When a parent and child switch roles, crazy stuff can happen…I miss my Dad and needed a laugh…

For those of you who have lost someone close to you, I am sure you can relate.  My Dad, nicknamed “Big E” by many, passed away a year and a half ago.  I think of him everyday as I put his watch on every morning, and there are many quiet moments when I talk to him.  I may be walking, I may be driving, I may be laying in bed, who knows.  Sometimes, it just comes out.  Big E was my go-to guy for everything.  He had the ability to just listen to whatever you had to say, and he made the time to listen.  Good or bad, happy or sad, easy or hard, brief or long, he would listen, then he would offer his unique opinion.  A lot of times, it may not have been exactly what you wanted to hear, but it was always honest.  And, no matter if he agreed or disagreed, you always felt better after talking to him.  Always.

As long as I can remember, Big E was my vent, and he took it all in stride.  No topics were off limits, and he was there, day or night.  Big E and Nance, my mom, were married for 45 years, had 5 kids, and really built an amazing life together.  Big E ended up owning the business, Ralph’s Discount in downtown Pittsburgh, that he started working at after high school, and he knew EVERYBODY in the city.  From the judges and lawyers and cops and CEOs all the way to the parking attendants and panhandlers on Fifth Avenue, he knew them all, and they all knew him.  He was a big guy with a bigger personality, and a unique trait to make whomever he was talking to feel like the most important person in the world.

After a true rags to riches story, putting all five kids through Penn State, Big E called me and said he had a brain tumor.  He was 55 at the time.  The world changed that day for all of us.  Two brain surgeries later, a plethora of other health ailments slowed him down over the next ten years.  All of the kids left Pittsburgh for other opportunities, and Nance was left alone to take care of him.  It was a full time job, and, after a long time, she needed help.

With the blessing of my dear wife and two young daughters, we made the decision to move them to Las Vegas to live with us until we could figure out the next move.  That turned out to be a challenging, trying year to say the least, but it was one of the best years of my life.  My kids got to see and do it all with my parents, and memories were made that will last a lifetime.  I know it could not have been done without my wife, and I will forever be eternally grateful to her for everything that she did for all of us.

Recently, I have been talking about things my Dad said or did with a bunch of people.  I even just spoke to one of his childhood friends who he lovingly referred to as “Coc-a-roach”, and we spent a wonderful 15 minutes reminiscing about Big E and catching up.  Needless to say, Big E has been on my mind lately, and I wanted to share a story about his time here in the desert with us.  Life just goes by so fast, and with the blog growing each week, I wanted to share a real moment in time with everyone.

Below is an email that I sent to my siblings and close friends summarizing the first week of Big E and Nance living with us.  I know it put a smile on my face after I read it, and I hope it does the same for you.  What I would give for just another day with Big E.

(dated 9/3/2010)

So, first of all, I asked each one of my siblings to please take a minute and call my home number or mom’s cell number yesterday, even if it’s for less than 5 minutes, and surprising enough, nobody called.  Even a couple texts back and forth will do.  Please at some point in the next 24 hours, Mom should hear from each one of you, even if it’s for 3 minutes.  “And that’s all I have to say about that.”

The Tina experiment went as well as it could go.  She came over and gave Dad a shower, complete with an above average “ball washing”, as he likes to refer to a female stranger cleaning his testicles.  She shaved his face, washed him, put some moisturizer on along with deodorant and aftershave, and got him dressed, all of which occurred while I was still at work.  I came home and he looked and smelled fresh, and he was feeling good enough to describe the whole thing as “tremendous.”  This is going to occur as frequently as possible, as long as we can fit it into Tina’s schedule and we can afford to pay her.

After Jess, Nance and Kelsey went to get dinner at Panda, they came back and all ate dinner while I napped on the couch.  After the kids said goodnight, I woke up and hung out with Mom, Dad and Jess.  Then, when we tried to get Mom’s netbook working, we could not get it signed on to our wireless network in the house.  Jess called Cox and got a rep who tried to get her through it.  Nance punched out close to midnight and went to bed.  Dad fell asleep in the chair with his feet up on the ottoman.  I patiently waited on the couch while Jess talked to one guy who, after an hour and every possible troubleshooting thought, said “that’s it, I am transferring you to level 2.”  Who the hell even knew there was a level 2?

That was it for me.  I then passed out on the couch.  After another F@#^*#* hour on the phone, the level 2 guy must have said “it’s the macafee security firewall, it’s too good, you have to call them” and that was it.  Jess was tired, frustrated and with no solution, a bit ticked off.  I was then hurriedly woken up and told “let’s get Dad to bed, now.”

So, we wake him up and say let’s get in bed.  His first question is “you mean I am not in my bed?”  No, Dad, let’s go.  OK, so we get him up and as he starts to head to the bed, he says “I should piss before I get in bed.”  We agree, and off we go to the bathroom.  For those of you who have been here or seen it on Skype, it’s 10, maybe 12 steps.  Now, close your eyes and imagine doing it in frame by frame slow motion.  Yep, it takes a couple minutes.

Anyways, he gets there while Jess and I are at the entranceway to the family room/kitchen area, and we hear a mini “boom.”  Jess says to me “is he alright?”  Without using my Superman x-ray vision to look through the walls, I speed over to the bathroom to find Dad sitting on the toilet in what appears to be a successful, normal fashion.  At least as normal as a big guy sitting on that little toilet can look.

“You ok?” I ask him.

“Yep. just sitting on the toilet”, he replies.  Apparently, when he goes to “sit” on the toilet, it’s more like a hover, line it up and lean back til you hit the target.  The process is not exactly sitting, and upon impact, it tends to make a bit of noise.  Otherwise, it’s fine.

Then, with me standing in front of him in the bathroom, he says “uh oh” like a kid does when he/she is 2.  We all know that “uh oh”

I swear at that moment, time stood still.  I froze up.  “uh oh”  What the hell does that mean?  what is uh oh right now?

Before I could actually say anything, Dad comes with “my dick is not all the way in the toilet.”  And then the bathroom becomes like the fountain at the point in Pittsburgh, only with the force of Hurricane Katrina.  Seriously, the man can piss like we do when we hold it for, say, like a day or two.

I jumped back as fast as I could, and after getting hit with it like one does from an outside mister on a hot summer day in the desert, my dear wife Jessica comes with this gem.  “Is he pissing?”

You all know I love my wife dearly.  Right then, a million things were coming at me, and all I could come up with was “yep.  A lot.  And all over.”  LOL.  I head over to the foot of his bed to find another pair of shorts for him when Jess, with all seriousness asks, “Did he get it on his shorts too?”

I patiently try to gather myself and turn to look at her.  My reply came in the form of question.  “Are you seriously asking me this question?  No, he peed all over the toilet, the floor, me, etc, but amazingly, his shorts are perfectly dry.”  She laughs, I laugh, and Elliott laughs.  Hey, at least we were laughing.

Finally, with the help of rubber gloves, paper towels, clorox wipes, etc, the cleanup goes pretty smooth.  I am a big fan of rubber gloves, and I swear I would bathe in hand sanitizer if I could.  The last thing to do is get Big E in his bed with a new diaper and pair of shorts.  As both Nance and Jess like to say, “that’s all you.”  Here is how this process goes.

I get down on one knee directly in front of Dad, who is wearing only a t-shirt.  He puts his hands on my shoulders for support as he lifts each foot, and I guide his feet into the diaper.  Needless to say, it’s the closest I can ever remember being to another man’s genitals in my life.  Kinda gives you a whole new perspective.  On second thought, that’s the LEAST it does.

Anyways, as I pull the diaper up and get on my feet in light speed, I hit Jessica with a gem of my own.  “Go get something to put down there to keep it fresh.”  I swear, that is exactly what I said.  LOL.

“Like what?” she asked.

“I don’t know.  Anything.  Just go find something.”

A quick trip up the stairs and back down, and I will give you one guess what she is holding…yep, you guessed it…Ammon’s powder.  Why not?

I don’t have a powder puff so with Dad standing in the doorway of the bathroom and his diaper up to his knees only, I lean back down below the belt, still wearing the rubber gloves.  Now that we all have kids and have done diaper duty, you know how to powder the kid, especially after they drop a bomb in the Pamper.  Spare no powder, cover it all and load up the diaper.  I don’t know about you, but there were times when my daughters would sit down after a diaper change and it looked like an early morning dusting of snow in December in Pittsburgh.

A spur of the moment decision is made to load up the diaper with powder.  With Jess standing behind me, and me down on one knee, and Dad just kind of “hanging out” right there, I think to myself “load it up”.  This is how goofy I am.  I am actually having this conversation in my head while I am less than a foot from the nether region.  But, even with the rubber gloves, I can’t juggle the nut sack, I just can’t do it.  Instead, I shake the powder up and “graze” the right testicle.  Not hard, not easy, but definitely suddenly and clearly unexpectedly.

I will leave you with this.  Dad may not have feeling in two of his fingers, and his legs and feet are questionable at best, but he still has feeling in a lot of areas.  I think the last time he actually jumped off the ground was back in the 80s, but I swear I saw air under his feet, even for just a second.  When we laid him down in bed, we got him all propped up and aligned the bed like he likes it.

I say “You ok?  You need anything else?”

His reply “Nope, I am good.  But, Dave, geez, I didn’t know you were going to touch my balls…next time, just do it a little easier.”

WTF????? NEXT TIME???? WAIT????  WHAT????  THERE AINT GONNA BE NO REMATCH!!!!

And that is why I am up writing this and watching him sleep.  LOL.  Have a good day.  And stay tuned for more updates from the nuthouse. (end of email)

 

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Questions, questions, and more questions…they just keep coming EVERY DAMN DAY

Last week, I wrote about questions.  Those were questions from the kids.  If you haven’t read it, take a few minutes and read the post below this one.  As the father of three daughters, it is always interesting when you get questions from them, and even more so when one of them is “what is a boy’s pee pee called?”  We have always heard that the mind works in mysterious ways, and in the world of parenting, there has never been a truer statement when it comes to the minds of kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the questions, and I love the fact that they ask questions.  We have tried to instill in them that it is ok to ask us anything because both Mama and I know the day will come where they don’t ask us shit because they don’t want to hear our opinion.  So, I will take what I can get now, and even when they hit me with one out of the blue, I will scramble for an answer anyway I can.  No doubt as they get older, the questions get a little tougher, but you just figure it as you go.  But enough about the kids’ questions.

Today’s post is about the daily questions that you get from your significant other.  You know the ones.  Simple questions really.  It’s just the answers that are hard.  Not to mention, the tone in which you answer the question is MORE important than the actual answer.  “That” tone can sometimes determine where the entire conversation goes.  We all do it.  Answer the question in the “wrong” tone, and the decibel level goes up.  A conversation can quickly turn into a discussion and into an argument with a simple inflection in voice.  Sometimes, it’s by design, other times it hits you like an unsuspecting right cross on the kisser.

Adding even more fuel to the fire, how about when you answer a question WITH A QUESTION?  That is standard practice here in the ocean of estrogen.  We don’t even mean to do it, but we are guilty of it all the time.  For example, I might get the question on Saturday night, at the end of my work week, a busy Saturday of college football in the sportsbook, the kids week of school, homework, softball, picking up and dropping off, and who knows what else.  It’s usually a whirlwind by then, and by most Saturday nights, I feel like a wrung out towel.  In between head bobs with Sportscenter on the TV, it comes innocently enough and in what I like to refer to as “the pleasant phone voice.”

“What do you have planned for tomorrow?”  Seven words.  A simple question.  Really should be a simple answer.  But, alas, there is a pause.  First reaction, no shit, is a little panic.  I think quickly.  Did I forget something tomorrow?  Or worse, what does SHE have planned for ME tomorrow?  Is there something that I don’t know about?  I can go a couple of ways with this one.

Try honesty.  Something along the lines of “I have nothing planned other than watching football all day.  I don’t think I am even going to get dressed.  I am just going to check my fantasy team lineup in the morning, then watch all the games.  Probably just make myself a sandwich and watch the games.  Definitely have no intention of leaving the house, just going to relax and watch some football.”  BULLSHIT!  My spider sense is tingling, and my brain tells my mouth to shut the hell up.

Instead, I go with what I like to call “the reporter approach.”  Ask a follow up question to get the real story.  This usually results in a conversation and a search for the truth.  I know I am not the only one using this approach, and most times, it is quite effective.

I respond, “Why?  What is on the agenda tomorrow?”

“Nothing really.  I was just wondering.”  More spider sense tingling.  The door is open, I just have to make sure I don’t knock it off the hinges.  I mean, she knows it’s football season, and she knows it’s Sunday tomorrow, and the NFL has been playing football on Sundays for 80 years.  I tread cautiously.

“I was planning on watching football.  Why, what do you have planned?”  At this point, I am ready for anything.  Bring it, I got this.  My brain is overloaded.  Could it be a hair appointment?  A mani/pedi?  The kids have practice, and I have baby duty?  A kids birthday party that I didn’t know about?  You want to go shopping?  You want to go out for breakfast or lunch?  You want to watch football too?  At this point, I am resigned to the fact that something is going on, and I will hope to catch a few minutes of highlights in between who knows what.

Here are a couple of other hard-hitting questions that we pose to each other, like Nike says, EVERY DAMN DAY.  Please feel free to add your own in the comments section:

How do I look?

This answer is all about tone and speed.  Say it too fast, you don’t mean it.  Hell, sometimes you get accused of not even looking.  Use a high pitch or a monotone, and it usually results in a wardrobe/makeup/hairstyle/footwear change.  Then, you get a followup or repeat question, and if not answered correctly, it can even result in a change back to the original state, a “oh, the hell with it” stomp away, or, at worst, a complete cancellation of intended plans.

What do you want to eat?

A daily debate up in this joint.  If we involve the kids, it is usually a complete cluster you know what.  Without fail, the nine year old blurts out “Ci Ci’s” every time.  That is the pizza buffet place with the ridiculously good desserts.  She could eat pizza and brownies every day.  After she gets shot down, the eleven year old will go “Panda”, short for Panda Express, the Chinese fast food place.  Orange chicken and fried rice for a month straight for her.  At this point, I chime in with “sushi”, only because I know NOBODY wants it.  I get my turn out of the way with a quick dismissal from all, and we end up eating what or wherever Mama wants anyways.  As most of the men can attest to, we can find pretty much anything to eat anywhere we go at any time.  So, my simple rule is let Mama pick, just tell me when and where.

Are you hungry?

Regardless of the situation, the answer is always “yes.”  Whether I just ate a five course meal at Morton’s or I am on a hunger strike, the answer is “yes.”  If there is a follow up, the answer is a form of “whatever.”  What are you in the mood for?  Whatever.  Where do you want to go?  Wherever.  When do you want to go?  Whenever.  Sticking with the theme above, tell me when and where, and whatever is on the menu, that is what I am eating.

How was work?

This one can go one of two ways.  The standard is the brief “good” or “uneventful.”  That means nothing exciting happened.  You can get cute with this and come with “another day, another dollar” or maybe “well, it’s over” or something to convey that you have nothing.  Here in Las Vegas though, with Mama working the overnight shift at the pharmacy or me at the casino in the race and sports book, you definitely may get a story or two.  Like the night Mama says “a woman shit her pants in the waiting area tonight.  She goes to the bathroom, but not before sending me to the clothes aisle to grab her a pair of sweatpants to change into.”  You just never know what you are going to get with this question.

I will leave you with one of my favorites.

Do you want to drive?

Whenever we venture out from the ocean of estrogen together, it is usually in the minivan.  My car is the last vestibule of manhood and MY space that I have, and it’s too tight to go anywhere as a clan.  Plus, nobody likes what I listen to on the radio, the seats are too tight, there isn’t enough room, etc, etc.  In the house, I have lost the desk, the family room, for sure the bathroom, and other than my side of the bed, the bedroom as well.  I have a seat at the dinner table and that is pretty much it.

The minivan is the same way.  The only thing I have is a key.  And, most of the time, I don’t even want to use it.  So, as we head out the door and the question comes, I just walk to the passenger side of the car by instinct.  It’s a trick question anyways.  Do I want to drive?  Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no.  But the real question should be “Do I want to hear you TELL me how to drive??”  HELL NO. It’s like having a human GPS.  You all know exactly what I am talking about.

Slow down.  Speed up.  Turn here.  Park over there.  Do we have to listen to this?  Where are you going?  Why are you going this way?  You know we are not in your car, right?  You know the kids are in the car, right?  Unless she is buried in her phone on Facebook, it’s a human version of GPS without an off switch.  My solution is simple, and for all the fellas out there, I highly recommend it.

“Nope, I’m good.  You can drive.”  Then, GIVE her the key, sit in the passenger seat, hit the air brake with your foot or grab the ‘oh shit’ bar as necessary, and take a lot of deep breaths until you get to your destination.  Trust me, it’s like having your own personal driver, and the ride is way more pleasant for everybody.

Again, please share your questions in the comments section.  Have a great weekend.

 

Summer vacation is over…fun times, hard questions and the penis song…the BULLSHITTERZ blog is back

First of all, welcome back after summer break.  I hope everybody enjoyed their time either with family or friends or even by yourself if that is your thing.  Whether it’s time away on a trip, weekends at the shore, hanging out at a lake, nights at the ball field, double features at the drive in, or even just reading a book for pleasure, summer is a good time to catch up on quality time doing things that are fun.  There is a vibe about summer that I truly enjoy.  Kids stay up late and get to sleep in later in the morning.  I know I love summer because growing up in Pittsburgh, it was the time of year that you could have the top down on the car and actually enjoy the weather outside (in between those summer thunderstorms, of course).

We spent our summers swimming at the pool all day, playing baseball every night, and when we didn’t have games, we were usually at the field watching our friends play.  If we didn’t have games, we all hung out and played kick the can or release until it was time to go home.  Imagine explaining to our kids that the goal of the game was somebody was “it”, and that person had to count to 30 while everyone else hid within a distance of about eight houses.  When the person that was “it” was done counting, they would then have to find everyone one by one, and when they did, they raced back to the can.  If the person who was “it” won the race, the one that was found was now captured.  That meant that somebody else who was hiding had to run and kick the can before “it” could get there to release the captured to go hide again.  It sounds ridiculous, right?  Go hide and don’t move, don’t talk, just sit there until you can get to the can before “it”, and you are the hero of the night.  But if you are found and captured, you sit there until somebody releases you.  We had one kid, Bob Alexander, who I swear may still be under the bushes in front of the Durkin’s house right now.  He would disappear to the point where everybody would just go home and the game was over.  I don’t know where Bob ended up, but he would have made a great spy.

Anyways, fast forward to today, and you have iPads, iPhones, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and an app for everything.  You have Netflix, Hulu, shows On Demand, everything else DVR’d, and I haven’t even mentioned social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Textfree and who knows what else.  It’s harder and harder to just take the quality time and just TALK to each other.  Between working, running the kids around to their activities, and keeping up with each other via our social media networks, it’s tough to get in that 15 minute phone call.  Sometimes, a text back forth will do, and I love those.  It’s a way to connect nowadays, and I encourage you to text someone to “just check in” or “say hello”.  You can text me anytime, and I will return it as promptly as possible, depending what is going on in the ocean of estrogen that I reside in each and every day.  Occasionally, that text will result in a setting up a time to catch up via the phone, FaceTime, or even a meal together.  Anything to get in some quality time.

For us, that is what we did.  We took the summer off from softball, pitching lessons, extra school work, and pretty much got off every routine that we had, and just slowed things down.  With a new baby in the house, it was a perfect time to do that.  The older girls, now 11 and 9, have really become full time babysitters and big sisters who adore their baby sister and do everything for her.  Literally, they feed her, change diapers, play with her, sing and read to her, carry her around, watch the Baby Einstein videos with her, and put her to bed.  No joke, there were a couple nights after Daddy came home from bowling on Saturday night and passed out on the couch with all the kids awake and Mama at work.  That is my long day at work, I go straight to bowling after working 10 hours, have a few beers, throw three games, and it is gonzo time on the couch.  I wake up in a panic at 1am, only to find the girls in their beds, the baby in her crib, and all the lights off in the house.  It is an amazing thing watching these kids grow up, take on responsibility, and truly become more independent, let alone take care of their Daddy after he falls asleep on the couch before they go to bed.

With all of this growing up and constantly trying to find things to do together, we did a few new things in addition to the usual stuff.  We did a drive in movie for the first time as a family.  Note to self, wait until it cools off a little next time, as sitting outside in July in Las Vegas when it is still over 100 degrees is not really that much fun.  We had our first sleepover.  The 11 year old had two of her friends, also 11, sleep over at the house.  So, in addition to my own three girls and wife, I have two more.  They get dropped off on a Sunday at 2pm, it’s 109 outside, and by 5pm, they are out of activities to do in the house, and I am out of my mind.  I say, “Does anyone want to go roller skating?”  It sounded like 10,000 girls at a One Direction concert!!!  I am a hero.  We load up everybody into the minivan and go to Crystal Palace for the session that ends at 7pm.

Much to my surprise, after we get the skates, I come to find out that these two girls have NEVER roller skated before.  Well, at this point, we are not leaving, there is only an hour and a half left in the session, so it’s go time.  I laced up each of their skates one by one and that was a workout in itself.  Off you go, follow my girls around and have fun.  Luckily, it was non stop laughter and fun for them for the entire hour and a half.  From there, it was off to the Red Rock buffet where each kid could pick their own dinner because as most of you know, it is IMPOSSIBLE to figure out where to go eat when you ask everybody’s opinion.  Now, back home, they are looking around at each other with that “what do we do now” look.

As I am known in the ocean of estrogen as the cruise ship director of recreation, where I am the leader of fun and activities in the house, I suggest a game of Yahtzee.  One girl never played, the other only played it on the iPad.  I broke out the dice and the score pads and said this is how we used to play when we were kids.  More laughing, the inevitable sulking when the nine year old gets Yahtzee twice, but a good time had by all.  At this point, I am done.  Off to bed I go, good night girls.  It’s midnight, and they are popping popcorn to watch a movie in the family room, laying on cots we set up along with the couches.

Mama comes upstairs and we pass out.  Not more than an hour later, the nine year old comes up to tell us that one of the girls wants to go home.  Apparently, they have never slept over at anyone’s house other than their grandmother’s, and this is not working for her.  My 11 year old and the other one are asleep, but my 9 year old and the other 11 year old are up.  This is Mama’s department.  She goes down and ends up sleeping on the floor so the friend can fall asleep.  I am upstairs in the king bed enjoying the space and hogging all the covers.  Disaster averted, pancakes and eggs in the morning, and we made memories of our first girls sleepover.

We also took a trip to Tampa, Florida, but that will be a post of it’s own.  The girls were there for 17 days, and I joined them for the last 10.  Yes, you read that right.  I had 6 nights in the house by myself for the first time in 11 years.  I will say this… I know why Superman had his Fortress of Solitude.  Wow.  At one point, I did not get off the couch for a day.  I watched entire baseball games from beginning to end.  I napped at will.  I didn’t go outside for 24 hours.  Don’t tell my girls, but I even left the toilet seat up.  More on that week and trip in another post.

My girls and I also had poker nights, and I taught them how to play the card game 7 and 1/2.  It’s an old Italian card game that we used to play with our grandmother, and it brought back a lot of memories.  We had singing nights, dance shows, fashion shows, gymnastics shows, and hula hoop nights.  We had nights where we ate dinner at 10pm, mornings when we didn’t wake up until 11am, and “Jammy Days” when everybody stayed in their pajamas all day.  We went to the Strip to see the fountains at the Bellagio and even caught the Jabbawockeez show at the Luxor.  We visited aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma in Phoenix for a long weekend.  We did a bunch of stuff, had fun, and spent some serious quality time together.

One of the things that I will treasure from this summer is the quality talks that we had with the kids while spending all this time together.  As they get older, the questions are definitely getting harder.  And, in our house, there is always a why behind the first question, and the standard “because I said so” is a harder sell now.  Mama and I have actually had to go to the computer and google the answer or google how to tell them what they wanted to know.  One of the big ones this year was when we told them that there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, leprechauns, etc.  Man, the whole house was crying with that one, and a wide range of emotions from anger to sadness ensued.  After everyone calmed down and the reality of it all set in, the nine year old, in true character, hits on it after the lightbulb goes off in her head.  “So, that is why Santa never brought us a puppy, because YOU are Santa and you don’t want a dog in the house!!”  Stone cold busted.

I will leave you with this one final discussion that set me for a loop.  One night, with Mama at work, the baby asleep in her crib, and the 11 year old passed out on the couch, the nine year old and I are watching America’s Got Talent together.  We do this often as a family, and we all “vote” for our favorites and buzz the ones we don’t like.  Near the end of this show, out comes an 84 year old man named Ray Jessel to sing a song.  For those of you who can’t open the link below, here are the lyrics.

The guy looks like Albert Einstein or Doc from Back to the Future, and he sits at the keyboard and in a slow, catchy show tune melody, comes with this:

I met this girl, and she’s just great…this girl I just adore

The problem is, she has much more…than I had bargained for

She’s got that style, she’s got that smile…

She’s got the walk, she’s got the talk…

She’s got that zing, there’s just one thing…

She’s got… a penis (Ba-dump-bump-bump)

She’s got that flair, knows what to wear

She’s got that face, that girl is grace…

She’s got pizazz, too bad she has…

a penis (Ba-dump-bump-bump)

Now there’s always some failure, always some flaw,

Aint that what they call Murphy’s Law…

The male genitalia, that’s where I draw the line…

Besides, hers is bigger than mine…

My life’s a mess, cause under that dress…

She’s got a P-E-N-I-S

BOOM!!!  Funny song, completely unexpected, and I am laughing out loud.  The crowd loved it, the judges loved it, and all gave him a yes vote.  Within five seconds, I get this from across the room:

“Daddy, what is a penis?”

Hmmm…a quick glance to my left, then my right, and finally over my shoulder.  No help anywhere, Mama is at work.  I am on an island.  Beads of sweat instantly form on my forehead.  Stay calm.  Be honest, that is what all the experts say to do when you talk to the kids.  Ok, here goes…

“A penis is a boy’s pee pee.  That is the actual word for it.”  Short, brief, and to the point.  The wheels are turning in her head.  Oh, boy, here comes the follow up.

“But, Daddy, I thought that was called your balls.”  MAN, I might as well be under hot lights in an interrogation room.  Where the hell is this headed?

“No, those are actually called testicles.  Boys have both a penis and testicles.”  She giggles at the word testicles.  I do all I can to not laugh, but it is a funny word.  All the saliva is gone from my mouth.  On the outside, I am calm, but inside, I am in knots.  She is thinking.

“OK, Daddy, if a boy’s pee pee is called a penis and their balls are called what again?”  Testicles.  “OK, testicles.  Sounds like popsicles.”  Yes, yes it does.

“Then what is a girl’s pee pee called?”

IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING??? AM I REALLY HAVING THIS TALK RIGHT NOW?  Just keep it together and answer the question.

“A girl’s pee pee is called a vagina.”  She looks at me like I am no longer speaking English.

“A what Daddy?”  Va-JI-na. “Va what?”  I repeat it again, slower and with more clarity.

“Vagina?”  Yes.  “Vagina, vagina, vagina”  Very good.  PLEASE TELL ME I AM DONE NOW.  I am frozen, looking her right in the eye, willing her to please have mercy on me and say let’s go to bed.  Seconds that felt like minutes pass, I can hear my heart beating through my chest.  And then, it comes:

“Ok, Daddy, I don’t get it.  If boys have a penis and girls have a vagina, how can the girl in the song have a penis??  How is that even possible?”  OMG!!!  WTF!!! HELP ME!!!

Despite wanting to jump up like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men and blurting out “YOU WANT ANSWERS??? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH…”, I jumped up off the couch, turned the TV off and went with:

“C’mon, it’s time for bed.  We’ll watch this again WITH MAMA tomorrow, and we’ll explain it to you TOGETHER.”  BOOM, the blog is BACK.

 

Please share this blog with your friends and anyone else who you think may like the stories.  And please feel free to comment and share your stories as well.  If you want to get each entry via email, sign up for the email updates.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

back after a little hiatus…this just in, men are big babies when they are sick

Ok, so first things first…it’s been a month since I have posted anything, and it is the same BULLSHIT…this time, we even had a computer issue thrown in to the usual, hectic, three kids, new baby, both working, frenetic pace life that we have going on here (you know, the same, day to day BULLSHIT you have working at your house).  Who knew, that at some point when you don’t always do the updates on your computer, that what you have just stops working?  Want to watch videos?  Nope.  No warning, just go to youtube and realize you can’t do anything and you can’t download the new viewer because “your operating system is no longer supported.”  OK, thanks.  So, now that we have upgraded first to Snow Leopard, then to Maverick, everything works again, but looks different.  Even the mouse is reversed, where you go down to move up and up to move down.  Oh, yeah, we’ll figure it out, but it is a little bit of a pain in the ass.  Anyways, that’s all I have to say about that.

The wife says, “Why don’t you post from your phone or the laptop?  People want to read what you write, but you aren’t posting anything.”  My answer is simple.  I don’t want to.  The posts are too long to type on my phone, I don’t like the laptop, and I LOVE sitting down in the desk chair, at the desk, and writing in peace.  Unfortunately, the problem for me right now is not the writing, it’s actually GETTING to the damn chair!  Let alone in a lucid, ready to gather thoughts, awake state of mind.  NO BULLSHIT, I am working on it, but I have to get better.  Rant over.

This installment will address a simple truth that most of us know but don’t usually say out loud.  Recently, I have had this simple truth brought back to the forefront in my house after a recent battle with a stomach bug or food poisoning.  Whichever it was, the end result was repeated trips to the bathroom, an involuntary body cleanse of sorts, no food, and a lot of sleep…and nothing else.  I mean NOTHING.  No talking, no helping with the kids, no sitting upright, no leaving the room, nothing.  This happens like once every three years or so, but when it does, it knocks me on my ass.  I called in sick to work, and I called in sick to my job at home.  Forty-eight hour quarantine from the wife and kids, laying in bed, garbage can by the side of the bed, occasional sips of water between trips to the bathroom, etc.  You have all been there, it is no fun.

Two days previous to my spell, we were awakened at 3:30am by what sounded like the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  Instead, it was just the 10 year old sprinting to the bathroom to throw up like she just did a beer bong.  It never ceases to amaze me in the ability of my daughters to jump up from a stone cold sleep to actually make it to the toilet to throw up.  I know my brothers and I never seemed to make it.  My mom cleaned up puke all the time…hell, one time, my brother on the top bunk threw up on me on the bottom bunk, and I didn’t even wake up.  But, my girls get there and hit the target.  The best part is their resiliency.  They just go back to sleep or lay down with an ice pack and it’s over.

Fast forward a couple days, I am at work, it’s almost the end of my day, and I get this horrendous stomach pain.  You know the one.  It’s your stomach’s warning to the rest of your body that you will have to take a shit in two minutes or less, regardless of location.  Home, road, walking, sitting, driving, standing, laying down, even sleeping, this one says “find a bathroom in 120 seconds or less or you will need a new pair of drawers.”  Luckily, I get there, but I can feel that this is the beginning rather than the end.  My insides feel like they are in knots.  Something is happening.  This is more than just the ramifications of eating Taco Bell.

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Everyday that I go to or from work, I have a minimum 30 minute commute each way.  With traffic, or an accident, or a speed trap, it can be an hour or more.  Despite my best efforts to go before I get on the road, I know where the cleanest bathrooms are closest to the freeway on the way home.  Literally, it’s part of the daily thought process.  “Did I go?  Should I go?  I don’t have to go.  Should I try?  Do I have time?  What if there is traffic?”  This BULLSHIT goes on all the time.  I wish it didn’t, but it does.

So, I am getting ready to leave work, feeling like I took the necessary steps to make it home…only, my stomach is tight, my forehead is clammy, and I feel a little light headed.  After a slow walk to the car and an internal debate on whether to take a quick nap before hitting the road, I forge on and get moving.  I have never driven in an official race, but today, I am in a race against my body.  Literally, beads of sweat are forming on my head, yet the car is at 70 degrees with the a/c blowing.  All I can think about is getting home and laying down.  I sent the text to the wife, something along the lines of “hey, on the way home.  Also, stomach is upset and I am not feeling good.  Just giving you a heads up.”

Sending this at 6pm to your wife who has been home with the three kids all day and has to go work the overnight shift in three hours is well-intentioned, but, understandably, not what anyone in her position wants to hear right at that moment.  Especially because we both know what that means.  I am coming home, walking in the door, maybe making a pit stop in the bathroom, then I am laying down.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  It’s gonzo time.  “Kids, leave daddy alone.  He doesn’t feel good.”  Despite dripping with sarcasm, it is a true statement.  And that brings me to this simple truth.

Men are big wusses when we are sick…it’s true.  Right, when we have a sniffle or a cough or a runny nose, we act all tough, go to work, don’t go to the doctor, and “fight through it.”  But, when we are sick, flu sick, throw up sick, diarrhea sick, ACTUALLY sick, we are out like we got hit by Mike Tyson.  The nine year old said it best when she said all I did for almost three days was “sleep and pee out of your butt.”  That was it.  And it was a work week for mama.  Which means that the when she goes to work around 9:30, I am the only adult in the house with the little people.

stay-home

Well, summer vacation really was in full swing up in this mother because the 10 year old and 9 year old were large and in charge.  They could have had Tiesto DJ’ing and a hundred of their closest friends over, and I would have never known.  In the meantime, they did a GREAT job with their 4 month old baby sister.  The infant got put in her crib successfully after being fed each night and was there each morning when mama got home.  She was fed throughout the day, diapers were changed, naps were taken, songs were sung and everyone made it, all unbeknownst and no thanks to me.  I could not move and did not try.  The girls would come in and check on me.  “Daddy, how ya doing?  Are you ok?  Do you need to go to the doctor?”

No, no doctor.  I will be ok soon.  They brought me water.  The little one even brought me one of those cold compress stickers that we use on her and put in gently on my forehead.  The two “kids” were taking care of their daddy AND their little sister while mama was at work or sleeping after work.  I contributed nothing.  Wait, no, one time, I got the baby her binky at 4:15am when I heard her and the kids were sleeping.  Took 10 seconds, and that was it.  Back to bed for me.  I have no idea what the kids ate, if they ate, when they went to sleep, if they slept, what they were watching on TV, if they were talking or texting, who they were talking or texting, etc, etc.  Mama was with them via phone or dropcam, and apparently, everything was under control.

But this is what men do when we are sick, at least me.  Medicate me, but leave me alone to sleep.  And, yes, ladies, we will bitch and whine about it.  No, we don’t do sick like you.  Women are tough.  Every month, you guys have things going on all the time between cramps, feet swelling, bloating, migraines, emotional swings, and that is all just BEFORE the cycle starts.  If men had to do that every month, the world might come to a halt.  No chance.

By Sunday night, the color had returned to my face, the bodily fluids to my stomach, and I was able to actually get up and move around a little.  It didn’t take long for the sarcastic “Oh, are you feeling better today?” question to come.  Like I wanted to get sick and lay in bed for a couple days, all by design.  Like I was taking a weekend in the Hamptons.  On a work week, nevertheless.  Helluva deal I got there, yessiree.  Literally, she is acting like I took a handful of Ambien and said see you on Tuesday.

After I shook my head yes, I get this follow up statement.  “Good.  Glad you are feeling better.  [LONG PAUSE]  Slept for two days straight, on a work week…I think I am going to (finger quotes) get sick for two days so I can sleep for two days.”

BA-DA-BING!!  The BULLSHIT blog is back!!!!

Mother’s Day

Hello all,

I came across this on another blog and wanted to share it with those of you who read mine. Happy Mother’s Day to all Mom’s. We truly couldn’t do it without you.

Oh for the love of...me

My son and I were chatting the other night when I suddenly asked him, “What do you think about when you think about Mother’s Day?”

He’s a man so of course he’s suspicious of my motives.

So I clarify, “I mean…since you were raised in a ‘normal’ house, I want to know what you think about when you know Mother’s Day is coming up.”

I see his shoulders relax.  He thinks about it for a second and then says, “Nothing really.  It’s just a day for us to tell you how much we love you.”

Best.  Answer.  Ever.

I used to dread Mother’s Day.  For me it was a day that I was sure I would disappoint my mother in some form or fashion.  Since nothing I did was ever enough for her, having an entire 24 hour period soley dedicated to the art of disappointing her and not measuring…

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Week one of Mama back to work and Daddy on baby duty

So, as it seems I always begin these posts, I apologize to all of you for my hiatus.  More BULLSHIT excuses, nothing more.  I am (and seem like I have always been) bad at time management, and now, juggling three kids, working, mama working, it is just a matter of trying to survive.  Anyways, it’s not something most of you don’t have working in your own lives, just mentioning it probably to make myself feel better.  As I keep saying, I will try to get better.

Before I begin with this installment, I have to give a few shout outs to some of the readers of this blog.  I have gotten a great response from those of you who read along here, and I just want to thank you.  It is gratifying knowing that you enjoy reading and sharing some of these stories, and it is good because you hold me accountable to keep writing.  From my Philly friend who gave me a perfect “jagoff” at the softball field, to my buddies back in Pittsburgh who shared in the weekly kindergarten card game, to some of my coworkers who help with material, and everyone else who gives me feedback and makes suggestions on what to write about next.  Thank you all.

One topic this week that did not make the cut but was almost a Seinfeld episode type of discussion was the weather here in Las Vegas.  A bunch of us were discussing how it was heating up a bit and whether or not you were turning on the air conditioning at the house.  Everybody had an opinion, and it was comical.  At what point is it too hot to just keep a fan on or just keep the windows open?  The air conditioning bill is by far one of the biggest household expenses that we encounter living in the desert, and everyone does it different.  In our house, we accept the fact that Mama is hot all the time and keeps the temperature low.  We wear sweatshirts and beanies in the house if we have to, we lay under blankets even when it’s 110 outside because it’s cold in the house.  If Mama is hot, it’s no good for anybody so she controls the temperature in the ocean of estrogen.  Whatever the price.

Another take on it was from some friends of ours.  The husband proudly declared that “Nope, we haven’t turned on the air yet.  Even with a wife going through menopause.  Nope, just sweat it out.”  And this was with his wife sitting right NEXT to him.  She countered back that “I sleep with a gigantic fan blowing right on me”, but he said he wasn’t giving in yet.  But, as the mercury climbed over 90 this week, I am happy to say that he finally gave in and turned on the air.  I am sure these conversations are going on in households all over.

Speaking of conversations and experiences that are going on all over the world, Mama went back to work last week after a 12 week maternity leave.  During that time, I was pretty much on vacation.  Mama was home everyday, taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, making dinners, shuttling the kids all over the place, and I was more of an accessory than anything.  I must say, I liked it ALOT.  She really had things running smoothly, and it made the transition of adding a baby to our chaos very calm.

But, alas, this shangri-la could not be sustained with what I make working at the sports book, so Mama had to go back to work.  That meant that she would go back to the overnight shift for seven days so it would be on me to take care of these kids at night and in the morning, then when the two older ones would go off to school, it was me and the three month old baby on our own while Mama slept.  Could I handle it?  Oh, yeah, no problem, I have done it before.  And this little baby has been wonderful.  She sleeps through the night, she eats, sleeps, pees and poops, and just looks at you with those big blue eyes.  Piece of cake.

Both the ten year old and the eight year old are huge helpers too.  They do everything, change diapers, feed their sister, talk to her, hold her, etc.  The only thing they don’t really like is the poopy diapers, but who does?  No sweat, I have back up while Mama is gone.  I take two days off of work to stay at home with the baby while Mama sleeps and away we go.

Let me put it this way, if it was 15 round fight, I lost a unanimous decision.  I don’t know how it got away from me so fast.  I know it all started with that damn baby monitor.

Lorex - Wireless Baby Monitor - Larger Front

Eight years ago, the last time we had a baby in the house, the baby monitor was a simple, walkie-talkie looking thing.  All you heard on it was static, sometimes the neighbor’s cordless phone conversations, and, of course, the baby crying.  Now, thanks to our society’s technological advancements, the baby monitor is ridiculous.  It comes with a night vision camera that you set up in the room, and it allows you to see the baby’s every move on a little screen that sits next to your bed.  It never goes off, and it may have the best microphone known to man.  You can hear EVERYTHING!  Every breath, every squirm, every cough, even every fart.  Then, when you hear it, you can immediately open your eyes and stare at the damn screen.

To make matters worse, the older ones are sleeping in the same room with their baby sister.  I am not sure if you realize how much two kids move in their sleep, let alone sigh, snore, talk in their sleep or get up to go to the bathroom.  This gives new meaning to the phrase “sleeping with one eye open.”  Doze off, then a startled “what was that?”  Nod off, only to jump up to a lost binky in the crib.  And then, the debate begins while your eyes are fixated on that damn screen.  “Do I go in or not?”  “Is she ok?”  “Maybe she will just go back to sleep.”  Before you know it, the sun is coming up, and it feels like I haven’t slept more than 15 minutes straight.

Then, the morning routine begins.  The baby is up, needs a diaper change and a bottle, preferably in that order.  Then, wake the other two up for school.  Not sure what it is like at your house, but it is NOT fun waking up two logs who like to sleep.  And all I keep thinking between getting spit up on and told “5 more minutes” by the kids is that Mama is coming home at 8:20, and if their asses aren’t up, it’s MY ASS that will pay.

I play the drill sergeant routine, no good.  I play the nice daddy routine, not working.  I even started begging at one point, still not getting up.  Frustration is beginning to set in.  Somehow, they finally get up.  Get dressed please, now.  No, I don’t know what you are supposed to wear.  Get moving, your mother is going to be home soon.  No, leave the baby alone right now.

“Geez, Daddy, why are you being such a crank butt?”  I am not being a crank butt, I just want you to get ready so there is not trouble from the warden when she gets home.  Don’t worry about it, I will explain what a warden is later, just get dressed already.

We did this song and dance three days in a row.  I got no sleep, the only time I left the house was to pick up the kids from school, I think I wore the same clothes the whole time, and I must have sang the ABCs at least 100 times.  I had been shaving my head every other day, but it never even crossed my mind in these three days.  Now, I have peach fuzz where it still grows on my head, and I have a playoff beard working like my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins.  For those three days, I lost touch with the outside world.  I had no idea what was going on other than what the headlines said on my phone.

I was never happier to go to work than I was on Saturday despite getting up at 5 am to shower (with the monitor in the bathroom and staring at it through the shower curtain), waking the kids up to have them at the softball field by 6:30am, and leaving the baby with grandma at the house.  As I was driving to work after dropping the kids off for their games, I cranked up the music and let it all out on the 30 minute commute.  Needless to say, exhaustion caught up to me, and I took my lunch break in the car, alone, and took a GLORIOUS NAP!  Seat all the way back, old man style, O-U-T!

I know all of us with kids just do it and get through it.  I know I did it, but I was younger and didn’t think so much.  You just do what you have to do, and get through it.  Now, being in my early 40s and constantly thinking and worrying about these kids all the time, this was a rough week.  NO BULLSHIT, the fact that this baby’s life was totally dependent on me while Mama was gone and the other kids were sleeping got the best of me.  I could not shut it down comfortably.  I was talking to myself.  Borderline basket case.

It got to the point by the end of the week that Mama said maybe you need to talk to somebody.  HELL, YEAH, I need to talk to somebody.  Men are not wired like you to do all of this shit.  Make me an appointment.  For $50/hr, it will be worth it for me to bitch to somebody that has to listen because I am paying him.  I will go TODAY.  I already know I am crazy, but this week put me over the edge.  When can I go?

OH, it’s not covered under our plan.  So, it’s going to be $160/hr???  Are you kidding me?  I could take the guy to dinner for two hours, buy his meal, and it would be cheaper.  That seems steep, but you can guarantee that if I go and pay that rate, I am not going to stop talking for the entire hour.  I will breathe through my ears if I have to.  For $160, that guy is getting it all.  After that session, he probably will tell me “you know what?  This is probably not going to work out.  Good luck to you.”  That’s fine.  I know I am a jagoff, the warden tells me on a regular basis.

But, you know what happened?  We made it.  Just like Nike says, just do it.  The baby survived, the kids made it to school everyday, their homework got done, they played their games, Mama went back to work, and I am still standing.  I even got a blog post done.  It was a week of adjustment for all of us, and we will do better next week when she goes back to work.  And I am going to keep writing because it’s my outlet.  Thanks again for sharing.

In the meantime, NO BULLSHIT, if any of you know any good babysitters…

What’s in a name? And what the hell is a “home slice?”

First, let me apologize to all of you.  In addition to our usual “controlled chaos” in our daily lives, we had a computer crash.  Apparently, something to do with the RAM going bad.  Anyways, I want to thank all of you who helped my wife with the diagnosis, and thanks to the Apple Store, we are back up and running.  One disaster averted for sure.  We have learned the hard way in the past that if you don’t back up the stuff that you want, it can be gone in flash.  Pictures, notes, bookmarks, etc.  Call me old school, but that is why I still like paper backups for the real important stuff, and I still like photographs.  The only thing getting those items are a fire, and I can prevent that way easier than I can the computer crash.

A quick update on the cooking vs blogging scoreboard would indicate that it is a blowout.  So much so that we have started eating out again with a bit more frequency.  Visited a couple of our old haunts like Hot N Juicy for seafood, Geisha House for the steak cooked right in front of you, and Grimaldi’s is always a favorite for pizza.  Anyways, we have to get to writing and try to get this thing back to respectability.

With a few of my previous posts, it was pointed out to me that I may have been throwing people under the bus.  By no means is that my purpose.  I am just telling stories and writing them for entertainment purposes, plain and simple.  It is the theme of the BULLSHIT blog to just tell it like it is, and that is what we are trying to do.  I will take all suggestions under advisement, and like I always say, please feel free to comment and start a discussion.

So this entry is going to be about names.  And not just our names that our parents gave to us.  I mean the names that we call each other.  Nicknames, shortened versions of our real names, altered versions of our last names, and who knows what else.  There are endless possibilities, and I just want to touch on a few.

Ever since I can remember, I have been coming up with fun names for people.  I think it comes from playing sports from a very young age and reading about sports and the various nicknames for legends of the past.  The Babe, Pee Wee, The Duke, Broadway Joe, etc are just the tip of the iceberg.  I don’t know about you, but I have been shortening people’s names forever.  It’s either first syllable or just use the letters.  Tony is “tone” or “TC”.  I have a “Big Dog”, a “Dougie Fresh” and a “Smoke” in my own family.  Maybe it’s a guy thing, but it’s just another example of what simple creatures we really are on a daily basis.

After college, I played in a weekly card game with a very eclectic group of guys.  Every Sunday night, we would gather in the basement of the barber shop or the back room of a bar and play cards.  If you had a great night, you might leave up $70, and it was very hard to lose that.  It was a game called “oh hell”, and it couldn’t be missed.  I nicknamed the weekly meeting “kindergarten” because it was 6-8 guys ranging from 25-50 years old, getting together and acting like kids.  Non stop laughter, occasional bickering, but always fun.  The roster included Moses, Rub, Shoop, Guy (pronounced GEE), the Hat, the Rat, Killer, Bomber, Tooney and myself.  Sometimes, the Beak would come by and drop off pizzas from his pizza shop.  These were the guys that nicknamed one of my brothers “the Head” because, yep, you guessed it, he has a big head.

That is what we do, especially with people we know.  In college, we had a “Skinny” because he wasn’t.  We had a “Norm” because who didn’t love Norm from Cheers.  The guy with the last name Ham is “Hammer” but that is easy.  Speaking of easy, we added a “y” or “ie” or “o” at the end to make Dan “Dan-o” or Steve “Stevie” just because.  That was like calling the biggest guy on the team “Tiny” or the slowest guy on the team “Turtle”.  And heaven forbid somebody mispronounce a guy’s name because that became what we called him forever or until we came up with something else.

The reason I felt like writing about names, pet names, nicknames and other monikers is for what I just observed in my last few weeks at work.  As you may or may not know, I work in a race and sports book in Las Vegas.  That means I am front and center with the public on a daily basis.  During March Madness, there are people from all over the United States and Canada here for the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament.  This may be their only trip of the year here, but it is usually a guys trip.  They come every year to meet, hang out, party, gamble and have fun doing it.  One group I talked to was in their 19th consecutive year of doing this.  Hell, I used to do it before I moved here, and we called it “Clownfest” because we all came and acted like clowns.  No BULLSHIT, just plain old, innocent, blowout fun for a few days.

So, in the sports book, it’s mostly testosterone, unlike my ocean of estrogen at home.  Guys being guys, and for these couple weeks in March, the locals are overrun by the tourists.  The regulars have the lingo down and it’s like a language of it’s own.  The visitors have their own thing going, but at times, they try too hard to fit in.  And it is pretty funny at times.  You never know what you will hear.  From your friends, you come to expect it.  But, from complete strangers, it makes me laugh.

In the past two weeks, I have been referred to as “Bro, Brah, Coump, Bald Guy, Young Man, Old Man, Homie, My Friend, My Man, Herman, Partner, Pardner, The Guy on the End, Prime Time, Jerk Off, Know it All, East Coast Guy, Cool Breeze”, and these are just the ones I know about.  My man Angelo the bus driver who comes in to do a $5 parlay after he drops kids off at school surprised me this week.  He is a 5’4″ African American gentleman in his 50s who is beyond nice and leaves me a $1 tip everyday he comes in for typing his bet, despite the fact that I have never seen him cash one of his six teamers.  Anyways, he goes to another window to get his bet in because I was typing Old Man Tony’s horse bets, and from a distance, we make eye contact and he yells out “GOOM-BA”  (My first GOOM-BA!)  We smile at each other and exchange fists in the air from 30 feet away.

But, the best was a kid who was maybe 25 years old from who knows where.  He is at the counter, just banging out parlay after parlay for $5 each, and he has NO chance of hitting any of them.  You just know.  At the end of what felt like 20 minutes at the window, he goes “Thanks, home slice.”  HOME SLICE??  I had nothing.  I am a grown man and I just got called home slice.  No BULLSHIT.  I just started laughing.  If any of you have any good nicknames, please leave them in the comments below.

The Stroll… just another walk through the park

Sorry that it’s been a few days since I have written a post.  Mama has been cooking, and she is ahead on the meals vs blog posts scoreboard.  That was the deal, when she cooks, I am supposed to write.  My BULLSHIT excuse for the past five days was that it was the first week of March Madness, and I worked at the sports book 10-12 hours each day.  It’s only the biggest single week of the year in the business, and it requires me to be on my game.  The response came cold and swift, complete with a sarcastic “hrmmph”, a side to side head shake, and a muttered something.  OH, OK.  I get it.  You like eating at home?  Start writing mother huncher, or it’s back to unhealthy value meals for you.  Message received loud and clear, no problem.

This week’s post is about taking walks.  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE going for a walk/run.  I used to run a lot more than walk when I was younger, and those days will come back someday, but for now, it’s a nice, brisk stroll.  Just me and my playlist or a couple of podcasts.  Sun shining down, breeze in my face, lathered up in sunscreen, workout shirt and shorts, nice running shoes tied tight, away I go.  Peace and solitude.  It’s like a small sliver of heaven watching the cars go by as I work up a good sweat, smelling the trees and grass (and the car fumes) and losing myself in whatever I am listening to at the time.

Over the years here in Las Vegas, I have developed a routine and a route for this excursion.  It’s a one mile walk down Alexander Road to W. Wayne Bunker Family Park, do at least a lap around the one mile track around the park, then back to the house.  All depends on the window of time that I have, the condition of my body, the temperature outside, the wind, etc, etc.  At minimum, it’s three miles, and usually takes about 36 minutes if I just do one lap around.  It’s not record setting pace by any means, and depending on what is going on in the ocean of estrogen at the house, there are times I walk like an eighty year old man to milk the clock.  It’s quiet time for Daddy, and the pace slows to a crawl.  Walk, run, listen to music/podcast, sweat, get the heart beat going, back home.

On some occasions, I am joined on these walks by the girls.  The ten year old and the eight year old will either ride their bikes or their scooters ahead of me.  Needless to say, this changes the dynamics of the quiet stroll completely.  The “Daddy Spider Sense” is constantly tingling and on high alert.  Only one earphone is allowed on, as I have to hear what the two of them are doing at all times.  My head is on a swivel, not looking at the birds or the owners walking their dogs, but watching for whatever imminent dangers lie ahead every step of the way.  It’s a relief when we get to the park because the traffic danger is no longer present, but now, as I am constantly reminded by Mama, you have to keep your eyes on the kids at all times because people are crazy, even at the park.

This week’s episode begins when we decide to make the stroll a complete family event.  Dinner is cooking in the crock pot, it’s 4:30p.m., Mama says we will have dinner at 5:30 so I say, “Let’s all go for a walk.”  HOORAY.  Cheers for Daddy’s idea ring out all throughout the house.  The eight year old jumps up to put her shoes on, the ten year old tells Mama she will help get the stroller out of the minivan, and Mama goes to load up the diaper bag.  I grab my house key and my phone, and I am ready to go in about 15 seconds.  I go outside and do what I do best— stay out of the way and supervise.  This is what it is like leaving the house with a wife and three daughters.  I mostly just try to not get in the way.  I do what I am told and try not to ask questions.  Without a doubt, the worst thing I can say is “hurry up”, “let’s go”, or “are we ready yet?”  Those type of questions are like pouring gasoline on a simmering flame.

Sunset on this day is at 6:53 p.m., and in my head, I am racing against sunset just to leave the house.  Wisely, I don’t say it out loud though.  Contrary to popular belief in our house, I have learned a thing or two how to survive up in here.  And, soon enough, after at least three trips back into the house to get something somebody forgot, we embark on our journey.  It’s 75 degrees outside and perfect.  Kids on their scooters, baby in the stroller, Mama in her workout gear complete with sports bra, the monogrammed diaper bag loaded to the gills, and me with my phone, no headphones and only 25% life on the battery.  Definitely not the usual routine, but away we go like Columbus discovering the New World.

The kids start out like it’s a sprint and racing with each other.  Them and I have done this before.  They know the routine.  They go ahead, but they can’t cross a street until I get there.  We are maybe 5 minutes into the walk, and Mama starts chirping.  “Girls, you are a little too far away.  Slow down.  Be careful.  Watch for cars.”   Then, to me.  “Boy, you really let them go up ahead of you.  They know not to get too far away, right?”  Oh, yeah, I see how this is going.  “It’s fine, Mama, we do this all the time.  They know the routine.”  My playlist is on but I can barely hear it.  This is no time for Eminem.

A couple more minutes pass, and we make it across our first crosswalk.  First, I walk out into the street, looking like the old man crossing guard, but without the little stop sign and fluorescent vest.  “OK, let’s go.  Get moving, please.”  Everybody safely crosses the street, despite Mama’s pleas that the girls walk their scooters across instead of ride them.  The baby, two months old now, is just smiling and enjoying the ride.  Mama comes with, “You know, it’s going to be harder walking back because it’s uphill, right?”  Pitbull is on the playlist now, but I don’t hear it.  In hindsight, I should not have heard this question, and I should definitely not have responded.  But, I can’t help myself.

“WHAT?”  I reply, loudly over the passing traffic.  “You are kidding, right?”  She looks at me, pushing our child in the stroller, and says in all seriousness, “No, I am serious.  It’s a down grade going there so it’s uphill coming back.”  Now, I have done this route a thousand times on foot and we drive this road everyday.  I know it’s flat.  Hell, even a blind Stevie Wonder could tell that it’s flat.  I ran hills in Pittsburgh, this is not a hill.  This is not a grade.  This is flat.  It’s one of the reasons why I like going this way.  A bit agitated, I say, “Look, you can see all the way to the park from here.  There is no hill.”  Without breaking pace, she says, “Yes there is, but that’s fine, whatever.”

I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but the whatever is the end all be all.  Conversation over.  I shake my head and continue forward, ahead of mama and the baby, but behind the two speed demons on their scooters. We make it across Buffalo Road with minimal arguing over who gets to push the button at the cross walk, and soon, we are at the park.  I don’t know what time it is, but we are way behind pace.  Mama says, “Ok, now what?”  I say that I usually do a lap or two around the track and then go back.  After a brief negotiation, it is agreed that I will go do a lap around the track while the kids go on the swings.  We will meet up upon completion of my lap, and make our way back to home sweet home.

Ah, time to go.  Me and Eminem, Pitbull, the Fugees, a little K7, and some Limp Bizkit for a little quality time.  I start to run.  I am fired up.  Quickly, I go back to walking.  Nobody else is in a hurry, why am I?  This is going to be one of those slow walks.  Everyone on the track gives you a head nod, or a brief hi, the sun is out, and I am off duty.  Soak it in.  It is glorious.  Then, just as I am about done with my little side trip, I get the text.  “We walked to the gas station for a drink.  U want anything?”  First sniff of BULLSHIT.

It’s a strict rule I have on the stroll when I am with the kids.  The gas station, let alone the Dairy Queen, across the street from the park is usually off limits because it extends the trip by at least a half hour.  Unless it’s really hot or there is a poop stop required, we don’t go.  I usually don’t bring money, the park has water fountains and public bathrooms that are perfectly acceptable, let’s go.  Too late.  I see them crossing the street to the gas station as I am making the turn home to the swings.  So, I reply with this text.  “Nope.  I’m good.  You want me to wait or just meet you at home?”

“Wait for us.  Meet us at the swings.  Will be there in a few minutes.”  More BULLSHIT.  I thought we were walking, but again, I am just waiting.  I should have just done another lap, but I didn’t want to hear about it if I wasn’t there waiting when they got there, so I just started pacing, back and forth.  The music is playing, the battery is at 8%, but I am like a caged animal walking back and forth, waiting.  I can’t relax knowing we have to get back home, get dinner ready, eat, do homework, get showers, bathe the baby, watch the Voice, and get to bed.

Finally, the crew arrives at the swings.  The eight year old is walking with Mama now, her scooter folded up in the stroller, a bag of sunflower seeds in her hand.  The ten year old has a blue Powerade, as does Mama.  “You want some seeds, Dada?”  Sure, but let’s go.  My whole routine is thrown off.  Let’s pick up the pace.  So, we head towards home together, but we are walking at Mama’s pace, not mine.  You know what happens next, right?  Yep, baby unloads.  Diaper change time.  Find some shade off the path.  Who knew you can’t change a diaper in the sun?  What usually takes 45 minutes is now approaching two hours.

Poopy diaper disposed of, we are now a half mile from the house.  The sun is approaching the horizon, and hopefully, the dinner is not overcooked because I know I am hungry, and I have to think the rest of the crew is famished as well.  We get to the crosswalk, and the baby is not happy about something.  Probably because she is hungry too, but what do I know.  She is really crying at this point, and she is all I can hear over the traffic, the bickering about pushing the button, and  the pleading by Mama to stop crying.  I can’t stop myself, and out it comes.  “Whew, it’s like nails on a chalkboard, huh?”

You know the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Yep, well, if I could pull that one back into my head, I would.  But it’s too late.  Mama just looks at me and says “JUST GO ALREADY!”  I reply with a meek “What?  Why?”  She says something about it’s not the baby’s fault, you don’t have any patience, you walk too fast, something about being a jagoff, and gives me the backhand wave.  Incredulous for a moment, I pause in my tracks.

PEACE OUT!!!  SEE YA!!  You don’t have to tell me twice.  I take off like Adrian Peterson heading for the end zone.  I am waving my arms like a madman and screaming to the heavens.  “OH, NOW you want me to just go?  After you made me wait for 20 minutes at the swings?  NOW I get to just go?  And WHY?  Because I said the baby crying sounded like nails on a chalkboard??  You mean it doesn’t?  BULLSHIT!  Really?”  On and on, it went all the way home.  The ranting and raving of a madman to himself in public view.  Cars beeped.  One even waved.  All said and done, almost three hours from start to finish.

Just another walk in the park.

 

POSTED FROM ANOTHER BLOG, BUT FITS THE THEME…Let’s Talk About Facebook, Shall We?

I read this on another blog, and I immediately thought it was well written and made good points.  So, here it is to share.  No BULLSHIT.  Does any else see the irony in it being called “social” media when it seems like it’s the least “social” thing that we do?  Enjoy

Oh for the love of...me

I’ll admit it…I’m a defender of Facebook. I like it. I like seeing pictures of my grandkids and keeping up with what is going on with them. I like keeping up on the lives of my friends and what their grandchildren are doing. I like the positive news items and the helpful way it reaches out to millions of people at a moments notice. I like finding friends from way back when and touching base again…not enough to actually make an effort to get together or anything but I’m nosy…I like knowing what’s going on in the world.

But I’m finding there’s no real “etiquette” when it comes to Facebook. It’s kind of anonymous…but not really. We’re not face to face so you don’t have to see my initial reaction to your post and I have time to think about how I’m going to (or not going to respond). Kind…

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Searching for the truth and being right…

Quick update.  Mama keeps cooking so I am still trailing on the posts.  We had a busy week with school and softball for the girls, and the week before March Madness for me at work.  I know, that sounds like BULLSHIT because everybody is busy, but it is the truth as well.  That is the thing, sometimes even the truth has a whiff of BULLSHIT in it.  We all know it, it’s just part of the program.  My lovely wife keeps telling me it’s a good thing I don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.  My response is simple and always the same… “I can’t make this shit up.”  And, apparently from the responses both her and I have received, we aren’t alone.  This BULLSHIT is going on all over in houses from coast to coast.  The fun part comes in sharing our stories.  Cue up the Law and Order theme… ba ba BA, these are their stories…

This post is about a topic that I am sure happens to all of us.  We have discussions everyday (except on those days that I am getting the silent treatment for something I said or did), and between mama, the ten year old, the eight year old, and myself, we have some strong opinions in this house.  Everyone has a thought and makes a case.  Simple discussions have turned into Supreme Court cases, and there are numerous times where each party has to make a case like a lawyer in a courtroom.  Ask a question, get a response, wait for an answer, make an objection, overruled.  Sometimes we have to literally take turns talking because it ends up like a show on ESPN where everybody is talking and NOBODY is listening.  Who doesn’t like being right?

The whole house knows if you come to me with something, you better have facts.  A lot of them.  I ask a lot of follow up questions.  I ask why you think what you do.  It’s not always fun, but it is always an engaging conversation.  And I say it all the time, I can disagree with you, but if you make a lucid, informative argument, I can see your side.  I may not agree, but that is why we are talking, isn’t it?  And I listen.  So, you better not make up BULLSHIT, and you better have your facts correct.  That’s all I expect along with listening to my side.  Contrary to belief, I don’t have to be right all the time, and I don’t mind being wrong.  I like to learn everyday.

In our modern, technological world, you really don’t have to know anything anymore.  In the old days, you had to look up stuff in the dictionary or the encyclopedia.  Remember those World Book Encyclopedias?  Or, you had to call someone who knew the answer and actually talk on the phone?  Now, we google it.  Don’t know where the place is?  Put it in your phone and it gives you a map.  Not sure what time they close?  The phone gives you the hours.  The smart phone has made our brains retain nothing.  I used to know everyone’s phone number.  Now, the only number I know is my own only because I have had the same one for 15 years.

Anyways, the best is when you are having a discussion and you know the answer.  Doesn’t matter what it is, you know it.  But, as is the case more often than not, the wife doesn’t believe you.  You know the drill.  You stick to your guns because you KNOW you are right, but this person who you share your whole life with looks at you like a lifetime criminal.  “I’m telling you, I know that happened, trust me.”  That should make it better, but in some cases, it makes it worse.  Ok, time to dig in the heels.  “Go ahead, look it up.”  In 2014, that means look it up in the google machine on your phone.

We have a fun tradition in the house that when you are right in one of these “discussions”, the person who did the questioning has to do what the ten year old has coined “Pay Up.”  That means you have to say out loud “You were right” seven times (once for each person who has lived in our house at one time or another, and one extra for the people in the cheap seats).  Try it.  Go ahead, it’s ok.  “You were right, you were right, you were right, you were right, you were right, you were right and YOU WERE RIGHT.”  I am not going to lie, that BULLSHIT is painful when you are the one saying it.  But when you are the one being serenaded, it’s sounds like the most beautiful symphony music in the world.

So, after this ridiculous back and forth discussion, we go to the phone.  Actually, mama goes to the phone while I sit on the couch with great anticipation.  I already know I am right, and it feels good.  But, I just sit like I have a royal flush, waiting for her to play the hand, knowing I have the hand won.  Then, it happens.  First, the screen is pressed to confirm the answer.  Then, the face.  You know THAT face.  The neck gets a little red from the rush of boiling blood.  The nose scrunches.  Finally, a quick mutter about a damn it, maybe a really, or even a I can’t believe it.  I sit up, chest puffed up, chin to the sky.  “Well?”

And, then it comes.  Seven times, and say it S-L-O-W.  No half assing it.  Loud and proud.  I stand up and conduct like Mr Holland conducting his opus.  I even start to shimmy, and throw in some cha cha.  I even throw in a little Hulk Hogan and cup my hand up to my ear to make sure I can hear.  I make them all join in.  Right on cue, on the last “right”, I do my best James Brown and blurt out “I FEEEEEEEL GOOD!”  It’s a walk off, shoulders shimmying, hips gyrating, almost passing out from the blood rushing to my head as I literally leave the room to revel in my glory.

From the other room, it comes.  “Great, girls.  Here comes more BULLSHIT for the blog.”