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.