thisworldofhurt

Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

Quirks, Ticks, and other Oddities

In children, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, wives, Women on December 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I’m not sure how we measure up against the rest of the inhabitants of this fast spinning ball of rock we call Earth, but I am certain when I say: Human beings are an unusual lot. Along with opposable thumbs and larger brain area, we also have unusual personality traits and bizarre eccentricities. And through creating mechanisms in order to adapt our surroundings to fit our personalities, we develop rituals and traditions to cope with the world around us.

I am fascinated by how uniquely different on some of the simplest things we all are. For instance I have one child who is terrified of clowns—no circuses, no rodeos—while another child is equally afraid of moths. That’s right, moths. Those little, nocturnal, mostly blind, butterfly-like insects, that in my daughter’s world, bring infant amounts of painful agony and death at the slightest touch of its teenie tiny, itty bitty, dust covered wings.

I have a friend that is completely freaked out by cross-eyed people, while another refuses to eat red M&Ms, insisting the red dye is still a leading cause of cancer. I have a number of personal oddities, such as I eat my meals one item at a time, deciding where to start by which food item holds in heat the longest. The things that cool down fast get eaten first. I am also not a fan of speaking the word “Tripod”. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s a weird word to say.

The rituals we develop within our world is no less strange. They become more complex as we grow and gain experience into adulthood. When we get married there is a whole new set of rituals we create to either work with or work around our spouse, and to adapt to changing surroundings.

For instance, when my wife and I moved to a new bedroom, one side of the bed was against the wall. I am an extremely heavy sleeper, therefore I wanted the side closest to the door. My reasoning was because if there was a fire in the house, and my wife woke to the smell of smoke and fire, she could panic, get up and run out of the room, leaving me to sleep through my own demise. However, if I slept between her and the door, no matter how heavy of a sleeper I am, a panic-crazed woman scrambling across you in the middle of the night will wake you up. No doubt about it.

When the baby came along, that all changed. Mom needed to be close to the baby, and now I sleep in the fire danger zone next to the wall.

Now at the end of the day my wife will take any measures necessary in order to make sure that she gets into the bed first. This way I am forced to go through the house turning off all the lights she has left on. Most nights she turns in before me as I tend to stay up writing or reading for a bit before bed. However, if for any reason that we choose to hit the sack at the same time, she kicks her nighttime rituals into overdrive. I have no proof of this of course, but I’m certain she is thinking something like, “My hair has been in a clip all day. How dirty can it be? I’ll get a shower in the morning and get to bed sooner.” Or maybe something like, “I’m sure that just one night a week, I can gain an efficient amount of oral hygiene from 25 seconds of brushing instead of the full 2 minutes.”

And as a result of her preparation and planning, I am stumbling around attempting echolocation to avoid the countless obstacles in the now dark house.

My wife has a few quirks of her own you understand, one of which is she does not like the closet doors to be left open. She claims it is because an open closet door jacks with her feng shui. I think it’s because she still believes in the closet monster, but either way, she would prefer doors to be closed.

So, after stubbed toes, banged shins, and a few colorful metaphors, I fling the closet door open and crawl into my side of the bed next to the wall, sniffing the air for smoke until I drift off to the unconscious nether regions of This World of Hurt.

 

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.

The Human Walkie Talkie

In Babies, baby, children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Moms, Parents on October 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

A bit more than a year ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our 6th daughter. Surrounded by so many women, one can imagine that I am pulled in a number of different directions. Or another—and probably more accurate—way to say it is: I get bossed around a lot. However, after a few months with the new baby, I realized something: My wife was no longer giving me any directions at all. Or at least not when the baby was around.

Nowadays my wife provides me with suggestions of what I need to do in soft, gentle tones, imbedded within conversations between herself and the baby. The baby’s’ name is Everleigh by the way. We call her “E”. She is going to grow up thinking her name is Missy, since she seems to hear, “What are you doing Miss E?” so often, especially since she is now walking. But I digress.

The point is: Now I have to listen closely to what my wife is saying to E in order to discern what instructions my wife is laying out for me. For instance, before the baby was born, and the family was preparing to head out to some destination, my wife might say to me, “why don’t you start loading the car so we can get out of here and hit the road?”. However, now those instructions are beautifully woven into the peaceful inflections my wife uses to speak, not to me, but to the child. She will look at the baby and softly speak, “We will be able to go, just as soon as daddy gets the car ready.”

And there you go. I am expected to “overhear” this conversation, and immediately jump into action, loading the car with no further instruction. And this is not limited to vehicular preparations; virtually any job duty imaginable may be delegated to me in this fashion. “Would you like daddy to feed you dinner so mommy can do a little work?” “Daddy is going to give you a bath in just a little bit.” This one is tricky because she uses the phrase “a little bit”. She says, “a little bit”, but she means, “Right now”. “Why don’t you see if daddy will change your diaper?” This last one also conveys a sense of urgency. This sentence could be boiled down to just two nouns: Daddy & Diaper.

My child has become a human walkie talkie. A covert message delivery system designed to trip up the male of the species in order to prove the much debated saying that men do not listen? Well of course we men understand that it’s simply rude to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations, yet once the babies come along we must learn this skill. We must become more than husbands, more than fathers, we must become international super spies, able to decode the encrypted messages exchanged from spouse to offspring so that we may maintain a state of readiness.

And to answer the question that is on the mind of so many first time fathers out there: No, this does not work in the opposite direction. This will be a one-way form of communication. If you soothingly tell your child, “I bet mommy is going to dress you in the cutest outfit,” she will move about her day as if you had said nothing at all. It is quite impossible to speak in a soft voice and be heard over the commotion of thoughts taking place in the mind of your wife. The female brain multitasks, every second of every day, while men have a difficult enough time feeding ourselves while watching the game.

Learn to listen my friends, to whomever your wife may be saying it to, especially the human walkie talkie. Breaker Breaker 1-9, listen up good buddy. James Bond only succeeded with the ladies, because he was wearing his secrete decoder ring. At least that’s how I see it, living in This World of Hurt.

Welcome to This World of Hurt

In Babies, baby, Birthdays, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, Pregnancy, Uncategorized, wives, Women on August 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

In thinking back to your youth, do you recall the difficulties in falling asleep on the nights preceding exciting events? The night before a big family gatherings or an exciting vacation, Christmas eve or your birthday, any attempt at drifting towards the restful slumber greatly sought after by adults, as quite an impossibility. When it did come, it was short and largely ineffective at providing any true rest. Sleep was simply the brain powering down non-essential portions of the body and placing itself into a stand-by mode in order to allow time and space to fold around you, creating a slipstream to pass instantaneously from one day to the next. Through the worm hole, the days merge, night turns to morning, and you woke up and see all your awesome relatives, hit the road to Disney Land or wherever, open your presents and check your stocking, eat cake and ice cream, blow out your candles, and hear “Happy Birthday”.

As you get older this feeling of sleeplessness and the brain’s form of suspended animation still occurs, but at different times and for different reasons. It usually precedes surgeries, or court cases, and is similar to the kind of sleep that undercover police officers must experience: neither unconscious nor awake, like some form of slumbering preparedness. Like a set animal trap or a bucket of water resting atop of partially opened doorway, resting in silence until that precious moment and then Wham! death… or utter hilarity as the case may be.

For adults, family gatherings are sometimes a dreaded event, and if not, it at least requires enough preparation that by the time the night arrives, sleep comes easy. Family vacations have a similar effect, the planning, the packing, the checking and rechecking, and checking again. And then let us not forget the impending drive to the vacation destination that must be rested up for. Christmas eve is similar to family gatherings, in that there is a lot of preparation for the arrival of Santa, and there is always, always plenty of stuff for the elves to put together on site. Most adults get sleep the night before a birthday in the same way they would any other night of the year. Try as we might not to allow it to happen, birthdays become just another day to adults until we hit triple-digits.

Yes, sadly for adults, birthdays become quite commonplace and are but a ripple somewhere between Wednesday and Friday. That is unless the anticipated birthday in question is the birthday of a child yet to be born. On the night before this birthday, the adults become filled with the overwhelming anticipation that sends us right back to excitement of our youth. Because that’s what children do: they keep us young, and they make us old at the same time.

My wife and I got little sleep the night of July 30; we were anticipating a birthday the next morning after all. We were up and out the door by 3:30 am. We were at the hospital by 5:00 and beginning procedures by 7:30.

A cesarean section birthing is one of the most terrifying events that I have ever been through. Now, I know right now there are hundreds of women out there that cannot believe that I just made it out to be all about me. They are probably speaking out loud to the computer screen, “What you have been through? You?! What about your wife? She is the one who is numbed half way down her body, the one being cut open. She is the one who is having the baby. You’re just sitting around trying to not get in the way.” I can’t blame them for that, but let me follow up by saying that I would have traded places with my wife in a heartbeat.

I have been able to do some pretty tough guy things throughout my life. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am a “man’s man,” but I am a man of action when the situation arises. I am probably like many other men out there in that I am a fixer: a problem solver. There are things that need to be done, overcome, worked out, or what have you, and I recognize these issues, formulate a plan of action and implement that plan in order to reach a resolution in the timeliest manner possible.

But now the time has come for a child to be born, and my wife is too small for that to occur in a regular way. I just can’t fix this. Now I have to allow one person to cram a needle into her spinal cord, allow another person to take a razor sharp piece of steel and slice into her body. All I can do is hold my wife’s hand and pray to God that she can’t see the unadulterated terror in my eyes that I am feeling at this point. This stranger now pulls out the baby. The baby starts to cry. My wife cries. I start to cry. Then he hands the baby off to another group of people who rush her off to another part of the room where she continues to cry.

My wife looks at me and says, “Go be with our daughter. I’ll be fine.” Let me tell you ladies, there are few things in the world harder than to try to decide in a split second where you need to be. I have never felt so disloyal in my life than when I let go of my wife’s hand to go see our baby.

The team of nurses measured, and tested, and rubbed, and cleaned, and finally they handed me my brand new baby girl. I took this bundle of perfection over and sat down beside her mother as the doctors finished up with their work, but she had been given some additional meds and was asleep. I looked at my wife’s still face, held our baby girl, and wept until I saw her eyes flutter open and a smile stretch across her face.

Some of you are thinking all of this is very dramatic. Doctors perform C-sections every day you may say. True enough. People fly airplanes and drive cars every day too, accidents happen, and I didn’t want one to happen today. Two of some of the most important people in my life were being worked on by doctors, and I couldn’t do anything but sit there and try to stay out of the way. There are fewer more helpless feelings of inadequacy that one my experience than to turn the well being of a loved one over to a stranger, let alone two loved ones simultaneously.

But we had a more than professional staff of people working for us, and they worked brilliantly. At 8:09 the morning of July 31st, we welcomed the newest addition to our family into the world. “Happy birthday baby”.

And if you are a follower of this blog—wink wink, nudge nudge—you are probably wondering what middle name we decided on. We ran through a gambit of names, no doubt about that. But in the end we went with something simple and close to the heart. My wife said that I could name her after the first woman that I ever loved: My Mom. So we did, and her middle name is Sue. I think it has quite a lovely ring to it wouldn’t you agree?

Everleigh Sue, welcome to This World of Hurt.

Everleigh  Photo by: My Oldest Baby, Kyndra

Everleigh Sue Hurt
Born: July 31st, 2014
8lbs 15oz
20.5 in

This Side of the Pen (Installment One)

In children, daughters, life, Parents, Smartassity, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing on June 27, 2014 at 12:14 am

Nurture vs Nature is always an interesting topic to contemplate. There are things like creativity, analytical thinking, deep emotions, or quick temperedness that you could arguably place into the nature category. Inherited traits, passed down through DNA. Perhaps no further than a generation away, from a parent, or perhaps a grandparent. Other traits, such as reason, observation and deduction, wit or rhetoric, can be learned, developed by practice, or through submersion in the culture of others.

A creative, or even just a clever mind could very well be a natural trait passed down through the chromosomes, but a quick wit—or as I label it with my own definition: Smartassity—can be developed over time.
I’ll give you an example of how clever can develop into Smartassity if properly guided.

About three or four years ago one of my daughters had spent a half an hour mixing together her world famous “special sport drink”.  It was a swirling concoction of mashed strawberries, blueberries, orange juice—heavy on the pulp—water and a splash of milk. She handed me the bottle full of the finished product and said, “Here, taste this.”

I accepted the proffered bottle and took a drink.  “What’s in this?” I asked.

She tells me of the contents and says, “You have to pay me 50 cents for that.”

I ask, “Why do I have to pay you 50 cents for a drink?”

She looks at me with complete confidence and replies in total sincerity, “Because, you’re family… it’s half price.”

See, now that’s clever.

Now just the other day—three or four years into the future from the previous dialogue—the same daughter returns from basketball camp. My wife was discussing her experience at camp, and was reading over some of the coach’s recommendations for how our daughter could improve her shooting ability. My wife had said to my daughter, “It says here that you need to put together a repetitive shot workout. You need to get a routine where you perform a series of shots from different points and repeat it over and over again.”

“What do you mean?” my daughter asked.

“Well the coach recommends that you develop a ritual.”

My daughter sighs and says, “Well, okay… but I don’t have any chickens.”

Now that’s Smaratassity.

Brilliant! I laughed for twenty minutes. I still laugh when I recall it in my mind.

I even see some early skills developing in the younger kids. For instance, just this evening one of the younger kids called from her room in the back of the house. The conversation went like this:

Younger kid yelling from the back of the house: Mommy, Daddy, Krystal (the Guinea Pig) is going to have babies.

Older kid yelling in response from the adjacent room: That’s not possible. We don’t have a male guinea pig.

Younger kid: Yes she is.

Older kid: No she…  with frustration Just go ask mom and dad about this process.

Younger kid: I know how babies are made, but she could have met someone at the Pet Smart.

Early onset Smartassity? It is possible. She bears close watching.

All writers have varying levels of Smartassity. It comes with the territory. Now to the individual writer, the transition from one side of the pen to the other seems to happen quite suddenly. It doesn’t actually. It happens slowly over time, but the realization occurs like an epiphany. What occurs is that the writer sits around writing ever chance they can, and reading ever chance they can, and then one day they read something and say to themselves—usually out loud—“Wow, this is crap. I could write better than this. In fact, I am writing better than this… and this junk got published.”

From that moment on you will seem to have this unconscious, yet slightly conscious, brain pattern going on. You will see things, think of things, observe and process things, quite differently than everyone else. For instance:

I was walking through the mall with my wife the other day, and as we were leaving one of the larger department stores we passed a sign. The sign read: Now Hiring, Apply Within. The human brain is truly a magnificent organism, possible of thousands upon thousands of calculations at any given moment. Now I’m sure that there are countless women out there that would agree that a man’s brain does not possess this ability. Admittedly, this would be a correct analysis—at least in part—as men do not multitask well. However, we are not talking multitasking. We are talking pure lineal thought moving at exceptional speed. It is this latter brain function that kicked into overdrive moments after my optic nerves sent the upside down image of the sign that I had passed leaving the store, and my brain began to unscramble the reversed image deciphering the bunched together letters reading the words aloud inside my head: Now Hiring, Apply Within.

These are words that a normal person’s brain would register to mean: this business is short staffed and is currently accepting applications, and should you desire to apply for the job, you may do so somewhere inside this building. But I don’t have the brain of a normal person; I have the brain of a writer. By the time I had walked the twelve feet from the sign to the threshold exiting the store and entering the mall, I had begun to laugh out loud. Partly because I had thought that the sign I had just passed was one of the most philosophical signs I had ever seen, and partly because I had begun to analyze the obscure slant that the brain of a writer has on the environment in which it passes through, and I had found great hilarity in my analysis. Let me explain.

I was thinking, “Well, would you lookie there? That sign is telling me that one who is in search of employment should look deep inside one’s self to inquire as to whether they may be a suitable candidate for work at this particular establishment.” I thought, “wow, that’s a pretty deep sign for a department store. At that same instant, I had a sudden flash of similar situations where I had found humor in some sign I had read, either through the unusual perspective of my own consciousness, or the exceptionally poor grammar of the composer of the sign. Unfortunately, this seems to occur most frequently in bathroom facilities.

Just for the record: a sudden outburst of laughter—no matter how small—in a bathroom, occupied by more than just yourself, always causes a moment of awkwardness. Then you find yourself in a situation where you feel you need to either explain the reason for you laughter, or get out of there as soon as possible. Often enough I will act like a mental patient speaking loudly about how excited I am about to be out in town, and how if I’m good will be rewarded with gummy bears, and that the green ones are my favorite. Then, of course, engage the other person in a line of questions about their feelings on sweet gummy deliciousness until they feel the need to escape as soon as possible. Kinda fun actually.

Every time I notice grammatical errors on printed signs it makes me laugh anyway. I won’t say that grammar isn’t important, because it is important, but often side-stepped by weirdo thinkers like myself. Like that ridiculous test that some English teachers give when they ask students to punctuate: a woman without her man is nothing

.
As soon as my professor assigned this to my class, I knew that it must be some sort of no win situation in which gender bias must be involved. Apparently men will punctuate the phrase: A woman, without her man, is nothing. And women will punctuate the phrase: A woman, without her, man is nothing. All of the sudden I felt like Captain Kirk engaging in the Kobayashi Maru. (I’m not explaining this to the non-Trekies out there… look it up.) And like Kirk I thought outside the box and found a way out. Thank you, weirdo thinking brain. I simply responded to my English professor by punctuating the phrase: A woman without? Her man is nothing!

Not really grammatically correct I know, but I’m pretty sure that E.E. Cummings proved that grammar is more guidelines than actual rules. Just goes to prove that everyone needs a good editor. Like they didn’t’ have a big enough ego as it was. I wish I had an editor for this blog; perhaps I wouldn’t have so many grammatical mistakes. A good editor that will work for free is hard to find in This World of Hurt.

Happy Birthday to… Me!

In Birthdays, children, Dads, life, love, Men, Parents, Uncategorized on June 23, 2014 at 12:06 am

Yesterday was my birthday. Birthdays are interesting days for celebration don’t you think? Where did this tradition come from, and why is it that we feel the need to celebrate our own birth? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of the birthday haters that are out there in the world. Those types of people are very strange to me. They tend to fall into the same bizarre categories like people who refuse to to allow their children to have chocolate milk, people who believe that St. Patrick’s day is a form of demonic worship, people who dislike honey, and Red Socks fans. They’re all weird, but we all have our moments I suppose. I’m simply curious as to where it all came from.

It’s not a biblical thing. There wasn’t any reference to the actual day that Jesus was born in the Bible, and if you think about it, birthday celebrations are a bit on the self centered side, which sort of goes against the teachings of Christianity. Ancient Egypt maybe. All those pharaohs were pretty into themselves, could be one of their inventions. I think that most of us are linked to the ancient Egyptians in that respect, as self centeredness seems a fairly common trait among humans… or at least in this country. I know it is one of my larger character flaws—big time. As my friend Pendergast might say, “A very bad habit, but one I find hard to break.”

On that note: let’s get back to me. 40 years ago I was born, and depending on the longevity of my life, today puts me somewhere around the half way point. What have I learned in 40 years of existence? In truth, not much really; however, I can share a little.

What I have learned about children is that regardless of the amount of preparation, you are unprepared. Think back to your days in elementary school. You remember when they told us that we were all unique? That wasn’t just to boost your self esteem. In fact it was some of the best advice that you could have received about parenting. Each child that you have will be completely different from one another. If you have decided that you will treat all of your children equally, then that will prove to be a bad idea. After all, your children will not be equal, no reason to treat them as if they are. Now they will all need to follow the same set of rules—rules and punishment should always be equal. But each of your children will have different strengths, weaknesses, interests, desires, goals, talents, and such. As a result, they will require different modes of encouragement. Observe your children with the wonderment. A parent wears many hats: teacher, mentor, student, disciplinarian, provider, chauffeur, councilor, just to scratch the surface. Notice that friend was not in that list. You are not their friend. Your job is to prepare them for life as an adult. Let their friends give them what they want. Your job is to give them what they need. And watch them close, because sometimes they don’t need a friend. Sometimes what they need is you. And if you have chosen to have only one child. Then you’re just cheating.

What have I learned about life is that there is an unseen connectedness that binds us all together. We exist for one single purpose: to allow the magnificence of God’s complex plan to unfurl. Just like our children, each of us is gifted with certain strengths and weaknesses, talents and ineptitudes. I have found that the only things that separate the average from the extraordinarily successful people is: education and determination. Do not confuse education with that junk that you might pick up in school—whether public, private, or collegiate. What I mean to say is that you must discover your talent. It will probably be the things in your life that you gain the most pleasure from. Ask yourself: what is it that you really love to do? When you have the answer to this question, learn about it, read about it, practice it, in short, educate yourself on every aspect of this talent that you have. More than likely, this talent will be able to bring you great success if you have the determination to work harder than anyone else to become the very best. After all, your talent will most certainly be someone else’s ineptitude. Since you love it, there is a better than average chance that it will not even seem like work at all. And always, always take the time to learn.

What I have learned about love and relationships is… well I have a formula for that. I’ll be happy to share this formula with you. But not today. I’ll be covering this formula in a future post. Think of it as just something to look forward to in This World of Hurt.

For Dad

In children, Dads, life, Men, Parents on June 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

Fatherhood is an fascinating institution. There is nothing in life that compares to the magnitude of not only creating life with the mother of your children, but then spending decades attempting to prepare the tiny person that you created for a life of their own. Children are the only things that one can experience that can both keep you young, and make you grow old at the same time. As for myself, I know that I am not always the greatest parent, but I absolutely love being a dad. I must admit that I have become the man that I am because of the men that came before me, and through their teachings.

My father is a great man, as his father was before him. He taught me more than simply how to grow into an adult, but he also taught me how to be a father when the time came. He showed me how to conduct myself in the world of adulthood, how to properly covey my ideals in a political setting, and helped me to learn how to defuse the volatile situations that may result from conveying those ideals. He instilled in me a love of art and music, and educated me on how to play an instrument of my own, tools that would carry me into a professional realm of music for many years into my adulthood.

My father taught me the importance of history, and how the learning of it will go far to prevent the repeating of it. He showed me the value of economics and the maintaining of a well balanced budget. He was the son of a World War II veteran—a Silver Star nominated Marine for merit under combat—and he passed down the necessity for avoiding conflict. I remember that both men have given the same advice to me: “You should avoid a violent conflict whenever possible, even at the loss of face, but if violence becomes unavoidable, you should meet your opponent with such aggressive brutality that it crushes their resolve.”

My father taught me the importance of loyalty to the ones that you love. He has said to me on more than one occasion that you should hold loyalty above all else but integrity. Fortunately, my father is still alive today, and I will continue to learn from him as long as his magnificent heart beats in his chest. So, I would like to tell him how much I appreciate him never giving up on me in my more impetuous years. I would like to tell him how much that I love him, and how much I appreciate his teachings. I would like to spend the years to come continuing to learn, and spending time together in laughter, retelling the stories that have brought us so much joy no matter how many times that we hear them.

I say to my dad, “Happy Father’s day” and , “Thank you, Pop. Thank you for teaching, for your guidance, for your love and compassion, for your patience and most important, for your inspiration. And of course, thank you for my life. Because of what you have instilled in me, I think I might be able to to make it through This World of Hurt.

Along Comes… Wait, Are You Sure?

In Babies, baby, Dads, daughters, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, Pregnancy, wives, Women on June 11, 2014 at 1:26 am

There have been quite a few changes in this old World of Hurt since my last post, when I complained about flip-flops last summer. I’m still not a fan by the way, but I haven’t thrown them away either. My eldest daughter has gone off to college where she is doing well, we have the remaining five living with us throughout the school year, but my son—who is now a going to be a sophomore in high school—will turn fifteen in a couple of weeks, and I, of course, have become the worlds biggest idiot. I began a new career in the world of pest control as an inspector for Orkin. I like the new job, but it’s harder than you might think, lots of studying. The biggest change in This World of Hurt took place over Thanksgiving. Let me tell you about it.

The family loaded up the Suburban, and hit the road to Colorado to visit my parents. The day after we arrived, my wife had said that she felt kind of sick. We had just come from about 350 foot elevation in Texas to about 7,800 foot elevation in Colorado, and my wife would not have been the only one of us who had come up there only to suffer elevation sickness. The kids and I had plans for skiing and snow boarding the following day, so I told her to get some rest, and by the time we got back she will feel right as rain. After all, elevation sickness only last about 24 hours or so.

As planned, the kids and I hit the slopes, and as we were leaving the mountain, I received a text from my wife asking me to pick up a few items from the store. One of the items was a pregnancy test. Don’t jump to conclusions here; this is not an unusual request. My wife has made this request on many occasions in order to start a flow. Im sure that many men are aware of this strange medical anomaly. The way this works is this: the monthly is late, and the woman gets worried. She asked the man to pick up a pregnancy test at the store, which he does. He goes to the store, makes a selection, goes to counter, exchanges some form of legal tender for the item, and ta-daa… the menstrual flow starts right up before he even makes it back to the car.

This did not occur however. Instead, my wife took the test… twice. The test was quite clear. We were going to have a baby. All I could think was: well crap; I’m going to be the oldest dad at the little league games. All of us are actually quite excited. We will be expecting a little girl—which will bring the daughter count to a total of six to the one boy—and she is due to arrive in August. However, we have her delivery date scheduled for July 31st. Her name will be Everleigh, but we have not yet found a suitable middle name yet. Feel free to send me any suggestions that you have. It would be nice to have a name that starts with a “D”, but it’s not necessary.

Let me break down the last seven months for you. The first trimester was pretty miserable: lots of vomiting and unusual mood swings. The second trimester was pretty easy-breezy, and the baby really began to grow. She had begun to become quite active, and my wife looked fantastic with the whole motherly glow that everyone talks about. Now we are into the third trimester, and we have pretty much come full circle. Back to miserable. Resuming some occasional vomiting, and crazy mood swings: crying, laughter, explosive yelling, crying while yelling, crying due to the guilt of yelling, crying while laughing, and of course, pure unadulterated joy. All of this sometimes occurs over the course of a single afternoon. My wife still looks great, but she thinks she is fat, and her feet swell. But we are almost there; just a little over a month and a half to go.

One of the most difficult changes over the course of this pregnancy is the distance that has grown between my wife and I. Mainly we have become distant in the bedroom. I’m not talking sexual, or even emotional distance, I am referring to a true physical barrier that separates us at night in our bed. This barrier that I speak of is substantial, light and fluffy… pillows my friends, pillows. Many pillows.
In fact, my wife is up to a minimum of four pillows. These pillows are arranged in such an ingenious architectural fashion that my wife’s side of the bed more resembles that of a lounge chair than an actual sleep surface. In fact one of these pillows is actually commandeered from my side each night just before bedtime. I don’t mind. The level of unconsciousness that I am able to acquire requires no bed at all, let alone the need for two pillows. And I’m happy to make the sacrifice for the cause.

All of that said, I will be happy to have this new little girl in the world. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and I’m not too proud to admit that I’m a little jealous of my wife being the only one who gets to spend any time with this kid. Even though I will have to share time with all of the rest of the family, and my wife of course will get to have all the quality bonding through the feeding process—since she has all of the food—while I quite literally get the crap jobs. Still, I can’t wait to hold her and introduce myself. Hello baby Everleigh, I’m your Dad.
Just a little less than eight weeks to go, and you can all help my family welcome the brand new addition to This World of Hurt.

 

securedownload

Mother-in-Laws: Myths and Legends

In children, Dads, daughters, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Mother-in-laws, Parents, Uncategorized, wives, Women on January 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Opposites attract. Or so the saying goes. In the scientific world, this holds up pretty well, but in the realm of love?… That saying about birds and flocking tends to be more spot on; at least half of the time. This is certainly the case with my wife and I. When I was younger I had often—only partially joking—said that if I were to get married, I would want someone just as “bad ass” as I was. Well, I found her. It is uncanny how many similarities that the two of us have; many more than our differences for certain. What is even more strange is just how completely different our parents are from one another, especially our mothers.

Now, I know that  we are supposed to  be somewhat predisposed to dislike our mother-in-laws. Similar to how dogs are supposed to hate cats, and in a way, I guess we are… then again, maybe not. I know that my dog would like nothing more than to eviscerate the old tom cat that struts his enormous girth past the living room window every day, but I have conversely seen plenty of pictures of dogs and cats nuzzling each other in those cheesy pet calendars at the mall. The point is: some people love their mother-in-laws and some people hate them. Both my wife and I happen to love ours, and the two of them also enjoy the company of the other. However, these two mother-in-laws are completely and totally, similarly different.

My mother’s name is Pam. My wife’s mother is named Pat. Pat and Pam. Pam and Pat. Both of them spent much of their career’s in public education: Pat, currently the business administrator at our local school, and Pam, a retired diagnostician for special education. Well, I’m confused already. This is going to be very interesting to write. 

Both are political conservatives, but while Pat remains “Pro Life”, Pam is a steadfast believer in that one should always have a choice. Both believe in the second amendment, but while Pat is in simple agreement, Pam packs a .40 caliber Springfield and has no problem putting a couple, center mass, into any would be assailant trying to infringe on her constitutional rights. Pam operates her vehicle at a speed conducive  to the weather and road surface and she is almost always late. Pat drives at the speed of sound regardless of the road or weather and she is almost always late. I love engaging in conversation that results in laughter, but occasionally, I will go a little too far and push the boundaries of acceptable humor. I can tell when this happens because Pat will use the phrase, “Oh my stars,” where as Pam will simply give me the finger. Pat probably said, “Oh my stars,” when I used the words “bad ass”, in the first paragraph. Pam uses profanity just like any other noun, verb, or adjective. It took several weeks of persuasive speaking before I was able to convince Pat to wear a temporary tattoo—on the underside of her wrist—to work. Pam wears a tattoo on her neck that would make a member of the “Hells Angels” envious. Pam Scrapbooks well into the night. Pat plays piano at church on Sundays.

Do see what I mean? The two of them are exactly different, and still, Pam’s eldest son managed to fall in love with Pat’s youngest daughter. Two different ladies that raised two very similar children; children that were destined to become bride and groom. You could drive yourself crazy trying to discover how this all came about. How all the cosmic tumblers of fate had to fall in just the right sequence. How the particular parentage, combined with the individual personalities of their children, resulted in those children growing into adults that were so meant to be together.

What ever the formula for destiny may be, I am grateful for it. I love the fact that I can find such wonderful—and similar—council in two different individuals that I love and admire. I cannot speak of your personal relationship with your own mother-in-law—as I am obviously not privy to such information. However, I will say that regardless of your relationship with her, she is owed your gratitude. After all, she is the woman that helped shape your significant other into the person that you fell in love with. So, the next time you see your mother-in-law tell her thank you. Thank you for raising the best friend that any of us will ever have. Besides, scoring a few brownie points with the moms-in-laws of the world is never a bad thing. Not to mention, brownie points a rare commodity when you’re living in, This World of Hurt.

%d bloggers like this: