Tuesday, June 27, 2006

3 Days, 9 Rooms, and 15 People.

My favorite time of the year is finally here. Sure the 4th of July is all about independence and fireworks and all that…but for the Blockhead family it’s the only time of year where we all gather in one place!!! Over the river and through the woods to Grandma and Grandpa Blockhead’s house we go.

Usually this means we all get hotel rooms near their house so we can get a least a good nights sleep (and give the grandparents some time to watch the weather channel and rethink their life choices) as we prepare for the next days events…but not this year. Apparently there has been a snow ball effect taking place and with each new day more people have decided to just show up and crash on the floor. As of 6/27/06 the total is up to 15 people with still 2 full families not committing to the gathering.

Lucy and I will be the first one’s there so we get one of the 2 guest rooms, plus we get VIP status for bringing the new baby. We get a bed, TV, and a rocking chair. Next up will be my dad and half-brother and sister (they got the last hotel room). Followed by my cousin and her 6 month old daughter (also with VIP status and guaranteed a room, you gotta take advantage of the babies while you can.) Next comes my aunt with the trusty air mattress and finally my other aunt with her husband and 2 kids.

My grandparents are getting up in their 70’s and I will admit I don’t know if they can still keep control over a zoo full of people…but like it or not a when they answer the doorbell on Friday morning, a stampede of wild Blockheads is gonna destroy their peaceful house.

Oh and don’t forget the 4th means fireworks and that’s another name for explosives. I heard that the day after we left last year the neighbors began looking for a more calming place to spend the holiday this year. I think they finally settled on the path of the nearest hurricane.

So as you sit back and chomp a rib, maybe float along aimlessly in your swimming pool…please say a prayer for Granny and Grandpa Blockhead, cause this year the animals in the zoo don’t have their own cages to go back too and the monkeys are getting restless.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Do We Always Get the Full Spelling?

Quiz time. What do these words have in common?
Where & Wear
Meet &Meat
There & Their
By & Bye
Stair & Stare
Give up? If I were to say them out loud…just the one word and nothing before or after it…would you know which one I was talking about? Would you be able to understand how that word is spelled? What the meaning behind it was? Would you be able to describe it? Is it a verb or a noun? An adjective or an adverb? What if I gave you the first couple of letters? Would that help? Probably not huh? You might form an opinion as to which word I meant? It might be correct…it might be incorrect.

People are like this too. You go around and you meet people. You live your life surrounded by family and friends and coworkers…and you base these relationships on what they show you. Do we always get the full spelling? Do we really know what is going on inside somebody’s heart?

See my problem is I think I may have spelled somebody’s name wrong. I think somebody is using multiple spellings. Appearing to be one way around myself, but revealing an alternate self to others. I’m now left with a decision to make. Nobody is forcing my hand yet, but I can feel a rock forming in my stomach silently demanding that a choice be made as to who I think this person is. Here’s the catch…once the choice is made a large part of my life will be change forever.

So what do I do? For now all I can thank of is to speak to the one person I do know the complete spelling of…GOD.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Attack of the Mini-Blogs!!!!

Father’s Day numero uno.

I had a great Father’s Day. I got a tie and the very first Peanuts movie ever made i.e. the 1969 classic A Boy Named Charlie Brown. I really can’t wait till Fred and I watch it together. I also love the idea of getting a new tie every year. I know it’s kinda corny and I only wear them to church, but to me nothing says Father like a necktie. I also received the gift of rest!! This may have been the greatest gift of all. Lucy was sick last week and we weren’t sure it was going to work out, but by Friday things were golden. While Lucy cared for the baby, I read my book (Dean Koontz’s Life Expectancy. Yes I finally finished the Da Vince Code. What a big let down that was). I played with the baby, watched a scary movie with Lucy, caught most of the golf game, and had nothing but peanut butter cookie dough ice cream for at least 3 meals. Ah what I life I have lead the past few days. I am sooooo sad to see it go. And this brings me to my next topic…

Calling Mary Poppins.

Man!! Three days of neglect and the house was a wreck. We are very organized people and even have a list of what needs to be done on what day. I’m green, Lucy is pink and whenever something gets done we mark it off on the day we did it. Admittedly pink always beats green, but this weekend nothing got scratched off. Looks like we are going to have to rebuild. Sometimes I feel like one of those circus acts where the guy is spinning 6 plates and has to keep running up and down the line so one of them doesn’t fall and break…too much time spent on one plate and your left sweeping up a bunch of glass. Which brings me too…

All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down.

We go to a very large church and one of the advantages of this is the number of friends you get to share your life with. Everywhere you go you bump into this person or that couple. Seldom do we eat at a restaurant where we don’t end up sitting with somebody we just ran into. Anyway there are about 20 of us that used to get together every Thursday night to talk about God and life and whatever else was on our minds. For many it became the highlight of the week, that extra boost to get over a mid-week bump in the road.
I’m not sure when it happened but we quit having these awhile back and I desperately miss it. Sure I still see the same friends, but there is nothing like having everyone in the same place. For years Lucy and I wished we had a church family and finally we found the perfect home. The thing is just like that family of four I used to be apart of…people start moving away, life interferes, and suddenly you look up and what was once a loving family has turned into strangers passing each other in the church auditorium. I know we all still care about each other but I miss the closeness. It used to be like we lived in Mayberry and now we might as well be in New York City. Speaking of Mayberry….

Them Rascals Flat Out Put the Baby to Sleep.

What can I say? The kid loves country music. While Lucy is still recovering from the break in her foot, I’m making the daycare run twice a day. Anytime he gets fussy, I put in the cd Melt and he calms down almost instantly. While we were out this weekend I showed this little trick to Lucy and sure enough, by the time the song Mayberry came on he was dreaming of ice-cold cherry…coke nana nana nana nananananana
I listen to a bunch of different styles of music, from Brad Paisley to Cold Play to Linkin Park. So I guess it’s no big deal that he has focused on this style. Part of me just wish he could latch on to something with a little less depressing. We both sing to him everyday. One of my fondest memories is being with my dad and listening to Queen. A few hears back, I bought a copy of Sports by Huey Lewis and the News cause it was the first cassette my dad ever gave me. It’s funny what we remember about our parents, as we get older. And now back to Father’s Day….

Oh Father Where Are’t Thou?

Lately I have become very disappointed with my gender. As we were cruising for possible Father’s Day gifts I was shocked by the lack of attention this holiday receives from the retail industry. Mother’s Day is an appointment holiday. We are warned about it right after Valentine’s Day. “Don’t forget your mother this year. It’s only a few weeks away” “Doesn’t Mom deserve something special this year?” Father’s day is the exact opposite. One place we went had a single display of golf balls and car wash supplies…how generic!! They may as well call it Arbor Day and forget is even exists. Then I found out the reason behind this lack focus on the father.
We are a dying species. Did you know that there are 66 million fathers in the U.S, but only 26 million are part of a marriage? That’s only 39%!!!! No wonder the stores aren’t dedicating 3 isles to nothing but dad’s…we have put the burden of childcare squarely on the shoulders of mom and don’t deserve the attention. We live in a world where the average father has turned into a jobless, adulterating, shifty, abusive, lazy, bum or if they do work they are so preoccupied that they try to squeeze their families between the 8:00 board meeting and the 2:00 tee off time. Now I’m not saying every dad is this way, but I am saying that 40 million of us must have some of these characteristics!! I am proud to be part of an equal parenting partnership. One that is fair and involves both mom and dad pulling their own weight…and I will even admit that it’s not always 100% divided down the middle, but to hear the praises that are undeservedly given to me once people find out that I have actually been doing most of the house work while Lucy is recovering from a broken foot and a virus that left her with a temperature of 104 … you would think I was the lost Unicorn leaping from the pages of a storybook. The way I see it I’m only doing my fair share, just as I hope I was doing before the baby got here. And finally speaking of the baby going places…

Fred Gets to Meet His Match.
I only get to see my dad once a year cause he lives like a million miles away. We always get together on July 4th at my grandparent’s, whom I also only see once a year. Well this year is extra special obviously due to baby Fred. Not only will this be his first car trip (a 5 hour drive) but he will also get to spend 3 days with his grandpa and his great grandparents. Both of which are just dying to see him. The coolest part is that we all look exactly alike. I am named after my dad who was named after his dad, but we decided to go a different direction with Fred cause Lucy didn’t want to play the “which one us is she talking to?” game the rest of her life. When I get back I will be sure to post a picture of the four of us together so you can see we are all a chip off the old blockhead…I just had to say that. I do love the corny jokes.

I’ll try and post another this week, so don’t go far.
Until next time!!
Charlie Blockhead.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chief Red Face and the God of Thunder

During his 2½ months on this planet, Fred has never been much of a crier. A few weeks ago we took him in for his first set of shots and at the exact moment the needle pierced his skin Chief Red Face was born. As we all know, practically every experience is a new one for a baby and with each new adventure comes a new lesson. The needle taught Fred if he really gave it his all, he could scream louder than he ever imagined possible.

This alter ego is a tough one to swallow. Somehow he is able to turn our sweet, giggly, curly haired baby into…well…into something else…something much more powerful than Lucy, Charlie, and all the weapons at our disposal.

With slick black hair, a wide mouth filed with rage, and left hook just itching to dot an I or cross a T, Chief Red Face is a force that commands your full attention. Up until last night we thought that his biggest weapon was sleep deprivation. Now I must say this is a very effective tool to use against the forces of Mommy and Daddy, but little did we know the full power of the red faced one!!!

We have been under a small drought here in North Alabama and this weekend was a scorcher. Not a cloud in the sky, not a shade to rest under, the 97-degree heat has been brutal. I can almost hear the dead grass cracking under my feet as I write this. Before Sunday night, rain was only a distant memory left to be talked about between old men as they slow spooned their biscuits and gravy down at the local Hardee’s.

Sunday night that all changed when Chief Red Face paid us a visit.

The warning signs weren’t there this time. Though now that I look back, Fred had slept almost all night for the last few days…I should have seen it coming…for that I am to blame. He began crying at 9:00 p.m. nothing unusual about that, but by 10:00 the crying had not stopped. We went directly to the armory. The swing missed by inches, the bouncy seat only made the crying worse, Patches the puppy was tossed about like the stuffed animal he is thankful to be. Finally by 11:00 the crying had stopped….but it was just the calm before the storm.

The attack came at 1:00 a.m.!!! The cry in the dark grew as I quickly switched from passey to bottle back to passey. Momma jumped in with the quick bounce but Chief Red Face was now upon us….that’s when we heard it!! BOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM.!!!! BOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!
I HAVE NO... I THINK WE … A MAJOR PROBLEM ON OUR HANDS” said Lucy as she quivered in the bed unable to make complete sentences!!

Then as if he had command of the very forces of nature…
Lightning shot from the sky and the thunder shook the foundations of the house.

What happened after that? I confess. I blacked out from fear only to find baby Fred peacefully asleep the next morning. My only memory is that of Lucy running from the room clutching the baby to her chest screaming “Jesus love me this I know!!”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Long Strange Trip

Lucy was never supposed to have fallen. I’m the clumsy one. One time I twisted my ankle because I was staring up into a pecan tree for too long. I was just standing there and the next thing I know I was on the ground. To this day I can’t walk down the hall and not bump into one of the walls. I even dropped Fred last week. Luckily I was standing over the bed at the time and he only dropped 2 feet onto a pillow.

If I were to have some type of accident that required me to be in a full body cast, Lucy wouldn’t miss a beat. She’s amazing. You should see her handle baby Fred. I think I know her secret though…it happened really fast and I only caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye, but I know what I saw. She was sitting on the couch trying to calm a very upset baby Fred, both cats were attempting to get in her lap, I was busy burning dinner, and then the phone rang. Out of no where a third arm shot out from her back, shoved the cats off, grabbed a dropped passey in mid air, and got the phone by the second ring. She can’t fool me. I know the secret to her powers.

My point is if something happened to me, the daily routine wouldn’t suffer much.
That’s why I almost passed out when she called last week to tell me she had fallen and hurt herself. She had just dropped Fred off at daycare and tripped on her way back to the car. Oh and there was a loud CRACK from somewhere just under her pinky toe.

We are a team. When the quarterback goes down, it’s time to call in the second string.
So until momma’s broken foot is healed and the big blue boot comes off, I’m the man. It’s been a week and I have come to a couple of conclusions.

First of all, I will never be a single parent. Sure I’m doing ok for now but Lucy is still there to give me pointers. Plus her foot is healing and there is some type of a timetable involved. It may be 3 weeks or two months from now, but she will be better eventually. The day will come again when I will be able to hand him off to his mom and read a book or enjoy a moment to myself. Single parents have nobody to pass the buck to. They just have to suck it up and deal with the tantrums as they come. I’m all about the tag team.

Second, I love my son more with every second. He is growing so much and you can see his mind thirsting for new things. We have been skiing and deep sea diving and out riding horses on the range. Anything that allows him to swing his arms and legs is right up his alley. We just sit there for hours and pretend to run from the Abominable Snowman or a giant octopus. So what he cries a little around bedtime, it’s just all part of it. I’m exhausted and Lucy helps as much as she can, but a side effect is that Fred and I have become closer than ever. Which is something I have been waiting on since he was born.

I believe that it’s not up to me to figure out why something happens. The best I can do is make the most of whatever situation I find myself in. I would be sugar coating it if I said that things were better than ever around the Blockhead house lately. The truth is… raising your first child is hard enough with two people and very complicated with one and a half.

So you may be wondering about my disappearance last week and to summarize here is what happened: Lucy fell, I stood up, Fred grew, and I was blown away by how much I love my family and depend on my wife.

See you soon,Charlie Blockhead

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blue About Mr. Red.

I haven’t cut the grass much this year.
We moved into our current house about 5 years ago and since then I have done some amazing things to the yard. Before we moved in, there was nothing but grass. Now the whole house is surrounded with roses, azaleas, tulips, you name it we probably planted it. It’s the kind of yard that screams, “Come play outside”.

Or at least it was…

This year something is different. The major reason I’m not out there is Fred. I just don’t have the time or the interest to be in the yard all day. Every time I go out to do something about the weeds or to prune a rose, I think about what I could be doing inside with the baby. There is only so much you can squeeze into two days and Fred has jumped to the top of the list. However this isn’t the only reason I don’t want to be outside.

Mr. Red has lived across the street from us for over 30 years. He loves to tell stories about how my house was once a swamp. On occasion he would actually load a few of the kids up in a flat bottom boat and row through what would someday become a thriving community. He once got so tired of the snakes coming from the swamp, that he set it on fire. The city refused to come out and clear the area, so he lit it up and it burned for 3 days before anyone came out.

Every week I’ll start to cut grass and there will be Mr. Red working on the old gray pickup or sitting next to his pond watching the gold fish swim in circles. When he’s not outside, I find myself looking up to see if he’s heard my mower and just hasn’t made it out yet. It’s often the case that we spend more time swapping stories than we do getting any work done.

Mr. Red passed away earlier this year and as you may have noticed…I still talk like he’s still around. His truck is still there. His wife still comes over to see the baby or catch us up on neighborhood gossip. His yard is in better shape now than it ever was…not mine though.

Every couple of weeks I’ll go out and crank the mower. I get around to the front of the house and look up wondering where my friend is…and that makes me miss my wife and son. So this year I’ve got weeds. I’ve got gutters that need to be cleaned. I’ve a tool shed that is about to explode if I don’t get in there and organize it better. What I don’t have is a reason to go outside.