Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sing Along!

Sami's Hematoma Song
(aka: Jim's cathartic plea for Shrimp's forgiveness.)

You better watch out.
You better not trip.
You better not fall.
Daddy's gonna step on your hip.
Boo Boo Oaf will cause you some pain.

Daddy's playing with you.
And then you fall down.
He steps on your leg which turns purple and brown.
Boo Boo Oaf is at it again.

He didn't mean to squish you.
He loves to horse around.
He hasn't learned from past mistakes.
With your dad, accidents abound.

Oh! Your daddy loves you.
But he's a big klutz.
He's sad that you're bruised.
Almost stepped on your guts!

Boo Boo Oaf had a big co-pay.
Boo Boo Oaf got you an X-ray!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

$ounds Good to Me

No matter how much I want the mailbox to be bill-free, reality seldom matches desire. It has become a running joke in our family that with each opening of the mailbox, I'm going to find monthly reminders that no one is paying me. My kids even enjoy uttering the phrase "I wish someone would pay us!". I truly hate paying our bills.

Before this goes any further, let me just say that I know I can get a job and could be receiving a check in the mail once in a while. Put that aside for the point I'm about to make:

If our government has gotten into the system of bailing out failing industry that is essential to the economy, why don't stay at home parents get a check twice a month?

If I do my job correctly, my children will be nurtured, educated, mentored, and given a solid moral foundation. Isn't that the stuff that we want for our future leaders and productive members of society? Think of it this way, if a stay at home parent successfully does all these things, won't future generations stand a better chance of making decisions for the betterment of themselves and our nation? Perhaps kids that have learned right from wrong won't give poor people false hope of buying homes that they can't afford. Maybe these same kids will grow up building cars that won't break down quickly and understand what getting a job done is really all about. Is it inconceivable that kids raised by good stay at home parents might have a brighter future than others? No, and I'm surely not being politically correct by saying this either.

In my opinion, proper parenting is a dieing industry that needs a bailout.

Stay at home parenting, done by well trained adults, is an essential industry that goes unnoticed when done correctly. I willingly gave up my career to raise the girls because this is what my family needed and also because we could afford to temporarily lose one income. If the government supplemented what I monetarily lost, bill paying would become less painful and I could focus all of my attention to helping my children reach their fullest potential. That's what every parent should want for their child and what society needs for it's future as well. If our government can give the wealthiest 1% a bailout so their estates can have green grass all year long, why can't the other 99% of us get a little watering can to keep things alive too?

My mailbox is stuffed with reminders that I have to pay for the services I need. I pay the electric company because my family needs to eat and have light to read. I pay the phone company because my family needs to communicate long distances and I pay the utility bill because we need water to drink and clean our bodies with.

As a parent, I am staying at home to raise my daughters so they have more time with me in which to learn how to make good choices in life. Doesn't society need that? Seriously people, if we're looking at how things are done these days, the government needs to pay me for this.

By the way, my services don't come cheap. Hard to come up with a figure but I'll give it a shot if this desire ever matches reality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm playing iTunes in the background and the shuffle option is enabled. Just for curiosity sake, I want to figure out if the music I listen to says something about how I view life. Here are the major refrains:

Don't ever look back. Don't ever look back.

She wore a Raspberry Beret. If it were warm she wouldn't wear much more.

I think I'm falling for you. I'm falling for you.

The band on the run. Band on the run.

Future love paradise.

New York. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There's nothing you can't do.

Baby are you down, down ,down, down, down?

When the cats come out, the bats come out to play, yeah. In the morning after.

Never an honest word, but that was when I ruled the world.

Have you ever felt this way?

OK; that was interesting. If I postulate that the computer is perceptive and clairvoyant, here's what I am going to expect through interpretation of its randomly selected songs and lyrics:

On a trip back east without the family I left behind, I will find enormous fame and fortune as a musician despite being a pathological liar. Somewhere on the summer tour, I will meet wife #2 (groupie?) who is scantily clad, works a morning shift at an animal shelter, and gives me several reasons to question her belief structure. Despite the choice of French fashion, I will stay with her and not return to Texas.

I clearly didn't see this coming. Did you?

I better stop now before Dana takes away my car keys and credit cards. She's not usually the jealous type but there's no need to give her reason to doubt my commitment. I love my wife with every fiber of my being and would never leave my family despite what the computer is predicting.

Oh crap, the next song isn't helping my cause.

I'm already gone.

Time to start buying copious amounts of Christian Rock. That should work, right?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Patience Outage

Our cable sucks.

I'm watching TV today and wondering why the morons at Time Warner Cable can't continually give me the service I pay for. Our HD channels may or may not come in, may or may not break up, and may or may not require that I unplug the whole damn system to fix any and all problems. I don't ask for much; I really don't. Here's my bottom line: if you expect me to pay for your service @$100 month, I don't think I need to be on a first name basis with all of your service technicians. Simple enough, right?

Our cable provider is a means to an end but they're not the only game in town. They are either going to deliver the programming or find themselves being replaced. Since I have Scotty the tech coming for a visit between 11-2 PM on Tuesday, I'll have a few days to find an alternative cable company. I mean, all Scotty is going to do is turn off the power to the receiver anyway and HOPE that my channels come in; that's what his seven other stellar coworkers have done so far.

Time Warner Cable: Viewing your favorite channels will never be easy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do You Know The Muffin Man?

I'm making muffins again.

Yes. You read that correctly. I'm doing my best Emeril impersonation and baking muffins for Sami's snack day tomorrow. I made a batch of these muffins last week for Emily's snack day and, of course, Sami wants to have the same. God forbid I send her to school with anything other than what Emy had. No need for originality when all you want is whatever your sister has.

In case you wanted to make a batch of these yourself, here's the recipe:

JJ's Bran Muffins

3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking soda
(mix all these together in a very large bowl)

1 15oz. box of Raisin Bran
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips
(mix these together into the very large bowl)

Beat together:
4 eggs
4 cups buttermilk

1 cup melted butter

Mix all the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients by hand. Use a large wooded spoon if you have one.

Bake @ 400 degrees in greased muffin cups, 15-20 minutes

Keep batter in refrigerator and use as needed.

Dana had a version of this recipe and I changed it around a little. The kids love the muffins and they often ask for more. I guess the fiber benefit is just a throw in at this point.

Now that I've given you the recipe, I think I'm officially done blogging about food. Time to talk about neighbors making a porno or why some parents don't mind letting their 4 year olds play in traffic. Those topics are a little less formulaic and a lot more freewheeling. Should make for some interesting blogs.

I'd better go eat some of the muffins now to give me the strength I'll need to keep writing. Bon appetit!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Day Another Post

I just re-read yesterday's blog and realized it was lousy. I should not have posted it.

From now on, I'm going to wait a day. If I read my stuff the day after writing it, and believe it's worth sharing, then I'll let everyone see it.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice day.


Hold on. Now what do I do? If I hit the button "Publish Post", won't I be breaking the rule I just established for myself? And what if I hit the button "Save Now"? Say I save it but wait til tomorrow to post. Will the time frame I established no longer have meaning since it will then be two days since I posted the lousy entry?

This is more confusing than it should be. I think the 4 AM bed wetting accident/ wake up call from my youngest affected me more than I thought. My marbles are clearly all over the place and the bag is lost.

I'm just going to end this now and go take care of the laundry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Blog For Myself (but you can read it too)

It's become personally obvious that I'm out of shape since I haven't practiced in weeks. When I get ready to start working, the muscles just don't feel strong enough to withstand the required effort. How am I ever going to be productive if I stop producing? Like Nike says: Just Do It. Seems that's the way I'm only going to get better at this, or anything for that matter.

In case you were wondering, I'm not talking about physical fitness. This blog is about using my ability to coherently put sentences together to form a written thought. I haven't blogged in a while because I threw myself a pity-party and gave up on the belief that I could be a writer; making a single attempt to sell myself as such didn't produce the instant success I thought it would. My bad. I should have known to keep trying. I have a talent I never gave myself credit for and oh, by the way, writing is rather enjoyable. I'd be a moron if I let this circle of consternation and procrastination kill the time I have left.

A good friend recently shared with me a motto he came across that is truly meaningful: Turn Around. If I examine it closely, it's what I need to do in my own life. God didn't give me the ability to write just so I could walk away from it. He put a sidelight on it during a time of intense emotional upheaval, told me to look at it carefully, and expects me to use this ability for _______ (fill in the blank if you have any idea since I'm still trying to figure it out). Perhaps it is "the process" that will reveal "my purpose" and not the other way around. Better get started if I'm ever going to answer that question. Tick-tock; I can almost feel time slipping away.

This blog entry was an exercise and flexing a mental muscle should help remove obstacles that block the path I think that I'm supposed to walk. I'm not the fastest, quickest, strongest, or most talented, but I do have God-given abilities and they will be wasted if I do nothing, Worse than that, if I don't use that with which I am equipped, what kind of example am I going to be for my children?

I already know the answer and all I need now is to get started. Thankfully, I won't have to do this alone. If I'm as smart as I want to think I am, Inspiration and Perspiration will be my workout partners until the end.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lady, Just Shut Up!

"Man Attacked At Food Store for Having More Than 15 Items in Express Lane."

"Opinionated Shopper Verbally Assaults Man Behind Her In Line Due To Perceived Injustice To Store Employee."

"Kroger Employee at Register Attempts to Turn Away Paying Customer Though Store Is Empty".

Welcome to the headlines that could easily describe my battle this morning at the supermarket.

Let me set the scene for you: it's 8:30 on a Friday morning, I had significant purchasing needs since I had not shopped for food earlier in the week, and the store is practically empty. Most of my walk around Kroger had been quiet and uneventful so when I proceeded to checkout I figured that there would be very few people in line. For that I was correct.

As I walked from one side of the store to the other, I noticed that there were 4 self checkouts, 1 store employee at the Express Lane, and one other lane open which was busy. My basket was pretty full, not mega-packed, and I knew that the only lane that was probably available to me was currently being attended to by one store employee, one manager, one sack stuffer, and a woman in line who was having some problem with her receipt that they all were taking several minutes to resolve. I steered my cart into that lane, like a good lemming should, but I soon realized that there was another customer waiting ahead of me with an overflowing cart. It was as soon as I stopped my cart and began to understand that I had quite a long wait ahead of me, that I glanced over to the "Express Lane" and saw that there was no one waiting, a customer who was just about finished checking out, and a possible alternative to standing in line unnecessarily.

This is when the fun began.

Being the good natured person that I am, I walked over to the "Express Lane" to ask if the store employee would let me pay for my groceries there, but before I could say anything, I was told that I was in the "Express Lane", and my cart had more than 15 items in it (as if that really mattered considering the situation). Lakeitha, the ever so helpful employee, almost finished saying that she wasn't going to take me when I decided her reason was pure BS, and I unloaded my cart onto her conveyor belt. This was my non verbal indicator or unhappiness. No interpretation was needed.

Here's what was obvious: THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN THE LANE BEHIND ME, THE STORE WAS EMPTY, AND THE ONLY OTHER AVAILABLE LANE HAD UNRESOLVED ISSUES AND OTHER CUSTOMERS! Being that her customer service was shoddy at best, I decided she was going to take me whether or not the sign said "Express" or not. Seriously, what was Lakeitha going to do with herself once she finished checking out the customer ahead of me? Drink her coffee? Read a magazine off the shelf? I guess reminding employees to give good customer service at Kroger is such a problem for management that they truly do need the little bell the customer can ring to alert everyone in the store that he/she just had a wonderful checkout experience. I considered ringing her bell but it wasn't the one they provided.

Just when I was just starting to really enjoy this moment, my fun was taken to a whole new level.

Apparently the customer ahead of me, the one who was just about done purchasing her groceries, decided she was going to teach me a lesson. "That's messed up!" she loudly proceeded to tell me while giving a dirty look. I looked at her, gave her the face right back that I was getting, and said "Do you think I need to wait over there where they are having problems?". "This lane is open and the store is EMPTY."

"Well you need patience". Seriously? This woman just couldn't mind her business a minute longer that she needed to lecture ME about patience? Considering that Althea Sharpton grumbled a few more unintelligible sentences and was getting all riled up because I kept poor Lakeitha working, at the place she is supposed to be earning a paycheck, I decided to give the civil rights activist the one thing she wouldn't know how to handle: politeness.

"Ma'am, you sure do have a right to your opinion" I said with my best faux southern accent.

That about knocked her off her pedestal. Immediately she went from combative to flustered, "That's the problem in the United States; everyone is in a hurry." I wasn't in a hurry at all despite what she thought. I was just trying to buy food and saw an opportunity to do so without causing anyone to suffer. My actions gave an employee some work to do that would pass the time.

Again with a smile I turned to her and said, "Ma'am, you have every right to your opinion."; despite the fact that you are obviously ill informed, ignorant, racially prejudiced, obnoxious, and arrogant to think you need to lecture me on anything. I left that last part out for fear that this interaction would last longer. No need to get shot at Kroger today.

With that, the woman said "Have a great day" a few extra times to Lakeitha, and walked away in obvious frustration because I wouldn't engage her in an argument. Maybe this woman thought she needed to protect Lakeitha from me, a bald middle aged white guy who couldn't obey the "Express Lane" laws of our country. Who knows? Who cares? I just told the employee "Thank you for checking me out" because that's the polite guy I am, and wheeled my cart out of the store. Shopping excursion over. Drama too.

"Loyal Customer Won't Shop At That Location Again Due To Poor Customer Service." That's the headline that will run in my mind every time I think about stopping to shop there in the future. I just hope that my 53 items helped Lakeitha's day pass more quickly. I'm so thoughtful that way. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's 3:00 AM and I wake up. Because I'm the non-sleeper that I am, when I'm up, I'm up. I'd really like to go back to sleep but my mind just won't let me no matter how badly my body wants it. For whatever the biological reason or mental issue this may be, I know that once I wake up my day has started.

Here's the problem though: how do I not wake up the rest of my family once I get out of bed? My wife tells me that I walk "heavy" and our floorboards do creak loudly in the relative quiet of early morning. Realizing that my footsteps will send the kids out of their room to find me, I turn on my Blackberry for social networking updates, and roll over on my side away from my wife's face. I'd love to go downstairs to watch TV or turn on the kitchen lights to make myself breakfast, but I know that I would soon have kiddie company and there is something to be said for alone time. For this form of logistical frustration, I call my situation "twittered".

I can't start my day without waking everyone up. I'm twittered!

Social networking has become a larger part of my life than I ever wanted it to be. I joined Facebook at first just so I could see my sister-in-law's page. It wasn't like I wanted to reconnect with my friends from Kindergarten; I just wanted to see her vacation photos and joining the service was the only way to do that. Little did I know that I'd log onto Facebook morning, noon, and 3:00 AM to see what my "friends" were up to.

If Facebook wasn't enough of a distraction, I joined Twitter at the height of the CNN - Aston Kutcher race for 1 million followers. Once I figured out that I had instant access to breaking news stories and insight from my favorite sports columnists, I got royally hooked. Need to know if a tsunami is bearing down on Fiji? Check Twitter. Want to learn how to grow hybridized corn from NPR? Check Twitter. Curious how your favorite athlete ever managed to pass 3rd grade because his "tweets" show that he has no concept of how to use the English language? Just follow him on Twitter and let the investigation begin!

Twitter and Facebook probably tell you more about me than I want you to know but the point here is simple; they keep me occupied when I'm held hostage. I spend far more time than I want to checking out everyone's life when I can't get mine past the top staircase. In the dark ages (i.e. a year ago before I got a Blackberry) all I would do was lie in bed and think about what I needed to do that day, week, and month. With the Blackberry, I dig deep into other's thoughts and witty saying to determine if sarcasm really is the best form of humor. As long as someone's problem or news is there for the pondering, I don't need to dwell upon whether or not we have broccoli in the refrigerator or if I need to trim the hedges. My life takes a back seat and 3 AM is when that starts.

A self imposed bedroom restriction is frustrating when you know that your day really needs to begin because you have so much stuff to do. If I'm "twittered", I can justify to my wife that I really wanted to fold the pile of laundry in the wee hours of the morning, but I'd wake the kids up in the process and we both don't want that. Spending the time reading Facebook and Twitter until everyone wakes up gives the rest of the house the peace they need to sleep comfortably. Everyone else gets rest, I get a social networking education, and if a tornado is touching down anywhere near Jackson, New Jersey at 4:00 AM, I'm awake to make a phone call.

You can thank me later for my attentiveness in following your comments, stories, photos, and breaking news when your day has started. I'll respond when I can. If you hadn't guessed already, I'm twittered at the moment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reading Is Fundamental

Have you ever had to deal with a doctor who is clearly not listening to you or reading what you write? Did you find a resolution to the communication issue that didn't result in you seeing someone else? How long were you frustrated by the lack of care until something positive came from your concerns?

I have to deal with an Oncologist who never answers all of my questions because HE REPLACED the Oncologist I had to deal with who never answered all of my questions. It's like a revolving door of idiocy; you think you're in a better place by going around but you never actually moved forward. One moron takes the place of another and I wind up wondering how these people ever graduated from preschool. It's truly astounding that they can even cash my copay since they are incapable of responding to simple questions.

Case in point:

1. I need to set up a day in August to meet with Dr. Confusion for one last office visit since we are moving into a new program for aftercare, and his time with us is over.

2. I need to set up another day in October to meet the new doctors in the aftercare program and get scans, per Dr. Confusion's recommendation of scans in October.

3. #1 has to happen before #2 per Dr. Confusion's orders.

Tell me this: does the plan above seem hard to follow?

This is what I wrote to him: "When should we come in for an appointment so Emily can move into the ACE program? At the time of her next scans (beginning of October) or before she starts school?"

Here is his response: "I will go ahead and schedule the scans for August 16th. Please call and schedule an appoint for the Thursday of that week."

Are you kidding me?????????????

All I want to do is deal with this fool one last time so we can move on and he can't even make that easy for us. God forbid I ask him a thought provoking question. He might have a seizure if I do.

If you think I'm being harsh, understand that he has been this way and worse for almost two years now. He never answers my questions, he obviously doesn't comprehend my emails, and he always gives me a headache. If there was a Tylenol product to get rid of him I would have taken the maximum allowable dosage by now; maybe even the whole bottle.

I wrote this entry to help me vent before I respond to him. If I learned anything from the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's to wait for time to pass before you deal with your frustration. When LeBron James decided to play in Miami, Dan Gilbert let his emotions take over and made vitriolic statements in a open letter that didn't help his cause.

In remembrance of that public relations debacle, I won't send my blog to the doctor. Not yet at least. Not until we make a televised announcement on Nickelodeon that we're gladly taking our care to another oncologist.

On second thought, he probably won't comprehend that attempt at communication either.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meet Your New Neighbors!

Welcome to the neighborhood! I'm so glad you decided to move into this corner of the world. On behalf of the welcoming committee, let me introduce you to the people you will be living next to. There are some items we'll need to talk about later if you have time, and alcohol. I'm sure you'll have questions soon.

Before we get started, I'd like to share with you some observations I've made from living here. I'm a resident of the cul de sac for the past 9 years and though I've lived here this long, I couldn't tell you anything about most of the homeowners. For some bizarre reason, many of these people never show their face in daylight and therefore, I've never seen them. My Realtor failed to mention anything about living in a ghost town but I suppose quiet neighbors appeal to most folks. Strange though; you would think that emergency vehicles that fill up your street, during a house fire like the one we had, would bring everyone outside. Can't say that happened for us. If you count the baby in my wife's belly at the time of our fire, I suppose you could say Dana wasn't alone. I guess the neighbors just wanted to give my frightened wife some privacy during our crisis. You'll see for yourself how the neighbors are so thoughtful that way!

Now that I've talked about our neighbors in general, let me tell you about the individuals who live next door.

The woman who lives on your left is Lady Deathwish, an avid art collector who oddly goes by the name "Electra Cuteme" when she's entertaining. We're not sure how she got that nickname but she sure likes to swim in her pool during thunderstorms. If you don't mind me giving you some advice, you might want to look into soundproofing the North facing walls of your home. Celine Dion is a wonderful singer and has a lovely accent, but after you've heard her songs for the 10 thousandth time, you'll want to rip your ears off. Lady Deathwish apparently has only one album in her entire collection so, how do I say this politely, I hope you like "Because You Loved Me" and enjoy the soundtrack from "Titanic". Good luck to you with that.

Ms. Deathwish, my fan club president and occasional paint thief, can be somewhat of an enigma at times. We both previously lived in the Midwest and therefore have a great time talking about corn, pork, and children who look like me. To everyone else in my house, the only conversation that Lady Deathwish will engage in, is the resemblance my kids and I share. I know that doesn't seem too bad but my wife wouldn't mind a shout out for her genetic contributions once in a while.

"Hello Dana. Wow! Your girls sure are pretty."

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

"They look just like Jim!".

Dana really hasn't had any other conversations other than this and honestly doesn't share the same warm feelings I have for Ms. Deathwish, but I'm sure Electra will make a wonderful neighbor for you. I bet you'll even get an invitation from her to go swimming. You might want to check the Weather Channel before you go over. Lightning seems to be Electra's favorite form of poolside illumination.

The neighbor to your right likes to swim just as much as Lady Deathwish but he prefers to go in his pool, and hot tub, mostly from 10 PM til 3 AM on weeknights. I'd go over to his backyard and introduce him to you, his name is Ima Noodist by the way, but there's a good chance that he's entertaining at the moment and I'd hate to interrupt him. Ima has lots of friends but rarely will you see the same woman over at his house two nights in a row. I guess you could say that he has a comfortable rotation of lady friends to keep him from getting lonely.

Mr. Noodist is going to be a constant source of joy for you in the years to come. We're not sure if he has ever looked over to our house to notice that we can see everything in his bachelor pad, but let me tell you this, privacy is not his biggest concern! He is an incredibly thoughtful neighbor in that he knows that we do not have a stereo in our daughter's room, so he makes sure that the music he plays, all throughout the night, can be heard by our kids! What a great neighbor! As far as bedtime stories go, he's a trooper with that too. My kids don't have television access to Cinemax and Adult on Demand, so he makes sure that they can see mature entertainment for free right outside their window. Nothing like sex education to give a child sweet dreams right before bedtime!

We are so blessed to have Ima Noodist to help us with all of this. Unfortunately for our kids, we prefer that they actually sleep at night and not during the day, so we moved them out of the bedroom that directly faces Ima's playground. The girls might be mad at us now, but their therapy bills will be cheaper in the long run. Besides, Ima will entertain all night long whether we care or not and thankfully, nothing bothers him.

Well I guess it's time that I get back to taking care of my house and family. I sure hope you enjoy your new neighbors and I am so glad that you moved into our cul de sac. I realize that I might never see you again, like everyone else here, so if you ever need anything, please feel free to knock on my door. Oh, and one last thing. Should you find any exotic animals or lost puppies on your property, the fella who lives two doors down believes in free ranging all of his critters. Just make sure you look in the rear view mirror as you back out of the cul de sac because Bacon, his pig, will be out looking for dinner. Don't worry though, your oak tree provides his favorite acorns so he's likely to be sitting on your front lawn most of the time.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Precious: The Rewind Button

When our old analog TV was hooked up to TiVo, we found out very quickly that the rewind button was going to be something special. Miss a lot of dialogue because the kids are screaming? Hit the rewind button! Want to see an instant replay of that amazing slam dunk? Hit the rewind button! Want to watch old Texas Stadium implode over, and over, and over again? Hit the rewind button! It was that simple.

Several weeks ago, my wife bought me/ us a new TV; this one of the wide screen, 46 inch, high definition variety. Jackpot! I had wanted one of these suckers for about two years but I always had the fear of financial instability in the back of my head that prevented me from driving over to Best Buy to pick one out. They looked sweet. They sounded sweet. They even looked light enough to quickly carry out of the store should no one be looking. The big problem I had was that the price tag, and ensuing costs to get it to produce a HD picture, looked to be out of my budget. Why spend the money on something better when we already had a functioning system at home? This was another example of my boring yet efficient status-quo life strategy.

The one way to bypass my spending preference was for my wife to take me out of the purchasing equation altogether. Dana figured that I was going to tight-wad this purchase to death so she put together a plan with the help of others and Father's Day 2010 became the turning point in our analog life. After Dana handled the Best Buy salesperson as gently as a Great White says hello to a sea lion pup, the total cost was nicely reduced, and "my gift" was put into the back of our minivan. All that I was left to do was put it together when I got home, which was to say:

1. assemble the new TV stand (had a wonderful father-helpful daughter moment with my oldest)
2. disassemble the old, 400 lb entertainment center (always fun taking stuff apart)
3. move the 200+ lb TV to the garage (gauging my eyeballs out would have been more enjoyable)
4. hook up all the old components to the new TV, and finally
5. sit back in horror as the new TV picture looked awful and nothing looked high def

Happy Father's Day Jim. Hope you enjoy your Sony Bravia and precious beginnings of a hernia.

I could go on with the initial shock of disappointment, and pain, but you get the idea. I just couldn't believe that this much work took us back to where we were in the first place. Status-quo had never failed me before so it seemed I was the idiot for having HD envy in the first place.

Dana, in a reassuring tone, reminded me that Time Warner was coming out in a few days to hook up our digital cable and my friend Eric (the reason behind my HD envy) provided tech support to improve the quality of our viewing experience. With their help and acquired patience of my own, my new TV finally looked every bit of the wide screen, high definition variety I had been hoping for within a week! That of course came with the assistance of Time Warner's new cable box/ DVR. Yea! Or maybe yea, almost?

Here's a new dilemma we had to face. This DVR was no where near the awesomeness that is TiVo. Can you have TiVo and the new DVR hooked up at the same time? The answer is no. The new TV is both the subject of viewing ecstasy and the termination of our beloved TiVo rewind button. Did I mention how much I liked the rewind button?

The Tivo rewind button is magical. I can go back 5 seconds. I can go back 15 minutes, 30 minutes, all the way back. I can even go back in slow motion. Oh how the rewind choices are extraordinary!

The Time Warner rewind button is a mystery. I can go back 7 seconds and after that, I have not a damn clue how to quickly rewind to the beginning of a show or even get there half way without 2 minutes passing by. This might seem to be a minor issue but consider this: I live in a fast food world and this DVR is like home cooking; you get to eat eventually but you starve while preparing the meal and then have to wash the dishes afterward. TiVo was the McDonald's of my world. Sad, but true.

Hitting the rewind button now is a chore but I am able, thankfully, to see a sliver lining in this rewind hell. In the time it takes me to see what I just saw, I am reminded to put the remote down and go outside for a walk or get something done around the house. Maybe the moral of this story is that I don't need instant gratification in life like TiVo as much as I need to look at the blessings I was given and enjoy them to the fullest. "My" big screen HD TV does bring me a measure of visual pleasure but the change in DVR units came with a price I didn't see. If I learned anything from this entire experience it is one thing: I obviously need TiVo rehab. Any celebrities I can hang out with while I'm in there? Dr. Drew? Jennifer Capriati? Hello?

As I finished writing this I had an afterthought; maybe if I let others keep buying stuff I won't have any personal worries of financial ruin. My birthday is in a month and I understand that the new generation of TiVo DVR's, "TiVo Premiere", will make Time Warner's DVR obsolete. Imagine all the tantalizing rewind button possibilities with that unit!

The hell with rehab! Happy Birthday to me. I'll have a Big Mac with my birthday cake, please. Just don't show me the bill while I'm eating, or rewinding.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three Oh No's

In less than 24 hours, our dishwasher drained it's last bubble, my youngest daughter was denied a transfer to her sister's school, and I accidentally punched said older sister in the eye while trying to unfurl a sock. Please tell me that this nonsense only comes in three's. Please.

With all this misfortune bouncing about, I should get off the internet now. Somebody in Kraptakistan is about to plant a computer killing virus on the web that my laptop will surely acquire. In all honesty, I need to put our cold pack "Mr. Bump" back in the fridge anyway now that the accidental victim of my laundry rage has gone to bed.

One last thought though: please pray for Emily's soon to be black eye for quick healing. She needs not to be in pain nor endlessly explaining to the masses how Daddy gave her a shiner. Thank you from the both of us.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Stupid Self Diagnosis

Why do I even bother looking up my physical ailments on-line?

Bloating = Crone's Disease
Insomnia = Alzheimer's
Sniffles = Whooping Cough

All I need to do is Google one of my issues for a refresher course of why I shouldn't look this crap up.
Have a tummy pain? Just step into the world of on-line medicine and find which digestive organ, or organs, is diseased and is in need of immediate removal! Don't bother with Pepto Bismol; you obviously need surgery my friend.

The world of the wide/wild/worrisome web is not a place I should hang out when my belly hurts. My moronic search for answers lead me there because what else was I going to do at 2:30 AM and awake with intense abdominal discomfort? The internet provided the illusion that I could diagnose the condition based on my symptoms, find an immediate remedy, and attempt to sleep next to my beautiful wife before the sun came up. In my feeble mind, all I needed to do was stop the pain and the computer was going to help me do that. After searching for answers and finding out from my symptoms that I was probably going to die a painful and gruesome death (stomach cancer) all I truly needed was my computer.... but only as an object to hit myself over the head with. Looking this stuff up on the internet doesn't make sense when you really need answers.

It's been 13 hours since I alternatively found out that I have pancreatitis combined with numerous gall stones which will shut down all of my vital organs without any notice. The pain I feel on my right side, below the rib cage, has not gotten any worse but I hoped it would have gone away by now. One of the remedies I found with my virtual MD, was to drink a vegetable concoction of disgusting ingredients and frightening proportions. Being the internal specialist that I am, I made a 6 fruit smoothie instead in the hopes that I will flush out whatever the hell is bothering my belly. So far there has been no progress to report. If things GO my way, I'll let you know if watermelon was the secret ingredient or not.

As for how my day has gone since I found out that I have only 3 to 300 months to live, I can't really complain. My girls are playing patiently behind me while I play the role of patient in front of them. As long as they think that I'm in pain, they play nicer together and don't bug me as much as usual. You know, when I stop to analyze that last sentence and fully comprehend the implication, why the hell do I want to get better? They don't have to know that my post midnight self diagnosis also revealed that I just have gas. Why should I clue them in that I will be OK if I fart a lot, when they are treating me so well?

This www.self_diagnosis/scare_the_hell_outta_u/u_moron/go_c_a_MD.now practice may just have some exciting benefits after all! Who knew?