Posts Tagged marriage

The curious case of the missing beaver

For several lonely years, a gopher lived in my Father’s study when one day, a beaver came to live and be friends with it. Now, that beaver is missing. See, son is fascinated with those two creatures, so much so that the last time he was at Poppy’s house, son took and hid the beaver. When Poppy asked, “Do you know where the beaver is?” son replied with a noncommittal answer.
“I don’t know…”
They searched high and low, all over the house to no avail. The following week when son was again at Poppy’s, he was asked if he could help them find it. “I can’t remember…”
Last Saturday, I discovered why Kroger Supermarket puts candy at toddler eye level on the checkout aisles. Son tried to sneak a Rollo into his pocket.”What is that?” I asked knowing exactly what was going on.
“I want a Rollo.”
“Not today.”
“I want a Rollo!”
I pulled the candy out of his tightly clenched hand and returned it to the shelf. He went for it again and I deftly picked him up and moved him away. Or, so I thought. By the time I grabbed his waist, he had a vice grip with both hands on the candy shelf. I pulled and pulled until he finally let go and moved him toward the end of the aisle. He made a rush for it, but I blocked him and moved him back again, while he was kicking and hollering.
He then took it upon himself to block the cart with his body; ” What’s the password?” he asked.
Really…I thought. “I don’t know. What is it?”
“Guess.”
“Move, Now! We have to pay the lady.” I picked him up again, kicking and hollering then blocked him with my knee as I paid, hoping no one was going to call DFACS.
We get to the car where he then refused to get in his car seat. After pleading with him then forcing him in, I finished unloading the groceries in the trunk and made for home. As I was leaving, I noticed I had a voicemail from wife from an hour earlier: “Listen, if you want to wait until I finish running, I will watch son while you go to the store alone. I know how hard it is to take son with you.”
Duh.

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The other side of the river

Every once in a while, something insightful crosses my path that I feel compelled to share. In Herman Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, the main character asks a ferryman to carry him across a river. Symbolizing the escape from his previous life, He, like Odysseus returning from the underworld by way of the river, Styx, arrives on the other side at a new beginning; a new chapter in his life. I think we could all shed baggage that has been weighing us down for far too long; I would like to be a better me. I wrote this poem for an exercise in class today.

The river’s edge calls me softly to cross,
I cannot see the other side.
First my toe, cold- then my knees
The icy touch of the water cuts into my body
As I sink deeper.
Now at the waist, I feel the current;
It pulls me toward the middle.
My heart beats with trepidation as the bottom drops;
I am treading water.
I can go forward or retreat to what I know.
I begin to swim.

 

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The interstellar educational chili pepper

This week, I set sail on the Pequod towards the South Seas with my trusted friends, Ishmael and Queequeg. After a week of recovery, I set back to work on Monday morning where my students asked incessantly, “What did you do?” As if I didn’t tell them the week prior to surgery that I was having my ankle worked on?!?! Better yet, one student, commenting on my knee scooter, asked, “Did you buy that?”

“No…I leased it. It was $1,899 down, $189 a month for 72 months”

“Wow! You’re going to need that scooter for 72 months?!?!?”

Hmmm. These are the same students who are complaining about Moby Dick having too many pages and using big words. Perhaps I should lower my expectations for eleventh grade to include Highlights magazine. We could do word searches and read short stories with life lessons in them.

Seriously, though. Son is learning faster than we can teach him. He spelled his name yesterday at school without help or those little guide-dashes on handwriting worksheets. He can recognizes every letter in the alphabet. A few weeks ago, I was driving toward the gym (natch’) and son and I passed a national chain food restaurant. Son exclaimed with excitement, “Daddy, I know what ‘S’ starts with…a pepper.” Thanks, Chili’s, for the educational signage.

Yesterday, I participated in market research regarding pizza. I sat in a bleak room with a two-way mirror along one wall as women dressed in laboratory coats brought me several slices of pizza to evaluate. But, they didn’t just bring them out. First, we were told to examine the appearance. Out of a blank wall, a door appeared and a young woman brought out a pizza with a specified number atop. After five or so seconds she moved on to other participants and I set out to answer several questions about how appealing the pizza was. Seriously, of the three pies, I couldn’t tell you which was which were I asked to go back and compare. Maybe they were turning the oven hotter or cooking it longer; they seemed the same to me.

After the general appeal questions, we were told to cleanse our palettes with saltine crackers and spring water, making sure to thoroughly rinse the entire cracker from our mouths prior to tasting the pizza. We took two bites from the front, two from the crust, and, heck, one from the middle just for kicks. More questions; more pizza. Finally, when we left, we received some dough for our troubles.

Much needed money, mind you. Today, the computer repairman explained to me that both the battery and the hard drive failed on my Macbook Pro (mid 2009). For Christmas 2012, I will receive a brand new (used) computer with no data on it. I am concerned because our backup drive is the only thing separating me from meeting an untimely death were it to fail as well. 60,000 photos from 2002 until last week reside on two backup drives, a cloud-based storage system, and were on the laptop itself. The computer will be ready on Tuesday when I can then begin the laborious task of rebuilding the computer with its backup. One note, because I had to replace the drive anyway, I doubled the size for only $30 more. I thought the battery drained fast.

Anyway, today I had the stitches removed from my ankle where three, 1 inch incisions barely stand out upon examination. I am not completely recovered, though, so my wife will still have to get my beers for me. Tomorrow during the Bulldogs game, maybe I’ll ask for wings as well. I better get something, though, because she and several friends are sharing a limousine to the Madonna concert  (Must. Count. Blessings. Not. Asked. To Go.) tomorrow night. She deserves a night out, but did she have to do it with such style?

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The Reality of Reality TV

Why is the SyFy channel showing more reality dreck on TV? I pay for this channel so I can watch reruns of TV shows that engage me with quality story lines and B-movies that make me laugh at their horrible special effects. I don’t need reality; it’s mundane and trite.

As I lie in bed recovering from minor surgery, I was hoping for an escape from all the details I’m missing by not working, not writing (dissertation), and not parenting. When a trip to the bathroom becomes the highlight of my morning, I need to move on.
Daughter turned ten this week and now constantly reminds everyone she’s officially a tween. Next thing I know, she’ll want the car keys.

Meanwhile, today at son’s school, Santa is visiting. Yes, I think it’s the first week of November but the Big Man gets pretty busy this time of year. So, last night wife and I encouraged son to make a list of what he wants from Santa. See- Santa told me he wants to give him a bike, but the first words out of son’s mouth, “Zero bikes!” This might pose a bit of a problem…

As son was being toweled off and daughter was in shower, she had no problems spouting off everything she wants. Yes, I said it was her birthday recently and I may have mentioned she won a Kindle Fire HD and has an iTouch, but she wants a computer. I think it’s time she got ahold of some lowered expectations. I imagine Santa might be suggesting a bike for her as well. Heck, why don’t we all ask for bikes!

Speaking of bikes, I continue to research the best possible options to improve my tour de force in the 2nd leg of my next triathlon. I am hoping that a sale will occur at the same time that I actually have cash to buy one because they never seem to coincide.
I’ve noticed that sales are tricks, friends, meant to steal our hard earned cash by “enticing” us with a slightly better model for a modest increase in price. No, I want the cheap one to be cheaper. I don’t want the more expensive one to be just a touch pricier that I spend more money.

This is a lesson that I learned in college, not through education, but late night TV viewing. One night the wife comes into our apartment and catches me, phone and credit card in hand, buying…you guessed it! A Body by Jake Total Fitness Gym that had interchangeable bands for weighted resistance. Best damn clothes rack I ever bought!

Well, I won’t get any good feedback from the doctor until next week when the stitches come out and I get a set of X-rays. My fitness goal is to be cross-training until January 1st then hit the pavement. I have 9mos to reach my goal. Speaking of which, I saw a tweet that said Ironman Florida sold out in 30min. I just hope I get a starting spot at the 70.3 Augusta.

It seems SyFy has a whole damn day planned for Hollywood Collector so I guess I could actually read. My latest book is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Lets hope I never find out because I know they serve it in Heaven. Hey, wife! Get me a beer and make me a ham sammich.

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Embracing the suck of an intergalactic fracture

Stardate: 58365.1 Sector 001, Atlanta. It was 4 degrees Celsius and I was dressed in shorts, a long sleeve t-shirt, and Mizuno running shoes. It was the Atlanta Marathon and I knew I could run the distance. As I started from Turner Field, I paced myself- not running too quickly with the lead pack. I’d been in that situation before, but 26.2 miles meant careful planning. At mile fifteen, a monkey jumped on my back but I had enough energy to run over and hug daughter, 9.2 to go. When I hit “Cardiac Hill” (for those of you familiar with the Peachtree Road Race) I slowed to a crawl. Then, cramps… I had to make it. As I rounded Capitol Avenue to see the Olympic Rings, I told my running companion, “Let’s make this count…,” and sped across the finish line with family cheering. That’s what a race feels like. That’s why we do it.

With training, setbacks come and go; each one seems like it’ll be the end of the road. You take two steps back for every one forward. Then the next race appears on the horizon and you know it is a goal worth reaching. Whether it is a fun run or an Ironman, each runner takes a challenge to push themselves farther and faster than before to earn the intrinsic reward of achievement. You spend hours in the pool, miles on the road, and days of recovery only to be sidelined by an insidious, barely visible crack that runs through your tibia and the doctor suggests surgery.

This is not my first rodeo, daughter and son barely know the “healthy” me, having seen me undergo surgery after surgery to repair the “blue light special” fracture of the day. Health is not a goal, it is a drive to meet the needs of my family; but I do not train to become healthy. It may be a side-effect, a good one; but, I train to embrace the suck. To prove to myself I can be stronger, faster, smarter.

Wife is the real victim; she works harder to help the kids, care for me, and perform well at work.  She is my Lt. Commander Nella Doran to my Captain Picard. Picard opened his heart up once and it was worth it; my wife is worth every moment we spend together.

Today is Halloween, and I am going to dress as wife’s husband, and son and daughter’s father. You don’t need a costume to make that look good. Sometimes, you just need to show up. The next race is the May 11, 2013 11Global Olympic Triathlon at Lake Oconee. I’ll be there because sometimes you just need to show up.

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Setting goals on poop or something like that

                This weekend, the family got the scoop on poop. Seriously, there was an exhibit at Fernbank Museum where son and daughter could learn how long it takes an elephant to poop their weight (6hours). The Labor Day weekend was filled with frivolity as wife and I decided to splurge on everything from clothes at the mall to dinners out. Wife ran her first 10km road race on Monday. I woke the kids after she left and we made a sign that said “Go Mommy!” As runners ran by, they pointed and smiled at son in his monkey pajamas eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut waiting for wife to run by.

Later that day, after the museum, son fell asleep in car. Allowing him to OMG finally take a nap; wife prepared a pallet for him to sleep on in the family room. See, we tried the couch, once. Once. Wife took a trash bag and placed it on the floor then covered it with a blanket and a pillow lest he leaks and we have to get out the green machine to clean up. He slept for a blissful hour. I am sure he enjoyed the rest; we enjoyed it more. Daughter kept saying she wasn’t tired until she succumbed in the car and her face fell forward into sleep. Overall, it was a nice drive home.

Today, I signed up for the Eric Shanteau Swim For Your Life race in two weeks. It has a 1km and a 5km swim. I would suggest that for most people, 3.1miles in the water would constitute the equivalent effort of a half-marathon. I never swam that far before, but have tackled 1.5miles in open water at the beach this summer. I swam 2.5miles half a dozen times in the pool, and regularly swim 6-8miles per week. In the pool…big difference. Once you leave the confines of the safety net of a pool, nothing is the same. This should be a piece of cake for the Ironmen and women who have to swim 2.4miles often in ocean water that at times can be rough. WARNING: solicitation coming…If you’d like to donate money to the LiveSTRONG Foundation or just want to check out Eric’s amazing story, go to http://www.shanteauopenwater.com .

There are amazing people in this world to whom we are introduced everyday; I think the most amazing people are the ones that take a step forward towards a goal, whether they can achieve it or not. Daughter dreams of dancing in the great theatres of the world; son wants to haul garbage; wife wants to run a half-marathon; I want to go farther and faster than the time before. What’s your goal?

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Boldly going where I’ve gone before

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My last day of summer was spent in an orthopedic surgeon’s office learning that I had suffered a stress fracture during Tri the Mountains in Blue Ridge, GA. So, everyone at work on Fridays asks what happened, what now, do you own stock in casts? Really?!? That’s what I had to look forward to heading back to work. Meanwhile, my dad watched the kids since I was at work and they had not started school yet. Bonus: I drove the latest Lexus SUV to work. Man, people gawked at me… No, I didn’t hit the lotto. Trust me, had I won, I wouldn’t be working.

Last night, family went to Matilda’s in the ’05. It is a BYOB music venue where local bands can gain a wide audience. We went to see a friend’s band. While I was there, I spoke with a neighbor who is more into scifi and fantasy than I am. Get this…She wore a Superman T-shirt to see Stan Lee. The horror! Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory would have busted a nut. I am more like Leonard except 10 inches taller, no PhD in physics.

Today, I had to force son to STOP cleaning with the swiffer. He did it for an entire hour. It sounds great until he used the sweeper to clean the walls and ceiling. Then, he demanded to watch TV. So, I suggest the Olympics..he says, “No!” why does my family not want to watch that stuff? I mean, Bob Costas can make Water Polo exciting. Well, not really… (sorry fans of the sport) Now, I am suffering through Caillou as daughter slurps on a lemonade Popsicle two inches from my ear. You gotta be kidding me!

Wife is sick but suffers on as she ignores the symptoms with sudafed. Now, son has caught her “cold” and we’ll have a doctor’s visit when he develops an ear or sinus or both infection. Now, he is laying on the dog pillow stating he does NOT have to go potty. The kid holds it for hours. He is BladderMan. Wait! That didn’t sound very cool. In fact, that was gross.

I would like to say this is my first rodeo with a fracture, but then I’d be lying. I am boldy going where I’ve (unfortunately) gone before. I can deal with everything except the same damn questions. If you ask, I’ll tell you, “Shark Bite.”

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