Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Books, Shoes, Life, and Death

In baths, books, children, death, dogs, life, love, Moms, shoes on May 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm

There are a couple of things that my wife truly loves. One, she loves to read books. She’s always in search of a well-told story and she enjoys many different kinds of literature. However she will always eventually circle back to the tried and true romance novels. She will buy a new one—usually a six or seven dollar paperback—read it intently, transporting it from room to room, occasionally bursting out in laughter, all leading up to the inevitable waterworks. What is it with crying? This seems kind of unreal to me, but when a female cries, she may be neither sad, nor be in any kind of pain. In fact, I have discovered the full gambit of human emotion could at any time be expressed through tears. So when a woman cries, she could be sad… or overjoyed, or angry, or stressed out, or completely indifferent and upset about the fact that they feel completely indifferent, or it could be that there is just currently too much information running through her head to be processed at one time. All you can do is ask her what’s wrong, and chances are she will respond between sniffles by saying, “nothing”.  If that wasn’t strange enough, they will seek out forms of entertainment such as television, cinema, and books that will evoke this very particular response.  Girls are weird.

Anyway, the second thing that my wife truly loves are shoes; specifically high heels—around five to six inches—and I have to say that I dig the whole “love for heels” thing. After all, high-heeled shoes are sexy; are they not? I mean how often do you hear some guy say, “Hey, did anyone see that gorgeous bombshell in the flats?” I don’t love it so much when we go on any kind of road trip, mainly because of the amount of shoes that are brought along. But you never know what you’re going to do on vacation, and—of course—any outfit that may be worn for any particular outing or event is going to have to start with the perfect pair of shoes. Needless to say, however, whenever we travel, at least one suitcase is going to be full of various makes and models of elevated footwear.

Now, as it happened one sunny afternoon, I arrived home with a carload of my young ladies. The teenager and mom had not left school yet when I followed the younger kids through the front door of our home. I was forced to remain just inside the entryway as the children had formed a human roadblock, keeping me from proceeding to the living room. I instructed them to keep moving, reminding them that my hands were full, and gently tried to nudged them from behind. But, it was if they either didn’t hear me, or were incapable of moving at all. Then, as they stood there frozen, whatever items they were carrying suddenly dropped to the floor, their limbs, paralyzed with shock. I continued—for a moment longer—with my orders to keep a forward motion when I saw for myself what had petrified my children.

There, in the center of the living room floor, were a pair of my wife’s, sienna colored, open-toed, heels. The shoes were covered—as well as much of the rest of the floor—with what appeared to be confetti. Tiny pieces of paper lay strewn about the room, some of which seemed to have markings on them. I noticed a few larger pieces, and then a few more; it seemed as though to be a trail. I followed this trail of increasingly sized paper, all the while, cocking my head this way and that until I realized with a great measure of alarm just what those markings represented: words, sentences… paragraphs.

This scenario temporarily gave me pause as my mind worked out the possibilities, followed by terror of the potential outcome of my internal investigation. I instantly turned back to the shoes in the middle of the floor—having not remembered seeing them there when I left for work that morning—for a closer examination. My fears became reality as I inspected the shoes, finding thousands of tiny holes and missing pieces of leather. Oh know, I thought, the dog!  You see we are the owners of a young two-year-old Border collie. A dog, mind you, that I firmly said, “No” to, and one that my wife brought home the following afternoon anyway. However, she is a beautiful animal, smart, good with the kids, and was my favorite price… free. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about this new addition to the family at the time, I have grown to love my dog, and could not imagine my life without her. That’s right I said her. Why should that come as a shock at all by this point? It’s just one more girl.

I knew that the children and I had to work fast in order to save the life of the K-9. We had to thoroughly clean the crime scene, as well as make sure the room itself was free of any of our personal items that did not belong in the living area. My wife has unusually sensitive olfactory senses; so it would also help to spray the room with the cinnamon and apple spray that is her favorite.

I instructed the children of what needed to be done, to which they agreed immediately—after all they were also concerned about the life of the family pet—and we began to work with furious efficiency. It was about this time when the dog arrived, having come from her hiding place in the teenager’s room—the one furthest from the front door—and cautiously returned to the scene of the crime. “Duchess Archiline Hurt,” I exclaimed to her, “are you out of your mind? You ate mom’s book, and a pair of heels. Holy crap! She’s going to kill you!”

Her face was solemn as she looked up at me with her golden eyes and in my head I heard her soft British accent reply, “I know and I am truly sorry. I just get so nervous when I’m alone in the house… But in my defense, I only ate the first three chapters of the book; they were not as delicious as the shoes.”

We continued with due diligence, and by the time that my wife walked through the door, the cleanup operation was successfully completed. “Mmmm, it smells good in here,” she said upon entering, and then swiveling her head about continued with a gasp, “and it’s so clean!”

I took her by the hands and looked lovingly into her eyes. “Baby,” I said, “There is something I have to tell you.” To which she immediately exclaimed, “THE DOG ATE MY SHOES DIDN’T SHE?!” I sat her down and explained the series of events that had just taken place. Fortunately, for the dog, my wife had already finished the first three chapters of the book, and the shoes were not her favorite pair. So, much to our relief, she agreed to spare the life of the dog.

Now, I told you this story to help illustrate a truth I have just recently discovered. Even though we live way out in the county, we prefer Duchess to be an inside dog. This is in part because being a border collie she instinctively attempts to herd any animal she sees, and my brother-in-law’s horses do not wish to be herded, and partly because she always seems to return covered in all sorts of nasty material, and of course, smell like a dog. This does not sit well with my wife’s sensitivity to smells and I am in turn delegated to bathe the dog.

In those cases in which Duchess has made a successful escape from the house I have noticed that she will not return to me when I call for her. I will call her name, she will turn in recognition, and I will see momentary contemplation of decisions in her body language just seconds before she sprints away in the other direction. Now, how can this be? She minds me with unquestioning loyalty inside the house. It will literally take but a snap of my fingers to bring her to my side from any room in the house, but only inside the house, never outside. She will come to my children and she will more often than not come to my wife. My father-in-law frequently takes her with him riding around the countryside and reports that she helps him herd the cattle and returns to him with no problems… but not so with me.

As I pondered this, the answer hit me like a shovel to the face of an unwitting burglar, the baths. Yes, that is it. The dog now believes that I am calling her, not to bring her in for food or shelter, but for the dreaded scrubbing of a lifetime.

This is a member of the family that I feed, water, show love, and ritualistically scratch those hard to reach places like the base of the ears. I take her out—sometimes in the middle of the night—when she has to go, sneak the occasional delicious treat to when no one is looking, and at least on one occasion, have saved her life, and yet—because of my wife’s nasal issues—she listens to me no more than any one else in the family. It would seem as though, my wife and her overactive sense of smell, have managed to put a significant strain on my relationship with my dog. I have come to the conclusion that there will be no resolve to this situation, as I am frequently reminded by the youngest of the 10 year olds, “A happy wife leads to a happy life.” I gather that I will just have to take it one day—and one bath—at a time living in This World of Hurt.

Mother’s Day

In husbands, life, love, Moms, wives on May 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Sunday, May 8, 2011, Mother’s day. You probably think that this is going to be a mother’s day installment, and you would be partly right. But this is not about my mother; it’s about the mother of my children. Now you’re probably thinking, ok Hurt, that’s a little too corny. In reality, it’s not that corny at all, it’s just the simple outcome of an inevitable mathematical coincidence. Bear with me and I’ll explain.

See, on May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May to be henceforth known as “Mother’s Day”. Since then we have celebrated Mother’s day on many days, as the dates themselves tend to rotate. However, May 8th will always and forever be  my wife’s and my anniversary.

Growing up the son of a successful band director for public schools, I was moved around during my youth almost as much as a military brat. Five years is about the maximum that I have ever spent in one place, and that has only occurred twice in my lifetime that I can recall.

One of these “five year” stretches was spent in a tiny oilfield community named Sundown. Two kinds of travelers went to Sundown: people who were going there, and people who were lost. It is located at the intersection of two farm to market roads in the middle nowhere. There was one traffic light… and it blinked.

I suppose, one might say that I have grown into a bit of an unusual man, and as you could have guessed, I was a bit of an unusual child. Naturally, Sundown, being a typical small, West Texas, one blinking light, narrow minded, redneck, cookie cutter, Payton Place of a community that it was, just welcomed the unusual with open arms. Nevertheless, I played a lot of music—being a drummer and all—and I made a few friends. But it seems as though, my true purpose in Sundown, was to meet a young, fourteen year old beauty, which would eventually become my wife.

Patricia moved into town the summer before her freshman and my junior year of high school. We had an immediate attraction to one another and were maintained a very on again off again relationship. You see, we never officially “dated”. I claimed that she—although super hot—was too young for me, but the truth of the matter was: I really liked her a lot and that sort of thing kind of scared me. So, needless to say we really never got anything going. Not that it would have mattered, because before the end of the year she had to move away. She kissed me goodbye on the steps of the school, then turned, and walked away without ever saying a word. She was gone, and this made me very sad, but—while I was on tour with a drum and bugle corps out of Wyoming that summer—my parents moved us to a new town as well, and this made me very happy.

Now, flash-forward a couple of years, during my freshman year of college our paths crossed once again. She was certainly not too young for me any more and I wasn’t going to have another missed opportunity, and, well, that evening could only really be described as an explosively erotic immersion of unyielding passion; ah the impetuousness of youth. The next morning I awoke alone. She had awakened and left in the morning while I slept without saying a word… She certainly had an uncanny flare for exits. Fate had brought us together that night and bonded us in ways we could have never imagined… life—for the time being—however had other plans.

Flash-forward to a Mother’s day, oh, a dozen years or so later, as I traveled from South Carolina to Utah, fate intervened once again. I was plotting the next leg of my journey and saw on the map the town of Rotan Texas. My stomach fluttered recalling that I knew of only one person from this tiny little town. So I called information, made a few calls and in no time I was once again talking to the girl I could never get out of my mind. Unfortunately, we were each on the back end of an eight year long marriage spiraling toward divorce. It seems that fate has a macabre since of humor.

Now, flash-forward a couple more years, I was a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, and received an e-mail from a person with an awfully familiar name. I opened it. My pulse raced and my heart echoed in my ears as I read. She told me her name and inquired if I was the same Jeff Hurt that had attended Sundown High School all those years ago.

I will spare you the next couple of years. Let’s just say that we stayed in communication via telephone and text messaging. This was a wonderful way to build a relationship without physical contact. See, we were able establish our love on the content of the others heart instead of, well, other organs. We spent many nights talking well into the morning hours; getting little sleep until eventually she came to visit me in South Carolina. It was December 27th when she stepped off the airplane and into my embrace for the first time in fourteen years, and she stayed with me for a whole four days before I proposed to her on January 1st; not a bad way to start the new year if I do say so myself.

So, I loaded up the truck and moved to… Texas, and we began the next chapter of our life together.

To tell you the truth I don’t know why she loves me and I cannot begin to describe to you the reasons or the way that I love her. I do know this one truth for certain: This is God’s doing. I am the furthest thing from a religious radical that you could be, but I have my beliefs and a healthy relationship with God. See, I literally put it all in his hands and then wander through life and he takes care of me… because he knows that I am an idiot. He made us wait because I needed to learn about life and love before we could be together. And eventually all the cosmic tumblers fell into place to allow that to happen.

I have lived a wonderful, exciting, and full life, but with Patricia, it is now a complete life. I laugh harder, cry happier, and love deeper than anyone else on the planet because of who she is to me. I could never begin to thank her enough, and Shakespeare himself would be unprolific in scripting the words to adequately describe the love I feel for her. What that I can say is that all that I am, or all that I may eventually be, whatever greatness I may one day achieve, will be in my failure to become the man that she deserves.

So, in the words of the great Ella Fitzgerald,

“The world will pardon my mush.

 Cause I’ve got a crush, my baby on you.

Yes, I’ve got a crush, my baby on you.”

I love you Patricia. Happy Mother’s day and happy anniversary  You are what makes life bearable in,  This World of Hurt.

Just Call Me “Guillotine”

In children, Dads, I-pod/I-phone, life, Moms, Parents, Politicians, punishment on May 2, 2011 at 3:39 am

It’s funny the things that people will go through in order to cover their ass. Such is the case with my children this evening; well, more specifically, two of them. On a short side-note, something that you probably don’t know about me, all together my wife and I have six children. We have ages ranging from 6 to 16; that’s 5 girls and 1 boy. I won’t get into the complexities regarding the breakdown of our family unit; I just used this tidbit of information to illustrate the point that when there is something going down in our house, not all the children may be involved. Anyway, back to the story at hand.

Earlier in the month, the eldest did something with terribly poor judgment—I honestly don’t remember what it was now, but I’m sure she deserved the punishment—and got all communication devises removed from her possession: laptop, cell phone, and I-pod. These items were placed on my wife’s dresser—the cell phone, lying next to an I-pod, both placed on top of the laptop—where they were to remain for the duration of the sentence. Ok, everybody got the visual on that? Good, cause this is where it gets tricky.

A cell phone and an I-pod, on top of a laptop, simple, right? Except the cell phone, is not a cell phone; it is in fact my wife’s I-pod, which bears a striking resemblance to my daughter’s I-phone. My wife had taken the phone, dropped it into her purse and paid it no more thought; only to later take the laptop and both I-pods from the kitchen table and put them on her dresser in the pre-discussed order.

Now at some point in time, one particularly nosy child inspecting the older sisters merchandise, realized that one of these items did not belong to older sister, this was, in fact mom’s I-pod. And since my wife sometimes allows them to use her I-pod, for games, music, videos and such, they thought that it would be O.K. to take it. Although, that really isn’t completely correct. They are fully aware that they are supposed to ask permission first.

Now, this missing cell phone—that was really an I-pod—caused quite a stir with my wife, as you can imagine, and the accusations of the possible perpetrator of said crime, were tossed like water balloons; followed by an investigation and about a four day search and seizure operation. Just a little sidebar, during this four-day search for the cell phone, I had noticed my wife’s I-pod in the car. But I wasn’t looking for a missing I-pod was I?

Anyway, on about the fourth of fifth day my wife discovers the cell phone in her purse, and feels a bit sheepish about the whole thing; believing that maybe she had taken the phone, dropped it in her purse, and had completely forgotten about it. What she did not know at the time, was that the person that had taken the I-pod from the top of the laptop—the one that my wife believed to be the cell phone—knew the truth about this I-pod/I-phone mix up, and was now in possession of a forgotten I-pod.

Another few days go by, the teenager cleans up her act, and gets her stuff back. Her phone being the top priority, she claims that first, and leaves the laptop and I-pod on mom’s dresser where they rested quietly… until today.

I would, at this time, like to protect the identity of the alleged offenders, and since none of our children are twins—one is always older and one is always younger—I will refer to them as “the older child” and the  “the younger child”.

Moving on. At some time earlier in the day, the teenager retrieved her I-pod from the top of the computer and used it until the expiration of the battery life; she then plugged it into the charger.

Now, the younger child came in and asked mom if it would be alright if they could use her I-pod. To which the mom replied that she was uncertain of the current whereabouts of the I-pod in question. And why would she? She had no idea that her I-pod was mistaken for the I-phone, put into holding with the rest of the confiscated communication devices, only later to be stolen, and then, thought to be recovered in the pockets of her purse as the missing I-phone. Then it really got good.

The younger child explained that they knew where mom’s I-pod was, and told a story about how the teenager had switched the covers on the I-pods—no one knowing that the two I-pods had actually been setting side by side for a while on the laptop… or did they? Before it gets more confusing, when the two I-pods were recovered later, there was no evidence that the covers had in fact ever been switched—the teenager seems to be innocent of this charge.

Needless to say, another investigation ensued and once again we played accusation paintball; that is until my wife and I narrowed the scope down to two potential suspects. We told everyone that we wanted both I-pods turned over to us immediately and then began a lengthy interrogation of both children. The first I-pod—the mom’s—was found quickly on top of the laptop where it hadn’t been since it was mistaken for the teenager’s I-phone. The second I-pod—the one that the teenager had earlier plugged into her charger was now missing… Hmmm. We conducted a search of the children’s possessions but had no luck. Then my wife and I decided to allow the children to do the work for us. So, we sent each of the children to conducted their own search of the others possessions and in no time the missing I-pod was found in a jacket pocket of the younger child.

Both children had compelling stories, and for times sake, I won’t go into the details; after all this is a blog not a crime drama. The point is, they both had well composed stories for themselves, and theories about the other, and the truth was simply impossible for us to uncover without much more time and a seasoned forensic team.

While we were growing up, my father used to always say to my sisters and I, “This is not a democracy. This, is a dictatorship… and I am the head tater.” And, well, there you go. Although, we did tend to lean towards one child’s story over the other, both stories were completely conceivable, and neither child was backing down. So… corporal punishment for everybody!

I refrain from getting on my soapbox about the rest of the “time out” society, but here in Texas, we still believe in busting our kids. My wife and I agreed on two licks apiece. Unfortunately, one of the children gave up their right to remain silent and got an extra lick added on. And, as a matter of course, my roll in this had now changed.

When the bedroom door gets closed and the impending sense of doom sets in on the child, there is always a last ditch effort for some sort of negotiation to be reached. “Wait, wait… just wait a minuet. Hold on! hold on! hold on!” and, “can’t I just get one, please?” and, “But dad, this is unfair…I didn’t do it” but, this is all for not. Negotiator is no longer part of my job description, I am the executioner, the flipper of the switch, the garroter… just call me, “guillotine”.

Anyway, five swats later and everyone was brushing their teeth and slipping into their pajamas. Then there was a round of hugs and kisses to let them know that we still love them, in spite of the sore butt they had to serve as a reminder that mom and dad do not appreciate deception, and everyone went to bed with lots of love and no fuss.

My wife and I—later as we reflected on the unfolding of events—had a good laugh at how genuinely clever—allbiet misguided—that our children actually are. I just hope that we can manage to turn them into productive members of society and steer them off of this path of potentially becoming politicians.

Well, there you have it, just another day in This World of Hurt.

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