Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Yes Man

"Alex did you scratch Stan?"
"Did you get sent to the office?"
"Was he picking on you?"

Time out. He's saying yes to everything. Let's try something....

"Alex did Stan steal your giraffe?"
"Did he make you wear clown makeup?"

Later that night....

"Alex, who did you scratch?"
"And what happened?"
"Big trouble go to the office"
"Right. So are you going to scratch Stan again tomorrow?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Wealth Of Elf On The Shelf

Every year around this time we pull out the good'ole Elf On The Shelf in hopes of keeping the kids off Santa's Naughty List. The way the story goes is that the Elf (ours is named Flash) watches over the boys each day and every night he visits Santa to report what's he's witnessed. He's a very mischievous little thing so in the mornings it's always a sure bet that he will be found digging in the snack bowl, riding in Spider-Man's car, or wrestling with the Incredible Hulk. It's a well known fact that if a person touches the Elf he losses all his magic and will never be able to tell Santa all the good deeds he's witnessed.

Last night the "Elf" was playing in Adams room and he apparently left it in a huge mess. In his defense the "Elf" was trying to invite the Hulk to play and it was very dark in Adams room. The "Elf" promises to do a better job covering his tracks going forward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tele-revisionist History

I was telling a story today. The story of our 56" projection screen television going out overnight, when I was suddenly hit by another story I had long forgotten.

It too involved a television and while the details and exact date may be off a month or two, it's a good story just the same. Mandy was just days away from having Adam and was ready to pop. We woke up that morning like any other, me preparing to head to work at Anderson Press and Mandy facing another long day of bed rest. As you may have guessed the television had gone out.

Now normally a TV hitting the skids wouldn't be considered an emergency, but we are talking about a very pregnant very uncomfortable mother of a soon to be born 8 lb bouncing baby boy. Doing what any other good husband would do I heeded my wife's request when she pleaded " I cannot sit here in this bed all day and stare at the walls. You have to do something." So that morning at 6:30 AM I found myself at Walmart looking to buy whatever television they had on sale.

As I mentioned today I found myself in a similar situation, waking up to find the television had gone out. And wouldn't you know that same TV purchased some six years ago is now being called back to active duty.

On second though this really wasn't the best story.....

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cane & Able

So much for resolutions. Waaaay back in January I promised to post everyday, a promise I kept until recently. October was hard on us as a family and in particular myself as a person. We were all sick with various illnesses ranging from the normal everyday sinus infection to the more dire pneumonia (Adam). To say we were missing in action would be an understatement. We missed church, work, school, soccer games, Fun Fest, football games, a catfish fry, and everyone in between as we spent weeks locked inside fighting for survival. I even spent four days walking around with a cane thanks to a bum ankle that started hurting out of no where and thankfully disappeared the same way.

By the time it was all over I had changed without even realizing it. I'd become bitter. Selfish. I was a jerk and generally unpleasant person to be around. I withdrew from the world content with feelings of misery and self depreciation. My children were affected and so was my marriage. I gained 15 pounds and all I wanted in life was my couch, my remote, and a bag of cookies.

Not everything was gloom and doom. Don't get me wrong. There were good times...Adam was convinced a character in one of his books was called Butt Bunny on the same night Alex went around the house looking in people's underwear determined to prove it wasn't him that was dirty....Alex took after a little boy at the soccer field who in his mind was the real life Little Bill...Adam feel in love with soccer...and together dressed as Dracula and Iron Man, Adam & Alex enjoyed a very happy Halloween.

All the good aside though somewhere along the way I sorta lost myself a bit. I'm back now. I feel good and the fog has cleared. I know what's important again and they will never doubt how much they mean to me. What can I say other than I'm only human. There was only one perfect person and he died so that I may live. I pray I get to thank him in person for his sacrifice one day.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Most Difficult Letter In The Alphabet


As a parent it's the toughest question to answer. One that I get asked nearly every single day.

Why do we not have cats anymore?
Why are the clouds all smushed together?
Why did they say mean things to me?

Half the time you don't know why yourself. You either give them the standard one word answer because or you give it your best shot and hope they buy it.

The cats were called to heaven.
Those are winter clouds. Summer clouds are more fluffy and spread further apart.
Sometimes people say mean things to make themselves feel better.

I don't think we ever stop asking the question of why things happen or are what they are.

Why can't I ever get ahead?
Why did I just not keep my mouth shut instead of hurting her feelings?
Why am I always so tired?

Sometimes the answers are right in front of your face....

It's just not my time. With hard work comes great reward.
Because being honest is part of my DNA. I can never lie no matter what.
Maybe it has something to do with staying up all night and eating junk food.

These are the easy ones's the tough ones that keep you up at night.

Why do people have to die?
Why does God let bad things happen?

As a parent these are the ones you dread hearing because in all honesty they are the ones you ask yourself late at night when it's just you, the ticking of the clock, and complete and utter darkness.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

It's hard to explain faith to a child. It's not always easy to grasp it as an adult. We do though...we tie ourselves to it in hopes our faith will drag us out of despair and into the bright shining light of Heaven above.

Why? I don't why. What I do know is that there is an all powerful God above who has plans for his people and all we have to do is believe.

Hebrews 10:22
"let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I Have Moments

Life isn't always fair. I don't always get what I want. I don't travel more than a few miles a month. I've never been on an airplane. Never left the South. I have moments where I want to scream at the top of my lungs.

I won't make a million bucks this year. I sit at a desk from 8:00 until 5:00 and I'm proud just to have a job. I don't have a fancy car. I get three weeks of vacation each year and I've worked my tail off to get it.

I eat sandwiches for lunch five days a week. Date night always ends with a trip to Target. The majority of my clothes come from the clearance rack. My shoes cost eight dollars.

Life isn't always fair. I don't always get what I want...but I've got a little boy that loves to give wet hugs after bath time. A first grader that will never realize how funny he truly is. A wife that always takes my breathe away with her laughter and sweet kisses.

My house is more often then not full of music, dancing, and silliness. Every morning I take my boys to school, meet then at the door that afternoon, and tuck them into bed each night.

Life isn't always fair. I don't always get what I want. I don't travel more than a few miles a month. I've never been on an airplane. Never left the South. Yet none of that matters because I have moments where all I can do is hold my breath and thank God for blessing me with so much love.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Battle Of Jonah Hill

You just don't know how many posts get written that end up deleted after they are done. I pour my heart and soul out on Charlie. I always want to be honest and cover the tough parenting issues while at the same time share the joys of living life. Realistically though not every conversation needs to be shared and as much as I hate to admit it not every problem needs to be blasted on the Internet.

What I will say about today's title is that kids don't always get along with each other and there are times when they need to defend themselves from being taken advantage. I do not encourage fighting but I also do not want my children to live through the pain that I did by being bullied during certain times in my life by adults and other kids.

There is a fine line between walking away from a fight and being taken advantage of because it appears you don't have the courage to throw a punch every now and then.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Getting A KICK Out Of Life

I hate to admit it but my resolution to post everyday was not very realistic. Honestly we are so busy theses days it's a wonder I find time to eat...okay that's a bit of a stretch, but not by much. 1st grade is a ton of work and apparently The Hill has started sending work home for Alex a few times a week. To make the week even more challenging, Adam has started playing soccer and I got drafted to be assistant coach. I'm okay with it though. Quite honestly (and some people are going to roll in their grave when they hear this) I really enjoy it. In fact it's becoming a highlight of my week.

Growing up the only time you would find me getting close to a ball was when I was getting hit face first by one in third period gym class. I hated being outside and was literally locked out of the house on multiple occasions (although now that I'm a parent I have to question what the real motivations behind that were). Twenty four years later I'm taking hikes, going canoeing, and walking to the park every chance I get.

I think a lot of it comes from having two boys. After all we watch the same cartoons, laugh at the same jokes, and generally wish we could just walk around punching random people in the stomach, so why shouldn't we also share the same love of the great outdoors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Credit For Quackers

Five seconds after your child starts school or daycare for that matter it quickly becomes very apparent that on multiple occasions through the year you will be forced to peddle a variety objects to various friends, family, and coworkers. It's not that I'm against supporting the school and I completely understand the need for additional funds. It's even kinda funny to see employees bartering in the halls at the office.
"I'll buy three rolls of your wrapping paper if you take a dozen of my chocolate chip cookies!"
"You got a deal if you promise me your business come coupon book season"

My problem is how blatantly they wind up the kids in order to bring in the bucks. Growing up I remember getting two catalogs in my packet. One showing what you are selling and the other showing what toy you got based on how many items you sold. On the back they always showed that awesome ten speed bike that you got after selling the equivalent of the gross national product of some middle eastern country. Me I always got the first level prize, usually an eraser or plastic spider ring.

Back to my original rant though...this year the school system has apparently joined the rest of Corporate America in extending credit to any and everyone that walks through the class room door. You see this year's packet came with a set of coupons. For every five cookie orders, you get a rubber duck. The brilliance here lies in the fact that the school knows how children work. When they want something...when they really really want something they become relentless beggars determined to wear you down until you cave out of exhaustion. So knowing this the school added a new twist to this years fundraising program. Ducks on credit.

Forget collecting money, never-mind waiting a few days until somebody gets paid or has exact change, by simply returning a coupon stating your parent has "already sold" five cookies the, school will give the children ducks out of the goodness of their hearts just like Visa gave Mommy & Daddy that trip to the Bahamas last summer.

Like I said brilliant in every way, shape, and form. And the best part is that even though I know exactly what their scam is... I've got two ducks that must be paid for in ten days. Can I interest you in some cookie dough?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

FORCE Fed Episode I

I'd been putting it off until the time was right and was convinced that Labor Day weekend was perfect. The characters have been around him since he was little from the plastic light saber that he thought was just a regular sword to the yellow Star Wars shirt I bought him a couple years back to the Darth Vader lunch box I almost sent him to school with this year. Finally I decided he was old enough to witness the awesomeness that is Star Wars Episodes 4-6.

My set is the 1997 VHS Special Gold Edition and it's in perfect condition. As I pushed play on the VCR I sat back and prepared to witness what was sure to be a turning point in my six year-old's life. Unfortunately that's not what I got.....

Immediately the questions started: What are those words? Is that Earth? Are they in the wild west? What's up with her hair? Are Power Rangers real? Did they just blow up Earth? Is this real? Did they really blow up Earth? Is this scary? Was that supposed to be funny? Who is that?

Alex stayed put for about 20 minutes before his two-year old body refused to hold back the adrenaline any longer. As I desperately tried to keep everyone focused while facing the barrage of questions coming from Adam, Alex suddenly stood up, removed his pull up, and started performing some type of Chip N Dale's routine. Naked as the day he was born Alex began running every where. Over the couches, around the coffee table, into the kitchen, and back in front of the television where at some point between "These are not the droids you are looking for" and the Millennium Falcon taking off Alex decided that the only thing better than the Nude Olympics would be naked trampolining on top of Daddy.

After an hour I admitted least for the moment....maybe the timing wasn't right, maybe he's not old enough even though all my friends with kids Adam's age love it, maybe it just needs to be the two of us  minus the all naked revue being in town for the night. What ever the reason though, I will not quit until both boys truly understand the power of THE FORCE

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Sweet & Salty Mix

I often stare at my children in disbelief at the latest insane thing they have done and wonder where they learned to be so hard headed. Lately these questions are quickly put to bed by a memory from Grandma Hamm's kitchen.

The first thing I did when I stepped foot in that house from the time I could walk to the moment I got my license & could provide for myself was go straight toward the kitchen. Outlined with rich wooden cabinets and a linoleum tile floor that had yellowed over time, the kitchen was a treasure chest full of culinary delights. It was common in those days before they became afraid of salt, cholesterol, and taste to find a leftover T-bone, a fried pork chop, or a slice of cold pizza.

I had to have been around six or seven. It was one of the rare occasions that my scavenger hunt for food had come up short. I was forced to settle on a bowl rice chex. I remember her sitting across the table in those old leather dining chairs that spun around; the perfect thing for an after meal adventure trying to cross the room without putting feet on floor. As I began the process of pouring the cereal and adding the milk, I grabbed for the salt.

"Hey hey hey what r you doing there?" "I always put this in my cereal at home Granny"
"Are you sure you don't mean sugar? That's salt you're holding"

As if she were the one making the mistake by questioning my judgement, I replied in disdain "I know what it is! I do it all the time.". After all this was not my first bowl of cereal. Still she persisted "Sweetie I don't think you understand. That is salt! Not sugar. " It didn't matter though I was right and that was that. So in went an entire teaspoon of salt into the bowl of milk & chex.

Now immediately as my taste buds began to seize up, I understood that the old lady sitting across from me with that look of despair across her face was more wise than I was giving her credit for. Still just like my own children some thirty years later, I couldn't stop the madness once it got I added another dash in hopes it would by some biblical miracle make the disaster better....which it didn't.

I remember the sense of dread that came over me as I was forced to either admit I was wrong or eat the entire bowl of seawater chex that lay before me...and I remember eating the entire bowl drinking the milk and all. I never once admitted my mistake although I'm positive the truth was plastered all over my face. To this day I remember that smirk on her face as she asked if I'd like another bowl.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shake Down Break Down You're Busted!

Now that school is back in full swing Adam is back to his old tricks. Yesterday morning we was walking around the house with a flashlight that no longer had batteries. On the way home after school, the MIL took him by Mandy's office per the usual. Mandy noticed him playing with the flashlight and asked him how it got from the house to the car without going to school in between. He immediately fessed up that he'd put it in his pocket on the way out the door. No idea what he was doing all day with a broken flashlight, but still that point is the same....should I really have to shake down my 6 year old before he leaves for school every morning?

Monday, August 20, 2012

My First Day

I've spent some time thinking about this the last couple of days and I guess for me there is only one first day of school that stands out. I was going into my sophomore year at Bradshaw High School and was dreading it. Freshman year had been an endless nightmare filled with enough torture to make even the most staunch patriot crack. Name calling, fights, money stolen, crammed in garbage cans; the only thing I learned that year was to blend into the background. A skill which proved to be an asset then and later during those years I should have been trying to stand out; a liability. A crutch I would use to get me through any uncomfortable situation.

I remember sophomore year because it was the year I met Party Man. Party Man's schedule matched mine almost exactly and we quickly became friends. I was the Ed McMahonn to his Johny Carson. The Robin to his Batman. The Willow to his Buffy. He was the show and I was the audience that followed behind constantly clapping. For the next several years Party Man pretty much set the tone for my social life. I was still getting picked on and threatened on a regular basis, still getting thrown into garbage cans, and embarrassed beyond belief for hours on end, but Party Man was always there to throw me an invite to the coolest party. If it wasn't for my friend Party Man there's no telling if I would have made it out of high school.

Last night as I lay there struggling to go to sleep on the eve of Adam's first day of first grade and Alex's first day in his new preschool class at The Hill, those images of high school returned. I flipped and flopped all night long, bit off every fingernail & more that I had, and dreaded today as if I were the one starting the new school for the first time. My boys are so much like me. The way they look. The things they say with a dry wit. They are obsessive and compulsive and creative....and last night all I could do was pray that when it came to making friends and fitting in at school, they would turn out to be like their mother. The most popular and amazing person ever to walk through the halls of Coffee High School.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Last Game Of Charades

As I mentioned yesterday I had to take a vacation day (or a Pain & Suffering day as I now call them) because Alex had an ear infection. What made yesterday different from other sick days was that it was historic in that it was the first time Alex could tell us what felt bad.

Obviously he points and pats when he bumps his head or skins his knee, but being as he's still learning his words when a virus or cold comes along up until this point he's not been able to point and say "This hurts". Last night this changed when he looked at Mandy, grabbed his ear, and said "My ear hurts".

Now this may seem like a minor event, but I think it really shows how grown up he's becoming. That one sentence put an end to the guessing game that started with a scream the moment he was born. No longer will there be any doubt as to what he wants or what he likes. The last game of charades has been played.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pain & Suffering Day

After a day spent chasing around Alex, taking him to the doctor about an ear infection, going to the grocery store, and taking Adam to a splash pad party, I've decided there needs to be a new category for days off of work.

Vacation days should be for trips to the beach,days spent fishing or playing golf, a family outing to the zoo. They should be reserved for good times.

Personal days should be for those days when life takes an unexpected turn. The air conditioner goes out at home, the basement floods, the car dies. Personal days should be for life crises.

I think there needs to be a set aside number of days for when your child pukes all over you three different times, or runs a fever of 103 yet never stops running around the house like a chicken with it's head cut off, or cries for no reason what so ever.

Trust me it's no vacation keeping up with a sick kid and personal time seems to hint at time spent alone dealing with a problem. I'm thinking these new days should be called Pain & Suffering days. I'm mean honestly somebody has to be suffering for me to use even half of a paid day off and at the end I'm left feeling sick from wearing myself out all day taking caring of someone else.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Splish Splash We Were Taking A Bath

As the father of two boys at times I feel like I've seen it all. Flights of stairs leapt in a single bound. Busted lips. Cracked heads. I've heard them say things that put their intelligence and my sanity in question. I've seen them act like patients in a mental hospital one minute and angels the next. After all I've seen and all I've heard though, I'm always surprised with what they do next.

Taking a bath sounds simple. Water goes in, children get wet, hair is washed, children get dry. Not always....

It's Saturday night and it's just me, the boys, and one simple task i.e take a bath. The boys go into the water and the playing starts. I leave them be for a few minutes to let them have their fun. I return to an inch of water in the floor. Being the Dad I immediately start the scolding. "What were you thinking? Look at this mess!! No more splashing!!"

I leave the room once again. It's quiet for a moment then the laughter starts up full force. After several minutes I decide to wrap the party up. I enter to water in the floor!! I think to myself "They Listened!!". Then I see the water is also gone out of the tub and yet the playing continues. "What are you doing!" " Daaaad you said no more splashing so we let the water out. We are slip & sliding!!" "Adam what about soap..your hairs not even wet" "I didn't know we were supposed to take real baths"

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Education Trepidation

In less than two weeks the boys will be starting school and for various reasons this year is going to be more than just a little unnerving. Alex is going to be away at daycare and away from Adam for the first time in three months. Vice-versa Adam is going to miss his little shadow as he heads off to the first grade.

Being as this is somewhere around the tenth first day (I'm using fuzzy math there) I've had to face, I can pretty much quote the rules by heart. No flip-flops, no toys, no medicine without a weekly signed slip, no fevers, no rebates for being out a day even though if you are sick they ask you not to come in. Don't come too early. Don't stay too late. Don't forget to pay us on the 15th.

I just wish things could be different. That Alex could stay home and not cry when we drop him off everyday. That Adam could stay this age and stop changing so fast. I wish life could be easier and not such a strain at times. That we could laugh more, worry less, and stay this way forever.

I love baby talk, first steps, trying new foods, playing new sports, going to the splash pad, watching them watch classic movies for the first time. I miss Barney, The Wiggles, Winnie The Poo, and Mickey too. All of these things are getting further and further way with every passing day.

Another first day of school for them means another day lost for us.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Two Dudes Surfing Some Tubes

One of the things I'm most proud of about this summer was the time Adam and I got to spend alone surfing the waves. He's no longer a baby and gone are the days when he was happy with sitting in the sand building castles. For hours on end he would take his blue inner tube and ride wave after wave into the shore. Mandy and I kept thinking he would realize he was getting further and further away from us, but sure enough I'd have to trek down the beach and get him to come back.

For the better part of two days that's all he and I did. Catch a wave, ride it in, catch another, ride it sounds so simple yet it was so nice to spend those endless hours without having to scold him or threaten to take something away. We were just two dudes surfing some tubes.

On the last day of the trip, the ocean was the calmest it had been since we arrived. Barely any waves at all. As hard as we tried there just wasn't anything happening so after an hour we decided to head back to the beach. No more did the idea get out of our mouths then a huge wave caught us off guard knocking us both off our feet. The last thing I saw was him shooting out of his inner tube head first under the wave. As I surged back to the surface, panic struck for just a moment. I quickly caught a glimpse of his feet in the air and was on top of him the second he popped out of the water gasping for breath.

Reassuring him that everything was fine and he was safe, we sat there quietly making sure everything was as okay as we were claiming it was. Adam broke the silence with "Dad...I think my head touched the bottom of the ocean." "Probably so buddy. You did at least a flip or two." "Two? I think I did six flips!!" Pausing for a moment while staring off into the horizon, he then let out a long breath, threw up the high five sign and screamed "THAT WAS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER!!!!!"

Again I was filled with pride and wanted to do my dead level best to make sure this wouldn't be the last time he entered the ocean. "You were awesome!!! Let's get out there and do it again!!" Unfortunately while there was no fear in his voice, he admitted that was all the awesome he could handle for one day. So there we left it. Just two dudes chilling on the beach after a long day of chasing waves sharing an awesome story. Really don't see how it gets much better than that.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Living On Summer Time

Many of you noticed I broke my resolution after 6 months and quit posting for several weeks. I needed a break and honestly time got away from me. During the time off we took Alex to the beach for the first time, enjoyed sometime around the house relaxing, and simply had a ton of family time. As I did yesterday I'll go back so as to share some of the stories from the missing month and attempt to stay current at the same time.

As it stands now we are just two weeks from school starting and change is once again in the air. We've neglected Adam's studies a bit so there's a renewed focus on reminding him of everything he forgot from kindergarten. All the while Mandy & and I are dreading taking Alex back. It's nothing to do with the school, we just wish he could be at home during the day. One upside though is that he won't be roaming the house looking for Adam or his favorite sitters Asia, Anna, and Amber.

Before I go here's a pic of Alex taking his first step on the beach. See you tomorrow!!

Monday, August 06, 2012

The True Tale Of Terrifying Timmy

It was our first beach vacation in over three years and we had been in town for less than a couple hours when a collective growl swept across the family. Looking to kill a bit of time as we waited for our room to open up, we decided to hit a nearby fav called Desoto's Crap Shack. With an aquarium filled with fish straight out of Finding Nemo and some of the best seafood the Gulf of Mexico has to offer, walking into Desoto's felt like home. When Timmy sat down next to us and screamed "DVD" at the top of his lungs we immediately realized a new less pleasant memory was about to be created.

I can't recall ever seeing a parent bring what had to be a 15 inch portable DVD player to a crowded restaurant before. I do know that the moment I witnessed it chills ran up and down my spine warning me of the terror to come. How bad could this child possibly be if he requires a big screen TV to be placed in front of him during every meal

"Timmy sit and watch the movie for mommy"
Like a drunk frat bro let loose on the public, everything Timmy said was as full blown scream.

I'm not 100% sure Timmy referred to himself in third person, but a month later it was if an evil supervillian had sat next to us and with him came a never ending narration of what he was about to unleash on the unsuspecting crowd. "TIMMY LIKE FISHIES. TIMMY SIT HERE...NO THERE...NO HERE...TIMMY SIT OVER THERE. TIMMY LIKE MOVIES"

"Timmy do you want chicken? Timmy do you want fish? Timmy do you want burger?"
Timmy's mom apparently had one purpose in life and that was to be his personal slave, begging for a moment of acknowledgement in hopes of pleasing his every whim. "Timmy do you want soda? Timmy is that movie okay? Timmy want some bread? Timmy Timmy Timmy Timmy....

As if things could not get much worse, Timmy began to scream at the top of his lungs for no reason other than to cause pain and suffering "WHAAAAAAAAA WHAAAAA WHAAAAAAA" It wasn't a cry of pain, more like a police siren that bounced off every surface in the building. Alex's eyes about bugged out of his head, mouth dropping to the floor as if he was witnessing a new creature that apparently lived among the pastel blue houses and beach front condos located along the ocean. "WHAAAAAA WHAAAAAAA"

Each time he screamed the crowd of tourists jumped a few inches out of their seat as if the wave had suddenly broke out among the dinners. With as much effort as someone might put into asking for another fork for their meal, the mom began the Timmy Please's "Timmy please stop. Timmy please watch your movie. Timmy please eat your food. Timmy please watch your drink. Timmy please don't do that"

Not happy with the movie or only half the restaurant looking at him, Timmy decided to take the show on the road. Leaping out of his seat and starting a circuit that began in front of our table and did a figure eight through the dinning area, Timmy ran with sirens blazing "WHAAAAA WHAAA WHAAAAA WHAAAA WHAAAAA"

Thankfully and mercifully our food was delivered in quick time, tasted like a slice of heaven, and was just as quickly cleared. As we ran for our lives to the van which had earlier that day felt like a confinement cell for six hours, I took one last look back at Timmy who was destroying poor Desoto's like Godzilla taking out Tokyo. To this very day everytime I order fish and fries I break out in a cold sweat and hear that awful siren "WHHHHAAAAA WHAAAAAA WHAAAAA"

Monday, July 02, 2012

Two Superheros Walk Into An Elevator.....

Vacation bible school was close to a month ago (wow!! that month flew by), but I wanted to share a couple pictures of Adam and his pals. It was a superhero themed event and as you can see Spiderman aka Adam and The Flash aka Max had enough of the stairs, deciding instead to take the elevator. This is one of my favorite pics of all time.

Locks Of Love

I'm at least seven to ten posts behind so look for me to double up here in the next week or so!

After two years and three months it was finally time for Alex to get his very first haircut. Nobody wanted to do it, but we all agreed it was time. The temps are reaching into the triple digits these days and little man was simply getting way to hot. As you can tell from the before and after pics below he didn't really take it that well. Honestly I think we all cried about it some and even now a week later he still looks way too grown up for my tastes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Cross In The Dark (Author's Notes)

I know it's kinda odd to be sharing my thoughts on what were essentially my thoughts to begin with although I really tried to tell is as if it were almost a short story. The canoe trip took place weeks ago and that cross has practically haunted me ever since I saw it. I just can't shake that image of what it must look like standing out along that creek bank at midnight with those solar lights shining on that cross.

For weeks the words and phrases were churning around inside, yet I put off writing about it until everything fit nice together. When it was finally time to put word to page, it really came to gather with very little editing. I have to say it's one of the most special posts I've ever written and I hope it shows how much effort I put into it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Cross In The Dark

Quite honestly I didn't even know what I was looking at the first five minutes as I stood standing there in the waste deep water. It had been a beautiful day at the creek, not too hot with a cool breeze. Honestly I only had one thing on my mind, how long until I reeled in the next big fish. The current was strong in some places so as I started making out the shape, I had to be careful as to not slip on the well worn rocks below. What first caught my attention was light bouncing off silver along the bank. After I got a little closer I realized I was staring out at a cross that had been planted just beyond the edge of the water and surrounding it were a half dozen solar lights.

I couldn't make out the names scratched across it, but my imagination quickly pieced together the story of a swimmer, possible a kayaker, who was caught after a rain storm which caused the levels of the creek to rise much higher than I was currently fishing in. Gripped by the raging waters the worst case scenario was the very thing that happened on that sad day. Distraught and looking for a way to remember their friend, their brother in Christ, their son; the family erected the cross and placed it at the very site of the place where every one's life changed.

It's been three weeks since I saw that cross along the banks of Cypress creek and still the image is burned into my mind. Miles from the nearest person. Barely noticeable by anyone who is not looking for it, that cross stands for months, years, decades as a silent reminder of that great loss of someone so many held so dear to their hearts. When I think about that cross I think about what it must be like to be standing there at just the right time. The sun going down over the horizon. The breeze swaying the trees back and forth. The endless sound of the creek passing by as if time itself were making noise as it slipped away. As darkness slowly creeps up all around that cross and nighttime covers the forest, I imagine what must be a truly miraculous sight as those half dozen solar lights switch on glorifying that lost life and reminding the heavens "We will never forget that great and powerful sacrifice!"

Parading Around Town

I don't know how it happened but we are a family that loves parades. We have been known in the past to stand outside for hours in below freezing temps just to see Scooby Doo walk past us and wave. It's seems like there is a parade a month around where we live.

There's the Handy Festival parade. The street strut the next morning. The Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Florence, and Muscle Shoals homecoming parades. Plus the nearby university has one. Each city also has a Christmas parade. This week the Helen Keller festival kicked off with a parade. We've been to them all and stayed to the very last horse and buggy past by.

When taking the kids to a parade there are two important things to consider. Where you stand and who you stand by. The last place you want to be is at the end of the route holding a spiderman Halloween bucket only to discover all the candy had been thrown out long before the final turn. The best place to stand for maximum candy collection is about a block from the start. The people in the parade try to conserve the candy at the start so they don't run out, but after a few minutes they get into it themselves and the snickers start raining down fast and furious.

Picking who you stand by is almost important if not more than where you stand. There are basically three types of people to avoid being by:

The Greedy Grabber- Kids are there to get candy and apparently for some it's the only chance they have all year of doing so. The Greedy Grabber throws all rules of society out the window and will push, shove, kick, and run you down for a cracked piece of peppermint. If you want candy of your own avoid this person at all costs.

The Narrator- " Coming up here is a two tone, six horse power, diesel, twin turbine hemy driven by the best friend of the second cousin of the guy sitting three rows behind Lincoln when Booth snuck up behind him" Kinda like this post The Narrator goes on and on about nothing. Thankfully the sirens from an endless string of fire trucks drowns him out for two seconds. If you find yourself next to a combo Greedy Narrator just pack up and move on down the line.

Granny- This last type is everyones Granny and just came to see smiling faces. Granny is an agent for all that is good in America and will give you every piece of candy that falls in front of her.

Parades are made for good times and nobody likes good times more than we do judging by the number we go to. If you have a parade within driving distance message and I'm sure we will come running

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Only The Best Day Ever

That's what Adam said on the way back from fishing in Cypress creek tonight. "This was only the best day ever dad!!!". It started with him going out for Cracker Barrel first thing this morning. After a ton of food, he went with Mandy to the grocery store where he got a couple toys. He hadn't been home an hour when cousin Shane came over to play Operation and go swimming. Then last but not certainly least a quick fishing trip which had him catching seven blue gill and small mouth bass.

Up until today he'd never had any luck so last week I bought a second top water cricket which I did real well with a few weeks back on our canoe trip. I put one on his rod and within two casts he was bringing one home.

I play a little golf now and then, but fishing is something I was doing with my grandfather since I was his age. It really made me proud to see him standing there waist deep in water saying he didn't care if it was getting dark, he was about to land a monster fish. These are exactly my thoughts when it comes time to leave every single trip I take. Just one more cast. Just one more fish. Just one more minute with my little buddy.

It was only the best day ever for too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Touch The Feel Of Cotton (Candy)

If you'd asked me earlier today I would have been convinced that Alex had tasted the melt in your mouth goodness of cotton candy before. I mean the kid is 2 years old! What kind of dad would I be if I didn't give my baby some cotton candy! Yet there we were offering him some tonight at the Helen Keller parade and he just kept staring at it that got me wondering what he was staring at it like and here's the best I can figure:

1) He thought is was a piece of cloth. He was sorta looking at it all confused and I'm thinking he thought it was basically a pink t-shirt wrapped around a stick. I can understand this because after all they do call it COTTON candy. It looks like pink cotton. It looks like pink couch cushion foam on a stick.

2) In some ways it looks like a spider web yet it melts the moment it gets wet and is very sticky. I wonder if he thought we were trying to feed him pink spider web on a stick?

Either way he wasn't having any part of it and unfortunately so as not to waste I had to finish it for him. So this still leaves me wondering; did he think it was literally a piece of cotton on a stick or were we trying to feed him spider webs?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why Don't You Like Mike?

My favorite type of humor is that which comes from miscommunication. This past weekend Adam showed a fondness for this as well. We were walking through the Walmart parking lot when Mandy said "Some people need to get a life."

Immediately Adam started giggling "Mommy said she wants a wife!"

"I said get a life"

"We are going to fly kites?"

"You want to ride a bike?"

"Some people you don't like? Who do you not like mommy?"

"You saw Mike? Who's Mike?"

He just went on and on and on about it and I love him so much for it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Little Ribbing Goes A Long Way

As I may have mentioned yesterday, all I asked for on Father's Day was to go out to eat ribs and come back in time to watch the back nine of the golf tournament. Thanks to my awesome family I got just that.

For lunch we went to Ricks and immediately I dug into a full slab. As a bonus I discovered my favorite new drink, the fruit tea. So I'm sitting there and things start to get a little tricky mainly because the ribs were a little fatter than I like, but super tasty none the less. I'm twisting them a bit. Pulling them a bit. Suddenly out of no where I lose my grip and literally fling a rib halfway across the room. Sometimes embarrassing things happen to you and nobody ever sees. This was not one of those times.

The rib goes flying across the room and immediately Mandy busts out laughing. While giving thanks that it didn't hit a passing waitress, I then have make the walk of shame to pick it up off the floor. Trying to keep as much of what little dignity I had left all the while.

On the way home Mandy starts giving me looks and at a stop sign says I have something in my hair. As I glanced up into the rearview mirror , I realize the ribs were so good I apparently decided to store some in my hair until later.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oh Father

I could write a post about how Mother's Day and the week long ramp up to it is ridiculous compared to Father's Day. I could tell tales of dads I know who didn't even get a $4 Hallmark card. This isn't that kind of post though.

This is post to say thank you to Mandy and the boys for my new wallet. For paying attention when I said I dropped the old one in the creek last weekend. For painting me a picture of an owl to hang on my wall. For a day filled with grilled ribs, the best fruit tea I've had in a while, and letting me watch golf all evening.

This is a post to say thank you to the Angry Man for taking a deep breath every now and then to show us he had a sense of humor. To let my Dad know how much I enjoy our weekly chats which always leave me feeling better about life. To pray for both my Grandpa Hamm and PawPaw Beck; neither of whom I see that often but I think about on a daily basis. It is because of these men that I am able to be a good father to my children.

This is also a post to say thank you to my father in heaven who sacrificed his only son so we may live. Through him all things are possible and because of him no situation is ever as hopeless as it seems. Happy Father's Day.

Hero Up VBS!

As a family one of our favorite times of the year is the week of Vacation Bible School. This year things were a bit different in that we decided to do the whole thing in one day. When I first heard this I wasn't sure how it would work out in terms of the kids hanging in there from 9-2, but the thought of spending an entire day playing with my boys was enticing too.

This year's theme was Hero Up! and featured all types of comic book super heroes telling their favorite stories about heros of the Bible. The church was decorated in Avengers themed sets and posters. There was the Avenger's HQ and the main stage was set up to look the city skyline. Serving as a break in between lessons two the largest bouncing castles I've ever seen were placed in the gym. This of course for many stole the show. When asked this morning Adam could remember bits and pieces of the lessons taught, but without a doubt could tell you every flip and flop taken on those giant inflatable slides. We even stuck around for two hours after VBS had ended just so we could soak up every last bit of fun before the slides were taken down.

I think Ben Hayes said it best this morning when he said that the kids that attended this year's VBS may not remember the stories of Esther or Samson, but they will remember a day filled with laughter surrounded by their friends at church. I have to agree that nothing sounds sweeter.

Friday, June 15, 2012

In The Eye Of The Storm

With boys you just never know what you are going to get when you walk in that door after a long day. It's really just a coin flip as to if they will acknowledge your existence, run to you with open arms, or kill your ears with a bunch of crying.

As a person who thrives on routine, the threat of chaos breaking out at a moments notice took some getting used to. You just never realize how much noise and disorder comes with having a child (let alone two) until you find yourself in the eye of the hurricane.

People that live by themselves never have to deal with kids screaming they have to go potty and then never going after 20 minutes of staring at him sitting on the pot. Single people never have the pleasure of hearing two kids duke it out for a spot on a couch that was made to sit three people twice their age. They never have to fight for the remote or hear how it's no fair you get to watch the news before going to work every morning. Single people don't have to deal with crying over too much ice in their cup, too few chips on their plate, and not liking something they just ate last week.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Whole Bunch Of Nothing

Not much going on just enjoying a peaceful night hanging around the house. Alex acted like he was getting sick but the doc couldn't find anything wrong with him. Asia took the boys to CiCi's Pizza today and Adam fell even more in love with her.

The most exciting thing to happen around the office was the introduction of two new vending machines. Rumor has it we are getting a couch and television set in the new break room, but I'll believe it when I see it.

We are in the full heat of summer even though it doesn't officially start for another week. The weeds have long taken over the garden which we all promised to work in yet never did. From the casual observer it would appear we have stalks of corn and cucumber vines growing in the middle of the backyard.

Most of the night was spent with music playing in the background. The boys are like me in that they never get tired of hearing tunes. Some days it's the only thing that gets me to the end. I suppose it's possible we all have ADD and a song in the background keeps our feet tapping just enough to focus on the tasks in front of us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Open Mouth Insert Sock

Some may remember Socks our outside cat that disappeared a couple years back shortly after having three of the meanest kittens ever. To help Adam get through it we told him that she found an inside family and still loves him very much. Just off the cuff on the way home I blurted out that I thought I saw her. Suddenly Adam starts bawling like no tomorrow.

The crying lasted all the way home, the whole time he was getting ready for bed, and was still going on after lights out. Nothing Mandy or I said could make it better....but I know what may have made it worse.

Gigi asked me to walk him down to her place so she could try and calm him down. Noticing his feet and suffering from my typical lack of filter, I blurted out "Aren't you hot? Why don't you get rid of those socks"

As I was saying it I was literally trying to pick up the words as they dripped out. He of course cried out "We got rid of Socks!!!". That's why I'm a blockhead.

Double Dish Duty

Lately Adam has been attempting to help out more around the house. I haven't quite figured out if this is an attempt to make up for the trouble he typically finds himself in or if he wants money. Regardless of which reason the end result is kinda nice. While I must shed a tear or two lamenting over how old he is getting, I'm also proud of the person he is becoming.

With increasing frequency he has started making his bed, cleaning his room, and routinely makes sure everyone gets cold water whenever they start breaking a sweat. Monday night he caught us all off guard by sneaking into the kitchen and washing dishes. This was a complete surprise and so was what we found an hour later after he went to bed. While we def gotta give the guy an A for effort apparently he didn't use hot water or soap as they all had to be re-washed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feeling Froggy

We are still trying to decide if the leak in the pool will be fixed this year and three frogs have taken up residence. At night it's as if we live in the country. The sound of the croaking frogs filling the night air.

The boys love checking on them and mention them at least once every couple of days. Yesterday Adam noticed something especially fascinating.

"Dad guess what!!! The frogs are sleeping and guess what!!! The baby frog is sleeping on the mommy frogs back. Isn't that awesome?"

Not ready to have the birds, bees, frogs, and trees talk with my 6 yr old I simply said "Well isn't that nice. Hey what's for lunch I'm thinking cheese burgers!!"

Thankfully he took the bait and ran inside eager to help make lunch.

Row Row Row Your Boat

Went canoeing down Cypress creek this past Saturday. We took my buddy Mitch's canoe and learned a valuable lesson: A 10 minute drive in a car equals about an hour & 1/2 of paddling. We unfortunately learned this the hard way.

There we were having the time of our life. The water was nice, a good breeze was in the air, the sun managing to stay behind the clouds just a bit, and more importantly the fish were biting. We figured the halfway point and that the finish line would be about 30 minutes away from there. We were wrong.

Now I didn't hear what his wife said and he didn't hear mine, but both conversations sounded similar:

"I'm good!! Catching a ton of fish"
"Where are we? Cypress creek."
"Yeah I know what time it is"
"Yes I know when I said I would be home"
"I know there are things that have to be done....but...but um...well we've been paddling for an hour and still have not made it to the car."
"No we are not lost! We just don't know where we are compared to where the car is. Honestly it HAS to be up here somewhere."
"Love you Sweetie"

I have never caught that much fish in one day in my life, however I have also never tried that hard to get out of the water in my life either. Next time we park closer!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

TRON: Up Rising Over His Head

To my knowledge here is what I believe to be the story of TRON. This guy named Flynn was a scientist who also created a video game. What he doesn't know is there is a world inside of all computers which is being taken over by the Master Program (red people are bad). The Master Program zaps Flynn into a game he (Flynn) created in which the hero Tron is trying to keep the other programs (the blue guys) free.

With the help of Flynn, Tron saves the day. Flynn then creates Clu so he (Flynn) can keep peace and manage his life outside the computer. Clu gets power crazy traps Flynn inside the computer where he goes into hiding, Tron is defeated...until the end of the second movie in which Flynn's son finds his father 15 years later and with the help of Tron, Clu is defeated.

Disney's new series TRON: Uprising takes place in between the two movies and features an injured Tron mentoring a guy named Beck who poses as Tron to spark a revolution against Clu.

Here is what Adam understands: Red is bad and Blue is good. Sure it's basic but he loves it and I love it so what's not to love about that.

Crabby Contact

This used to be the picture that came up when Mandy called my cell phone. I lovingly refer to her as my Lucy and this remake if the JAWS poster was classic. The sight of tiny Snoopy unaware that he is about to be eaten alive was so funny to me.

Last weekend Mandy's phone died and she asked to use mine. Looking for Mo's number she hit hers by mistake and the picture popped up. Needless to say she was not happy and I made sure I stayed on the couch watching movies a little later than normal just so I'd not face any resistance coming to bed.

Once we were all able to laugh about it the next day I did change the picture to something less controversial. I am still using the picture though. The new person just may never know.

A Show Of Anger

Alex is a little over 2 and we are just starting to swat him on the back if the leg with our hands. Yes we are parents that spank get over it. We only save such severe punishments for when the child simply refuses to obey. Yesterday Alex reached this level of no return.

The new inflatable pool came with a pump and two valves. Water goes in, is filtered, then goes out the other tube. Alex would not quit standing on the in flow tube. We told and told. We begged and pleaded. Finally we spanked.

The moment my hand met his back side Alex cried out in pain. The crying only lasted a moment though and was very quickly replaced by anger. Almost immediately Alex crossed his arms and stomped to the back door. Lips sticking out all the way. With a look of disgust and his face red with rage our little sweet 2 year old walked inside, slammed the back door, and stood there in the window with his arms crossed and smoke coming out of his ears.

Now had he been 6 this little trick would have required a further attitude adjustment. For the moment however his cuteness saved him from further punishment. That being said the cute routine is starting to wear thin.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Falling Off The Wagon

I accidentally slept late. Missed my morning walk. Neck is killing me from where I tried unsuccessfully to get the pressure washer started. Almost fell asleep in the morning meeting. Nobody at the office was in a good mood. Mandy and I went a round or two. I sank my sorrows into a giant roast beef sandwich from Arbys. I just felt even more guilty afterward for swan diving off my diet.

I was sure by three that time had stopped and I was doomed to be chained to my desk forever. By the end of it I was fed up and determined to do something drastic like eat a whole box of Little Debbie zebra cakes washed down with a gallon of whole milk....then I pull into the driveway to find Adam pulling Alex in his wagon. Both laughing as if they were touring the streets of Disney. All I could think about was how great life is and how blessed I am.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Game Of Thrones

From what I can remember (and I suppose that if I really needed to know I could look through the Charlie archives) Adam was not that difficult to potty train. Sure it didn't happen overnight, but once we learned the trick of giving him a handful of Reese's Pieces with every successful attempt the training was just about accomplished. Like everything else Alex seems determined to clear his own path.

It's like a circus act without the guy being shot out of the cannon. He says he has to go, gets you all geared up to take him, sits down on the potty, and then....then he...he..he makes a hissing noise with his mouth. Like I said tons of build up with no reward.

A-Mish Upon A Star

As I mentioned last night Saturday we went to the Amish Country. Just inside Eldridge Tn. you can pick up a map at the local gas station which gives a list of all the local families, directions on how to find them, and what they sell.

To say that it's a different world there in the sprawling fields that lie between Highway 242 & 43 would be an understatement. It was my first introduction to true Amish culture and I was amazed. There are of course the obvious things that pop into your mind; no electricity, no air conditioning, no Internet, television, or radio. As you make your way from family to family though it really starts to sink in.

Handmade soap, blankets, furniture all made on the family land. Cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, and onions grown just a few feet from the front porch. Children that do not speak unless spoken too and little in response at that. In some ways it's a simple lifestyle in others it seems at least from the outside to be a harsh existence filled with toiling away in the hot sun from sun up to sun down with little in the way of luxury. Still though I can help but view the Amish countryside with a bit of whimsy similar to that of the beach. A place where the world has never been more quiet, the sky more clear, and the people more full of life

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Mish You When You're Not Around

Last month Mo, Mandy, & The Gigi got up and went to the Good-will in Lawrenceburg. This past week they decided to go back for 1/2 off Saturday. There is a large Amish population just outside the town and each house sells the various things they produce. Mandy invited me & the boys to tag along and we gladly accepted. Normally I drive where ever we go, but this time around I decided to sit in the back with the kids.

Initially I brought a book thinking I could get caught up on my reading, thankfully I realized right away that if I had stuck my nose in between those pages I would have missed out on all the fun. Back there just the two of us sharing the same seat, Adam and I really had a chance to connect. We learned about the Amish and how they lived. We shared headphones while listening to our favorite songs on the iPod. I know it sounds sorta simple but my favorite thing we did....something I hope we do again is we talked. No yelling at him to stop this or that. No threatening to beat him for acting like a crazy person. We just talked about stuff...I wish the trip had been longer.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Asia-n Influence

"Are you just home for lunch?"
"You are going back to work, right?"
"Are you home for the day?"
"You will be leaving soon, aren't you?"

Ever since Asia has started watching Adam for the Summer he no longer requires us to be around anymore. While I must admit to being a little jealous, he's apparently been acting like an angel all week so I can't help but be impressed. Since it was partly my idea to hire her I am also partly impressed by my awesome decision making abilities.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Million Mile March

There are days when I jump out of bed. I dash into the new day like a world class marathon runner on mile 1. I blink once & I'm at the office. Blink twice and it's lunch time with my favorite girl. Blink three times and I'm wrapping up the day at the park with my boys.

Then there are days like today that start with Alex waking me up by pulling
my eye lids over my forehead. I fall asleep in the shower and need two cups of coffee to make it to lunch. Every step forward feels like I'm a million miles from home. I pray for mercy and all I want is the one thing I can't have i.e to be back under the covers in bed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Splash Of Misery

It seemed innocent enough, we surprised the kids with a trip to the splash pad. We went through the usual check list: sun screen, towels, backpack, flip-flops. Like everything else it was 30 minute process. During that 30 minutes the excitement built to an almost fever pitch. The kids started dancing, singing songs about how great we their eyes we can do no wrong! All that changed in seconds.

We pull up and start the unloading process: sun screen, towels, backpack, flip-flops etc. all of this only to take three steps into the park and realize that there is a private invite only party going on. Gone are the songs about how great we are, the smiles have all turned upside down, tears began to flow. It wasn't our fault, but knowing that and not feeling that way are two different things.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Badminton Bandit!!!

We spent a hour inflating a pool that deflated in 20 minutes. We took an hour to fill 100 water balloons only to have them disappear in 5 minutes. We made homemade pineapple ice-cream. We did all of this & more before finding out this afternoon that Adam is a badminton bandit!!!

He runs to the right. Dashes to the left. Leaps as high as a building. Dives to the net. All of this in hopes of making that next shot. He is everywhere at once and nowhere more than a split second. He is the badminton bandit!!

In Mememorial

Today is Memorial Day. With all the swirling chaos that constantly surrounds us, it's easy to understand why we might forget what this day means. All too often we take for granted the freedoms so many died to protect.

I am not a soldier, yet I have known some great men who were. I've seen the faces of their families as they describe what their loved ones are going through overseas. I've heard the cries of those who have gotten the news nobody should ever have to hear.

It's with all of this in mind that Mandy & I set aside part of the day to talk with Adam about the true meaning of Memorial Day. To teach him that we are only free because of the men that fought for that freedom. Soon after with flags in hand, Adam & Alex spent an hour marching to patriotic songs all through the house.

God Bless America

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pool Talk

The new house has a pool slash frog pond. It hasn't been used in years for reasons we thought involved repairs needing to be made. Friday we learned things are not what we thought.

As it turns out the previous owners had completed repairs, but before they could test out the work done on it they moved. Essentially what I'm saying is that we could very well have a fully functional pool outside our back door and not know it.

The thought of this is slowly driving Mandy & I bonkers as the temps outside slowly creep to 100. What if all that needs to be done is adding water?

A Rat's Tale

Growing up I had one. That really long strand of hair that went down the back of my neck. Some kids up'd the cool factor by having their entire head buzzed except for that one strand in the back thus giving them a true rat tail appearance.

Alex is now a little over two years old and has yet to get his first hair cut. It's coming soon, but we are just not ready yet. Yesterday we were hanging out around the pool when he turned around. The water had laid his hair flat across his back and the result was a very long lock of hair going straight down his back.

"Check it out! Alex has got a rat tail!!"
"Where Dad?! I don't see a rat!"
"On his head Adam. It's a rat tail"
"Alex has got a rat in his hand?"
"No his hair looks like a rat's tail"
"I don't see a rat on his head...."

I tried to explain it a dozen times, but Adam still kept looking for a rat.

Rock Me Hot Potato

One of the funniest things to me is to hear songs get mangled by people who think they are singing the right words. Up until this past Thursday my all time favorites were  "Hold me closer Tony Danza!!" and "I'd die without shoe's". This past week Adam topped them all.

What was sang:
Amedeus, Amedeus, Amedeus
Amedeus, Amedeus, Amedeus
Amedeus, Amedeus, oh Amedeus!

What Adam heard:
Hot potato, hot potato, hot potato
Hot potato, hot potato, hot potato
Hot potato, hot potato, oh I want a hot potato

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Education Of Mandy Beck

I was trying to educate Mandy on the joys of The Rolling Stones (I was a butcher cuttin the meat! My hands are bloody, I'm dying on my feet!) when I was quickly reminded that Mandy had been educated enough today. You see after ten weeks of classes and two weeks of prepping for the big test.....Mandy is officially a liscensed real estate agent!!!

We are sooo very proud of her. Nothing ever worth having comes easy and she has literally put in her share of blood, sweat, and tears to make this achievement happen. We have of course been praying for this moment and for God to show us the path he desired for us to take. Finally those prayers have been answered. Thanks to everyone's support. Today was an awesome day!

Best Of Blockhead: Return Of The Flash (August 30,2007)

I just don’t seem to be posting about my favorite person anymore. Fred has turned into the coolest thing I have ever been a part of in my entire life. He doesn’t cry. He’s not whiney. He plays. That’s what the little guy does and he’s the best at it. I’ve never been the type to catch the spotlight when I walk into a room, but boy does my son know how to light up a room!! Take last Friday night for example.

The Gigi works at a retirement home (I prefer old folks home, but they don’t seem to like being called old folks Lucy calls them Littles) and part of her job is to organize different activities to keep them alive (entertain them). So last Friday night the whole place plus a few fraternity/sorority members turn out for an old fashioned sock hop. Root beer floats, moon pies, a boom box blasting the oldie goldie tunes of the 50’s 60’s, and there in the center of the room lies a dance floor.

Of course Fred spent the night running up and down and sideways around the joint. Bopping from one poodle skirted granny to the next, completely unaware that just outside the walls a major storm was taking place. Lightning, rain, the whole bit. Except none of it could be heard over all the noise the party was creating. So just to set things up Lucy and I are way across the room watching Fred dance around a couple of grannies when


The thunder clapped so loud the lights blink and 15 old men fall to the floor grasping their chests (ok nobody fell out just adding to the story). Out of nowhere Fred throws back his arms, screams OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!, and kicks those little legs into light speed….going nowhere in particular. He’s just running like his life depends on it and his arms are too slow to keep up. He doesn’t care where we are at he just knows he’s not going to be where he was the next time whatever that was decides to blow up again. Suddenly he trips and falls flat on his face, but his legs are moving so fast they somehow scoop him up and carry him to the end of the room straight to his GiGi!! Nobody’s run that fast in that place since the whole all you can eat prune disaster of 1995!!

Jumping Freddy Flash Is Fast Fast Fast!!

I'm behind by two days in my posting and I'm not ready to let this New Year's resolution go by the way side so tonight you are getting three doses of Charlie!

If you know Adam then you know how much he loves to run. He has no concept of walking and every where he goes there's a sonic boom moments afterward. It's no wonder we used to call him Freddy The Flash. Now that baseball is officially over and the endless string of sports along with it (baseball, then football, then basketball, then baseball again all within weeks of each other), I've decided to test the waters of track & field. After all if,  running is his talent what a better way for him to use it.

I took him to the local track yesterday and could not believe my eyes. He ran around the entire thing without stopping!!! He then rested for a moment, took a few deep breaths, and did it a second time!!! I'm seriously looking into local marathons for him to run in. The only thing stopping me is that I'm not sure if I will be able to keep up with him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Airplane Airplane I'm On My Way

I picked up an app yesterday that teaches you how to make 20 different types of paper airplanes. Adam is all into them especially since I told him how my dad was the master paper folder.

Growing up I can remember paper boats that could float for miles. Gliders that could sail over entire cities. Loopty loops that would do dozens of barrel rolls.

Adam is amazed by the stories and is begging me to pass on the tradition. So
as they say; practice makes perfect.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My New Pet Peeve

My new pet peeve is this....people who ask my opinion about something then drive you crazy when you say the opposite of what you think. One minute you are minding your own business and the next you're suddenly on trial for treason. For example:

"I've decided to spray paint the car black. What do you think?"
"I think the color that the car is now is fine. Besides that's tacky!"
"Tacky! What do you mean by that?! I was trying to save money. I saw somebody do it on TV and it looked good. You must not know what I'm talking about. You don't even know what tacky is. I wasn't asking you anyway. I was telling you what I was going to do."

This has happened to me three times this week from various people.

Message Mix Up

I'm not the fastest text messenger in the west, but I do okay. At times while waiting on someone to respond I have been known to carry on 3 discussions at one time. Today I apparently proved this may not always be the best idea.

To Mom: u coming over today?

To Mandy: How is Adams team party @ the park?

Mom: what time u going to be home?

Mandy: it's raining.

To Mom: after 3:00

To Mandy: I bet Adam loves that.

Mom: let me see something...

Mandy: he's running wild.

Mom: okay I can come

Mom: I'm going to kill your child!!!

To Mom: I don't want u coming over then!!!

Mom: why not?!

To Mom: oops sorry!!! I thought u were coming over to kill one of the boys. Mandy is going to do it instead

It was.....

A great idea to walk to Gattman park for Adam's team party.

A great opportunity to get some exercise.

A good way to spend some family time.

About half the way there when it started pouring down rain.

A good thing I'd been working out for three weeks because I had to run 3 blocks back to get the van.

A blessing I have such a forgiving wife who patiently waited in some random strangers carport with Alex crying until I could make it back to them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Worry Just Won't Seem To Leave My Mind Alone

Wednesday night seven o'clock church services are always a tricky thing to get to. The kids are both soaked in sweat after school. Dinner has to be ate. Clothes have to be changed. Plus it's not like Mandy or I leave at exactly five o'clock everyday.  Somehow we manage and for good reason.

Tonight's lesson was all about worry and how the only thing we should be really concerned about (to a certain degree) is whether or not we are living our lives for God. Worry constantly plagues me and slows down my every decision. I've yet to find a way to shake this off, but tonight's lesson definitely helped. A little bit of luck would do wonders though....

Tonight also featured Alex's debut performance as a song leader. The moment the closing song started his arm went up and he started swaying it up and down/back and forth. The entire place was cracking up!

Back On The Wagon

Last week I wrote about the problems with my new involuntary diet and how I was off the wagon already. Today I'm happy to report that I am learning new ways to eat, even in a fast food environment. My first accomplishment has been to ignore french fries. Fries are my kryptonite. Hardly my most favorite food ever, but they are always around. Next I've learned the joy of a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce only and no sauce. Combined with a fruit smoothie and it makes for a healthy alternative to a double cheeseburger with bacon. So far I've managed to quit drinking soda, I'm drinking more water and Mandy even got me some sugar free cookies the other night to help my chocolate fix! Plus I'm exercising at least every other day. I know a week is a long way from a habit, but they say that it only takes a month to make a routine permanent. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Night Blues

Not much going on tonight. Alex has an ear infection so I'm taking tomorrow off. Thank goodness for sick days. Adam is down to only a week and a half of school left. He's ready for summer to start mainly because his favorite babysitter of all time Asia Duren will be keeping him for the next three months. For me it all feels like it's going by too fast. If I could freeze a moment in time it might be this one. Alex as cute as a button wondering from room to room laughing at every little thing. Adam learning to read, singing church songs, always ready to play or wrestle with his dad. Life is changing too fast to keep up with.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Maywood Youth Rally Group Picture

Potato Chip Potato Chip

Saturday I took Adam to a youth rally at Maywood Christian Camp. He absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to spend the whole week. Here is his favorite song:

Potato Chip, Potato Chip
Munchie Crunchie
I love Jesus
A bunchie bunchie

Of course I couldn't remember the words when we got home so I made up my own version he liked better.

Potato Chip, Potato Chip,
Potato Chip, CRUNCH!
Who loves Jesus as much as US?
Sock it to the Devil UUUUUUGGGHHHH!

I Still Resolve Too

Back at the first of the year I made a list of News Year's Resolutions and I thought it would be neat to go over those just to see how I'm doing. Here goes:

  1. I resolve to go to the dentist more than I did last year......I have not done this yet. I almost went last week but my tooth stopped hurting so I opted out. Who knows if I get around to this or not...the year's not over yet

  2. I resolve to try harder to not bite my nails....I have good days and bad weeks. I am getting better though!

  3. I resolve to lose weight.....This is happening. Mainly because of my recent heath scare in which the Dr. told me I was killing my self by eating what I want whenever I want. My cholesterol was through the roof and I was having chest pains

  4. I resolve to watch less TV, read more, and play outside more with the boys....I'm doing this more too. The new house came with a huge yard that just begs to be played in.

  5. I resolve to be a better husband....You'd have to ask Mandy about this one, but I'd say I'm way more patient.

  6. I resolve to pray more and not just close my eyes while wondering what's for lunch, dinner, breakfast, etc....This is definitely happening. I feel closer to God then ever before.

  7. I resolve to save money and be in a better financial position come the end of 2012....Working on it. Every journey has hills and valleys. So does every financial period.

  8. I resolve to be a better Christian.....I pray that I am. I'm definitely more focus on getting Adam involved more at Church. To see it as something more than just a place to run and play with friends.

  9. I resolve to help others more....This one I need to work on.
There was one last resolution that I have kept and really enjoyed. I resolve to post all 365 days this year. So far I've lived up to that.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nothing Left To Do But Admit She's Always Right

My day started out on the wrong foot trying to get Adam to take a shower before school. It was late last night when we got home from church and done with dinner. I mistakenly thought it would be easier to get him up and in the shower then it would keeping him up another half hour past his bed time. Not one to always have her way, Mandy simply agreed to go along with the idea.....boy was I wrong. Getting him in the shower was not really the problem it was getting him to do more than just stand there. At the two minute mark he was barely even wet. After 5 minutes he had managed to scoot under the water. Surely I thought to myself after 10 minutes in the shower he'd be done.....he was all wet but had not touched the soap. As I stood there threatening various forms of torture if he didn't get a move on it, one thought kept repeating itself "How did she know? Why is she always right!!"

Thankfully she would never rub it in my face; still how can one person be so right about every single thing?

Tonight I decided to take the long way home thinking I'd drive by to check out the old house. Within seconds she caught on to what I was doing, sharing her concern that it might make Adam sad. I shrugged it off and kept going. A block away Adam says "I miss the old house so much. Can we go see it?" Trying to recover Mandy gave it her best shot "I just wanted Daddy to look at something over here. Look Daddy there it is." Not giving up Adam pleaded "Can we please see the old house?"

Some people are born with the ability to do mass calculations in their heads. Others can draw master works of art. There are those that can remember every book they have ever read word for word. My wife? She always knows the right thing to do. Thank God I have her.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Too Soon To Slide Back

It's been week and I've fallen off the wagon. I'm back to eating whatever I want. Not excercising like I should. Not taking my medicine. Will power has never been my strong suit, but even still it's a little early to be falling off a wagon I barely have even climbed aboard yet. If you see me eating junk food scold me and tell me I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I'm Virbra! What's Your Sign?

Since I started getting the paper delivered to my door on a daily basis, I've become addicted to the comics page and the horoscope section. Sometimes I like to read my horoscope in the morning, sometimes I like to read it at the end of the day just to see if they got it right. The thing that I don't get about these little bits of wisdom is how do they pinpoint the exact day you switch signs. I mean where do they (whoever they are that come up with these things) decide that if you (like myself) are born on Sept 22 at 11:59:59 you are a Virgo, but one second later you are suddenly a Libra. For an industry built around being as vague as humanly possible that seems like a very specific line in the sand. Instead of pondering this mystery of the universe, I simply work around this conundrum by reading both the Virgo and Libra fortunes and picking out which one I like best. Let's look at today's:

Avoid passionate discussions with romantic partners today. People are entrenched in their views, and they are very jealous as well. Be cool.

Impulsiveness and emotional outbursts with family members will be the order of the day. Therefore, tread carefully! A small comment could escalate into a messy scene.

Essentially the above say the same thing i.e. "if not careful you are going to get in a fight with someone you live with" so if given a choice between the two today I'm a Libra. After all I'd much rather argue with Adam aka "a family member" than Mandy otherwise known as "my romantic partner"

Monday, May 07, 2012

Best Of Blockhead: Welcome To Walmart. Now With Less Clothing! (June 09,2009)

Somebody asked about Fred recently and if he was as hard to handle as their child. The answer to this is of course "He's way worse than your kid", because honestly who doesn't think their child is the biggest handful ever to be brought into this world. The question did spark a string of recent memories that I feel proves Fred (though he may seem out of control at times) is everything an All American Child should be.

Like last week during vacation bible school, right there in middle of the puppet show he decided to stand up and show the crowd how well he can do flips. He did 3 before I was able to stop him.

The next night he ran as hard as he could, caring less of where he was going, and managed to look up just in time to see the support beam hit him dead center between the eyes. It's been a week and he's still got two blackeyes.

Monday night he slept in his Spiderman costume. At 3:30 that morning he woke us up because he'd had an accident and gotten it all wet. It took us half an hour to convince him to change clothes.

One thing we are learning is that spanking may be useful at times, but in the end (no pun intended) it really doesn't have any long lasting effect. I think it's because during the normal course of the day he somehow manages to hurt his own self at least two dozen times, so us adding a couple of licks turns out to be nothing compared to what he's already been inflicted on his poor knees and elbows. To get to Fred you have to out think him. Pull out some logic and blind him. Dazzle him with your common sense and wisdom.....and if that doesn't work distract him with a distant prize that can only be obtained by listening to Mommy and Daddy. And even then he can't help but be who he is......the kid that out of the blue decided yesterday that it would be fun to chant "Let's get naked!!" over and over while we stood in line at Wal-mart.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lessons From Ali The Alligator

Ali the alligator is Adam's class mascot. She's green with big eyes, a cute smile, and body that just begs to be cuddled. She also happens to be Adam's homework assignment this weekend. Each Friday one student is selected to take Ali home with them, take pictures of all the adventures they have together, and write a report about all the fun they had. Adam thought this was the best most wonderful thing ever and made sure that everywhere he went so did Ali.

Over the past few days we've collected snapshots of Ali eating popcorn at Adam's baseball game. She was caught playing with Adam in the middle of a wheat field. Ali went on our tour of local parks yesterday where she got to see a waterfall, Indian Tee Pee, and take a riverfront walk. She even managed to make it to the comic book store and the Avengers movie with us. Today Ali attended Sunday school with Adam and tonight she was there enjoying a turkey sub at Lenny's right next to her pal Adam.

Wouldn't it be great if we all had a friend that would shadow us like Ali. Someone who was always there to give us a hug when we need it the most, make us laugh at exactly the right time, and help us feel safe late at night when it's just us and our thoughts. Adam would certainly attest to the fact that Ali is a great listener, never lets him down, and never asks for anything in return other than love. Luckily we do....

Just like Ali the alligator, God is there for us no matter what. Through the Bible his words of inspiration speak to us in our time of need and through him all things are possible. I know we may not be able to see him all the time, but if we would learn to just stop and listen God is always speaking to us. It might be through the feeling we get from the evening breeze, the sound of a little child praying, or a voice deep down inside us all that knows the true way out of a tough situation. As Adam prepares to say goodbye to Ali the alligator, I pray he never forgets his other constant companion the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made so we could all live.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Family Day In May

Mandy and I think it's important to take the kids out on the town every couple of weeks just to have fun. There are always going to be a ton of things to do around the house, but you gotta learn when to set those aside and focus on the fun things in life. Today we ran with that thought and tried to do every fun thing in town.

First we went to the waterfall. Adam jumped in a puddle of course splashing mud all up his back, but we found a millipede and Alex learned he hated the place. Next up Casa! Fajitas for Mandy, cheeseburger for  Adam, nuggets for Alex, and low cholesterol Bill got Mexican rice with grilled shrimp and vegetables on top. Next up free ice cream and a walk down by the river to see the Indian Tee P's. That lead to Adam wanting to go to the dips which are a series of hills in Sheffield that make you feel like you're riding a roller coaster. Two rides later and we were ready for a quick walk at the new River Front park pier which Mandy hadn't seen before, but Adam and I fish off of sometimes. After a quick stop to pick up the Gigi, Adam and I went see the most awesome superhero movie of all time The Avengers while the rest of gang went shopping! Adam wore his Ironman costume and every person that walked by told him how cool he was! He even clapped a few times as the HULK took care of business. Last but not least a trip to the grocery store to get some cholesterol free foods then home to crash.

From start to finish we visited 3 different parks, saw one 2 1/2 hr movie, and were gone from 10 this morning to 8 this evening.

The Occasional Withdrawal

I'm not going to lie Thursday was a hard day. I'm not naive enough to think that the tests were going to come back 100% perfect, but I didn''t really expect the hammer to be dropped either. It's only been a couple of days and I'm trying to make changes. I'm taking it seriously and I'm getting a ton of support from those around me. Mandy could not be a better wife. Soooo supportive. Anyways I'm trying to watch what I eat but it feels like someone else has different plans for me at times; take yesterday for example.

It was Field Day at Adam's school and we met him for lunch. Mandy asked if I planned to eat there or get something after and I couldn't help but think of what he normally gets for lunch i.e. vegetables, juice, turkey slices, etc....instead what's on the menu? Hot Dogs and potato chips. Can you believe it? I did the right think though and passed, opting to head over to Zaxby's for a grilled chicken sandwich. Figuring I'll grab some baked Lays and a bottle of water at the office, I just ordered the sandwich.

"I'd like the grilled chicken sandwich, plain with no tomato"
"You don't want the meal?"
"No thanks just the sandwich"
"Would you like something to drink with that?"
"That's okay. Just the sandwich."

As I'm walking out I notice the bag is kinda full so I stop to find out why and...I got free fries! Now a week ago I would have stopped right there in the middle of the restaurant and Tim Tebow'd as I thanked the Lord for my good fortune. Things are different now. I'm playing by a different set of rules. As I stand there staring at the fries, I notice my friend Kenny Ford who was aware of what I'd been going through the last few days sitting nearby and I explain.

"Kenny! Free fries! They gave me free fries!!!"
"That's okay. Eat them"
"Kenny! Dude we talked about this last night these could kill me!"

That's when Kenny open up the gates of wisdom and poured forth a bit of gold.

"Bad food is like borrowing money. If you go to the bank everyday and borrow money soon you'll be broke with nothing to show for it but heartache. But if you go to the bank one day a week to borrow money, it won't hurt you because you've been depositing money into it all week."

So I ate those evil fries and today I passed when they were offered again. Thanks Kenny!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Results Are In!!!

As if I needed yet another reason to hate tests (I'm horrible at them), the results from my physical are in and the blood tests weren't good. Seems I am not the perfect specimen of a man I once was. As of this afternoon at roughly 1:00 central time, I have turned into Heathcliff Huxstable. Not the cool Heathcliff from the earlier years that always had a smile and a funny story to tell. Sadly I'm the older version that had to sneak around with a footlong hoagie hidden in his gym bag and slices of apple pie under a Tupperware container full of lettuce. The difference being the earlier was happy because he was eating whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it and the later was forced to live off rabbit food. Just so you the reader know the extent of my problem here are the official results:

Total cholesterol ---Mine was 258

Normal: below 200 mg/dL

Borderline high: 200–239 mg/dL

High: 240 mg/dL and higher

LDL cholesterol ---Mine was 165

Normal: below 100 mg/dL

Borderline high: 100–129 mg/dL

High: 130 mg/dL and higher

HDL cholesterol ----Mine ws 42

Normal: 60 mg/dL and higher

Borderline low: 40–59 mg/dL

Low: 40 mg/d and lower

Triglycerides ----- Mine was 255

Normal: 150 mg/dL and lower

Borderline high: 150–199 mg/dL

High: 200 mg/dL and higher

As you can see I'm high in ever category. Goodbye pizza, bacon, pretzels, burgers, and pretty much any chance of eating real food ever again. Very bummed about this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Results Are....Coming Tomorrow

Unfortunately not much to add to last night's post other than I don't know anything and I'm back to eating junk food now that I know my heart is okay. Still though they want me to wear a monitor which the insurance company ok'd today. I figure I will schedule the appointment once the blood and x-ray results show up. And I'm not entirely on the junk food, I just sorta fell off the wagon tonight. 3 cookies. However I did eat a grilled chicken salad for dinner with dressing on the side...and bit of Lex's chicken tender...and a couple spoon fulls of ice cream. Sounds like somebody needs will power.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Let's Get Physical

I hate the title of this post, but couldn't shake it. Much like the song of the same name that won't get out of my head. I hate going to the doctor too (no this is not my grouchy smurf impression). Actually it's much more than that. Not a hate based on fear, more so a hate centered on the fact that some where deep down in my psyche it means I've given in to the pain and must admit I'm not an over grown muscle head (which you'd think one look in the mirror would rectify). Going to the doctor means I'm not able to tough it out. On a separate level going to the doctor also means that I'm putting actions behind my ache of the day.

The ache of the day could be back pain, maybe a cold, stiffness in the neck, a possible return of the gout. Very seldom could I honestly say nothing hurts. I don't walk around complaining all the time mind you, but there is typically a daily internal battle going on as to whether or not it really hurts that bad or am I just exaggerating. The point to all of this is that today I went for my first physical. Not a "turn your head and cough" physical more like an "lets just make sure you're still breathing properly" physical. I've been having chest pains for a week. I'm not falling over three times a day grasping my chest or anything. What I've been feeling is more like a spasm at times and an ache at others. Nine times out of ten the left side of my neck hurts so I've been writing it off as an extension of that. Yesterday morning there wasn't a pain of the day and yet the spasms were still there and so were the aches. Mandy didn't have to push too hard to get me to make an appointment.

It started with my shirt off. Scratch started with me not being able to eating anything after 6:30 this morning. I'm hypoglycemic so come 2:00 this afternoon things were already kinda fuzzy. The EKG was first and that's where taking my shirt off came in. I think that was the first women to see me with my shirt off since 1997-ish when I started dating Mandy. I tend to swim with a shirt on. No sense in flaunting what I got. As the electrodes were placed all around I fully expected to flop on the table like I was going into cardiac arrest once the kicked the juice on. Instead nothing and honestly I was kinda dissapointed....

Next up I had to describe all that was wrong which included an explanation on why I waited a week and how I'm fully aware that I'm mental. The EKG came back fine and then came the hints that it my by my gallbladder. I'm going to try not to offend a few people here, so this is me treading lightly.....gallbladder surgery is the medical equivalent of Air Jordans. Jordans used to be huge!! Even last year people were lining up a week a head of time to give $200-$300 bucks for a pair of shoes. I remember in high school kids were "Do you have your Jordans? Are you gonna get Jordans? Check out my Jordans? Love my awesome Jordans!! They make me jump higher!!" That's how I see gallbladder surgery. I'm the only one that still has mine and everyone I know won't shut up about how awesome it is not having one, until of course lunch time comes around and they see me eating an entire large pizza with 50 toppings on it. Oh and pooping at a moments notice just doesn't sound like the thrill ride some of you are making it out to be. 

Still though there is the spasm (flutter) they poked my right side so deeply their finger came out my left side then asked if it hurt. Which of course it did, kinda like falling a fence post would except I was left looking at the lady with the thought that now was the time to see her diploma from an accredited college. My blood pressure was the lowest it's been in a long time so no talk of a daily pill. Then there was talk of making me walking around with a heart monitor for 24hrs, but insurance had to approve it first so that idea was tabled. Finally I had three large vials of blood, two x-rays, and any hope of them not finding something wrong from me taken and was sent on my way pending McD's where I enjoyed my first bite in over 9 hours in the form of a double quarter pounder with fries and a coke.