Friday, October 22, 2010

Shark Bait.... Ooo.. Ha Ha...

     The fact that I saw, Tall Stack the moment she was born, and the fact that she is a much prettier version of me is enough to prove that I am her father.  But, what really sealed the deal was, last Saturday, she won a goldfish at the school carnival and named him, "Frank"  All of the other neighborhood kids named their fish traditional names like, Rainbow, or Bubbles.  Nope, my kid named hers, Frank.  I love it.  I find a lot of humor in giving animals, people names.  So Frank was just perfect.

     We all remember being nine.  The anticipation and excitement of tossing that ping pong ball into the yellow cup of water and winning that cute little goldfish.  You can't wait to get him home and into that bowl.  You can't wait to feed him and watch him grow.  Such high hopes we had, didn't we?

     Reliving this experience as the parent, knowing what the end result will be is a pretty uncomfortable place to be.  As if some sick and painful right of passage that we cannot avoid looms on the horizon.  We pray to God that that ping pong ball will bounce off the rim of that cup and end up on the ground.  We hope that the face painting booth next door will divert the kid's attention.  Of course this prayer on this day is answered.  It just isn't the answer that we were hoping for.  The look on her face when she won, Frank was priceless.  She was so excited and couldn't wait to get him home.  The Boss and I gave each other that look.  We agreed without words to let this blissful moment commence without warning that within days, 3 at the most, we will be conducting a tearful ceremony over the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.

     3 days came and went.  Frank continued to do laps in his bowl as the rest of the neighborhood fish were dropping like flies.  He has the heart of a lion, I thought.  He is going to defeat the odds.  4 days and still going strong.  "You are a warrior, Frank."  I actually said this to him through the glass although I'm sure he didn't hear me over the swoosh of the water streaking past his head as he circled the bowl with lightning speed.

     Day 5 was met with much different results.  The laps around the bowl had ceased.  The interest in life was gone.  The offers of food, ignored.  I was there when, Frank gasped his last breath of Target brand distilled water.  The boss and I agreed that we must get rid of him before, Tall Stack got home from school.

     "Who once came from the sea, must return to the sea."  These were the words I spoke as I pressed the brushed steel handle of the downstairs toilet.  And just like that, Frank was gone.

     It's these moments of parenthood that make us appreciate our parents a little more.  They make us love our kids a little more.  And they make us wonder what lessons can be learned about life and death.  Does surviving a mildly broken heart really make us stronger?  I hope for, Tall Stack's sake that it does.   



Monday, October 4, 2010

The Uterine Walls Are Closing In

     Dammit, I crack myself up...

     OK, let me preface tonight's post by saying that nothing in this life gives me more joy than being the father of my two girls, "The Stacks," one short and one tall, as they've come to be known.  Not to mention, "The Boss," who after ten years of marriage still makes me feel like the luckiest guy in town.


     Living in this estrogen abundant environment does not come without its dangers and challenges.  Oh, I stand at the top of my stairs in the morning like a mature Simba, watching over my kingdom... The golden locks of my mane blowing in the artificial wind created by the air conditioner vent just over my left shoulder.  Truth be told, my locks are more of a strawberry blond but let's face it, that doesn't have quite the same dramatic effect.  The pride below hardly gives me half a glimpse as a reminder that I am but a figurehead and that they, and only they truly rule the roost.  Sometimes, when I turn my  back to them , I hear their failed attempts at a silent giggle.  I hardly make a fuss though, not because I'm weak but because I have learned to choose my battles wisely.

     From time to time, when it feels as if the uterine walls are closing in around me. When I can't take the sound of a crying "Short Stack" for one more second. Or when I can't sit and watch Riding in Cars With Boys for the 100th time.  "The Boss" will send me out to do what the women in this family call, Weenie welding."  It's not as painful as it sounds, don't worry.  Directly translated it means, "Go hang out with the boys."  Sometimes that means a round of golf, or a night of fishing out on the pier.  More recently, it means going outside with the neighbors.  The neighbor to the left, we'll call him "Techy" he's a gadget guy.  The neighbor to the right, we'll call, "Reverend".  He's not really a reverend, but he can quote scripture like Billy Graham is his daddy.  We have some of the greatest times just hanging out in front of the house in our little cul de sac. We talk about guy crap.  We bitch about girl crap.  We reassure each other that everything is going to be just fine.  We drink a beer or two. Then we break our huddle and go back to our families with refueled jets. 

The moral of the story is..... Bosses, let your men weenie weld for a bit.  It's good for him.  It's good for you.  And it's good for the overall wellness of the family.  Don't you agree? 


Friday, October 1, 2010

Letters From Insomnia

     What do you do when you have taken inventory of your sheep over and over and over again and you still can't seem to fall asleep?  For seven, count them seven nights, I have had this issue.  Not only have I been struggling to sleep, I have also had a hard time trying to find something to write about.  So after the third night of tossing and turning with nothing really weighing on my mind, I began to take note of my worthless thoughts and started jotting them down on the moist in one corner, bar napkin in my brain.  The following are some of the highlights that I thought might be worth sharing.  These are all true thoughts.  Some of them are so off the wall that you simply could not make them up.  And in no particular order, here we go.

     "Oh my, it feels good to be in bed.  It's 3AM, why am I still awake?  I wish there was a Kleenex within arms length, I'd get rid of this nose goblin that bounces to and fro with every breath I take.  If I picked it and flicked it at the TV, I bet I could make the nanny named Fran (yeah we're Nick at Nite people) look like she has a beauty mark on her cheek.  But then when it goes to commercial, I'll still have a booger on my TV.  Better not do that."  At that point, I actually laughed out loud.  "I hope "The Boss" doesn't wake up.  Ooh, "The Boss."   If I grab her boob, do you think she'll wake up?  Probably!  Her alarm is gonna go off in an hour.  Grabbing her boob at this hour isn't romantic, it's fuckin' rude.  Hey, there's cold pizza in the fridge.  Yeah but that's way down stairs.  If I had the energy to go way down stairs, then I could walk ten steps to the bathroom to get the Kleenex that would get rid of the nose goblin that I have already considered lobbing at Fran Drescher.  More work than it's worth"...........................WOP WOP WOP WOP WOP WOP WOP, "You're a jerk, Alarm.  Only three hours of sleep, give or take."  Time to get "Tall Stack" off to school and then entertain "Short Stack" until 10:30 when "The Boss" gets home. 

     Do you ever have trouble sleeping?  Are your thoughts during those wasted hours as weird as mine?  Please, tell me I'm not alone.  Tell me I'm not absolutely insane.  It's 2:51 AM as I close out this morning's post.  I have to be up in 3 1/2 hours.  Time to head up to bed.  Duck and cover Ms. Fine.            

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm A Survivor

     "The Boss" and I recently got new phones.  Smart phones which make life a lot easier.  These phones could be compared to, (and I know I am dating myself when I say this) when the microwave oven and the VCR were first introduced.  Once you have these things, you wonder how you ever lived without them.  So a couple of weeks ago, I was checking my calendar on this new smart phone. A phone so smart that it has synced to "The Boss'" calendar as well.  This is a cool feature that makes sure that we are always on the same page.  That's when the panic was embedded deep within the fibers of my soul.  There it was. September 18:  Mother/Daughter sleep over.  This could only mean one thing.  I was going to have to endure a night alone with "Short Stack," my 19 month old daughter with the body of a pixy and the strong will of a Grizzly Bear. The fear was that kind you feel when you are changing the radio station in your car, only to look up and notice that the car in front of you has stopped. That split second of terror you feel is how I have felt for 2 weeks.

     With Short Stack down for her nap, The Boss and Tall Stack escaped for their girls night out without incident.  I got about an hour of down time before I heard the roar coming from behind the closed door at the top of the stairs. "MAAAAMA!"  It was go time, I had no choice but to go in there.  Maybe if I avoid eye contact, it wont be aggressive toward me.  My approach was slow and calculated.  I opened the door only to find a smiling face peering back at me.  We went down stairs, I made dinner, we played, I gave her a bath, we played some more and I put her to bed.  Not one tear, not one tantrum from either one of us.  It was a really pleasant night.  Much like the Great white Shark and the Grizzly Bear, I think that the toddler is just a misunderstood creature.  They are not by nature aggressive nor do they have malice in their hearts.  Through further research, I am hoping to prove this theory.  But until then I shall bask in the glory of being a survivor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Dive In!

     I am a man with lofty aspirations.  I make big plans to do big things, and when I make such plans, I intend to see them through.  Coincidentally, I am also the mayor of Procrastinationville.  As you may have read from my previous posts, I was going to climb the mountain behind my house, I was going to write a book, (a book the people were sure to read), and I was going to win a camera in a weight loss contest against, "The Boss."  While these plans simmer on the back burner like a watched pot, I occasionally add  a pinch of good reason and a dash of excuses to spice up this cauldron of underachievement.   

     Recently, the Grand Daddy of all plans came about.  I, along with a couple of my good friends decided we were going to be scuba divers. We hired an instructor, we read the books, we passed our written exams, and we spent all day on Labor Day in the pool learning how to use our equipment.  Then on Wednesday, we actually dove in the Pacific Ocean.  Let me tell you what diving 35 feet under the surface of the Pacific Ocean does to a person.  Initially, it scares the living shit out of you since we're being completely honest here. Once you're done peeing in your wetsuit and the fear subsides, the beauty and tranquility, the power and vastness really put into perspective how small we are in the overall scheme of things.  I came out of the water with such a sense of accomplishment and a renewed appreciation for what this life has given me.  Not to mention, I actually followed through on something for a change.  

     I still plan to climb that mountain behind my house.  And once I find my pen (creative vibe to write), I will get back to work on writing something worth reading. Of course I will need to stop procrastinating too.  Starting next week! 

     This post isn't my best work but it sure is fun to be writing again.  I missed you guys. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

A New Seed Is Planted

As you know from my previous post, we have moved into an apartment across town from our home which we have had to relinquish to the bank.  What originally seemed like a financial no brainer has turned into a case of complete isolation from our friends, our community and everything else that is important to us.  We have not begun to unpack any of our boxes.  I don't even know where most of my clothes are, nor do I have any intention of trying to locate them.  

A couple of weeks ago, "The Boss" went to our house to pick up a few things that we need to add to the clutter of our tiny abode.  She was gone for less than an hour when the following text conversation began.  THE BOSS:  "The house between Wendy and Gina is for rent."  (Wendy and Gina and their families live just around the corner from our house.)  ME: "Oh yeah?  I wish we would have known that before we moved to this little apartment."  THE BOSS:  "I want that house!"  ME: "Me too but we signed a lease here and it will cost a lot to break that lease.  Not to mention the security deposit and first months rent on the new place."  THE BOSS:  "I want that house."  ME: "This is not a conversation to have via text messaging.  We will talk about it when you get home."

Needless to say, it was a short conversation that took place when she got home.  When we moved into this little apartment across town, we took "Tall Stack" (our oldest daughter who just turned nine this month) out of her home, out of her school district and away from her friends.  So, two cashiers checks, one broken lease and one freshly signed contract later, we are on the move again.  Like a band of gypsies, we are packing up our gear and heading out of here after just over a month.  

You might be wondering if this makes any sense financially.  I asked myself this same question about 1000 times.  Here's the thing though.  Keeping "Tall Stack" in her school, living in between two amazing families who are dear friends of ours and not seeing "The Boss" cry every night because she feels so guilty about moving over here in the first place.  These reasons are not something that you can slap a price tag on.   

So we aren't going home, but we are getting as close to home as we can possibly get and we are looking forward to the BBQs with friends and neighbors.  We are looking forward to having space to put all of our stuff again.  But most of all we are looking forward to seeing "Tall Stack" return to her school that she loves so much. 

It doesn't always seem to make sense at the time, but things really do happen for I reason.  It's taken me 36 years to finally believe that.  Do you believe it too?



Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Tree Has Been Chopped Down

     So in the past several months, things haven't gone according to the plan that "The Boss" and I had laid out for our family.  Due to several medical bills and other unexpected expenses of being alive, we found it more and more difficult to keep up with our monthly house payment.  7 months of jumping through the flaming hoops of our mortgage company to get our loan modified, they denied us because we make too much money.  As it turns out, we make too much money to do a short sale too.  So we decided to walk away from our house and move into an apartment  so that we can have a fresh start and actually be able to enjoy our lives instead of working our asses off only to be in the red at the end of every month.  The sense of failure and overwhelming damage to the ego of a man who is supposed to be the protector and provider for his family is not easy to put into words.

     Yesterday was my first day back to work after taking a few days off to get us moved into the new apartment.  As you can imagine, I spent a good portion of the day feeling sorry for myself as I hosted a rager of a pity party in my own mind while on the outside I had to manage people and maintain a professional and positive attitude.  Late in the day, I ran into an employee who used to work for me but who now works in a different department.  We will call him Ruben, because Ruben is his name.  I haven't seen Ruben for a while so it was nice to see him.  We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries, and that's when it happened.  He said to me in his very deep Guatemalan accent, "Ju fine what choo loose."  "What?" "Ju Fine what choo loose."  "What do you mean?"  "Joor getteen big agang."

     This time last year, I lost about 25 pounds and was looking pretty good.  I have gained almost all of that weight back and I was already feeling like a big fat loser.  I could have done without a comment like that.  He is absolutely right though.  I did indeed fine what I loose.

     As tough as things may seem and as homesick and cut down as I might  feel,  my beautiful wife and daughters are happy and healthy.  That really is all that matters to me.  As long as we are together, no matter where we are, we're home.  That alone is what will get me through this with my sanity.  That and dragging my fat ass through the P90X program again. 



Monday, April 12, 2010

How Do You Know?

     On April 8th, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  10 years!  10 years!!  I've never committed to anything for 10 years in my life, which brings me to the point of today's post. 

     How do you know when you have found "The One?"  Now, I'm no expert on marriage and I don't have a degree in family psychology, but the following is a list of observations and life experiences that I have compiled over the past decade that could just answer that age old question. 

     When I first started seriously dating "The Boss" we had a conversation that went a something like this.  (Me) If we are going to be together, you need to be OK with the fact that I am sometimes and probably more often that you'd like, going to fart. (The Boss) OK good, me too, I'm glad we cleared that up from the start. 

     (Me)  I know that you will still find other men attractive as will I still find other women attractive, but you can trust that when I am with you, I am only with you.  (The Boss)  OK good, I'm glad there wont be any jealousy to ruin what we have here and trust is the main ingredient to our being together.  Hey, look at that girl over there, I bet you think she's hot.  (Me)  This relationship is going to work out just fine.

     As the years rolled on and our marriage fell into its routine of being parents first, lovers a very close neck and neck second, and everything else a distant third.  We began to develop our own language, some of it not much less primitive than tribal clicks and vibratos but one that we and only we understand.  In a social setting we can have a conversation from across the room without ever saying a word.  A flicker of the eye, a quick and unnoticed by anyone else hand gesture and we are immediately on the same page.

     Just recently we had a conversation that I will share with you here at the risk of losing some of my followers with sensitive stomachs.

     I got home the other day to find her just hangin' on the couch and biting her finger nails.  Without noticing that I was watching her, she lobbed a piece of fingernail behind her head between the couch and the wall. 

     (The Boss)  I just tossed my fingernail behind the couch.  (Me)  Oh My God!  I do the same thing.  (The Boss)  Sometimes I flick my boogers back there too.  (Me)  Oh shit!  Me too!  (The Boss)  There aint nothin' back there but boogers and fingernails.  (Me) Good thing I just bought that 5 horsepower 12 gallon shop vac at Home Depot because I don't think the Oreck could handle a job like that.  We must have laughed for 10 minutes before we agreed that something must be done about this.  (Me)  I'll take care of it. 

     Wanting her to be the first person I talk to in the morning and the last person I talk to before I lay my head to rest.  Knowing that no matter how bad a day I might have had at work she can make me smile when I get home.  Knowing that whether or not I get the things around the house that need to be done done, she will still love me.  Knowing that we both love our daughters more than anything in the world.  Knowing that when we get burned out on real life, Fred will always have margaritas for us down in San Diego to help us ecape.  And knowing that no one else can ever make me feel as good as I do right now, is how I know that I have found the one.  I love you babe.  Happy Anniversary.  I only hope that you will let me stick around for another 10 years.    


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

All Rise

     Yesterday I was once again called upon to perform my civic duty.  Normally I would consider it a drag to have to miss work to sit around all day at the court house.  But this year was different.  You see, I have not had a vacation since around the first week in June which was when I took my paternity leave after "Short Stack" was born.  And let's face it, those sleepless nights for the first few months were anything but a relaxing vacation.  So this year, I looked at it as a sort of short break from reality.  In fact, I was almost hoping to be selected for any sort of trial that could last for an extended period of time.  So I, along with several hundred other civicly responsible people lined up to be herded into the Hall of Justice one by one through the metal detectors.  No threat from me, all I had was a cell phone, keys and this beat up old copy of Empire Falls.  (397 of the 480 some odd pages were already a thing of the past but I figured today might be the day that I would finally put the entire book behind me.)  But I nonetheless appreciated the thorough precautions.

     Once settled in, if that's what you would call sitting uncomfortably close to hundreds of complete strangers on a chair that after a few minutes makes your back scream at you, I could finally do what I was really there to do.  Yes we are all there to fulfill our responsibility to society, but what I'm there for is to watch the people.  There's always the realtor on the phone who thinks that the louder she talks to whoever is on the other end of the phone, the more important she appears to be to the 399 of us who are sitting around her.  Next to her is that young guy whose pants hang off of his ass and you can see half of his underwear.  Go ahead and look at him it's ok because his mind is lost somewhere in that overly loud ipod that he is listening to.  Next to him would be me.  I'm the guy fighting against my own body, twisting and repositioning hoping against all hope that I will eventually find a more comfortable position but failing miserably after hours of sitting in this torture device of a chair.

     Once released for a short break, and people are finally out of each other's personal spaces, they seem to take on a whole new personality.  The smokers fire up as soon as they are out the front door.  The social and business butterflies go straight for their cell phones.  The little old man with his red had, green shirt and leather sandals, which are at least 2 sizes to big, scampers from trash can to trash can collecting any recyclables that the rest of us might have left for him.  The most entertaining to me was the pregnant druggie whose uterus was about to give way while she yelled at her loved one on the other end of the phone about how that "God Damn Judge" screwed her again.  "He got me on fuckin' probation violation again, that motherf***er."  Yep, it's the judges fault sweetheart.  The fact that you are knocked up and obviously strung out on meth is totally not your fault and I don't understand why his honor doesn't see it your way.

     Then it happened.  I was selected with a group of 45 other people to go to Department 1 that was going to meet up after lunch at 1:30.  So out we all herd again like cattle to feed.  The only thing missing was the branding iron, thank God.  Having discovered the same restaurant last year, I quickly ran across the street and down a way to this little Mexican joint.  Because it's always a good idea to fill your stomach with spicy foods when you are going to be sitting all day in a place that requires your undivided attention.  What a fool I am.  It was a damn good Burrito though.  And why wouldn't you wash it down with a bladder buster sized Coke?  It makes sense doesn't it?

     After the lunch break we all filed back in......Again.......This time we sat there and waited.......and waited........and then waited some more.......We waited for what seemed like days.  I tried to get lost in Empire Falls as planned, but the chair that was having its way with my back and the hint of an oncoming migraine simply had their hooks in me.  Finally they called, "All who were selected for Department 1 please come to the front desk.  Your trial has been cancelled and you are all free to go."  Really?!!  I sat here all day thinking we were going to see some action.  I sat here in pain all damn day in the hopes that it would result in my being selected for this trial only for you to say that I am free to go?  Where is the justice in that? 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Acing The Test Of Time

     What's today?  Friday?  Yeah, so it was on Wednesday when the boss and I went to Costco to gather up all of the gear we are going to need for "Shorts Stack's" first birthday party tomorrow.  Sodas, snacks, sandwich platters ordered, cake ordered, candy for all of the kids who will attend and whatever else we loaded in the basket.  None of this matters, nor does any of it have to do with the point of the story other than to give purpose to our visit in the first place.

     With all items purchased and dent deeply pressed into the bank account, we followed the herd toward the exit.  In front of us, the boss notices this old couple holding hands.  "Oh my God, how cute are they?" she asked in a pointing without actually physically pointing tone.  I am a football watching, beer drinking, places that itch scratching, nose picking and flicking kind of guy, as I have mentioned before. So I don't find very many things in life to be "cute."  But Holy shit, Batman, she's right.  This was pretty damn cute.  Which got me to thinking.  What are they smiling at each other so intensely about? Perhaps one of them said something funny.  Perhaps they are just so in love with each other that they just can't help but smile.  Maybe they were excited about going home for a quick afternoon rendezvous (it could happen.) Whatever the reason, and whatever you want to call it, seeing them together made me feel comfortable or all warm and fuzzy if you will. 

     In a world where people get divorced as quickly as they drop off their dry cleaning. It was nice to see that some people do stick together and love each other even after a lifetime of underwear on the floor, empty toilet paper rolls left for someone else to replenish, and toothpaste tubes squeezed from the middle and not from the end. 

     In April, the boss and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  A mere drop in the bucket compared to some, and a major feat for others.  Watching this old couple completely enjoy being with each other, I couldn't help but smile myself.  I hope that in another 40 years, we will have aced the test of time and that the boss will still let me hold her hand.             


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Going Postal

      The Boss had to work on Saturday afternoon which left me alone with the girls with just one errand to run.  All I had to do was run to the post office to get some stamps and mail off a letter.  "I got this," or so I thought.

     With the girls safely loaded in the truck, we were on our way to send a letter.  As usual, I shuffled from one radio station to the next as I always do to prove to "Tall Stack," (one of millions of nicknames we have for our first born) that I know every single song on the radio and that I can sing them in an American Idol finalist sort of fashion.  She is never as impressed with my obvious talents as I am.  She never actually says that I am a horrible singer but I can tell by the look of disgust that she tries to hide from me as to not hurt my feelings.

     Finally, and much to "Tall Stack's" relief, we made it to the post office.  I got out of the truck and got "Short Stack," (the one year old and an obviously much shorter stack than "Tall Stack," hence the name) out of the back seat.  I close the door and we walk about five feet before I realize that the damn keys have just been locked in behind me.  

     With the next band of the storm looming on the horizon, I knew I had to act fast or we were going to be in some serious trouble.  Having just recently renewed our Auto Club accounts, I knew the help was just a phone call away.  

     With the letter mailed off and help on the way, all we had to do was wait.........and wait........"The storm is getting closer Dad.".........and wait........"How could you do that Dad?"............riiiing......riiing.......The phone rings and the tow truck company claims to be here but there doesn't seem to be any sign of me, my kids, or my truck in the parking lot.  "That's because I am not at the post office on Grand Ave.  I am at the post office on California Ave."...........and wait.............and wait............."we're going to get rained on Dad."  
      Finally the tow truck arrives and the guy gets my door opened for me.  Everyone was once again safely loaded into their seats and we were on our way, dry I might add.  

     What makes this story so funny to me is not that we lost an hour of our lives in the parking lot of a post office. But that I have become the guy who I would usually laugh at for being such an absent minded fool.  "That kind of thing doesn't happen to me," I would say as I point and laugh at the douchebag stuck in the parking lot with no keys and a crying baby in his arms.  I'm afraid I've lost a step my friends.  I am not as cool as I was in the younger days.  The time has come for me to pass the torch to the younger generation of punks who will point and laugh at me while I make foolish geezer mistakes.

     While "Short Stack" was none too pleased about the whole situation, on the way home and in between me singing a little David Bowie, followed by a little Gwen Stefani, "Tall Stack" and I had a good laugh about the whole thing.   


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Girl Scouts: Do-gooders Or Saboteurs?

     Yeah so it's that time of year again.  It's time for New Years Resolutions of becoming a healthier you to come to an end.  It's time for Chips Ahoy and Oreo sales to drop dramatically.  That's right, it's Girl Scout Cookie season again.

     To most people this is a great time of year.  You run into the booth in front of the grocery store and pick up a box or two of those world famous Thin Mints and you feel good about your decision.  You feel good because not only are those Thin Mints delicious, but the $4 a box is going to a very good organization which teaches values and morals to the young girls of America. 

     As the father of one of these young girls, I have seen the positive effects that the Girl Scouts of America can  have on the lives of these girls.  They do things for the community, they go on outings to teach the girls life skills, and everything they do helps to build the self confidence and self esteem.

     Here's where The Girl Scouts of America and I have a problem.  The estrogen and sugar fueled marketing campaign that is the Girl Scout Cookie Season leaves a trail of failed diets, abandoned workout regiments and overwhelming feelings of guilt in its wake. 

     About a week ago, I started the P90X challenge as some of you may know.  You can call it bad timing if you'd like, but I call it sabotage.  A day or two after I started the program, The Boss and daughter come home with a car full of Girl Scout Cookies.  You heard me right, A CAR FULL!  With my arms hanging from my body like wet noodles and the extreme soreness that engulfed my entire body from the previous night's workout, I helped them unload the boxes of evil deliciousness into the garage.  Box after box of Thin Mints, Thanks-A-Lots, Peanut Butter Sandwichs, Shortbread, Peanut Butter Patties and Caramel Delights were simply too much for my will power and self control to handle.  Not to mention the big blue eyes, now in puppy dog mode accompanied by the pouty lower lip, "Wont you buy some cookies from me Daddy?"  I mean, who are the ad wizards who came up with this perfect scheme?  I had no choice, I bought the cookies.  I bought 3 boxes and I got my fix.  That night, I did an extra set of Feifer scissors to make up for my earlier lack of self control.  My P90X friends, you know what I'm talking about.  Thanks a lot Girl Scouts of AMERICA!!!  



Friday, January 29, 2010

P90X or Pizza?

     All of a sudden, The Boss is very serious about our new fitness competition.  If I have a partner and a goal, I go all out and can be focused like no other, or so I thought.

     A few days ago I started the P90X program and I am in a world of hurt.  For those of you who don't know what P90X is all about, I will tell you.  It's a fitness program equipped with a full menu of real foods that you can actually make and enjoy, (I haven't really paid attention to the nutrition part of it yet)  and for 90 days this guy on the videos (12 to be more precise) kicks the living shit out of you from head to toe.  I have been doing it though, and I wont say that I have been eating all heathy foods, but I can say that I am mindful of what I am eating. 

     Last night when I got home from work, I had it all planned out.  I was going to run upstairs, kiss the girls goodnight, check in with Anderson Cooper on CNN to make sure that the world was just as fouled up as it was before I had left for work 9 hours earlier. After that I was going to kill myself with a little Ab Ripper X.  So this is what I did, upstairs I went, girls were all kissed and tucked in for the night, AC confirmed that the world was indeed as jacked up as I had left it, thanks for the update, AC. But then something went terribly wrong.  As I went to reach for the DVD, I mistakenly reached for a mini deep dish frozen pizza.  And instead of putting the DVD in the DVD player, I put the mini deep dish pizza in the mini deep dish pizza cooker (microwave).  "What the Hell am I doing?"  I think I actually asked myself out loud.  I answered myself in a tone that scared even the new tougher, more muscular, but sore as all can be and in no mood for any physical altercations, me.  "Shut up fat boy and just eat the damn pizza."  Who am I to argue?  

     The pizza was delicious, I'm not going to lie to you.  The stench of guilt was heavy in the air, almost as strong as the smell of once frozen but now sizzling pepperoni.  I burned the roof of my mouth on the melted cheese and while the pain was intense, I was no slave to it.  No sir, I was much too busy enjoying the flavor and the feeling of getting away with something evil while no one was looking.  

     My delicious failure was a setback, I have to admit, but I'm back on track today.  I hate you P90X, I really really hate you.       


Monday, January 25, 2010

I Am Not A Pervert

     I find it neccessary to let you people know that I am not a pervert.  I am not usually in the business of showing my underwear in public, though I must admit that this is not the first time that it has happened.  Nor for that matter can I, in good faith, promise that it will be the last time either. 

     I, like most men in America, am a beer drinkin', football watchin', areas that itch scratchin', nose pickin' and flickin' kind of guy who doesn't invest a lot of time on issues like fashion and apparel.  That is until I discovered the world of Burberry boxers.

     The Boss' cousin is a GM for Burberry in Seattle, and as luck would have it, he drew my name in the cousins gift exchange for Christmas.  Upon opening the gift and discovering that another man had just bought me a pair of boxers for Christmas, I couldn't help but wonder what the thought process was while making the decision to do such a thing.  Was this unlikely gift a last minute purchase while leaving work the night before jumping on his flight to California?  Was this a purchase he had already made for himself and in a last ditch effort to come up with a gift idea for his cousin's husband 1500 miles away, just tossed them in his carry on bag and moved on to his next and certainly more important order of business?  Oh no!  This was not an effortless, thoughtless, last minute gift.  No this was something much more special and much more thoughtful and calculated than I had originally given it credit for.  It wasn't until a day or two later though, that I realized just how great a gift this really was.

     As a kid, you build an image in your mind of what Heaven would be like.  How it looks, how it feels, and hope one day that by the grace of God you are welcomed there when that time comes.  You can scrap that image son, I'm telling you right now.  Heaven is not what you pictured it to be at all.  As it turns out, Heaven is constructed of a high thread count, earth tone and pastel pattern of plaid that feels like billowing  clouds of glory and wonder each and every second that it envelopes the skin.

     I willingly humiliate myself like this today as a public service.  If you do not have a pair of these boxers, I urge you to do yourself a favor and score a pair as soon as you can.  You will thank me for it.

     I know the image above is a disturbing one and I am sorry to have subjected you to such a display without prior warning.  



PS I did all of my own stunts in the making of this blog post.      

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ding Dong Ditch 'Em

     One night last week, one of our young neighborhood scoundrels decided it would be funny to ring our doorbell and then take off.  I wasn't home to join in the festivities, but truth be told I had a good laugh when I got the text from The Boss saying that, "Little assholes keep ding dong ditching me."  Apparently  this went on for about an hour or so before The Boss ran outside and yelled "KNOCK IT OFF!"  This solved the problem and the girls went about their evening.

     On Wednesday night, I was home cooking dinner, watching The Hangover and enjoying of all things a little Kahlua with hot chocolate.  I am not particularly fond of Kahlua nor hot chocolate, but when you put the two together it spells G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S.   Suddenly the doorbell rings and we all assume that it's Torrey, one of my daughter's friends who always rings the doorbell when she comes over to play.  But it wasn't Torrey, it wasn't Torrey at all.  It wasn't anybody for that matter.  "Oh it's on" I said as my competitive spirit snapped to attention.  For 20  minutes I stood at the door peeking through the peep hole with my hand on the knob of the unlocked door contemplating my plan of attack should this nocturnal pusher of buttons decide to strike again.

Should I set a bear trap under the doorbell? Should I jump out and scream as loud as I can to scare the crap out of him?  Should I chase him home and make him tell his parents in front of me what he had been doing?  All of these options sounded good.  But which one will best work for me on this night?  I decided to just jump out at him and scream at the top of my lungs.  This was going to be awesome and I was ready for action.  Mike Tyson's tiger was the frozen image on my TV screen as the paused movie waited in anticipation of  what might happen next.  My daughter ran upstairs to look out her window so that she could signal when Operation Poopy Pants was about to commence.

     Perhaps he knew I was waiting for him, or perhaps his mommy called him to eat dinner.  Or maybe although unlikely, he realized that his actions were unjust and uncalled for.  Whatever his logic, he did not return for a second attack and we returned to our dinner and a movie night.

     You are a worthy opponent, little man.  I will catch you one day.  You can rest assured that I will catch you one day, and you will know who the true king of this neighborhood really is.  You can't cheap shot the cheap shot champ, chump!


Monday, January 18, 2010

On Your Mark....Get Set.......Eat!

     Try as I might, I have never been able to make my relationship with any New Years resolution last even until February 1st.  So this year, The Boss and I have decided to have a little friendly competition that is under no circumstances to be called any sort of resolution. 

     On April 8th, we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and I have to commend the woman for having the fortitude to endure living with a neanderthal like myself for an entire decade without missing a beat.

     I have never lied to you people before, so I don't intend to start now.  I know my written words make me sound like a long haired, muscular, disgustingly handsome, smut novel cover worthy specimen with incredible self confidence and charm.  And don't get me wrong, I'd love to let you continue to think of me in such a way.  But the truth is that I am carrying some extra weight around my midsection, my hair is falling off the back of my head, and I am anything but charming.  Needless to say a little self improvement is required.

     So "The Boss" and I have decided to have a weight loss contest.  If she reaches her goal weight by our anniversary, I must find a way to buy her the diamond ring pictured here.  We saw this ring on a commercial 8 or 9 years ago so I've had plenty of time to prepare, (but of course I have not.)  Here's the best part.  If I reach my goal weight by the same date, I am to receive the highly coveted Canon T1i.  This camera is amazing, it is expensive too, but I will never ever have to buy a camera again once I have this beauty in my hands.

     So the stage has been set.  The games have begun.  We started this battle about a week or two ago.  There is just one problem with the whole deal.  All either one of us has done since the starters gun went off is eat.  Damn that Santa for putting so much chocolate in my stocking.  I mean what does he care?  His fat ass is already famous and he can just get some overworked dwarf in his sweat shop to bang out a camera for him on a whim.

     We are not focused at all, but in our defense, it isn't our fault that food is so damn delicious.  Time is running out and I have a long way to go.  Today is the day that I will begin my journey to a leaner, meaner me.  As soon as I finish this cookie that my daughter just handed me.  It's chocolate chip, how could I say no?  Hey, if they made a broccoli cookie that tasted just as good I would be eating one.  Wish me luck.  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

     So for the last few years there has been a homeless couple who have been dawning their please help me signs at the signal down by the freeway not too far from where we live.  I'm guessing it has been at least to some degree a pretty lucrative location otherwise, why would they continue to stay there?

     My issue is this.  The woman seems to have a little trouble with controlled substances, or maybe I am the one who has the problem because I have never seen the person next to her with whom  she seems to be having an in depth conversation with.  Her husband or boyfriend or collegue or whoever that guy is across the street working the opposite corner is too far away to be able to hear her, so I know she isn't talking to him.  I'm just saying, perhaps if she would pay a little more attention to her potential customers, she might make a lot more money and could possibly get herself out of this situation.  Hey lady, I'll pay for some of your pity but you have to sell it to me instead of talking to "Mr. Perfectly Fabricated" over there. 

     WOW!  Look at me over here swinging my gavel around pretending to know more about her industry than she does.  I wouldn't presume to let her tell me about labor scheduling, logistics, profit margins or the like.  So why the Hell would she listen to me trying to tell her that she needs to improve on her sitting around on the median and having people give her money while she talks to an invisible buddy like a bunch of old southern  drunken men sitting in a barber shop reflecting on the war in Korea and that twister that missed town by a "kwarter mal layast nawt."

     It's interesting how often times you see the same people day in and day out and yet, you really don't know anything about each other and probably never will.  These two homeless cats might be the coolest people ever, and I will more than likely never give myself the opportunity to find out.  I certainly wouldn't want to interupt her conversation, and he is over there on the other side of the road trying to make a living.  I hope they make enough cash today to find a nice warm place to sleep.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm Not Done Yet

     Yesterday I wrote about taking a trip to Jalama Beach, which has sent me into a full blown camping withdrawl.  Like a crack addict without his fix, I neeeed to do some camping and I need it now. 

     As a kid, every summer I would go on at least one camping trip with me family.  Usually we would find ourselves in places like Mammoth, Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon or Big Bear.  Places where you are submerged in nature and all of its beauty and hazards.  In places like these, you have to hang your food from the trees or in solid steel lockers to avoid being robbed by the local bandits.  4 legged bandits who wont hesitate to remove your face from your skull in order to get that food.  We saw the occasional bear and raccoons did get to our gear one time, but we never really had any run ins to write home about.  I look back on those summer trips with the most fond memories.

     My wife and her family did some camping of a much different style as she was growing up.  They would do their camping up and down the California coast.  So when we got married and talked about going on a camping trip, obviously we had very different ideas on how and where to go.  Of course she had also done the mountain/wilderness camping as a kid as well, so it didn't take a whole lot of explanation when it came to planning our trip to Hurkey Creek.  But when it came time to introduce me to beach camping, I didn't have a clue that it even existed let alone how to prepare or what to bring. 

     11 years, 1 trailer and a truck with which to pull said trailer later, we are beach camping professionals.  After seing pictures of my mother and her very close encounter with a bear up in Mammoth(my parents are no longer campers, they stay in a condo when they go up there), I find that beach camping is a much more stress free environment.  We have figured out the perfect balance of how much is too much food to bring and how much wont cut it.  I usually live on beer and cashews truth be told. 

      For you indoorsy, city types, I'm sorry to go all outdoorsy on you two days in a row.  I thought yesterday's post would be enough but I wasn't done just yet.  I think it's out of my system now and I will move on to something different tomorrow. 



Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Need A Vacation

     There is a place we love to go when it is time to just sit back and do nothing for a few days.  Just about an hour or so north of Santa Barbara along California's central coast.  This well hidden jewel of a getaway is just what the Dr. ordered after a long period of just not giving yourself a break.

     Once you turn off of the main highway and onto Jalama Rd., the world seems to slow down, the stress seems to melt away and thoughts of business, obligations, and responsibilities cease to exist.

     A 14 mile drive down this winding road leads you through some deep wooded areas with the occasional farm house with small crops of colorful flowers, vegetables and fruits ensuring that if you were to become stranded at least you would not starve to death.  Never has 14 miles seemd so far a drive, and never has the first time visitor to this place had such a feeling of going in the wrong direction.  Your surroundings are not what you would imagine in the brochure that you had printed in your own mind.  "Have we made a wrong turn?" you might ask yourself.  "This is clearly not where we are supposed to be."  And then it happens.  Your breathe is taken from you as you make one last long winding turn followed by two or three sharp hairpin turns and up to the top of a steep little hill.

     The beautiful and majestic Pacific, such a contrast to what had been in front of you for the better part of 30 minutes and a confirmation that you have not made a wrong turn.  Jalama Beach is the name of this place and it is one of my favorite places to be.  Miles from the nearest Starbucks or red light at a traffic signal, this is a place where you can completely detach from reality.  Not to mention the famous "Jalama Burger" at the little grill and general store is absolutely amazing.  Though we haven't figured out what makes it so good.  Perhaps it's the fact that there is not another burger joint around for 25 miles.  Whatever the reason, I will tell you that you have not lived until you have had one of those burgers.  I can taste it now as I sit here talking about it.

     Having waited too long again to give ourselves a break, my wife and I are well overdue for a camping trip or a vacation of any type for that matter.  We have been talking about a San Francisco trip, but I think I might have to throw in my vote for a delicious Jalama Burger and a week of just sitting on the beach.

     Oh, and speaking of my wife, she has a new blog that is a must read.  She is a funny and witty mom who has it more figured out than she gives herself credit for, which always makes for a good read.  Check her out at   



Saturday, January 2, 2010

Now It's Time

     So the time has finally come.  The Holidays are over so that can no longer be my excuse not to write.

      I have read not one but two books to polish up on some of my writing skills, and two novels just for the hell of it and to steal some ideas from those who are already published.

     On top of all of that, I actually sat through Julie & Julia with my wife tonight which came about in a most humorous fashion.  We went out to dinner at a Teppan Grill for a friend's birthday tonight, (grilled scallops with the steamed rice, grilled vegetables, shrimp and a water with lemon, for those who are trying to paint a mental picture.)  After that we decided to stop by the Red Box to rent a $1 movie.  I made the mistake of letting the boss get out and choose the movie while I stayed in the car to keep an eye on the baby.

     Have I learned nothing over the past 11 years?  Hangover was the movie we had agreed on, but a plan B was never discussed in the event that Hangover wasn't available.

  As it turns out, Hangover was not available and so there we were watching yet another chick flick as a result of my not thinking it through.

     I was not aware that it was a movie about writing and getting published, or not getting published and then getting published.  I hope I didn't wreck it for you.  Anyway, I saw it as an omen and an inspiration to quit coming up with excuses not to write and to just get my ass in gear and do it. 

     I'm starting to outline exactly how the structure of the book is going to be, giving it a skeleton if you will.  Actually having a plan written out is something I am not used to doing.  That has never been my style.  The guys at work call how we do it cowboy style.  we shoot from the hip like gunslingers.  We don't need a plan, we just make it happen.  For years that has worked, and we're damn good too.  But this new endeavor isn't going to work like that.  I have to be focused, I have to be structured and stay on course.  This is going to be one of the biggest challenges I have ever taken on and I can't wait another minute to get going. 

     Happy New Year!