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


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.