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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Testing, Testing

Not much to blog about. Christmas was fun and I got a total charge out of The Little One opening all her cool gifts. Other than that, not too much to blog about.

Last night I completed the first phase of my running program. Technically, I'm supposed to run a 5k race, but since its winter and I'm not where I need to be I timed myself on the treadmill.

First, my time sucked. 29:26. Not at all good but then I need to remember that I didn't get out of shape in 5 weeks, so I certainly won't get back in shape in 5 weeks.

So, instead I will focus on the positives. First, I ran quite pain-free. Minor, minor aches of the knees, but that's all. No calf issues that have plagued me in the past. Second, the run wasn't pure torture either. I pushed myself but it didn't feel like hell. So I'm encouraged if not a bit excited to move forward.

The program actually backs off a bit now. My mileage will be down and progressing slightly week-by-week with a "long day" on Sunday that actually starts as walking.

Its nowhere near hard. The hardest part is getting off the couch and into some shorts. That WILL change. But now I'm happy that I've stayed healthy and on track.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

What's that Smell?

8 am this morning:

6 -year-old-from the bathroom: Daddy! Daddy!

Me: What? What honey? As I walked down the hall to the bathroom to see what was the matter.

6-year-old: How come it always smells so good in here after you've been in here.

I smiled. It's just deodorant and a very light cologne. Doesn't matter if it was $200 bottle anyway. To her it means "daddy". To me it means the world.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bonus Baby

I got my Christmas bonus today. Its a bit lower than its been in the past. These times I guess. But I'm still appreciative. Plenty of people get none, right? The casino even gave me $100 that I never expected.

Remember when you were a kid and that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like 5 years? Yet as an adult it seems like you wake up with turkey-breath and realize you forgot to stuff the stocking? Dayam!

To top it off, next year I begin to get paid bi-weekly. I don't like that. I don't like it one bit. I know its the way of the world, but I still haven't adjusted to them changing our payday from Wednesday to Thursday a couple years ago.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Manfred Mann Revisited

I'm in the middle of week 4 of my running program. So far so good. However, I'm not complaining about how easy it is. Its gotten much tougher. I still feel like I'm barely moving but am proud I've stayed on regiment and that I've remained healthy. Injury has been mainly responsible for derailing my training in recent years. I hope I'm over the hurdle.

I googled my name too to find race results since they're available online since about 2001. I found:

11/12/00 - 8k -- 38:31 (7:46 pace)
5/21/00 - 5k -- 21:45 (7 minute pace)
4/8/01 - 5k -- 22:58
5/22/03 - 5mi -- 40:17 (8:04 pace) I remember that race had a HUGE hill and was killer.

Those are recent results. I have run a sub 20 minute 5k that I remember and I've run decent 10ks when I was much younger.

One thing I know. If I do finish the marathon in October, it will be a personal best. I've never gone that far.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Soccer Can Be Exciting

My wife says the soccer game kept her up most of the night. Not the one on TV, but the one in the attic. We have critters.

From time to time we've had mice which I've gotten rid of only to have them return within a year or two. But the soccer match in the attic? These mice are taking performance enhancing drugs. Or. Not. Mice? Perhaps they're bowling. If I hear cheering, pins falling and beer glasses clinking, then I'll be really upset. They should invite their host, right? Either way, they will need to take their extra-curricular activities elsewhere.

When mama's not happy, the house isn't happy.

So I manned up. The job calls for a guy (so I"m told) Went to Lowe's and bought the Havahart traps (I can't snap things necks - doesn't sit well with me - man point deduction I suppose) and am embarking on our little biological experiment. I tediously set the larger-than-necessary trap in case its a squirrel, oppossum, badger, bear or Yeti.

If only Steve Irwin was still with us to help. Anyone have Bindi's number?

Monday, December 15, 2008

PPT

We had our first parent-parent-teacher conference last week to review the status of our Little One's first 3 months of school.

Our bright, precocious, hilarious, beautiful, clever, loving, stubborn, independent and fun little girl was not "all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips" to her teacher. We were rather taken aback. Her teacher admitted at the onset that TLO had a difficult week and was even a little sassy. Sassyness is something we see, of course, but never before heard expressed by someone of authority. Plus, her marks were all "at level" on most counts and "below level" on a couple. I, for one, was a bit surprised. I always envisioned any child of mine to be at the upper levels of anything she does being that the Mrs. and I are intelligient as well as diligent with our daughter's progress. I'm not majorly concerned but it is pause for thought at this particular time.

We didn't send her to the town's kindergarten, instead electing to send her to private kindergarten that touts accreditation and through-the-roof praise from all we encountered. There were signs last year (noticed by Mrs. Nouveau) that things weren't pushed as hard as we would have liked. Unfortunately, that left our Little One a bit behind. She entered first grade below the other kids and while making remarkable progress to catch up, isn't quite up to speed yet.

In addition, The Little One struggles to focus. Frequently, easy tasks that should take her mere minutes find her mind wandering off or her eyes and hands being drawn to something else often resulting in mild discipline to get her back on track or at the least a war of will. At school it creates unfinished work which we help her finish at home later on since her teacher will not "babysit" TLO to get the work done, instead electing to have the children independently finish their work. I agree with that method, especially given the fact she has 18 other students at various levels to tend to although it makes for some lengthy nights at the homework table (its actually a bar - is that bad?).

While her lack of focus its not necessarily a disability, it is very frustrating for all concerned and sadly results in so much less time for her to do kid things as she spends over an hour finishing up school based "work stations" before tackling her normally assigned homework as well as her extra reading program work. She's in first grade for crying out loud! I don't remember doing that much work.

Attention Deficit Disorder has been mentioned and her pediatrician feels any and all testing for any services she may require are best handled immediately. Her teacher, however, feels that its still too early and that we simply need a bit more time. My wife agrees with the Pediatrician so we are progressing with the tests (which the teacher needs to assist with) and I feel the teacher feels a bit offended. Perhaps because we're not taking her advice. TLO doesn't exhibit clear-cut signs of ADD though and I think if medication is mentioned we will have to think long and hard about that option. Medicating kids, to me, seems a modern way of being a lazy parent in certain cases. I would just assume handle things without any type of medication unless absolutely necessary. But I'm jumping way ahead at this point. We'll see.

At the beginning of the conference, I asked a few relatively simple questions, or so I thought. The teacher really didn't understand what I was getting at and chose to take a route wherein she interpreted my questions as questioning her. Nothing was further from the truth and in actuality I was seeking ways we could better assist the teacher and my child. She didn't hear me, so again, she came across as mildly offended and offered up a 10 minute, convoluted answer that didn't clearly answer my concerns. TLO has workstations and she brings home unfinished ones. I only wanted to know how often they did the stations. I basically got my answer, so I let it go.

The teacher is a nice lady. I sincerely believe she is doing all she can for our child with her best interests at heart. The mere fact that we don't take her advice 100% of the time in no way impugns her or reflects on our confidence of her as a teacher. It just means we differ on how to proceed. My wife is an administrator in a huge, city-wide day-care system and has also had extensive time in the classroom and I feel that makes her opinions every bit as viable as the first grade teacher's. Furthermore, my wife is one who will always, always, err on the side of caution.

As parents, we are very attentive to TLO's studies and place a premium on her being the best student she can be. At the same time, kids should have time to be kids and by the time we get settled in from school, have a snack, do homework and eat dinner, in addition to her hockey and gymnastics nights her time gets quite pinched during the week.

We are also not "not my kid" type parents. We don't blame others for her issues. If she's acted out, its not her peers fault and if she isn't already up to speed in school its not her teacher's fault. TLO is held accountable for her actions and we, as a family, will all work together to see she can be the best she can be.

Please note: my child has made utterly remarkable strides in three months of school in terms of her reading, writing and math skills. Remarkable strides. She's closing the gap on her peers and I think her teacher is seeing that as am I. But we want to have the some tests done anyway. Hell we pay plenty of taxes. If there's a program out there that will benefit her in the long term, we wish to take advantage of it as soon as possible. Any and all learning disabilities are best solved when tackled early. If there are no issues whatsover (which I think will be the case, actually) then there's no harm, no foul. Right?

Anyway, after the conference and before we got TLO from her after-school program Mrs. N and I talked in the hallway for a good long time and Mrs. N had tears in her eyes. She says all the focus issues TLO has my wife had as a child and she still has them. She says she frequently felt confused and "out of the loop" as a child due to it and hates the thought of our Little One growing up and feeling the same way she did all the time. That said, TLO has an incredible ability to seemingly not pay attention to something then know all the particular details of it afterwards even if it appeared she was up to something else. Its an uncanny multi-taskability.

My thoughts? It could be a LOT worse. My wife is 2 courses short of her Master's in Early Childhood Education. She's a respected administrator and loved by all that know her. She's smart and funny and pretty and the MOST empathetic and compassionate person I've ever known.

If my daughter grows up to be the woman her mother is, then we did one hell of a job. And I told my wife that too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ugh!



Ladies: I'm sure they're comfortable and warm and all that and while I pretty much hate them with all outfits, please, please don't wear them with a skirt or dress. Okay?

I mean, really. They're......how you say?........Ugh-ly!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Treating Heat

I post a lot about jobs I've had. Here's another that I thought of as I was posting (sort of) about Triumph last week.

I got hired to work in heat treating factory one summer in college. Basically, I took springs and loaded them into large ovens to cook at a given temperature until a certain time had passed. That was it. As a result, I had a lot of down-time since there were only two ovens and some recipes called for over 2 hours of cooking.

Right out of the gate, I became one of their most valued employees. I don't know, maybe it was because I actually worked when I was there. It seemed many others didn't. Onc group of Einsteins got fired for racing fork lifts and destroying a $15,000 spring machine. Others took 4 beer lunches like the guy that worked in the room next to me who was in his mid 50's and made less money than I did at 19.

Yeah. He was an angry guy. My first day, just to make conversation, I asked him where he went for lunch. He replied, "To the Copper Penny pub for a few beers. Who the fuck wants to know?" I think he thought I was a company spy or something. I was so naive it never occured to me someone would drink during their lunch hour. I'm guessing maybe that's why the med school thing didn't pan out for him.

A few days later my boss walked in my little room and I had it all cleaned up. I perfectly organized and labeled all the bins of excess springs, I meticulously swept every ounce of dust and cleared away cobwebs from the corners and went so far as to create a "desk" out of some heavy cardboard, pallets and crates. It wasn't because I was super-employee but I was just bored sitting around all the time. While cleaning I found a Penthouse magazine which was a big score for a 19 year old in the pre-internet era. There might have been some pictures in it, who could really tell, but it definitely had some really, really cool black and white artwork in a particular section. I'm serious. You can only look at pictures for so long; that is if I was so inclined.

One particular piece, which honestly would be a cheesy velvet painting, I fell in love with and spent a week reproducing it on some card-stock with only number 2 pencils. It took a long time but when it was done, I thought it came out great. I hung it for that summer and bathed in the accolades of visitors to my room. I made sure to take it with me when I left. I was really, really proud of it and wish I had it to this day, but I gave it away to a girlfriend. Stupid me.

Another thing I did was decorate my huge cardboard desk. I would write out what I thought at the time were cool song lyrics,
spontaneous artwork and even a few album covers (remember those?). Aerosmith and Skynyrd are two that come to mind. First in pencil, then I would detail it all out in whatever colored pens I could scrounge up in that old factory. By summer's end I probably had 15 different songs plus some miscellaneous art (including a rather intricate ivy border) and the album covers. I can only imagine how my replacement in September thought about things. I know my boss thought it was cool as he commented on it and he was crazy about how neat I kept the place (I always hated how grungy factories were -- and I never understood why they had to be so). He let me do whatever I wanted since I always hustled and got my work done, even staying late when necessary (something none of my predecessors would do apparently).

I've always been told I have artistic ability and an "eye" and I believe I do. But you know what? It bores me. To sit and draw, or paint, or mold for hours on end to me is totally boring, even if I'm pretty good at it. Waste of talent? Probably. I guess I wish I could transfer it to someone with the passion.

Out of the song lyrics, I only remember one that I did which is a Triumph song I haven't heard in ages, but if my memory serves me it goes like this:

Look in the mirror;
Tell me what do you see?
Do you lie to yourself
Like your lying to me?
Do you like awake angry
To justify your life?
Or do you wake up feeling empty
In the middle of the night?
You wanna think you're special but you know you never can
You're just another ordinary man.

The song goes on and on but that's what I remember and at that time I thought it was the coolest passage and so deep in thought. It didn't hurt that Rik Emmet rips the shit out of his guitar later either. After all these years, I see it's not the work of genius I originally thought, but having said that, I still know the lyrics.

Then again, I know my lines from a 4th grade play still: Perhaps you are right Senior Watson, but just one moment........

I was a Mexican ambassador in a history play. I was the only kid who could do a Mexican accent. I think, at times, my brain is wasting way too much space with stuff I can't use anymore.




Gobble, gobble

I trust everyone had a good Gobble Gobble Day but didn't Gobble Gobble too much? I think I've had enough leftovers at this point.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Runner...

....nope, not the Manfred Mann song (c'mon, who remembers that one?)

Anyway, I'm a week into my running program. So far (operative word there) its way below my talent level (which was minimal to start with, hence the running program) but since i felt a twinge the other day after a run its good that the program has so much built-in off time. For now.

But its nice too. Its rather easy and I don't dread the runs coming up. On the contrary, I rather look forward to them (not so much that I set the alarm for 5:20 a.m. however). Tonight's jaunt calls for walk 3 mins, run 3 mins, repeat 4 times. Simple enough, eh? I'm maxing out at 6 mph and walking 3. Again, trying to take it really easy to start (do I sound like I'm trying to convince myself? I probably am).

One thing I need to keep in mind is: the mere fact that my 22-year-old mind thinks I can still run 7 miles at a 6:20 clip, doesn't mean that my 42-year-old ligaments and tendons are ready (let alone lungs, knees, bladder). That, therein, is the key. The aforementioned may be able to handle more load (except perhaps my knees), but the tiny parts need about 6 weeks to get up to speed. So, since I'm so far out from my goal, I'll allow them the time to catch up.

Plus, I think its good for my daughter to see her old man at least fight the good fight against aging (all right, anybody remember that song? From Triumph? Rik Emmet could play a hell of a guitar). Role modeling anyone? Of course her energy levels are off the charts.

Mine aren't. Not yet. Hence the program. And the slow start. Besides, there will be plenty of hellacious runs, oh about, August sometime.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Geo W. vs. Lalas

After homework and dinner The Little One and I settled in for some Xbox video games. While she is no doubt a girlie-girl, she can be so boylike when it comes to things like games and competition; and I love it.

Anyway, at about 9 p.m. it was time to wind down and we usually watch some television together until she falls asleep. There was nothing on and I was channel surfing and asked her what she wanted to watch. She suggested "soccer" and added that they were playing soccer in gym and that she "stinks" and wants to see how to get better.

How cool is that? So I started searching for some.

But then, a few channels later, there was a thing on National Geographic channel (I think) about George Washington. She stopped me there. "No, I rather watch that" she said.

I thought to myself that was even cooler.

She watched for a good half hour before finally drifting off after telling me how George Washington was our first president and that he was on the dollar.

It was a fascinating piece and I enjoyed watching the rest of it but can't imagine it holding my attention as a just-turned-six-year-old.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tread with a Treadmill

Yesterday was day 1 of my running plan. I was anxious to get going even though I have a cold. And I hurt my shoulder getting my 1 billion pound treadmill from storage. How funny is that?

Other than that, the run was easy and I fought not running harder.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Run Forest Run

The Hartford Marathon is in about 47 weeks.

I used to run quite a bit in college and for years afterwards and have always taken pride in myself in being in some semblance of "shape". I'm not right now as that definition pertains to any aspect of me. And pictures lately prove it.

I just don't feel motivated or goal-oriented despite the numerous "claims" I've made on this space to start exercising more and eating better.

I frequently get disappointed because I want it all now. Not many, many weeks down the road. But 47 weeks is enough time to train and do it right and do it slowly so as to avoid injury and disappointment.

I've set forth a course of training for it. Will I do it? I honestly don't know. But I've made a training calendar and I'm going to try - try being the operative word - to take it one day at a time. I work well when things are planned out and I'm posting the calendar right near my treadmill which coincidentally is in the rec room in which I spend so much time watching TV. Hell, if I have time to watch the boob-tube, I ought to be able to do it with my feet moving. That's the plan at least.

The beginning of the program is actually way too easy for me. I can get out of bed and run 3 miles at about a 9:30 pace no problem (I did last weekend) but I wonder if jumping to quickly into things is why I tend to break down. Back in the day, I ran sub 6 minute miles for 5Ks and have run 10 mile races as well.

So. Next Tuesday I start the program and I start by walking/running very, very easily.

There's time to do it. Although I used to race a lot I have never done a marathon. I might be running out of time to do one if I don't try it now.

We'll see but here goes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby Come Back!




I got my baby back from her little weeklong stay at the spa resulting from the Bambi Chronicles. Kudos to all! Geico was awesome to deal with about my claim. Schaller Honda was terrific and thorough and Enterprise Rental Car came through with nice 2008 Honda Accord that I enjoyed driving, even if it wasn't as fun as my car. Honda makes good shit, people! They really do.

I loved how I only had to drive my sick car to the body shop and they took care of the claim, the rental and everything. Maybe that's standard in the insurance industry nowadays, but since I haven't had a comprehensive claim in forever, I didn't know how easy it could be.

Plus, my car looks and drives awesome. Also, their cleanup of the mess was extraordinary and I'm a very pleased customer!

(I don't have non-gross pix of my car on this PC so I stole one from the 'net, but its the spitting image of mine).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

I took The Little One to Ruby Tuesday's on Saturday for lunch. Supposedly, daddy/daughter quality time but she was on somewhat less than perfect behavior for some reason. Anyway, my extremely pleasant waiter at the end of the meal said "Thank you. It was a pleasure to serve you." and he stuck out his hand to shake it. Of course, I extended mine but that struck me as very odd. What kind of waiter, or waitress for that matter, shakes their customer's hands? Maybe he used to sell cars or something.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Updates

I've had some pretty good ideas for some blogs but not the time or energy to post them. So I give you some updates.

The deer did $2761 worth of damage to my car. It is supposed to be ready today, but their lack of communication has me wondering if it will be.

I pleaded not guilty to the speeding ticket and a lawyer friend agreed to represent me at the hearing. At the very least, they will knock down the amount due.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Progress? I Think Not

They're not making so much progress on my car repairs evidently. They are now renting a steam cleaner to remove more remains. Its actually quite comical to me at this point.

Oh, in other news: I got a freekin' speeding ticket last night. Yep! $294 that I will be pleading "not guilty" to. What's next?

Shit happens in threes, right? Falling man, dead deer and speeding ticket. I'm done I hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No Joke

You ever had something happen to you where you just stood there for long moments on end and wondered, "What do I do now? What. Do. I. Do? I don't fucking believe this!" I vocalized all to no one but the cold, dark night.

Saturday night I worked at the casino. On my drive home at 3:30 a.m. I noticed two cars with flashers on parked at the side of the road and a few people standing outside their cars. In a safety move I began to move from the rightmost lane to the passing lane so as to give berth to the cars and people. And that's when I saw why they must have stopped.

At that moment, I slammed, straight on, at 75 miles per hour, into the body of a dead deer. No joke. My mind had plenty of time to process, but physically there was nothing I could do. In an instant I decided it was best not to hit the body with my car's wheels, so I squared it up with the nose. That was all the reaction time I had.

The force of the impact literally lifted my car into the air yet it stayed true to the course and at no point did I lose control of my vehicle. My 2008, still shiny new, vehicle. Thank God my airbags didn't inflate or I would have been in an even worse predicament.

The car kept on running fine with no apparent handling issues or engine sounds or anything along those terms. Soon enough, I pulled over to inspect and as I came to a stop I saw smoke.

Upon my review, I saw that I damaged my front air dam and loosened a few plastic protection plates. The smoking wasn't the radiator or engine. It was animal parts on the manifold and muffler. And without much more detail, parts of the animal were scattered all over the under carriage of my car, in my wheel wells and back-sprayed onto the rear of the car.

That's when I stood there, exasperated, and wondering what to do talking to nobody in particular.

I tried pulling the front plastic piece off only to notice my hands covered in blood and hair. That disgusted me and further bewildered me. I used my golf towel to clean myself. I simply didn't know what to do next. Call the police? Triple A? To what end?

So I drove. I was dragging the plastic pieces I couldn't remove and began thinking about where the nearest car wash might be. I remembered where one was and found an all-night CVS and purchased paper towels. During the transaction, I hid my hands best I could while paying so as not to alarm the lady or have her think I just murdered someone.
Everything at that point was so surreal.

Next, I pressure-washed the "parts" out of my undercarriage but there was no way I could get it all. I sincerely hope the drain took care of what I was able to wash off, but I fear it didn't. I started driving again. I was about 20 miles from home and I knew of a 24 hour touchless wash with a good underbody spray. I went there and did that too. It didn't complete the job by any stretch.

By the time I got home it was 4:30. My wife woke and I told her all about it. She is the most compassionate person about such matters and I love the support and sympathy she has for such things. She has a knack and never says the wrong things. I'm lucky there.

Yesterday morning I woke with a jolt remembering the events of the night before. I probably had 4 hours sleep. My daytime inspection was not good. Grimly, I put my car up on jackstands, put a plastic painter's tarp under the car, donned some surgical gloves, an old sweatshirt and safety goggles and really got into the necessary task. To say it was gross would be an understatement but at some point it became more of a chore that just had to get done. I did the best I could including a stiff brush and bleach solution.

I noticed some of the damage underneath as well. The radiator was out of position and a heat sheild was missing. I cleaned everything up, threw away the mess and all my clothes and went back to the regular chore of yard leaves.

Today, I called my insurance company and they recommended I bring it in to a Honda body shop where they had a rental car waiting. I'm very pleased with GEICO! Props to them.

So, my car's in the shop now and I have a nice Honda Accord loaner. The extremely pleasant guy at the shop just called to mention some things that will need replacing (front fairing, radiator, tie rod) but said he couldn't continue the estimate until their detailing department could finish power washing out the remains. Eww!

It could have been worse. I'm fine. My car will be fine. Cosmetically, it looks almost perfect so I just need to pay the $500 deductible and I should be okay once its all safely checked out.

I suppose its all part of life, even when you don't know what to do next. What can you do, really, except keep plugging along. Things tend to work themselves out. And all things are replaceable.

But man! What a friggin' night.

Weird part as well? This is the second deer I've hit in my lifetime. The other was alive and smashed through my windshield. I think I've met my lifetime quota, don't you?


Friday, October 31, 2008

You're Welcome and Fuck You Too!

I walk my daughter to the bus stop every morning. Its on the corner three houses away from mine. Today started like any other but as I passed my elderly neighbor's house I spied him out of the corner of my up on his garage roof. Its detached from his house. He's always tinkering around and to see him on his garage is not a surprise at all. Evidently, he has a wood stove in there for heat and it was smoking so he must have been farting around with the chimney or something. Suddenly, he slipped, lost his balance, bounced once and fell out of my view as I heard his body hit the ground from about 9 feet up. There was a heavy frost last night and he must have been on ice.

I sent the Little One on to the bus stop as I saw my other neighbor already their with his kid and I promptly jogged around the corner of the building to see the man on his side not making any sound. I thought he might be knocked out, or worse. He was conscious but dazed and I could clearly saw a huge welt on his forehead. God knows what other ailments the poor man suffered.

"Are you okay?" I anxiously asked him. "Sir, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. I just need to lie here for a bit" he replied.

"Well let me get your wife" I said.

"No! Don't you fucking go and upset her". I'm thinking, dude, I'm not the one who fell off the roof.

"We really need to get somebody. Can you get up?" I asked.

"Just let me be."

"Well, I'm not going to just leave you here."

"Who the fuck are you?" he yelled at me. It was more of an accusation than a question.

"I'm your neighbor from across the street. I saw you fall as I walked by and I really think you need some help"

"I said just leave me be!" he snapped.

"Fine!" I said as I walked out from the garage. Of course I had no intention of just leaving him so I went on his door and summon his wife.

I knocked and knocked but nobody answered, even though her car was there, so I dialed 911 on my cell phone. I couldn't just leave the man prone on a chilly morning. I've had limited contact with him in the past and he might be an asshole, which I suspect, or he might not be of right mind because of the knock to his noggin. In any regard, I couldn't, in good conscience just leave him as he requested.

After I got off the phone I went back behind the garage to find he had gotten himself up, put on his hat and glasses and he was all hunched over and supporting himself against the fence.

"You should really stay there until you get checked out. I can see the big bump you have there. Did you hurt anything else?" I said thinking the whole time this guy could have hurt his spine.

"I tweaked my back." he groaned. Well Duh!

"Well, just stay still" I told him "I called emergency services. At least get checked out. You can always refuse their service." Let them deal with it I though to myself.

"You mother fucker! I fucking told you not to call anybody! I'll be fine!" If he wasn't such a wreck, I thought he might punch me. Then he paused. Then said, "Listen I appreciate your concern. Just leave me be!" he said with a hint of more gentility.

"Well, deal with them when they come. I'm not about to leave you here."

After another pause he asked "Can you help me get into the garage?

"Now you want my assistance after how you spoke to me? After how you treated me?" I asked him incredulously. "You should just stay still until they arrive. Get yourself checked out."

That wasn't good enough for him, but I was in deep anyway so I helped support him as we walked about halfway around the garage at which point we saw the EMT walking down the long driveway. I have to say, in the brief time I was there, he treated her a lot more civilly than me as she started in with some questions.

He's an old-timer. Late 70's I'd guess. The rugged sort and no doubt old school. He probably doesn't go to the hospital for any reason and he was pissed. But even still, I did what I had to do.

I asked if the EMT if she needed anything from me and she didn't, so I left. I was still quite angry at the ingrate but know I did the right thing even if he did eventually get up on his own. I was, however, a bit worried about my daughter since I kind of abandoned her in my haste and the bus had come and gone in the meantime.

I went down to the neighbor who stood with her and his son as they boarded and knocked on his door to try to explain. He and his wife couldn't believe what had happened even though I left out what a dick the guy was. They were very nice about the whole thing and understood completely.




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Bit O' Ranting

We've recently had two (1, 2) children accidentally kill themselves with guns in this state. One was two and one was eight. The eight year old shot himself with an Uzi of all things under the supervision of an instructor and his father. I can't imagine the pain the parents must feel with these situations, but who the FUCK thinks letting an eight year old shoot an Uzi is a good idea? Its insanity.

I wonder during that time, how many people, outside of law enforcement, have protected their own lives successfully with a gun. I bet its zero. I don't know about you, but it seems like a shitty trade-off to me. If golf clubs killed children every day in this country, I'd certainly give up the sport before I risked something tragic happening to my own child or someone else's. But so many idiots have to have a gun in their nightstand? And with kids in the house? Or, they see fit to take them to a gun club to show them how to shoot an Uzi? Am I way out of bounds here? What are we coming to? Its beyond insanity.

And how come so many of those that are most adamant about prohibiting a women's right to free choice - yet oppose the programs designed to help people who have children in hardship - are so vocally pro gun and have no problem with the death penalty. I guess women's choice is bad, but state sanctioned murder to teach people that murder is wrong is okay. Makes no sense to me. You can't buy Lawn Jarts at Wal*Mart because they're dangerous. But you can buy a gun. Why? To protect some archaic Constitutional "Right" at the expense of lives of children and other innocents?

And now, like it or not, you probably know who I'll be voting for. And I'm of no mind to apologize for it either. Despite all of which I've ranted about won't change its definitely time for some change. A fresh face. Fresh ideas. A new path. Aren't we tired of this shitty one? More war, more arrogance, more torture, more unemployment, more housing depreciation, more pissed off enemies and allies and continued crappy economy seems not the answer to me. If I have to pay a few more dollars in taxes to make this country better, I'll do my part. Because those that promise to lower taxes as they escalate national debt, aren't do us, or our kids, any favors.

I keep hearing we'll become Socialists. Give me a break! That's simply scare tactics and nothing more. The richest nation in the world ought to be able to come up with a few bucks to help some sick children, or give its own needy citizens a "hand up"as long as we can come up with $1 billion a month to blow up and rebuild Iraq and nearly $1 trillion to bail out banks and finance companies that give millions of millions to their top executives.

I know I'm kind of all over the place on this post. In any event, make sure to vote - even if you don't vote for my guy. Even if you think your guy might win in a landslide, or lose by a mile, or it won't make a difference - get out and vote. Apathy is dangerous and millions of people in this world would give their life (and have) for the right to elect their leaders. Sixty-four percent voted in our last presidential election. That's inexcusable to me.

We, as a nation, are better than that.

I will now leave my lecturn.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ouch!

I got a flu shot the other day and the lady either broke the needle off in my arm or used a letter opener. It friggin' kills and its all black and blue!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My First Car


My first car - a 1973 Chevy Vega - except it was red and a hatch-back (pix of non-souped up ones are hard to find on the internet). I completed it with a Vice-Grip-replaced window crank, pin-stripes, Pioneer Super-Tuner III Stereo system (digital display which was sooooo cool in 1982 - worth more than the car, no doubt), wire clothes hanger muffler support and simulated sheep-skin seat covers.

What was your first car?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What the.....?????

So I'm sitting in my house the other day, reading the paper and generally minding my own business and I hear a sound that was something like a large-ish animal running through my attic.

My first thought was "shit!". I didn't want to deal with a pest of any sort.

Then I realized the sound was moving down the roofline not across it (my living room has cathedral ceilings).

My next thought was.....what the hell was that?

The sound stopped at the edge of the roof but it seemed like whatever ran down jumped off. Its probably over 9 feet up, so it would be bit high for something to jump off and as I quickly glanced out the picture window I noticed the Rhododendron was shaking, as if something reasonably heavy landed in it.

However, my dog, who sits on the back of the couch and stares out that window constantly had virtually no reaction. And he would if it was an animal since he usually barks at leaves blowing across the lawn half the time.

I sprang outside to investigate and heard crows caw-cawing as they flew around over my house.

So, my next thought was.....did one hit the roof and roll down? Were they fighting? Its really not steep enough an injured or dead one to tumble (5/12 pitch).

Staying in the mode of Sherlock, I looked in the bushes and found it: A stale hunk of Italian bread, about six inches long that apparently the crows were fighting over. It must have sprung free and tumbled down the roof and into the bushes.

I laughed and chucked it into the middle of the lawn. Five minutes later it was gone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are You Priviledged?

I stole this from someone else's blog and I don't remember where I got it. If I'm violating some blogging ethics thing, then I'll apologize and take this one down. I found this interesting. Its a scale of privilege, I guess in relation to others. So I would love to see my readers (both of you - you know who you are) give it a shot someday when they want to blog but have no ideas (like me, nearly daily).

My "yesses" are in bold.

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is or was an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children’s books by a parent.
10. Had [extracurricular] lessons of any kind before you turned 18.

11. Had more than two kinds of [extracurricular] lessons before you turned 18.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (I wish!).
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (my dad gave me a gas credit card - that's something, right?).
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Went to summer camp.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18. 19. Your family stayed in hotels on vacation (motels count? HoJo's anyone?)
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child (sort of -- cost my mom $150 in the early 60's, but I had seen his art elsewhere and she still has the painting to this day).
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parents owned their house before you left home (not outright - it was mortgaged).
25. You had your own room as a child (at times).
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college (HELL no!).
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating/electricity bills were for your family (but requently heard "I'm not heating the neighborhood you know. Close the damn door!)

Ten? Is that good? I can't complain. We didn't have everything and anything. But we had food and clothes (even if they weren't always the clothes I wanted)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shhhhh.....

Yesterday morning I was doing a crossword puzzle and having some coffee before embarking on the ridiculously fun chore of leaf mitigaton (sarcasm people) and Mrs. N. walked in talking about something she had read about "you so might".

I didn't really catch the jist of the conversation because my mind was busy processing "you so might" and trying to figure out what the hell she was talking about. Then it dawned on me, she was talking about "Yosemite" Park.

I laughed and corrected her and she laughed at herself about what a dork she was. She also said not to tell anyone, but I am; at least here. Simply couldn't resist.

Naturally, my next inclination was to ask about "Yousomight Sam". Remember him? The short red-mustachiod cowboy who went up against Bugs Bunny periodically?

Anyway, don't tell anybody I told you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lessons Learned

Speaking of 15.......

When I was 15 I made a new friend. Jim. He was a terrifically funny and gregarious guy whom I met during Freshman high school soccer practice. I'm always a bit shy at first around new people yet he had a very easy way with them, and me. We became fast friends and quickly became inseparable. Together we thought we were the two funniest people ever and I still laugh about some of the things we did. (He was my partner in crime for this episode).

He was however, extremely moody and some days he could be downright mean to me. Plus, he would blow off plans and not return calls and it all started to get real old after a few years, so I began distancing myself from him before we went off to separate colleges. We still have mutual friends and we talked a few times in the '90s but we've grown apart. Other friends of his and mine have expressed the same frustration with him that I experienced so I was assured it wasn't "just me". He was just tough to be friends with even though he could be an absolute blast at times!

I learned something valuable from him shortly after meeting him, though. I learned generosity. At 15, 16 or 17 I remember going out with him to do something and he would treat. Or, he'd show up at my house bearing something to give me. Perhaps it was a sweatshirt he had that was cool, or he might buy me a music cassette. This was new ground to me. I never treated a friend to anything or showed up with a gift for no reason. Frankly, it hadn't occurred to me.

I feel I'm a generous person to this day as a result of knowing him. I'm apt to put money in the box at the register give a few bucks to someone down and out on the street. I'll treat friends to drinks or pay more than my share for a meal. Over the weekend when I went to the Jets game, I volunteered to drive and refused my buddy's help to pay for gas or tolls. Its just kind of how I've become, maybe to a fault.

I don't think that was in my nature, though. I think it was a learned thing and I appreciated being on the receiving end so I sort of adopted it as my own. It suits me fine, in any event.

In college I made another set of new friends that I have to this day. I learned a lot from my new friend John at that time . I think of him as a brother and know with every ounce of my being that there is nothing he wouldn't do for me if I asked. As a result, I would do anything for him if he asked. And he's asked. I've lent him significant money for a down payment on a truck when he hurting for a vehicle and needed one for a new job. I knew with him, friends and family always come first, and he'd do everything in his power to pay me back. Not for a second did I ever worry about not being paid back and he asked I would have forgiven the debt. But I also knew he would never ask.

John was the first friend (only one, I guess) to say "I love you" to me. It wasn't wasn't some drunken joke about being my butt-buddy or anything along those lines (although we've joked plenty about such things). It was direct and it was sincere and it opened my eyes as a 21-year-old-know-it-all such as myself. I had no problem saying it back to him in the sincerity with which he said it.

I noticed he never had a conversation with a member of his family without saying he loved them. Shortly before I met him, his father used John's social security number for some business and John ended up with a $6000 tax bill when his dad got sick. John paid it and never held a grudge against his dad even though his dad was obviously taking advantage of him for whatever reason.
"He's my father" was his response when I said mentioned how screwed he got. I think that's way out of bounds and I could never go that far, but that was John.

Having said that, to a lesser degree than the last example, I learned an openness with my own brothers and family and friends for that matter. Maybe its just the way it is in other people's lives but it was something I had to learn. Its a lesson and a gift that he gave me that I'm not sure I would have learned if I never knew him.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Al Bundy


I wasn't sleeping great last night so I got up and channel surfed for a bit before settling on Married With Children on TBS. I always found the show funny and remember that when it was originally run it had a disclaimer about adult material even though now one can find it in the late afternoons during prime kiddie viewing hours.

But I digress.

Anyone marginally familiar with the show remembers the father's, Al Bundy, life hasn't turned out like he had hoped so he is constantly living in the past by reminiscing about his "four touchdown game" from high school. Sadly, and comically, he looks back at that moment as the pinnacle of his life. Its a recurring theme in the show.

The pinnacle of my life, thankfully, wouldn't have anything to do with athletics (marriage, family, child would win that category) but I was pondering that perhaps the pinnacle of my athletic life was at 15. Since then I've been a part of two championship softball teams and I've been in the local newspapers for some moderate softball success - all rewarding in itself --- but I think back fondly to being 15 year old athlete.

In the fall right after my birthday, I was selected to be on a traveling all-star soccer team. Soccer was never my love but I played because I liked it, was good at it, and it was my dad's game. He of the 1950 High School State Championship team. Anyway, around Thanksgiving that year we had a big game a few towns over that was actually in a mini stadium. The place held maybe 5,000 people and our little travel team put perhaps 700 in it. I remember the nice grass and perfectly flat, smooth playing surface with its dead-straight lines and beautiful white net goals.

Selfishly, I guess, I don't actually remember the result. I think we won, but I definitely know I scored! Keep in mind I was a fullback and my goal that day was struck from just inside the midfield line. I only had a few goals in my life since my job was defense, but on this big stage, with a large part of my family there (grandmother even), I scored. A big swooping blast found its way over an out-of-position goalie to the back corner of the net.

The accolades afterwards had me beaming wide and my father was so psyched up that there was something I never had the heart to tell him: I was merely trying to hit a streaking forward with a crossing pass! I missed it a bit to the right and luck was with me and it found the net. Mostly accidentally.

A great day, personally and combined with being selected to the All Star team therein completes part one of my glory days.

Come Spring, it was expected, of course, that I would play Spring soccer. I was all signed up and drafted to a team. I noticed a try-out sheet for Alumni baseball though. I wanted a last shot at baseball. I played when I was 8 and 9 but didn't deal well with the frequent failure of the sport so I left it. However, over the years it became more and more my true love. So I went and tried out for Alumni baseball and got drafted (I think everybody made a team, although I'm not positive). Anyway, that involved telling my dad I wouldn't play Spring soccer, which he had already signed me up and paid for. It was tough, but he was cool about it.

The game scared me. I was scared to fail and nervous as hell. I was scared about how much more talent I perceived the other kids to have since they had been playing 6 or so more years than me, but I LOVED it.

While I wasn't a polished player in any respect and despite not being the biggest kid by a longshot, I had raw power and hit a lot of home runs and extra base hits (I also struck out a lot). Plus I had a strong arm (this before my partially torn labrum of course) so I pitched as well. The season went by quickly and I had a blast! In the end, we won the championship. I still have the trophy!

So, while I've had a great deal of fun in my athletic endeavors, the age of 15 remains my Al Bundy moment.








Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How I spent my Sunday

I spent my Sunday with my buddy at the Jets game. Clear skies and 70-something degree temperatures hardly scream "football" but it was awesome! Jets won 26-14 and we had great seats.

See?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Anniversary Trip

I believe she was truly surprised when we got to the airport and found out we were going to Las Vegas.

We stayed in the pyramid spa suite at the Luxor complete with hot tub by the windows overlooking Las Vegas.

We had a nice (albeit pricey) dinner, gambled, toured the city and took a tour to the west rim of the Grand Canyon.

It was romantic. It was adult. And it was fun! But too quick. Now we're back to the real world.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Double Secret Vacation

I'm off on my ultra secret anniversary trip with the wife this weekend. I'm sure I'll post details when I return, but as of now, it needs to stay classified.

Can I trust you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hockey III

She was WAY better last night. I was so proud of her for continuing to try I practically had tears in my eyes. She shuffled around but didn't fall 1/10 as much as the first time and it began to look something like skating. It was only her second time! In my opinion, and perhaps I'm just a jaded father, she has exceptional balance, and one has to think that will pay off eventually.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hockey II

The Little One had hockey practice last night. Or more accurately skating practice. My little over-confident one had no idea how hard ice skating is. We tried to warn her that it probably wouldn't be much fun to start. She took to skiing so easily but it didn't seem to translate as well.

The little trooper struggled mightily. She fell and fell and fell and fell but toward the end she was able to skate/walk across the ice quite some distance before wiping out yet again. Finally, I noticed an instructor walking her off the ice where I met a softly crying little girl. Her ankles hurt and her butt hurt and her head hurt from the helmet squeezing it. When I took it off she was absolutely covered in sweat from all her efforts and it was quite chilly in there.

Briefly, her zest for hockey was gone. We waited out the remaining 5 minutes of class on the sidelines and went with the other girls in to change. Her mood got better and better as time went by and we left we stopped and watched the big girls, perhaps 16 or 17, start their own practice. I told her I saw no reason why she couldn't get to that point if she practiced hard and did her best. She promised she would.

So, she's still up for more hockey and I have no doubt she'll get better in a hurry. A few days off will help and she was definitely looking forward to gymnastics tonight because "gymnastics is easy" I was told.

Comparatively it is. Wait until I get her roller-blades!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Economy

Suprise, surprise! The housing market declined and many ended up in upside-down mortgages; that is, mortgage that are for more than the house is worth.

We can blame the Republicans, we can blame the Democrats, we can blame predatory lending as well. But we should blame ourselves too. When I was looking to buy a new home in 2002 I was staggered by the amount of money I was pre-qualified to borrow. Staggered. I thought to myself, "How the HELL can I afford that loan? And if I get it, will I then be reduced to eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Ramen Noodles because I can't afford to do anything else?"

Yet, in my business I constantly see people come through that are in financial stress and I note their income and their house and car payments and I see that they make what my wife and I make and wonder what they were thinking when they bought that house for $400,000 and then lease two $40,000 cars. What are they thinking?

Are we THAT insecure that we have to keep up with our neighbors and family? Why can't we live modestly, or more accurately, within our means so that when things get tough we merely have to cut back on travel, or clothes, or whatever so we can keep up our payments and survive for a bit? I think many just continue to live the way they do, but more if their travel and clothes go on credit cards.

Probably the majority of people live within their means. My indictment is on the few crazy ones that have to have their McMansion on Golden Terrace and a Lexus for her and a Mercedes for him to feel self worth only to struggle each and every month to make their payments.

I think we've really lost our perspective in some sense and that doesn't have to anything to do with whether you're liberal or conservative. It just has to do with living with some common sense.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Hockey

My daughter starts hockey tomorrow night. $200+ got us thick socks that go to her thighs, a helmet that makes her look like a Pep Boy and new skates that could make things VERY interesting along with every pad, cushion, glove, guard and piece of plastic available to keep her little bones and joints protected

My wife and I were HUGE hockey fans until the asshole owner decided to move our Hartford Whalers away, despite the fact that we put over 75% capacity in the building for the inferior product he delivered. Mrs. B was particularly devastated when they left since she's not really into the other sports like I am. We have AHL hockey in Hartford now, but we can't get into it like we did the NHL.

During intermission of Whaler games they'd have Mighty Mites go out on the ice and two million kids would go up against two million other kids on an NHL rink in a "match" that was accompanied by comical music. Mostly it was groups of kids converging in a scrum, kids falling all over the place and a puck somehow squeezing out of the masses so they could all chase it and do it over again. We swore when we had a kid, he'd play hockey. Or she would.

The Little One is excited and cute as shit in all that getup. I had to re-arrange my work hours by working late on Mondays so I could get out early on Tuesdays and get her to the rink for practice but its worth it. The Mrs. will take her for Saturday morning sessions. I guess that's all easy compared to the high school ice times of 4 or 5 am.

Maybe she'll stick with it until then but maybe she won't. In the end it really doesn't matter. Finally, we're getting back into hockey. We don't need no stinkin' Whalers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

42

Almost two weeks ago (Sept. 6) I turned 42. Forty-fucking-two! Nowhere in my mind am I 42. My brain still basically operates as an immature 25-year old. Which is fine by me. But, dayam! 42!!! I remember my mom turning 40! I remember thinking of others in their 40's as older, richer, wiser and, well, older. And here I am, older. Not so much richer and wiser. But, older. Even if I don't really notice it until I spot my reflection or hear/feel my aches and creaks.

*SIGH*

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Campfire Stories

So, while camping over Labor day the women were comparing the trucks they came up in. Something along the lines of this one is more comfortable than the old one eventually swinging the conversation toward their own everyday vehicles which morphed into options such as leather, heated seats.

With me still?

Okay. Good. Pay attention, there may be a quiz later.

I innocently mentioned that I didn't care for heated seats since I found them too h0t and who wants to get all sweaty on their ass, right? None of the women saw my point and commenced to telling me how crazy I must be. My wife then volunteered that heated seats are simply the best when fighting "the cramps" and all the women present practically gave her a standing ovation in agreement and I suspected a "you go girl" was next. Oprah would have been proud.

Feeling slightly attacked for a mere opinion, I responded, "You know, one hundred years ago you'd be fighting the cramps on some horse and now you can't live without heated, leather seats?" The only other guy present for this entire exchange, one who shares my humor, laughed hysterically and repeated "You are so right! That's great!" I half-expected a "you go boy" from him, but his support was encouragement enough.

The women, on the other hand, were not amused.

It sucks to be outnumbered.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Golf Holiday

Next week I disembark with 35 other guys on my annual Cape Cod golf outing. Casino and other responsibilites have drastically limited my number of rounds this year so I'm not holding out too much hope for playing well.

We'll be playing Bass River, Bayberry Hills (twice), Ballymeade (one of my personal favorites) and Cape Cod Country Club.

Success in golf often comes from confidence, as do many other things I suppose.

One thing frequently preached about golf is being committed. As in, be committed to the shot and your club selection. Good golfers know they can hit the shot they want and are therefore committed to executing it. Bad golfers are not and often think of what might happen if they hit a bad shot. Good golfers are also committed to club selection. They know the club in their hand is the correct one wherein perhaps bad golfers are not.

Commitment reminds me of an old coaching phrase (which I recently heard on the radio). The phrase is "Be Committed". Simple, huh? But they break it down further. "Say you have a bacon and egg breakfast. Sure, the chicken was involved. But the pig was committed. Be the pig!"

So next week, can I be the pig?





Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yankee Stadium

It seems my zest for blogging lately is waning. Maybe its just a phase, maybe I'm growing bored with it.

I don't know.

Any
way, here are some scenes from the Yankees/Red Sox game I went to last week at Yankee Stadium. Sox kicked butt so we had a blast! I proudly wore my Sox cap and only a few people gave me shit.

Check out these seats!







A-Rod warming up. Took that one for the wife because she used to (prior to him being on the Yankees) have a crush on him. Now she just thinks she's too good for him.

.


Robinson Cano making some young fan's day. I guess Yankees can be cool after all.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1st Day

The Little One started school today. Her confidence and excitement made it so much easier for my wife and I. She'll be fine, of course, but we were understandably nervous for her being that she's boarding a bus for the first time and has to learn a whole new system of things as well as a new school and new teacher.

We thought she'd be scared. But she wasn't. She was excited and anxious to start her new adventure.

So when the time came, she bravely stepped onto the bus, turned to wave and off she went. My wife and I walked the few hundred yards back to our house and I was surprised there were no tears from the wife. We kissed quickly and off to work we went happy that our courageous little soldier was embarking on another milestone in her life.

Minutes ago, I learned my wife didn't go directly to work though. She admitted to me she was a "dork" (her words) and followed the bus to the school to make sure The Little One disembarked and made it safely into the building. Then she cried a little.


Wanna Play?


The playscape area is complete as are my horseshoe pits tucked up against the back of my property (check it out!). Anyone up for a game?


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Straightening Up

My back yard has been a hodge-podge of "stuff" for The Little One. A swing-set/slide/climber over here, a hobby house over there, a dinosaur climber way over there, a sandbox with gross sand in it tucked there and a balance beam that I built.

Not for long.


This past week I boxed in about 1200 square feet with some landscaping timbers and ordered 10 yards of playground mulch. After weed barrier and moving all that mulch (holy crap!) she's going to have one organized and reasonably safe area to play.

Plus, I won't have to mow around all those obstacles and at the very back of the area I plan on putting in horseshoe pits for the adults.

Sounds ambitious? Yeah it is. That's a LOT of mulch. Having said that, I want it done in time for a family party we're throwing Saturday afternoon at 3. I'm only about 1/5 of the way with the mulch. Throw on top of that, I'm working at the casino tomorrow night!

Its gonna look and be great when I'm done. But, boy do I wonder why I get myself into these things!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wooo Hooo!

So last Thursday night I was in the arcade with my daughter essentially exploring how many tickets we could acquire so we could "purchase" some piece of shit that I could probably buy for a quarter. I didn't stop me from firing quarter token after quarter token into machines because, well, I'm competitive like that. I guess skee ball, Whack-A-Mole and the bulldozer coin pusher games are more about the conquest.

Anyway, the Little One climbs onto this motor cycle racer game that turns when you lean simulating the effect of really riding a motorcycle. Its costs 75 cents but since she was having a blast in "demo" mode I let her go with that to see if she'd even notice. Not once did she ask me to put money into it, although I gladly would have.

As she's moto-crossing across some ridiculous racetrack at upwards of 160 miles per hour I noticed a twenty dollar bill on the floor. I glanced around and there was nobody near so I stooped to pick it up and found there were actually three twenties folded over a single.

My first instinct was to turn it in since I'm thinking its probably some poor kid's money, but then I wonder whether the employees would just split it up at the end of the night. Or one would keep it for himself.

So I decided best course of action was to keep an eye out for anyone who seems to be looking around the floor and then I'd ask if they lost something and if they said money and had an amount close to that amount I'd give it to them. I don't need $60 THAT badly and I feel bad for anybody losing money. Upon reflection I could have asked around but honestly I didn't think of it at the time.

As we're hanging around, jumping from game to game, I don't notice anybody who seemed to be looking for anything and the place wasn't all that crowded to begin with.

When we finished up a game of air hockey (I won! I'll be damned if a 5-year-old will be me! I did let it stay close though since she kept yelling "not so hard daddy!") a thought hit my head; I had about $60 in my pocket after I spent $5 on tokens. After I pulled the pile of tickets out of my pocket I found my original money was missing!

Apparently, I had found my own fucking money!!!! Imagine if I turned it in and then had to go claim my own damn money??

***

p.s. Kudos to the tall kid in sunglasses that worked there. My daughter selected a kitty face with our 67 tickets but the stupid elastic was way too short and it broke when she stretched it across her not-so-gargantuan head. She got upset, of course, because she really wanted the kitty mask and I tried to explain to her it wasn't going to work but kids that age are persistent. After a time, he offered her some blow-up bouncy thing that costs 200 tickets because he felt bad for her and she really dug it.

Good karma dude! And good job! Thanks a bunch!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Men's Thong

Oh wait! I know what you were thinking. No, not those kind. These kind:

Let me say this: I don't like them. I don't like them one bit.

I know they're all the rage, but still. Men should not "flip" "flop" down a hallway. They look sloppy to me and I think of the person as a lazy oaf (right or wrong). And....they're not comfortable! I've worn them for the beach (only) and that friggin' thing between my toes was annoying in 5 seconds. Lastly, most men's feet are GROSS! I don't need to see anyones no-so-manicured toes and ugly dry heels. Yuck!

I don't like 'em one bit. I hope the fad fades quickly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fenway Againway

How I spent my evening.

And the Sox won 8-4.


Good seats, huh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

College Memory

About a year before I met my wife, I dated a young woman for a short time that herein I will call M. I quickly learned that M was all about image and look and how people perceived her/us, but she had very little substance behind her. On top of that, she was quite insecure - always asking if I really liked her or was going to break up with her and whatnot.

She was a sweet girl but I rather quickly realized the relationship wasn't going very far. On top of that, M lived with her mother, grandfather and uncle. Her mother was an odd sort, although nice when I met her. Later after we broke up I learned her mother stole M's car and credit cards and absconded to Florida wherein she rang up some rather sizable debt in short order.

Yet, that wasn't the weirdest family incident involving her.

One night we were going out. I had borrowed my dad's pickup truck and their driveway sloped away from a rather busy road. As I was backing out of the driveway and trying to make some haste, I moderately spun my wheels and kicked up some of the driveway gravel. I wasn't hot-dogging nor being "cool" or anything and I imagine this must have happened countless times in the past.

Later that evening, however, I got a stern lecture from dear old granddad about showing off and driving recklessly, etc. While I apologized I also tried to explain how it happened but he didn't want to hear of it. Since I was raised right (I suppose) I took the verbal assault from my elder, rolled my eyes and moved on. M tried to defend me as well, but it seemed she was rather afraid of her grandfather.

Perhaps two weeks later, I went to pick up M again and as I approached saw two cop cars with strobe-lights a-blazing as well as a small group of people were disbursing. I assume they were neighbors. I thought about just driving by and calling with some lame excuse but then I saw M on the lawn discretely waving to me. I stopped, she jumped in my truck, and off we went.

After ten of fifteen minutes of driving I said something along the lines of, "Since you're not going to volunteer the information, I think I have to ask: What the fuck was going on there?"

After a few beats, she replied, "I'm soooo embarrassed! My grandfather and my uncle got in a fight and my grandfather shot my uncle. Only in the arm but he went to the hospital in an ambulance and they took my grandfather to jail."

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????? I thought. But remained silent in thinking, wow, that could've been me, huh?

This all came to light after recent thoughts of escaping from the relationship but the time was now near to do some actual planning. But I let it go that night and in a few more weeks the opportunity presented itself.

I was in college at the time and rented a small lakehouse with a group of friends. One night I had plans to go out with a buddy but as I stepped out of the shower I could see her car in the driveway. I quickly dressed thinking the door knock would come in seconds but it was actually quite some time. When it came, I let her in but explained that I was headed out and didn't have much time.

"I'm worried about our relationship" she stated. Mind you, we really only had a few dates. Maybe five. We hadn't really had intimate contact or anything of that sort. Just some dates. Movies, pizza, mini-golf and fireworks.

I was leary of where this was headed. "Ummmmmmm.....okay?" I think I responded.

"You're going to break up with me, huh?" she said.

I lied. "No. Not really. Why?" I have no idea what I meant by "not really" in that case, but that's what I said. Normally I would think she was perceptive about me not being terribly into her, but she always seemed to think I was one minute from breaking up with her. Even when I wasn't.

"I don't know. I just think you are. You know, with my grandfather and all that." I learned he was out on bond and one thing I was sure of is I wasn't going to be around that crazy bastard again. She could meet me wherever we wanted to go. Screw being a gentleman and picking a lady up at her door as far as I was concerned.

Details of our conversation after that are a bit sketchy but it went on forever! It was never a fight, just more of the same thing over and over again and it was getting annoying and frustrating. Plus, I was really feeling pressed for time. So after a while, I guess I just gave up. "Yes. Okay then. We're breaking up." There ,I said it.
I guess I felt the time to seize the opportunity to finalize what I know would come eventually. Let the fireworks begin.

"Okay" she said. After a long, long pause and through teary eyes, she said "I know you need to go but can I just sit for a while?" What? No fireworks? No screaming? No crying? Just seeing her sit there made me feel horrible, but she wanted to stay?

Of course now I'm thinking she could trash the place or burn my shit or whatever. But she still seemed sweet and I really, really had to go so I said "yes". Perhaps it was a good instinct on my part, I don't know, but there was no catastrophic ending wherein she spray-painted my walls and tore up my bed or whatever. When I got home later that night (I didn't have any fun!) she was gone. That was it.

I actually had very little contact with her after that. We had a mutual friend who sort of kept me abreast of M's life but not much else.

Flash forward two years. At this point I've been dating my now wife for about a year. One day she asks me, "Do you know M?"

"Yeah" I said. "I used to know her. Haven't seen her in a long time though." I had no idea how much my wife knew about us but was curious where this was going.

"We work together in (a residence) Hall at (college). She said she dated you for a while and thought you were great".

Errrrr???? I thought. Thought I was great? I didn't think I handled things with her so great. But it was nice to know. "Yeah, she was a nice kid. It just didn't work out, you know?" I think I told her the grandfather story at that point.

The two stayed friends for a couple years in what to me appeared to be a totally non-awkward situation and later I learned M got married and was leading a reasonably productive life.

And years later, the lovely Mrs. Blogger and I got married and lead our own productive lives.

Man, if that situation doesn't make me appreciate my wife's family though.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Careful! Careful!

It drives me nuts when drivers in other cars are ridiculously cautious. I constantly find myself muttering "Go ahead. You can turn a bit. It won't tip over." Or, worse, saying repeatedly, "Gooooo! Just go! What are you waiting for?" Plus, I think if everyone drove aggressively, traffic jams and slowdowns would greatly diminish. Unless, of course those aggressive drivers crash. Nothing fucks up traffic like rubbernecking does.

Anyway, this morning on our drive in to work (Mrs. Blogger's car is in the shop) we sat (im)patiently behind a car at a gentle stop sign as she waited for every car in view to go by. Including cars not even in her lane, it seemed.

Her: Damn! I could have gone five times already

Me (Pointing at large semi driving past): I could have gone in THAT!

Her: Yeah? I could have backed it into the road.

Me: Right. Or we could have done five Chinese Fire Drills by now

Her: And we could have done them with The Little One (possibly the pokiest kid ever).

Finally, the woman went. And we were on our way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brett Who?

So my New York Jets picked up some new guy in a trade?

An individual named Brett Favre?

Never heard of him.

I sure hope he's good though! My 4 and 12 team from last year needs all the help they can get.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sighting

Spotted around the household:

One 30-something year old woman clutching her lower belly, moaning softly and craving chocolate.

I guess we haven't made that baby just yet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anniversary

My 12th anniversary is in October. Holy cow!

I could write a sappy blog about how my love for her has just grown stronger and she's as beautiful as ever, blah, blah, blah.

But.....

Instead I'd rather brag about an AWESOME getaway I have planned for us! I've arranged child care and its all going to be a complete surprise and we'll be gone three entire days.

All that she'll know in advance is.....

Bring semi-formal eveningwear;
Bring a bathing suit;
Bring comfortable light-hiking attire;
Bring something sexy to wear out;
Bring something sexy to wear in (rowr, rowr);

The rest is up to her.

Can't wait!

(Details when we return).



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Go Green!



Ok, now we've simply taken this whole Green thing too far! I mean really. Recycled toilet paper? Do we need that?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mug Shot


Ya think? Ha ha, what a great shirt to have on for your mugshot.

That one, courtesy of TheSmokingGun.Com. For more hi-larious hi jinx and tee-shirts of the recently incarcerated, look here.

So many losers. So little time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Estelle Getty

So, Estelle Getty (of Golden Girls and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot fame) has passed away at the age of 84. That's sad.

Odd, though. I would've sworn she was at least 84 when she was on Golden Girls over 20 years ago! She played Bea Arthur's mom. What? Were they the same age? Was she younger?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unh!

Oh man! I think last week I hit the age where I audibly grunt when I get up from a chair or out of a car.

That can't be good!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tatted Up

My buddy recently got his second tattoo. Its of Scooby-Do. Now, he's 42 years old and I found that a bit strange as did everyone who discretely commented to me. He says he's always liked Scooby-Do so that's why he got it. Weird. Anyway, its his body and I guess it goes well with his drinking tequila worm on his other shoulder.

I shouldn't talk much though. I have two. The first I got is actually a cartoon character but I got it when I was much younger. I don't really regret it at all as it represents a time in my life, but it doesn't fit so much who I am today. Its well done and its on the back of my shoulder so nobody needs to see it anyway. It harkens to my younger, impulsive, child-like self.

My other tattoo will represent me forever and I love it and I'm proud of it. Its basically my design in armband form, which I find appealing to the eye (even if its a hackneyed ideal). You can see interwoven in the design three letters -MLM- in some script. The initials are my daughter's initials but they are also the first initials of my wife, daughter and self (Note: I took a bunch of pictures and they all sucked - hard to take of your own arm and have it look decent).

If Mrs. Nouveau and I have another child I will get another one representing him or her. My Little One totally digs my arm-band so I feel its a connection between the two of us and with the interchangeable initials its a family connection (until the next kid comes along - no room for another set of initials). I have a couple ideas for the next tattoo but nothing concrete at this time.

And if we don't have another kid, maybe I'll get one anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Handle With Care

Handle me with care. I'm so fucking fragile!

So, since February or so I've been carrying around 15 to 20 extra pounds on my slight of build body for a while. I'm nearly 6 feet and the heaviest I've ever been at 197. Not good.

And I know that frequently I post about how I'm getting back to the gym, running more, eating better, blah, blah, blah.

But for one reason or another, I'm just not sticking with it. Some of its life's demands, some, admittedly is laziness, but for the most part, its health.

I'm rarely sick. I'm also fortunate in that I don't have any chronic conditions. But I can't stay physically healthy anymore. Tweaks, strains, sprains. Name it. Lately I get them. I play some softball and golf and surely that doesn't help. But I can't even stay healthy running!

Thursday, I loaded up my workout gear, ate a sensible breakfast and planned to get to the gym for lunch. My wife has been working brutal hours and by the time she gets home and we have some family-time I can't muster the energy (like I used to be able to) to work out after 9pm or so. And getting up at 5 am? Please! I used to do that too. Maybe its my weekend casino hours (8pm to 4am, Fri and Sat) that don't allow me to get up at that time or laziness but -- it ain't gonna happen. And I need to be in the house by 6:30am to get my Little One ready for school. So, I figure when work isn't too hectic I'll pop over to the gym for a workout during lunch which in turn will get me more motivated to work out and then when I miss an afternoon perhaps I'll be able to squeeze in the makeup one later that evening (I belong to two gyms -- one near work and one near my home).

I was ready for a back workout since my last workout was shoulders and that's the order I go. Chest, legs, shoulders, back then arms. Of course my shoulder workout was in MAY! Doesn't matter though. I fucking hurt my back! Dammit! It STILL hurts and working the casino all weekend did nothing to help.

I was going slowly. I didn't kill myself with some ridiculous overzealous workout so that doubles the frustration. I did everything right. I will go back as soon as I can, but its frustrating the hell out of me.

I want to lift. I want to run or bike or whatever. I just simply can't stay healthy.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr........