Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Empty House

Whitney's ability to drive herself to evening activities is both a blessing and a curse. Last night there were basketball games followed by dance class, so she was gone all evening. It is nice that we are no longer "Mom and Dad's Taxi Service".

The downside is what we knew all along.....if not for driving her around, we don't have any idea of what to do with our time.

I know that sounds great to some of you who are over-extended and need a break, but we are not one of those couples. I work alone at home and have more hours alone than anyone not named "The Unabomber" should have as it is. We stopped at one kid, so it is not like our house was constant chaos as it was. There is no alternative for something to do if she is self sufficient. We have no real outside interests or large circle of friends that have us doing things. It is like the "Empty Nest Syndrome" is starting early.

Apparently, we need to get a life. Anyone have a spare one we can borrow?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Whitney Driving

As many of you know by now, Whitney is now a fully licensed driver. I had been dreading this for quite some time. This is not because she isn't a good driver. Far from it drives just like she does everything in her life.....with obsessive attention to detail and a desire for perfection. This made teaching her frustrating at times because she insisted on doing things over and over again until she did them perfectly.

But recent months had me pondering a question:

How in the heck does any parent give a 16 year old the car keys and let them go off alone without passing out from stress?????!!!!!!

Heredity plays a part in my concern. Our family has had some unique experiences driving. Her grandpa once broke his neck by flipping over in a car. He also somehow managed to roll off a cliff in a car.....while sleeping in the backseat. Her Aunt Laura hit Dad's truck in the driveway while backing out in another car, and got a ticket on the way to telling him about it. As I recall, this was the day she got her license. Do I have that correct?

I had my own bouts of stupidity. The biggest one was probably driving off a gravel road in Georgia in the middle of nowhere and somehow knocking not one, not two, but three tires off the rims. I am not sure what the record is for my making my father REALLY REALLY angry......but this might have been it. Of course part of that is I was not where I told them I was going to be.....a BIG no no. I followed that up by missing a stop sign and getting hit in the side just a few days before leaving Georgia. I wish I could claim it was all just reckless youth, but a few years ago I pulled another when I dropped a big gulp in my lap pulling out of the driveway and drove into my neighbor's mailbox.

I am sure there were other near misses where only the grace of God and good luck allowed me to escape. I am sure there were other stupid things I did that I got away with, but my memory has faded a bit. Well, that and I need to check if the statute of limitations has worn off.

Anyway.....back to Whitney:

We started slow just hours after she got her license. Since it is a "family tradition" (meaning my Dad did it to me), the first thing she did alone was run up to the nearest convenience store to fill up my car with gas. That went well (meaning neither Tracy or I ran down the street crying trying to grab the rear bumper as she drove away). Later that evening, we let her drive back and forth to her dance class across town. Tracy had her call when she got there, and when she left to come home. At least this way our moments of high stress were limited to the 15 minutes each way she was alone actually driving.

One night of parental worry down........a lifetime more to go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mafia Wars

I am only 24 hours into my Facebook experience, and I am facing my first dilemma. I have been invited to join not one, but two mafia families. Apparently the world of Facebook has it's own underworld. Who knew?

The bigger surprise was who the offers came from. Apparently my wife Tracy and sister Laura are parts of warring crime families. This should make the next family reunion very interesting.

Tracy is telling me she is working hard to become a "Don", or Godfather. I probably should have seen it coming. I just missed the signs. So to help you out, I offer:

"Signs You Wife May Be A Mafia Boss"
(This will make sense if you have watched The Godfather and Sopranos)

-When friends come over to the house they insist on kissing her ring.

-Everytime I want to talk, she insists we go to the basement and talk near the washing machine because the house is "bugged" (and we don't even have a basement).

-She keeps referring to the girls in her office as her "Captains".

-She freaks out every time Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is played on the jukebox.

-She has taken to calling her brother "Fredo". (I am worried for him.....she recently asked me if I knew where to get a fishing boat)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Facebook Dilemma

My wife Tracy recently joined Facebook and has really enjoyed it. She is not alone, as it seems that everyone I know has one and REALLY wants me to join. Apparently they get a commission every time someone else starts a page. It is obviously one giant pyramid scheme. Kind of like Amway without the cleaning supplies.

So I have been weighing the pros and cons of whether to start a Facebook page. Here is what I came up with in the sleepless night after promising my cousin and sister I would do it.

Pro: It is good to try new things and keep up with current social trends.
Con: I have made it a basic rule to take up nothing that is in fashion amongst my teenage daughter's demographic. This is one reason I never had a Myspace page. It is also why I don't read the Twilight books, watch Gosisp Girls or own a pair of Uggs.

Luckily, I have been informed Facebook is now officially "uncool" because so many parents are doing it. This apparently makes it perfect for me.

Pro: It would allow me to find people I have not seen in years and for them to find me.
Con: It would allow me to find people I have not seen in years and for them to find me.

Pro: Things like picture tagging make it easier to see what family and friends are up to.
Con: It would make it harder to hide my secret double life as a male exotic dancer.

Pro: The "Status Message" would allow me to broadcast to the world what I am doing or thinking at any given time.
Con: Isn't this blog enough proof of how little the world really needs to know about what goes on in my mind?

Pro: People will get to see how many friends I have by the number of people who join my "friends list".
Con: The humiliation when people see just how few people like me. I am not a people person. I am a dog person. Sadly, most dogs use Myspace rather than Facebook.

In the end, I have decided to do it. I will do it because I have enjoyed looking at Tracy's and seeing the thoughts and pictures of family and friends who I do not see near as much as I would like. It allows me to feel closer to them, and that is always a good thing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life In Tornado Alley

Nothing quite gets your intention in Oklahoma like the following words. "There is a tornado heading right for us". But that is what I heard at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon.

I had stopped in a local watering hole on the west side of Oklahoma City after dropping off some work to a customer. I was was talking to the waitress when her cellphone went off with a text message alerting us to the weather.

I had seen some dark clouds out to the west when I stopped in but thought nothing of it.....heck, we have at least 2 months before the official start of storm season. But storm season decided to start early this year. Hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago we had an ice storm that had us unable to get out of our neighborhood for two days.

As the bartender tried to figure out how to turn the TV to news, I called Tracy to see if she knew anything. You would think that someone who has an office right next door to the top storm weather experts in the world would have the inside scoop....but she had been on a conference call and knew nothing about it. She pulled up the information about the time the TV came on showing the radar. There was a wall cloud about 2 or 3 miles west of us and moving northeast

Here is when you know you have lived in tornado alley far to long: I was looking at a TV screen showing a possible tornado nearby as tornado sirens were going off.....but relaxed knowing it would miss us by at least a couple miles.

I know 2 miles does not sound like much, but we have the best weather people in the country, and I knew that I was safe where I was. I also knew it was nowhere near our home 20 miles southeast of there, so had no worries for Tracy or Whitney. I did decide to leave about 15 minutes later before the next round was set to hit. As I left the tornado sirens began going off again as another one formed in that same spot a few miles away.

After getting home, there were reports that the first tornado had touched down about 4 miles north of me and then again a little while later. Both were areas I had just been in while making deliveries and there was quite a bit of damage. Needless to say, I was glad my favorite watering hole was not up there.

The funny thing is, you would think that dodging two tornadoes would be enough danger for one day.....but it wasn't. On the drive home I had a car run a stop sign right in front of me while driving 45 miles an hour, and I had to swerve into the grass to avoid being hit. Luckily, there was no damage to either of us. Would be just my luck to avoid tornadoes just to get done in by a bad driver 5 miles away.