Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Great Outdoors *or* I am NOT touching that worm!

One of the great pleasures of being a dad, whether you are city folk or live in a place called Bumpass like we do, is taking your kids fishing.

That's right! The great tradition of loading your fishing poles and fully stocked tackle box into the family wagon and heading for the lake! Unless you are in our house, where you grab your fishing pole, a dozen night crawlers, and throw it all into you 1997 Probe for the 2 minute drive 300 feet up the road to the pond.

The pond is a local sensation that thrills child and parent alike. You see, the owner, a very nice old gentleman, not only keeps it fully stocked with tons of fish, but he also has the fix in. Every single day at 6pm, he throws handfuls of fishy food into the pond and it literally comes alive as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fish have a feeding frenzy. So... if you want to catch a fish, just go to the pond around 5 - 5:30 pm and throw a hook with anything on it in the water. The kids walk away thinking their father knows all about bait and technique, when really I just know about timing.

As you can see, my son brought one in right away. My five-year-old daughter was a different story. She had the following problems, in order:

1. Hot

2. Worm Sympathy (doesn't it hurt the worms to go on the hook, Daddy!?)

3. Cold

4. Tired

5. Bored

6. Bugs! Bugs on the ground Daddy! (Yes - I explained they live there).

7. Bored again (or was it still?)

8. Fish Sympathy (I don't want it to die - I just want to catch it!)

9. Jealousy (Her brother pulled in two in a row and all she got was some stupid weeds and then a tree limb due to no fault of her own - except the part where she wildly flailed around with her pole screaming "Bug on me! Bug on me!")

10. Anxiety Separation (I miss Mommy! - who was home 300 feet away)

The good news is that she finally overcame all of her issues and was able to hold onto a pole I cast out for her long enough for a fish to latch on for the ride. Please note her brother holding the pole with her big catch while she symbolically touches the rod. Right after the photo shutter snapped she ran away screaming not to let the fish get her.
Oh yes... these are the days we will always remember. Next time she wants to wear gloves and full body armor. I say why not.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Our Independence Day Story - Sort Of

There are so many of us who really don't understand our history, including me, so I did some in depth research in order to provide us all with the story of our country's independence.

It all starts with an alien spaceship threatening an ex-stripper, who is saved by Will Smith... er... wait. That's the movie! Duh! Here, in a concise format, is the history of the July 4th Holiday, Independence Day:

Once upon a time, there was group of people who didn't particularly enjoy being British so they decided to face death and cross a gigantic mass of water and land right here in America. Well, they died a lot, but not all of them, and the ones who survived made some colonies. These 13 colonies would one day become the United States as well as have some of the largest real estate taxes ever known to man simply because they were in the North East. Anyway...

There was this dude with the totally unoriginal name of "George III" (come on, like George I and II couldn't say "let's try Tom this time!"?). George was the King of England, where a bunch of people with red coats and guns lived. Well he decided to do two things that really pissed off these new colonist, and, of course, they had to do with taxes. This started the American tradition of "Tax Bitching" that still continues today, but I digress. Here is what he did:

1. Tax the crap out of the 13 Colonies (Yes - He was a Democrat), and

2. Fail to allow the 13 Colonies to be represented in the "English Parliament" (this was the 18th century version of the U. S. Congress with fewer crooks, but only because they had fewer delegates).

Well, this "taxation without representation" (currently modernized to read "we took a screwin' there boys!" here in Bumpass, VA) did not abide. George was getting that itchy feeling you get on the back of your neck, you know, the one where you are about to take a butt whoopin' and you figure you ought to do something. So... he started massing up troops in the 13 colonies from 1774-1775 or so in case the folks there decided to get all hot under the collar and open up a can of whoop ass.

In April of 1775, George through a hissy fit, and against the advice of those around him (nobody listens to their wife anymore!) he sent the troops off after the 13 Colonies to get them under control. Now, this is where it really gets harry.

You see, I always forget if Paul Revere road around shouting "The British Are Coming!" or if it was that Ichabod Crane dude.. but I looked it up on Google today and I'm 100% sure it was Paul Revere because that Ichabod Crane fellow would have had hell in a basket doing any shouting with the whole "headless" thing going on. Anyway...

Paul Revere road all over the place shouting about the British coming, and some other buddy of his had a couple of beers and climbed up in a lighthouse or something like that and the next thing you know: bam! There was that can of whoop butt.

To make a long story short, we declared our independence from England on July 4th, 1776, beat the living daylights out of them, and have been blowing stuff up every 4th of July since then. This signing took place in Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love" and the "Most Viscious Fans Alive," but that would come later.

So, today, celebrate your independence! Happy Birthday America... and F U George.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Age Is Just A Number -or- Happy Poopday!

Age is just a number... Old people always say that. Really, though, my son's 11th Birthday made me think about this for the first time in a while. I mean, if you really think about it, the same central theme surrounds most of our birthdays. Life IS like a box of chocolates after all Forrest!

Someone said, you know you are young when you can still laugh. I don't know who that genius was, but that is my rule of age. When the laughter dies, well... you get the idea. Take for example my five year old daughter and, now, eleven year old son. Stopping them from giggling like a couple of completely insane people is nearly impossible once they get going. It usually starts of with the most basic and simple of statements and then just gets worse (or better, depending on your perspective) from there.

My daughter usually starts it with a statement similar to the following:

"Hey, Jacob!"
"Yes, Emma?"
"Chicken Poop!"

Then they are off to the giggling races. A small giggle the size of, say, a pebble, quickly "snowballs" into a roaring laughter complete with tears as the "Poop" exchange begins. Before long we have, what I affectionately call a "Poop-a-thon" and my wife lovingly refers to as "make them stop it-a-thon" that includes:

Bird Poop, Dog Poop, Harry Poop, Henry Poop, Henry T. Poop, Harry Poop the 3rd etc.

The level of Poop continues to rise, as does my lovely wife's insistence that they stop immediately if not sooner... which I am unable to hear over my own contributions, such as:

Mr. Poopity Pooper, Sir Poops-a-Lot, and (my personal favorite) Poooooo-rific!

There is just something, you see, about the giggle of a five year old girl that ruptures the senses and goes straight to the giggle box of a father. It is, in a word, inexplicable. It is also, to choose another word, awesome. Once I hear that laugh... I am done for.

After some cajoling, and near laughter of her own, my dearest wife finally convinces me that I should put a stop to this as it is getting out of control (Poop is now being added as a prefix to family member names with hilarious results... I mean really - who can resist dear old Grandma Poo?) I must attempt to stop the laughter.

"That's enough!" I say, almost too sternly, adding stupidly, "no more Poop!" Which, for some unknown reason, has the opposite effect. Now Mom has to jump in and put the proverbial foot down with:

"Ok - nobody say "Poop" anymore - that's enough!"

Ultimately, the three children settle down a bit, but then something odd occurs. Mom, having settled the group gets the slightest tickle, followed by the smallest grin, that is caught by the eye of the littlest girl... and we are off again. Boy... there is just something about that little laugh!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scrapmaster J - or - Scrap Booking Lingo Gone Mad

As I write this post, there are thousands upon thousands of men across this great land scratching their heads and peering into their nearly empty wallets with one question in mind:

"How the heck can paper and glue cost so much?"

Men. Grab your favorite drink (having a beer right now folks!) and sit down. I'm going to debunk the scrap booking phenomenon for you right here. As the husband of a scrap booking business owner, I have been exposed to the secret side of scrap booking. What I will reveal here may put me in mortal danger; however, the truth must come out!

The answer to the above question is, "Paper and glue do not cost that much!" Well, unless the scrap booker buys them in packs of 25 contained in boxes large enough to hurt your back and fill up a small U-haul - but hey, my wife sells some of it!

You see, men, the expenses only begin with paper and glue. You can make a pretty decent looking page by taking your favorite picture (look! this is the one where Uncle Jack got naked and re-enacted the entire first act of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" at Jenny's tenth birthday party!), then gluing it to a colorful piece of pattern paper. This, however, is just how the scrap booking retail industry gets your lovely lady started.

It is similar to drugs. First, it's just a piece of paper (this would be like a small hit from a joint if you will). Next, it would really spice things up if there were just some ribbon and an alpha or two (yes - this is like her first snort of the hard stuff). Finally, your den or home office begins to slowly resemble the local scrapbook shop and dinner on the table may or may not occur after "just one more layout!" This is full fledged addiction my man!

So, you ask, what can we do about it? How can we slow it down? What the hell is a "Thicker" and can it be used to harm me during an argument?

The first step is... get ready because this is hard... understanding! Several of you just walked away, I know... the truth hurts.

Remember that power saw she let you buy last year? You know, the one with the laser guided accuracy, compass, and turbo-charged four-wheel drive auto air coolant driven blade guard? To you, that was a necessary item. After all - you were meaning to build that tree-house! Let me tell you what that same purchase meant to your lovely lady:

25 sheets of pattern paper (two-sided)
25 sheets of Bazzill (not the flat stuff - oh no! - textured only)
A new Cricut cartridge (this has nothing to do with bugs)
Some scissors (the kids stole hers and made them dull cutting plastic cans. Again)
Stickles (lots of stickles!)
Two of my wife's kits (Please!?)

Our power tools can fell large trees, build small buildings, and fix a stopped toilet (hey - that sucker wasn't stuck after I cut it out of the floor with my jig!). Their tools can save a memory forever. Who wins? If you just said "We do!" ... the couch is open tonight sir.

No - the best away to "battle" this addiction is to learn more about it. I promise - you don't have to actually make anything (unless it's out of wood), but you will be a hero if you learn some of the lingo. I am no expert, but I assure you, learn some of the following and use the terminology when confronted with the scrap booking addicted lady and you will earn points:

1. First, when you are asked if you think "this layout is missing something" or, the dreaded, "does this layout look okay" be warned!!!! This is 2nd only to "do I look fat in this dress," which has killed many men! Here are some safe, and perhaps impressive, responses:

a. I like the texture of the alphas, it blends with the pattern paper to make the picture stand out! WARNING: An "Alpha" as used above is a letter of some sort - not something in camouflage with a gun!!! If you don't see any, just talk about the paper matching the pictures and the colors being great... then watch for the incredulous look. Don't move! Eventually she will give you a hug. Breath now.

2. Know that a rub-on is NOT something related to the bedroom. These are items "rubbed onto" the paper to look hand inked or drawn. However... if you are astute to notice her rub-on in a layout, you are closer to the bedroom than the couch.

3. It's not "stickers" (as in - your five year old daughter is using stickers -how cute) but "stickles" (as in - the artist is using stickles to brighten, outline, or otherwise rev up her creation). Don't say stickers or you will be stuckled... on the couch.

4. Pattern Paper is the thin stuff with all the art. Card stock is the thick stuff that is usually all one color. The couch is where you sleep if you call it "just paper," "thick paper," or "too expensive!"

5. This is a big one: A Crop is where a group of addicts, er um... scrap bookers, gather together to share ideas, create together, and drink. Some of the terms you will hear flying around will include:

a. Scrap Lift - this is using somebody else's layout or design to create your own - not stealing supplies or anything involving a plastic surgeon.

b. Punch - these nifty little things actually cut patterns into paper, like a hole punch, but with flare. This is also what you get if you say something like "couldn't you just do that with scissors?" - although I wouldn't know

c. RAK - this stands for Random Act of Kindness. Although we don't have a clue why, your spouse will give away some perfectly good items to a complete stranger for no reason at all during a crop. This is common. My only advice is lock up your power tools during a Crop just in case.

Finally, I have the following sage advice. Never, ever, ever call it any of the following:

Crap booking
That Craft Thing
Too Expensive
A Wast of Money
Playing Around

Yes: that would be couch, couch, couch, couch, and couch.

No - if you have a lady addicted to scrapping, just be supportive. Tell her how much you appreciate her creatively storing your family memories. Walk up to her while she is scrapping, peek of her shoulder, and softly whisper in her ear: "Wow... I love watching you do that," as though she were on the beach rubbing in lotion.

This will not only increase the chances of you getting that new work-bench with automatic grip guides, but you just might end up winning the best dude award and other benefits.

PS: Tell her to buy another kit from Von: I have my eye on that work-bench too buddy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Micheal Jackson

Micheal Jackson – 1958-2009

His lyrics say it all. Here they are from a variety of songs over the years.

It's Out Of My Hands It's Out Of My Hands

Tired of injustice Tired of the schemes The lies are disgusting So what does it mean Kicking me down I got to get up As jacked as it sounds The whole system sucks
So Just Leave Me Alone Leave Me Alone Leave Me Alone-Stop It! Just Stop Doggin' Me Around

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night And no one's gonna save you from the beast about strike You know it's thriller, thriller night You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

All I wanna say is that They don't really care about us All I wanna say is that They don't really care about us

Do You Remember Back In The Spring Every Morning Birds Would Sing Do You Remember Those Special Times They'll Just Go On And On In The Back Of My Mind

There’s a choice we're making We're saving our own lives its true we'll make a better day Just you and me

But They Told Me A Man Should Be Faithful And Walk When Not Able And Fight Till The End But I'm Only Human

Another day has gone I'm still all alone How could this be You're not here with me You never said goodbye Someone tell me why Did you have to go And leave my world so cold

Can you tell he wrote his own lyrics? You and I, we are not superstars. Neither was he, we saw him that way, but he was just human… whatever pain, tragedy, and fear you feel – so did he. Fame and money buffer the senses of those who see it – not those who have it.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The J. O. B. -or- Help! I'm Employed!

I just realized today, only a few short hours ago, that I actually do not have the worst job on the entire earth. It comes in 2nd. Right behind "Personal Vomit Remover To Paris Hilton," but the voting was extremely close.

Have you ever had a "job" that you hated? I don't mean hate like "I hate when I get a splinter!" No - I mean hate like the type of loathing you might have for, let's say, somebody who you learned just murdered your best friend. Extreme you say? I think not! I really like my friends. Well, some of them.... but I digress!

Take for example the following actual phone conversation from my day this afternoon. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and extremely stupid.

Me: Hello Mr. Customer - how are you today?
Mr. Customer: I hate you.

So I have elaborated slightly, but you get the general idea. You see, I work at a very large bank (and by that I mean they have sixty two gazillion dollars in assets, and that's just what the VP's use to light cigars!). My job is - and you may want to sit down before reading this - is:


That's right! I am the dreaded person who has to say the following things to unsuspecting customer on a daily basis:

1. You don't qualify based on income, sir, "Hit man" is not a taxable profession!
2. Yes, Mr. Customer, we received your home appraisal and in the field that reads "Home Value" the appraiser simply wrote - "Good Luck"
3. I don't know when I will be able to close your home loan, Mr. Customer, but I am quite sure if you curse at me several more times I will probably move faster!

Now, I am obviously all for a nice conversation. I consider myself outgoing and approachable. I have found, however, that my job has made me somewhat "gun-shy" with the general public. After having several dozen people each day complain, yell, or otherwise insult my mother I have become a little jumpy.

I was standing in line at a fast food restaurant just yesterday taking a break from my busy day of declining loans when the man behind me spoke to me. I put him in a strangle hold and began yelling, "I don't care what your current interest rate is sir! I have to charge points on your loan!" before being pulled off by several bystanders.

"What in the heck is wrong with you," one lady screamed at me, "all he did was ask you what time it was!"
"Yeah," said another guy, "and why should you be charging points on a loan anyway? What kind of person are you, you sick bastard!"

All I've got to say is: How bad is your suck job? Make a comment about you job or the job of somebody you know, or just a job you think might suck.

By the way, if you are a the Personal Vomit Remover to Paris Hilton, please accept my apology... I just turned your refinance down.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You Talkin to Me Mister?! Happy Flugging snarkoffen Day!

Isn't she adorable! So cute! So cruel, er huh?
Ok parents... please tell me this is common. Please tell me that my beautiful little sweetheart of a five-year-old is just going through a "stage" as in "she won't scream at the top of her lungs NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for an hour her whole life" stage.

Children are so darn cute and adorable... and then they learn to talk. Whose idea was this anyway? Emma, my little five-year-old, is having a major case of Drama Queen meets Godzilla which causes her to:

1. Not listen
2. Go absolutely insane when she gets in trouble for not listening
3. Go completely boneless when being picked up to be taken to her bed where she has Exorcist level contortion fits that both scare and entertain (bring popcorn!)

Look - I'm telling you I didn't even know vocal ranges like that existed until I put this child in bed for not behaving. So - the question is - will this stop at some point or do I have to call Madonna to come and adopt this child.

It starts out very innocently. So that you fellow parents can help me figure this out, I give you the following nearly verbatim recent example:

Von: Emma, go get your shoes on please. We are leaving.
Emma: Don't leave without me!!
Von: We are not leaving with out you but you need to get your shoes on. Please hurry up.
Emma: (who is now laying flat on her back on the floor flailing as though she is fighting off some unforeseen demon) I CAN'T FIND MY OTHER SHOE!!!!
Von: Calm down - it's right beside you!

Now: Here is where it gets really bizarre so follow closely (I don't know, ready slower here eh?). The offending shoe is, indeed, right beside my daughters actual foot which is, as of that moment, still attached to her actual body. She looks at the shoe - looks AT the shoe - and amazingly says: Where?

Did you know, ladies and gentlemen, that under the proper circumstances (see the last paragraph please) that the face of a Mom can actually explode without causing her own demise? At this point Von's face turns the color of red usually associated with fire hydrants and horror films. I am, at this moment, the calmer of the two, so I do what I know is best in such a heated situation: I take three paces backward to avoid being injured.

Von: Emma - are you trying to tell me (insert sound of gritted teeth here please) that you don't see that shoe sitting right next to your foot?
Emma: (Who is now playing with the shoe that only her parents can see): No

Remember that verse in the Bible, something like "spare not the dismembering of your children, lest the live longer than you"? (Hey - I didn't say I had it memorized). We now reach the point where the following, inevitable, things occur.

1. My ten-year-old son, who stays out of trouble 99.9% of the time, says to his sister: "You are being ridiculous!" The most untimely 100% accurate comment of all time.
2. The five-year-old, using the non-existent shoe as a weapon, attacks him.
3. Von gives me "the look" - you know guys, the one that says "you did this to me!" and "do something before I kill all of you" at the same time - and I realize I must spring into action.

Let it be known that I have a college education. I am a military veteran. I have survived multiple, severe lacerations including the loss of small body parts, many stitches, compound fractures, and some completely bizarre injuries that would make the reader blush. None of these facts help in dealing with a demon possessed child in the least. In fact, I don't sound like a college educated military veteran who can handle whatever comes my way. Instead of actually speaking, the following statement comes out of my face as I grab the child and, very literally, peal her off of her brother.

"Flugging snarkoffen dingle brats!" I yell. There are actual words in there, but they just won't come out as I carry the now boneless and screaming child up to "the bed."

Here is an interesting fact. Did you know that "the bed" has two distinct features and not just one? Have children, and you will find that "the bed" is:

a. Used for sleeping, pleasant dreams, and sound rest.
b. Used to torture small children

This is a fate so horrible, so unbelievably painful that the child must resort to yelling for help. Evidentally, anyone that might come to her rescue is a minimum of 10.5 miles from our home, thus requiring EXTREMELY LOUD PLEAS for asstance. We have two basset hounds. They actually sit at the front door with suitcases when she starts screaming. Yes - it is that type of pitch.

This goes on for quite a while until, finally, she falls fast asleep. This is the time I usually go upstairs and find that, once again, my real child has returned. Minus the tussled hair and the redness under her eyes, she almost looks like a little angel. And by the way - she has both shoes on.

Someday I'll look back on this and laugh.... so why not today?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

22, 4, 1

Today Vonnie and I are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary!!!! :)

I am very excited that we have made it 22 years - and it feels like just one I SWEAR it has gone so very fast. 22 years, 4 of us now (two kiddos) and she's still my number 1!

Here is my list of top 10 reasons we have made it 22 years:

10. She did all the work - I just kept showing up!
9. What? Like anyone else would put up with me!?
8. I told her I was in line to inherit millions 22 years ago... she's very patient
7. Stimulating conversation... not with me - I give her plenty to talk about with her friends
6. Two words: Duct Tape
5. As she says - I sure beat a sharp stick in the eye
4. I do laundry - that's right ladies - feel the power!
3. My buff bod - I know I left it around here someplace...
2. Fear - If she throws me out I might leave the children behind
1. I let Mrs. Tinney pick the number one reason and she said: "Because you put up with me"

That's my humble, but mistaken, wife.... she put's up with me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blog - what Blog?

I was surfing tonight and looking at other people's blogs and I got a huge case of OPPJ - Other People Posting Jealousy. The Idiot will return.... or maybe I'm just going to post this and then kick myself for six months again because I am too busy... who knows?! (I sure don't)