Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How old is too old...

A little while back the girls were at a play thing with lots of other children.  They were both standing there, looking in the same direction.  As I followed their gaze, I noticed a little boy hanging out.  By "hanging out", I mean he was standing there with his little boy junk dangling in the breeze for all to see.

I quickly called their names.  They came to me without hesitation and I continued to distract them until little Freddie's twig and berries were tucked safely away.

As the girls get older, I am finding myself wondering more and more often "when are they too old _____?"

A few examples for the fill in the blank section:

to be in the bathroom when I an using the facilities?  Just to clarify, I don't let them in there with me now, and haven't since they became mobile, but it's still a valid question in my opinion.
to have Papa help with bathtime? 
to have Papa help them in the bathroom, assuming they get out of diapers at some point?

to have Papa help them get dressed?

I really have no idea as to the right answer.  Do they magically become aware, at some point, of the differences between Papas and Mamas?  Any advice from mothers and fathers out there?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mighty neighborly of ya!

Before you read the details I am about to provide, please hop over to my wife's blog and get the high level summary.  My post won't make any sense until you do that.

Ready?  OK!

When the 14 year old cop showed up and was very short with us, I gave him some lip back.  I'm not ordinarily like this with authority figures, but this guy was being a bit of a douchebag, pardon my language.
Isn't it past your bedtime?
He informed us he had been in the neighborhood for 10 or 15 minutes and that he hadn't heard the dogs much.  That was, until he parked in front of our house and came up to the door.  Then they were loud.  I politely explained the reason they were barking is because a stranger was coming to our door.  Isn't that what dogs do???

He had no answer for that, so I pushed on. 

I asked who called the police?  He wouldn't tell me.  Not couldn't tell me, but wouldn't.  I informed him, politely, that in case he missed the day in school where they talked about the Bill of Rights (or perhaps hadn't made it that far in school yet),  I have the right to face my accuser.  He said he wouldn't tell me who it was.  I asked again, since it is my right. He informed me that he would not be telling me who it was, but if I wanted to go to the police department next week I was free to do that.

After I was ignored when I asked again why he wouldn't tell me the name since it was my right, he proceeded to threaten me.  I was told if he received one more call tonight he would send us a ticket for an excessive dog barking violation. 

I could see this would not go anywhere with him, so I shut the door and brought the dogs into the garage, where they had to stay in their cages houses for a few hours.  Just for giggles, I checked the law.  It is possible to get a ticket for excessive barking, based on a nuisance clause.  There is not a definition of what qualifies for a nuisance, so I can only assume that if one person calls the police twice in a night that is enough.  It doesn't seem to matter that you've lived somewhere for five years, always had dogs, and never received so much as a complaint.  It also doesn't matter that no other neighbor has a problem with our dogs.  This was 7 PM - not 2 AM.

As we left for dinner, I stopped in at the neighbor that I thought was responsible.  They had not called the cops.  She hadn't even heard the dogs, and went a step farther in saying that even if they had been barking it would have been because her cat runs free and constantly antagonizes the dogs.  Also, she had seen the police next door, so I marched on over.

The lady answered the door on my third knock, and here is the conversation - pretty much word for word:

Me:  Hi, I'm Brad, I live behind you and you just called the cops on me because you said my dogs were barking too much.  I am sorry they bothered you, but going forward, if you ever have an issue with them I would appreciate it if you would just come to my door and let me know.  I'll take care of it without having to call the cops away from other more pressing duties.

I was polite.  I was apologetic.  I thought it was done.  I was wrong.

Her:  Your dogs have been outside for two hours and it's too cold out.

Me (a little stunned):  So the barking wasn't the issue?  Why wouldn't you have just come to me and said something?  My dogs love being outside and I can assure you if there was the slightest chance they were too cold I would have brought them in.

Her:  You have them tied to a tree, in this cold weather.  I just didn't want to see any more graves in your backyard.

At this point her husband joined her at the door.

Me:  My dogs are on a 30 foot dog run with a ten foot lead.  That gives them plenty of room to run around and exercise.  As for the graves, what are you talking about?

Her:  I can see those little white crosses in your backyard.  I'd never let my dogs out when it's this cold.
While it might have made me feel better, it wouldn't have helped.
Me (trying not to laugh in her face):  First off, those crosses aren't in my backyard - they are on my neighbor's property.  Second, those little crosses have the words "tomatoes", "cucumbers", and "peppers" written on them - I don't name my dogs after fruits and vegetables.  They are in a raised garden which is full of vegetables.  Finally, I appreciate your concern for my dogs, but since you don't know anything about them, what you would or would not do is not relevant. 

I don't think she knows the meaning of relevant and I probably should have used smaller words for her, but oh well.

Her, to her husband:  Don't you think it's too cold for dogs to be outside.

Her husband shrugs.

I introduce myself to him again, shake his hand, and ask him to please call me before calling the cops next time they have an issue with me.  I wanted to say "next time you think you know more about running my affairs than I do", but I'm pretty sure he had no idea she called the cops as he was not defending her or even supporting her, so I chose not to escalate this.

I can't wait for their dog to get out of their fenced-in yard again this summer as he is prone to do.  We'll still put it on our dog run, give it water on a 100 degree day, and return it to them when they get home as we've done in the past.  As much as I'd like to call animal control just to throw it in her face, I won't.  That would neither be the neighborly nor the Christian thing to do. 

I think I might still inform her that it is too hot for a dog to be running loose and that I'd never do that to my dogs - I guess we'll see. 

Maybe I'll put a gravestone in their front yard some night.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Battle of the Birds

Ever hear about an athlete claiming he or she doesn't consider himself or herself a role model?  That they shouldn't be looked up to by kids just because of how they earn their money or because they're in the public eye? 

Ever hear a parent say they aren't a role model?

Ever see a parent doing something and want to go smack the tar out of them for those actions?

Today just happened to be a day when I got to experience that.  Not once, but thrice, in a matter of minutes.

Situation 1 - On the way to work, the car in front of me (and one lane over to the right) starts drifting into my lane.  There's a healthy gap between us, so I'm not too concerned.  There is also a driver in front of me in the lane to my left.  He starts drifting into my lane as well. 

I back off a bit as these two cars are moving to occupy the same spot and I don't want to hit them if they end up colliding.

I'm not sure if they see each other so I honk, just to get their attention.  Both of them immediately swerve back into their lanes.  I can then see the driver on the left screaming like a fool while flipping the bird to the other driver. 

The other driver responds by rolling his window down, extending his arm, and returning the greeting - accompanied by what I can only assume to be gracious words of encouragement.  I'm sure he wanted to make sure the first driver knew how much he wanted him to have a pleasant day.

They speed up and slow down, trying to cut each other off - nearly wrecking several times.  I decided at this point I've seen enough so I speed up to get away from them.  As I approach the cars I notice that each of them has the same bumper sticker.
You can't make this stuff up.
As I pass the cars, I also notice each of them has additional passengers in their back seats.  Sitting there quietly, strapped into their car seats, are a couple of little children.  Soaking up everything.

I try not to judge the drivers.  I try not to think bad thoughts about them.  It's not easy.

Situation 2 - Not five minutes later I am passing another car.  The windows are rolled up, there is cigarette smoke filling the car, and again, there is another little child sitting in a car seat in the back.
At least this window is down, I guess.
I wanted to call the cops and report child endangerment, but I'm not even sure it's illegal to smoke with a child in the car.  Ridiculously stupid and irresponsible?  Yes.  Illegal?  Perhaps it should be if it isn't already.

Situation 3 - A few minutes pass and I'm getting off the interstate.  The car in front of me on the ramp is full of activity.  It's in the lane to exit left and I am going right.  As I pass this car I notice four children in the backseat of a Corolla.  I'm not so good with ages of other children, but I can't imagine any of them are older than five.
Not street legal.
None of them are in a car seat. 

None of them are even buckled in.

The driver is putting on makeup and appears to be singing along with the radio.  Either that or she's yelling at the kids.

It makes me sad to think about all three of these situations.  Sad for the children that they would be raised to think this is normal behavior.  Sad for the parents that they would think this is acceptable behavior. 

I know it's not my place to tell others how to raise their kids.  Everyone has their own methods and I respect that.  I only respect that, however, until it becomes an issue of child endangerment. 

I really wish I'd written down all of their license plates and passed them on to the proper authorities, but I didn't.

The question is:  Should I have done that?  Thoughts?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Survival skills

Boys can play with action figures, dirt, cars, and guns.  They should never be allowed to play with dolls, have tea sets, or do anything with pink.

Girls have to play with only girlie things.  To step outside of that mold and allow them to play with whatever they want would most likely bring an end to the world as we know it.

I happen to disagree with that entirely.

You would think this phenomenon would have gone away years ago, but I still know people to adhere to it.  I (which obviously means we) decided, before we knew if we were having boys, girls, or a mixed batch, it didn't matter what sex they were as we would let them play with whatever they wanted to.

To that end, I got them their very own workbench as a second birthday present.  It has nuts, bolts, tools, and a working vice. "Working" is a very liberal term, apparently.  It does work, but it is far from functional. 
Yes, it does come with a cell phone, for some unknown reason.
My own father was always very good at letting us "help" with projects.  I credit him with my ability to fix, or at least rig, almost anything that breaks.  I'm not going to say I can totally fix anything, as micro-soldering is outside my capabilities at this time, but for the most part it holds true.  I will say that had I not been involved in helping him around the house I never would have been able to finish out two basements without hiring it done.  The money I saved was no small sum, but the pride in being able to say "I built this" is so much greater.

I've heard so many stories (from friends of mine who are less than handy) about their own father's way of letting them help.  It usually involves swearing (like the father in A Christmas Story) and always ends the same way with the father saying something along these lines:

Not like that, like this.  If you can't do anything else, just hold the flashlight.  No, over here!  I can't see anything!!  Just give it here, I'll do it!!!  You'll be more help just watching TV.
I plan on getting my girls involved in anything they want to help with, to a certain extent.  Obviously, I won't enlist their help if there could be danger, but that goes for any child, regardless of sex.
It's easier to concentrate when your tongue is sticking out.
Safety first!

Actually, I plan on getting them involved even if they don't seem to want to.  I don't see anything wrong with a girl knowing how to change the oil in her car, or replace a tire.  Little lessons in repairing broken toys, replacing batteries, minor electrical/plumbing work, or anything else which can be done around the house can go a long ways in aiding their development.

Hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and a general working knowledge of miscellaneous items around the house are all skills they'll be better off having in their quiver.

The biggest benefit I see, based on what I've seen in my own life, is the quality time we'll get to spend together.  I can guarantee you my relationship with my dad would be a fraction of what it is today had we not spent time doing these little things together.  From chopping wood, to doing minor repairs around the house, to hunting or fishing - I would be less of a person today than I am had I not spent time doing this stuff with my dad, and I know my girls will appreciate it some day as I do.

Thanks Dad.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Professor Papa - Part 8

I am seriously failing in my efforts to teach my girls bad things.  Today, again, there is only a good item.  As a special treat, I thought I'd limit my words and show you what we've been working on.

Both girls do this, but I only have video of Brynne.

I'll admit, the boots are a little large, but they love them, so who can argue with letting them run around the house breaking them in. 

In addition, we've tried taking our flashlight to the basement, which is pitch black at any given point in the day when the lights are off, to learn how to use them in case of a natural disaster.  Since it's tough to get video in the dark, you'll just have to take my word for it - unless any of you have a night vision camera you'd like to lend me for a few days.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Growth of a Baby Pictures

Kiddos change so quickly.  As I look back through the pictures we took I am so thankful we copied an idea a friend of ours had.  I can't say they were the originators of the idea, but I am still thankful they did it.

Here's the gist.  Take a picture of your children at certain points in their life next to an inanimate object.  By doing this, you'll be able to quickly see how they change over time.  For our friends it was a chair.  We decided to use their sock puppet monkeys.

Here's a quick photo album of the girls from birth through two years old. 
Six months
One year
Two years

Linking with my lovely wife's weekly linky party, Mama Loves. Got a gadget, recipe, toy, book, craft your kid loves? Or have something that makes mama-ing (or papa-ing) a wee bit easier, or at least better? Blog about it and link up!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I'm going to be neither the first nor the last to post about meteorologists, but this was just too bad to pass up.

Lat year, we were expecting a HUGE snowfall.  The weather people all called it Snowmageddon, and we were expecting to get somewhere around a foot of snow.  I'm always leery of their predictions to start, but we took the necessary precautions just in case.  They all combined to do a great job of scaring the crap out of the general public.  Schools were cancelled days in advance.  No food or gas was to be found within a forty mile radius.  Everyone was prepared for the worst - and then it hit.
Not so much.
Snowmageddon produced a grand total of two inches of snow.

Flash forward to this weekend.

As of Friday we were told to expect between two and four inches of snow on Monday.

Saturday's forecast changed that slightly.  We were only going to get less than an inch of accumulation.

Sunday brought yet another change.  The local weather seer actually said we would get three and a half inches, but then quickly changed her tune and gave an estimate of one to four inches of the white stuff.

What kind of a range is one to four inches?  If you're going to predict precisely three and a half inches, why would you then give an estimate of one to four? 

That's right!  I nearly forgot.  Meteorologists have the only job in the world where you don't have to be close to accurate.  Actually, it seems like they are expected to be incredibly vague. 
The end of the world is here!  More details at 10.
I realize the weather can change very quickly, but how difficult is it to see what happened in the towns to your west, where the storm that is going to hit you just left, and make a prediction based on that?

If your mechanic tells you your brakes should last between three weeks and four years, you'd probably get a second opinion.  The same goes for a doctor telling you to take between one and four pills a day to cure whatever ails you. 

Unfortunately, in the weather predicting field, you can't get a second opinion.  Nobody wants to be the one that got it wrong, so they all say the same thing. 

Based on their latest predictions, I'm going to make my own estimate.  Either we get less than an inch or more than six. 

Even though I've had no training, I feel pretty good about my prediction. 


In the end, we got less than one inch of snow at my house.  Ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What now?

Well, it finally happened.  After over four years of marriage and two years of raising children together, Julia decided to leave us.  She gave us very little warning.  I always knew it was a possibility, but I am still not prepared for it.  She deals with so much on a daily basis.  I don't know how she manages to put up with two toddlers and an insane husband all the time.  In the end, it was just too much.
Goodbye, my love.

My girls and I watched through the window as Mama drove away.  They didn't fully understand the gravity of what was going on, but I imagine my tears were telling them something was not normal.  I believe they were thinking she is just taking the car and going to get something for us all.  They do not realize she will not be coming back.  They pat me on the back, give me hugs, and then are off to play.

That's right.  She's gone.  Mama is gone.

I appreciate your continued support as I hunt and peck away at the keyboard to tell stories.  I hope I've amused you over the past six months.  I don't know when the humor may return.  I'm struggling through this black period of mourning as the reality sets in.  I apologize for any typos as the tears make the keyboard difficult to see.

I'm alone with my girls.  A newly single father tasked with raising two beautiful girls.  I don't know what I'm supposed to do, or how I'm supposed to do it, or even if I can do it.

I should've seen this coming.  I should've done more to prepare myself for the possibility. 

We got through dinner, but I'm not ready to do bath time on my own.  I'll need a lot of help, but I don't know where to turn.  I can put them to bed tonight, but what do I do when they wake up and ask for Mama?  They will do that, too.  I know it.  As sure as the sun comes up, they will ask for their mother and then what do I tell them?

Breakfast will come and go.  The same for lunch, and their afternoon nap.  When they get up from their nap, and there is still no Mama, what do I say? 

How can I explain to them that their mother is not around?  How can you explain such grown up concepts of love, loss, and abandonment?  When will they realize she is gone?  When will they wonder if they'll ever see her again?

I pray for her.  I pray she will be safe.  I pray she will do the things she needs to do.

Most of all, I pray she'll come back safely.   
And now, the rest of the story.
I am so thankful she'll only be gone one night.

What did you think I was saying?

I love misdirection.  Oh, how I love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, according to Papapedia

There are many stories about the life of Valentinus, better known now as Saint Valentine.  They mostly center around his being martyred for his religious beliefs.  The most common story goes a little something like this (Papaphrased):

Valentinus was a Roman priest during the reign of Claudius II.  He was arrested and imprisoned after being caught marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians in general, both of which were crimes then.  He was then beaten with clubs and stones.  When he survived that, he was beheaded. 

Miraculously he survived that too, as his head was not entirely severed from his body.  He then changed his name to Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington and, after being rejected by the organization known as the "Headless Hunt", went to live in Hogwart's castle, where he remains today.  He is affectionately referred to by students and faculty there as Nearly Headless Nick.
And a good day to you, sir!
Today, people celebrate Valentine's Day with cards, gifts, chocolate, candy, and jewelry.  Hallmark has done a wonderful job in taking a misunderstood event in history and turning a profit on it.

The true story, as I have uncovered recently in an effort to set the record straight, is this:

Valentinus was on his way to the home of a woman he loved.  It was a long journey.  Along the way, he purchased several items for her in an attempt to gain her favor.  Those items included:  a small, heart-shaped box of various chocolates; a bouquet of flowers; an open heart necklace from the Jane Seymour collection; and tiny pieces of unleavened bread with cute sayings (such as "Martyr Me",  "Luv Ya Lots", and "Pls Cnvrt") etched into them.

As I said, it was a long trip.  The flowers wilted.  Some of the chocolates melted.  He dropped the stone insert from the box of chocolates which identified what each chocolate piece consisted of.  As an aside, the diagram did a shoddy job of identifying which chocolate held caramel and which held that nasty red stuff, so even if it hadn't shattered, he still would've had much difficulty distinguishing among the chocolates.  

He finally arrived at the home of her father and sought her out.  She was disappointed with the flowers, but she saw past that.  She looked at the chocolates, only to realize something was not right.  He had forgotten to take the little palm frond wrappers out of the box and, therefore, she could see he had eaten some.  She saw past that.

She took a bite of chocolate.  The center was filled with olives.  She spat it out.  She saw past it and tried another.  This one was filled with figs.  She hated figs.  She called her father, claimed Valentinus had made improper advances upon her, and had him beheaded.
I'm not sure which is worse, giving this to someone or killing them for giving it to you.
Later, when she found the open heart necklace, she was overwhelmed with grief.  She created a story about him being beheaded due to his religious beliefs, and claimed they had been secretly wed.  She then collected the proceeds of his estate and life insurance plans and went on to live a life of luxury.

Now, I must ask.  Is this really a "holiday" you want to celebrate?

I think not.  Please join Derek, the inspiration for this post, and I in boycotting Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Figure it out

When I was young I just loved the gameshow "Bumper Stumpers".  To me and my crazy little brain it was a puzzle I needed to figure out.  I still like puzzles, so everytime I get behind a car with a personalized plate I try to figure out what it says.
Man I loved this show.
I'd love to get a personalized plate with letters that combine to produce no words - just to see keep other people on their toes if they do the same thing.

Recently, with the help of two little jabbering girls, I've discovered another game.  I like to call it "What are they saying?"

Let's see how good you are at figuring these out.  The answers are at the end.

1.  Ideeda

2. Shhh oudida 

3.  Lied osh

4.  Baba shhh

5. Ablutobusta

Sometimes the game ends when I yell to Mama and ask what they are saying.  More often than not, I am calling for Mama to translate the sign they are giving me in conjunction with their speech.  I was doing well with their signs until they got to know hundreds of them.  To me, every color other than red looks the same - shake a finger or two. 
They're supposed to look like this, but with toddlers, they all look the same to me.
I've not completely given up on sign language, but I do often find myself asking them to use their words - even if they don't have words for what they're trying to say yet.

Here are the answers to the pop quiz:

1 - I see it.  Brynne couldn't find her baby so I told her it was behind the couch.  She walked over, said Ideeda, pointed to baby, and picked her up.

2 - Let's put my shoes on and go outside, or shoes outside for short.

3 - Turn the light off or on.

4 - Be quiet, the baby is sleeping.  Another form of this is Mama shhh.  Obvioulsy this is used when I get them up in the morning and Mama is not seen.  Typically, they also put their finger to their mouth to reinforce what is meant.

5 - I have no idea.  That's not what they are saying, that's my failure to translate.  I tell myself I've still won the game and this means nothing.  Guess we'll see.

How'd you do?  Any phrases your little ones use you'd like to share?

Friday, February 10, 2012


I don't know if my girls will love or hate movies from the 80s, but I thought I'd throw out a few pics of them "reinacting" scenes from some.  Here are their/my current top ten, in no particular order, plus a bonus.

I guess that means 11 in total, but ten with a bonus sounds better.

10 - Say Anything

In your eyes...
 9 - Top Gun

Requesting permission for a fly-by.
 8 - The Karate Kid

Wax on, wax off.

7 - Rocky


6 - Big

Next, we play chopsticks.

5 - Adventures in Babysitting

Julia picked this movie, so I don't have a funny quote.
 4 - Footloose

3 - The Breakfast Club

Yep, I made heart shaped french toast for their birthday.
 2 - Pretty in Pink
Sometimes, you don't need a caption.

1 - The Great Outdoors
Nothing like spending time with family.

Bonus - The Goonies
There is a slide in the Goonies, and since I love this picture, I thought I'd stretch for the connection.

Any good ones I missed?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes, they listen better than we think

In sales, if you get the wrong answer, you've asked the wrong question.  With children, it doesn't really matter what you say, they will respond as they see fit.

Sometimes, they listen better than we think.

Sometimes, they do exactly as you say, even when it isn't what you meant.

Quick post.  Quick video.  Enjoy!  Listen to the words and see how they listened to me.

We didn't rehearse this.  The girls reacted to my words, and I reacted to their actions.

Yes, they still wear the squeaky shoes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Now I get it

Someone has replaced my girls' noses with faucets.  All they do is drip snot - constantly.  I got to spend a few days with them while Mama was out modeling and now I finally understand so many things I never used to get.
You might say I had an "a-ha" moment.
Since I love a list, as you know if you've read any amount of my "writing", I thought I'd share my new found wisdom via one here.

Things I now understand:

1 - Why my grandma always had Kleenex in her pocket/purse/car. 

The opening paragraph should make this one easy to see.  We have something to wipe a drippy nose in every room of the house.  From Kleenex, to paper towels, to toilet paper.  I think we have it covered. 

For those times when something is not handy, I will use my shirt.  I wear old shirts around the house, and it's sometimes easier to use it than to leave them alone when I know all they'll do is wipe their nose with their sleeve and spread snot across their face the second I turn around.  Snot on a face is not too difficult to remove, unless their hair gets caught in it.  Then it becomes a little more challenging - unless you have Boogie Wipes handy.

At some point I'll teach my girls how to farmer blow so they won't need to carry something around with them, but it's probably a bit early for that now.  Besides, I think their mother would shoot me.  For now, all I can do is carry some wiping tool in my own pockets.  I just need to remember to take them out before throwing the pants in the laundry.  Julia just loves opening the dryer to find little bits of paper towel scattered throughout the load.

2 - Why a mother's purses is so large.

We each have a diaper bag, but they aren't always convenient to carry around.  Mine is actually a specially designed backpack.  Sounds cool and fancy, but it's not.  It's just a backpack with spots for everything I might need for the kiddos.

Mama's is a huge bag with room for three of everything you might need.  As the girls get older and we realize we don't need to carry the proper gear for every circumstance we may encounter, Mama's diaper bag and purse have been combined.  She's not carrying the traditional purse, though.  Her "diaper bag purse combo" is merely a converted cloth shopping bag we used to use for groceries. 
If this had a shoulder strap, my grandma would've carried it around.
It holds all the essentials for her, as well as the basics for the girls, and has room leftover to hold a few items in case an impromptu shopping trip occurs.  I doubt she'll ever make the switch entirely to a huge purse, so this is her way of being stylishly practical.

3 - Why certain phrases are staples of a parent's vocabulary

There are certain phrases I heard as a child, and others I have since heard from other parents.  I didn't think I'd use them until I heard myself say them.

"You'll just have to entertain yourself for a little while".  "Not right now".  "We can do that later, but for now you need to _______".  "Because I said so".  "Shut up or I'll give you something to cry about!"  This last one I only say in jest and quiet enough so only Mama can hear.

These are just a few examples, but I'm sure you get the picture.  When I was little I thought my parents were being horribly unfair.  If I wanted to eat a cookie and chug a soda right before bed I should be allowed to do that.  After all, I was eight years old and could handle it.

Now, I realize these phrases come from nowhere in particular.  I'm not being mean when I say them, I don't even realize what I'm saying.  They are just a reflex.  That reflex occurs because if I truly said what I was thinking at that moment in time, I'd end up with a huge bill from some therapist later in their life.

Three is a short list, but since I expounded on everything more than I planned on, I'll just save the others for later.  I get to do that because I'm the parent and you're not.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why do you do the good things you do?

I recently ran across a list of chivalrous acts men can practice today.  As I read the list I realized it was geared toward the single guy.  The list really was a variation of one item - show respect for the woman you're with, as well as other people in general.

Chivalrous acts.  Done out of respect or done because a man wants something?  Brains specifically in this example.
I think my caption says it all, if you omit the part about brains. 

As I struggle with my own shortcomings and sinful nature, I have come to realize something:  Chivalrous acts are no longer chivalrous when you do them for selfish reasons.  You can easily replace chivalrous with any action and it will hold true.

Walking a woman to her door to make sure she arrives home safely is chivalrous.  Walking a woman to her door while hoping she'll invite you in - not so much.

For us married guys, we can still be chivalrous by doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, or simply encouraging our wives to go do something they enjoy and will help them relax.  If we're doing those things and expecting something in return, all chivalry is lost.

Even when I feel as though I am doing something out of the goodness of my heart, I find myself thinking about what I've done and how that ultimately could benefit me. I know that sounds horrible, but I find myself keeping score - and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one doing this. I know it's wrong, and I try not to do it, but at various points I find myself thinking about that.

The more I do while expecting something in return, the more the person I did it for will (most likely) start to resent those actions as they expect them to come with a price tag.  They then don't appreciate what I've done for them.  The less they appreciate, the less likely I will be to continue doing things.  What a vicious cycle!
I encourage you to reread the last paragraph out loud and listen to what you are saying.  Or read it to someone else and see what they think.  It might make more of an impact.  Go ahead.  I'm done.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

So...why are you telling me this?

I don't know what it is, but for some reason or another, people feel comfortable telling me way too much.

In my chosen profession it is very helpful, most of the time.  In my personal life, it can be both a blessing and a curse.  I thought I'd share the strangest one with you all.

I used to have a neighbor that was - how should I put this delicately - a little rough around the edges.  Some would say she was "rode hard and put away wet", but I wouldn't say that.  I'd probably say she was "rode hard and then left out in the rain to rust for several years".  I never would have said that to her face, though, as she was a nice person (to me at least) and because she probably could have taken me in a fight. 

She would always make time to talk if we were out in the yard at the same time.  If our grass got a little long she would mow it for us.  The day a few buddies were helping me rebuild the deck she brought over some beer for us and offered to help.  If they grilled out and had extra food she would offer it up.

All of which I considered very neighborly, and I tried to do the same when I could.
Mr. Rogers, also very neighborly.
Our conversations tended to be one sided, with her doing most of the talking.  Quite often she would be telling me the problems she was dealing with at work, and sometimes at home.  I thought it was a little odd that a woman 30 years my senior would be confiding in me, but I just assumed she didn't have anyone else to talk at.

I was out at a bar one night with a group of friends when she spotted me and came over to chat.  She was sauced.  She started telling me how unhappy she was in her marriage, and how her children had not turned out the way she had hoped.  That was, of course, no fault of her own.  It was her husband and the lack of support he gave to her when she disciplined them.

This went on so long that all my friends migrated away.  She was a bit loud, swearing profusely, and starting to slur her speech.  It wasn't exactly the conversation I envisioned myself being in at a bar where I knew several people.

She then informed me there was only one reason why she had stayed married to her husband for all these years.

Apparently, he was the most well-endowed man in the world and every few weeks he would, how should I put this, allow her to be reminded of that.
This gesture was part of the conversation.
At that point I was able to excuse myself and walk away.  Those were the last words she ever spoke to me as she died that night.  That's not entirely true.  I moved shortly thereafter for other reasons, and have not seen her since.  She is still alive as far as I know.

If you have ever been on the receiving end of a bizarre statement I'd love to hear about it.  Feel free, I beg, to leave a comment with your story.  If you'd like to follow me here, on Twitter, or on Facebook, feel free to do that as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is it opposite day or is it just me?

I've recently written about a poor experience I had with pain medication and muscle relaxers.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized my troubles are not limited to the heavier drugs.

If you've read any amount of my "work", you already realize I am slightly insane - or at least teetering on the brink.  My mind works in mysterious ways.  My body does too, though I'm not sure if it is mind over matter or matter over mind in this case.
Maybe I just need to be more laid back, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind.
I used to read the possible side effects of medications before I took them, just to see what wasn't in store for me.  Sounds strange, doesn't it?  It seemed like I would always get something they didn't list as a possibility.  Or I would get the exact opposite of what they did warn me about.  I've never had anal leakage (fecal incontinence if you prefer), death, blindness, or anything too severe, but I always get something.

Most of what I get is just irritating.  Sometimes, it is slightly more than that.

Need an example?  I'm so glad you asked.

Let's suppose I have a prescription which warns about the possibility of dry mouth.  My side effect is slobbering and drooling.

Constipation equals me tied to a toilet.

Loose bowel warnings tell me to avoid cheese as I'll be blocked up for a week.

Fluid retention means I'm dehydrated.

Increased appetite results in a hunger strike.

Getting the picture?

I stopped reading the labels to see if my mind was causing me to suffer or if my body was acting on its own.  As luck would have it, I still don't know the answer.  Something is messed up, but neither my body nor my brain seem to be the clear cause. exactly do you contact them if you're dead?
Perhaps the most frustrating example has to do with drowsiness.  The non-drowsy cold medicines wire me up and my brain shoots to crazy places.  The coma-inducing ones do the same thing, but to an even greater extent.  Unless, of course, I take it at work.  Then I zone out.  

Even sleeping pills are no match for me.  Roughly half of the time a sleeping pill will put me to sleep, only for me to wake up in five or six hours, with a rocking headache.  The other half of the time I will lay in bed until the sun comes up, or at least until I can't stand being alone with my own thoughts any more.  Pretty much a lose-lose scenario.

I guess the one good thing about lying in bed wide awake all night is I at least get ideas for posts.