Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

We are getting together with 2 other couples for a quiet New Year's Eve tonight. I am very excited because I finally get to use a gift I have wanted to use since our friend Teri gave it to me last Christmas: a Chocolate Fountain. Now I know what some of you are thinking.....why in the world would someone give a chocolate fountain to someone who cannot eat sweets? It is actually a bit of a "gag gift", and here is the story:

A couple of years ago, we went to a Halloween party with a bunch of friends.
I hate costume parties. I always hated dressing up for Halloween when I was a kid. Along with clowns and ventriloquists, nothing gives me the willies like the idea of dressing up for a costume party. I searched far and wide for a costume that would fit my personality without making me terribly uncomfortable. I found one a few years ago that I have used every Halloween since: Middle Aged White Guy, (or as Whitney says, "bald middle aged white guy"). It usually consists of jeans and a shirt. it is not terribly creative, but it gets me through the night without developing a rash.

We had just arrived at the party. Tracy and all our friends had wonderful costumes, and I was dressed as.......well, me. I had varied my costume that year by adding a classy touch......a gray jacket from a suit I had just bought for a robust $6 at a second hand store. Don't was like new and sharp.

As we greeted friends and settled into our seats, Tracy asked me to go get her a slice of lime for her Corona. I headed off for the kitchen area. When I got there, I noticed a chocolate fountain on the counter. We had been to this place many times, but this was the first time for a fountain. I grabbed Tracy a slice of lime, and headed back to the table. A few minutes later, Teri noticed something on the table cloth in front of me that looked like chocolate. Upon further inspection, we realized that in getting the lime, I had accidentally put my arm in the chocolate fountain, and my new jacket was covered in chocolate. REALLY covered. Luckily, none had gotten on my white shirt, so I carefully took the jacket off and put it in the car in hopes a dry cleaner could undo the damage.

I went back inside to join our group. Before long, Tracy asked me to get her another lime.....which I did. When I returned to the table, someone pointed out that I had chocolate on my shirt. My first thought was that it had come from the table cloth, but it was quite obvious in a bout of utter stupidity, I had done the EXACT same thing again and stuck my arm into the chocolate fountain reaching for the lime.

Now to stick your arm in a chocolate fountain you know is there once takes a certain level of stupidity. To do so twice brings into play a stupidity that boggles the mind. But welcome to my world.

Luckily I had another shirt in the car, so I put the dirty shirt with the dirty jacket and went back into the party. When I did I looked closer at the jacket. The chocolate had hardened and my jacket was now as stiff as if it had been deep frozen. (As an aside....the chocolate did come out of both the jacket and the shirt, but cleaning it cost more than the suit cost in the first place. Of course, since I only paid $6, so that was no hard task.)

I went back inside. I told Tracy that from now on, she could get her own damn lime slices. Of course this did little to keep my friends from teasing me all night (and the 15 months since). I tried to put a positive spin on it by saying it was a new costume variation: "chocolate covered middle aged white guy", but they were not buying it. The final blow came when I got the chocolate fountain to always remind me (as if I would forget).

So tonight, I will finally get to use the chocolate fountain Teri bought me. Needless to say, I will be taking several extra shirts to our New Years Eve get together......and Tracy will be getting her own limes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back To The Real world

We are back from a great week in Disney World. Back to the real world of doing laundry, shopping for food and work for me (Tracy is off for another week still). Sorry no blog posts while we were away, but we never bothered to turn on the laptop while we were there. I did get some fodder for some future posts and hope to get to that in a day or two.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Abby Smile For The Day

I guess our Christmas Card was a hit. We wanted it to say something like "Have a Great Christmas, Doggonit", but there was not enough room.

Several people asked us how we got Abby to wear the reindeer antlers. The fact is, Abby wi
ll do just about anything for a treat. The antlers were no problem. They have bells, and every time we shake them she gets very excited and wants to wear them so she can get her treat.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

State Champs!

We interrupt the normal ramblings of this blog for an important announcement:
Whitney's pom team won the State Pom Competition!

Needless to say, she was very excited.

Here are a few pictures from an exciting day.
(remember to click them to make them bigger)

Whitney is on the far right

Who knew Whitney could fly?

"I think we might have won!"

"We Won!!!"

Norman High School
2008 State Champs

Friday, December 12, 2008

Very Late Rocky Horror Recap

I know I am WAY behind on this, but here is the long promised Rocky Horror Picture Show Recap.....along with a twist that fits right into the theory of this blog that funny things happen in my life.

The show started with a rock band performing the songs from the movie. They were dressed for the occasion, and by the third song the lead singer was wearing just underwear and fishnets. They were also very LOUD. After the cast was picked from the audience, we practiced the Time Warp and got our props ready for the movie. It was a great night of people watching, and I can confirm that our group participated in the fun of recreating the movie. We danced, threw rice during the wedding scene, and put newspaper over our heads to protect ourselves from our squirt gun induced rain storm.

Now here is the funny part:

Right before the movie started, I made one last quick trip to the restroom. In the lobby I ran into Karena. She and her husband Eric do all the work on our computers. They are a little younger than us, and very sweet, mild mannered computer geeks. She asked if I had seen Eric. I told her I hadn't. She said, "oh yes you did.....he was the lead singer of the band that played".

If you don't understand how funny this is, try this exercise: Think of Erkel. Now imagine Erkel fronting a rock band while wearing a thong and fishnets. Now imagine you know actually know Erkel, and that he was sitting in your office yesterday. It was THAT funny.

I went back to our seats and told our group that Tracy and I knew the singer in the pantyhose and high heels. Tracy rolled with laughter and our friends were very impressed that we know such interesting people.

Employee Of The Day

I stopped into McDonald's the other day while running errands to grab a bite to eat. I had an interesting exchange with a worker there. I am guessing I appreciated her honestly more than her supervisors would. Here is our conversation. Please note she had no noticeable personality or energy.....pure "straight man".

Her: Can I help you?
Me: Double Cheeseburger please.
Her: That will be 1.29.
Me: I thought it was a dollar.
Her: It is no longer on the dollar menu. We have the McDouble now.
Me: What is that?
Her: Same thing as a double cheeseburger, but with only one piece of cheese.
Me: You're kidding me?
Her: No.
Me: So they want 20 cents for one piece of cheese?
Her: I guess so.
Me: Does it make that much of a difference?
Her: I don't know, I never had one.
Me: You ought to try one sometime.
Her: I would never eat the food here.

Yes.....she said that. So I bought my McDouble and left. Needless to say her lack of personality and sense of humor makes her a prime candidate to move into the exciting world of Convenience Store Cashiers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Specials

While setting the DVR to tape a few of our favorite Christmas specials, a thought hit me: we don't watch a single Christmas special made since my childhood.
I am sure there have been good holiday specials made since then, but I have not felt the need to watch them. We stick to the classics. I am sorry: "Sponge Bob Christmas" does not get me in the Yuletide mood.

The only post 70s classic I can come up with is very personal: Muppet Family Christmas. Although made in the late 80s, the Muppets are creatures of the 70s. This was Whitney's favorite when she was little (she especially liked Fozzy's bad jokes), and my guess is that she watched it approximately 5,000 times between the ages of 3 and 5. It would have driven me crazy if not for the fact that it gave me a break from Barney.

Of course, I realize nostalgia is the only thing that makes something a classic. There is no other way to explain my affection for Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. Think about it: you got Kermit The Frog, singing rodents and a talent show won by a band with a bear, a snake and a weasel. I love it and watch it every year.....but are otters any more "Christmas" than a talking sponge? maybe just a little.

I for one choose to embrace my childhood nostalgia when it comes to Christmas.
The networks can crank out dozens of new holiday specials. But in my house, it is not Christmas until:
- The Grinch carves the roast beast
- Rudolph leads Santa's sleigh
- Kris Kringle outwits Burgermeister Meisterburger
- Heat Miser and Snow Miser duke it out
- Linus reminds everyone what this whole thing is all about

At that point, all that I need is a fire in the fireplace and Andy Williams' Christmas Album on the stereo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Spider Web

I had to sit around a empty house all day while carpet was being installed, so I wanted to have Internet access. I had to find a way to get the modem and router up off the floor while they worked. I came up with a system involving bungee cords and a window frame.

This is either proof of my utter brilliance, or a sign I need to stop watching My Big Redneck Wedding. Tracy and Whitney voted for the latter.

I have a theory that you can fix almost anything with WD 40 or Duct Tape. I might put bungee cords in that group. Rednecks love duct tape.....I even saw one show where they used duct tape to keep a wedding dress from splitting.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Carpet

We are getting new carpet today. The carpet guys are here working as I type this. Tracy and Whitney have been after me to post to the blog, so I thought about doing a entry related to that. Maybe a list of things I should or should not do while they are doing the carpet. I am not sure how that list will go, but I am fairly sure naked hot tubbing on the back porch is out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Abby Smile For The Day

Abby loves when the sun comes through the windows. We are considering sending her to charm school to learn how to lay in a more lady-like fashion.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

College Gameday

The ESPN Football crew was in Norman. Whitney has become a big football fan this year, and watches Gameday every Saturday. So with ESPN in town, she asked me to take her down there so she could watch in person. We had a lot of fun. Here are some of the photos, including the guy with a Washington State flag. The flag is always at Gameday, and is passed along via the mail to an alum in every host town. In this case, the flag was also held by a Washington fan, who was very good natured about it on the day of the Washington-Washington State game.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Earlier today I pulling into a parking space at Homeland. When I got out of the car, I noticed a very slow moving older man struggling to open his car trunk. I helped him, and noticed his license plate said "WWII Veteran" on it. I had a nice 5 minute discussion about WWII with him (he served in both the Pacific and Europe), and he could not have been nicer.

I walked through Homeland thinking about the bitching and moaning people do today about how "tough times are". But this man fought in the second world war, and had lived through the great depression. Kind of gave me some perspective.....that being the vast majority of this country are gigantic wusses and the media reporting these stories are twits.

Anyway, I pay for my stuff and walk outside. I notice he is still in the parking lot (I told you he was very slow) and pulling out of his space. As he approached me, I began to wave when I noticed he did not appear to see me. That old coot almost ran me down like roadkill. I felt like a German Panzer Division must have felt as the Allies rushed towards Berlin. Like the Poland in the Blitzkrieg. Like John McCain on election night.

So while I admire his service, I highly support seniors having to take yearly driving tests after a certain age to keep their license.......for their safety and mine.
That includes John McCain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Abby's Smile Of The Day

Abby is a constant source of humor for me. Hardly a day goes by she does not crack me up with something she does. Here she is ready for a ride in the car. This is the position she gets into while waiting for me to get in the car.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ghost Stories

Part of my trip was spent visiting friends in Roswell Georgia, just outside Atlanta. For all my trip research about what to see and do, I never thought to look into Roswell for sightseeing. It turns out Roswell has a fascinating history. It is a mill town that predates the Civil War. My friend Anita had recently taken a tour of "haunted" Roswell. She was a wonderful tour guide and shared some ghost stories as we walked around the old town site.

While telling me one of these stories, a black cat walked right up to us. I am not much for believing ghost stories, but having a black cat walk by while touring cemeteries and other "haunted" sites seemed quite fitting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shopping For The Family

It is Sunday and I am trying to relax after enduring my own private hell: a solo run to Walmart. Tracy has a cold, so I volunteered to do the weekly Walmart run. I think I did pretty well: I only had to call on the cellphone twice with questions. The over/under was 4 confused phone calls.

Don't get me wrong.....I have been to Walmart many, many times. But with a few exceptions, I really don't pay attention to what Tracy actually pulls off the shelf. Usually I just walk around like a claustrophobic zombie.

The last time I did the solo run was when Tracy was out of town. I asked Whitney to make a list, and headed out. I was only 3 blocks away when the trouble began.

At a red light, I looked at the list. The first line said "Tracy Shampoo". No brand....just "Tracy Shampoo". I see that bottle of shampoo every time I shower, but I had no chance of finding the exact right one.The trouble continued with the next line: hair color. I have shopped enough to know there is more to this than picking the box that says "red". I look down the list and see several other potential minefields. So I did what any intelligent male would do: I did a U Turn and went back home.

This has prompted one of my brilliant business ideas: A store for husbands who's wives are sick or out of town. Not to be sexist....this could also apply to anyone befuddled by too many choices and want to simplify their lives.

In my store, there will be only one type of each item, and it will be clearly marked. There will be just kind of shampoo, and it will come in a bottle that says "Shampoo" in big letters. No brands or variations allowed. Imagine the ease of shopping when all you have to know is that you need
"soap", "cheese" or "motor oil".

These items would only come in one size, so there is no need to figure out if you can save money by buying your peanut butter in a 5 gallon drum (sorry Laura). The best part is that the store would not be arranged like a normal store; the items would be arranged alphabetically. There would be no need to ask where the soda is, because you would know it is right by the soap.

Obviously, this is not for everyone. But for those who hate shopping and want fewer decisions to make, simple shopping is on the way!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alabama Convenience Store

I found that my fun at convenience stores is a nationwide phenomena. Sadly....i think the store clerk and I share responsibility for this bout of stupidity.

I found out why they tell you to stay with your car while you are filling it with gas. While filling the tank, I went inside to go to the bathroom and buy a snack. Another customer came in to tell me gas was pouring out of my car and running down the street. Over 5 gallons had poured out before he stopped it. I was actually happy about this, because I originally thought he was telling me my CAR was rolling down the street. That would have been much worse.

I mentioned to the clerk at the counter the they needed to look into the automatic shut off on the pump. He informed me the pump was fine and that the spill was a result of "pressure building up and clogging the hose with air.....causing it to overflow". In all my years of filling up with gas, I had never had that happen. Apparently the laws of physics are different in Alabama.

The spilled gas cost me $13, but he did not charge me for my 99 cent bag of pretzels. Chalk up one moral victory for me!!!

More Rural America Fun

After visiting the Coon Dog Cemetery, I continued the drive across North Alabama. That is when I took the picture of the VW Van. My favorite sign of the day was for an antique shop called "Mountain Mama's".

I also passed something called "Goat Island". Sadly, there appeared to be no actual goats on the island. It was obviously a trick to get unsuspecting tourists to stop. They really should have a gift shop their where you can buy goat related souvenirs. Same thing goes for the coon dog cemetery. I mean, who could pass a souvenir replica of Bobo's Tombstone?

I stopped in at the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame but did not take the tour. The $10 admission seemed a bit high given my tight schedule. Still, it broke my heart that I had to miss a life size plaster statue of Lionel Richie and outfits belonging to Gomer Pyle. Luckily they DID have a gift shop. I hate to spoil a surprise, but some of you might be getting a miniature Lionel Richie statue for Christmas.

Coon Dog Cemetery

After leaving Shiloh, I decided one cemetery was not enough for the day. I had found out about one in Alabama: The Coon Dog Cemetery. It has been in existence since the 1930s, and over 200 dogs are buried there. Many are champion raccoon hunting dogs (yes, they have competitions for this).

Only coon dogs can be buried there. They are quite serious about this, and have strict rules. My personal favorite dog names there were "Bobo" and "Dr. Death". The side by side headstones that reminded me of something from my past.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was Where The Red Fern Grows, which is the story of a boy and his coon dogs. When I was reading it for the first time, a neighbor lady told me "oh I loved that book....I just cried and cried when the dogs die.". While it initially irritated me that she had ruined the ending, it turned out to be a good thing. Knowing the dogs died allowed my to control my blubbering when I finished the book to only about one hour rather than getting carried away.

Monday, November 10, 2008


You see things on small highways you miss going 70mph down an America.

On interstates you see billboards, gas stations, and the same exact stores and restaurants you see at home. They are all fine, and I use them at home. But unless you get off the interstate, you cannot say you visited a state or town anymore than you do flying over it in an airplane at 35,000 feet.

It reminds me of people on cruises who think they have visited Mexico or Jamaica, but have ventured no further than the shops selling cheap trinkets at the docks. They go on cruise-sponsored "excursions", where the cruise ship will assure you of seeing a little of the local flavor without the trouble of having to deal with a country's people, culture or day to day life. In other words, it is kind of like visiting a Taco Bell or On The Border.

I am not trying to preach. I will be driving on interstates for much of my way back home. But driving down the road at 70mph towards our next destination, we miss things. In that way, Interstates are a lot like life.

***Remember, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 2: Shiloh

6:15am- Although I considered stopping several times along the way, I ended up driving all night and arrived at Shiloh National Battlefield in time to get a few hours of sleep. Keep in mind, I had been driving in the dark since seeing the parking meter tomb stone, so I had no idea of the autumnal serenity I found when I awoke. As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful morning and I had the park to myself. Shiloh is in the boonies, and apparently nobody that day was crazy enough to sleep in their car outside the entrance. I have not had a chance to crop these photos, but I hope these pictures come out as wonderful as the experience was. Sometimes you take photos......and sometimes photos take themselves.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 1 Continued

11:59pm- I cross the Mississippi River (John Hiatt and Bruce Robison songs spring into my mind) and enter Memphis. Since nothing is open, I take this picture of a nice Elvis statue at the welcome center for my mother and move on before I am mugged. Let's just say Memphis at midnight is a lot different than Norman at midnight.

I do plan to come back through Memphis on my way home. I want to visit Sun Studios, the Stax Museum (think Otis Redding and Sam and Dave), and the Gibson Guitar Factory. But that visit will come in the daylight hours.

Vacation Day 1......Do Over

4:30pm- I headed out after doing some work. The Great Mouse Hunt will cost me one day at Gary's house, so my schedule is all messed up already. I am adjusting on the fly. I try to view this as a good thing. I really like being spontaneous.....when it is well planned.

5:30pm in Okemah Oklahoma- This is the town Woody Guthrie was born. I stop by the ruins of the house he was born in and take a foundation rock as a souvenir (a tradition among musicians including Bob Dylan). But the big reason for getting off the interstate is a trip to the Okemah Cemetery to see Barbara Sue Manire's headstone. As you can see
(if you click on the picture, it sould get bigger), Barbara had a sense of humor. She had told her family that she wanted a parking meter for a headstone that read "time expired"........and they did.

Vacation Day 1- The First Attempt

This is what chaos looks like. It is our bedroom at about 2am on Monday morning. But let's go to the beginning:

My plan was to leave town about 10pm Sunday and drive overnight so that I could do some sightseeing on Monday before getting to Gary's House in Huntsville on Monday night. Those plans were brought to a screeching halt by a tiny mouse. This was not a nasty, ugly mouse.....he was really cute. He looked like a Disney cartoon character.

After living mouse-free for 15 years, it was very bad timing to have one run in front of me 5 minutes before I was to walk out the door for a 10 day trip to see friends. Knowing Tracy's fear of mice, I knew I was not going to be allowed to leave the house until that mouse was trapped. The last time Tracy saw a mouse, she went to hide in the car.......and locked the doors. Apparently, she thought the mice had the ability to open the doors unless they were locked.

Anyway, what you see here is the result of "successful" 4 hour mouse hunt. Will try to leave again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Howdy Ya'll!

I made it to Roswell Georgia as scheduled and am excited about the chance to visit two of my best friends for about 5 days. The trip was smooth after I got out of town, which was nice given that chaos ensued right before I was scheduled to leave. Don't was nothing harmful. Just delayed my leaving for 18 hours and cost me one day at my friend Gary's house in Huntsville. That chaos will be the topic of an upcoming blog....perhaps even the next entry.

The trip so far could not have gone better. It has included a nice visit with Gary, an amazing morning at the Civil War Battlefield in Shiloh, and a couple of sightseeing oddities that provided a great deal of enjoyment. I have taken about 80 pictures so far and hope to post some of the best when I get a chance to write about the trip. The provide a nice balance of the autumn serenity of Shiloh with the slices of american life you can only see when you get off the interstate and travel though the small towns of this country.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Convenience Store Stupidity

I will have a recap of the Rocky Horror Show, but i am busy packing for my trip to Atlanta to see friends. I will have my laptop with me and hope to blog from the road and include some pictures from along the way.

Here is one I put together a couple days ago to hold you over for a few days.

I could probably have a whole blog dedicated just to the topic of convenience stores. For example, one store in town has had a sign up on the door that reads "Please take off any Halloween mask before entering the store". While I recognize this is a good rule given the possibility of someone robbing the place in a mask of some sort. If this sign was up on Halloween or even a day or 2 before, it would make perfect sense. But this sign went up at the end of September. I am not the most observant person, but I did not see a significant rise in the wearing of masks in September.

Anyway....yesterday brought a new one. I had gotten a soda refill in the cup I had with me. When I checked out, they rang it up at 96 cents. I pointed out the the clerk that it should be 69 cents. She said 96 cents was correct. I pointed to the 3 large signs on the soda fountain that said "all fountain drinks 69 cents". Had I been before Judge Wapner, this would have ended in a verdict in my favor. Unfortunately, the clerk was no judge Wapner.

I pointed the sign out to her. She informed me that while all fountain drinks were 69 cents, it did not apply to refills. I tried to grasp why a refill in my own cup (from a previous visit to that store) cost MORE that a drink in a fresh cup. I asked her "so you are telling me, if I go over there and fill one of your 44 oz cups and then poured it into my cup and threw your cup away, it would be CHEAPER than refilling my cup. She replied, "yes.....if you put it in one of our cups first, it would be 69 cents".

Her lack of any facial expression led me to believe she was not grasping the stupidity of what she had just said. Although a line had now formed behind me, I felt compelled to continue my line of questioning, I searched for just the right words and asked, "does that not seem stupid to you?". She looked at me and replied "what do you mean?".

I paid my 96 cents and left.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Plans

This began as a story about our plans for Halloween, but Whitney capped it off with one of her "kids say the darndest things" moments. Thanks to Whitney for the punch line.

On Halloween Night here in Norman there will be a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the historic Sooner Theater. I have not seen it since I was in college. For those who do not know, this is a TERRIBLE movie made into an event by audience members who dress as characters and interact with the movie by yelling things at the actors on the screen, doing the Time Warp dance, and using props. This includes throwing rice during the wedding scene and shooting squirt guns in the air to replicate a rainstorm in the film. The movie also “stars” several actors in roles they would probably like to forget. One of them is the singer “Meatloaf” of Bat Out Of Hell fame as Eddie.

I got a chuckle out of it when I went in college, but it is really not my thing. The movie stinks and I hate dressing up in costumes (in fact, this will be the topic of a very special Halloween addition of “Dan’s Ramblings” coming soon). But Halloween falls on a Friday night this year, and going with a great group friends who DO love dressing up and participating sounded like fun.

All this humors our 16 year old daughter to no end. She has gotten to the age where it impossible to always hide from her the stupid things we middle aged people sometimes do to humor ourselves. So we have been telling Whitney all about the shenanigans that go on at a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, including the costumes, rice and squirt guns. Then Tracy told Whitney “Meatloaf is in it”. Whitney looked horrified and said: “You guys are going to throw meatloaf? Gross”.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ballad Of The Red Sweatpants

Earlier this week I was in saw a rather large woman walking around Super Target
in pink pajamas (with cute little lambs and clouds) and huge, fuzzy bunny slippers. This got me to thinking about how casual is TOO casual.

As those who know me can attest, I am a believer in dressing as casual as the situation allows. But I have my limits, and jammies in a store is past mine. Of course, I once had much lower standards........

When I was in college, my fraternity "little sis" gave me a pair of red sweatpants. I loved those sweatpants and wore them everywhere. Let women worry about whether they can wear white shoes after labor day: my red sweats were 24 hours a day, 365 days a year comfort. In winter, I wore them long for warmth; In summer, I pulled them up over me knees and wore them as shorts. As time went on, they got worn to the point where Tracy pleaded with me to get rid of them. She got more insistent after we got married and continued to deteriorate.

When you get married, all men hang on to one thing that they will not budge on. That one friend, habit or routine that says "I will marry you, but I am still my own man". I took my stand over a beloved pair of red sweatpants. A nasty, stained, hole ridden, thread-bare, stretched out abomination. Tracy just had to live with it. Until.....

I would love to say my beloved red sweatpants died an honorable death, but I would be lying. I awoke one morning to find that our dog had eaten the crotch of my sweatpants. I don't mean chewed.......I mean EATEN. There was a 1 foot circular portion of the crotch totally gone. To me, it was murder. But Tracy and our dog Bear agreed, it was a mercy killing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Little Touch

Enough of the sentimental stories. This is an older story that not everyone has heard. I hope you get a chuckle out of it. It is dedicated to Teri, who loves this story.

Warning: While not R rated, this one is probably not one for the kids.

Tracy and I were out at a nightclub one night a couple years ago. One of our favorite things to do when we are out is "people watching". On this particular night we were standing near the dance floor and watching the dancing.
What follows are my actions and thoughts in the order in which they occurred in rapid fire succession over the next 5 seconds or so that night:

1. I felt a hand reach between my legs and take a handful of my private parts.
2. My Brain thought: "Why is Tracy groping me?"
3. I saw Tracy out of the corner of my eye standing next to me with both hands clearly in view
4. My brain thought "I see Tracy's hands.....she is not groping me....we came alone.....who the heck is groping me?"
5. I turn around to look behind me and see......nothing. Not a thing.
6. My brain thinks "there is nobody behind me, but I clearly feel a hand where it should not be." and "just how many dollar long necks have I consumed tonight"?
7. I look down to make sure I am not imagining things. I clearly see a hand extended between my legs and squeezing my man parts.
8. I turn back around and see.....nothing.
9. I look down behind me and see a female midget standing, with her head just above my rear end and her arm clearly extended between my legs and staring up at me with a smile on her face.
10. She winked at me and walked away without saying a word.

I was stunned to silence as I watched her waddle across the club. I turned to Tracy to tell her about what had happened and could not actually get the words out of my mouth. I turned back around once again to make sure I had not lost my mind, but there was my midget (or "little person" for those who care about political correctness). She was standing about 20 feet from me talking to a friend. I shook off my stupor and told Tracy what had happened and pointed my midget out to her. She did what any married woman would do when confronted with a brazen Jezebel feeling up her husband in a nightclub: she laughed hysterically. For a very long time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food and Friends

We had friends over last night after the football game for a nice visit and some homemade gumbo. There are several recipes I am very proud of that get requested by friends regularly, and my gumbo is one of them. As someone with low self esteem, this is wonderful, but dangerous. Even when I know it is good, I worry whether others will like it. But sometimes the reactions are genuine and satisfying. Last night was one of those nights. In fact it brought the best compliment any cook can get: a marriage proposal.

After finishing up a second bowl of gumbo, one guest told me that should a tragedy befall Tracy, they would marry me for my gumbo. Tracy and I told Whitney about it this morning. She got peace of mind (and quite a chuckle) out of the idea that should happen to Tracy, Steve and I will be getting married. Of course, it will be a purely platonic relationship since we are not gay. But he will provide financial stability we will need, and I will keep cooking the gumbo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Mother Was Not Crazy

I am 17 years old and standing outside a Shoney's restaurant in Columbus, Georgia. Just 30 minutes earlier I had walked across a stage and received my high school diploma. My mom is in front of me with tears running down her face. She looks at me and says, "It seems like yesterday that you were a little baby. It all went so fast". I reacted to this outpouring of emotion as any teenager would; I thought my mom was nuts. What in the world was she talking about? To me, those 17 years were a lifetime. Literally.

This story has been on my mind recently. Our daughter, Whitney, turned 16 years old on October 1. I am not sure why a girl's 16th birthday is a landmark, but it got me to thinking about time, and how it passes.

As a kid, time moves slow. It is kind of like dog years. An afternoon playing red rover with the neighborhood kids seemed to last for days.
It seemed I spent weeks of my life laying on my back looking up at the clouds drifting past. A year.....usually measured as the school year....seemed to last FOREVER. In childhood, I looked at a calendar and Christmas, my birthday or the first day of summer seemed a lifetime away.

I have learned life moves faster and faster as you age. Whereas I used to see years in terms of the school year, I now see them as the time from one Christmas to the next. Every year, the time between when I cram the 10,000 pounds of Christmas decorations and snowmen Tracy has bought over the years into the attic and when I take it back down to decorate the house seems to get shorter and shorter. I am to the point where it seems like I am pulling it back down before my muscles have even stopped hurting from putting them up the year before. I now know why some people just leave their Christmas lights on their house year round.

When you get down to it, parents don't have more patience than kids; a week or a month just passes much faster for them. This is why our view of our daughter's 16th birthday differs so much from hers. The last 16 years have gone faster for us than for her. It seems incomprehensible that 16 years has passed since she was emptying bottles, filling diapers and taking her first steps.

I now know what my mother meant that day in the Shoney's parking lot. She was not crazy. She was a parent.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Boys & Girls

My sister's blog comment on the gene that make little boys drawn to making any item a baseball bat got me to thinking about the differences between boys and girls. Her story was about her 2 year old son Noah using part of a detached rain gutter to hit rocks. This phenomenon is not limited to boys and baseball bats. Boys and girls are just wired differently.

Take childhood toys. Most little girls love their dolls, and boys like pretending to blow things up. You give a girl a toy dump truck, and within an hour she will convert it to an impromptu baby stroller and push her favorite doll around the house. This idea would never occur to a young boy. Give a little boy a doll, and within minutes that poor doll will be the focus of an all out blitzkrieg attack by every war toy and action figure in his collection.

Unless, of course, he pulls the doll’s head off and uses a rain gutter to hit a long fly ball over the fence to win the World Series.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This Is Why I Needed A Blog

When I began this I was worried that after a couple weeks I would run out of material. Luckily, I was not up 5 minutes today before I knew what today's topic would be.

Early this morning I turned on the small HDTV in our bedroom. As I scrolled through the channel guide, one show caught my eye: Sunrise Earth. For those who have not seen it, Sunrise Earth is a show brilliant in it's simplicity. It is just video of the day starting in some beautiful, peaceful setting. No words. No music. Just nature sounds with a view.The one last week was a gorgeous view of a meadow of horses with sun coming up over the Tetons in the background.

This morning's episode featured something I had never seen before. It had people. It was a shot overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, with a group of about 12 people doing Tai Chi in the foreground. I thought about this for a moment. Can you actually relax by watching someone else do a relaxing activity? Then a brilliant idea popped into my head. I would like to announce that I have started a new business:

We all have hectic lives, and do not always have the time to do things that help one reach inner peace. But this is your lucky day! For just $19.99 I will provide you with a high quality DVD of me meditating for you! Just put in my DVD and let me meditate you to total relaxation. While I am meditating in your DVD player you can do the things that really need to get done, like chores, fielding phone calls and taking care of the kids. But wait.....there's more! Every month I will send you a new DVD that will have me doing things you either don't have time to do or want to avoid doing yourself. These include DVDs of me exercising for you, reading a great book in your place, and attending all the parties, weddings and other social gatherings you want to avoid.
One of our most popular DVDs in the one where I enjoy a wonderful vacation in the Caribbean while you tend to more important matters. While you deal with paperwork and annoying coworkers, I will relax your cares away on a sunny beach with a cool drink in my hand.

I really think this has possibilities.

Monday, October 6, 2008

to blog, or not to blog...

As my friends and family know, I can get on a roll when talking. In fact I may ramble more than any other socially inept introvert in the world. I have a running commentary in my mind at all times. I find the things that happen around me funny, interesting, and downright fascinating.

Odd things just seem to happen around me. Don’t believe me? Have you ever been groped by a midget, had exasperating experience at a UPS Store, or hit on by a 60 year old woman at fund raising dinner at the state capital?

I have told these stories over the years, but I can never remember who has heard them and who has not. Friends and family have urged me for several years to begin a blog to pull some of these stories together. I have resisted it because I am the last human being on earth that should have a blog. With my obsessions and personality, here is what would happen:

1. I would obsess about the "look" of it. I would work for hours to get just the right background and deciding on what pictures to put in it. Just picking a font might provide me HOURS of trial and error.

2. I would struggle for hours about who to share it with. When I did invite someone, I would immediately begin obsessing about how they reacted to the invitation. Will they look at it or not. If they do look at it, are they really interested or just doing it because they don’t want to hurt my feelings? And what does it mean if they DON”T look at it. “Sigh”.

3. Once I decided what my first post will be, I would begin writing it. Then it would be rewritten and rewritten to death to get it just right. I have a hard time letting go. A REALLY HARD TIME. If I was an author, my editor would actually have to bring a SWAT team in to rip a manuscript from my hands before it would ever get published.

4. After spending hours rewriting my first post, I would then obsess whether I should actually post it or not. Is it too long? Is it funny? What did I forget? That “send” button would just sit there taunting me.

5. If I actually DID decide to post it, I would immediately be filled with dread. Maybe I should not have posted it. It could have been better with just one rewrite. What if nobody actually reads it? Even worse……what if someone DOES read it? What will they think? How do I delete a post before someone sees it? I just want to die.

6. I will then begin logging in 500 times a day to see how many people have viewed my blog post. Why has everyone not read it and left a comment that they liked it? Blogs and low self esteem are a toxic mix.

7. The next decision is when I should post again. If I don’t do it soon I will fall behind and let people down. If I do it too soon, do I look needy?

So this is my first blog post. It only took me 4 hours of editing to get it just right. I will wake up in a cold sweat tonight regretting posting it and have a 50% chance of deleting it in the morning. But if it is still here, I hope you enjoy it.