Sunday, December 20, 2009

A star is born




Amanda was in the Christmas play this year. She has been in plays before, but took last year off because she said it was too stressful, but this year the class requested that she be in it.

The name of the play was "Santa's Playlist, and it was a cute musical. The cast was made up of more than 120 5th graders dressed as reindeer, elves, toy soldiers, and 1 snowflake, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Woody the Cowboy from Toy Story, and the most precious baby doll you ever did see. I'm a bit biased because Amanda had the part of the baby doll.

The kids did a great job. They knew their lines, sang the longs and danced. Amanda was front row center and when she had to stand and dance two boys helped her up and down.

Considering she couldn't even see the audience I was very impressed with how well she did as the center of the background of the play.

What I love about her school and classmates is how welcoming and understanding they are of Amanda. But I think that has a lot to do with the way her dance instructor described her, "Amanda has it going on."

I just can't be more proud of her. She amazes me.


Monday, December 14, 2009

She does have her opinions

These exchanges between Tina and Amanda took place last week:

Tina: I don't want to talk on your phone anymore.

Amanda: I won't have it!

Tina: but,

Amanda: But Nothing! Talk on the phone.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Amanda is talking about a whole lot of things, but the flip side is, she is very demanding and critical.

Tina bought some presents for the teachers at school.

Tina: What do you think Amanda?

Amanda: Oh Mama, soooooooooooooo tacky.

Tina: They have chocolate in them.

Amanda: Mama, I want one.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Evidence against evolution

I have a hard time accepting at least part of the evolution theory lately because of a lack of recent evidence. I've done a lot of driving in my life and something I have to insist on is that if evolution is indeed fact and not simply theory, possums, armadillos, and raccoons are not actively participating.

The automobile has been around for more than 100 years now. That can be nearly 100 generations of the previously listed animals, and yet these animals have not developed the hind quarters which will allow them to leap over a two lane road, or the brain capacity that will allow them to turn away from the high beams of my Chevy.

I have done a little field research beyond the accidental splatting of these animals. I have spoken with hunters who have bagged more than a few in the past 50 years and they all agree on two things: first, that I asked a very weird question and secondly that these animals appear to the be same as they ever were.

I also questioned a guy who I've seen walking up and down Highway 67 and asked what he thought about it. He said road kill is free and he hopes they don't evolve. He also asked if I was going keep the grasshopper stuck in the grill of my car. I gave him the grasshopper and then drove away wondering about elephant trunks and giraffe necks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She travels

We took a trip last week to Florida. The PGA Resort in West Palm Beach to be precise. It was a business conference for the waste water industry manufacturers that my company has been involved in for more than 30 years. In fact there is an award given out annually named after my grandfather to the outstanding member of the year at a banquet.

I haven't attended in some time because I have another conference that I have to attend just two weeks before and I don't like leaving Tina home alone with Amanda with such a short turn around. There has to be a little recovery time. But this year I had had enough of leaving them or not going, so I took them with me.

Amanda has never flown before, but we have talked about it for years. We took her push chair, an oversized stroller with a weight capacity of 130 lbs. Amanda doesn't walk long distances, handle crowds, or new places well so the chair worked perfectly.

American Airlines was great host. We boarded first, the push chair was gate checked and when we deplaned it was even set up for us. The gate agent in Atlanta, because everyone has to go through Atlanta if they are east of Phoenix, was the best of the best. She didn't like the row we were on, 20, and moved us up to bulkhead. With that position we didn't even have to wait for the rest of the passengers to deplane.

Other people who made the flights easy were TSA who gave Amanda a pat down instead of requiring her to stand in line and walk through the metal detector, and the waiter at TGI Fridays who gave me a dozen straws because it was the one thing we forgot to pack.

Amanda loved flying. She is small enough where the seats are comfortable and she likes the big cookies that AA "sells" on the plane. I say sell, because the attendants liked Amanda so much they were comped.

Amanda used a restroom on an MD-80. The smallest restroom known to the western world. She sat down by me afterward and said she was "so nervous bout dat." On the return flights she said she didn't trust them and would just wait.

Her best moment was when we were waiting on the tarmac at DFW for about an hour for a storm to move through. Amanda announced, "This sucks." I agreed but corrected her vocabulary, but I think she said it because she was reading my mind.

While we were at the resort Amanda had pancakes every morning which she thought was awesome. She also attended three dinner parties. The highlight was when she helped present the award named for my grandfather. It was announced that this was Amanda's first conference and she had plenty of business cards. After the dinner more than two dozen company presidents asked to exchange cards with her. She shook their hands and thanked them. It was indeed inspiring.

I'm aware that people will play favorites for various reasons. That not all actions are fair. But what I am thankful for is that if people in general are going to show great acts of kinds even on a limited basis, at least they show it towards people like Amanda. People who do not posses the skills or abilities to take care of themselves in even some of the most basic ways that us so called normal people take for granted, like walking, drinking proficiently from a cup, or making conversation in a crowd. Small efforts by us norms make for the best days for those like my dear one and because of that I no longer feel the apprehension of showing Amanda what is beyond the border of her town.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I know something you don't know

Like Inigo Montoya from "The Princess Bride," I am not left handed.

I noticed that both my brother and my father wear their Blackberry phones on their left side, I wear mine on my right. Neither of them are left handed so I wondered why they do this. I tried it myself and while I can operate the phone with my left hand I can't draw it from the holster worth a darn. In fact I even dropped it a couple of times. And then, just this morning I was working my office phone with my left hand and I couldn't even recall the command sequence for my extension and password. I was just staring at my left hand and thinking that my thumb was pointed the wrong way. It was most peculiar.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

She gets by with a little help from her freinds



With a little help from half a dozen men at my factory, Amanda was able to participate in the poster contest. Everyone put in a couple of minutes and then Amanda spent more than half an hour on her part.

I think she did a fine job.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All I am saying is, give peace a second chance

Amanda has decided she wants to enter a poster in a contest being put on by the local Lions Club. Its theme is peace, and the poster cannot have any numbers or letters on, it cannot be 3D or and anything glued to it. All pencil marks must be erased.

Amanda loves to color, but it isn't very controlled and looks a lot like Tye Dye. So I came up a way to allow her to utilize her strength by getting her a stencil for a peace sign. The company I work for is a metal fabricating facility. First I went to engineering and we did an auto-cad drawing of a peace sign, it was cut out on our plasma burning table from 1/4 steel with a diameter of 11". It then was hit with a grinder to remove the rough edges, and finally spray painted. The whole process took just a few minutes. I took it home, Tina loved it. My older sister who is the artist in the family came over and said, "When we're done with this can I have it? I just bought a horse named Mercedes." OOOPS!

So, we made another one this morning, the right way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

3 Things, but i like the middle one the best

Amanda had three things on her mind last: eat dinner at Subies, see Heather and Cop (Heather started out as Amanda's after school sitter 7 years ago and has become the mainstay in Amanda's life, now Heather is married to a TXK police officer Amanda calls Cop), and at bowling beat her rival.

Dinner was great, as is the usual with Subies Deli on a Monday night, Heather and Cop joined us and surprised us with a great honor. Heather is pregnant with her first child, a little girl who she and cop have given the middle name of Amanda. As Heather said, "Amanda is and always will be my best friend." It swelled me up so much I wanted to change Amanda's middle name to Heather.

And finally there was the bowling. Amanda took down her rival in the first game by opening up with a spare and never looking back. Even when he got a strike in the 8th and the 10th it was too little too late. The second game didn't go as well but Amanda seldom cares about losing one game if she wins another.

This morning when I dropped Amanda at school she jumped out of the car yelling, "Amanda Amanda Amanda, Cop Heather!" I explained what she was talking about to the teacher and then Amanda went on into the school with a big smile.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween

This year's Halloween was great. More than 200 trick or treaters came by to collect at my house and while this is a large number it is actually down from the past years.

The best costume goes to the 13 year old boy dressed as static cling. He was in all black with socks stuck all over him.

The cutest went to the 3 year old girl who told me, "Happy Christmas."

And honorable mention goes to the dad dressed as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz who had about a dozen kids with him.

Someone asked what Amanda was for Halloween, per her usual, she was generous. Amanda doesn't like going out at night because she doesn't see well or maintain her balance with any real confidence when in the dark. She has discovered the joy of giving, and she loaded the kids up this year. A lot of them knew her on sight and would yell out, "Amanda's lives here." And then more kids would yell. That makes for a fun night.

I hope everyone else had a fun time too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween. My neighborhood is the promised land for trick or treat. With several hundred houses, spaced close enough together to allow require a short run occupied by a better than average median income, the kids come from as far as 40 miles away.

Amanda doesn't trick or treat, she prefers to stay home and hand out the candy. She is a giver by nature and she just loves it when she hears "Hi Amanda." It's a lot of fun for her.

I myself will probably suffer acute Reese's Peanut-butter Cup poisoning, for which there is no known antidote other than laying in a fetal position and cramping, all the while wondering if I have caused a rupture of some sort.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trollbaby remembered

I've been out of town for a few days. A trip to Indianapolis on business to be precise. It was full of meetings and great steaks along with early mornings and bad coffee. I'm glad to be home.

Last night Amanda said she was going to hug me 10 times, and she did. This morning we were right back into our routine with a bonus. In line to drop kids off this morning was a 4 door truck with an English Bulldog sticking its head out the window and checking out the world.

This ugly Bully was a twin to my own Shortcake aka Trollbaby, who we had for 5 years.

She was such a sweet dog. She loved Tina and I and was a great companion from the time we got her from the rescue to when we knew she couldn't share the floor with new baby Amanda. So we put her back in the rescue and she found a good home in Plano.

Shortcake was a mess when it came to interacting with the neighborhood. In Houston she popped soccer balls, chewed the cover off of a few baseballs, did damage to a BMX rear tire, and on occasion she would just wander off to visit people without me.

She snored like Curly from the 3 Stooges, and she did her best to take my pillow from me.

The first day in our house in TXK she got out of the backyard and chased a family on their bikes for a couple of hours, nearly causing a heart attack in the chubby little rascal. The next day she went next door and introduced herself to the young kids who learned to sneak her out and play with her while we were at work.

Shortcake was not the smartest dog I ever had but she was the most unique. One time on a visit to see my parents she bit a tether ball and was hanging a few inches from the ground. The tether ball wasn't going to get away. I had to wrestle her loose from that one, which was like getting an alligator off of a fish hook.

Bullies aren't cheep to own and I have to say at times she hit the checkbook pretty hard but should I grow to a ripe old age I would like another one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hah, only 3:30

You know those night's sleeps where you feel like you have slept 10 hours but when you look at the clock it is only 3:30 in the morning go back to sleep and do it all over again? I had one of those last night and it was wonderful.

I didn't set an alarm for this morning, even though I usually do on Saturday to get up before Amanda. And as anyone knows who reads my blog, I wake up before my alarm. Today I slept in until just after 7, it was so refreshing. I was up before Tina and Amanda, drank a cup of coffee in the peace of my still and unlit home until my lovely ladies woke up at 7:30. That is how to start the weekend.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Wish I had a snorkle

Since returning from that great weekend get away I have been treading water upside down, which basically means I'm incredibly busy but I don't think I'm doing myself much good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

John, Tina and U2

Tina and I took a little couple time this weekend. We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary in OKC attending the U2 show. And what a show it was.

The stage, which Bono called a spaceship, was enormous but accomplished its mission by granting intimacy on a grand scale. The 49 year old lead singer, along with The Edge, Adam, and Larry, put on as good a show as could be imagined. They literally rocked for 2 1/2 hours. People in the stands couldn't help but stand up and move. And as Will I. Am, leader of the Black Eyed Peas said, "U2 is the best band you ever hope to see."

It was simply a great show that I have been wanting to see since their Joshua Tree album, which I bought new when it it was first first released on both cassette and CD.

It was a great trip without a logistical hitch of any sort. Traveling with Tina is more than just pleasant. It is more often than not, as good as it gets.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy homecoming

I entered the house yesterday and was greeted by the smell of blueberry muffins. It's always nice to smell something so warm and delicious. Amanda and Tina had just pulled them out of the oven and the aroma was as good as non-chocolate chip cookies could smell.

Then these two beauties added something even better to my homecoming. It would appear that Amanda, in her words, is now hooked on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,

This was indeed a surprise because she has never had one before without spitting it out. In fact, it has been quite some time since she has added anything new to her diet. If anything, it has been suffering a contraction of late. So I went out and bought PB&J along with some other stuff that Tina needed. We have been suffering an unnamed typhoon the past few days and she hadn't gotten out.

After dinner Amanda did one more awesome thing, she ate a muffin. Again, please understand this is totally out of character for her. Her class at school does a lot of cooking and she is learning to eat new things. This is one of those intangibles that can't be explained deeply enough. This teacher is reaching Amanda on a whole new level and she is loving it.

I just don't mind paying school taxes when I know stuff like this is going on.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TXK Flood

The ditches are threatening the roads, the culverts are boiling and it will rain all day as the storm follows an unvarying line right across my home town. TXK just needs a space needle and a some cool doctors and we can rival Seattle. Twenty inches of rain in 43 days. This is amazing.

My back yard is a pond and not draining as fast as I would like. I think at lunch I will put on the rain gear and improve the drainage a bit. It won't be the first time as my abilities as an amateur hydrologist are improving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

From the mouth of my babe

When I'm doing something around the house and Amanda is with me, I talk to her just like she were anyone else. I believe that has helped her a great deal in extending her vocabulary even though she was unable to speak for such until recently. Which is why now everything is pouring out of her.

I was working on draining the water from my pool cover when I said to her, "Do you know what I don't understand?" Before she would allow me to finish the thought, she said, "Math? It's hard."

At that point I just forgot what I was talking about and smiled the rest of the day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Howler monkey on crack speaking her mind

I had to buy a lightbulb yesterday, but not just any lightbuld mind you, an indoor recessed light spot light. Did you know there are two sizes? Me either. So this is how it went down.

I got home at 5:15 and Amanda was in the kitchen getting a bottle of apple juice. She does this every day at 5:15 because she knows that is when I'm going to be home. I tell her I need to go get a light bulb and ask her if she would like to go with me. With an enthusiastic "YES!" she agrees to go. She takes her apple juice with her.

While we are driving to our local ACE Hardware she is asking me about my day. I tell her about loosing me sunglasses and she thinks that is just terrible. She is a very sympathetic and caring child.

We get to the hardware store and park right in front, practically in the store by the register. It is one of the up sides to her condition, we have handicapped parking. She gives me the sign to hand from the mirror and we go in. Light bulbs are on the fourth row or so and we start to clook them over. This is an important bulb because it goes over my lounge in the bedroom where I do a lot of reading. I get the large indoor spotlight bulb because it looks right and we head to the one register that is open. There is a customer checking out who is buying 6 bolts, 6 nuts, and 4 washers.

I would like to suggest to anyone reading this blog to show consideration to all other hardware store customers who may be waiting behind you, never buy few washers than nuts and bolts. The cashier range up 6 washers as well as 6 bolts and 6 nuts. To undo this 40 cent mistake took the better part of 10 minutes.

Now, I'm a lot of things but at 5:30 on a day where I have lost my sunglasses, patient isn't one of those things. Amanda is in tune with me and knows that I am beginning to boil and she gives the correct but inappropriate response, "You pissed?"

Ok, she learned that word from me back before she could even talk and in my defense she was so old when she wasn't talking that I thought she would never talk. While I have removed a few of the more mature words from her vocabulary, "pissed" isn't one of them. I think we now have it in her IEP.

I just tell her, "I'm ok." She knows when Daddy is lying and starts to laugh at me. Her laugh is like a howler monkey on crack.

We finally get to our turn, I buy the light bulb which was $7.03. I don't have 3 cents on me so I get 97 cents change. I hate having a lot of change in my pocket, but that is another blog.

We get in the car and head home. Amanda starts in on me as soon as we start driving. Her language is improving daily and she has a lot to say. "You hate waiting." It's a line from the Princess Bride. I love that movie, she is rather indifferent to it. Then the laugh starts in again.

We get home, I go straight to the bedroom, stand on the lounge and try to install the light bulb. It is way too big and like the father from the Christmas Story while he is changing a fuse in the basement I just loose it. Amanda starts her belly laugh again. I grab the bag, receipt, and bulb and head back to the car. Amanda is in hot pursuit, so I take her along with me.

By now local traffic has gotten heavy. It takes us almost 20 minutes to make the same drive that just took 10 minutes. Amanda is laughing at me the whole time. "You buy wrong one. What is wrong with you?" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. It is very humbling.

I get back to the store and leave the big wrong bulb on the counter. I go back and get the smaller one. This should be easy and I will save money. In the 30 seconds I was getting the bulb a customer has started to check out. He has 1 item and I am waiting patiently because I know this is my fault, but it won't take long. Until! He says this, "This needs to be tax exempt for the school."

The clerk asks him for his account number and he says this, "I have never been here before."

OK, this is not funny, fair, or even understandable. Why come here tonight? Why not go where you always go? Why? Why? Why? The clerk starts to look for the form for him to have a tax exempt account. Of course she can't find it. And now Amanda chimes in her opinion.

"This is ridiculous, " followed by a huge sigh. Of course the way she said ridiculous was in itself ridiculous. It was more like reeeeediclus. I love that she isn't afraid of big words any more.

They finally worked it out after another 5 minutes or so and it was my turn to exchange the bulb. The bulb was cheaper and I got another 88 cents change. Now I have almost $2 in change in my pocket which drives me nuts.

We get in the car and my little helper starts belly laughing and telling me about waiting. Just when I'm about to tell her to back off she changes the subject to dinner.

"So hungry," and she starts to act like she is eating her arm.

" Ok, ok, ok we'll get dinner when get home." It is now past 6:30 and this whole thing took too long.

This morning she asked if we needed any more light bulbs. I told her we would just live in the dark, and the howler monkey was back.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where, oh where have they gone

I haven't lost a pair of sunglasses in something like 8 years, but I bought a new pair last week and now I have no idea where they are.

You may ask yourself, "If you don't loose sunglasses then why did you need a new pair?" Well, a fact I have proven from theory is, sunglasses wear out. Hinges break, coatings fade, and plastic chips. And don't even get me started on the rubber ends to ear pieces. Those just don't last.

I've checked at the restaurant I ate at, looked in my car, and my jacket pockets, but these latest, and least expensive pair I have bought in years, are no where to be found.

We'll just have to hope they turn up.

I'm getting to age where I think I need to keep them on a string.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I signed up for this

I can tell I'm getting older. Yesterday I played in a golf tournament. The day was cool and damp. We've had so much rain lately that the driving range was closed for the event so we had to start cold. On the first hole, a par 3 playing 150 yards I used an 8 iron. On just the first swing my left bicep cramped up like it had been twisted at least 45 degrees. That nagged me all day. It took another four holes just to get all my parts working, but I played well enough as the "B" player that we came in 2nd out of 18 teams.

The real pressing issue of the day was it was Monday, bowling night for Amanda. I missed our weekly dinner with her and Tina at a little deli we eat at before we bowl and didn't make it to the alley until 6:20. When I showed up Tina had her and Amanda's friends half way through the first game. Amanda told me she didn't need me and sent me home.

I was happy about this but a little dejected too. I really love my family time but I guessed Tina and Amanda didn't need me as much tonight and felt like doing me a favor. That was until 3:30 this morning when Amanda woke up to bm and needed help changing her pullup. So I put on my latex gloves, cleaned her up and put her back to bed. Before she fell asleep she said, "Thank you help me." I just can't describe how that made me feel, but the only thing I could think to say was, "Always."

It's difficult to describe how a child like Amanda can effect their parent. She is such a pure and gentle soul. Simple in so many ways with no agenda other than living and being happy. She has fewer facades than a lot of kids her age but is none the less flawless. When Tina and I decided to become parents after 6 years of marriage I only knew that I wanted to feel this way, I didn't have any idea about the how it would happen. But then again, that is the same for everyone who decides to become a parent.

So being 40 years old with a special needs daughter is all right with me. A little physical pain and still waking up in the night to help a child long after the years of most is nothing short of the good life.

Monday, October 5, 2009

11:11

I have been meaning to write about this for a while. I read a blog call postsecret and have for a year or so. If you are not familiar with it, it is a page where people anonymously send in secrets about themselves and they are posted each week online. The creator also has events and publishes books. His page has been viewed more than 270 million times.

Most secrets are about sexual orientation, drug use, petty theft, infidelity, and the like. But the fun ones are the ones that have to do with quirks, because lets face it, we all have them. I'm a bit of quirky fellow myself. I get up before the alarm goes off nearly every day, I read the comics as thoroughly as any op-ed piece and simple little stuff like that. But of the hundreds of secrets I have read one has really effected me. Someone confessed that every time they see 11:11 on their clock they think about some special unnamed person in their life. Well, ever since then not a day goes by that I don't see a clock at least once a day with 11:11. After about a week of this I started using it as my key for thinking about my wife.

It's usually a pleasant memory of our early years together, but sometimes it can be a flashback to as something as recent as that morning. She had me laughing this morning about working out with her hair back and how nobody recognizes her from the gym because she wears her hair completely different the rest of the time. This morning she plans to workout with her hair down, but she took her headband with her just in case she couldn't handle it.

The funny thing about 11:11 in a digital clock world is it is so easy to recognize. But I knew it was becoming strange when my car clock said 11:07 but the bank read 11:11. Then of course four minutes later it was 11:11 in my Malibu.

So now I can add just one more quirk to my own list.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Real plates and In Your Face

Amanda is understanding the mechanics of things now. Everything from the time it takes to download to an I-pod to which is hot and cold water. This is like going from 0 - 60 in an instant after being told the car was stalled and out of gas. It's a lot of fun.

Last night I went and picked up dinner for myself because I was told if I didn't want cereal I better do something about it. Tina and Amanda were both worn out by the flu and had eaten while I was covering the pool. When I got back from the food run I found a plate on the table with a drink and silverware. I'm not afraid of getting sick because it will either happen or it won't, this wasn't going to make a difference.

Tina said Amanda set the whole thing up for me because she said I was a good daddy and needed something special. It's a running joke at our house about real plates versus paper plates and Amanda has a great sense of humor.

After dinner we played Tiger Woods golf on the Wii. I set Amanda's level on easy and mine on standard and I do the putting. We had a blast, I love her trash talking. "In your face" never sounded so sweet. In the end I won, it's only fair.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall is here

It's the kind of day I wish I were outside doing most anything else. That is, until the mosquitoes find me. We've had such wet weather the past month that these pests are like angry little birds. The only plus side is they are so fat and swollen that they are too slow to escape even a carelessly aimed swat. But then they do explode like a small grape.

I'll be covering up the pool this evening and for the next six months looking at a large Hefty bag in the backyard. It will be mocking me with memories of hot days and cool water. Oh well, such is life and the passing of time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Cleveland Show

I watched the Family Guy spin off last night, The Cleveland Show, and I just don't know where to start. But i do have to ask, why give the deadpan straight guy of a series his own show.

It is obvious that the staffs of the Family Guy and American Dad were not raided to put this show together. It's as if the writers wanted to get back at the Fox Network. After it was over the only thing I could think off was, "King of the Hill was canceled for this."

Wasn't Cleveland Jr. a skinny hyper kid? Maybe his ADHD medication fattened him up and slowed him down.

For a show that has been hyped for almost a year, didn't anyone with any talent screen the finished product to see if it was worth the time? The only thing that kept it from being as bad as the Jack Black's movie, "The Pick of Destiny" was that it was an hour shorter.

It looks like Cleveland will be back in Rhode Island before mid October.

The Flu - regular, not unleaded

On Thursday Amanda received her flu shot, Saturday morning she was running a temp and then later that day tested positive for the flu. She has felt terrible ever since.

She is on Tami-flu and and hasn't had a fever for 24 hours, but is still feeling on the poor side. When she wants to go to bed before the sun goes down you can tell she is ill.

So, we just watched football all day yesterday while she drew pictures. She is a stoic little patient with too much practice at being ill. But at least she wasn't hospitalized this time. We all agree that we don't like IV's.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Just Makes Sense

"It just makes sense." That is what Amanda said this morning about a plan that I have four 4 man scramble team. I'm glad she likes the way I think when it comes to important matters such as this. I also like that she used that expression for the first time that I know of. She is making great progress.

But to keep it in perspective, I am also aware of how much easier it is for the average four year old to speak. Without software to hardware interface issues like Amanda's, they simply say just about everything the want to. It doesn't necessarily make me sad when I hear how much easier it for children a third of her age speak so much more clearly. It just makes me acutely aware that my little one just must put in the extra effort to get her thoughts broadcast to her audience.

I truly compare it to me doing upper level algebraic calculations. Anyone who knows my track record with algebra would probably argue that statement. Their argument being, "But John, Amanda can speak to the point of understanding, while your abilities in Algebra 4 were what you could see on other people's paper. "

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunglassed and Fog Lights

Authors Note: I drive a 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ with a 256 HP V-6 with a six speed transmission. This car is what Chevy should have been building all along. It is quick, powerful and responsive. It also gets 29 MPG on the Highway. It is black with 18 inch wheels and speed performance tires. The audio system has XM Radio, something I have had for more than six years. All and all, it is a great car that suits most of my needs.

Now, on with the blog entry.


I woke up yesterday morning in Bedford, TX, just outside of Ft. Worth. It was a quarter to six, the alarm was set for 6, so my one power was working well.
I had spent the previous day with a long time good friend and we called it a night around 10 pm. I was asleep by 11, but now I was looking forward to getting home.

After my shower I debated shaving. I put the razor back in the kit with the rationalization that four minutes is five miles. I was out of the hotel and bought a 20 oz coffee at the QT next to the hotel and on the road by 6:30, it was still dark, the roads were empty and I was headed east.

I have made this drive countless times in the last 24 years. The drive to Dallas was the first long drive most of my peers made back when we were first licensed by the state. But this time, this morning, this drive fell into perfect balance. I tuned to station 45 on XM, The Spectrum, and listened to The Baker's Dozen. My drive for the next hour had a sound track as well compiled as any play list or mix tape I ever made.

The music was adult contemporary: Dave Mathews and Bell X1 were the best of the lot. The rest were just a bit of a blur, I was just so caught up in the moment and recall a single artist by name. As I went across Lake Ray Hubbarb for an uncountable time the sun started to rise in the east forcing me to wear my sunglasses. I was finishing my coffee and wanting a second cup. I found a good store on the otherside of the lake and reloaded. Further on down the road I drove into some fog and hit the fog lights on my car just to let the traffic know that I was there. Sunglasses and fog lights make for a strange combination. Muted glare is the best way to describe it.

I was isolated from the world. In a cocoon of a cockpit, perfect music with the only destination that matters. It was what I had needed but dared not wish for knowing I would only be disappointed if I did.

By the end of the day my drive was all but forgotten. It had morphed into pleasant day at home even though the Steelers had lost. I cleaned the pool and a few other chores that were on the list and fell asleep on the couch while watching the Cowboys' defense bend until it broke.

This morning had me thinking of sunglasses and fog lights. It was a serene time and a simple pleasure. I hope everyone who wants one can have such a time very soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Here's to an old friend and a great day

I spent the afternoon and most the evening with one of my oldest friends. We've known one another since the third grade when we played on the same peewee baseball team. Since that time we spent six years in band, played softball, scout camp, backpacking adventures, we were in one another's weddings and we have attended a lot of ranger games together.

Today we did just that. I made it to town before two. He showed me his office, we played Tiger Woods golf on the Wii, went to dinner and then to the Ranger game. It was better than old times.

All those times before we were in a maturing stage with the need to go a lot further than we had been. Today while we were driving around we were talking about 401K plans and roth IRA's. Worse yet, we really knew what we were talking about. We were like a Mike Myers character from Saturday Night Live, Middle Aged Man. We both noticed it and laughed about it. My friend and I have enough common ground and yet enough differences where we genuinely enjoy talking to one another because while there is overlap in experiences, their are also enough differences where I truly look forward to getting caught up.

For now, I'm in a hotel for the night. I'm going to sign off, watch the rest of the UT v TT games and crash out. I'll be up and out of here early in the am. Amanda and I have a date for pizza and football at noon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Defining my mold

After a long day at the office and handling problems that literally circumvented the world, I arrived home at just past 5. Tina and Amanda were at a friend's house so my lovely home was quiet and I had a chance to relax.

I poured a glass of Merlot and sat down on the sofa. I took a deep breath and thought about people my own age doing about the exact same thing from the east coast through the central time zone at this exact moment. We are the mid life people who aren't kids anymore, we have upper management positions in this economy and a head full of knowledge that has been acquired as much by experience as by education or instinct. Then I did what I had to do, I poured a second glass of wine and turned on the TV, but not to cable news or CNBC or even ESPN. I found Kung Fu Panda and watched Po and decompressed.

I believe in the power of silly. I'm not a prankster but I have a quick wit, and if I don't laugh a couple of times a day I feel the day has been wasted. Yesterday was not a wasted day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

She said what?

We all hear things throughout the day that cause us to pause. I'm a fairly outspoken person so when I pause I follow up by speaking. Yesterday I had to get some new headphones for Tina so she wouldn't take mine. While Amanda and I were checking out I heard two clerks talking about a night class.

Clerk #1: Got enough candy there?

Clerk #2: Just stocking up for the most boring class ever.

Clerk #1: What is it?

Clerk #2: History, it's killing me.

I paused for about 4 seconds, which in John time is a long time before speaking up against an outrage.

Me: Are you kidding me, the worst history class I ever took was better than the best math class and I should know because I took most of my math courses twice.

Clerk #1: (Surprised look on face) Have a nice day sir.

Me: Seriously, history at the very least should be an easy A even if it's not interesting to you. It's not like you have to carry the one or divide a fraction.

Amanda: Yeah!

I like it when she backs me up.

Clerk #2: I just don't like.

At that Amanda starts to drag me out of the store. She doesn't like her daddy arguing.

I know not everyone has my love of history. I've studied the Ottoman Empire, China's Boxer Rebellion, our own civil war, WWI and WWII, American history to a point of distraction and a great deal of European and Middle Eastern history. So I suppose I took offense at someone calling one of my passions boring.

I was one of those students in class who would read ahead in the books weeks at a time. I would read so much I would forget to do the work, but I'm much more disciplined now.

I hope clerk # 2 at least is willing to put in the effort to learn something. Even a boring history teacher can teach a student something if they are willing to learn.

Wasted effort in dreamland

It is another rainy day, something I'm used to by now. I keep forgetting to buy some non insulated rubber boots or shoes. My Bean boots would just cook me today, but something along that line is definitely needed. More rain is on the way.

Do you ever wake up tired. Last night I had a dream that Tina woke me and Amanda up at 4 o'clock in the morning and put us to work on important list items. The dream was so vivid that I actually woke up from it because I thought I was getting back into bed. I looked at the clock and it was 5:15 a.m. At the point I knew I wasn't going to make it. After cleaning a dirty garage in my dream I was exhausted. It had to be a dream, because my garage is never like that. Not long after that I was up for the day.

Just too weird. I prefer my sleep to be much more restful than that. Tonight I hope to dream about sleeping, that way I can double. Kind of like putting chocolate syrup on chocolate ice cream.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Wait Is Over

After a ten day wait, the TISD Board of Trustees made their decision. I wasn't chosen, but I feel they made the best choice. When I first expressed interest in the post, it was because no one knew who would fill the empty seat. I wanted to make sure it was filled with someone capable. While I feel I could do a fine job in the post, the chosen candidate has more experience within the district. I wish him well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My ADD is one of the things I have going for me, at times.

Truth be told, I'm not sure what I even want to write about today. There are a number of topic spinning around in my head at the moment but none will stay in place long enough for me to figure it out. Like a saxaphone solo from a jazz player after a double espresso, I just can't pull out a true theme.

1. First date anniversary
2. John may not be so common any more
3. Almost too much football, almost
4. Instrumentals vs. vocals
5. Papa Murphy's Pizza makes me feel good
6. Woody Harrelson is everywhere
7. Thick neck shirts and no chicken on the rug

I just don't know which way to go, so if anyone has an opinion, let me know.

30 minutes later: Turned on my NPR podcasts

I think I will go with number 6. I have watched two movies in the past five days that have Woody Harrelson in, "The Battle in Seattle" where he played police officer during the riot of the WTO meeting in 1999. It was a very serious and believable roll.

Last night I saw him with a part in "Seven Pounds" playing a blind pianist who also worked as a phone salesman for a steak company. He was very humble and kind in this roll.

But, the one I am looking forward to seeing him in is "Zombieland." I think anyone who has read my blog knows how I feel about zombies. This movie should be a hoot. I love comedies and zombies just need to be hunted and killed, because they are pure evil because they just want to kill you and make you a zombie.

I also saw him in a movie last month called, "The Grand." He played a poker player who had been married more than 70 times and was actually thrown out of his own casino. It was a great movie. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

#2 - The original title of my blog was, "John is a common name." Well, this weekend while playing a game with Amanda I read out loud every name from her school yearbook. Out of 700 students, about half of them boys, only two were had the name John. There were two Jonathan's, but they just don't count. Other names that were noticeably missing were: Chris, Robert, Tony, Allan, and a lot of other names that I grew up with. I guess my generation just didn't want to carry on the tradition.

Well, that's it for the blog now. I'll have to attack the rest of the list this week. That is, if I can remember them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11

September 11th, 2001 I was in Sacramento, CA on business. It was early on the west coast and I was preparing for my day and listening to NPR. Like everyone else, I instantly turned on the news to see what was happening.

I won't go into the particulars about how I felt at that time other than extreme sadness for all of the victims of our terrible enemy. People I could easily identify with because I to am a business traveler, noncombatant, and simple citizen.

I know how the airline industry works. So as soon as I heard flights were grounded, I rented a car. The first day I made it to Flagstaff, AZ. The next day I was in Amarillo, TX. The third day brought me home.

It was a lonely drive, filled with talk radio and an audio book book I purchased for distraction, "The Third Hand." Not a particularly good story, but it was something to listen to other than the radio.

Bruce Springsteen went onto do a great album about the attack, The Rising. One song in particular caught the essence of my drive, "Empty Sky." I've been on so many planes I instinctively look up and count the airplanes when I am outside. There were none on my drive and it made me feel very lonely. I don't mind being alone, and sometimes I crave it, but that is different than feeling lonely. The world was different that week.

It has tried to get back to normal, but it never will be. The bar for evil has been raised to an all time high. Anxiety is founded on reality, and just leaving on a business trip or vacation has added stresses that we never thought of before this date in 2001.

I still travel, as do countless other people. But isn't it more than just sad to think that your fellow passengers and crew are so similar to all the people we lost eight years ago, as well as the people working in the Twin Towers and Pentagon.

The brave firefighters and police who ran into the carnage are heroes of unmatchable courage, and I will always admire them.

Flight 93 in western PA was full of selfless people who saved possibly hundreds if not thousands of lives, and the will always be heroes.

It's 9-11 again, and that is how I feel.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Towel Is Out!

When I was five years old my family moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Pittsburgh, PA. We lived there only a couple of years, but it was during that time became a Steeler fan. In 1976 we moved to TXK where if you don't watch the Cowboys you don't watch anything. And while I do admit a fondness for the Cowboys, I believe in the Steelers. Their ownership is the best in football, their coach is carrying on the tradition of greatness and tough guy class, and the team speaks for itself.

Waiting and waiting

Ten days ago I interviewed for a position on our local school board. A seat had become vacant do to the board member moving out of the area and the board will appoint someone to that seat until May of next year when there will be an election for a full three year term.

I sent in my letter of interest the first day as did five other people. I feel the interview went well.

I had reviewed the documentation provided to all candidate and knew the budgetary facts of the district. When asked what my agenda was, my reply is I don't have a specific agenda at this time. I am simply volunteering my time, passion for education, and expertise from the business world to fill this spot. I don't believe a singular agenda makes for good management, particularly in a large organization.

This last week I have been waiting, the announcement will be made Tuesday evening at the board meeting. If I am appointed I will give it my best effort, if the board chooses someone else I guess it is back to the bench and that is not such a bad place to be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Second on the list

Amanda doesn't say, "next," she uses the phrase "second on the list." That is because her mother is a highly organized person who always has a list. I know what is going to happen today when I look at the list the night before. If I ever read, hit John on the head with a shovel I will make sure to wear a helmet that day.

This last weekend I actually dealt with the list pretty well. But the thing about a list is this, it is very easy to write three words, "fix the shed." Actually fixing the shed requires a lot more blood, sweat and tears. But for those of us who don't use lists as effectively as people like my wife, then it is easier to just fix the shed than it is to keep up with a list reminding us to fix the shed.

But I know the secrete to the list. The lists are never more than three days out, so if you want to know what is coming, you have to check the calendar. That is where I saw the item, "wash the eaves." That wasn't for three weeks but I knocked it out this last weekend. Therefore, it will never be on the list. And while I may have actually had to do the work, it was never on the list, which means I am getting ahead of the game.

Will Tina put something on the list just to fill the space? The answer is no. Tina plays fair. That is one of her many beautiful qualities. And the list today didn't have me doing anything but going out to dinner with a friend passing through town. The list is for her benefit, not mine. She needed the shed fixed so she put it on the list knowing I would do it, but it wasn't on her list to nag me. That is what the list is for. I just make a point to write my name on the list from time to time to make sure she is still reading it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hence the name

Another three day weekend like this last one I will just go ahead and get a second job.

Saturday I helped a couple of friends move and remove furniture. The moving was pretty easy. The removing had some effort involved but was also a lot of fun. We took an old three cushion sofa to a dumpster at my factory. Now, a three dumpster sofa will not fit in a dumpster so it has to be modified with extreme violence by two large men with crowbars. By the time we were done the sofa could have fit in a garbage can. The old roach infested sofa will no longer be a threat to my friend's carport.

Later in the day I mowed the yard. I may have mentioned this about my yard, but when I am in the back corner with my push mower, this yard is as big as the Ponderosa of Bonanza fame.

Sunday was the real work day. My brother and I installed a new door on my shed. We had the frame fabricated at work but we had to router the hinges, and drill eleven holes through steel, each hole requiring three drill bits. Quick math says that is 33 drillings. There was some other parts of the construction that went on and the door swings perfectly for the first time in years.

That night I did a cook out for my brothers family and our parents.

Yesterday I finished the trim work on the shed and washed the soffit on the front of the house.

On all of the jobs Amanda was close at hand with the exception of the sofa violence. I don't like her in the area when I'm swinging a crowbar. I think it is caring on the side of caution.

She was a total little trooper all weekend, but we both agree that we need to get back to work and to school to get some rest.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cowboys and Amanda

Ok, I haven't had a beer this year, so I'm watching a Cowboys game and drinking red wine. It is a little different, but I'm managing. i really don't miss the beer and I physically feel better. I swear, some days I feel like Allan Harper from 2 1/2 Men. At least I can move my half of a 150 pound outdoor fireplace.

Amanda is back in the playroom with Tina and she is going on about something. She gets pretty worked up this time of night. She always has actually. She was very late to baby babble, but when she did it was always this time of evening. She was quiet for a big part of her life, but now she is like Donkey from Shrek, it is getting her to shut up that is the trick. It is very nice to hear.

Years ago I remember talking with a child psychologist about Amanda. She asked, "What do you want from this child?" I answered, "I just want a conversation." Well, I have that and it really is enough.

BTW: Cowboys just scored, they have a good backup with Kitna. He doesn't have the weak arm like Wilson did.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My new toy

I have a new laptop, a Dell inspiron mini. This is a nice little machine with long battery life and a hard drive as large as my desktop, all for $4oo. That last part I find amazing. My first laptop cost as much as my last three and it was less powerful than my Blackberry.

But more importantly, I gave Amanda my old Dell Latitude 400. She will never turn it on, just mimic the actual use of a laptop. At this moment she is "blogging." She thinks I hung the moon.


The tie that binds

Today was one of those rare occasions when I needed to wear a tie. So this morning I put on my black suit, with my blue shirt. I didn't put on my tie at home because my meeting wasn't for three hours and the longer I can avoid putting a leash around my neck the better. When I got to work I did some review for my meeting and then went to put on my tie. Try as I might, I couldn't get my top button done. A long time friend and coworker tried to do button me up and finally said, "I think you need to go up to a 17 1/2 inch neck."

Here in lies the problem, this was an 18 1/2" neck shirt. I get the athletic cut shirts because I have a 46" chest and 35" waist but my shoulders go right into my neck. One of my friends says that I have a neck like a Rottweiler. So I went home and found another large necked shirt. The collar is cut a little different and it fit well enough, but it looks like I will be adding 19" shirts to the wardrobe.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

She is too modest, so I have have to say it

The other night Tina and I are watching TV and an ad for E Harmony comes on. The ad emphasized that selections were based on like intelligence and values. Well let me say this, I am so glad I didn't go that route. It was very necessary for me to find someone who is smarter than I am who possesses a moral compass. It would have been very easy for me to have dropped out of school and wound up selling stolen car parts out of a friend's garage.

Tina has inspired me, guided me, coached me, and corrected me. I wouldn't be me without her.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

USMC

It's the first week of school, which means I can get back to my pre-summer routine. After I take Amanda to school, I go to the gym more days than not. This winter and spring I was able to get back into my pre GI illness shape. I dropped 20 pounds and bulked my arms and chest back up. This summer I maintained my strength, but I only got to the gym a half dozen times. In my defense, I did play a lot of golf and worked in the yard. I also mad a point to float in the pool as often as possible.

I've made it the last three days, the first two emphasizing cardio. I didn't want to to shock my body by hitting the weights the first day. It might not take it well and rebel. Today I was able to do both. The Offspring on my I-pod nano were made for weight lifting.

But what I thought was cool was this. There were two young guys working out hard and heavy. Both were about 24 years old, lean, a few tatoos and Marine Corp Reserve. Halfway through their workout they went outside to smoke. Then they came back in and did decline push ups until their arms gave out. I doubt either one of these guys had more than 10% body fat. Put them on t he Nicotine Patch and they could fight all day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small class and a small victory

Amanda is back in school and loving it. She is in a much smaller class this year and Ms. Debbie has returned as an aide. Her class has emphasis on life skills and is set up like a house, complete with kitchen and laundry room. When I describe this class to most people their response is usually, "I wish my kid could take that class." Well, home economics is offered in high school, but then again it is harder to teach normal teenagers the basics of life than it is younger students with developmental delays.

Amanda is very proud that she earns a smiley face for her behavior for the day. She is making a point to show it to me. She prides herself on cooperation and has learned to stay much calmer when things go a rye.

Amanda's big accomplishment has come in the past two weeks. She now goes to sleep by herself. For many years she was terrified to fall asleep in her bed by herself. Either Tina or I would have to lay in bed with her until she was asleep. If we tried to leave before she would succumb to sleep she would follow us out of the room, call out, scream, cry, or worse. Those of you with a special needs child like Amanda know what I'm talking about when I say, "or worse."

But now, after I read her a story or tell her about my day, she simply says, "Bye, close the door." Within fifteen minutes she is asleep.

I think this came on do to a flight delay two weeks ago. My brother and I flew into DFW after a quick trip to LA. We were scheduled to get in at DFW around 8 pm, instead it was closer to 11 because of a late arrival at LAX and then a broken toilet. Amanda had decided to stay up until I got home. Had it been the original 11 pm arrival at home she would have made. But there was no way she was going to make it until 2 AM. She pitched a pretty serious fit, but Tina held her ground and told her she could just lay down on the movie sack until I got home. Tina said Amanda talked to herself for about half an hour about how mad she was and then fell asleep. About 1 AM Tina her call out, "Hey Tina! My back hurts, want my bed." Tina walked her to her room and said Amanda was asleep as soon as her hed hit the pillow. Ever since then she has been going to sleep by herself.

She told me, she thinks about stuff before she falls asleep now. This has become a serious victory in our house. School wears her out and she is asleep by 8:30, or at least kicking me out of her room, and now Tina and I have an extra hour and half together in the evening.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A new day, a new chair

I'm getting used to my new office chair. My last chair was a great chair until the bolts that held the seat to the frame stripped out and left me to face gravity by myself. Now, if you think about it, the only reason for the bolts to strip and fall out is because I was leaning back in my chair, which I was. This was bad enough, but I was on the phone at the time, wearing a headset instead of using the handset, so yes, the person I was talking to at the time heard everything. Gravity is one of the few things I really fear, other things are: tornadoes, giant sharks, spicy food, an NFL players lock out, cancer, and a coffee blight.

So, when I was surprisingly confronted by one of my great fears, I naturally tried to save myself with a four letter word which really didn't cushion my fall. The person on the phone was a bit concerned that I was mad at him, but I explained the situation quickly, omitting my fear of giant sharks. I assume most everyone is afraid of giant sharks and didn't want to waste my breath on the subject.

All that being said, I now have a new chair that is every bit as comfortable as the last one, now that I know how to adjust the arms, and the bottom bolts are tight. So I'm good to go.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let the school day begin

In the summer of 1989 I heard a song by The Call, titled "Let the Day Begin"

I bought this album on cassette, yes cassette and listened to it daily.

I took the album with me to college my junior year. It was 1989 and I had a monster Kenwood stereo system and added my roommates speakers to it to add to the output. I could shake the north end of Nacogdoches with this system. I would play this song most every morning to wake me up and get me going because I wasn't a coffee drinker yet. This song is one of the first contacts that Tina had with me, as her apartment was next store to mine she could hear every word through the wall. The song became my anthem. Now 20 years later, Amanda loves the song and requested it for her first day of school wake up. She calls it, the morning song.

Here are the lyrics:

Here's to the babies in a brand new world
Here's to the beauty of the stars
Here's to the travellers on the open road
Here's to the dreamers in the bars

Here's to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here's to the workers in the fields
Here's to the preachers of the sacred words
Here's to the drivers at the wheel

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin

Here's to the winners of the human race
Here's to the losers in the game
Here's to the soldiers of the bitter war
Here's to the wall that bears their names

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Here's to the doctors and their healing work
Here's to the loved ones in their care
Here's to the strangers on the streets tonight
Here's to the lonely everywhere

Here's to the wisdom from the mouths of babes
Here's to the lions in the cage
Here's to the struggles of the silent war
Here's to the closing of the age.

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Friday, August 21, 2009

Elementary my dear

I'm talking with Tina this morning, and this proves how she thinks differently than I do. I was telling her how Wednesday morning while I was running errands all over town, every time I got out of my car I could smell some sort of chicken soup. So naturally I thought I had run over a chicken and it got stuck under the car and heated up. Tina pointed out, "We had Chinese food on Tuesday, you went and picked it up." So you see, she completes me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thus ends another summer

One more weekday before Amanda goes back to school. It was the best summer yet. Amanda has matured in many ways which has taken a lot of the stress out of the day to day. There were a few bad days where her routine was broken and unfortunately that was because I was out of town. She is not only used to both Tina and I, she is dependent on us both as we are on one another. I can't imagine the difficulty of being Amanda's only parent. It is the only real fear that I have.

Of course it is two fold fear, losing Amanda's mother would also mean I would have lost my wife, and that would in itself be my definition of hell on earth. Tina and I are a team. We have overlapping and complimentary skills that really allow us to accomplish our goals. But more importantly, we truly want the other to enjoy success. And that is what has made this summer possible.

We didn't do anything grand. I repaired the shed and kept the pool clear and clean. Tina kept the house running like a well oiled machine. She says her house keeping was a little slack during the summer and has suspended the 5 second rule. If something hits the floor, DON'T eat it. While I may be domesticated, I'm still a dog, I won't give up a single Lays potato chip.

It's been a good summer, but we are looking forward to the fall, which we define as the beginning of school.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Funky love

Well Funky Winkerbean made quick work of the Wally story for now. Becky told Wally that she buried him and her life was with John. As Wally walked off carrying his trombone case, Becky reflected on how Wally was her first everything, but she had to live with her present. That is how it should be. Love can be painful, and the first can really be the worst. But as I've said myself, I'm not concerned with my first love but my last.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wabbit Season

So I'm swimming in the pool Saturday afternoon with Tina and Amanda and my older sister. We're relaxing and enjoying the cool water when Sis says, "There is a rabbit in Mom's computer room."

Now, this statement might strike you as odd, but like almost every weird thing I hear from my sister regarding either my mother's house or animals my typical response is, "But of course."

Sis said that her own daughter, a beautiful young woman of 18 who is a rodeo queen and redneck tough, wrestled the small rabbit away from her bulldog. She is tough that way. And has plans on giving it to her boyfriend's grandmother who rescues wild animals. Now this rodeo queen is up in the Arkansas mountains at a rodeo so my mother has the door closed to the room that the rabbit is occupying. Sis said that Mom offered her a small butterfly net on a long pool to catch the rabbit. Sis said it was the wrong tool for the job and they would have to wait a day until the queen returned.

Now, in my day I have caught both dogs and cats, both of which are equally capable of catching a rabbit. Plus, just this past May I read WATERSHIP DOWN. So, I know I can handle this.

After swimming I go to my ancestral home with a pair of leather gloves and am prepared to catch the loose rabbit. I move the furniture which Mom says the rabbit was under, it isn't there. Then I look under another chair and see this terrified little creature, grab the butterfly net and make a capture on the second attempt. Mission accomplished. I deposit the rabbit back in the bucket which it escaped, per my mother's instructions , and grabbed my reward from the wine closet.

I heard today the rabbit finally stroked out before getting delivered to the rescue. I kind of figured that would happen. But at least it was in the bucket and not hiding under a chair when it happened.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A change of title

I changed the name of my blog today. I have a bench in my front yard under a beautiful oak tree. Amanda and I sit on this bench almost daily and visit. It is where she and I have grown together and personally I believe if I were not her father I would not be me.

We painted the bench today, and my sister pointed out to me that I really do love that bench. It is a place where I think about everything that is important to me while Amanda sits and talks about everything that is important to her. So, I have decided to move things along. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A day at Hogwarts

I saw the new Harry Potter movie yesterday with my brother and nephew. Amanda doesn't watch movies, which I find to be the only real hang up with her condition.

This movie was well done, it was just too long since I saw The Order of The Phoenix or read the book, The Half Blood Prince. I do like the way the relationship with Jenny and Harry is progressing. She is a very brave girl and more suited for Harry than Hermione. She compliments Harry's style while Hermione balances Ron. The last thing Ron needs is someone like himself.

Anyway, not to add to a thousand other critiques of this film and movie, I just have to say I liked it and was very entertained.

One thing I will do is buy the entire series on Blu-Ray when it is available.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Funky just got sad

I have been a reader of Funky Winkerbean for 25 years. Tom Batiuk has created such a diverse cast of characters with so many story lines that a year goes by without any type of repeat. But now he has done something emotionally brutal. Wally Winkerbean is alive.

When the strip jumped 10 years in the future and it was discovered that Becky was married to John, the comic book shop owner, I assumed that Wally was killed in Iraq. But this week a hood was removed from a prisoner and it turned out to be Wally.

Wally went through a POW experience when he was sent to Afghanistan, so this is a bit of a retread. But worse than that, how can Tom do this to John and Becky?

John was prepared to propose to Becky the first time Wally was lost and presumed dead. But didn't the moment he found out that Wally was alive he stepped out of the picture, broken heart and all. In the interim he never loved anyone else. But then when Wally disappeared he was once again the man for Becky. Now his marriage will become null and void, Becky and the kids will be in turmoil, and Wally will have to realize that his wife moved on, again.

This is going to be a couple of tough months, four frames at a time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cave time

I had the house to myself last night for more than three hours. So what did I do? What any red blooded 40 year old American man would do, I played Tiger Woods Wii golf until my back hurt, watched the Rangers beat the Tigers and drank Bacardi.

Also, to add a few points to the husband column, I took the sheets out of the dryer and made the beds, but that was between innings.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The shed

I worked on rebuilding my shed this weekend. It was long overdue and I couldn't I couldn't put it off any longer. I tried to, but I was cornered by my very smart and direct wife.

A couple of weeks ago she told me, while I was drinking my first cup of coffee and totally defenseless, that we received a $50 gift card from our credit card. We had a choice of either Best Buy or Home Depot. Of course I'm thinking Best Buy, I love that place, but Tina told me she picked Home Depot so I could buy some of the materials for the shed. I wasn't given a vote or asked my opinion. She didn't have to tell me Best Buy was an option but Tina is honest to a fault. It also reinforced the fact that I needed to fix the shed.

The project went smoothly enough. I hired a very competent neighborhood kid to help. An 18 year old who has his own power tools is very helpful. Plus he knows how to read a tape measure. We put in about nine hours on the project and the only downside was the possum bones under the floor and my helper smashed his thumb.

I'll put the new door on the shed in a week or two. I'm having a metal frame fabricated for strength and durability purposes. Then Tina will paint. She won't put her end of the project off. One day she will say she is going to paint and two days later the whole thing will be done. She is awesome that way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I would not draw a line in this sand

Yesterday I was driving Amanda to meet with a mobility therapist for lunch at McDonald's. Now, if anyone has any experience with my girl they know Amanda ALWAYS has a cellphone with her. These phones never have a battery in them, but that doesn't keep them from being any less real in her world.

She was having a very important conversation in route to her meeting which went as follows:

"Yes, Yes, Yes, NO!!!!!, Yes, Ok, see you later." Then she hung up.

Amanda had her two hour session with the therapist and went home for the afternoon.

At 2:30 I received a call from Tina. Amanda's therapist still had her phone and was headed back to her house and hour away. We needed to go get that phone. The other dozen phones couldn't substitute, it had to be her latest phone. I was out the door in a flash.

Tina called the therapist who turned around and we met her about 20 minutes outside of town. She understands that this is not spoiling, but survival.

The therapist would have been back in town in just two days, but two days is a long time if you are dealing with a hostile enemy, even if they are small. Just ask the Mexican army at the Alamo. They lost about 4,000 troops in 48 hours.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red really does mean stop

Nothing about Zombies today but I swear they would be better drivers than what we have in Texarkana. The drivers in this town DO NOT understand the concept of traffic lights. A common misconception to many drivers in the Texarkana area is that a red light is shining for decorative purposes only. On a daily basis I see drivers shoot the intersection 15 or 20 seconds after the fact. Other drivers, like myself have adapted to the rule that the first person off the green light deserves what they get.

Another one is blinking lights. On the new overpass for University BLVD there are blinking yellow lights. For the entrance ramp, blinking red. I use this intersection daily and have watched driver after driver sit at the blinking yellow light and wonder what to do. Now I can understand a lot of their confusion because they probably figure if the fellow drivers in town shoot through a solid red light they will not even consider a pause for a blinking light. But still, red means stop, yellow means caution. Or in this town, yellow means look out and red means, brace yourself.

Then there is backing up. It is a rare sight to see a woman backing an SUV out of parking space without a cell phone to their ear.

And finally, my last gripe on the subject of my local drivers: parking lots. The lines and lanes of parking lots in TXK mean as little to the drivers around here as the red lights that order them to STOP!! So many times I will see a driver just cutting across a parking lot using the shortest distance between me and the front door is a straight line rule. They are cutting across lane after lane like a rocket car on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The only thing I can say about this problem is that I'm glad a driver's license only qualifies the holder to driver a car and not something as complicated as brain surgery, electrical engineering or fruit picking.

Weekly there is a photo of a wreck at an intersection or even just a straight line road because our local drivers do not anything more than look out for themselves, the other 60,000 plus citizens be damned and watch out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Zombies and the suburbs

The proof that I am a 40 year old guy who lives in the suburbs couldn't have been more obvious this weekend.

I skipped the gym on Saturday to get my lawnmower blade sharpened and mowed the yard. I cleaned the pool and perfectly balanced the chemicals so that it looks like 14,000 gallons of bottle spring water, I bought a Blu-ray disk player, and washed my wife's car in the driveway. This evidence cannot defy what I am, but it doesn't provide the who.

The entire time I was mowing I was daydreaming about a novel I just finished, "WORLD WAR Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Wars." The whole time I was thinking of the best way to fight a horde of zombies in my neighborhood and home town. While balancing the pool chemicals I was picturing the pool as a giant martini, as I was washing the car I was thinking about, well I was thinking about the car's driver, and the Blu-ray disk player, I just thought about, "how cool is this, 1 cable instead of 5. Easy hook up."

But back to the zombie day dream. Every now and then I read a book that causes daydreams for weeks. The one that started it all was Stephen King's, "The Stand." There has been about half a dozen that have stuck with me for the past 25 years, but the Stand is the granddaddy of all day dream catalysts. I just wish the movie would have been better, and don't even get me started on "IT." Any movie that has John Ritter and Harry Anderson in it never had a chance.

But I digress.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Days meets Gomer Pyle

A few months ago I was complaining about the weather being too cold and wet. This summer has been hotter and dryer than years past so some people would think that I would be complaining about the heat. But surprise, surprise, surprise, I actually love what I have wished for.

Yes it has been hot, but that is what the pool is for, and the fans, and the AC, and Gatorade, and the light weight clothing, and the sunscreen. I am loving it this year. My lawn has grown well, my golf game is better than ever, Amanda goes to bed without difficulty because she is so warn out. This is what I wanted and I got it. Happy Days.

School starts back in just over 5 weeks which is a bit surprising. Amanda has been great this year. She has been cooperative and playful, sweet and funny. But she is getting ready to go back. She picked out a new back pack this week and that has put her in the mood. So even that is going well. There isn't going to be any effort to make the transition. That is always a tough battle when she wants to be stubborn, but as I just said, she has learned to cooperate. Yep, it's turning out to be a great summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Popped the top

Yesterday I had a treat for my little buddy. She went with me to take my car in for an oil change and tire rotation and we got a loaner. I took a Chrysler convertible and we headed back to town. With seven miles to go I exited the interstate and pulled over to pop the top. Amanda started freaking out, "WHERE ROOF?! WHERE ROOF?!" I told her I put it away and now we had a go-kart. Amanda loves go-karts.

The remainder of the drive she had her hands in the air and was screaming like she was on a roller coaster. We made sure to take one more drive in the car before I took it back. I need to get my niece's turbo Sky for about an hour. I think Amanda would like that even more. The Chrysler was pretty gutless but it served the purpose. And that purpose was to make Amanda laugh.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes I do more than wonder

This morning I went to the gym. I'm maintaining a good regiment during the summer in spite of a different schedule. This mainly being that Amanda is not in school. She has been cooperating a lot better this summer as compared to the past few years and it has made a difference.

This morning she was to get her shower and get dressed while I was at the gym. I took a $1.50 with me to buy a Powerade from the vending machine and planned on doing my 40 minutes of cardio on the AMT. Well the machine was empty of both flavors of Powerade, vitamin waters and Smart Water and it gave me back my money. I was pretty put out because I am what can be called a "sweater." After 20 minutes it just pours from me. I tanked up like a small camel at the water fountain and then did my work out. Afterwards I headed home, very very thirsty.

When I arrived Amanda was having a fit about "NO SHOWER!" Tina said she couldn't get her to calm down and the two just agreed to disagree until I got home.
I tried to reason with Amanda at first. I explained that yesterday she went swimming and helped wash the cars and she was pretty stinky. She didn't want to hear it. So I stood her up off the couch and walked her down the hallway, the whole time she was pleading, "NO SHOWER!" Then I reached in my pocket and pulled out the six quarters that came back from the machine. I said, "Look at this, somebody drank the last drink at the gym and the machine kept my dollar bill and gave me all these quarters."

Well, that did it. She yelled out, "CALL COP!" Cop is the husband of her best friend and sitter who Amanda has a crush on. He is a cop and she thinks that is so cool. I said I would when we got to work but first we both needed to get our showers because we stink. She took a shower without difficulty after that and in fact she didn't even want to get out but I told her, "NO SHOWER!" and she just laughed.

Now, typically the machines are full at the gym, but this time everything was empty and I just have a hard time beilieving in coincidences.

While this was going one Tina made me a GREAT breakfast and I do love breakfast, it is one of my five favorite meals of the day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It was nice while it lasted

Amanda had been released from all clinics at Arkansas Children's Hospital for an entire year. This was the first time in ten years we had such a break. But alas, we found a new little situation that has us in yet another clinic. Without going into too much detail, Amanda now has a nephrologist, yes it is a real word in spite of what spell check says, and it is a kidney specialist. Her condition is none threatening but needs to be monitored so once again we are back under the umberella of ACH. It was so nice not having to see: endichronolgy, dermatology, orthopedics, growth and development, dental, GI or vision any more. We were either released or found closer specialists, all of which has made our lives easier. But Amanda travels better than ever and we just do what we have to do.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

fun through superior fire power

We're in the pool last evening and Amanda had her new squirt gun. This purple blaster known as the Helix Supersoaker turned out to be a piece of firefighting equipment and Amanda quickly turned it on me. This souped up piece of plastic shoots a double stream of water in an ever twisting and widening cone and simply blows the sunglasses off of an unsuspecting father's face. The most disturbing part is how much Amanda enjoys dishing out the pain, much like Tom Cruise's character in Taps when he is firing the .50 Caliber machine gun and screaming "It's beautiful man!" The only difference is when Amanda's gun runs dry she sweetly says, "Help me." So like a sucker I fill it up and she blasts me again.

These guns have come a long, long, long way from when I was a kid and it didn't matter how big it was, it shot the same weak stream about 10 feet.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cargo shorts and civil responsibilty

I have a strong belief that people who don't iron their cargo shorts' pockets do not contribute to society on a regular basis.  Maybe if they are an organ donor or buy lottery tickets, but that is about it.  

I ironed five pair this morning, it took about 15 minutes and now I don't look like I have been camping for the past two weeks in the high back country.  It really isn't that hard, and it says, "Hey, I don't sleep in my clothes and I have at least some sense of  hygiene  and pride."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Not ready for normal

School is out and Amanda is loving it. The stress of not attending school every day is really allowing her to relax and thrive. She is speaking more clearly all the time and what she has to say makes so much sense that I'm not always prepared for it.

The best example is from last weekend. Tina and I were working in the backyard pruning, raking, moving large rocks (she would point and I would lift), cleaning the pool, patio, and staining the deck. Now, seventeen plus years of marriage has taught the two of us one thing, we don't work well together in the yard. The reason for this is simple. In the house Tina is in charge and I help by doing whatever she asks because she is the expert and I am clueless. In the yard we both assume we are in charge and neither will do what the other person asks without at least a debate. Christmas lights being the worst because she won't climb a ladder and I am a visionary.

But this weekend was different and we hope a start of new trend. We worked like a well oiled machine for two days and brought the backyard under control. Late on the second day is when Amanda popped off this little gem, "Amazing, no fight."

Can't say that I was ready for that one and it made us both feel a little guilty.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Returned and recharged

There is a cliche' that says on vacation a person needs to "recharge their battery." Well, before my vacation my battery was like one from an old laptop that I still use that must remained tethered to the wall for power. But unlike that old machine I did the right thing on this trip, I threw out the old battery and put in a new one.

The trip was nearly flawless. The only exception was a small cut on the tip of my middle finger which I received when getting a bag off of the carousal at SFO. It stung a little for a couple of days but is all better now and didn't deter any activities. Afterall, it was just a little deeper than a paper cut.

We saw a lot of Union Square, the Financial District and the Warf on this trip. We also spent an afternoon in Saulsalito which was very pleasant. Without getting into particulars of the trip, as this is not really a travel blog, Tina and I did what we wanted to to do. We spent uninterupted time together. We weren't parents, I wasn't a sales manager, and we weren't worried about anything. And we did something we both really needed to do, we walked. We walked everywhere we could and we walked out our pace, not Amanda's. We stretched out our legs and on Wendsday alone we walked seven miles. We walked from east of Pier 1 to Pier 39 at one stretch. We made a loop around Saulsalito the same day and walked from our hotel on Powell and Market to 525 Market, back up four blocks and then down to the Ferry Building. In fact, if you reverse the order in which I just typed that was our actual Wednesday. The walking was something we both craved and we satisfied the need.

Really, the whole trip was revitalizing. Yesterday was the first day we spent apart in the past week and Tina said she just felt lonely. I missed her too but had a 75 line item quote to keep me busy.

The trip was what we both wanted and needed and while we didn't do everything we set out to do, everything we did was satisfying and memorable.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Updating

I've been pretty busy the past few days getting ready for an actual vacation. Tina and I are getting as far away from TXK as possible both physically and culturally by going to San Francisco for 4 nights to celebrate my 40th birthday. Amanda is looking forward to it as much as we are because she will be spoiled by my mother who to date has never said no to a female child. There is no telling what I will come home to other than a huge smile.

I had a long day yesterday. It was necessary for me to drive to Ft. Worth, protect the company from a contractor who does not believe he is capable of making a mistake. Actually that was redundant because I've never met a contractor who has admitted to a mistake. And then drive home. 430 miles isn't a hard day by any means, it was just the 4 hours in between where I had to channel my inner asshole that left me a little drained.

The swine flu has caused the Texas Special Olympics to cancel this weekend's regional event in Dallas so we didn't have to drive back to Dallas today. Amanda took the news very well. A lot of people, myself included, were concerned about this. Even recently Amanda was capable of a fit that would leave the a hole in a concrete slab. But she took the news well when Tina told her she could have a cherry icee and come into my office in the afternoon. Tina said there was a brief moment when she was terrified. Upon hearing the news the event was cancelled Amanda's nastagymus stopped. That is a very scarey moment for anyone who has ever seen it. Grown men, not me, have been known to crap themselves at the sight of this prelude to a China Syndrome meltdown. I may have exagerated that, but I know somebody farted once.

All that being said, I am so looking forward to my trip.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Occasionally my child will sneeze and the results looks like she is being attacked by a jellyfish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Better than golf

Last night was opening ceremonies for our softball league. Our Challenger League is made up of four teams, The Alley Cats, Superstars, Angels, and New Horizon. We gathered at the field along with all the other tee ball teams and softball teams for girls 14 and under. We Alley Cats wear a bright yellow t-shirt jersey with a kitten on the front that says, "Around Here The Cats Are In Charge." Amanda jumped into the middle of the team and hooked up with her best friend, M. From that point on she had nothing to do with me.

The team went out onto a field and from the air must have looked like 200 spilled Skittles. Amanda was in the front of our group and I just hung out in the back with the coach. I looked down and there was our newest player. Her name starts with a J. She is 16 years old, stands 4 ft 6 inches and and has Downs Syndrome. She is a living cherub. I squatted down and said hi and she waved back at me. Then she pushed her older sister away who had brought her on the field and and grunted a "GO" to her. She decided I was her friend. Before I knew it she was holding my hand and smiling at me. She doesn't speak much, which is something I'm very familiar with, she just kept waving to her parents who couldn't see her in the crush of people on the field.

While the commissioner was explaining the need to have all the paperwork turned in on time I felt a slap on my backside. I turned around and there was J. hopping up and down with a distressed look. I knew all about this, "You need to go potty?"

"YESSSSSSSSSS!" So she took my hand and we toddled off the field. Tina helped her sister get her to the bathroom and I went back to the field. About five minutes later there was another swat on my butt, I turn around and J. is back and smiling.

A few minutes later we did the balloon release. I gave her a couple of balloons and she smiled hard enough that my face hurt. Then we left the field. I delivered her back to her family and Amanda and M. were ready to play ball. It was tough to tell them we had another week before our first game because they are more than ready.

The whole hour was just a blast. We'll have six games and I will pitch to our players who don't need a tee. Amanda is deterimed to run to first base by herself this year. After that she said she wants me with her, so we'll have to set the batting order up accordingly. It should be a fun little season.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My day

Last Wednesday I took an afternoon for just myself; no work, no husbandly or fatherly responsibilities. Just John.

I went and played golf with the Wednesday group at my club. I call it group therapy because it is my time to destress. I played in this group a lot last year and it truly helped me improve my game. On a modified point system I ended the year needing 24 points a round. As I posted the other day, I haven't really played this year and my game has a lot of rust on it, about equal to the amount of dust on my clubs to be honest.

The front side started out OK, with three boogies for three points and then the wheels fell off. I was swinging much too hard and simply slapping the ball around like a hockey player. But something very unique happened on the 6th hole. Ten days before I had lost a ball approaching the green, when I found my ball this time, missing in the exact same spot, I found both my shot from this round and the one from ten days before. I know for 100% fact that this was my ball, a Titleist NXT Tour 4 with a blue JC written in marker. I thought that was pretty cool. I still doubled the hole for no points.

I finally boogied 9 for a point and then doubled 10. My two playing partners were pretty disappointed in me since both have played with me many times and know me to be a solid player. Then on 11 I rebooted my brain. I thought not about what I was doing but what I used to do and then I went par, par, par, boogie, par, boogie, double (water), and par making my points at least for the back.

The day cost me an extra $5 for being the lowest below my points but then I hooked up with two guys to play the back 9 again. I doubled the first hole again and then went, par, boogie, par, par, birdie, boogie, par, birdie and won 4 drinks for the effort. More importantly I was hitting fairways and greens like I am suppose to, there wasn't any scrambling on the back, just kind of text book golf.

Now all of this is important to me because it was my day, the day I wanted and needed. It has fixed more than my golf swing, it has me in the mood for Spring and Summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This was new

Yesterday she did something that caught me off guard even though it is a normal everyday occurrence for most parents. We were leaving a small restaurant and she bolted out the door and was headed across the parking lot by herself. I caught her in three steps and grabbed her hand and told her to not do that again. Of course she asked, "why?" I gave the simple and direct answer, "So you you don't get smashed by a car." She squeezed my hand pretty tight when I said that.

In college I once pulled Tina out from in front of a moving car when she wasn't paying attention. Anyone can do it. I just didn't think Amanda would bolt like that.

You see, her mobility has always been less than average. She didn't crawl until she was 11 months old. She started cruising at about a year and a half at which point therapists and doctors said she would walk "any day now." More than a year later an orthopedist finally prescribed orthopedics and a reverse walker. She used the walker for more than six months before she walked independently. But even then she was very unsure of her footing. So for the most part when were out of the house I simply carried her.

I would scoop her in my left arm and just take her anywhere she needed to go. I'm a stout 210 pounds and it really wasn't much effort until she cracked 60 pounds. After that I would carry her only for stairs in public like at football games and such.

Her condition allows us to have handicap parking permits. Parking lots were a real challenge until then because of her lack of depth perception. She thinks every stripe is a tripping hazard so she tries to step over them. The closer we park the better, otherwise we will never make it across the parking lot. This is why you will often see her with me at Home Depot. I tell her she needs to come with me so I can park close, she laughs and yells, "SIGN!" I won't use the sign without her of course. Too many people need the spots. Although, one of the funniest quick scenes from the Simpsons is when Homer parks across four handicap spots and walks into a store dragging his leg.

As Amanda continues to progress I'm just going to have to be prepared for "normal" behavior. I'm just not trained for that.

Monday, April 13, 2009

20 Frames to go

It is the last bowling night in the Challenger League until the fall. Next week we have the opening ceremony for softball.

What does the end of bowling mean to the world. Well, for one thing my Bacardi consumption may drop a bit. It takes an extra couple of double rum old fashions to knock the edge off a bowling night. It also means I'll have an extra $6 in my pocket Tuesday morning. The $6 is the price of two bowling games in the league and it always comes out of my pocket and not Tina's purse, which I find odd because she almost always pays for everything when we are out as a family. That way she doesn't have to ask me for a receipt that I may or may not have. I don't know what happens to those things.

But most importantly, the end of Monday night bowling nights means I stop having dreams of thundering cannons. There really is nothing like the sound of 40 people bowling at the same time and being trapped in the middle of it like a traffic cop directing new drivers. While our bowlers are actually pretty good, they just don't seem to grasp the concepts of personal space or the etiquette of allowing the bowler on either side to bowl first. At times it is like a mob armed with bowling balls and the rum doesn't even help. Softball is much more controlled and civilized, at least until a ball is hit into play. Then more often than not all hell breaks loose. But that is my game and I'm OK with it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A goof friday

I wouldn't have bothered with work for the half day it if it weren't for Amanda.  She loves my office and goes in every Friday.  Many of the people who work there are her best friends and have watched her grow up since the time she was born.  Today she brought in her Special Olympics medals and pictures.  She showed them to sales and accounting as well as the Fed-Ex guy who got to know her last summer when she came in almost every day.  

She is a darling child who once again impressed me.  She told me my neighbor didn't have to work today because he worked at the same place as my wife's friend's husband.  She had the whole thing figured out and told me in a complete sentence.

She has been tired all day and feel asleep at eight.  Daddy loves a tired kid.  I'm calling it a night too.