Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Might Be Indecisive

I just can’t seem to make up my mind about anything anymore.

Do I want pizza or tacos?
Pizza!!…Tacos!!!…Spaghetti?

With every decision I find myself more and more unsure of what I want.

Should I wear the green shirt with the grey shoes or the brown shirt with the brown shoes?
Should I wear socks?
If I’m not going to wear socks then I need the brown shoes cause they feel better.
The green shirt fits better though.

Would my sneakers go with this?

Socks?

I’ve had to make some pretty hard choices lately. Some I have blogged about. Others ***cough****cough***put the cats outside***cough I haven’t.

Maybe I’m experiencing some type of responsibility withdrawal.

Everywhere I look there is something that needs to be figured out.

Are we going to drive the four hours to the grandparents this weekend?

Yes, they need to see their grandbaby.

No, It’s the first weekend of football season.

Yes, the guilt will ruin any game I plan on watching anyway.

Do we leave at 2 AM? 6 AM? Should we leave on Friday night?

I wish somebody would do all of this thinking for me. At least I think that’s what I want.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Book of Luke



Being a dad is one of the most challenging things a man can do in life. Being a dad requires something more. Whatever this “something more” is, it has nothing to do with DNA and everything to do with the intangible parts of life. I’m sad to say that most men just don’t seem to have it anymore. Maybe I watch the news too much and I’m not allowing myself to get a fair view of the world. It just appears that more and more I have to search for examples of good dads in action. Didn’t it used to be the other way around? I remember growing up and watching classic shows like “Father Knows Best” and “The Courtship of Eddie's Father”. Those were great dads in action!! I still stop every so often and catch “Leave it Beaver” or “The Andy Griffin Show”. Why do we have to look for the Cliff Huxtables and Steven Keatons? Why aren’t they in plain site?

If art imitates life, then maybe there are more Al Bundys and Homer Simpsons than we care to admit. Sure every example I have used thus far has come from TV, but these characters aren’t just entertaining because they are quick with a one liner and have horrible luck. A portion of the fun had by watching these TV dads, comes from having known people that share the same traits and behaviors. These dads are out there! The difference is the networks are only allowed to show so much and would never be able to air the true horrors that some of todays fathers are getting away with

Being a dad…being a good dad is a never-ending task. Class begins the day the little guy is born and the semester lasts the rest of your life. Being a dad is hard work!!! The wife, the bills, work, moving up the corporate ladder, planning a future, helping around the house, yard work, keeping up with the cars, maintaining law and order, budgeting, watching the kids,being a moral compass, family time, alone time, time with the wife, time with friends, caring for pets, keeping track of people outside of the immediate family, grandparents are getting older, gas is getting higher, and your stomach is getting larger…these are just tiny examples of what a dad faces everyday. Thank God for Moms, cause there is no way all of this was meant to be done by one person.

With this being said, I want to introduce my cousin Luke. Luke is in his early twenties and has recently done something that needs to be screamed from the rooftops and wrote about in newspapers. Luke became a dad by choice and not by circumstance. When most men find out that the cute girl with the great smile has a brand new baby at home, they run so fast you would swear a DeLorean just hit 80mph. Luke just loved her that much more. Lucy and I have been together almost ten years and it took nine decide to have Fred. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to be a dad; I just needed to ease my way into it. Not Luke. He just jumped in with both feet and promised to never jump out. He works a full time job, goes to school full time, cuts his grandparents yard every other week, takes his family to church every time the doors are open, and the whole time he’s talking about his wife and son.

Growing up, I never spent much time with Luke. I’m about 8 years older and more
self-centered than I care to admit. He was always the goofy little cousin that we never knew what to buy for Christmas. I remember him as this lanky, quiet teenager that never made that big of an impression on me. I didn’t like or dislike him, I never bothered to get to know him. I don’t see him this way any longer.... Though he’s still tall, it’s because he is standing proud. He may come off as quiet, but his actions speak louder than anything he could ever say. He’s somebody I’m proud to be related to. Somebody I’m thankful to know exists. An example not only to me, but also to every child, teenager, father, brother, grandparent, stranger he comes into contact with. He’s a good dad!!!!

As for what to get him for Christmas…it seems to me that he’s got all he could ever dream of and he deserves every bit of it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Boys Will Be Boys

When you have a son, it’s just a given that certain things are going to happen that you wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about with a girl. For example, someday we are all going to be at the park (please dear God let it be the park and not a wedding reception) and Fred will have to go to the bathroom. Instead of looking for a restroom he’s just going to pull his pants down and let his freak flag fly. If we had a girl, this would never happen…and if it did then there are more than just bathroom habits that need fixing. Girls just don’t pee in public.

Want another example? Without a doubt there will come a time when Lucy is doing the laundry and she will pick up Fred’s underwear only to find a skid mark so long you would think he had tried to avoid hitting a deer. Not going to happen with a girl. Girls are candy and butterflies. Boys are mud and frogs. Girls use napkins and toilet paper. Boys use their clothes or just plain forget why they are sitting there and run off to play.

Finally, if I had a girl I wouldn’t have to worry about flying peepee. Sure you pick any baby up without a diaper and you run the risk of getting wet. With boys though, once the pants come down anything within a five-foot radius runs the risk of getting hosed. The funny thing is that sometimes the accuracy of the stream is so exact that you would swear there was some form of aim and calculation of trajectory involved. Case in point, Lucy was bending over to turn on the bath water. I was holding Fred away from me (so I wouldn’t get hit twice) and at exactly the right moment, as the angles lined up and the currents shifted just enough…he turned on the hose. The stream hit dead center in the middle of Lucy’s ear. Not the lobe. Not the back of the ear. Right into the eardrum it went. Proving once again that there are some things that boys do that you just don’t have to worry about with girls.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Long Way Home

This morning after church we did something a little different. We had the privilege of seeing two baptisms and were on our way back from paying a quick visit to Pops. It had really been a great Sunday so far. There were some clouds on the horizon threatening a much-needed rain and hopefully a cool down. Fred and Lucy have been down with allergies the last few days so the prospect of clean air and that wonderful smell of freshness were just too good to pass up. We took the long way home.

Just like most small towns there are a million ways to get everywhere and everybody thinks their way is the quickest. It’s a rarity when you find yourself searching for the longest way to get home. So we chose the longest, most backwoods, far away path we could and headed straight into a thunderstorm. The kind of rain that would normally make us pull over, found us practically crusing along at 20mph with the windows cracked.

This got me thinking about all the other times we have taken the long way home.

Lucy and I met at a grocery store some five odd years before we ever went on our first date. The GiGi says she knew right away that were going to be married someday, but it was long time before that first trip to the movies together.

Though we got engaged eight months after our first date, the wedding didn’t happen for another four years. Filled with Christmas trees and white lights strung up every where, it was as if we had decided to get married in something out of a Disney movie. Except this time around Snow White decided to marry Dopey.

I may have mentioned before my grandfather is a preacher for the Church of Christ. The past 52 years he has been spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ all over the world. It took me 28 years to get baptized. It was one to the best days of my life, but some thought it would never happen.

The second you get married you are asked, “When are you having a baby?” It may as well be part of the vows “Do you Charlie promise to love, cherish, and obey? Do promise to be with her always through good times and bad? Do you swear to give your parents that grandchild they have been asking for every week for the past four and half years?”
At some point the question became one of desperation, “Are you going to a have a baby?” This year we finally answered the question only to be asked, “When is the next one going to be here?”

Life gets faster every day. Long gone are the weekends when just the two of us rented 10 movies and only got up to use the bathroom/grab a coke on the way back. It seems we are gone every night now visiting with family, showing off the baby. Nowadays we are lucky to be able to share a meal at the same time. If it’s one we cooked ourselves, then … well baby must have gone to bed early or we are eating really late. Then something unexpected happens. You find yourself with an afternoon that hasn’t been planned out to the second and those thunder claps begin to take on a different tone. What normally would be sounds of violence and natures fury, become invitations to witness the cleansing of the world around you. As we drove through that storm this afternoon, while others were desperately trying to escape the wind and rain…we just slowed down and enjoyed the ride. Like we’ve been doing for the past ten years…

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Six Degrees of John Mark Karr

John Mark Karr is his name. It meant nothing to me on Tuesday, but 24 hours later I find myself scanning my memory banks searching for the face that now seems very familiar. I have no direct thought of ever meeting him, but much like that cold going around the office; if you hear about it enough, you begin to feel the sniffles coming on. If somebody asked me straight out “Have you ever met or heard of John Mark Karr?” I’d have to say “not that I know of”. That being said, we did go to the University of North Alabama at the same time…so maybe the better answer should be “No I have no memory of meeting John Mark Karr. However, is it possible I have met him before? Yes it’s very likely”

Everybody remembers the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The game is based on the theory that everything can be traced back to Kevin Bacon in six progressions or less. For example: Everwood was a mildly successful show on the WB. Scott Wolf had a small part in Everwood. Scott Wolf was on Party of Five. He stared with Neive Campbell. Neive Campbell was in Wild Things…along with Kevin Bacon. That’s four steps to Kevin Bacon!! Anyway the point is I could very well be connected to John Mark Karr through 10 steps…or maybe 6…maybe 3.

I spent half my college career in the student center. Who’s to say that I didn’t walk past him on my way for coffee? Maybe I got up to go to class (it happened) and he was the next person to sit in my seat. Isn’t it possible that he once sat on the right side of the class and I sat on the left? We all know those classes are huge, he could have sat 3 rows over and I wouldn’t remember. After all, I was in a fraternity and killing brain cells by the thousands back then. How about this; I ate a salad. I ate the salad with a fork. The fork got sent the kitchen to be washed. The fork was cleaned and placed back in the bucket next to the plates. John Mark Karr had a taste for salad that day. That’s five steps!

It could have happened a million other ways, but let’s make things just a little more interesting. My grandfather was a missionary. He spent most of his time teaching the Bible in Bangkok, Thailand. He traveled the city on a regular basis. After over ten years of missionary work, he probably got around the country pretty good. I know he speaks the language fluently. Sure it’s been a while since he’s been there, but if we knew where to look I bet we could connect the dots right back to Mr. Karr. It might take 100 steps…it could be 4.

I know I will never be certain as to whether our paths have crossed, but I am positive of one thing…this world is not as big as it once was. More and more people are bumping into each other; every second new connections are being made. What scares me about John Mark Karr is that what if my connection wasn’t through 10 steps or 6, what if it’s only 1 step?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

With Great Power…

Life for me started out in a trailer park just south of the Tennessee state line. I guess if a person had to rank such things, they’d say that this particular trailer park was on the low end of the spectrum in terms of elegance. My parents had just turned twenty and life left a lot to be desired. Both being from strong Christian backgrounds, they made sure I was introduced to the right and wrongs of life very early on. After all, a trailer park isn’t always home to the best specimens of life. The thing is I was always safe. As my world grew and situations changed, my family always made sure my brother and I were taken care of. Through the divorce, the years of being a family of three, the introduction of a new “dad”…we never missed a meal, never did anything worse than throw rocks at one another, we never had to worry about the hard choices in life.
Once I turned sixteen I began working as soon as I could. I knew every inch of that grocery store and had no clue where all my money went. Mom was still there backing me up, making sure those values stayed in place. There were some hard choices. Sometimes I didn’t always do or say the right thing. To this day I’m still a huge jerk when I want to be. The choices I made, to a certain degree, only affected me.
In college if I had chosen to do drugs, which I didn’t, the life of my parents would not have changed much. Sure they would have been upset, but it would have been my body that ingested the toxic fumes or my life that I risked ruining due to addiction. If I chose to drink, which I did, my parents would have survived had I become an alcoholic or mistakenly did something stupid while in a drunken rage.
Once I got married and took on the role of husband, hard choices were around every corner. Luckily for me I didn’t marry a stupid lady. If for some reason I quit my job and decided to follow Cold Play around the country, she would be able to make it on her own. Of course she would be devastated, but as my better half she’s stronger than I every thought about being. It might take some time, but ultimately I would be the one that would suffer the majority of the consequences.
This all ends at the exact moment the sperm meets the egg. The wife cares for the child inside her, arms and legs are created, the cutest button nose you will ever see is put perfectly on that angelic face, and as soon as he emerges…the doctor literally places is life in your hands. No longer will the wrong choices affect you and maybe indirectly somebody else. The days of doing what feels good no matter what kinda of hot water you’ll be in the next day are over. The hard choices become harder and an entire life…75+ years of somebody’s future may hang on doing the right or the wrong thing.
You start leaning on those values you learned in that trailer park a million years before. You begin to understand that the only the worse than doing the wrong thing is know the difference and not caring. Once my son was born I started this blog and I started hardening my opinions on things I had become too neutral about. I realized that if something goes against your beliefs and you let it slide…then you may as well not even have any beliefs. How effective is a God that you pray too when you need something but ignore when you feel like you know best?
We have decided to change churches…as new parents, mommy and daddy take their roles very seriously and with that comes the need to instill those same values that were taught to us by our Christian families. The need to “do as I say and as I do” is very strong. The hard choices never get easier but once made they sometimes seem less important. If we say there are mistakes being made, rules being ignored, consequences not being felt, and all the while we continue to worship in the same place…what does that say to Fred about the way he should live his life. Who respects those that know the rules, but ignore them for they the sake of peace and false tranquility…nobody that’s who.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ode to a Carseat Carrier



Oh sweet detachable car seat carrier how I have loved thee.
With your large handle and little red release buttons.
You were always there to help get baby in and out and from room to room.
You were a part-time swing, a part-time cradle, and full time companion.

Now my dear tag along friend, it’s time to say goodbye.
Baby has gotten to big for you and needs a big kid car seat.
How I will miss being able to pop you out of your base allowing
baby to remain asleep as we walked from place to place.

While the future will be full of high chairs and strollers,
I will always remember our past together and how easy you made my life.
Every time I have to wake Fred just to get out of the car, I will long for those days of the quick release lever and your portable comfort ability.

Into the attic you now shall go, but you never know…another baby you may someday tote.

Monday, August 14, 2006

So Much for Paradise

Somebody called in sick and I had to work 2 jobs today.
Fred cried all night.
Nobody got any sleep.
I chose a shirt that fit good standing but was reeeallly tight sitting down.
I did not know this until I sat down at my desk.
The cat threw up before breakfast.
The cat threw up after breakfast.
My ankle was killing me all day
The cat got sick before lunch.
The cat got sick after lunch.
The car almost ran out of gas.
The cat was asleep on the kitchen counter.
The cat was asleep on the entertainment center.
The daycare called and sent Fred home 1 hour before we were gonna pick him up anyway.
We had to get the Dr.’s office to send an authorization so the daycare could give Fred medicine.
Everybody says the baby is cutting a tooth but the doctor.
The house didn’t get cleaned like we planned.
The chicken we laid out didn’t get cooked.
The sleep we were to catch up on didn’t get caught up on.
The cat got sick on the couch.
The trash leaked all the way through the house and out the door cause somebody didn’t empty his Taco Bell cup first.
Somebody couldn’t find the file of coupons for the baby’s medicine but did find a coupon for a pack of diapers and thought that is what his wife meant.
That is not what she meant.
The baby slept just long enough for us to clean the kitchen and place our nice warm take-out food about 6 inches from our mouths, then decided sleep was for losers.
The baby is again sleeping in our bed cause nobody knows what’s wrong but everybody agrees that it is the only way anybody is going to get any rest.

Yesterday I wrote about the perfect weekend and how several things that are good separately, when combined made for the most awesome weekend ever. Well…it works the other way too.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Popcorn, Sunsets, and a Guy Named Jeffery

When you’re a parent everyday seems to be filled with little moments that make the rest of the time you spend slaving away at the office worth living. Weather it’s the giggles you get while changing his diaper or how he insists on throwing his two cents into every conversation even though he can only seem to get out a bunch of squeaks and coos. There are always those nuggets of magic tucked away between the miles of paper work or the loads of laundry piled up all over the house.

Though these moments are great and will always be cherished…occasionally God decides to give you a glimpse of paradise. You’re going along living you’re life, happy to be in a loving family with a good job and great friends. Sure the price of gas is killing you and you’ve forgotten to roll the trash to the curb so often that you have to use a wheel barrel now. Your boss acts like your best friend until it’s time for a raise. It’s that time of the year where if you cut the grass every week it dies but if you wait two it’s too thick for your push mower. Then suddenly as if you have been living in a tunnel with only the light of the coming weekend to guide you, circumstances change and your moment of joy…goes into overtime.

For the first time in a year Lucy and I went to a movie baby free!!! Gigi offered to baby sit last week but a lot can happen between a Monday and a Friday. It’s been two days now and I’m still savoring the flavor of the large popcorn I engulfed. I still have a headache from laughing my butt off. I’m still thanking the Gigi for allowing me to see my wife through the eyes of a newlywed again. Fred and Gigi spent his first evening alone laughing it up and playing with cups of applesauce. Lucy and Charlie spent the evening holding hands and not a baby.

Skip ahead to late Saturday. The Blockhead family took it easy for a change. Not wanting to disrupt the relaxed vibe circulating around the house. A drive for some fast food turned into the perfect sunset over a river so still you would swear you could ice skate across it. What had been another day in the upper 90’s miraculously become a breezy night in the upper 70’s. The park was empty except for the three of us. The sky was on fire with pink and gold. As Fred’s first sunset crept towards the horizon, it just as slowly burned the image into our hearts.

Then there was Jeffery. Normally I would give him some alias such as Tom or Mike, but the story just wouldn’t sound right if I didn’t use his real name. Like any other part of life, you experience your ebbs and flows. Work is just ok and then the next week work is fantastic. Church sometimes becomes routine and then it blooms into the thing you’ve been missing most in this world. Man you should have heard Jeffery up there singing on Sunday morning. I’ve recently just re-met Jeffery. I worked at a grocery store some ten years ago and he was just another vendor. Lately we have been going to the same church and this week he lead the singing. Jeffery walked up there, opened that songbook we’d been using for the last hundred years, and made me forget there’s no dancing in the Church of Christ

Yep just when you expect it the least and need it the most, God opens a window to paradise.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Celebrity Blogger of the Week

This has been one heck of week so far. It just seems there’s something going on every minute of the day. The air is out at the daycare so Lucy and I are taking turns keeping little man. We have been gone every night this week. The baby is still getting used to his bed…so all this means I’ve got zero time to post anything. I thought this would be the perfect time to spotlight one the guys that inspired me to start my own blog.

Dad-VS-Dad is a must read. Authored by John, this dad adores his kids, worships his wife, and carries around pictures of his yard in his wallet. His blog is always one of the top three places I hit every day and is a must read for anyone looking for a good laugh.

So check him out and prepare to get hooked like I did.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Shove

It’s now been 11 days since we started trying to get Fred to sleep in his own bed and I think he has had enough. The first few days he screamed his head off for what felt like forever. Things seemed to be getting better every night; with the last few only taking him ten to fifteen minutes to pass out. As long as we have him in bed by 9:00, we can count on him not waking up till about 5:00 or 6:00 the next morning. When he does wake up, it’s for a quick bite and then lights out again. Usually if it’s somewhere around 5:00, I’ll just put him in the bed with us. After all, he needs to be rewarded for being a big boy and he sure loves to sleep next to Momma…maybe a little too much.

Something happened last night that makes me think he’s been lying in his crib formulating a plot. Sure it may have appeared like he was sleeping, but in reality his trusty sidekick Pooh has been helping him concoct a dubious ploy to get me out of the picture.

We went out to dinner with Pops last night and were kind of late getting back. This meant instead of getting him ready for bed at 8:00, we were way off and didn’t put him down till 10:00. Little did I know that this was the exact break Fred had been waiting on. Right off the bat he cried at 10:30, pretending to still be fighting another in his room alone. He awoke again at 11:30 wanting a bottle. He just lay there looking so adorable in his sleeper with the footies and the airplanes flying all over it. A couple of coos and we were like mashed pears in his tiny little hands.

He began crying at 4:00 a.m.. He was hungry, his schedule had been thrown off, he had not ate much before bed, it all made sense. He sucked the bottle down like it was compressed air and fell asleep before I even made it back to the bedroom. As I lay him down next to Lucy…so peaceful…he gently placed a hand on her check…I thought “Wow I’ve still got an hour and a half before the alarm goes off.”

I said goodnight, grabbed the blanket, and turned over so that my back was to him. Instantly like a sniper waiting on a rooftop next door, he shot an arm out knocking me off the bed. All his hard work making sure I was exhausted from being up and down though out the night. The planning, the scheming, it all came down to that one second when I was most vulnerable.

As I lay there face first on the hard wood floor, I thought that maybe I had somehow done this to myself. I rose up, peered over the side of the bed and what I saw finally put the whole night into full view....Fred with a huge smile on his face and fast asleep next to his mommy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Brand New Charlie

As you can tell, I've been playing around with the format this week instead of posting. I've got a couple of stories all ready to publish, I've just got to make a few last minute edits.

I want to give a special thanks to Genuine Dad for all his help with the new format.
While I'm at it I need to give a shout out to Poop-and-Boogies and Dad-Vs-Dad. Along with Genuine, your blogs really are a great resource for new dads and I hope I'm half the blogger/father you are.

In the future I hope to have a few more choices on the sidebar. I'm thinking about starting a book of the month section that would list what book I just read and link to a brief summary of it. I'm also gonna increase the size of "Bunch of Blockheads" and gets some advertising on the site.

Oh and due to all the changes, I somehow lost my site meter. I'm working on getting that back up and going. Hopefully this will be done by the end of the weekend. Until then drop me a comment and let me know what you think of the new look.

Charlie

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Say A Little Prayer

Last night the life of a close friend took a nightmarish turn. Adam is one of the kindest, most sincere people you will ever meet. He has always lived a life guided by the teachings of God and has turned into the kind of man that others look at when searching for a Christian role model. Recently Adam married a girl, which according to Lucy, must have been created especially for him. His perfect match. What should have been a year filled with love, laughter, and the glory that comes from starting a new life as husband and wife, has turned into something nobody should ever have to go through.

Adam’s wife, Amy, was abducted yesterday in Birmingham. She was visiting her sister and leaving her apartment. The man forced her at gunpoint into her car. They came upon an intersection and he asked her how to get to a remote wooded location. She had the presence of mind to tell him to go left; he had to turn to go this way. When he turned his head to look, she jumped out of the car. As she was running away from the vehicle, he shot her. She has lost a kidney and her spleen. Lucy called the bank where Adam is working now in and got an update this morning. She is on a ventilator and is in intensive care; they are worried that infection may set in. They are keeping her in intensive care for at least 2 - 3 days. She is at UAB hospital.

Please, even if you’re not a religious person by practice…please pray for our friend. God listens to prayers. If he can hear my prayer, and your prayer…imagine the sound that a thousand prayers will make. He may not always give us what we ask for, but that is simply because we do not always know what is best. What he will do is cover Amy with his love and help like only he can.