Friday, October 3, 2008

Wally World

Well I just got back from Disneyland Tuesday night. The boys had a blast. I've been to DisneyWORLD a few times but this was my first trip back to DisneyLAND since just after my 8th birthday…so that would be just shy of 39 years ago. Holy crap that is a long time ago! I'm getting old...
Anyways, some things have changed but really by and large (what the heck does "by and large" mean anyways?…okay, I digress) it basically looks like the same place as it did back in 1970 when I was eight, with a few exceptions of course. For one thing, when I was 8 it truly felt like another "land". It was huge. It was gigantic. Traveling across the vastness of it all felt like a journey through another world. Yes, yes, I could tell you how phony it all feels now and how fake everything obviously is but I won’t do that - I still like the whole escapism concept of the place. But it felt small to me. Smaller than what I remembered it being anyways. At a brisk pace I could go from Frontierland to Tomorrowland to Adventureland to Fantasyland in less than an hour - and still have time to stop and eat a $15 mouse shaped ice cream sandwich.
It seems to me that when my family and I went long ago we went on several rides but we also spent a lot of time checking out exhibits, shops and other things like the main street parade…but not this time. No, for my boys this was all about riding as many rides as they could possibly ride in the 3 days we were there. That meant we spent a good amount of time standing in lines. We were lucky though because we went Sun-Tues and the park was not nearly as busy as it can be during peak times. I can't imagine going when it's crowded - I mean it's never really NOT crowded there. I especially can't imagine what people are thinking when they bring babies with them. Oh I know there are a lot of people out there who insist on bringing their babies with them everywhere that they go (and they say it like it's some kinda badge of honor). Not me. Ya see to me vacation is about having fun - and if I have shelled out a good chunk of money for 3 days in sunny California at Disneyland I wouldn't even think of pushing a stroller containing a screaming kid through the crowded and hot streets of the Disneyland. Sorry but, no way, no how, is that fun. And the worst part is, all you people pushing those strollers with your crying kids in them - ARE IN MY WAY!!
I just don't get it! I saw literally hundreds, if not thousands, of parents pushing single, double, triple, even quadruple strollers and I just know there is no possible way that they and their "way to young to fully enjoy this great place of happiness and joy" children were having any fun at all. Hey I know it sucks for the older kids in the family but until every single one of your kid's heads reach the bottom of that "You must be this tall to ride" sign you shouldn't even be allowed to get on the plane to fly to Disneyland. Did I mention you are in my way? You are.
Worse though than babies in strollers though was parents pushing fat kids who were way too old to be in strollers. You wonder why America has an obesity problem? Go to Disneyland and watch the fat moms and dads pushing their little beluga in a titanium reinforced stroller cart. Granted this did get mom and dad sweating pretty good. But still the whole thing made me sick. I don't care if his chubby little feet do hurt…believe me, if he wants to ride "Space Mountain" he'll find a way to get his fat butt there on his own two feet. And since I'm on a ranting roll here let me just point out a simple rule one should observe while in a large crowd: While walking don't just come to a complete stop in the middle of the street/sidewalk/pathway/hallway to consult your map on where the "Matterhorn" is. Would you do that on a freeway? Same thing applies here, pull to the side and get the hell out of the way.
But really, all in all (and by and large) it was a good time, something I'm sure my boys will remember fondly for a long time…even though their feet were killing them. 3 days was the perfect amount of time to be there. On the last day we were there I asked Trevor what some of his favorite rides were and he said "The Splash Mountain ride was one of my favorites dad...but if I hear that "Zippydeedoodah" song one more time I'm gonna go crazy!!" Amen to that son, amen to that...

("By and Large" (I looked it up) is actually an old nautical term. "By" means into the wind, while "large" means with the wind. By and large is used to indicate all possible situations "the ship handles well both by and large". So if I were to apply that to my trip to Disneyland I would say that "By" means short ride lines and "large" means fat kids in strollers.).

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor (or is it the Labor of My Fruits?)

I like most fruit, apples are especially good. But recently fruit has become my nemesis. Let me explain... When I purchased my house I didn't just get a house, no, what I got was a mini-farm. A fruit growing farm. I have cherry trees, apple trees, plum trees and pear trees. There are five apple trees and they are all different varieties. In total I have 12 trees in my yard that bear fruit. Some of these trees are 40 feet high (the pear tree is as high as my two story house). That's a lot of fruit. I also have two 20 foot long rows of raspberries and a row of blueberries. There was a reason the pioneers settled in this area long ago, the soil is rich with nutrients and anything you plant in it will grow like it's been juiced up on steroids.

I am overwhelmed with fruit. Funny thing about fruit - it doesn't stay on the tree. So ya see, what I have now is fruit fly heaven. I can't possibly pick all the fruit and I've given away about as much as my friends can stand. On several occasions I have walked around my yard and picked apples and pears and plums, taking a single bite out of each one and then chucking the remainder in the bushes. I probably managed to reduce my harvest by about .000001% - and quite frankly I am getting sick of eating them...I don't care how good it is for ya. For god sakes just give me a big bag of nacho cheese Doritos!
See the tallest tree in this picture? That's a pear tree...we are talking literally hundreds of pears...I don't even like pears. The tree that the ladder is under is a Plum tree. If I wanted to use my hot tub I'd have to strap on a helmet.

I've had several people give me ideas of what I can do with all this fruit. Make apple cider they say, or jam. But ya know what - that's a hell of a lot of work. I think my best option right now may to put a "U-Pick Free!" sign out in front of my house. Really though, even though it is a bit of a burden to have all these fruit trees it is pretty cool and all in all the "mess" they make is only for a short period. But let me tell ya, sometime around the middle of February my quiet little neighborhood is going to hear the sounds of chainsaws as I whack these trees down to little fruit bearing bonsai trees!

If you think dog poop is bad, try having several hundred rotting apples, pears and prunes in your yard!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm in!

Hurray! I am finally all moved in to the new house - and I am exhausted! With the help of my gang of friends the bulk of the moving got done this past Saturday though my sister Cheryl and I got an early start on Friday by putting together my couches that I bought from IKEA. I feel like I have not had much time to sit and relax and enjoy the new house. It was great to get everything moved in, but that also meant that I needed to then get everything organized. I got the bulk of the stuff put away but I still have 4-5 boxes of stuff that I need to go through. Seems like as soon as I sit down I start thinking things like "Ya know, I think I'll change out that light fixture with the one I got at Home Depot" or "I need to figure out where I'm gonna put the exercise equipment" or "I need to replace that showerhead…".

And talk about spending money! Whooo boy! I should have bought Fred Meyer stock because I'm sure it's gone up from me buying stuff there. There's just tons of stuff you don't think about that you have to buy when you are basically "starting over" - towels, door mats, rugs, dishes, vacuum cleaner…and weird stuff that you just forget you need - toothbrush holder, scissors, pens, paper, garbage cans, an arsonel of cleaning supplies.... Literally hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars of miscellaneous crap!

I'm still getting use to the house. At our old house we lived way back off the main road so if a car came down the driveway in the middle of the night I'd likely wake up and listen to see if it was one of our neighbors, now I have a road in front of my house and cars go by all the time (maybe 4-5 in a night, but that's a lot compared to what I am use to). I'm sure I will eventually just tune them out. I'm also getting use to the layout of the house. My bedroom is upstairs and the bathroom with the shower is downstairs - right now it feels odd to me to have to wake up and stumble downstairs to take a shower in the morning but I'm sure I'll get used to it (The bathroom upstairs only has a bathtub but I'm going to remodel that and put in a shower). Right now though the thing I seem to be struggling with the most is having to walk outside to get to my truck. I have a detached garage and sometime this week I am going to dispose of the giant pile of cardboard and plastic I have in it from the move and then I can park my truck in it. But that still means I have to walk the 30 feet or so outside from the house to the garage. Yeah, I know - "boo hoo". But it just feels weird. I'm use to just going into the garage and jumping in my (warm) truck and off I go. Now I gotta go out the back door, lock the door with my key (hard to do in the dark I have found), walk to the garage and open the garage door, THEN I can get in my truck and go.

It's just weird how we become creatures of routine and the littlest things throw us off. I was at the old house for 10 years - the new house is gonna take a little getting used to, especially when my sons are not there to keep me occupied, it's awfully quiet when they are not there….but I'm sure there will be times when I relish the peace and quiet. It feels pretty good though and I am enjoying having my own place again…but even as I type this I can feel the yard yearning to be mowed .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunshiny Day

Finally….my new house purchase is finally gonna close and I will be moving in this weekend….well, barring some kinda paperwork disaster that is. I've come to be very wary of any promises made by the bank/mortgage/escrow people about when they think things will get wrapped up but at this point all signs point to the closing happening tomorrow (Thurs, Aug. 28) and then me "officially" getting the keys to the house on Friday. Now I just gotta move all my "shtuff" from the old house to the new house. I bought some new furniture because I didn't want to feel like I was just replicating rooms from the old house - I very much want, and need, a fresh start. I'm sure being back on my own will bring on a whole new batch of stress, but at least it'll be a different kind of stress than what I've been going through for the bulk of 2008…2008 has sucked so far, I'm hoping the remainder of the year and beyond is much, much better (anything less than a Lehar coming off Mt. Rainier and wiping out me and my new house will be acceptable).

Did I mention that divorce sucks? It does…and hard. At this point (well actually way before this point) I'm just glad it's all coming to an end and I can begin to move on. But one of the things that has bugged me about this whole thing is the idea that the "process of divorce" has become so clinically sanitary…at least that's the way it feels to me in my case. Yes, yes I know, a "civil" split is the ideal situation - no yelling, no anger is definitely the way to go, but it's gotten to the point where you can basically follow a "divorce template"…"This is what you should discuss with your kids…", "Here's a form to create your "Parenting Plan"…", "Here is divorce checklist for things you need to do…"

It's all such a "happy, touchy-feely, sunshiny day" load of crap. The bottom-line is divorce is an ugly thing. Okay, I feel I am giving the impression that I am a ranting and bitter ex-husband…okay so I am a little bit, but really it's not the actual divorce I'm ranting about (I'm way over that) but just the idea that it can all be done painlessly - to that I say bluntly: Bullshit. My advice to anyone contemplating it, especially if you have kids - think long and hard about it. Better yet, attack (and fix) any problems now in your marriage that you think could become a bigger problem down the road. Ya know, a tsunami just looks like a little bump in the ocean…until it reaches the shore.

Did I mention I am sooo happy to be moving into my new house? Whoooo boy am I! I can see that sunshiny day on the horizon….

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sailing in the San Juans

Well I'm back from my sailing adventure - we had a great time! The weather could have been better but all in all it was not bad, besides I don't care what the weather is like, sailing is fun no matter what.

When sailing it's good to look like this is something you do every weekend. I figured the ridicules hat, camo shorts and XXL "Terminator Stout (beer)" hoodie made me fit right in with the million dollar yachts and the rich folks at Roche Harbor.

Craig (port) and I (starboard) on the bow of our sailing vessel. See, I can talk all nautical and shit.

One day we raced our friend Roman (the Russian) - it was just Roman in his boat and a crew of five of us in our boat. Roman was beating us for a while, then later, being the well oiled (alcohol) machine that our crew had become, we finally overtook him.

(Most of) the crew of the SS Jack Daniels (I can't remember what the actual name of the boat is). In this picture (from left to right - Roman, Craig, "Skipper" Fred and Ryan (not pictured - Ken and I)) I think the "crew" actually gives the illusion they know what they are doing...almost.

Great, great time. I hope I can do it again someday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Lucky me - I get to go sailing next week in the San Juans! Whoo hoo, can't wait. Here's some pictures of the boat we'll be on, these were taken last Sunday when we took it out for a test run.

Skipper "Fred" takes out for a cruise (I'm the one wearing the orange hat and black shirt).

I discovered that the trick to piloting a sailboat is to always have a beer in your hand.

Hoist that jib!!

The, life is rough.

I'll write a blog about the trip when we get back. Something tells me there will be lots to write about.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I like the Olympics, I really do. Watching the best athletes in the world going for the gold can be thrilling. But of course, as I usually do, I'm gonna focus on what I don't like.

Synchronized diving - what the F? Who decided this should be a competitive sport? Regular diving - sure, but this is just silly.

Swimming - Superb athletes, no doubt about it...but as far as I am concerned they could eliminate the breaststroke, butterfly - even the backstroke races. I mean really, that's just about three events too many. Now if they did the dog paddle for 400 meters, that would be something to see.

Women's Beach Volleyball - Gee, I wonder why this has the highest TV ratings of all Olympic events? I'll give you a hint, it's not because of the thrill of competition.

Skeet shooting - Probably fun as hell to blast orange plastic things out of the sky with a shotgun. Not gonna replace Monday Night Football anytime soon though.

Fencing - Who does this? I mean really?

Race Walking - Obviously a sport that takes years to develop a good technique, like when you were 12 and the bigger kids at your junior high were always trying to steal your lunch money.

Okay, I've got more I'm gonna add to this list but right now Paraguay and Argentina are starting the second set of the Women's Beach Volleyball playoff for 10th place and I don't want to miss it.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Well the house buying is going agonizingly slow (typical). It looks like next week is when things will finally start rolling (with all the mortgage paperwork). My best guess at a move date is now somewhere around the 22nd (two weeks from now).

Yesterday was my son Jake's 10th birthday. We celebrated his and his brother Trevor's (8) B-days together (their B-days are about a week part) at this place called "Super Jump Zone". The place has three big inflatable things for the kids to play on - a "boxing ring" where the kids don giant boxing gloves and wail on each other, a obstacle course and a giant double slide. There were about 20 kids total that attended and by the end of it they were all just a sweaty mess. They loved it.

We brought a couple of the boy's friends back home with us after the party and as I was driving home with them they, like young boys do, were getting obnoxiously silly. At some point one of them starting talking about "boobs" and I finally had to say "Alright - enough of the boob talk!". Trevor then spoke up and in a serious voice he said "Yeah, and you guys are not calling them by the right name - they are called "Breests". I started laughing to myself because I realized he must have been reading one of the "Where did I come from" books I had given Jake (after he had started asking some questions) and came across the word "Breasts" and he was mis-pronouncing it "Breests". The more he said it the more it was cracking me up. Finally I said "They are called "breasts" Trev and he said "Ohhhhhh, breasts...well what are "man-boobs" called then?"

My eye's were watering from laughing so hard I could barely drive.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The New House

It's looking more and more that I will be moving into my new house soon. Still have to go through all the mortgage stuff but the owners of the house have accepted my offer and we've had the appraisal done and it came in at a good price (slightly higher than the asking price on the house) and I had the house inspection done Thursday and the house passed with flying colors. SO now it's just a matter of jumping through the usual mortgage hoops.

A little about the house I am buying: It's 1920 "Craftsman" home that was completely rebuilt from the foundation up in 1989. It's in outstanding shape and everyone who sees it immediately falls in love with it. The yard is full of really cool plants and tons of fruit bearing trees (Cherry, Apple, Pear). Quit honestly the yard scares the hell out of me - I love a nice looking yard, but I just don't have time to work in it everyday. The owners insist it's established enough where there is not a lot of weekly maintenance (beyond mowing the grass), but it'll take a couple of weekends of "wacking" to get some of it knocked back to a reasonable level (It's a tad overgrown in my opinion). It's an awesome yard though and like I said I just love the house (I love older houses...especially older houses that have been totally updated). I'm hoping to be in by the 3rd week in Aug.

The boys are excited to check it out the new house (I will have them evey other week). The neighborhood will be perfect for them. It's one of those neighborhoods that it seems time has forgot...neighbors are friendly, everyone keeps their yard looking nice (without being forced to by a local covenant) and you actaully see kids out riding their bikes and people jogging or walking their dogs - and there are sidewalks! (and it's all very flat). We even have a nice park nearby where I see families or other large groups of people having BBQ's almost every weekend (I even saw a wedding going on there the other day). And get this - from time to time the local Highschool marching band will march through the neighborhood to practice. I swear to god that June and Ward Cleaver will probably bring an apple pie by when I move in.

This is very different from the current house, where the neighbors are all spaced apart on large acre-plus lots and walking on the streets in the area is not recommened because of the hills, no shoulders, no street lights and cars that go flying by 100 mph (in a 25 mph zone). I always liked the privacy of the house, but I kinda feel the boys have been jipped (sp?) from not growing up in a neighborhood - granted that can bring problems too. But hey, I still hang out with my friends from the neighborhood I grew up in from when I was my son Trevor's age (he just turned 8). So I think it'll be great for them.

The Lord of Suburbia has found a new kingdom to rule over...or make fun of anyways...

Monday, July 28, 2008


I have not updated this blog in quite some time due to the fact that I did not want to shock any family or friends who had not yet heard that my wife and I are in the final stages of getting a divorce. I will not use this blog to talk about specifics of my divorce, though I may from time to time discuss how much is sucks.

Going forward it's hard to tell what the lies ahead in the future. Anytime kids are involved in a divorce it just makes things that much harder...much, much, much harder. But as difficult as it is we will all survive, though the scars will remain forever.

Right now it's just a day to day struggle. With my mother dying this past spring followed shortly by the reality that I would be getting divorced, to say I am "a little stressed out" would be the understatement of the millennium. What's worse is that I am now in the process of trying to buy a house, and as anyone who has purchased a house before can tell you that alone is enough to send most people over the edge. It's a good thing I am bald because if I did have hair it would surely be gone by now. But I try to take it day by day and not let it overwhelm me or get me down. If there is one thing my mom taught me it was to never dwell on the negative and always look to the positive. If she can do that while facing terminal cancer I can surely do this.

Friday, May 2, 2008

He's Dead Jim

I have had a really hard time thinking of anything worthy of blogging about lately. I'm just bored silly with the whole Barack-Hillary thing. I feel like if I post something about how much I hate the weather I think people will begin to think I have a weather obsession (I do) and I'm sure people are tired of me talking about my boys…but unfortunately that's all I can think of to write about so here goes:

Our neighbors bought our boys a "Tinker Toy" set for Christmas last year and just like "Legos" the damn things tend to get scattered everywhere. The other day I found a pile of them in our living room and because I was bored I grabbed some of them and started building "something" with them. Jake (9 year old son) came into the room just as I had finished putting all the pieces together and he asked me "What is that?" and although I had no idea what it was supposed to be I quickly said "It's a shield to ward off evil powers". Jake grabbed it out of my hand and turned it over and inspected it from all sides and then said "This is all wrong". Offended, I said "What do you mean it's all wrong!?" and Jake said (very seriously) "See these holes here? An evil death ray would just slip right through that…you would be dead in seconds". Then with an almost imperceptible air of superiority he handed it back to me and walked out of the room.

The real problem is - if he thinks I'm dumb now, wait until he's a teenager.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm not going first!!

Getting my boys to take a shower is always a challenge. As soon as I mention it they start with their "I'm not going first!" argument. This usually results in me suggesting a coin toss - which almost always devolves into another argument - "I get to call it!" "No! I get to call it!" or arguments that lead to even more arguments - "You called heads, it came up heads, that means you go first!!!"

While all this is going on the shower is running and I find myself yelling "You are wasting water! Somebody get in there now!!" This time however Trevor (7) decided to challenge me... "How is this wasting water?" he asked. "Trev, the water has been running for like 5 minutes and you still have not got in the shower yet. (At this point I decided to step up my rhetoric a bit) Wasting water is like killing the planet!". The following conversation then ensued:

Trevor: Where does water come from?
Me: The Mountains.
Trevor: How does it get there?
Me: From the snow.
Trevor: Where does the snow come from?
Me: (starting to roll my eyes) The sky!
Trevor: (smiling 'cause he knows he's bugging me) Where does the sky come from?
Me: God! God makes the sky, okay! So in other words you are wasting God's water - and you're pissing him off!"
Trevor: Jake - you need to get in the shower right now because dad says you're killing the planet and God is getting really mad!!

Jake: I'm not going first!

Me: Trev, get your butt in that shower now or no more video games!!!

Trevor: Okay...

Angry God, killing the planet - no problem...but they draw the line at Nintendo.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back to the routine

Well it was a hard week last week (with the passing and funeral of my mother), but we all made it through (we had no choice). So now I'm going through all my work emails and trying to figure out what I can ignore and what I need to work on now. Kinda hard to get back in the routine though, hence the reason I took a short break to write this blog.

The weather here reeeeeally needs to improve. When I was in Alabama last week the daily high temperature was close, if not above, 70. It felt sooo nice. Now I've come back to exactly what I left - cold and wet. This does not make me look forward to my boy's baseball pratices/games this week. Apparently the weekend is supposed to be fairly nice, according to the often wrong weather geeks. We'll see.

For once I don't have too much to complain about - which is usually the inspiration for most of my blog postings. I must say that something like the passing of a loved one does tend to bring into focus what is important in life. It's kinda like getting whacked with a big club - but instead of making you dizzy and unfocused it does the exact opposite. I suppose it's a little like rebooting a computer (am I a geek or what) - it purges all those temporary files that tend to bog you down with unnecessary crap.

Oh sure, it won't take long for me to get back into my routine. There is comfort in routine. But hopefully I can hold onto the clarity of the moment for a while...even though I'm looking forward to someone doing something to inspire me to make fun of them. It won't take long I'm sure.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ernestine 1935 - 2008

Late Friday night, March 28, my mother passed away. She was diagnosed with renal (kidney) cancer two years ago. Despite a courageous battle against the cancer, it finally took her life. Never once during this battle did her spirit ever falter. She left this world with the same dignity and grace that she had shown all her life.

Damn it's hard to type through tears...

Ever since I was told she was gone I keep having this mental picture of her pop-up in my mind. It 's actually from a real picture I recall seeing in an old family photo album. There's little girl in a white dress, skinny legs, curls in her hair and a shy happy smile on her face because she's holding the new bike she just got for her birthday.

This little girl does not know what lies ahead of her.
She does not know that in few short years she will marry her high school sweetheart on her 17th birthday.
She doesn't know that she will give birth to 4 children who will cherish her every breath.
She doesn't know that in this picture she bears a striking resemblance to at least two of her children.
She doesn't know that she will experience the joy of birth and endure the sorrow of death.
She has no idea that her gift of endless humor will be passed on to her youngest son and that they will laugh together for years to come.

No, all she knows is she just got a new bike - and she's really, really happy about it.

Over nine years ago my older sister Nancy died (from complications of an allergic reaction to a bee sting). Just prior to her passing my oldest son Jake was born. Just prior to my mother's passing my brother-n-law Dave and his soon-to-be wife Lynn had a baby. Also, my niece Jennifer (daughter of my sister Nancy) is pregnant with what would have been my mother's great grandchild. what you will into this birth/death cycle that seems to coincide with the passing of my immediate relatives, but alls I know is there is nothing that helps a person deal with the grief of death more than holding a baby. Not just because they are all cute and cuddly - but for the possibilities they represent.

I'm telling you, they should rent babies out for such occasions.

Anyways, with that in mind, the "ying and yang" of life now befalls me as I type this, the day before my mother's funeral.

A Sunrise, a Sunset.
Beginning and End.
The passing of 72 year old woman and a smiling little girl in a billowy white dress.

Thanks for the memories mom.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sinus headaches, baseball and cups

Ahhhh, spring is in the air, and it's killing me. I never used to get allergies! Now each year as I get older it gets worse and worse - and this year it's by far the worst it's ever been. My eyes itch, my ears itch, my throat is raw and I am an absolute snot factory. Some of those symptoms have subsided and now I am left with a major sinus headache. I took a dizzying array of allergy medicines today that helped a little but mostly left me feeling jittery - with a sinus headache. Actually I think I am on the downhill side of this now though...thank goodness!

I think something that certainly did not help my situation was that my boys have started baseball practice. As I was driving home from my oldest son's (Jake) end of the season basketball party (held at a local ice cream shop) I was thinking "Ahhhhh, now for a nice break between sports" and just as we got home and I walked in the door the phone was was Jake's baseball coach calling to say the first practice was the next day. Doooooohhhhhhhhh!!!! Anyways, springtime in Seattle looks a helluva lot like winter in Seattle - cold and wet. I like to help out at these practices so that means I get to stay out in the cold and wet with the boys. So every night after practice I could feel myself getting a little more stuffy, then suddenly whammo!! I was a full blown mucus monster.

Funny thing about baseball this year, the boys are required to wear "cups". I went and got Jake his, selecting "Youth Large" from the giant display on the wall at our local sports store. Okay so this is a delicate topic but the reason I got him Youth Large was because he has a rather large...butt. The boy can pack the food away. Let's just say he's "husky" (which is exactly what I was at his age). Anyways, when he tried the underwear/cup combo on it looked like it was about 3 times too small for him. So back to the store I went and this time I got him "Teen Large". So now the underwear fits him but the cup is um...well...huge. I mean the kid is only 9. It looks hilarious. Rock stars would be proud. Anyways, I told Trevor (our 7 year old) that we had to get him one too. At first he was little confused because he didn't know what it was for and I joked with him that I was just gonna put one of my coffee cups in his pants, but eventually he said "Oh - it's to protect your peanuts!" and I said "Uhhh, yeah!". So I was little surprised to see that instead of being all embarrassed about it he enthusiastically told me "Okay - I want a red one (cup)!" Like this is some kinda fashion statement. Ahhhh, I can't wait for puberty to start hitting them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What I hate about you

I've been accused of being slightly sociopathic before. This is not to say that I don't love my fellow man (or woman, as the case may be), but I must admit that there is a fair number of humans that just bug the live'n crap out of me. For some reason I enjoy being out in public places and picking out people that I find particularily annoying. So with that in mind I decided to put the following list together - it's not a complete and comprehensive list - but it's a good sampling.

I hate you if...

You are wearing baseball cap in any way other than the bill pointing absolutely straight forward. Crooked, sideways, pointing straight up...uhh "no". Backwards is "okay", especially if you are working, but if you are out on the town with a buddy and you both have your hats on backwards - I hate you.

It's rush hour, the freeway is in gridlock, but for some reason you feel the need to weave in out of lanes trying to gain 5 car lengths on everyone else, you never signal and you are talking on the phone - I hate you.

I'm at the grocery store, you are in front of me in line, you feel the need to question the price of asparagas, then you pay with a check - I hate you.

I'm in my car in a parking spot close to the store entrance, you are sitting in your car waiting to see if I am leaving so you can take my spot. You are bugging me - and I hate you.

I'm using a public urinal, you insist on using the one next to me even though there are several others that are empty, you fart - I hate you.

I can't tell if you are wearing shorts or really short pants and your boxers are hanging out - I hate you.

Your Honda Civic sounds like a giant bumble bee (and your hat is on crooked and you have those pants/shorts things on) - I hate you.

You have a "Cowboy/Cowgirl Up!" or one of those "Peeing on..." stickers on your car - I hate you.

You are bald and you are wearing a sunvisor - I hate you.

You wear your cell phone bluetooth thing in your ear where ever you go - you look like the communications officer on Star Trek and you look like an idiot...and I hate you.

You are in front of me at the drive thru at McDonalds, you order a quarter pounder with specific instructions to the pimple faced 16 yearold working there to add "fresh lettuce" and cook it medium well - I loathe you....

I could go on and on...and probably will.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


People crack me up. Apparently there is a conspiracy behind everything. I was reading some posts on a forum of one of the local news websites about the recent arson fires that members of "ELF" declared responsibility for. I had expected to see posts from people who were disgusted about the intentional fires and of course I also expected to see a handful of posts from people who defended ELF's actions. But what I did not expect to see was all the posts from people who insisted this was a conspiracy by the builders of the luxury homes to collect on insurance!

I'm always amazed at how quickly people jump to these conclusions. Like somehow the ordinary or obvious explanation just can't possibly be true! Obama just an (extra)ordinary guy running for President? Heck no! He's obviously a Muslim extremist bent on the destruction of the United States! Did Hijackers ram airplanes into the World Trade Center? No Way! That was our own government who did that! That Flu vaccine you got? ...probably a chip implant to observe your whereabouts at all times.

Oh sure, people will say "Oh you are just soooo naive!" and to that I say "Mmmmmaybe, but at least I was able to keep you reading this blog long enough to control your mind using my internet mind control technology - now go...go I command you...go and...umm...cluck like a chicken everytime you see a Walmart!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Hate Flying

Remember when flying on a airplane was fun? …yeah, okay, neither do I. I just got back from a business trip to Salt Lake City, a trip that re-affirmed my distaste for flying.

Anytime I fly somewhere I have to psych myself up and keep saying to myself "It's only 3 hours (depending on the length of the flight), I can handle it". I have absolutely no fear of flying, in fact I've always thought that plummeting out of the sky at 600 miles per hour and cratering into the ground like meteor wouldn't be all that bad of a way to go. But I do hate flying. For one thing, being over 6 foot tall there is no way for me to be comfortable. My legs feel cramped, my back hurts, and my head is too high above the back of the seat to rest it comfortably there. Then there is the question of the armrest - who gets it? On my flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City we were flying on a 757 - basically a very long tube with 3 seats on each side of the aisle. I was in seat 37A (next to the window), in 37B and 37 C were two guys roughly the size of me (6 foot 1, around 215 pounds - i.e. "XL"). We could not have been more uncomfortable. I felt obligated to give the guy in the middle the armrest so this required me to sit somewhat sideways with my left shoulder resting on the side of the airplane wall. The result of flying in this position was an extremely sore back by the time we got to Salt Lake City.

Why is it that everyone feels the need to stand up as soon as the plane reaches the gate? If you are in the 37th row you won't be going anywhere for at least 10-15 minutes as everyone in front of you gathers their stuff and slowly makes there way out of the plane. I was certainly relieved to have the guy next to me stand up, but because I was in the window seat I had to remain seated - with a close up view of the guys butt in my face. Nice.

As bad as the flight to Salt Lake City was, it was nothing compared to the flight back home. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 8:25 am - which meant we had to wake up at 5:00 am (4:00 am Seattle time) in order to check out of our hotel and get to the airport in time to go through all the security lines. At exactly 8:10 am we got the call to start boarding our plane. Unlike the giant tube we flew on to SLC, we were now flying home on a tiny "commuter" type jet that probably held 50 people max.

The seating on the plane was "2 and 2", meaning there are 2 seats on each side of the aisle. When I checked in for the trip home I decided to quickly see if there were any seats open that appeared to be better than the one I currently had. I was supposed to be in 10B - an aisle seat. But I saw that seat 5A was open (being close to the front of the plane is always good - you get off the plane quicker) so I decided to change my seat….HUGE mistake.

When I got on the plane I quickly found seat 5A and I sat down and watched the other passengers file into the plane. The seat next to me remained empty…until, to my horror, I saw "it" coming towards me. As I silently chanted to myself "PLEASE GOD NO!!!" a very large woman in way too tight jeans, a ratty looking "hoody" sweatshirt with a pair of cheapo looking red framed sunglasses propped on top of her head (she was also wearing regular glasses) stopped next to seat 5B and said "Looks like this is my seat!". As she did so, she gave me a wide smile revealing dental work the likes of which I had not seen since my 9 year old son Jake carved his Halloween pumpkin. Just as I was about to say "Oh goody" she dropped her heavy carryon bag onto the magazines and my iPod that I had put in the seat next to me (in anticipation of not having anyone sit there). With annoyance in my voice I said "Can I get my stuff first!" and I dug the items out from under her bag. Once she got her bag put away she turned around and with a large amount her "muffin top" flab exposed above her jeans she squeezed into the seat. Recoiling in horror I tried to meld myself into the side of the plane in my best effort to avoid the blubber that was oozing towards me. Just as it appeared that she was going to try and strike up a conversation with me I grabbed one of my magazines and pretended to be engrossed in a story about India's Bollywood movies. Seeing that I was not interested in talking she quickly turned to the people seated around us and within a 5 minute span we were all informed that: 1) She had missed her flight last night and had to spend the night in the airport (hence the funky smell she was emanating), 2) She's flying from Maine to Alaska to move in with her boyfriend who has already been living there for 3 years and 3) She just wrapped up her divorce to her husband the day before…evidently her ex never even bothered to show up in court, can't say I blame him (Like me, you are probably confused by the math on all of this…but there was no way I was going to ask her any questions.).

So as I sat there in my private hell I kept telling myself "it's a short flight, it's a short flight, it's a short…" when the pilot came on the PA and said "Folks…(it's never good when they start off saying "Folks") we just got word from the flight controllers in Seattle that they are not allowing flights in due to fog there, so we are in a hold until we get clearance from them. We are going to go ahead and taxi out to the de-icing station and then hopefully they'll tell us we can go-ahead and take-off once we are done there". Now since I have lived in Seattle almost my entire life I know the fog there does not burn off quickly this time of year so I was not very optimistic about a quick departure. Turns out I was right. Soon after the de-icing process was complete the pilot came back on the PA and said "Folks (not good)…we are in a half hour hold so we are going to taxi out to a spot near the runway and hold there until we get clearance to go…"

Two and a half hours later…the pilot comes back on the PA (for like the 6th time) and says "Folks (sh*t!)…we've decided that we've waited out here long enough and we are going to take you back to the terminal so you can get out and stretch your legs. Hopefully we'll be on our way again soon…" Groans are heard throughout the cabin and the Wal-Mart Calendar Girl sitting next to me almost starts to cry as she says "I'll never get to Alaska!". Finally we reach the gate and everyone begins to de-plane and just when the first people off the plane reach the end of the sky bridge a airline representative stops us and says "We've got clearance to take off!". So we turned around and back into the plane we trudged.

And more than three hours after our scheduled departure had come and gone - we were finally in the air. I spent the next hour and a half with my iPod earphones cranking out loud music into my ears and trying to astro-project myself to a "happy-place". Finally we touched down in Seattle and when we did the Alaska bound beluga next to me said aloud to no-one in particular "I'm so tired of airports and airplanes…."

Amen to that sister, Amen to that....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ready, Set - Caucus!

I do not consider myself a Democrat, nor am I a Republican...I suppose that makes me an Independent. But since Independents don't have their own horse in this Presidential race I had to choose if I actually wanted to have a say who will be our next President. Since George Junior has pretty much soured the majority of Americans, and for that matter the world, on Republicans, I chose Democrat this time around. But this post is not meant to serve as a soap box for who I think should be president. The way I see it, we are all gonna be better off no matter who takes over after GWB.

So anyways, about the caucus... I have never been to one before and like a lot of people I just really, really wanted to do it this time around. First off - it was chaos. When I walked into the room I was met by a very nice older gentleman who told me to go to the table on my right and look for the precinct number I am in (according to the geographical area I live in). Problem was, the maps made no sense at all! Instead of just taking a large map of our local area and outlining the various precincts they decided instead to chop up the map into several unrecognizable sections and then have each person try to figure out where their house might be on these sections. It took me a solid 15 minutes of looking at all these little map-chunks until I finally figured out I was in "Precinct 641".

So with this new found knowledge I set about finding the table where my fellow "641's" sat. I walked past precinct "623's" table and it's 90+ members and table "617" and it's boisterous group of 50 or so...and then I saw table "641" and sitting there at my precinct's table were exactly two people: A 65 year-old grandmother and a 18 year-old, cute as a button, high school girl.

I walked up to the table and with my arms stretched out wide I shouted "My people!" which startled both of them and they almost in perceptively scooted their chairs away from me about an 1/8 of an inch. Not wanting to waste any time I immediately pointed at the teenager and said "Obama!". To which she nodded and meekly agreed that that's who she's voting for. I said "Me too!" I then turned to grandma and said "Okay, that's two Obamas, what say you?" Grandma shuffled in here chair a bit and then said "Well, I want to vote for Edwards..." I then said "You realize he is not actually running anymore right? and she shot me a look that just screamed "Don't use that tone with me young man" but she said "I know, but I just really like him and I'm not sure I can vote for Clinton or Obama". So I said enthusiastically "Alright, so this is why we are caucusing! This is where we (pointing at the prom queen) get to persuade you to vote for our guy!

I went first: "Okay, to me it's all about character, Obama just seems like the one candidate that is not full of...(looking at grandma)...of, you know, he answers questions directly (whew!). I mean, (struggling now, I'd never make it as a professional debater) he doesn't answer difficult questions with lines like "Well let me answer that question this way" I hate that!"

Okay, so there are important issues I could have brought up (Iraq, to name just one) that I agree with Obama on, but that was the best I could do at the time - so I turned to the cheerleader and said "Okay, you want to make a argument for Obama?" and she says "Sure" - and she launches into this well thought out and reasoned lecture that made me feel like a 4th place finisher in a retard race. When she finished, grandma smiled at her and said "Okay - Obama's got my vote".

We then had to elect a chairman, a secretary and a Tally counter. With my superior mental capacity I elected my self "Tally Counter" (there were exactly 3 votes, all for work was done) I then took it upon myself to nominate the teenage valedictorian as Chairman and grandma as secretary. We filled out the appropriate paper work, announced to the crowd that our single delegate (the number of delegates is based on precinct size - we were by far and away the smallest) was awarded to Obama.

After shaking my fellow precinct members hands and bidding them farewell I walked out of the caucus hall and to my car...feeling distinctly American. It was pretty cool.

Elementry School Musical

Okay, I am about to sound like the most jaded person in the world but here goes...alright I'm just gonna come right out and say it: "Elementry school music programs are just awful!".

The other night my wife and I attended my 9 year old son Jake's music program at his school. It was titled "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader (the musical)". Just before showtime, we took our seats (in uncomfortable folding metal chairs) amoungst the other parents in the school's gymnasium, which like all school gyms has the funky smell of sweaty little kids. As the name would imply, the "show" was modeled after the popular TV show. The school's principal played the role of the contestant. Each time she correctly answered a question she was "awarded" with a song - sung by the 3rd thru 5th grade students sitting at the front of the stage. Cute idea, but (here I go) I'm sorry, no matter what they do, it's still gonna be a bunch of bored looking kids singing ridiculous songs in a monotone voice. All of the songs had a Washington State theme - hence songs like "Apple Maggot Quarantine" (I'm not making that up), "Forty-four tribes" (all 44 Washington native american tribe names were "sung" in a list that seemed to go on forever) and just plain wierd songs like "Whenever I think of the Pioneers" (I am willing to bet a years salary that my son Jake has never actually sat around daydreaming about the "Pioneers" ...unless there is some kinda new video game where the Pioneers must fend off explosive energy plasma Megatrons from the planet Zurg). I kept finding myself looking at the program they gave us, trying to gauge how much longer we had to indure this ("Okay, they just sung "Washington, My home" - when they finish "The Salmon Song" we should be just about home free..")

Suddenly, and gratefully, the show ended and there was a smattering of applause from the audience (kinda like when Pro golfer sinks a bogey putt). Parents quickly packed up their camcorders and grabbed their children by the arm and headed for the exit. We wandered through the crowd and found Jake and I told him "Hey great job buddy". He said a bored "Thanks" and then said "I don't get the Apple Maggot Quarantine song...". I just shook my head and said "Neither do I buddy, neither do I..."

Friday, February 1, 2008


A few weeks ago I noticed a very light freckle that's about the size of a dime had appeared on my cheek just below my eye. I figured it was probably just a result of sun damage and getting older (getting older sucks), but because I am paranoid and I have great insurance I never hesitate to go get these things checked out by my doctor. Good news - I was right - sun damage/getting older. But my doctor said although it does not appear to be cancerous, it could someday, maybe, possibly turn cancerous. So with that he said "We could freeze it off if you want...". To that I said "Sure, why not...and hey, I've got a little one on my nose too and a few more on my chest - let's just do those too while we are at it!" So he goes and get's his little can of liquid nitorgen and sets about freezing (burning is more like it) all these little defective areas off my skin. The one on my cheek hurt like hell because A) it was a pretty good size and took a while for him to do and 2) It was on my frigg'n cheek!

So after he finishes the last one he says " by the way, those are probably gonna blister pretty good (especially the one on my cheek) and they might turn your skin white...". Now he tells me!! So now I've got this nasty look'n blister thing on my face (which looks 50 times worse than the light freckle thing I had) and then even after the blister goes away it might just be a nice bright white spot on my face! So much for my dream of becoming a male supermodel!!

Oh well, better to be safe than sorry I suppose... Oh and note to self: Make sure to turn the flash off on the camera when you take a close-up picture of your frigg'n eye!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow, Ant farms, other stuff

We woke up to a inch or two of snow today, which or course meant "no school". People in other parts of the country where they get "real" snow must think we are the biggest wimps in the world. "Oh no! An inch of Snow!! Cancel school!!!" Course this may be for good reason because people around here just cannot handle driving in the snow. This morning I saw a car turned sideways and stuck in a driveway with a woman and her two kids standing beside it looking perplexed about what to do next. I was thinking "Good lord, if you can't even navigate out of your driveway then please don't get out on a actual road - you'll get us all killed!" This is why I have a 4-wheel drive truck. Yes, I know, you don't actually need a 4x4 vehicle 360 out of 365 days of the year here, but when you's awesome. And all of you 2-wheel drivers need to get outta my way!!

Now for a completely different subject: Ant Farms. My sister Cheryl (Aunt Cheryl) gave my boys ant farms for Christmas and I have now become totally obsessed with them. It's soo cool! The ant farms have this blue jello-like stuff that the ants tunnel through. I was amazed at how quickly they get to work, only minutes after dropping them in the just started going at it. They rip out chunks of the stuff and carry it to the top - very team work oriented. One ant will chew off a chunk, turn around and give to another ant, then that ant will take it part way up the tunnel and give it to another ant and so on. In the picture below you can see all the little white chunks of this jello stuff they have bought up to the top. If an ant happens to die (which is inevitable) one of the ants will pick up the ants body and bring to the top where it will eventually be buried. Every day I wake up and go check the ant farm to see what kinda progress they have made. I discovered one thing I don't like about the ants though - they bite. I was trying to get a dead one out and a live one escaped and while I was trying to recapture it the little son of a gun bit me! Pretty sure these are "fire ants" because that's what my hand felt like. Amazing that such a little thing can pack such a powerful bite.

Other than that, nothing much new. We have our annual superbowl party next weekend and Suzie will be in London on business so I'll have to figure out what to feed everyone on my own...hmmm, maybe Top Ramen!

Monday, January 7, 2008

I hate this time of year

The holidays are over, time to go back to work, it's cold, it's wet and I have sinus headache. It's 3:00pm and I still have not taken a shower. I had a brownie for lunch. My wife is in China on business and for some reason the laundry is not getting done while she is gone. My kids have basketball tonight and I'd just prefer to not leave the house. I finished a book last night (No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy) that was about as uplifting as a baby seal hunt. I was watching the playoff game yesterday between Tampa Bay and the Giants and the announcers were saying how it was "a nice comfortable 72 outside"(the game was in Tampa Bay, obviously)...I just wanted to jump on a plane and go.

Maybe it's all of the above but I always seem to go into a mental funk in January and February. The world just seems dreary and I count the days until we get our first 60 degree day of the year - which often doesn't happen till May. I'm sure my attitude will improve, especially if I can think of some more things to complain about.