Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Grayson!

          It was three years ago today that we were rushing to the hospital for the delivery of Grayson. (Read my Fatherhood blogs for more details on that story.) He wasn’t born until after midnight, but to me, the 6th is just as special as the 7th. The 6th is the day that I decided what kind of father I would be, and the 7th is when it came true.
          So, tomorrow is G’s third birthday and he’ll be surrounded by his friends and family, and most likely, he won’t want anything to do with Daddy, so I’m celebrating today. This kid (and his brother), have made my day, every day, since they’ve been here. Being a father is simply the most challenging and the most fun thing I have ever and will ever do. It’s a constant surprise.
          I’m going to cut this blog a bit short today because I have a ton of party preparations to finish up and I want to be able to actually spend some time with the birthday boy himself. That, and I have goats to tend to.

Happy birthday, Monkey! Daddy loves you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Few Days Off

I decided that because Christmas is coming soon and my work schedule is going to be out of control, that I would take this weekend off. I was off yesterday, and I don’t go back until Monday afternoon, (except for that pesky hour and a half meeting on Sunday.) It’s my last chance to take any time off until January, and so far, I’ve enjoyed it.
Yesterday, we got up and took Grayson to his mother’s day out program then we went towards the mall and did some birthday party shopping for Sunday afternoon. Then last night my in-laws decided to watch both boys for a couple of hours so Stacey could go get her nails done so I tagged along. I got to check out the new Dick’s Sporting Goods (Meh.) and Gander Mountain, Best Buy, and Books-a-Million where I bought a couple of new comics (Invincible Volumes 12 and 13 if you’re curious.) It was nice. Then we went home and I watched DVRed episodes of How I Met Your Mother and cracked open a couple of cold beers. Great way to start off my stretch of days off.
Today has been busy too so far. I got up and played with the boys and read my new comics while Stacey was at work, then when she got home, my father-in-law and I headed to Benton to pick up some goats for the birthday party. Yeah, you heard right. Goats. Three of them. In a trailer. In my back yard. I just got finished moving our dog kennel over to the in-laws patio where the party will be taking place (we need a place to put the goats.) It’s been a busy two days and I know that tomorrow and Sunday will be busy too, but I absolutely love it. I need to hit that Powerball so I can stay home and do this kind of stuff all of the time. I really enjoy spending time with my wife and boys.
Alas, it’s time for me to go. I hear my lovely wife screaming at my oh-so-perfect son about something and I think I should go keep the peace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Movie Time

Stacey gave me a list of possible things to blog about. Basically, it’s a list created to give someone a subject for 30 days. I don’t like all of them, and some I think are completely stupid, so I’m going to pick and choose and see where that takes me.

Glancing through the list and the first topic that really popped out at me was “What is you favorite movie?” That’s a tough one. There are so many good movies. When it comes down to the brass tacks though, I feel like that your favorite movie should be a go to film; something that you watch when you can’t think of anything else to watch. I think you need to connect with the movie on an emotional level. Sure, I love the movie Braveheart, despite Mel Gibson’s constantly changing accent, but I don’t connect with it.
I would have to say that my very favorite movie is probably Clerks II. Weird choice, I know. The first Clerks movie was about two guys who worked in a convenience store and the choices they were making in their 20s to either stay there or move on and get more education. In Clerks II, the two guys, Dante and Randal, have hit their 30s and with their convenience store having burned down, they are left working at the local fast food restaurant, Mooby’s. This is absolutely not a kid friendly movie and not really a very adult friendly movie unless you’re completely depraved like me. Lots of cursing and making sex jokes. Very funny, but very off color.
Anyway, I really connect withy this movie because retail is a similar job to fast food. Low paying. No respect. Working with 18 year olds constantly. I truly understand the desire to have more and the ultimately feel a need to advance your station in life. I understand the appeal of gambling away everything to start over with a new life. I understand feeling stuck in a dead end job because you never could decide what you wanted to be when you grew up. I get it. All of it. I also understand what it’s like to have ridiculously vulgar friends and be the ridiculously vulgar friend. I know what it’s like to not have a care in the world but work and friends. I really feel like I ‘get’ this movie. It fires on all eight cylinders in my soul. I know, I know, it sounds completely hokey, but I love it. I laugh every time I watch this movie and when I get to the end it always leaves me wanting more. Wanting more of the movie and of these characters, and wanting more for myself and for my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Something to Write Home About

Earlier this evening, I was sitting at my desk desperately trying to find something to blog about. I was wracking my brain and coming up with very little. I started about three different ones before I finally gave in to surfing the internet. I was checking election results and playing on Facebook. Upon checking through my daily Facebook feed I stumbled upon a link my wife posted on my wall this morning about The Get Up Kids, formerly my favorite band ever, coming out with a new album in January. So, sure enough this led me to YouTube to reminisce and check out the videos I watched years ago.
I’ve seen The Get Up Kids (TGUK) in concert twice. Once in Atlanta, and once on July 2nd, 2005. I know the date because one; I met my wife just two days prior, and two; it was the band’s last show ever. I drove to Kansas City to see them give their last hurrah. Up until I saw McCartney in July of this year, (in Kansas City again, oddly enough) it was the best show I had seen. This band really spoke to me from 2000 through 2005 and at least one of their CDs was in constant rotation in my CD player at work and in my car. Their MP3s were in every playlist on my computer. I wore the T-shirts nearly everyday and preached TGUK gospel to nonbelievers everywhere I went. I was a mega-fan. I know for a fact that everyone around stayed pretty highly annoyed with me, but for the first time in my life, these rock songs simply agreed with my soul. The lyrics. The music. The rhythm. To me, these things were infectious and everything I needed to get through whatever I was going through at the time. I knew if I was having a rough day I could play “Action & Action” or “10 Minutes” and I would pep up. I knew I could play “I’ll Catch You” or “Campfire Kansas” if I wanted to chill out. Every song this band wrote and recorded filled a hole in my life. Then they just quit. Rarely in my life have I been so emotionally torn as on the day I read that on their website. They gave it up. Done. (Though they ended up back together after three years.)
As I was listening to these songs again tonight, I realized how long it’s been since I really listened to any of them. Years. I associated some of them with bygone relationships. Some with friends who were no longer in the picture. Some with times I wanted to forget and others with times I wanted to cherish for the rest of my days. Tonight I had chills listening to the same old songs. (I still know the words.) The same feelings came back, though tonight, I had an unfamiliar butterfly feeling in my gut.
I miss the feeling of song really fitting in to who I am. I’m not sure these old songs will do it anymore. Things have obviously changed in my life since then. Maybe their new album will be full of songs that will reach a rapidly-approaching-30-father-and-husband. I truly hope so.

Thank you Stacey, for reminding me what made me tick in 2005.

Monday, November 1, 2010


To me, integrity has always been defined as how you conduct yourself when no one is looking. I have honestly tried to live my adult years with this principle nagging at the back of my brain. Sure, there are times where I have failed my integrity check, as I’m sure most all of us have, but I’m aware of it when it happens. I know in that moment of weakness what I’m doing doesn’t align with the poles of my moral compass, but something in my brain urges me to proceed. It happens. I make no excuses for slip ups, and I’m proving that I’m not preaching to the choir here.
I don’t know if it’s that I am getting older and starting to see things more clearly or if younger people today just exhibit an extraordinary lack of morals. (I know I’m treading into that whole “get off my lawn” territory again.) I understand how 18 year olds are because I have several of them working for me. I see them as customers and I interview some as well. Now, they’re not all terrible, but it seems to me that the ones who have a smidgen of intelligence are the ones who will destroy anyone who gets in their way by any means possible. They can’t accept responsibility for their own actions and it drives me mad. If I screw something up, I’ll be the first to let you know (if I realize I did). Some of these kids will deny things even when you have proof positive.
Let me state that it’s not just kids or 18 year olds. It runs the full age gamut; I simply see it most in the younger crowd. There are absolutely older people with no integrity, hell, just look at our prisons; but I believe that the younger ones can be saved. If they’re anything like me, at 18 or even 20 years old, they have no idea who they truly are. This is a time to make a last ditch effort to really show them right from wrong and the consequences for both. It’s a formative time that can really be used to mold them into upstanding adults and, although I know it’s not in my job description, I try to help out with that when I can.
An even better time to instill a good moral center is, obviously, as children are growing. It’s a great time to teach them their alphabet and the colors and animals, but it seems that parents tend to forget the meatier parts of parenting: making sure your kid doesn’t grow up to be a complete societal waste. That’s why I will, until the day I die, dedicate my life to making sure that my children know right from wrong and all of the grey areas in between. I’m going to make sure that they understand that no matter what you do in life, positive or negative, there are consequences and some of these consequences you have to live with for the remainder of your days on this planet.
All I want is for people the really think and consider their actions before jumping into a vat of stupidity. Make sure that what you are prepared to do is the smartest thing you think you should be doing and also, make sure that it truly aligns with your moral compass. There will always be slip ups, mistakes, and even the occasional ignoring of your smarter self and that’s fine as long as you realize this and realize why it’s a negative instead of a positive. It’s perfectly acceptable to mess up as long as you understand why you messed up and you learn from it and try not to make the same moves again.
Live your life with integrity and always strive to make you, and those around you, better because you stick to your moral center and because of your knowledge of right and wrong. If we pass these values down to our children, the future of our society will be in better hands than it is now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallows Eve

A friend of mine from high school posted on his Facebook earlier this week:If anyone tells you that they don't celebrate Halloween because it is a pagan holiday, remind them that Christmas and Easter are too.”

          This sounded right to me, but in the spirit of the holiday and in the spirit of proving idiots that come in my store wrong, I’ve done a little research.



          Halloween’s most commonly traced lineage connects it to a Celtic holiday called Samhain, roughly meaning ‘summers’ End’. Several other cultures also had similar holidays and festivals including the Roman ‘Pomona’. Samhain celebrated the end of the lighter half of the year (spring and summer) and the beginning of the darker half of the year (fall and winter). It was believed that on this night the border between the corporeal world and the spirit world was thinned allowing spirits, both good and bad, to cross over. People wore masks and costumes to ward off the evil spirits by disguising themselves as one, but invited the good spirits, particularly those of their ancestors, into their homes. Samhain was also a time to slaughter livestock and take inventory of food supplies before winter hit.

          Pagan is defined as “one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Greeks and Romans”, so I guess, because of the cultures that celebrated Samhain and Pomona, Halloween is a holiday for pagans.


Christmas and Easter are both more Christian in nature and background, but they still have pagan roots as well. Even Birthdays have a pagan heritage. I did the research on Halloween for you and I’ve even included the links to the Wikipedia pages for the others so this doesn’t sound too much like a book report.

To me, pagan, as it’s defined, is not necessarily a bad thing. Halloween was essentially a harvest celebration. Christians don’t harvest things? They don’t have seasonal changes? It’s ludicrous to me that you wouldn’t celebrate Halloween saying that it’s “against god”, or a “sin”. Enjoy the holidays whenever you can. Truly, you should be smart enough to know that you’re not summoning spirits on Halloween and if you’re not, you shouldn’t be able to walk around this world without a special helper. Halloween, just like Christmas, is about tradition and primarily about our children. It’s fun for kids to dress up and play a character. It’s fun for them to get spooked about witches and cartoon ghosts. These things are make believe.  They’re no more real than The Legion of Doom. Get over yourself and your hyper-religious nonsense. It makes you sound like a complete buffoon when you denounce a holiday because it’s origin HUNDREDS of years ago. Remember the definition of Pagan from earlier? Polytheistic. I’ll leave you with one phrase.

The Father. The Son. The Holy Ghost.