Thursday, November 30, 2006

5 Years Ago Today…

5 Years Ago Today…
I was a nervous wreck
5 Years Ago Today…
My life was just beginning
5 Years Ago Today…
Christmas trees decorated with white lights surrounded me.
5 Years Ago Today…
My grandfather gave me the book “Why I’m a member of the Church of Christ”
5 Years Ago Today…
Family from five states came together.
5 Years Ago Today…
Lucy never looked more beautiful.
5 Years Ago Today…
I remember the weather as being perfect but I’m not sure what the temp was or if it was raining or not.
5 Years Ago Today…
I made a promise in front of 200 people
5 Years Ago Today…
Fred was nothing more than an idea, a hope, a dream, a twinkle in Lucy’s eye.
5 Years Ago Today…
I remember saying ‘on that day in February when the sky fell down and I could not breathe; you lifted me up and you were my breath”
5 Years Ago Today…
Old grievances were put aside and 26 years of hard work was rewarded.
5 Years Ago Today…
I stood hidden behind a stained glass window and watched as Lucy’s picture was taken.
5 Years Ago Today…
Lucy dropped a piece of chocolate cake down into her cleavage just as the cameras flashed.
5 Years Ago Today…
A group of people trashed my white explorer.
5 Years Ago Today…
My brother gave a speech over a glass of punch.
5 Years Ago Today…
My grandmother revealed for the first time to Lucy that she was wearing a wig.
5 Years Ago Today…
I ate the best cheese straws I have ever tasted.
5 Years Ago Today…
Life moved so fast it blurred my vision and everything began to glow.
5 Years Ago Today…
A church youth director created a winter wonderland.
5 Years Ago Today…
Lucy lost something that meant a lot to her (her last name you pervert)
5 Years Ago Today…
Promises were made that are still being kept.
5 Years Ago Today…
I stood in awe at what was being lead down the isle in front of me.
5 Years Ago Today…
At the North Village Baptist Church in Central, Al. an average Joe leapt far beyond his dreams and married a blue-eyed angel.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Family Ties

I come from 2 separate large families that really have very little in common. I don’t know how to put their differences into words without offending anyone so let’s just leave it at “they are different”. If you start with my grandparents and count your way down to grandkids, there are about 26 people on my mom’s side and close to 35 on my dad’s.
That’s a bunch of people!!! What it means to me is that I’ve got a free room to stay anytime I’m in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and on the off chance my brother decides to settle down there, Iowa. It also means that we are never truly in the same place at the same time anymore.

Back when the number of family members on each side was in the teens, you could always count on seeing every cousin, aunt, uncle, and future/temporary boyfriend at grannies during that holidays. After a big meal my mom’s side always settles down to a game of Taboo or OutBurst. The kids would be running the loop that started at the entrance to the living room, straight to the back of the house, up the long dark hall, into the dinning room, and back to the living room entrance. I ran this same path when I was kid as I suppose my mom and her sisters did when they were growing up. After 30 odd years if you look close enough the floor is probably a little lower in places. Kind of like tire tracks through fresh snow. Sooner or later though the turkey would start to knock people out and eventually the driveway would be free of the traffic jam that sat there hours earlier.

My dad’s side is a little different. My grandfather is a preacher and like most preachers, he moves around every few years. As my grandparents moved from tiny town to tinier town, at some point they began to leave their children behind. They lost one in Montgomery, Al., two in Jacksonville, Fl., etc...until now nobody lives within four hours of them. This means that when everyone gets together it’s never really the whole family, but merely bits and pieces of families. My dad may bring my half-brother but not my half-sister. An aunt may show up, leaving the husband and kids behind. No matter who arrives, two things are always for certain; 1.There will be people sleeping in the floor cause nobody wants to pay for a hotel room and 2.Everyone disagrees with some part of everything going on. He wants to eat this at this time. She’s ok with the time, but not what we are eating. We all wanna go someplace, but not the same place, and if he doesn’t want to go then I’m hanging out here with him even though I really don’t like the weather channel. It’s a big, loud, chaotic mess of babies, teenagers, and parents acting like teenagers cause they are back home with granny and grandpa.

When we all get together, there is something about those 2 separate homes that makes us all act like kids again. It’s the same on both sides. You are not only walking through the door to you’re grannies house, you’re being transported back in time to when you were 5 and asking for ice cream for dinner.

The main thing both sides of my family have in common though, is that 2 people that love each other deeply and will never part from one another founded them. In an age where some marriages barely last a month, theirs is the stuff of legend. Through them generations upon generations of people were born and brought together.

This is a marvelous and special thing, to be apart of two such large families…but nowadays I wonder about what will happen when the core no longer exists. Nobody likes to think of death, but I can see it occurring already. We just can’t all seem to meet at the same place, the same time anymore. Cousins and nephews are being lost due to the lack of time it takes to try and contact every member of the family. Hellos are sent, I love you’s exchanged, births are announced, and weddings are all communicated through the core…Granny and Grandpa. If I need to know how my cousin and his new baby are, I don’t call him. I call granny. It’s just easier to get the info on everyone at one time rather than make myself promises to call each person individually once a month and then feel guilty when I let it slip my mind. Besides what is there to talk to about when you don’t see one another any longer?

One of the things I worry about most in life, and trust me I worry about a lot of things, is that one day ten years from now I’m not going to know where those cousins, aunts, uncles, and future/temporary boyfriends are. There will be nobody to spread the word, just a bunch of puzzle pieces scattered across the countryside never quite reflecting the portrait that once existed.

Confessions of a Professional Sidekick

For the past few years Thanksgiving has also meant inventory at the plant so I’d only get to be off 2 days and then it was up 3 stories on a scissor lift all day for the next 4. The schedule changed this time around and I was blessed with 4 days off. Lucy had to work on Friday, got a 24-hour stomach bug on Saturday, and went Christmas shopping on Sunday. The daycare was closed Friday so it was just us guys, Saturday Fred and I destroyed the house while Lucy slept, and Sunday (since she took the baby with her) I was left to try and rebuild. Needless to say my role in the Blockhead household took on another larger identity.

I was a comic book geek growing up and to this day I find myself salivating every time the newest movie or comic themed show hits the airwaves. Before Lucy came along I was spending $30 a week, $120 a month, $1440 a year. Today they are all in the attic crammed in about 3-4 boxes. Even to this day I find myself day dreaming of swinging through the skyscrapers of New York or stalking my prey along the streets of Gotham. I guess that is one of the reasons this blog is called The Adventures of Charlie Blockhead. I could have gone with Blockhead or…I don’t know… something more related to my life as a new dad. The thing is, everyone’s life is an adventure and the thrill of writing my story three times a week is more fun than I could have imagined. And just like every story mine has a hero…but it’s not me; I’m just the narrator. Comic relief. A Sidekick.

I once was a normal, run of the mill, dime a dozen, frat bro. I didn’t go to church, barely went to school, drank too much, played too hard, I was anything but extraordinary. Then out of nowhere a hero emerged complete with a costume and superpowers. The costume being her grocery store uniform and …well… as for the superpowers…those blue eyes could melt the coldest of hearts. Over the past tens years she has continuously swooped in to save the day at the last minute. Money, career, house, marriage, baby, religion, love…without her I may not have any of these. If that wasn’t enough after the past weekend there is no doubt she is the real star of Charlie Blockhead. Taking care of the baby for two days, then cleaning up afterward only reinforced who the main character in my life is.

If you think about it, all the great ones have sidekicks. Hardy had Laurel, Abbott had Costello, nobody knew Ed McMahon till he sat down next to Johnny Carson…me I’m proud to say I’m probably Robin to Lucy’s Batman. She’s not a blogger. She’s too busy behind the scenes doing things I routinely try to avoid; like laundry. Together we are a team and more often than not I’m always there lending a helping hand, taking the lead when I need to, trying my best to pull my own weight, but most of the time I’m just a stand in until Lucy swoops in and fixes what once went wrong.

She would never dream about putting our lives out in public for the world to see. She’s too busy to take the time to do anything that may seem as bragging or patting herself on the back. I pray I don’t come off as unappreciative. That she knows how much I love and cherish her. Is she aware that she has become the voice of my conscience? The person I think of before making even the minutest decisions? The one I desire to be around even during the worst of fights? Without her I’m just a blockhead, but together...we are a dynamic duo.

Friday, November 24, 2006

100 Things I’m Thankful For In No Particular Order

1 The duck shaped toy holder that suctions to the shower wall
2 Pizza (all kinds)
3 Baby Wipes
4 The ability to read
5 Post it notes
6 Jimmy Buffet
7 The twinkle in Lucy’s eye
8 Completing each other’s sentences
9 Barney
10 Playpens
11 Pigpen
12 An 8-5 work day
13 Jesus
14 Old men who like to tell stories
15 Fred’s new tooth
16 Sunrises at the beach
17 Mars Hill Daycare
18 Having more Love and less Hate in my life
19 Oxy-clean
20 Free coffee at work
21 My marriage
22 TV
23 Bottled water
24 Lazy Sundays
25 Stormy Saturdays
26 Baby Fred
27 DVD Recorders
28 Vanilla Wafers
29 Inside Jokes
30 Freedom
31 Woodstock
32 Pillows
33 Leftovers
34 Mail
35 Cat Litter
36 My yard
37 Fred learning how to talk
38 Lucy watching out for me
39 Pork (all variations)
40 Long drives
41 My shortcut home
42 A wife who puts gas in my car
43 A car to put gas in
44 Heroes (real and imaginary)
45 People who decorate their yards for Christmas
46 Not having to be one of those people
47 Old timey newspaper stands that trust you to only take 1 paper but have no way to stop you from getting all you want…which I do.
48 Toilets
49 Toilet paper
50 Finding free food stuck in a vending machine and being able to shake it loose
51 The little prayer Lucy whispers to Fred every night
52 Puffs
53 Desktop Calendars
54 College football
55 Big thangs of tea
56 Kitty cats
57 Movies where things explode and nobody talks
58 Arm chairs that raise up at movie theaters
59 Muppets, puppets, and fraggles
60 ColdPlay
61 Best of cds
62 Spell-check
63 Thick socks
64 Moments where you think it’s going to be a poopy diaper but it’s just a wet one mixed with a smelly poot
65 Fred being able to hold his own bottle
66 Lucy washing my clothes
67 Cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings
68 The shape of Lucy’s body (meow!! Hubba hubba!!)
69 Saturday Night Live skits
70 Bean day at work
71 Parents (grand and otherwise)
72 Toys that dangle from carseats
73 Friends that are just as broke as we are
74 Acid reflux medicine
75 Photos
76 The way Lucy and I make fun of each other
77 Fred playing with his reflection
78 Insurance
79 Prayer
80 Paperback novels
81 Chip clips
82 Leaf blowers
83 Carports
84 Hats
85 reruns of Scrubs
86 New episodes of Lost
87 All you can eat Chinese buffets
88 CD burners
89 Cheap shoes from American Eagle
90 Flocks of birds making weird shapes in the air
91 Jumper cables
92 Forgiveness
93 Forgetfulness
94 Curling up with Lucy on the couch while Fred sleeps in his own bed
95 Scary movies
96 Watching TV in stereo
97 New music Mondays on
98 My blog
99 The chance to oneday print every post and read them back to a teenage Fred

100 Having everything I ever wanted without ever knowing I wanted it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fred VS Bed (Part II Baby Without Fear)

Things had been progressing pretty well for a couple of days. Each night Fred was spending more and more time in his bed then we took two steps back…well it was actually 2 crawls forward…either way he still ended up back in our bed.

The pain from teething had subsided enough to allow him to sleep more comfortably and us too for that matter. I think we may have almost been ready to go the full night. My alarm woke little man up Thursday morning and a deal was made: I would watch Barney with him for 30 minutes while I ate and got ready, then I would take him to the bedroom and Lucy would keep on eye on him.

He’s crawling all over the bed, going from this corner to the next. Crawling under covers, really making Lucy work for it. He is in the middle of the bed when he drops a nuclear bomb in his diaper. The shot was so extreme it exploded out the top. Lucy didn’t realize it at first since he had a gown on, grabs him to get him changed, and gets poop all over her hands. Now he is in middle of the bed, covered in poop, she turns to wipe her hands at the exact time I walk in the room. Fred “Baby Without Fear” sees me, jumps from the middle of the bed, and gravity does the rest. Lucy barely misses a foot, I barely miss an arm, but the hard wood floor caught his whole face. It almost knocked him out.

This was his first major fall and being new parents we were clueless. We wanted to call an ambulance but calmed down enough to simply rush him off to his pediatrician. The knot above his left eye was huge and after a brief discussion with the Doc about how it would sound like rice crispies if anything had been cracked, x-rays were taken, and we were sent on our way home…where we were told to watch him all day and night just in case. Meaning back to the bed with us. Friday night came and with it the pain of teething. Looks like this is going to take awhile…

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fred VS Bed (Part I)

I have blogged about this at least 6 times before, but this is it. Fred is going to learn to sleep in his own bed. We are serious this time. No turning back. Nothing can stop us…except he is teething so the first night he only slept for 3 hours before we brought him in with us. Tonight we are shooting for 3 ½ hours.

Here is a classic example of why he must learn to love his baby bed:

We are all lying there (including buttons the cat). Adam is curled up facing Lucy, drinking a juice bottle and barely awake.

“Lucy, we gotta get him into his room. This is good for nobody.”

“We will. We just gotta easy him into it.”

“Well if we ever wanna give him a little brother or sister, he can’t be in here much longer.”

The instant Fred heard “brother or sister” he spun around and slapped me square in the face. He eyebrows furrowed deep and those squinty little eyes said it all:

“LOOK HERE MISTER!! I am the only baby in this house and this is MY bed YOU’RE sleeping in. You BETTER be nice to me or I’m gonna get CHIEF REDFACE to put something on you AJAXS won’t take off!! And if you think another BABY is coming in here to mess up the SWEET DEAL I GOT GOING, YOU GOT ANOTHER THING COMING.”

So now we are definitely trying to get him in his own bed. Before he learns to walk and I wake up with him standing over me in the middle of the night.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whispers of the Fog

Lately I know it seems like my posts have skewed towards the depressing side of life. It just feels like we have been taking a beating over the past few months. Unexpected bills, unexpected heartache, just in time for the holidays. If not for Fred I’m positive life would be a much darker place than what it appears at times.

I wrote The Fog a month ago. At the time I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to talk openly about the death of our beloved cat Sassy. I’m probably not going to go into much detail even now. The only reason I bring it up is because on October 9th we were a family of six. Equally split between gender and species. Lucy, Sassy, Booboo. Charlie, Fred, Buttons. 3 girls, 3 boys, 3 humans, 3 pets. By November 9th that was no longer the case. Last week we lost Booboo the outside cat that had followed us home after an evening walk 5 years before. She survived cold winters, hot summers, thunderstorms, and snowfalls. She was our furry little shadow.

We had been planning the yard sale for sometime and had even put an ad in the paper for this past Saturday. She disappeared mid-week and the family next door found her on Thursday. They were kind enough to put her in a tiny box so we were avoided the nightmares of Sassy that still replay in our minds on a continuous loop. I may never discuss what happened to Sassy on this site…there are too many details each wrapped in barbed wire so that they pierce the heart whenever spoken. We went forward with the yard sale, and then we closed up shop.

The stress became too much. Life has been making too many demands. Our most recent loss sent us into shock wondering if we had finally hit rock bottom and fearing what was next. So at 12:00pm Saturday, we closed the door to our house and started trying to recharge our batteries. No contact with the outside world for 2 days. The only people we spoke to were our parents (just can’t shake that GiGi). No going out with friends, no housework, nothing but getting adjusted to our new family of 4. 1 girl and 3 boys. The balance gone, echoes of the past month swirling with the wind outside, beating against the house. We even skipped church on Sunday. I’m pretty sure God understands our absence, because those two days were just what we needed. We did nothing but watch TV, sleep, and best of all…enjoy our baby boy. We laughed and played and chased him all over our home. Buttons ran through the house chasing his tail, got in on the chase for Fred, and received more love than ever. He lets Fred pet him now.

On Monday, just like that morning a month ago, the world was covered in white. The first fog since Sassy had passed. And just like last time we began picking up the pieces and enjoying the simple things in life…the sound of a baby calling for his momma…the laughter from a joke between mom and dad…the twinkle in Lucy’s eye.

PS Don’t forget to vote on Fred’s first word !!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Friend In Need

As any parent can tell you, there are only so many hours in the day. Blogging is a hobby (maybe someday a money making one thanks to these people ) so I barely have the time to write my own besides visit somebody else's. Thanks to AdventureDad ,I came across Atomictumor the other day and I immediately made it one of my places I visit daily.

By coincidence this guy lives about 3 hours from me in Oak Ridge, Tn. and is living everyone's worst nightmare. I copied this next part from his "about me" section, I just didn't want to incorrectly describe his situation:

"GAC, my 29 year old wife, the mother of two young children, and a frequent writer here is in dire condition. The root cause is unknown, but she is in critical condition at an ICU here in Oak Ridge, TN.While this is happening, I'm hijacking what is normally a once a day, write whatever kind of blog and turning it into a journal and a vigil for her. This began on October 30, became serious on November 2nd, and became critical on November 3rd"

He posts like 5 or6 times a day and though some may see it as depressing, I think it is one of the most moving and uplifting things I have ever come across. The love this man has for his wife is amazing, spiritual, life's the kind of love I have for Lucy and most people dream about. Through this daily journal to his wife, you can feel his tears and hear his pleading for her to come back to him. Please take a moment to pay him a visit and let him know he is not alone.

Let’s Walk and Talk!!!

It has finally happened, baby is mobile. He started crawling close to two weeks ago and he is bored with it already. At first he was simply moving around in a little circle, but now he is a baby with a purpose. The second you sit him down he aims in the direction of the nearest thing he can pull up on and launches himself towards it. We have to be extra careful now because like most babies he enjoys standing while holding on to mom/dads fingers except after a few seconds he lets go and tries to go it alone. Pretty soon he will be chasing down buttons the cat and trying to ride him like a pony.

Now for some time there has been a running debate as to whether or not we are actually hearing words and not just baby babble. Right off the bat at about 4 months you could hear the goo-goo’s and gaa-gaa’s all during the day. For the past few weeks those sounds have started coming out more and more like words with a purpose. This is where we are stuck; how do we decide when an actual first word has been said? So far the choices are as follows:

1) “Hey”, Fred has been shouting this for over a month, the problem is whether or not he is truly intending on saying Hey or if it’s just a new noise he learned like his surprised noise that goes ”Haaaaaaaaa” accompanied with a shocked look on his face. He has also started growling; at first we thought he was really constipated but now we think he may have learned it from the cat. Anyways the question remains, “Is this his first word?” Yes sometimes he says it when people first walk into a room, but sometimes he just says it.
2) “Dadda”, I would soooooo love for this to be his first word, but I run into the same problem as above. He makes the noise regardless of if I’m in the room or not. He has said it while looking at me, but he also said it to his reflection in the mirror the other day. “Is this his first word?”
3) “Momma Momma” There is no mistaking this one. With out a doubt he is calling for Lucy. He has only been doing it for 3 days and he only does it when he is upset. Once he starts he doesn’t stop until she picks him up. You should see her face light up every time he does it. There is no doubt it makes both of them very happy. The only problem with this choice is that 1) and 2) exist. If either of them are to be considered his first word and not some random noise than as much as she would like it to be, choice 3) cannot be the first word. 1) might be the answer, but again without directing it towards somebody it becomes just another goo-goo gaa-gaa. And let’s not forget that option 2) wouldn’t necessarily hurt my feelings.

So in order to get some type of neutrality here, I’m asking you the reader to be the tiebreaker. I know a ton of people read this site and now I need your help. Leave me a comment and decide “Fred’s First Word”. Once a week or so has passed, I’ll do an update and announce the winner.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Time Traveling

Daylight Savings time took into effect a couple of weeks ago and I’ve yet to set the clocks back in the house. At first I was just putting it off out of laziness. We’ve got a ton of clocks. Then the more I put it off the more I liked them to be an hour ahead.

You see, once you have a baby every second becomes a thing to hold on to. You begin anguishing over the moments wasted doing things that used to be of importance. Watching TV, reading, going to the movies, yard work, all become things that you put off in order to spend more time with the family. So all week long every time I look at the clock instead of thinking, “Man!! It’s already 4:00 pm. The day is over.” I think, “Man, It’s already 4:00pm…no wait it’s only 3:00pm!!!! I’ve still got the whole afternoon.”

I know it sounds weird, but I feel like I’m traveling back in to time so that I can make the most of the hour I just wasted.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Politics of Potluck

I’m really funny when it comes to eating out. Specifically when it comes to buffets. My rule is like foods only. I will not eat at a buffet if it does not share some sort of nationality. Chinese buffet: beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, won ton soup, like foods equal ok to eat. Italian buffet: pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, and garlic bread, again like foods equal good eats. Mixed buffet: turnip greens, tacos, pizza, fried catfish, and sushi, no common country of origin equals a sprint to the nearest bathroom.

Now the only time I bend this rule is when it comes to potlucks. You know what I’m talking about. Even if you’re not religious and haven’t had a chance to enjoy the food and fellowship of a good ole southern style potluck dinner, you’ve probably experienced close to the same thing at family reunions. The only difference is that more than likely you’ve spent your entire life sharing meals with the family and even if the food is nasty you know what to avoid and what to request that person to make in advance. Can’t do that at a church potluck.

So you get in the gianormis line that stretches from the pulpit to the picnic tables out back and you spend the next half hour taking baby steps while making small talk with the person in front of you. You finally get to the start of the food table and you quickly realize that the crowd is so thick you have no way of knowing what lies ahead further up the food chain. You have two choices: A) make your way through the line adding small amounts of this and that while counting on there being that amazingly tasty something special that you just know you’re going to want to load up on. The down side being that special something may not be at the other end and you’re left with tiny amounts of mediocrity. Or B) load up at the beginning of the table and forfeit any room on your plate for that must have item. This is usually the quickest way to get out of line and will surely allow you time to find the perfect seat right next to all your friends, however you have to really be careful on what you load up on or you are going to have a plate full of nasty and nothing to do but choke it down or dine with Ronald McDonald afterwards.

I always seem to take choice A). Not necessarily because I’m waiting for something better just over the horizon, but because I’m always looking to try new things. So right from the start I have doomed myself to having to choke down some type of chicken casserole that smells delicious but tastes like my cousins odor eaters. It’s either that or I immediately start the quarantine process. Say for example I mistakenly thought the green mashed potatoes would be a nice treat, but found out differently once I took the first heaping spoonful. Now not only have I wasted valuable property on my plate where something more fulfilling could have been built, but I also have to give up a quarter of the green beans to the left and macaroni to the right of the disaster. Whatever portion the green mashed potatoes touched is off limits. Now I’ve had to give up half my plate simply because I got caught up in all the hussle and bussle of the potluck.

Finally there is one sure way to survive the potluck without having to make too many choices and avoid a case of ecoli. Meat. Turkey, chicken, ham…always load up on meat. Add a couple rolls and call it a day. Even if for some reason something other than meat catches your eye and turns out tasting like run over turtle, you can always make a sandwich out of the meat and rolls.

So remember meat/rolls good, tacos and tapioca on the same plate bad.