thisworldofhurt

Archive for November, 2015|Monthly archive page

Who needs a GPS?

In Baggage, children, daughters, GPS, Humor, husbands, life, love, Parents, Travel, Uncategorized, wives, Women on November 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm

There will be many families hitting the highways during the upcoming holiday seasons, and mine will be among them. I consider myself to be an adequate driver, somewhere around average, but I have, unquestionably, one of the worst senses of direction of any person alive. My internal compass malfunctioned shortly after childbirth, and has yet to be repaired. So, don’t follow me, I only drive around in expanding circles until I recognize a place I’ve been lost in before.

However, I understand directions, and have developed good skills with a map and a compass, and I will admit that I often rely on GPS, and frequently use Onstar. My wife on the other hand, is the only person I know who will tell the computer generated Onstar voice that they are wrong. Her problem has never been knowing the way to get to where we’re going. Her problem is deciding on where we’re going.

For instance: Like most men, I really don’t care where we eat. So, the old Abbot and Costello routine plays out every time we face hunger.

“Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know. What do you feel like eating?”

” I don’t know. What do you feel like eating?”

That is, of course, unless I’m really hungry, and then I will make a quick decision. And then, of course, my wife tries to talk me out of that decision by asking me if I want to eat at just about every restaurant that we pass along the way.

And it goes like this:

“Where do you want to eat?”

“Taco Bell. Quick. Tasty. Cheap.”

“It’s the other way. You’ll have to turn around.”

I turn around.

“There’s Wendy’s… How about KFC?… We could go to that sandwich shop.”

So, basically our road trips consist of: a pilot with no sense of direction and a navigator with issues in decision making. Now, take them, and lock them in a car for 10 hours with 5 girls.

It goes like this:

“Sounds like our exit’s coming up.”

“Onstar is wrong. It’s the next one, I’m pretty sure.”

“Dad, tell her to stop using me as a pillow.”

“Mom, she took my thing.”

“That’s because she took my thing.”

“Her feet stink.”

“She’s touching me.”

“She’s breathing my air.”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Now couple all of that with the fact that, although my wife knows exactly how to get there, she has a total inability to tell me how to get there, at least not with any consistency.

She chooses a different method of direction giving every time. Sometimes she will give me cardinal directions, which are excellent, if the sun is up—It’s not like I carry a compass in my pocket. But she tends to reserve this one for nighttime driving, usually when she is giving me directions via telephone. So, there I am driving around in circles with the phone to my ear and my head out the window looking for the North Star.

Other times she will call out the directions in simple commands: Right. Left. Straight. This is my preferred method, provided of course she is paying attention to where I’m going. Otherwise, she will look up from a recently sent text message and say, “You should have turned left back there.”

She often incorporates the point method. I don’t like this one because I never see it coming, and even once I have been made aware of the method chosen, the finger pointing system requires a level of observation and multitasking I do not possess.

She now has a newly developed and implemented verbal system I am calling IVANS (Indistinct Verbal Ambiguous Navigation System). Until this new system came online, I had no idea that-a-way was an official direction.

So, wherever you may be traveling to this season, when you see the Suburban with the Texas plates, the one full of girls, with a lone man at the helm and the good looking blond in the seat next to him, looking at her phone and pointing in no particular direction, slip in behind us. We will be diving in expanding circles until I find the North Star. Then we will be taking a right, a left, and a sharp turn that-a-way before pulling into the driveway of This World of Hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

Area 51… Or Maybe Just My Bathroom

In Abductions, Aliens, Chicktography, Dads, daughters, dresses, Footwear, Humor, husbands, Investigations, Laundry, life, love, Men, naked, Parents, Sandals, shoes, UFOs, Women on November 19, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Every home in America contends with laundry. A home with six permanent and two part-time residents generates quite a bit of it. When five of the six permanent residents are girls, two of whom are teenagers, the home tends to generate the average American family’s weekly laundry allotment in about sixteen hours. For those of you who may not be familiar with teenage girl wardrobe selection protocols, please allow me to give you a brief summery of the manual.

Actually, the previous statement was a lie. I cannot tell you what is contained within the pages of this manual, as I have never seen it. It is a strictly guarded secret in the female realm, much like their special language. The language where the wife speaks the words, “I am so thirsty,” which could be translated into “Honey, I would like you to bring me something to drink,” or perhaps, “I am so tired of summer. I can’t wait for fall time,” or “Does anybody know where I sat down my glass of water?” or it could mean, “I am so thirsty”. Who knows? Not me. All I know is when my wife speaks in this way, there is a 70% chance I will interpret her meaning incorrectly.

Why? Because I have never seen this manual containing this language, rules, interpretations, addendums, or in this case, dismissed wardrobe selection protocols, that’s why. And even if I did stumble across one, it would take a special decoder ring in order to actually read what was printed on the pages inside. Therefore all I can do is give you my assumptions based on observations I have witnessed over the last several years.

In the world of the teenage girl, the mere consideration of wearing an outfit for the day deems the outfit mentally soiled, thus requiring a laundering service. Basically, thinking about wearing something makes it dirty. And apparently, prepubescent girls have a condensed but similar manual.

In the elementary version of this textbook there is a different set of clothing protocols. While there seems to be nothing specifically about wardrobe considerations, there is some kind of parameter that states the dirty clothes hamper is a perfectly acceptable overflow container when the dresser drawer is full. At least this is my assumption as I can think of no other reason I would find layers of neatly folded clothing beneath piles of dirty ones.

And this constitutes only a small portion of the laundry we create. These are the clothes not worn. The remaining articles of clothing, the ones actually worn, those requiring soap and water, take up a considerable portion of one of the rooms in our house.

A couple of years ago we built onto our home in order to accommodate the growing size of our family. One of the things we did was to build on a bathroom large enough to install a washer, dryer, and hot water heater. With a double sink, toilet, and bathtub, as you can imagine, this bathroom could easily equal a small bedroom in many homes.

Not long ago, after skipping a few days of laundry due to extra time spent working at the newspaper office, I stepped into the back bathroom to catch up on some household chores. I was concerned, if not shocked, perhaps even momentarily terrified at what I saw.

The clothing lay strewn about the floor in a most curious fashion. There were shirts, inside out, hair ties cinching the fabric to better fit the form of the slender body that no longer remained inside. I saw pants along side the shirts, inside out, underwear still attached; in some cases, socks peeking from inside the cuffs of the legs as if some mysterious force sucked the body from within the garments. Empty shoes, boots, and sandals tossed about the floor, a floor I could no longer see. This was either the epicenter of one of the worst laundering accidents experienced by mankind, or this was the scene of a massive alien abduction.

In the end, I figured if the aliens had them, they better hope they had one heck of a laundry facility aboard their interstellar craft, because they had abducted an entire squad of laundry generators. I smiled, alone with the thoughts of just how foolish this “superior” species had been to abduct my crew. I set about my task of triaging the scene by color, which was promptly ignored when the girls had returned home, apparently not abducted by aliens after all.

So, for now, I will just continue to buy the industrial size detergent box, keep looking to the stars for potential UFOs, and make sure the Maytag Man is on speed dial, because the quest for whiter whites is an uphill battle in This World of Hurt.

Take me to the Mountain

In Babies, baby, Baggage, children, Dads, Humor, husbands, life, Travel on November 9, 2015 at 12:05 am

Over this last weekend, The Middles packed their bags, traveling with the Rotan Yellowhammer Marching Band to the State Marching Contest in San Antonio. In his traveling-by-bus wisdom, the band director restricted the bag limit of the band members. I was amazed at how much the girls were able to cram into the few bags they took, which got me thinking about how much I wish I had the authority to enforce such protocols in my family’s travels.

As one can imagine, with 9 people in the family, we do not travel light. Even the baby has more than one bag, although one of those is a diaper bag. And just on a side note here: my wife made fun of me when I came home with a diaper bag I was quite proud of. Not some dainty thing with minimal cargo room, no. I brought home the type of bag a swat team member might carry for necessary tactical gear.

Right now there are moms laughing out loud, or rolling their eyes and shaking their heads saying, “Men.” Conversely, there men reading this, also laughing, but saying, this guy is a genius.

Laugh if you want, but I’m telling you: You will not find a better container to transport the essential items necessary for infant field operations than a SOG tactical bag. Baby wipes, diapers, Sippy-cup or bottle, blanket, extra clothes, burp rags, toys, pacifier, snacks, ointment, powder, lotion, all within its own zippered compartment. And with the removable, un-foldable, padded pistol pouch, we have a nice comfortable place to lay the baby while we change them. After all: even barbarians understand a baby needs a comfy place to lay their naked bum.

It is easy to draw the conclusion, even a simple trip to town can be daunting for the luggage-packing department, i.e. me. We live some 15 miles outside of town; therefore, we like to make sure we have everything we need when we head into town for work and school. It was just such a return from work trip I was reflecting upon when I had the wish to establish a bag limit.

We pulled to a stop under the carport. Everyone hopped out and grabbed their stuff. I ducked into the backseat and extract the baby, and then swung around the back of the car to retrieve work items and baby gear from the rear hatch. We all moved around one another in some kind of chaotic ballet. I ran down the list of items of my responsibility: Satchel? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop case? Check. Incredibly efficient and totally functional diaper bag? Check. Baby’s push toy? Check. Baby? Check.

I closed the hatch and was plotting a course for the front door, when I heard the laughter. I look up to see my wife on the porch, a single purse nestled in the crook of her elbow, cell phone in one hand, and the index finger of the other poised ominously over the phone’s screen. Maybe she was texting, maybe she was Facebooking, Instagraming, Twittering, or otherwise preparing to post the picture she was undoubtedly about to take.

And why not capture the moment. While she stood there comfortably on the porch, I looked like a Himalayan Sherpa. Bring it on Everest. My bags are packed.

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Which is true in a sense. My life with my girls is very similar to my life as a firefighter. The briefing is always vague, and I never know when I’m going to get toned out. I just need to be prepared, and have my gear in a state of readiness, as I rarely know what’s going on.

My wife says this is because I don’t listen, and she’s probably right, but I like to hold fast to a different theory. I think during certain times of the day the isotope content in the air builds up, momentarily disrupting the frequency of the female voice, rendering it inaudible to the male ear. During times of sun spots, solar flares, and some phases of the moon, the effects of this anomaly can be increased, sometimes spanning several hours or days. Groups of men can also create a bubble of frequency disturbance, especially if said frequency is received via telephone. I call this the T-effect, or testosterone effect, due to the heightened levels of testosterone men experience when performing macho acts with other guys, especially close friends. That’s the theory I’m going with anyway.

But I know this, that group of guys can pack all they will need for a weekend trip in a Ziploc freezer bag. 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear (optional), toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a brush for those who still have hair: packing complete.

We are men and require very little space. Which is a good thing, because cargo room is a limited commodity when traveling across This World of Hurt.

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