Back to back weeks…you like brisket?”

So, I am holding myself to writing something every week…whether I have something to write about or not…whether it’s funny or not…whether it’s long enough or not…I have resorted to carrying around reporter’s notebooks all the time now, despite the fact that I am not a reporter…hell, I don’t even think reporter’s carry them around anymore…but it helps me keep notes, write thoughts, and hopefully, not forget stuff…bear with me as I work this process out…no BULLSHIT, all comments and suggestions are considered and welcomed.

For starters, the ocean of estrogen is in full swing with school and softball…not sure about those of you with kids, but let me be the first to say it…the amount of homework that these kids are getting nowadays is BULLSHIT…I don’t what the hell they are doing in class, but, man, every teacher for both the freshman and the seventh grader are piling it on every night…I don’t mind homework, but each teacher thinks that they are the only class that the kids have on their schedule…Mama is the math and science tutor while I handle the english and history duties…IT IS ALOT, and it never ends…I find myself asking, “How in the hell can you have homework every night?”  I don’t remember it being like this back when we were in school…I would welcome comments from all of you regarding the homework for your kids, just to see if we are in the majority…I mean, it’s only September, and the quote from mama tonight was “Damn, I am done with this BULLSHIT already!”

Second, in addition to coaching and “tutoring” the kids, Mama and I are back at it working out and “outrunning the diabetes.”  As we all know, getting older is BULLSHIT…your body hurts in places it never did before, and the bounce back takes days or weeks now to recover…so, with the diabetes lurking over our shoulders, we are back to working out, eating right and trying to get the right amount of sleep…it’s a daily battle, but like they tell you on an airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first to be able to help your kids with theirs…so we’ve made the commitment…complete with 4am workouts, prepping meals, snacking on vegetables, drinking water non stop—all in between the homework, the softball practices, and, oh, yeah, WORKING!!!  So, if you talk to Mama or myself, and we are hang-gry, or short, or exhausted, please bear with us…we are on the journey.

In addition to all of this, I have started another endeavor recently…as you may or may not know, I work in race and sports book on the Strip in Las Vegas…I have recently started doing a podcast every week called Cash Considerations…you can find it on http://www.gamingtoday.com or on http://www.soundcloud.com…we discuss football games every week, give out picks, and talk about what is going on in the sports world from a wagering standpoint…if you get bored and have 30-45 minutes, take a listen and let me know what you think…we are trying to do it in an non-intimating, entertaining way and share some insider industry knowledge.

https://www.gamingtoday.com/race_sports/article/70002-Cash_Considerations_Ep_6_Monday_Night_OT

Lastly, I wanted to relay a story from work that happened last week…now, working in a casino in Las Vegas has provided me with a lot of material over the years…I have met so many people from so many backgrounds and from all over the world…in the recent past, there are a few that I wanted to give a shout out to on the blog…there were the sisters from Atlanta and Charleston, Meg and Karsten, who, over some $5 dollar parlays on a slow day, had a great conversation about life…they were in town for a girls trip for a couple days, complete with a trip to the club, some time in the sun, a spa visit, and some nice dinners…by far, meeting nice people is one of my favorite perks of the job.

In addition to the customers, working in a busy, gigantic casino, you meet co-workers from all walks of life all the time…I have kids who are 22 years old working beside me, along with a few in their 30s and 40s with kids of their own, all dealing with the daily BULLSHIT of everyday life…the conversations, the stories, and the banter back and forth during the slow times really are interesting…and, I don’t know how it happened, but I am now the old man of the group…I am 47, but they keep me young…they are entertained by my stories with the kids, and I am living vicariously through all of their escapades, without the hangovers, of course…all in all, it’s fun…

One of the perks of the casinos here in Las Vegas is that you get a meal every day on your shift in the employee dining room, known in the industry as the “EDR.”  Here, you can go and partake in the daily offerings on your break…for me, with the crazy pace of life that we are going at in the ocean of estrogen, it guarantees that I will have at least one meal in peace every day…I get to sit at a table, read, talk, and eat at a normal pace…I treasure that time each and every day that I work…

The EDR is literally a place that resembles the United Nations…there are people of all races, ethnicities, backgrounds…each taking the time from their shift to get a meal…No BULLSHIT, there are a minimum of three or four languages being spoken, people with earphones in, listening to music, watching TV, playing games or who knows what…it is like the cafeteria back in high school…instead of the jocks eating with the jocks, the nerds eating with the nerds, the shy girls eating with the shy girls, we have departments eating with each other…the housekeepers eat with each other, the valet guys eat with the valet guys, the bartenders with the bartenders, the cocktail waitresses with the other waitresses, etc, etc…

Depending when you go, finding a seat can be a challenge, so you may be sitting at a table with complete strangers speaking a different language…or you may have to overhear some ridiculous story about who hooked up with who last night…I am never ceased to be amazed at what people talk so openly about…the whole thing is quite the operation, and it all works pretty seamlessly…

Last week, I go downstairs for lunch…I grab my tray, and check the two daily soup offerings…they are in huge pots with chalkboards behind them, telling you what is in each pot…as I am looking, a woman comes up right beside me and says hi…I respond with a hello…with a Spanish/Filipino accent, she then says, “Oh, look…they have hot and spicy chicken and tomato brisket.”

I am not sure exactly what she said, so I go, “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

She looks at me and says, “the soups today…hot and spicy chicken…and tomato brisket.”

Really?  I think to myself, “What the hell is tomato brisket?”

I quickly glance at the chalkboards behind the soups…they read:

Hot and Spicy Chicken

Tomato Bisque

I can’t help myself…”Oh, yeah, tomato brisket…have you ever had the tomato brisket?”

“Oh, no, honey, I don’t like brisket.  But maybe you like it.  For me, brisket no good.”

“Ah, ok, well, I will trust your judgement…no brisket for me either.”

She smiles, and before she walks away, she replies, “You smart…trust me, brisket is not good.”  And off she went.

NO BULLSHIT, I pulled out my reporter’s notebook and wrote down the whole exchange right then and there…no brisket for you!

Keep following the blog, pass along the link, and follow on Facebook and Twitter…thank you!

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Birthdays, back to school, summer vacation is O-VER!

So, after a month off from writing, I am back…as a family, we basically took the month of August off from everything except work for Mama and myself…no formal softball practices (although we did work on our own), no school work (online classes were successfully completed), and minimal hustle and bustle…don’t get me wrong, the BULLSHIT never stops, even in the ocean of estrogen…

We took a week to go visit family in Phoenix, Arizona…my mom, sisters, brother in laws, and nephews all live there, and my brother from Ohio came out at the same time…the only ones missing were my brother in Philly and his wife…I can tell you this…one of the great joys in life is spending time with family, especially when you are all pretty close but you live far apart now…my crew loves spending time with their aunts and uncles and cousins, and they get a kick out of grandma…we sit around one of their houses while the kids run around, and we eat, drink and tell stories…NO BULLSHIT, it’s A LOT of laughs!!  And, the older I get, the more I treasure those times…my dream is to all be close together again geographically so when one of us makes the big time, we can make that happen.

In addition to that excursion, I celebrated another birthday in August…47 years old…thank you for all the birthday wishes and texts…another great joy in life is the random once a year texts I get from people who take the time to say hi…it leads to a wonderful back and forth exchange most times, and I love that…just like the emails or texts I get when I post something on here…again, I thank you all for reading, sharing and responding to the blog posts…keep it up.

After we made it back, we had a week to run errands, school shop, get physicals, and prepare for the start of school…as those of you with kids know, the week before school starts is BULLSHIT…nobody wants to go to bed, nobody wants to actually go shopping, and I sure as hell know I don’t want to pay for all that shit…I need a loan to get the ocean of estrogen ready for the school year!  Somehow, someway, it gets done, but, man, it’s tough…

This year, we have a freshman in high school, a 7th grader in middle school, and a three year old in preschool…yep, three different schools, three different start times, three different end times…if that ain’t some BULLSHIT, I don’t know what is…literally, a full time job with drop off and pick up every damn day…and, oh, yeah, the high school day starts at 7am so that 5:45 wake up call is fun everyday…then, complete the morning with the baby crying everyday for Mama when she is dropped off…three weeks in, same BULLSHIT…she plays it up good too…”Mama, I am going to miss you…Mama, I want to stay home with you…Mama, you take too long to pick me up”  and who knows what else…like every other stage with the kids, when you are at your wits’ end with it, this too shall pass…it better cause Mama is driving to work in the van ready to run somebody’s ass over!

First day of high school, and Mama and I are nervous for the oldest…she is a good kid, and she gives off that tough exterior…we call her “the D.A.” because all she does in her free time is watch Law and Order, and she asks and answers questions like a lawyer…I gave her a hug at home, and off they went…I pretended like it was no big deal, but damn, I was nervous…less than 15 minutes later, at 6:50am, my phone rings…it’s Mama…hmmm, what is this about???  I answer with some trepidation…Hello?

“OH MY GOD!”

What?  What’s wrong?

“That was so hard…”  Mama is a blubbering fool right now…

Is she OK?

“Yes…I mean, I think so…I parked the car, I got out to give her a hug, and you know, she doesn’t always give hugs…she squeezed me!  And I didn’t want to let her go…but I did, and I said good luck, you will be fine, have a great first day…then I got in the car and started bawling so I called you.”

Seven minutes later, still on the phone with me, Mama walked in the door, still crying…this is a HELLUVA way to start the day!!!  All I could think was damn, we are going to be human waterfalls when we take her to college!!!  Of course, there were more tears at each drop off that morning…first, the middle schooler was sad because her sister wasn’t at school with her…then, the baby was last and was going to miss everybody…dear Lord, it wasn’t even 8:30am yet, and I am back on the phone with Mama while she is sniffling the whole way to work…after talking her off the ledge, and her arrival at her parking garage, we ended the phone call with a laugh…like Bob Marley said, “Everything gonna be all right now.”  I was exhausted already…I went back to bed…I had five hours of peace and quiet until the first pick up.

As I have said in the past, it seems like somebody is crying everyday here in the ocean of estrogen…most of the time, I have no idea why…sometimes when I ask, the answer is “I don’t know why.”  And, after navigating these waters for almost 15 years now, I GET IT…NO BULLSHIT, crying and not knowing why is something that happens…and it’s okay.

 

 

 

How LONG does it take to leave your house??? Just another weekend trip for the ocean of estrogen…

OK, I took a week off from writing…to my audience, I apologize…won’t happen again…had a busy week with the usual BULLSHIT, most of which you all have in your lives as well…long time ago, I heard an expression that stands the test of time…”Excuses are like assholes…everybody has one and they all stink.”  It applies…rant off, away we go…settle in, this is a longer read, but hopefully, it’s worth it.

As you all know, this travel softball thing is our LIFE…we have two girls, 13 and 12, and they both play, on different teams, of course…that means we are literally shuttling one or both of them around town all week to fields for practices, batting cages for pitching, hitting or catching lessons, and, oh, yeah, games and tournaments, most of which DO NOT take place in the Las Vegas metro area…in fact, most of them are in the surrounding states of Utah, Arizona and of course, California…practices or lessons are usually Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday…Friday, we all come home from school and work and collapse, unless of course, we are going somewhere for a tournament or, what’s known in the world of kids’ athletics, “friendlies.”

For the uninformed, these friendlies are simply exhibition games played in a round robin format at a set of fields…the teams get a schedule a few days in advance, they show up, they play 3 games on Saturday, they play 3 games on Sunday, and everybody goes home…they are very useful for getting the kids valuable reps in a game…the score is kept but it is truly not important…don’t get me wrong, some coaches treat these games like the seventh game of the World Series, but, for the most part, it is simply gaining valuable game experience that you simply cannot recreate in a practice situation.

Nevertheless, we go to these things all the time…with two kids on different teams, that usually means we are doing these things on opposite weekends…I go with the 13 year old because I am a coach of that team…we have an understanding when we go…it’s a business trip…we go, we play, we eat, we go to sleep, we get up, we play, we eat, and we go home…NO BULLSHIT…I give her the itinerary, she packs her stuff, I pack mine, we have a time of departure, everything is run to the minute…there are 13 other girls and two or three other coaches depending on us so it’s a tight ship.

On the other side, the 12 year old goes with Mama and the three year old…and they have their routine…they pack differently, and the only thing they have to do is make sure the 12 year old is where she is supposed to be at the right time…then it’s up to Mama to make sure she has her chair, her umbrella, the wagon for the baby, the baby’s toys, snacks (NO BULLSHIT, the SNACKS are the most important thing), and who knows what the hell else…it’s a way different trip than the coach trip.

A few glorious times of the year, we get to do it all together…maybe one of them is off and the other is playing…or funds are low, and we can only go out of town once a month instead of twice…sometimes, Mama and the ocean of estrogen have the time off and can come watch the show of me coaching and the 13 year old playing…or, we are off and we get to go just be a family watching the 12 year old do her thing…these trips become our little family getaways, complete with me captaining the ship in the ocean of estrogen.

Last weekend, a rare instance came up…the 12 year old’s team is moving up to the 14u division, and they needed a player…they asked us if our 13 year old would like to guest play with them…pitch a couple games and get some reps in the field along with some at bats in a place called Lake Elsinore with her sister…hell, yeah, we are in…I get to go watch the kids play from the stands, spend time with Mama and the baby, and we are all together for 48 hours…what could POSSIBLY go wrong???

Mid-week, we make the plan…we will leave on Friday between 4 and 5pm…Mama is off on Friday so she can do all the loading and packing while I am at work…all I ask is please get the oil changed in the van because it’s due…last thing I want is van problems on the 4 hour drive in 110 degree heat in the middle of the damn desert…I pack my bag Thursday night so I can get home at 4:30, go to the bathroom, change and go…this is what happens on my coaching trips…I get home, load up, gas up and hit the road…

I am at work on Friday, and I get the text around 2 pm…I can’t get phone calls in the sportsbook most times because it is busy…so text is the best way to reach me…problem is if I am talking to a customer, taking a bet, counting money, etc, I cannot respond right away…so, in this case, the text comes, and I get to it when I get to it a few minutes later…”we need new brakes on the van…what do you want me to do?”  WHAT!?!?!?!

The van is a little over a year old, has 25k miles, and it NEEDS NEW BRAKES???? TODAY???  Hey guys, I have to take a walk, cover me for a few minutes…I go sprinting out of the book and speed dial Mama…there is no hello…as soon as it’s answered, I unleash a “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?”  Not my finest moment…”Why are you yelling?”  Fair question, but, in typical man fashion, I ignore it…the next three minutes are spent asking each other what our problems are, how our driving styles differ, how this always happens when SHE takes the car in for service, and everything else except the damn brakes.

When the yelling ceases and all the name calling is over, yes, fix the brakes…thank goodness, they are covered under some plan that I insisted on when we bought the van…ZERO out of pocket…the expense was dodged, but now the time became an issue…how long is it going to take?  Who knows, it will be done when it’s done…so she is there with the 12 year old and the 3 year old while the 13 year old is home doing laundry because OF COURSE, the shit couldn’t be washed any time during the week…we knew a WEEK in advance that we were going, but we weren’t home ONE TIME ALL WEEK to do the damn laundry…

Now, I have to get home ASAP to make sure the 13 year old procrastinator is actually doing the laundry so we can leave before dark…did I mention that Mama doesn’t like driving in the dark???  Isn’t that some BULLSHIT??  I was hoping to come home after working a full day and catch a nap while she drove the first two hours…think again…I am driving the whole way…

I make it home by 4:30…the oldest is home, music blasting, washing machine and dryer both functioning, and she is actually following instructions…the text comes “we are still waiting at the dealership.”  I know I am driving so I take the small window of opportunity and take a nap…I confide in the oldest…”don’t tell your mother, I am taking a nap…and WAKE ME UP before they come home.”  Mama is dying a slow death waiting for the brakes to be done with two starving children who have eaten nothing except hot cheetos and pop.  Last thing she needs to know is I am in bed passed out.

About 6:30, I am woken up by the 13 year old…”Mama called, they are on their way home.”  Good job, thank you…at least that land mine was not detonated…the door barges open around 7pm…all three of them are hungry, tired and annoyed…pleasantries are exchanged, and I get the question…”What time do you want to leave?”  Three hours ago is what I was thinking, but thank God, my mouth got the word from the other side of my brain that said “SHUT THE HELL UP!”  Instead, sheepishly, I muttered a low tone, “Um, whenever…as soon as we can, I guess.”  Years of training in the ocean of estrogen.

Then, I did something which I did not think was a bad idea at the time…I decided to take a shower to refresh myself for the drive…I was tired too, but my state of mind did not matter at this current moment in time…I figured I would be out of the way while all these females yelled at each other, packed their shit, and got ready to hit the road…apparently this was not a good decision…as the bathroom door swung open, me standing next to the shower completely naked, water running, it comes loud and clear…”WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”  Ummmmm…I froze…

“ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TAKING A SHOWER RIGHT NOW???”  Is this a trick question?  I took a small step backward and nodded…”OH, that is great…I guess we will just pack everything ourselves, load the car ourselves and feed the baby ourselves.”  Honestly, that sounded like a FANTASTIC plan to me…I mean, I would be ready in 15 minutes and I was driving…Mama stormed out of the bathroom, yelling who knows what to who knows who…I stepped into the shower for some quality me time…

It was now 7:40pm…I was showered, dressed, packed and ready to go…I tip toed down the stairs, and everybody was doing something…Mama was loading up the coolers, the 12 year old was helping, the 13 year old was supervising, and the 3 year old was playing with her Shopkins on the floor while Sponge Bob was blasting on the TV…I dropped my bag by the door, and I asked what I thought was a simple question in a calm tone…”Hey, what time are you thinking that we are leaving?”

It was like the movie “the Matrix” when everything stood still…I swear, even the TV paused…the entire ocean of estrogen stopped and stared…you could hear a pin drop…the silence was deafening…I glanced over my shoulder…what the hell were they looking at?  Then, it came…in the Mama tone, loud and direct, “REALLLLYYYYY?”  The 13 year old District Attorney chimed in with “SERIOUSLYYYY?”  I looked at the 12 year old, and she just shook her head side to side…was it that bad of a question?  After more awkward silence, I was ordered back upstairs and told to wait there for further instructions…

I don’t know exactly what went on downstairs for the next hour, but I heard it all…see, we have a monitor upstairs to hear downstairs…I know a few jagoffs, an asshole or two, maybe a dumbass here and there were thrown around…nothing I haven’t heard before, but at least I wasn’t in the line of fire…around 9pm, the 12 year old comes upstairs and says, “Daddy, you can come downstairs now and load the car.  Mama said everything is ready.”

Not sure how it goes in your house, but when we go anywhere, I pack the car…it is a challenge for me to pack everything so it doesn’t move, it is low enough to not block the rear windows, snacks are readily available, and it is an easy unload when we get to the destination…just get the shit to the car and get out of the way…keep in mind, we are going for 48 hours…two days…we have to take softball equipment, yes, but really, how much do we need?  In the ocean of estrogen, every one of these females have their own bag…there is also a hair stuff bag, a toy bag, and for this trip, two coolers packed with food for the fields.

For readers of the blog, you know we have a 12 passenger Ford Transit 350…you would think we have enough room…I know we do…but my women come up with the bright idea that we have to remove two of the backseats to fit all the stuff…I hold my ground…”We don’t need to take out any seats…seriously, I’ll pack the car and we will be on the road shortly.”  As is the case most times, I am overruled…I step away from the van and, in the 102 degree evening heat, I watch Mama climb into the back of the Transit to remove the seats…”Relax, jagoff, it will take two seconds.”

Oh, it took two seconds alright…as she angrily pulled the plastic piece up that releases the seats, there was the noise…”CRUNCH!”  Hercules pulled out the lever, snapping it completely off…she steps out of the van and looks at me…”GREAT…that will be $200 to fix…still think we need to take seats out to go away for the DAMN WEEKEND?!?!?”  I start pacing in circles in the street…the tables have turned…”Girls, get in the car while Daddy loads it, NOW.”

Miraculously, the van gets loaded in minutes, much to everyone’s amusement, including my neighbor who is out enjoying the show…I did not stop ranting and raving the entire time…you know, break the damn seat that we didn’t need to move, pack enough shit that we could be gone for two weeks, load up the car in heat dripping in sweat, and I have to drive at night whether I like it or not…Usual BULLSHIT….

We bid our neighbor a farewell, and off we go…to McDonalds, three minutes away…because, of course, everybody is hungry…pull the bus into the drive through, and no shit, order maybe one of everything off the menu…one of those orders where they tell you at the pick up window, “Please pull forward to space number one.”  Oh, yeah, why wouldn’t we have to wait for damn food when we just want to get on the road!!!  So, we pull up and wait…and wait…wisely, nobody has chosen to sit up front with me, as the heat coming off me would give a passenger first degree burns…they are safely sitting in the back, trying their best to contain their laughter, as my blood pressure is rising with every passing minute…

It was now 9:40 when the TWO gentlemen came outside with our food neatly placed in McDonald’s shopping bags…SHOPPING BAGS…no BULLSHIT, who knew they had SHOPPING BAGS???  Food was passed back, and we started the trek to Lake Elsinore.  Waze said we would be there at 1:30am…Waze didn’t know that we had the ocean of estrogen in the car who, despite all going to the bathroom before we left, would inevitably have to go at least once along the way.

Cruising along a dark desert across I-15, we are moving…everyone wolfed down their food and passed out…once, Mama woke up and fired this gem from behind…”Are you OK?”  Does it matter?  You don’t drive at night anyways…”I’m fine.”  Follow up question…in the ocean of estrogen, there is always a follow up question…”Why are you driving so fast?”  Hmmm…because I haven’t been cleared for take off…WTF?!?  I just want to get to the hotel and go to sleep maybe…

I was hoping to avoid the bathroom stop, but, alas, at 12:15 am, it came…the innocent 3 year old, complete with her elephant neck pillow, belts out, “I have to go potty.”  On cue, the 12 year old announces, “I have to go too.”  HERE WE GO…Mama, the human GPS, wakes up from a stone cold sleep and says, “Stop in Barstow.”  SURE, why not?  We pull off the exit we always stop at and head to the travel center that we always stop at on this drive…you know the one, tons of bathrooms, food choices for everyone, and clean…

Well, we have never stopped there at 12:15am before…it looks very different…everything is closed and locked up…there is a bum sleeping on the steps, complete with his ass hanging out of his shorts…the baby is wide awake and yells out, “Mama, look at that guy’s bum!”  Yeah, we can’t stop here…but if we don’t get somewhere fast, there is going to be an ocean of piss in the back of the van…quickly scanning the street, I see a convenience store that I have never seen before, lit up and open, with a sign that says “REST ROOMS”  I take the bus across six lanes of traffic to the store…

A quick prayer that one, the bathroom is open, and two, it is clean…the DA pipes up, “Are you sure this is OK?”  It’s either here or the sidewalk, you pick…the girls all unload and run to the bathroom together…the door opens and they all shuffle in…I pull into the parking spot right outside the door, as it outside the store…minutes pass, and here comes the 12 year old…”Everything OK?”  “We need wipes, there is no toilet paper.”  We have wipes everywhere so that is no problem.  “Did everyone make it?”  YES…excellent!

The girls all pile back into the air conditioned van, and I say, “Alright, I am going to go now.”  World War three ensues…”What, I can’t go too?”  I storm out of the van and slam the door…I mean, seriously, I can’t piss too?  I go to the men’s room…it’s locked…I wait a minute…nothing…survey the scene quickly, the only eyes looking at me are my girls…I make a break for the women’s room and jump inside…never did that before, but when you over 40 and you have to go, you go…do my business and back in the car…upon buckling my seat belt, the 12 year old goes, “Daddy, you went in the girls’ room?”  YES I DID…”You know you are not allowed to do that, right?”  YEAH, KELS, I KNOW…DON’T TELL ANYBODY…now go back to sleep…NO BULLSHIT, these kids don’t miss ANYTHING!

Bottom line, we pulled into the Holiday Inn Express in Lake Elsinore at 2AM, safe and sound…we survived the weekend heat, the kids played, and there were two highlights of the weekend…one was when the older one came into pitch while the younger one was catching…a sister battery…strike out, strike out, single and a 4-3 ground out to get out of the inning…it was a sight to behold…the other came with the older one in right field and the younger one at first…I yelled out to her, “On a single to right, you better be ready at first because she is going to come up throwing on a line to you.”  NO BULLSHIT, on cue, the next batter hit a one hopper to right, Ky charged it, scooped it and fired a seed to Kels waiting at first…OUT BY TWO STEPS!!!  YES SIR!!!  OK, we can go home now!!

I am sure you have all had family trips that you have stories from…thank you for taking the time to read and share my BULLSHIT…please pass the link along and like the Facebook page…

 

You ever find one of THESE in the parking lot??? Can you handle the truth?

First of all, hope all of you had a wonderful Fourth of July and got to share time with your family and/or friends…the ocean of estrogen and I attended the Las Vegas 51s AAA baseball game, complete with fireworks after the game…after the sun went down and the temperature dropped to 100, it was a nice evening…and the fireworks were really good.

Speaking of fireworks, (this is the gambling portion of the entry), on August 26th, there is going to be a real “sparkler” of a fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd “Money” Mayweather here in Las Vegas…remember you heard it here first…if you like making money, as much as it pains you, as much as you hate the guy and all he stands for, and as much as you want to see him get knocked the hell out, bet on Mayweather to win…it will cost you, but he is going to win…

Enough about that…we had our own “BULLSHIT fireworks” within the ocean of estrogen that I wanted to share…allow me to set the stage for you…we just finished a meeting for softball at one of the dad’s offices, which sits right next to the Aces Bar…I drove separately as I came straight from work so I parked in a different row than Mama parked the van…

For those of you who don’t know, the ocean of estrogen somehow outgrew a minivan…I am still not sure how that is possible, but we went bigger…you know the van they pick you up in at the airport to shuttle you and other passengers to their cars?  Yes, it looks like that…we have had the Ford Transit 350, 12 passenger van for a year, and, in hindsight, it’s awesome…oh, yeah, it’s terrible on gas, we need a 7′ clearance to park, but for all the road trips, it literally is the ultimate road trip vehicle…everyone has their own row, their own USB port, and, if things go south, we will be able to live in the damn thing.

So we leave the meeting, and since you can’t miss our family truckster from anywhere, we all start walking to it…it’s night time, and the parking lot is dimly lit…I walk fast normally, but with all these little people, I might as well be Usain Bolt…I am always in front with the pack a few steps behind…as we approach the van, I unlock the doors to hopefully expedite the loading process because now we are going out to dinner…in my haste, I neglected to notice something on the ground next to the van…I’ll give you three guesses…

Nope…nope…ahhhh, nope…

It’s a used condom…now, who sees it first?  Certainly not me or Mama…not the three year old…not the 13 year old who knows everything…yep, it’s my totally innocent yet super inquisitive, 11 year old super sleuth…”Daddy, what is that?”

Somehow, the 13 year old ran by it holding her baby sister and began the loading process…the sliding door is open, the baby is singing “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, the Justin Timberlake song from the movie Trolls, and the 13 year old is in the back row, head buried in her phone…a few steps behind, here comes Mama…feet frozen, legs locked up, I am looking for help…

As I am staring at Jess, desperately trying to get her attention via telepathy, the 11 year old goes, “Mama, look at this thing.  What is THAT?”  My jaw is wired shut at this point.  I froze, unable to speak…Mama takes two more steps, looks down and goes “ewwwweewewwew”…no BULLSHIT, this is not the reaction I was looking for.

It was just loud enough for the District Attorney 13 year old to jump up and remove her face from her Instagram account…she looks down and yells, “OH MY GOD!!! GET AWAY FROM THAT!!!”  You’d have thought it was a goddamn rattlesnake…

The 11 year old is just standing there like a CSI crime scene investigator, staring at it…she asks again, as innocent as can be, “What is that?  Relax, sis, what is the big deal?  It’s not moving.”

The 13 year old DA is now standing in the van, holding onto the roof, and yells out, “BACK AWAY from it right now!!!”  It might as well be lava rolling toward her at this point…for the record, I am still just frozen like a statue, looking for words that just don’t come…

Again, it comes.  “Daddy, what is that thing and why is she freaking out?”  I look at Jess.  She act like she don’t know me and can’t speak English…from her higher ground position in the van, the 13 year old DA yells out, “Daddy, she will learn about that in her 7th grade health class.  Just go to your car already.”  With that gem, she slams the van door shut, leaving the three of us to stand there, frozen in time.

Jess makes a break for it, heading to the driver’s side of the van…we made eye contact, and I swear she said, “No Hablo Ingles”…she don’t walk fast normally, but she was gone in a flash…at this point, all I can muster up is “let’s go Kels”, and we start walking the 50 feet to my car…fifty feet might as well have been a mile…she asked again…I took a deep breath…”Get in the car and I will tell you.”

For those of you who haven’t read the past entries, find the entry about the “penis song”…that will give you some insight into the talk that I had with my then 9 year old detective…this is the kid who asks questions until she gets an answer…she will ask and ask and ask until she beats you down for the truth…

I put the dinner destination in the Waze app on my phone…nine minutes…that is how long it was going to take us to get to dinner…and that was how long I had to explain this still steaming, used condom on the ground…BULLSHIT!  I just wanted to eat some wings, go home and get to bed…

One minute into the drive, I explain that this was a condom…first question, “Daddy, I thought that was where you live, like an apartment.”  No, young Jedi, that is called a condominium…”Oh, it sounds like that…don’t you call that place a condom?”  NO dear, you call that a CONDO.  “OH, ok.”  Silence…maybe I am off the hook or can shake her off the scent…

“Daddy, how do you say that word again?”  Con-DOM…another red light…we hit every goddamn red light…next question, “What do you use that for?”  Good question…the A/C in the car is on high, yet I am sweating…long ago, I learned, the truth is the only way to go in these spots…”Well, a man puts it over his penis when he has sex.”  Waze said turn left. Still six minutes away…

“WHY would he do that?”  No BULLSHIT, I am sweating now just typing this out…gotta keep it real…I start babbling and explain that is the only way people have sex to prevent diseases and practice safe sex, meaning not make babies…I am focused on the road at this point, hoping I have bored her enough or we are at our destination…glance at the phone, we are still 3 minutes away…

“Daddy, so, that means that all grown ups have sex then?”  Damn, she is good…all I have left is the truth…but in one of those true father moments, I use it as a teaching lesson…

“Yeah, Kels, pretty much…BUT, when you get old enough to have sex, that is the ONLY way you will do it!!  UNDERSTOOD?”  Our eyes are locked…

She nods with that bewildered face…I park the car…like angels from heaven, Waze belts out “You have reached your destination”

We get out of the car, and I go “OK, are you good?”  Yes, Daddy…”OK, let’s go eat.”  And just like that, we walked to the front door of the restaurant…NO BULLSHIT, I was walking and scanning the parking lot every step of the way.

 

 

 

That’s what friends are for…shout out to the Kindergarten Crew…

SO, it’s Tuesday, and it’s time to write…and all I can think of is the people who are reading this BULLSHIT…literally, there are those of you all around the world, there are those of you right around the corner, and everywhere in between…and you all have your own daily BULLSHIT going on in your lives…knowing that, and knowing that you take a few minutes to read this stuff when I post it, I thank you…

Wherever you are, whatever BULLSHIT you have going on, I want to take a few minutes and let you know that I am thinking about you…and when you think you are alone or your BULLSHIT is worse than others, just know that you are not alone…one guy I know is having all of his upper teeth pulled over the next couple of weeks because the medication he was taking for cancer damaged all of his chiclets…another couple of friends are going through some stuff with their parents getting sick and them having to make some real hard decisions…and a few are really fighting through a divorce and trying to hold it all together…and those are just the ones I have heard from since I posted something last week…

We all know there is A LOT of BULLSHIT in the daily grind of life…work, family, bills, relationships, health, hobbies, vices, you name it— there is some BULLSHIT involved on some level…But, you get through it…and you get through it better with the help of friends…

In the immortal words of the hip hop group, Whodini, here is the first verse of their song “Friends” (1984):

{HOOK}

Friends— how many of us have them?

Friends— ones we can depend on

{VERSE}

Friends is a word we use everyday

Most the time we use it in the wrong way

Now you can look the word up, again and again

But the dictionary doesn’t know the meaning of friends

And if you ask me, you know, I couldn’t be much help

Because a friend is somebody you judge for yourself

Some are ok, and they treat you real cool

But some mistake kindness for being a fool

We like to be with some, because they are funny

Others come around when they need some money

Some you grew up with, around the way

And you’re still real close to this very day

Homeboys through the Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall

And then there’s some we wish we never knew at all

And this list goes on, again and again

But these are the people that we call friends

Whodini- Friends – YouTube

One of my favorite things about this blog is hearing from friends via text, email, comments, or, believe it or not, an actual PHONE CALL (so 1990)…in the past week, I have heard from friends who I went to college with 25 years ago, and it was like old times…I even had one of my friends from kindergarten pick up the phone to call me a jagoff…priceless BULLSHIT…

Recently, I had to fly back to Pittsburgh for a funeral…I took the red eye Sunday night, arrived in Pittsburgh Monday morning, and flew back on Tuesday…one of my best friends in life had his dad pass away and I had to be there, even if it was short notice…I booked the flight and called another one of my best friends in life, my surrogate big brother in Pittsburgh…the conversation went something like this:

“Hey, I am flying in Monday morning for Smoke’s dad’s funeral and I am flying back to Vegas on Tuesday.”

He says, “Great…I’ll pick you up at the airport…I have to work a little on Monday, but you can use my car to go to the funeral…then, when you come back, we’ll eat and play cards at my house…you stay with us, and I’ll take you back to the airport on Tuesday, unless you want to stay longer.”

DONE…NO BULLSHIT…

Picked up at the airport at 7am, at breakfast by 7:30, done by 8:30, on the road to the church in his car by 10am…did the funeral, shed a few tears for Joe D and family and made it back to the house to pass out…when I woke up, it was like I was dreaming…there was the group of friends that I refer to as “The Kindergarten Crew.”  My Dad, the Big E, nicknamed us that because he said “it was a bunch of grown men who acted like kindergartners.”

To clarify, this is a group of guys that I played cards with every Sunday night from 1993 until I moved to Arizona in 1999.  As good as Thursday nights with Seinfeld was “must see TV”, Sunday nights was “can’t miss card game.”  We played in the basement of the hair salon, the lounge of the closed bar, the hidden room of a laundromat, or the back porch of somebody’s house.  Calls went out Saturday as to where the game was, and Sunday, it was going to start around 7 or 8pm and go until whenever…No BULLSHIT, there were times it went until lunchtime on Monday.

None of the crew worked on Mondays, or if they did, they didn’t start until later…we had a retired mailman, a couple bartenders, a golf pro, a jack of all trades guy who is now a craps game supervisor, a pizza delivery guy, and a hair stylist…everyone has real names but nobody used them…roll call, it was Guy, the Hat, Bowie the Rat, the Bomber, Killer, Tooney, Rub, Shoop, Moses and me, Davey Dave, the farmer…everyone except my Penn State boys were older than us, but age didn’t matter…we played a game called “Oh Hell”…it’s a tremendous trump card game that can be played with 3 up to 8 players at one time…

The game was strategic, and, yes, we played for money…but the money was just a measuring tool…meaning, if you had a really good night, you won like $80, and if you just got totally annihilated, you lost $80…for you golfers, it’s like playing a $5 nassau…it’s not really the money that hurts, it’s the pain of actually paying it and admitting defeat to your opponents, i.e. friends.

Anyways, Moses put out a text to the Kindergarten Crew on Saturday that I would be in town for a one night only appearance on Monday…and wouldn’t you know it, ALL THE BOYS showed up at his house…the last time we played was four years ago when I was in town for my brother’s wedding…it was all hugs and laughs and stories and reminiscing about all of our funny stories…we shared pictures of kids, we ate pizza, and we played cards…nobody wanted to go home…one more game became one more game until I think the Hat did a head bob at the table…everyone except me is over 50 years old, and it was almost 5am and time to get some sleep…

I think I can speak for the entire Kindergarten Crew in that those Sunday nights were priceless…friends being with friends, catching up on the events of the week, previewing the week ahead, telling jokes, bitching about who knows what, all over cards and pizza, sometimes delivered by a guy named “the Beak.”  You can’t make this BULLSHIT up, and I can tell you, there has never been anything like it since…

For all of the friends of the BULLSHIT blog, thank you for reading and passing along the link…please feel free to reach out or share stories of your own Kindergarten crew

Back in the saddle again….no BULLS*IT…who the hell is OX-fer?

It’s been two and a half years since my last post…simply put, that is BULLSHIT…all of you know all the excuses (life, no time, the baby, softball, work, etc, etc)…yep, more BULLSHIT…so, just like I tell the kids I coach, when you get hit with a pitch, what do you do?  You get your ass back in the batter’s box and get another at bat…give me a bat, coach, I am going to get my AB…

The bottom line is this…so much has happened in the past two plus years, and I have too many stories to tell…and if I am going to actually BE A WRITER, I have to write…so, we are going to give this BULLSHITTERZ blog another chance…

Going forward, I am going to write about everyday BULLSHIT through stories and experiences that happen to me…some will be funny, some will be just venting, and some will be like my own personal therapy session…hopefully, you will find it entertaining and will share it with your circles…we all have daily BULLSHIT in our lives, and sometimes sharing it through stories helps all of us…I know it helps me.

My parameters are simple…get on here and post something twice a week…personal stories about work, customers, people, softball, sports, wagering, or the ocean of estrogen…whatever the topic, I will write, edit and post twice a week…all I ask from you is please pass it on to your social media and share it…oh yeah, and PLEASE comment, email or text me any feedback you want…suggest topics or tell me stories of your own, nothing is out of bounds…thank you in advance for following along.

Before I jump back in completely, I want to catch you up on the ocean of estrogen…for those of you that don’t remember, that is what I call my house…I have a wife and three daughters…currently, they are 13, 12 and 3…you dads with daughters know what that means…I am swimming in this ocean of estrogen, and often times, I am looking for a life vest cause these waters be choppy!!  You never know when a tidal wave will just roll up, and the stories are worth sharing.

If I didn’t have enough estrogen at home, I am also a coach of a 14u travel softball team, complete with thirteen other females between the ages of 12 and 14.  The sheer joy of being on the field makes all the estrogen overload well worth it.  Some stories will come from here too.

Work wise, I am still working in a sports book, but now I am on the Las Vegas strip.  Cue up the circus music daily.  From the BULLSHIT commute, the customers I meet and banter back and forth with between parlays and exactas, and my co workers, there will be some stories from here too.  Plus, I am going to pass on some plays that I think will make you some money…take them for what they are worth for now…

That being said, here is an all timer that I have to share from March Madness:

It’s Sunday morning in the book, 6:15am…we have just worked the first three days of the tournament, 14 hours Thursday, 14 hours Friday, and 12 hours Saturday…non stop, three days in a row, lines of people 100 deep, ticket after ticket, and just enough time to go home and take a nap in between…in all my years in the business, I have never seen it as busy as it was these three days…

So, back at it on Sunday morning, hoping to just get through this day and not snap…I referred to my state of mind as a “delirious state of zombie like zen.”  I don’t even know what that means, but it works.  The second customer of the day comes up to me and asks “Do you have odd to win it all?” because of course, he can’t find a sheet…to help you visualize, the man is about 5’5″, approximately 60 years old, and looks like a retired professor…

Keep in mind, I just put 100 sheets with these odds in the enormous display case maybe 50 feet away from him, but we all know he can’t see the case and no way he can bet without a sheet…my legs stopped working the day before, and my patience was gone sometime Thursday afternoon…no chance in hell I am walking over to the case and getting him a sheet, and telling him to get one himself was never an option.

For those of you who work with the public, you understand that my goal most times is to get them what they want and get them on their way, especially if there are people behind them doing the bob and weave wondering what the hell is taking this person so long in front of them…so, in that mode, I say, “We have the odds to win the whole thing…who do you want to know?”

Overjoyed, he steps up to the counter and says “OH, ok.”  Here we go…”Wisconsin?” 30-1…apparently, not high enough…”How about Arkansas?”  250-1…”Oh, give me $5 on them.”  He looks down at piece of paper in his hand that I cannot see… “South Carolina?” 200-1…”Give me $5 on them.”  Then there is a pause…it’s not long, it’s not short, just a noticeable pause.

He then says “How about OX-fer?”  WHAT???  I think I misheard him…I ask “who did you say?”  He looks right at me and asks again, “the odds on OX-fer?”  I swear, I know I am dead tired and literally physically fatigued, but I know I heard him.  There are only 24 teams left in the tourney at this point, but I sure as hell have no idea who he is talking about…I scan the odds screen hoping to find this alleged OX-fer…I got nothing…he then pulls out a sheet from Caesars.

I ask again “Who?”  He points at the sheet…OH YEAH, there it is….

XAVIER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Deadpanned “Oh, OX-fer, they are good. They are 90-1″…he literally jumps with excitement and says “give me $5 on them.”  I can’t help it…I reply “you want $5 on OX-fer?”  He says it again, “Yes, give me $5 on OX-fer!”  My supervisor was standing next to me, and we could not stop laughing.  NO BULLSHIT, if he did not point to them on his sheet, we’d still be at the counter looking for OX-fer.

First post complete…thank you for reading my BULLSHIT…

 

 

New Year, same BULLSHIT…what do you mean a football contest consumed your life?

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears…

Or, in this case, Friends, Followers, Bloggers, and Real People with Daily Bullshit in your lives, lend me your eyeballs and about 15 minutes of your time…

It tis’ now 2015, and it is time to write again.  I took some time off in pursuit of one of the most glorious achievements that I hope to attain someday.  You may ask, geez, what is this pursuit, this thing that has you so possessed that you chose to not write a thing for almost three months?  Surely it must be something important…maybe a personal health goal, or some family relationship goal, maybe some professional goal…maybe I am taking cooking lessons, or the wife and I are finally going to dance lessons?  Alas, all noble and positive thoughts and dreams, but those shall remain in their most realistic place, far off in my head, only to be accessed in my deepest sleeps where I actually have dreams.

Remember, I have three daughters, ages 11, 9 and 11 months now.  Sleep deprivation is back in the ocean of estrogen, and it is simply kicking my ass.  More on that later in another post.

As for my absence from the blog, I was pursuing a most improbable and illogical thing called the Westgate (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) Football SuperContest.  No BULLSHIT, that is it.  For those of you not aware of it, yes, it sounds stupid.  And when I give you more details, your snap conclusions will probably be confirmed.  But, for those of us in the business, and all of those who love to watch football and “predict” the outcome, this is like the World Series of Poker for poker players, the Super Bowl for the NFL or the Stanley Cup for hockey players.

The format is simple.  The lines for the contest come out every Wednesday based on the current line of the NFL games that weekend.  All you have to do is pick 5 games each week against the spread, and the picks have to be submitted by Saturday morning at 10am PST.  At the end of the season, the entry with the most games right wins.  Seventeen weeks, five picks per week, 85 picks total.  One point for a winner, half point for a push, and nothing, nada, zilch for a loser.  The top 30 finishers get paid.  The rest get stugotz.

How much does one pay to enter this prestigious contest?  Entries cost $1500.  Yep, you read that right.  And this year, thanks to Bill Simmons writing about it on ESPN, Cousin Sal giving out picks each week on Sportscenter, and all the other publicity from gambling sites like Oddshark.com amongst others, there was a record number of entries this season, 1406 to be exact.  Yep, that means that 1405 other jagoffs like myself “took a shot” at getting enough games right to maybe change their lives by picking the right sides of NFL games each week.  The Westgate Superbook is selling a dream, and there are more and more buyers for the aggravation every year.

Being in the business for 2o years, I would say I have a decent opinion, but one thing is for sure, I don’t have the book from Back to the Future with all the scores in it.  I would say that I am right more than I am wrong most of the time, but I don’t know everything (despite what my wife and daughters say.)  I like to solicit other opinions on everything, not just football games.  I am the first to seek out knowledge or someone smarter than me when I need to make a decision, whether that is what blender to buy or if the Steelers are going to cover on Sunday.  Simply put, I know I cannot go at this alone because I will inevitably “outthink” myself.  So, I have a partner in the contest, and together, we hash it out each and every week.

My partner and I made our maiden voyage into the contest last season when there were 1002 entries.  Same deal, top 30 spots got paid.  For the math impaired, that means that only the top 3% got paid.  This year, the spots remained the same, meaning it was only the top 2.1%.  Not a real good investment to say the least.  Figuring that you have to pick at 60% or better to make the money, it is most likely a waste of time and money.  I had been studying this contest for a few years, and my partner and I were ready to take our shot.  So, we gave it a go, and the Sharp Squad was born in 2013.

Keep in mind, it’s only 5 games per week.  That means if you can go 3-2 over the 17 weeks, you finish with 51 points, and that is usually good enough to get in the money.  Anything better than that is surely a cash, let alone if you get 54 or more, we are talking a six figure payout.  Trust me, it seems easier than it actually is.  And if you are anything like my wife and girls, it is REAL EASY on Mondays after the games are played.  I’ll get, “Daddy, why did you pick that team?  You knew they were going to lose.”  The ocean of estrogen is real SMART on MONDAY.

We started out pretty well at 13-6-1 after four weeks.  After a few up and down weeks of 2-3 and 3-2, we caught a little fire with some 4-1s and avoided any disaster weeks.  We just couldn’t get what I have dubbed “that ever evasive 5-0” that really jumps you up in the standings.  We maintained our spot from anywhere in the top 10 to the top 50 for just about the entire season.  The finish line was in sight, and we had a real shot at some life changing money with three weeks remaining.

We kept the routine the same.  Sunday nights, after the games were played, we made our own numbers for the next week.  That way, when the books came out with their own, we had an idea what our “first opinion” was.  Minimal communication Mondays and Tuesdays to keep things fresh.  Wednesdays, the lines came out on the website, and we go back and forth via text to see where each other is at with our thoughts.  Thursday was the first face to face talk.  We go back and forth like any of the shows on ESPN.  The best thing that came out of the Thursday talks was usually what games we wouldn’t be using.  Finally, after work on Friday, it was time for the phone call.  Him at his place, me at mine, both of us in front of our computers, ready to get to it.

As the season went on, these talks became marathons.  We left no stone unturned.  Who is injured for Tampa?  Who is playing QB for Tennessee?  Who are people betting in the San Diego game?  On and on it went.  No BULLSHIT, it felt like going 15 rounds with Tyson, and we were exhausted after these talks.  Somehow, each week, we would come to a consensus on five games.  Only occasionally would one of us say, “You know, I hate this pick, but this one is on you.  Better get it in.”  Somehow, the partnership worked, and we had success.

How did it turn out, you ask?  In 2013, the top 30 plus ties got paid, meaning the top 35 entries got paid.  The winner, David Frohardt-Lane, won $536, 000, and the tied spots for the last paying spot each got $5300.  The Sharp Squad finished 36th, exactly one half point out of the money at 50.5 points, 59.4% correctly picking winners.  First loser.  I couldn’t move for 24 hours afterwards, despite my wife being 8 months pregnant and two daughters on winter break.  We had come so close, literally 4 games away from a six figure payout, let alone a half point from a little score.

Onto 2014.  With a new baby at home, daughters without an off switch, mama on the overnight shift, and me coaching a 10 and under girls softball team, I didn’t know if I could do it again.  Plus, with us coming so close, we just knew how it would go this season.  With 400 more entries, and my partner’s life thrown into disarray losing his job right before the season, odds were stacked against us right from the start.  Throwing logic to the wind, we decided to give it another shot this season.

At the start, all of our preconceived notions were validated and the gambling gods gave us the finger.  A terrible 5-10 start put us way behind the pace.  We couldn’t pick our nose.  Every game that could have gone our way didn’t.  We were doubting ourselves and our process.  I figured we were a week or two away from throwing the towel in and not even submitting picks anymore.  It just wasn’t working.  Then, we got a break in a game that we had no business winning and had a winning week.  We went 11-4 in the next three weeks to get back over .500, and things were looking up.

That was after week six, right around the time I wrote my last post here on the BULLSHITTERZ blog.  Things were really going good, and I was all in.  Every waking moment was spent reading and researching games, players, numbers, past performances, even weather reports.  The Squad was back!  I liked to say, “it felt like we were dancing” when we would watch the games on Sunday and the results were close to what we predicted.  We went an amazing 35-15 (75%) after that terrible start, and at 40-25, we were back in the top 60 and had a shot with four weeks remaining.  Girls, maybe we will go swim with the dolphins in Hawaii.

Shit was getting pretty real at this point.  Laundry wasn’t getting done, phone calls weren’t being answered, etc.  I stopped shaving.  At times, it was lucky the kids were being fed and the baby’s diaper was getting changed.  “What do you mean the baby pooped?  I am reading about the Jaguars practice here!”  “Sure, go ahead and have chocolate cake, girls, Daddy is trying to figure out what the weather is going to be like in New York on Sunday.”

After back to back 3-2 weeks, we were sitting with 46 and two weeks to go.  8-2 gets us in the money for sure, 7-3 is a maybe, and 6-4 or less, and history repeats itself.  I can hardly sleep for days that week.  The lines look like hieroglyphics.  The baby is starting to stand up and creep around, let alone crawl all over and get into everything.  Every second she is awake in the house is a heart attack because of course, the house is not baby proofed.  The holidays are a week away, and I am zero help in getting a single present.  I wake up for no reason wondering if the line moved in the Houston-Baltimore game.

The phone call was tense that week.  We were both stressed and felt out of sorts.  His parents were visiting for the holidays, and I had a pack of females wondering when we were going to see Santa Claus.  Well, Daddy has to talk about the games.  Tell Santa I said hello.  We went back and forth, forth and back, and after at least an hour, we submitted our five games.  Now, we had to sit and wait for the Westgate to put out everyone’s picks online like they do every week on Saturday at noon.  It’s always a big deal to see what everyone has each week, but this week felt different for what was at stake.

After the picks came out, we felt nervous because we found our way to games that not a lot of people had.  That meant if we had a good week, we would make up some ground and possibly be in the money going into the last week.  On the flip side, if we did not, the dream of swimming with the dolphins in Maui may be over.  What do you think happened?  What is that saying, history repeats itself?

Every call went against us, every fumble was lost, a guy who can’t run scrambled for a first down on 4th and 14, and we went 2-3.  I was down.  It was deflating.  All this hard work for what?  Now, it would take a “ever elusive 5-0” to get us to the money, and the dream of a top 10 finish was done.  The top entries in the contest this year were all having record setting years, and we were just behind the pace.  In years past, we would have still been in it.  Not 2014.

As expected, the call the last week was melancholy.  We knew it was mathematically possible, but we knew it wasn’t realistic.  We tried our best to make a case for the first 5-0 in Squad history, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  A respectable 3-2 put us at 51-34 for the year, an exceptional 60% again, yet in the all too familiar out of the money spot, this time two points out.  Frustrating to say the least.  Congratulations to CH Ballers and their absurd 64.5 finish and $756k first place prize.  Google them and you can read their story, a four man partnership of 30 somethings in their first year in the Westgate contest.  Also, a shout out to Kelly in Vegas and her 14-1 finish to win the last three weeks mini contest and the $15k.  You can find her with google as well.

As for me, football season is technically “over” with my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers laying an absolute egg against the Ravens on Saturday, much to the delight of my daughters.  Thanks to their kindergarten teacher being from Baltimore, and their love of rooting against Daddy all the time, they have adopted the arch rival Ravens as their football team.  They have all the gear, and they think it’s normal for their team to win a Super Bowl, let alone always beat the Steelers.  Now, if that isn’t BULLSHIT, I don’t know what is.

Happy New Year to all, and please follow the blog on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Friday joke for the weekend…the difference between men and women

I heard a joke and I wanted to share it with all of you.  Thank you for reading the blog, liking the Facebook page, and offering feedback and comments.  Have a great weekend.

Husband Store

A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband.
Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.
On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.
‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’

So she continues upward.. The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.


She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
(keep reading!)
 



PLEASE NOTE:

To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex.

The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

It’s enough to make a grown man CRY…

Ok, first things first.  The usual announcement.  Keep reading the blog.  Keep sending suggestions for topics.  Sign up for email updates.  Like the Facebook page.  Thank you for reading and expanding the audience.  End of announcement and onto the real BULLSHIT.

This post is going to touch on a couple of things that have happened to me in the past couple weeks that literally brought me to the brink of emotion.  I am not going to lie.  Living in the ocean of estrogen amongst all of these females has totally softened me up.  I am a big wuss anymore.  I get choked up by commercials, songs, feel good stories on the Voice, and who knows what else.  I joke that somebody is crying in this house at least once a day, whether it’s one of my three daughters (ages 11, 9 and 8 months) or Mama, and it could happen at any time for any reason.  At times, I feel like it should be me.

In the immortal words of Jim Valvano in his famous ESPY speech that he delivered while he was dying from cancer, all of us should do these three things every day— Laugh, spend time in deep thought, and be moved to the point of tears, i.e. cry.  That is a full day.  Here in the ocean of estrogen, we have it covered.  We laugh all the time (mostly at me), spend time thinking (frequently about what I say to them),  and yes, cry (for who knows what, but it is usually my fault).  We have a full day pretty much everyday that ends with “y” up in here.  Recently, the tables were turned on me.

My first example is the morning routine.  I could say the same about the bedtime routine, but for these purposes, I will concentrate on the morning routine.  For parents with school-age children, you know what I am talking about.  Waking up these kids is a J-O-B every damn day, and now, throw in an infant and the surprises that may bring, and I just want to drop to my knees like a two year old.  I have dear friends who have SIX kids so I think of them often as I am trying desperately to wake my two up, and it gives me some solace that it could be worse.  Please wake up.  Rub their back.  Shake them gently.  Please wake up.  It’s time to get up for school.  Please, I am begging you.  Get up and get moving.  Find something to wear.  Damn, I wish we had school uniforms.

I have to get in the shower and get ready for work myself.  I know nobody really cares that I have a 40 minute commute to work, and if I hit traffic, it could take an hour.  I have to shower and get dressed.  Please wake up.  Oh, the baby is crying.  Get her out of the crib, change her, make a bottle, and get it in her mouth ASAP.  Are you guys up yet?  Can you please wake up and hold the baby for five minutes while I shower and get dressed.  Oh, you are tired.  Well, join the club.  I have to go to the spray bottle.  Nobody likes the spray bottle.  I hate to do it, but if you don’t get up, you get cold water on you.  Now that everybody is up and mad at me, at least you are up and moving.  Thank you.  And, after the process is started, they are up, getting ready for school and I head to the car, frazzled, feeling guilty, and on the brink of a breakdown.  Thank you Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd for talking about sports on the radio and helping me off the ledge as I drive to work.  Parents, you are not alone.

Second example was the retirement of Derek Jeter.  This was just another reminder that time stands still for no one, and we are getting older all the time.  I love baseball, and I have admired the way Derek Jeter was able to play the game and rise to the occasion in big moments.  He is only three years younger than me, and I have been watching him over his entire 20 year career in the big leagues.  In his final game at Yankee Stadium, he had an all-time Jeter moment when he came up in the 9th inning, man on second, one out, tie game.  Classic Jeter, he lines a single to right, the game winning run scores, and he ends his home career with a walk-off game winner.  You can’t make this stuff up.  If it was a movie, you wouldn’t believe it.

I am watching it with Mama and the kids at the dinner table, and when he hits the ball, I stand up.  The run scores, the Yankees win, and there he is, jumping around first base, arms up, 50 thousand fans going crazy.  Instant goosebumps.  Tears well up in my eyes.  A lump in my throat.  I can’t say a word.  The girls look at me, and the nine year old blurts out, “Daddy is going to cry.”  Awesome.  Definitely one of those things that I will always remember where I was and who I was with when I saw it.  I held it together, but barely.  We watched it over and over.  I tried to explain to them that Jeter was just one of those guys and this was one of those moments.  I felt like a little boy and an old man all at the same time, admiring a guy rising to the occasion one last time.  And sharing it with my wife and girls made it that much more special.

The final example occurred while we were all out to dinner.  As those of you with kids know, going out to dinner can be a tear jerking experience in itself.  With an infant, we just take turns holding her while the others try to eat their food while it is hot.  At least with the two older girls, we have a couple extra set of hands, and believe me, they are a tremendous help.  Unlike me, the kids don’t mind eating their food lukewarm or even cold.  Daddy is a bit of big baby, as I prefer to eat my dinner while it is still hot.  Call me crazy, but when the server puts the food on the table, somebody please keep the baby occupied for a few minutes while I inhale whatever I ordered at its appropriate temperature.

On this night, we sit down to eat wings at Buffalo Wild Wings at 6pm.  Mama and the girls have spent the day shuttling between fields and softball games while I was at work.  I left work to coach the second game of the doubleheader for the Girl Sox, the 10 and under team that I am coaching this season.  No, I am not the manager, but I am still heavily involved.  Anyways, I change in the parking lot, after putting in nine hours at the sportsbook, and we suffer our first defeat of the season.  Everybody is hungry, cranky, and tired, and we all need food.

At the table, it’s the usual BULLSHIT.  Appetizers come, and all the females have to go to the bathroom.  They all go together, following Mama like chicks following the mother duck.  I love bathroom time.  I get a 5-10 minute respite of silence and reflection.  It truly is glorious.  Also, I can eat what I want, how much I want, and I can even double dip without being scolded.  As quick as it came though, the girls are back, and they are ready to eat like they are going to the electric chair.  One thing about my girls, when they are hungry, they can eat.  Just sit back and watch the show, and try not to lose a finger.

Games are on the TVs all around us, we talk, we relive the girls’ games, the poopy diapers, the commute between fields, etc, all in painstaking detail.  I am constantly amazed at their ability to tell me EVERYTHING that happened to them throughout the day, and I was only away from them for nine hours.  Of course, this is in between walks with the baby, a couple of dollars pissed away in the claw game that they love to play, and the baby playing her own game of making us pick up everything she drops on the floor because she thinks it’s funny.  Remember that one?  Oh, yeah, it’s real funny.  Over and over.  I am at my wits end.

Anyways, two hours later (YES, THAT IS TWO HOURS LATER), after repeated trips to the bathroom, walks around the restaurant, walks outside, a trip to the car, and, oh, yeah, eating, it’s time to get the check.  The waitress hands me the bill, but it must be a mistake.  I stop her and say, “I am sorry, but I think you gave us the wrong check.  This says $5.18.”  Now, this woman has been more than patient with us, she gave us great service in refilling our drinks and repeated requests for more ranch (kids love ranch), but surely she grabbed the wrong check.  This marathon feast should have set us back about $80-100 with tip.

She hands us a napkin.  On it, there is a handwritten note that simply says, “You have very polite daughters.”  She goes on to explain that a complete stranger saw our girls with the baby in the bathroom or walking around the place or something, and they had an exchange.  Our girls helped her or her daughter or were nice to them.  Apparently, she didn’t really say exactly, and our girls had no idea.  Whatever they did, they made such an impression that this complete stranger picked up our check and left without saying anything, leaving only this note.  I was floored.

The best part was that the girls had no idea what they did.  They were just being themselves.  There is nothing like a compliment about your kids from a complete stranger.  This was an all timer.  I was beaming with pride.  Literally speechless.  As I tried to tell the kids how proud of them I was, it was another one of those lump in the throat moments.  Hugs and kisses for everybody, and a proud Papa Bear.

You just never know.  From the tears of frustration from the morning routine, the raw emotion of sharing a special moment with loved ones, and the pride that maybe all that hard work you put into raising these kids is working…it really is enough to make a grown man cry.

 

 

 

Working with the public provides some CLASSIC questions and moments…who said the customer is always right?

Before I begin, I want to thank all of you for following along on the blog.  Apparently, I now have readers from all over the world, and it is a true joy to know that people are reading and enjoying the posts.  With all of the people finding the blog, a new Facebook page has been created, Bullshitterz Blog, along with a twitter feed, @bullshiterzblog.  We are not sure what direction these things are going to go in the future, but for now, you can find the blog using them.  At least that is what my social media manager said.  As always, it’s a work in progress, and I am learning along with you.

The last few posts have dealt with questions.  Questions from the kids.  Questions from the wife.  Like I have said in previous posts, I love asking questions, and I love answering questions.  It’s all a part of the quest for knowledge.  It leads to conversation, debate, discussion, points and counterpoints, arguments and who knows what else.  Sometimes, a question can lead to a really good answer, and other times, a question can leave us with a quizzical look on our face, staring upward looking for guidance.  Recently, both the wife and I have had some questions posed to us at work that I wanted to share, along with one of my all time favorites from years ago.

As you may or may not know, my wife works the overnight shift at a retail pharmacy in Las Vegas.  As you can imagine, she sees it all, and in the course of a shift, the questions are classic.  Keep in mind that the corporate handbook does not train you to answer these questions.  Instead, they give you that BULLSHIT “the customer is always right.”  For those of us that work with the public, I will be the first to tell you the customer is DEFINITELY NOT always right!!

Just the other night, I got to share in one of these while I was on the phone with her.  It was 4:30am, and I had just woken up to give the baby her binky and pray that she went back to sleep.  Mama has the drop cam app on her phone so she can watch the room while she is at work.  This way, if I don’t hear the baby, she can text me or call me to tell me to wake up and get the baby.  Thanks modern technology.  Anyways, I took care of it, and I took the preemptive strike and called her to say that I took care of it.  While on the phone with her, she got a customer call about a prescription.

“Is my prescription ready?”  Mama looks it up.  No, it’s not ready.  What she doesn’t say is that it was ready and sat on the shelf for 10 days.  When you don’t pick it up, it gets put back.  So, now it has to be redone.

“When will it be ready?”  As protocol allows, it will be ready in the morning, after 9am.  What she doesn’t say is that it has to be re-verified, filled, printed, etc, figuring that is understood.

“Can’t you just have it ready tonight?”  There is a long pause, then a deep sigh…I was waiting on the edge of my bed…

In the ‘pleasant phone voice’, the answer comes swift.  “Ma’am, tonight is over.  It is almost 5 o’clock in the MORNING, and your prescription will be ready after nine in the MORNING.  See you then.  Thank you.”  I nearly fell off the bed laughing.  I always tell her that her best material comes out in the show after midnight.

This exchange reminded me of one of my all time favorite exchanges with a customer.  It occurred twenty years ago, but I can remember it like it was yesterday.  I was working at our family business, Ralph’s Discount City, on Fifth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.  Fresh from graduating from Penn State and trying to learn the family business from my Dad, he took the time to teach me everything from the ground up.  I unloaded trucks, stocked shelves, rang a register, worked on the sales floor and talked to customers.  It was not easy being the “boss’ kid”, and there were many times where I was like a rookie on a team or a freshman in school.

Someone had to go get lunch, they sent me.  Someone had to clean the bathrooms, they sent me.  Someone had to unload the truck in freezing rain, they sent me.  Someone had to talk to a crazy person at the counter, they sent me.  Yeah, a lot of it was BULLSHIT, but I took it all in stride.  I knew the deal.  My Dad had a great saying that “respect is earned, not given,” and I would have to earn their respect.

Now, downtown Pittsburgh is like any other urban city.  You get ALL kinds.  Race, ethnicity, social class, wealth, we had it covered from A to Z.  Visiting ballplayers and hockey players used to stop in along with the panhandlers from the corner.  One time I sold Deion Sanders and Barry Larkin new Sony Walkmans while they were in town for a series with the Pirates.  We got everybody for better or worse from a who’s who to the everyday person who worked downtown and needed to pick up something before heading home.  I got a true PHD in dealing with people in my time at Ralph’s, from co-workers and customers alike.

The story went something like this.  It was August, and it was HOT outside.  Think 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity.  You could smell the sweat in the air outside.  It was what I referred to as “Africa hot.”  Every person who came into the store was sweating, and we were selling fans and bottled drinks faster than we could keep them on the shelf.

Dial Deodorant Soap Ad (1949)

As I remember, it was towards the end of a long day, and I was heading towards the bathroom from the appliance side of the store.  I had to go before I left, in case there was traffic, because I have issues (see the previous post titled men are big babies when they are sick).  I was walking briskly past the deodorant aisle when I was stopped by a customer.  I could draw a picture of her today with the help of a sketch artist.  She was 5’2″ tops, weighed approximately 250, was wearing a tank top and shorts, and literally was sweating everywhere.  I actually smelled her before I saw her.

“Baby, you work here?”  Hmmm.  Moral dilemma.  Say no, and keep walking to the shitter.  Better yet, run.  Or, say yes and hold my breath.  Pause.  Here goes nothing.  Yes.

“I have to ax you a question.”  Oh, boy.  There I am, a deer in headlights, squeezing cheeks.  The bathroom will have to wait.  Deep breath.  OK, what is your question?

She raised her arm and wiped a gallon of sweat from her forehead with the back of her forearm.  “Honey, you know it’s so hot outside, and I be sweating all da time.  I need me some good dee-o-door-ant that will help me not sweat.”  Oh, yeah.  No problem.  The bubble over my head probably read something like ‘Lady, all the deodorant in the world will not stop that,’ as she was standing in a puddle of perspiration.  But, she is a customer, and I always try to help.

With a quick glance at the shelf, I see it.  Dial.  Anti-Perspirant.  Perfect.  I reach for it, pick it up, and with all the confidence in the world, I sell it.  “This should work.  It’s really good.”

I hand it to her.  Despite almost slipping out of her hand from the sweat, she holds onto it.  First question, “Do this smell good?”  Oh, yeah, it’s the fresh scent.  Smells great. Very fresh.

Second question, “Do it stop all the sweat from running down my side when I put it on?”  Again, in my head, in reality, nothing other than winter is going to stop that.  But I am selling it.  Well, when it’s this hot outside, you may have to put it on a couple of times a day, but it will help.

She pauses.  I am standing there waiting to run to the bathroom.  She looks me up and down like she might make a move.  She stares at the label again…then, as serious as can be, she goes, “Oh, baby, I don’t think I want this one.”  Really, why not?

“You see this right here?  It says ‘kills odor-causing bacteria.’  Hun-neeee, I want it to kill the odor, dat’s good…but I don’t want no bacteria on my body, dat’s bad.  No way.  Even if it do smell good, I don’t need no bacteria on me. I can’t be using stuff that be causing me some bacteria.”  WHOA.  WAIT.  YOU GOT THIS ALL WRONG LADY.  I remember looking around to see if I was on Candid Camera (google it if you don’t know).

QUICK.  THINK.  KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE.  NO BULLSHIT.  No, Ma’am.  I wouldn’t sell you something that causes bacteria.  I know that is the way you read it.  What it means is that the bacteria causes the odor, and this stuff will kill it all.  No more odor, no more bacteria, no more sweat.  This will take care of it all.

“Honey, you sure?  Why would they put on here that it be causing bacteria?”  Ma’am, I can assure you that this product will not cause bacteria.  We wouldn’t sell something that causes bacteria.  Would you like to try one of the other HUNDRED on the shelf that doesn’t say causes bacteria?  They all work good, trust me.  Another long pause.  She looked into my eyes through beads of sweat.

“Nah, bay-beee.  I believes you.  If you say it ain’t gonna cause no bacteria, and it smell good, I’m going to try it.  But, if I get me some bacteria, I am going to come back and return it.”  Please do.  I’ll be here.  But you are going to be just fine.

“Thank you, baby.  You really nice.”  Then, she hugged me, pressing those sweaty double D’s against my chest and grazing my cheek with her own glistening cheek.  Now soaked with sweat, I laughed all the way to the bathroom.

Have a great day.  Please share any memorable experiences you have had in the comments section or on the Facebook page.