Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wishful Thinking

While on vacation last week, we went to a place for lunch. Kyle and Luke were a bit antsy, and my nerves were fraying. Vicki’s nerves were already shot, so I had to do something to calm the kids down. We were sitting out on the deck of the restaurant, and over the rail was a well with a little pond. I had a bunch of change in my pocket, so I got the boys to come over and make some wishes.

I gave them both a handful of change so that they could throw the money into the well and make a wish. Kyle was not happy about it. He said, “Dad, this doesn’t work. Wishes don’t come true.” I talked him into making a few wishes and explained that he had to be a believer. Luke was all fired up about being able to make some wishes, and told me multiple times that he is indeed a believer. I finally convinced Kyle to just make some wishes, and see what happens.

So the boys start tossing the change in and making some wishes. I overheard one of Kyle’s wishes. He wished that we had two kinds of ice cream in the freezer when we got home from vacation. I called Kristin later on that day and asked her to go buy this ice cream and make sure it was there when we got back. I was going to make a believer out of Kyle. Sometimes I am so smart that it kills me. This was easily one of my brightest parenting moves to date. It was so easy.

We get home from vacation and after a while, we show Kyle the freezer. He saw the ice cream and got all excited. “Oh my god, one of my wishes came true. Luke, Luke, wishes do come true. I wished for ice cream, and we have it in the freezer.” With this Luke jumps up and starts running down the basement. I say, “Hey, where are you running off to?” He is going so fast that he is tripping over his own feet and he says, “I wished for a pinball machine, I want to go see it.”

Shit, the plan backfired. Now I have to explain to Luke why his wish did not come true, but Kyle’s did. Trying to explain such nonsense to a five year old is impossible. I managed to turn Kyle into a believer, but also managed to turn Luke into a nonbeliever. Luke is not only mad that his wish did not come true, but he wants his money back. He wants me to take him back to the well so that he can get his dimes. Me, I wish I never took them to the damn wishing well in the first place, but I am enjoying having the ice cream in the house.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I have seen it a ton of times. Every TV show with an investigation goes through it. You know, the ‘who done it’ shows. In every episode they are all looking for the same thing. The guy and girl investigative team is torn. (Apparently you can’t have a cop show anymore unless you cast a guy-girl partner tandem.) They go sit in the captain’s office and are bringing him up to speed. Somewhere along the line, somebody says this “Sir, we’re getting close, we just need to find that last piece of the puzzle.”

So all of these people are frustrated and agitated that they can’t find that last piece of the puzzle. They are working day and night to find that puzzle piece. It is an all-consuming life that takes on a meaning of its own, when that puzzle piece is missing. Everybody involved is out to find that puzzle piece. Well, I know how they feel. I could be on one of those shows, cause I have real life experience on this topic.

Luke and I were at home alone, and we put a puzzle together. We put the entire thing together, and there is a piece missing. The piece is smack in the middle of the puzzle. Luke made me look everywhere. It became an all-consuming project. I was prepared to work through the night. I was turning the room upside down, when Vicki walked in. She asked what we were doing and I had to tell her. I said, “Hon, We have been looking everywhere, we need to find the last piece of the puzzle.” So, my wife started to help us look. Here we were, a guy-girl partner investigative team, looking for the last piece of the puzzle. We could be on TV.

We have not found the piece yet. The puzzle still rests on the coffee table, finished, except for that piece. It is disturbing to me that we have not found it. But someday I will find it. I will find the missing piece of the puzzle.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Birds and the Bees

I know it is a little bit early. I know that it is hard for most people to even attempt to bring up the subject. It has only been six and a half years, and most people say you should wait until 12 or 13 years to have the talk. I was absolutely tired of waiting, and decided that now was as good a time as ever. I needed to get this stuff off of my chest, so I gathered everyone involved, and we met out on the patio. I had the talk on Sunday morning, and it was pretty straight forward, and to the point.

I started with the birds. I said, “Birds, what the hell is your deal? Why do you go around shitting on all of my stuff, at every chance you get? You don’t see me shitting in your nest, so why do you shit on my house? I know damn well that you are sitting up in a tree watching me wash my car, and you wait exactly until the car dries to come and make a mess. I know you think that that is funny, but guess what, it’s not. And you know what else? The grass seed that I spread is for the damn lawn, it is not for you to snack on. It is not for you and all of your kind to eat all up, before it ever germinates. That is why people put birdfeeders out in their lawn. If I wanted to feed you, I would do that. Also, when I am out cutting the grass, leave me the hell alone. I do not find it to be cute for you guys to dive bomb me while I am working. If you guys are just playing that is fine, but go to a freaking playground to play. We can certainly coexist, but you will have to live by my rules.”

The birds seemed ok with the conversation, so I then turned towards the bees. I said, “Guys, listen up. If I am weed whacking around a tree, and just so happen to get close to your nest, you do not need to get all angry and upset. There is no need to come out all buzzing and nasty, and chase me all around my yard. Do you know how silly I look, when I am running around in circles waving my arms and screaming obscenities? My neighbors do not need to see that. I have no desire to get your honey. I don’t even like honey. You can keep it. I will only be around the tree for a second or two, and then I am gone. Chill the hell out will you? Also, my shed is for my tools and things. Stop finding every nook and cranny, and starting one of your little honey comb things. There are plenty of places on my neighbor’s yards for you to set up shop for your precious little queen. What is the deal with that whole queen thing anyway? Is she a real queen or one of those figurehead queens like England has? Cause if she is just a figurehead; tell her to get her own pollen. She can’t have you beheaded or anything. You guys don’t even have heads, do you? We can all get along just fine, but you have to live by my rules, screw your queen.”

The conversations went pretty good. I think we are all on the same page now. I don’t understand why people make such a fuss about the Birds and The bees conversation. It was pretty easy. You just have to open up, and explain the truth. It’s not that hard, really. It is apparently one of the most awkward times for a parent, but trust me, it’s not that bad.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Choosing My Religion

At the time when we were deciding on where to get married things were a bit goofy. I was raised Catholic. My wife was raised Episcopalian. My soon to be stepdaughter was being raised catholic, and even attending catholic school. My wife is Episcopal but raising her kid to be catholic. This may sound strange to you, but it is apparently a tradition in my wife’s family. See, my mother-in-law is catholic, but raised my wife Episcopalian. So we had to have some debates over which church to use as our church. The Catholic Church had some issues, cause they always do. The Episcopal Church that my wife went to was too small. So we said fuck–it, and got married in a Presbyterian church.

So a Catholic and an Episcopalian got married Presbyterian. What’s wrong with that? It’s normal, isn’t it? Not only did we get married Presbyterian, but we had a female minister. Not only was she a female minister, I think quite possibly that she was a lesbian. (Not that there is anything wrong with that) So we have a bunch of Catholics coming to a Presbyterian church, where the head of the service is a female who quite possibly is a lesbian. The Catholics were probably having a fit. My wedding service was awesome. The minister was awesome. The little church with no AC was awesome.

My brothers were all groomsmen, and they got real ballsy in the Presbyterian Church. If I got married in a catholic church, not one of them would have the balls to behave the way they did. They all felt that they could get away with more, because they did not have that catholic guilt thing going. They did not have the fear of god in them that day. So they did things, like have our rings delivered by a UPS man. There is a story behind that, but I can’t get into it right now. That was some funny stuff.

So, my wife and I got married by a neutral party. I now have three separate religions that I am a part of. For me it is easy to understand, but my kids are a bit confused. Yeah, keeping up with my wife and her family tradition we are raising our kids opposite of what we are. Actually, we took this to a new level. Kristin is Catholic, Kyle is Episcopalian, and Luke is Presbyterian. It gets a bit confusing on Sunday’s but so far we are doing O.K.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What a Day

9 years ago yesterday, was one of the happiest, most fun days of my life. The entire family got together on my behalf. Everyone was there. All of my brothers were there. My cousin Mike V was there. My buddies, Greg and Jerry were there. They were all there for me. We were just hanging out, doing guy stuff. The memories of this day are still some of the most vivid that I have. There is nothing better than being the center of attention on a fun filled day.

We started this day semi-hung over. The night before was one of partying, and drinks. When we all came out of our fogs, we went over to the golf course. It was a hot day, but it is never too hot to golf. We were only playing chip and putt, but we were all enjoying ourselves. I got to witness my brother Kevin get a hole in one. To this day, it is the only good golf shot that he has ever had. I’m pretty sure that I won that day too. They were letting me win, cause this was my day.

After the golf we were all a bit parched. We needed something to drink, so we all went back to my house. We had beer there, and we had a ping-pong table. So the natural thing to do when those two things cross paths is to play beer-pong. We played this for hours. There are really no winners or losers in beer-pong, cause everyone gets to drink. Some just drink more than others. Some of the guys were having a bit too much fun, but it was my day, and I was OK with it. We kind of trashed the house that day. We made quite a mess.

Oh yeah, I also got married on this day. So we all had to scurry about and get dressed when the Limo’s showed up. I had a bunch of semi-drunk groomsmen trying to get into their tuxes. It was kind of like a Chinese fire drill in the house. We made it to the church, everyone sucking on mints and chewing gum. I don’t think it worked though, I think some people were on to us. My wife was freaking smoking hot, of course, and she actually went through with the service. No, I was not crying. It was hot in there. There was no AC in the church, and it was August for god sake. The sweat was dripping into my eyes. That is why they were watering. My voice was cracking because I had been hooting and hollering during the beer-pong marathon, and was a little horse in the throat. I wasn’t crying, seriously. Anyway it was a great day. Any day you get to get all the guys together for golf and then beer-pong is a good day. Oh yeah, and a wedding.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Karate Kids

My wife signed the boys up for Karate. My first thought when she told me this, was, “why the hell would you sign too little maniacs up for something like that?” All I could think of was their sparring matches. I could see the stitches. I could hear the bones breaking. I could see the blood, and I could see the trips to the emergency room. My kids already do their share of fighting with each other, and now we are going to have them taught on the proper techniques. This just seemed crazy to me.

After I let the information settle in, I started to look on the bright side. I will never have to wax my car again. The boys will do that, they teach it in Karate. I will never have to paint anything again either. The kids will be taught how to paint the fence in Karate. If they know how to paint a fence, they will certainly know how to paint a house. I will not have to pay someone to re-do my kitchen floor. Nope, the kids will do it. They teach kids how to sand the floor in Karate too. I will save money on bug spray too. The kids will be able to catch flies with chopsticks; so, I will have them stand next to me when the mosquitos are bad. So, Karate could end up being a positive. My kids will learn how to do household chores, and I will have more time for golf. That’s not so bad.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Full Moon and Thunderstorms

On one side of the sky the Moon was full,
It was shining high and shining bright.
On the other side the Thunder was clapping,
With sporadic bolts of light.

From my vantage point, from the where I stood.
This was a pretty amazing sight.
But I didn’t stay long, to view this sky,
Cause I knew I was in for a long night.

A full moon by itself is enough to spook me,
A kind of strangeness comes through the air.
It brings out the worst in all kinds of people.
And of course I know the werewolves will be there.

When you add in a thunderstorm to the mix,
It brings on a whole new meaning to Scare.
The kids get nervous and start to cry,
But I don’t have the time to care.

I can’t console them, when I need some consoling,
Soothing words from me won’t be said.
I can’t be worried about what they need,
I have to get the pillows up over my head.

Don’t come to me in times of fright.
You better go to your mother instead.
I need my flashlight and survival kit,
If you care to join me, I’ll be under the bed.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lightning Crashes

Lightning is not supposed to strike the same place twice. That is the way the saying goes, and I always believed it. But this weekend, I got screwed. It hit again. Well, it is not exactly lightning that hit, but the bolt of shock and pain, and agony of having to coach little kids soccer.

I coached Kyle’s team in the spring. I had ten 6 and 7 year-olds. I did not do all that great of a job. I do not know soccer because I never played soccer. The only thing I really taught my kids was how to keep score. If I brought anything to the table for those ten kids, it was how to tell when they were getting their ass kicked. The best part about the season was when it was over. Well, lightning has struck again. Now I am Luke’s coach. Now I have 14 kids on the 5 and under team. 14 kids at 5 years and younger! Why, why did somebody do this to me? What have I done to deserve this? Who has it in for me out there? I am not that good of a soccer coach, I proved that already, but then they pick me again. Oh boy, November can’t come quick enough.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Rules; every family has them. Every family has a certain set of guidelines that turn into the rules of the family. I grew up with such rules, but there were not many. Actually, there was only one that really mattered. Rule number one was don’t hit your brother. This rule was really the only one that got you in any kind of trouble. We could pretty much do anything else, short of burning down the house, but if one of us hit another, we were in some shit. Yes, the rule is don’t hit your brother. Yes, we do have a sister. Skipper (dad) did not need to make the rule say, don’t hit your brother or your sister. The reason for her exclusion was simply that none of us were brave enough to even think about hitting her. She’d kick our ass with one hand tied behind her back, and the other hand holding a cigarette. She was a bad ass.

A distant second on the rule list was, don’t play ball in the house. This rule was rarely enforced. We figured out pretty early that what this rule actually meant was; don’t break anything while playing ball in the house. You were not going to get in trouble for having a football catch between the kitchen and the living room, as long as you were catching the ball. So you had to be smart about whom you were playing catch with. If Kevin and I were having a catch, things were fine. We could put the ball over the table but under the light, and still catch it. This could go on for a good bit, and be damage free. Now, if Bill was on the other end of that catch, you had to be prepared to hide and finger point. Cause there was definitely going to be a broken picture frame or something. We kids had our own rule when it pertained to playing ball in the house. If Bill and I were responsible for the broken picture frame (really it was Bill, I have great hands.), we would not throw each other under the bus. No, we would blame a third party. “I don’t know what happened mom, we saw Dan in there earlier.”

The only other rule that I can truly remember being enforced was the 10:00 rule. Skipper was adamant about this one too. The phone in our house was absolutely not allowed to ring after 10:00 PM. Skipper worked his ass off, and we he went to bed, he wanted to sleep. We all had our girlfriends, and Sharon had boyfriends, and talking on the phone was common. If one of our friends or girlfriends called after 10, it was over. My dad used to say, “If you don’t tell them to call you earlier, then I will.” Trust me, you didn’t want that. I’ve seen him do it, and that girl would never call back. So again, we siblings developed our own rule. It was an unwritten rule, but we all had each other’s back on this one. If that phone rang after 10, you had to do whatever was necessary to beat dad to the phone. Even if you knew it was not for you, you were protecting some body else. If you were in the bathroom, naked, you had to get there. We became phone answering ninja’s. We could hear the phone from the shower, and before the second ring, have it answered. Once we were all trained, the phone would be answered on a half ring. To this day, I won’t call my parents house past 10:00. You know what else, I hate when my phone rings after 10:00.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sad Conversation

I don’t like it anymore than you do. As a matter of fact, this will hurt me more than it hurts you. I am only doing what is best for you in the long run. Sometimes in life, you have to take a step backward before you can move forward. I would never intentionally harm you, without it being something that is necessary. I know you don’t understand it right now, but someday you will thank me. I will see you in a few weeks. You will be fine. You will come back, being better than you are now. It is for your own good. I promise, I will be here waiting for you.

The above conversation took place last night, just before the sun went down. It was very hard on both of us. The things that you have to do when you are a caretaker are not always easy. We both shed a tear or two, but we will get through it. I am renting a Thatching mower this weekend, and it will make my lawn look a little bad for a while. All true Lawnwhisperers know that this is needed to make your lawn the most healthy and beautiful. The thatching mower will scrape at the surface, and pull all the junk from the soil. This will allow for the nutrients to get to the roots of the grass. The grass will love me later, but will be sad for a couple of weeks. This news was very hard to tell the lawn. Mid August is the best time for reseeding, or over seeding. The time is here Lawn. I am sorry, but it is for the best.
Who Links Here