. I know I have a few of those.

So, as I say my goodbyes I do so with the understanding that this not a goodbye to us.  This is a goodbye to the way things used to be. This is not a goodbye to the people but only to the moments shared in the past.  This is merely the closing lines of book one in a series of infinite volumes.  And I also realize that no matter how many words I say or write I WILL forget something.  No matter how many times I go over this in my mind it WILL be awkward.  And this WILL nag me for a while but I will have to move on because new stories can't be written without closing previous ones.

I bid thee all adieu and I anxiously await to see how our roles fare in the sequel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What To Do???

As most of you know I have been working my tail off!  I work 2 full-time jobs.  I basically work 7 days and 87+ hours a week.  If I was trying to break a record then I would say those were some pretty impressive numbers.  But I'm not going for a record.  So those number SUCK!

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I have another "record" that is about to end soon.  As of tomorrow I will have gone 100 (see that number is popping up again) straight days without a day off.  It's just the nature of 2 full-time jobs.  When one job has a day off the other doesn't...and vice versa.  When that happens I'm happy because I can at least say I'm not working 2 jobs that day.  But the days off have never fallen on the same day... until now.

Memorial Day (here in the US) is next Monday.  It commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in military service.  It is a very noble holiday and I don't want to take anything away from the MAJOR importance and significance the Holiday was create for.  But I now have a minor dilemma...

I'm trying to figure out something to do on my day off!  I know I can do the family thing. (whatever) :-) I could go play golf. (Now we're talking!   And before you judge... I will play golf at the VA (VETERANS Administration) Golf Course.  So that makes it OK for Memorial Day.)  I could have a cook out. (Really, it's more of a cook IN. We don't have a grill... unless you count the Foreman.)  There are just so many things I could do.  But I haven't had a day off in a while so I'm kinda at a loss on what to do.

I could go for loftier goals like solving the world food shortage problem.  I could work on Middle East Peace.     I could go skydiving.  I could go Rocky Mountain climbing.  I could go 2.8 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu. (Look.  Tim McGraw went 2.7 seconds.  So I at least gotta beat him!)  The field is completely open.  (I am glad, however, that I looked at my things to remember from LAST Memorial Day as I'm sure I would have forgotten to remember them in remembrance of Memorial Day... remember?)  So let me ask this...

If you were me, what would you do on your day off?  And if you don't want to give me some great ideas because you already know I'm going to go play golf anyway *ahem* then just tell me what YOUR plans are for Memorial Day.  (For my readers in other countries, just pick whatever random holiday you want that will give you a day off.  I'm completely fine with that.  I'm not grading and this doesn't count toward your final standings.  Consider this extra credit.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm not THAT old... yet.

I was looking over my blog.  I do that from time to time.  Not in a narcissistic kind of way.  More like how a person who plays sports likes to study film of the competition before the big game.  (OK.  Maybe with a little hint of narcissism.)  When you are an actor, you ARE your competition.  So watching your performances is like watching game film.  You watch to see what statement can be made better.  You check for moments the crowd really thought you were funny.  (You keep that!)  You listen for moments when the crowd wasn't so in to what you were saying.  (You throw that mess out! Not that I ever had ANY of those moments (narcissism).)  But in the end, you use those previous attempts (successes AND failures) to perfect your craft.

(Now, I'm not sure why I wrote the above paragraph.  It could have been the beginnings of a wonderful masterpiece of a blog (again with the narcissism).  But, really, it has very little to do with the theme of this post.  As a matter of fact, that whole paragraph is only there to provide a segue to a statement that could have been summed up with this: I have noticed something on my Blog.)

I have almost reached the century mark of followers!  (A lot of people have more followers but none will love you like I do. Granted, that sounds a little creepy... but it's true.)  Then I thought, "WOW! Almost 100.  That is great!  I should really plan something for follower 100.  But what could I plan?  More importantly, how could I tell who is #100.  People might cheat just to get the prize that Que puts out there.  It might be another 8 x 10 glossy of me.  (Those went over well last time.)  It might be a map of Wyoming (same contest).  (There are very few of those in print so it might be of some value one day.)  It could be my wife's dog. (Please, oh, PLEASE let it be my wife's dog!)  Why am I thinking about this so much?  There is no way to tell who #100 is anyway.  So this is really pointless.  Plus, I might not ever make it to 100.  So many things could happen over the next 17 years (time it will take to get 4 more followers).  But 100 followers would be cool.  100.   That's a pretty big number.  I mean, it's not like BILLIONS but it's still good.  Unless, of course, you are talking about age....

(And there it was.  My little trip in stream of consciousness lead me to another thought and an even worse segue than the opening paragraph.  I'm getting old.  It's a pretty simple thought with a lot of complex variables.)

I'm getting old.  My birthday is in a few weeks.  I really don't have too much of a problem with the idea of getting old.  Birthday's are just another day for me.  And, I have already accepted that I'm theoretically closer to my end than my beginning.  Everyday brings me that much closer.  And I'm fine with that.  It really doesn't bother me too much.  I figure before I get too old the world will have gotten hit by an asteroid, or we will have been attacked by aliens or even that the Mayan prophecy might be right and we only have a year and a have left to live anyway.  (One sci-fi movie has to eventually be right.)  So, I'm more concerned about the signs that tell me I'm getting old.  There are a few things going on that leave me with the feeling that age is MUCH more than a number and the person who came up with the opposing view of that must have been on "younger" side of the statement.

How do I know I'm getting old?  Well... There are the classic signs.  I'm starting to have more hair in my nose and ears than I do on my head.  I'm a little upset about that one.  And I'm not upset that my hairline is receding faster than President Obama's (pre OBL slaying) Approval Rating. I'm upset that it takes forever for me to shave my head bald.  (Who would have thought?)  I know that's petty.  But it really does take a long time.  There are a lot of products geared toward preventing hair loss.  But where are the products geared toward removing hair and having it never come back again.  This is a product that could help men AND women.  (My personal opinion...  No one has done this because it has terrible capitalistic value.  Even if you found enough customers, you wouldn't have any repeat business... whether it worked or not.  And in order to get it to sell you would have to package it with a diet plan or a Foreman Grill or something.)

I can also tell I'm getting old because I have a daily routine.  And I don't mean the going to work or school.  We all do those things.  (Well, most of us.)  But, I'm talking about when I get home from work I have a daily routine.  I usually get home right before supper is done. (Most wonderful wife ever!) But I come in, say hello to the wife and kids and then go straight to the bathroom!  I go in there to wind down from work.  I'm not disturbed (most of the time).  I can sit down and relax. (I work with computers with both of my jobs. So I'm not sure why I just enjoy the sitting.  Maybe it has something to do with cool and porcelain.  I'm sure there is a therapy support group just waiting to happen in there somewhere.)  When all is calm (as calm as it can be) and all is quiet (Ok, that's pushing it (not sure if the "pushing it" pun was intended or not)) it's time for the Sudoku!  There are times I'm completely done with the business portion of the bathroom break before I ever start with the pleasure portion.  I love me some Sudoku!  The book I'm working on right now has a few hundred puzzles and I have been working on it for a year and a half.  That's quality time folks.

After the Sudoku bathroom break, it's time for dinner.  The family eats together.  We talk about work.  We talk about school.  We fight with the kids for not eating their vegetables.  Then, I fight with my wife when she tries to make me eat MY vegetables. (Especially those stupid lima beans!  I would absolutely WASTE a Back to the Future trip in time just to go to Peru when they started farming that mess and punch the dude right in the face.  Farming that was something that should have never been done... ever.  It did permanent damage to the space/time continuum.  I know that is harsh but the guy deserves to be punched.  I would even take my DeLorean and do donuts through every single lima bean crop in existence before I took my 1.21 Gigawatts ride back home!  Sorry for the long aside.  I really hate lime beans.)

After diner, it's time for the kids baths.  Story time follows.  (Sometimes I even read the kids a story!)  Then it time to put the kids to bed.  After THAT fight it's quiet time again.  So what do we do?  Angry Birds.  (If you are reading this and know my wife, you may ask her about MY Angry Birds skills at your own risk.  You have been warned.  But when you ask her, please record the reaction.  I'm thinking of posting some YouTube material.  And that would be a good place to start.)  After my total domination of Angry Birds it's time to brush the teeth and go to bed.  That is my normal routine.  And nothing says OLD like a daily routine.

Here's the last reason I'm going to post as to how I know I'm getting old.  I'm always making references to songs just like my parents.  When I was growing up, all I would hear from my parents when I was listening to a song was, "Aw, that ain't nothin' but a James Brown song!" Or, "They just stole that song from Stevie Wonder."  And even, "I thought that was Gladys Knight until they started singing.  Now it just sounds like the Pips!"  And you know what... They were right.  There are few things new in the recording industry.  And the things that are new stink.  So all of the good stuff you hear today is just sampled or remade from hit songs of years past.  (Now if that little rant doesn't sound like my father then I don't know what does.  A lot of the kids' songs today really don't do justice to the songs of the 80s that they stole them from.  It's almost like the world didn't end at the new Millennium but creativity did. (If you don't believe me, look at the movie industry.  There are so many "reboot" movies taken from the 80s it's ridiculous! - Batman - Superman - A-Team - G.I.Joe (I could go one forever)))

My only saving grace to this is that at least I haven't made the statement, "as long as you live under my roof" blah, blah, blah.   Not that I wouldn't but the situation really hasn't presented itself.  My oldest will be a teenager this year so I'm sure I'm just a few months away from that OLD person staple.  Plus, the older I get the more I have to fight the urge to just NOT say those words.  I keep saying I'm GETTING old.  But I will announce that I AM old the day I say those words.  My fighting it will be over at that point and I can move on with my life... one foot in the grave and all.

In spite of everything you just read, I'm really serious when I say I'm fine being old.  It's the getting old that's the problem. (Do you believe that?)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Perfect for ME

It is well documented that I love my wife.  She is my strength.   She is my rock.  She is my love.  She is my life.  She completes me. (OK. That last one is a Jerry Maguire reference but it fits!)  She does so much and expects so little.  I'm amazed everyday that our children are around her all of the time and don't even realize that they have a savior this side of divinity and don't even know it.  So on this Mother's Day I would like to speak for our children.  (I mean, they could speak for themselves but they really wouldn't know what to say.)

To mom: I love you.

To mom: Thank you for being you.

To mom: My life would have no meaning without you.

To mom: I appreciate you. I really appreciate you.  Without you there is no me.  You are the reason I am who and where I am today.

To mom: I love who you are and I hope you don't ever change.

To mom: I may not express myself enough (or at all), but you make me a better version myself.

To mom: I may not fully understand this but I know that you put YOU before ME.  You sacrifice(d) your dreams, goals, hopes and aspirations so that I may have mine.  You do (did) this without regard for yourself and without the expectation of payback or even acknowledgement.

To mom:  I am everything I am because of you.

To mom:  I want you to understand that one day we are going to butt heads because I haven't quite figured out yet that you know what you are talking about and that I should listen to what you have to say.  Until I do, I thank you for having the wisdom and understanding that I am years away from realizing.  It's refreshing to know that at least one of us has an idea about the ways things should be.

To mom:  And last but not least... Thank you for loving dad.  Without you, he would be lost.  He wouldn't know where to go or when to be there.  He wouldn't have a clue how to deal with everyday things that you do in your sleep.  He would almost cease to exist.  He would fold like a pair of deuces.  He would spend everyday wondering why GOD would allow him to live without purpose or direction.  He would stop living and start going through the motions of life.  He would become a shadow of his true potential and would never strive to be who he was meant to be.

Happy Mother's Day to "The Wife" and "The Mom".  You will never understand your worth to us.  There's not enough of anything in the world to replace someone who is the corner piece of everything.

I love you. And so do they.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It Must Be Stopped At All Costs

I have less time than I thought.  I made it through 12 years with the first one.  I kinda made it through 5 years with the second one.  But it has already started with my youngest.  My 2YO has a boyfri........
Sorry for the silence.  I passed out for a minute.  But I'm back.  Now where was I? Oh, yeah! This passing out just recently started.  I have never passed out before in my life until I found out about my 2YO's boyfri.........
I'm back.  Now where was I? Oh, yeah!  This is serious!  I focused all of my attention to my oldest and I now realized it was a COMPLETELY misplaced effort.  The little 2YO flew in under the radar.  (She's really small so odds are she really just walked in under the radar.)  And what makes it worse is that she even knows the little boy's name.  I'm refuse to write his name because I've just now started acknowledging his existence.

Then, to add insult to injury... My wife thinks this is funny!  I don't see the humor in this AT ALL.  She thinks it's all cute and stuff.  It's about as cute as this dog...

Yeah, really.  That cute.
I look at it like this.  It's like spending your time and effort taking care of your beautiful flower garden.  You spend hours and hours making sure it has the right amount of water.  You make sure the soil has the right PHes and such.  (Shows how much I know about a flower garden.)  You spare no expense in getting the right mulch and stones to accent the wonderfully planned EDENesque scene.  Then, while you were pruning the flowers to perfection... a weed pops up right smack in the middle of the garden!

There it is... a freakin' dandelion! Yeah, they're cute to look at but they create two problems in this scenario.  The first one is that we all know what happens to dandelions.  They look pretty for a while then they turn into little ugly puffballs of evilness.  Then the wind blows and they spread their praises to the dark one throughout the land.  (They also spend more of their life as a stupid puffball than a pretty flower.  So you can take that analogy as far as you want to.)

The other reason they create a problem is that in the grand scheme things.... I don't care how cute the weed may be, it's still a weed and shouldn't be in my flower garden!  It makes me change my objective.  I go from a positive agenda of nurturing and loving to negative one of search and destroy.  And I'm a nice guy.  I don't like living in the negative.  Dandelions do that to me!
I also don't care that my flower garden... I mean, daughter is only 2YO.  It starts somewhere.  And it's like a disease.  It will continue to spread unless you do something about it.  No matter what people think (Joan and Mindy) this IS preventable and, more importantly, stoppable.  My little cutie gets anything she wants.  But this is where I draw the line.  I don't care if she does give me the Princess Pouty Face.

My Pouty Princess in training. 
I am immune to Princess Poutiness under certain circumstances.  I have to keep my emotions repressed. I will not let it sway my decision on what I KNOW is right!  And if I try hard enough, I might even be able to repress the whole notion that my 2YO has a boyfr........
Now where was I? Oh, yeah!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Very Real Tale of Paranormal Activity

Our house is haunted.  That's a tough one for me to admit.  I used to consider myself one who does not believe in such things.  But alas... I have been awakened.  You can only deny such things for so long before the very thought of them etches a groove so deeply into reality that, in spite of itself, reality gives way to its existence.

At first it was easy to cast aside the evidence of the paranormal within our domain. Denial makes lovely pillow talk.  And no matter how blatant the display, my mind always had a way of explaining away the truth.  Call it a stain on the human soul or an ingenious coping mechanism designed to suppress the fear of the unknown trapped underneath the bed of our childhood dreams.

I lived happily for years with my eyes straight ahead knowing that thoughts like these live, breath and grow in the peripherals of ones mind.  But in my home, I'm having to take extra glances and second looks at things I would normally pass off to circumstance or natural occurrence.  Personally, I would still turn a blind eye to the situation but there is more a stake than in the past.

Before, it was just me.  But the interest rate on ignorance keeps rising so the monthly payment is WAY too steep at this point.  Right now, I seem to be the only one paying the cost but I don't know how long this force will stay focused just on me.  So I must do something before it affects my wife... or my... my children.  They must be protected at all costs.  Deferring is not an option.

The sad part of all of this is that I still have trouble defining that which is mocking me.  It's one thing to give it validation.  It's another thing to give it classification.  When I add the physical dilemma it's placing me in to the mental and emotional draining it's causing me, I feel that life is asking a lot of me right now to get this straightened out.  And though I'm glad this is the case (considering the alternative), I just can't figure out why I'm the target.  Why me?  Why this?  Why now?  I have a million whys but asking myself only leads to more whys.  So I will make one last attempt to ask the source of unexplained phenomenon.

Mr. Closet Monster... Why do you feel the need to take my wife's clothes from her closet and put them into mine?  When we bought the house we had clearly defined HIS and HERS closets.  With all of your pranks and reorganizing you have managed to make these closets HERS and HERS/HIS.  That's just not right!

Even your persistence amazes me.  I can undo everything you have done only to find that you will change it back over time.  It's almost like you have found a way to breed clothing.  If you put more than two articles of clothing in there on day one there are 5 in there on day two.  Under normal circumstances this would be a welcomed trick, but this is more disturbing than entertaining.  Every week you find a way to whittle MY portion of MY own closet down to nothing.  I know I don't have a lot of clothes but that empty space is still mine (in theory).

And look at what you are doing to my poor wife.  I'm sure she is outraged that she has to walk ALL THE WAY over to the other side of the bathroom just to get to the rest of her clothes... in MY closet.  She is probably more upset than I am about this.  Or even worse, she probably thinks I'm borrowing her clothes.  (That's a whole different blog.) Because I know she doesn't believe in you Mr. Closet Monster.  Not yet, anyway.

I want to bring this to her attention but I don't want to alarm her.  She doesn't deserve this.  You have picked me and I want it to stay that way.  And even though I'm starting to find kids items in my closet as well, I KNOW you don't plan on bringing them into this.  That would be taking things too far... even for you.  I have to feel that some things are still sacred in this world.  But your actions are causing me to question that belief and understanding of life.  I hope you are satisfied.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My New Hybrid

I've decided to get me a chisel, an axe, a hamster and some saber-toothed tiger skins.  At first glance that sounds like an odd shopping list.  But after reading what I plan to do with it I'm sure I will have some of you won over.

I decided with the gas prices going through the roof I needed to make a change.  In order to weather this storm I am moving to a greater harmony with nature and my fellow man.  I'm getting a hybrid vehicle.  But this is not an ordinary hybrid vehicle.  (I don't do anything ordinary.)  As a matter of fact, I'm not even going to buy it.  I'm going to build it.  My family and I are going to live the life of the Flintstones.

I will search for a mighty stone. Red Rock in Australia...  Stonehenge....  One of the Great Pyramidinal (not a word but should be) stones.  How about one of the Rolling Stones? (they have a lot of miles on them but have a proven track record.)  I might even consider Sly and the Family Stone.  I COULD go for some reasonably sized rocks but if I'm going to be riding on stones I need to ride in style.

Next, I will search for a large tree.  I have a few kids to chauffeur around so I will need a bigger car than the Flintstones'.  So the tree I choose must be BIG!  I'm thinking a Coastal Redwood or a Giant Sequoia.  I might UNtie the yellow ribbon and use the old oak tree.  Is One Tree Hill available? (I know that's a hill and not a tree... I think.)  I haven't counted out the idea of "sprucing" up my ride with a little "fir" seat covers.  That would be a real tree-t!

Now for the hamster...  Well, I can't use my feet to run the vehicle the WHOLE time.  I need break every now and then.  That's where the genius of making this car a hybrid comes in. (Plus I get a tax break if I consider the car a "hybrid".  See... I AM smart sometimes!)  Who needs Horsepower when you have Double-H power (Human/Hamster).  And if I need to add a turbo to the vehicle I will just let the Hamster have some Red Bull.

Ok... the saber-toothed tiger skins are going to be a tough one to come across.  I might have to watch Ice Age a few times to get a good feel on where to find one of those.  But I really shouldn't just limit myself to saber-toothed tigers, though.  I'm sure a saber-toothed deer or a saber-toothed rabbit or a saber-toothed water buffalo skin should do just as fine.  Ooooo.... a saber-toothed panda skin.... I'm liking that.  (Even though these are fictitious animals, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get some email from Peta.)

I'm not sure how to convert my new vehicle to Miles Per Gallon (or Kilometers Per Liter) but I think it's going to be pretty good!  The real test, though,  is going to be if I can get my 12YO to let me drop her off at school or gymnastics in daddy's new car.  I personally think she is going to love it.  Call me the optimist.  (I might be a little delusional on that one but I will take it.  As long as I'm not delusional about the fact that my daughter(s) is not going to have a boyfriend until she's(they are) 30.  There will be no BAM BAM with my little Pebbles.  Just let me have one delusion... please.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

4 Minutes Left

This is a really short post. It's designed to get you in and out and back to your day. :-)

Last night I was reading the nightly bedtime stories to the 2 little ones.  (For some reason the oldest thinks she is too old for that since she's in Middle School... whatever!)  As I'm get to one of the pages I was promptly told by my middle child that "we are almost done.  We only have 4 minutes left."


"Why do we only have 4 minutes left?", I asked.

She didn't answer but she got up and went to her favorite clock (a little silly Puss in Boots clock she got from McDonalds where you open the mouth and the clock is inside).  She picked up the clock and said, "4 minutes left."  I looked at the clock and it didn't have anything to do with "4 minutes".

At this point I think she is just stalling and doesn't want to go to bed.  So I *ahem* encourage her to sit down so we can finish the book and she can go to bed.  (Really, it was so we can finish the book and we BOTH can go to bed!)  I pick up the book and she pointed and said, "See, 4 minutes left!"

The answer was right below the line in the book that says, "We love him, because he first loved us."
It said, "1 John 4:19"

She was correct once again!  We only had 4 minutes and 19 seconds left of the book.  John told us so.  I once was blind, now I see.

Another quick set of statements that have ZERO to do with the above post.

In the United States, there are only a few ways to show your kids you have a cut on the knuckle of your middle finger without saying something very inappropriate.  And if you aren't thinking before you do it...  I promise (from experience) you kids will recover just fine.

(If you are unsure what the problem is, just try it in the mirror and you will see what I mean.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your Presence is Requested

Hello, everyone.  It's your long, lost blogger friend coming at you live from a remote beach on an even more tropical island paradise.  I'm not going to say which one, though.  It could be Hawaii.  It could be the Virgin Islands.  It might even be on the island of Wyomingda.  My wife and I are enjoying the warm sun, sandy beaches and the fact that we left the kids hundreds of miles away.  The 12YO can take care of the two little ones.  She's very mature for her age.  Plus we are already here.  What do you want me to do about that now?!?  Excuse me while I order another drink.

(What you have just witnessed was NOT real.  It was just a test of the One Day I Will Do This Emergency Blog Intro.  In the event of an actual tropical visit, you can almost 100% guarantee that you would not see anything from me during the trip except some random Tweets or Facebook Status Updates like: "Hey, this island has BIG coconuts!" or "I promise those last 3 pics were NOT inspired by Margaritaville.  OK... they really were.  Make that the last 37 pics." or even "Note to self: Make sure to sit out of arms reach or better yet throwing distance when going to a tropical island with your wife.  I love you, honey! You're the best wife in the world!  :-)" )

The reality of all of this is that there hasn't been ANY time for writing.  Over the last month or so the Que family was hit with some very serious medical news.  I probably won't get into it much in my blog but you never, EVER expect to hear that kind of news. But we are pushing forward.  More recent news has been much better than the previous 3 - 4 weeks.  So we are a lot more optimistic and positive.  Plus, I have a wonderful wife and 3 lovely children.  It's hard to stay negative long with they are around.  But when people are hit with really powerful news they handle it differently.  I would imagine that a REAL writer would want to write about it.  It helps the mind when the pen in moving.  (I would have said when the keys are clicking but it doesn't sound as poetic.)  But I'm not a REAL writer.  So, I didn't want any pens to move (or keys clicking). But that definitely contributed to a little bit of blogging silence.

Another reason for silence is that I'm working about 87+ hours a week (when you add commute time).  I work 2 full-time jobs.  I also work 7 days a week.  There is even a 60hr stretch in there where I only get 8hrs of sleep... total.  I don't tell that for any awards or medals.  (Banana pudding would be nice though!) I do what any husband/father (any not EVERY, mind you) would do in my situation.  I just told that to let you know that I'm working with a few minor time constraints right now.  Because when I do have some free time my wife and kids want some attention.  (The nerve!)

It's not all as bad as it sounds, though.  The bills are getting paid.  We are finally moving forward financially.  Not a lot of families can say that in the economy right now.  Another thing a lot of people can't say is that I like BOTH of my jobs.  Actually, I LOVE one of them and I REALLY like the other.  But I'm not going to post which is which.  I will let each job feel like I love them the most. :)  It's kinda like how I am with my kids! (My wife is not going to like THAT joke.)

But I did find out some great news at one of my jobs, though.  I found out that if I ever needed a bladder transplant (if they even do that) there is a donor right there!!! I didn't do a complete scientific, medical analysis or anything.  But I would beg to say that our bladders have exactly the same size, shape and spongitude (absorbency) because we met each other in the bathroom at least 5 times in one day.  And I know most of you are thinking "5 times???"  Why in the bathroom so much?  But I have been drinking a lot of water lately.  I'm back on my getting to my target weight thing again. (Watching The Biggest Loser does that to me.)  The good news is that I'm finally (due to an ill-conceived stomach virus (get it??? ILL-conceived... stomach virus... whatever)) down to my last 10lbs.  So the weight loss thing is back in order.  Now I just need to find an easy way to get my co-worker's driver's license to see if he's an organ donor.  I would ask him but that would be an odd, out-of-the-blue question to ask someone you have only seen but have never talked to.  I'm sure he would find that a little suspicious.

Well, I have to go now.  I hope that when this is all over, I will still have my 3 readers.  And maybe I will find a time in the near future to catch up on reading some of writings of my favorite bloggers.  You all know who you are and you know I haven't commented in a while.  Sorry.  Just remember YOU are my favorite blogger.  And I'm not just saying you're my favorite.  It's not like you are my jobs or my kids. (Best Wife EVER!) :-)