Thursday, October 30, 2008

"there's a brown thing stuck in my underwear"

so we're having dinner, and K1 is excused due to a poor appetite (read: attitude). he's getting ready for bed, going to the bathroom, brushing his teeth, calling downstairs every 2 minutes with an inane question just to maintain his connection with us - the usual. the rest of us are still eating. so he yells down "there's a brown thing stuck in my underwear" and N and i grab our heads and look deep into our laps and try desperately not to laugh, or lose our dinner. and the first thought in my head was "blackmail". buddy, from this moment on i own you. you miss curfew, i'm sitting your pals down in front of this posting, and already relishing the blush on your cheeks. you ever ding my car, i'm texting this post to every one on your friends list. you start to "pull away" to spend more time with some hot little number, i'll email her this link.
love you buddy - always

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I've been thinking about some things lately, and they mostly came about after learning recently that my Dad has lung cancer - after 30-some years of smoking is this really shocking? Surprisingly, yes. I was shocked. Mostly I was shocked that, after 6 years of no contact from my dad, and no qualms with that lack of contact, I actually gave a crap. Those of you who know me know that I don't have a great relationship with either of my parents. They're terrible parents, and they struggle with being even just tolerable people. In cutting ties with them I meant to shield K-squared from the unnecessary drama and the eventual let downs that would come from having a relationship with them. And maybe I just didn't want to deal with their crap anymore. Who really knows what motivates a person to do the things they do?
So here we are - it's the beginning of October and we're planning a trip to Oklahoma to see my Dad and his family for Thanksgiving. Sort of a "Last Supper at the Asylum". And I'm looking forward to it. And that shocks me too. Who knows why? Maybe I've been able to look at our past together from a different perspective. Maybe his being sick simply wipes the slate clean. Maybe I've learned over the past few years what being a parent is and should be about, and that perhaps, even as the child here, I have a responsibility (or maybe just desire - who knows?) to help him realize that even as he's dying it's not too late to learn these things as well. Maybe I'm just a masochist.
Anyhow, this is what I've been thinking - I want K-squared to know that their parents love them completely, no strings attached - that they are loved regardless of how smart they are, or how attractive they are, or how competitive they are. I want them to know that we will never leave them, or make them feel responsible for our shortcomings and failures. We will never have to make up for lost time, or make a last ditch effort to have a relationship. I want them to know that they bring us joy, that we are proud of them, that we support them even though we may wince at their choice of...whatever, or whomever, or however - as long as they make that choice for themselves, and not to please someone else. I want them to know that they are the best thing to happen to me, even if they're "done" and need to be wiped.
Maybe this is all they really need to know

Friday, June 20, 2008

my man

I can't believe you're already five - not because it means I'm five years older or you're getting bigger but because it means simply that five years have come and gone and it feels as though I've missed it - blink. I was in class when you said your first word and took your first step. It killed me to come home and hear that you did these things without me. But I am so impressed by the fact that you did these on your terms - and that a shaky step has become a fleet footed romp, and a mispronounced word has become a thoughtful compliment or a brilliant observation. You are becoming an impressive young man. I love how active you are (most of the time) - I am so proud to see you outrun or outlast EVERY other kid around, and I envy your rocket arm. It's astounding how quickly you figure things out - you really are a mechanical genius. At two, when you couldn't say "radio" you were able to toddle yourself down to Aunties's, turn on her clock radio (little switch in back), dance your little heart out, then turn it off and toddle back up the stairs when you were done. Brilliant! I love your spirit of fairness and generosity - the way you follow the rules and the way you care for your sister. I feel honored to be your father - you amaze me every day. You say you want to be just like me, but I want you to be better and in so many ways you already are - keep it up little man

Friday, April 25, 2008


I went upstairs tonight to help put K-squared to bed - albeit, after N did the hard stuff, and after hearing "NO! AAAAAAUGHHHHHHH!" Apparently K1 felt it necessary to scrub the toothpaste residue out of the sink with his toothbrush. So I get upstairs in time to see K1 dragging one foot while hopping on the other to his room, and K2, wearing only a rainbow color pair of "big girl" panties clutching her two favorite blankets and running around yelling "I found them, I found them", when the reality is N found them (in my closet) with several stuffed animals and who knows what else and simply put them where they belong - but K2 found them, and was overjoyed. And N isn't smiling, but I am and here's why: this is a perfect moment. One that I will remember fondly for years to come - one where I see my children as both the innocents they are and the adults they will become, and am equally proud of both. It's a moment where I wish I had the damn camera, but really don't need it because the scene is so indelibly etched in my mind - a snapshot if you will of the good times. It's a worry suspending moment where I can forget the pitfalls that will come for these two beautiful urchins and can appreciate just how much fun they are and how bright the world seems for them. My world is brighter because of them. Today was a good day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Believe it or not I've actually been getting bugged about posting again - shocker! Here's the thing - I've thought about it, and have drafts saved, but I just can't seem to finish a thought. I'm plugged up. They say to clear up writers block you have to keep writing, so here goes - cathartic stream of consciousness.
Spring is here, which in Colorado means snow, apparently. N hates it, but I'm breathing a sigh of relief because that means I can put off fixing the sprinklers which we had to shut off last July. The yard died, and again, N hates it. Additionally, I can put off picking up after the dogs - two enthusiastic thumbs up!
The job is going quite well - although since we have volunteers we can't use pneumatic tools which means we're hammering fools - and my arm gets tired - so I found a way to fix that and my cool tool jones at the same time - a Stiletto "Muscle Head" 16oz titanium framing hammer - retail price $106 - I know for a hammer, right? Titanium head, hickory shaft - all the weight in the head means a smaller hammer can drive nails just as well as the big boys and save an arm too - and again, N hates it.
I have to stop here and add that N doesn't actually hate anything I've written about so far, except for the snow, and the yard dying, and buying a 100 dollar hammer.
The start of ultimate season for me will be delayed until June since Sports Monster can't figure their crap out - which means I'll be home every Thursday night instead of hucking and running and sweating out whatever angst builds up over the duration of my procrastination. Poor N - doesn't seem to be looking up for her.
Murphy has gas, and a skin condition which compels him to lick himself continuously - we all hate it.
Gas has risen to prices we've never seen, and here we have two SUVs - hate.
We keep getting gifts for the kids from my deadbeat parents that are either addressed to K1 and Skyler (not K2s name), or they're for kids much younger than ours, or they're just crap - hate, hate, hate.
So with all the hating going on it's easy to lose sight of what we love - we love each other , first of all. We love our family - in-laws, surrogates, Martha Stewart aunts and gun-nut uncles. We love our home. I love my hammer. We even love Murphy, although I can't figure out why. We're better off than (what's the statistic?) 95% of the rest of the people on the planet. We can vote - although in this election what's the point? Really. We have damn good friends. We love The Office, and the fact that we when we watch it we forget about everything else - even the dogs outside in the rain. My job is awesome. N is awesome with her work, and just about everything else she does, and she can work from home (extremely fortunate in that respect). We truly are living the dream. Why is it sometimes we just want to wake up? Anyone?
My DVR froze up again - hate.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I recently took a position with Habitat for Humanity, and I have to say that it is the coolest job on the planet! It combines the best aspects of construction (skilled craftsmanship, manly tools, working outside) and the best aspects of the non-profit world (helping others to better themselves, sustainibilty, job satisfaction), and it attracts quality people in the process - people who give of themselves for no other reason than it's right to do so - people who aren't simply collecting a paycheck - people who may be at a disadvantage but who have the integrity to not simply put their hand out for what they think they are entitled to, but rather agree to give considerable time and effort to the task of bettering their lives, and the lives of those in similar circumstances (after their required "sweat equity" is completed, home owners often continue to volunteer with Habitat).
A month ago I was doing commercial construction for a company that put profit above all else, and while it allowed for increased responsibility and career growth, I was completely miserable. Now I work for a company that puts meeting people's needs above all else, and while it also allows for increased responsibility and career growth, it fosters empathy and personal growth and I can't imagine wanting to do anything else. It's neat to build a house. It's fun to use power tools. It's great working with men and women who aren't convicted felons, and don't cuss every second word or blow cigarette smoke in your face, and who really care about what's going on in their world - enough to give of their time or even pass on the promise of greater riches to shovel dirt or drive nails or haul concrete. It's humbling to see a person work their butt off to build their own home and in turn regain their sense of pride, and it's awesome to be a part of it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

calling a spade a spade

A good friend of mine has remarked that I'm a straight-shooter - I say it how it is with little regard for what someone else might say. So here's how it is - I'm an asshole. I recognize this about me; sometimes I embrace it. In my previous line of work this quality was certainly an asset as I didn't get too caught up in feelings - or the preservation thereof - which allowed me to say (and do) what needed to be said (and done). And I don't get too wound up over what is said to me - water off a ducks back - whatever - I don't care. In fact, being called an asshole generally meant I was doing my job - well.
Here is where this is a (recurring) problem - with N, who is a classy woman and who is very adept at saying what she feels needs to be said, I find myself caring a great deal about what is said, by her to me and I instantly become defensive. The reasons for this are several fold: 1) I hate looking like a schmuck - worse I hate being a schmuck and being confronted with my schmuckiness - accountability is not my strong suit (poor parenting - really) - and the reality is that if she is confronting me, she's probably a) in the right, and b) has let whatever "it" is go on for a while and simply can't take it anymore. 2) N is one of a handful of people who's opinion of myself matters, and hers matters most - I hate disappointing her - she is a wonderful mother, a loving wife, and is completely selfless, and constantly gives her best, especially to her family - so it goes without saying that she deserves my best efforts. 3) I have a great deal of pride, and that pride is shaken when I fail to meet expectations, and so when I do fail I get pissy, and I don't want to discuss where, and how, and why I blew it - we all know where, and how, and why - discussing it just makes the feeling of failure greater and more difficult to overcome. There are other reasons I am sure, but the reasons are beside the point. The point is this - I'm not fine with this particular status-quo - I NEED to improve. I need to be accountable. I need to give my best effort to those who love me. I need to reflect on the areas where I blew it - this is where real growth occurs, and frankly, this is where my growth has been stunted.
By writing this, I suppose, I am calling myself out. I am acknowledging the 188 lb. unaccountable pissy elephant in the room, and I am declaring a jihad on it, so that I may become more whole. I need this. N deserves it. And we really don't have the room for an elephant anyway.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I hail from the South - Texas to be exact. My wife hates Texas, and everything she thinks it stands for. Yet she loves me. Americans can be luke-warm about the U.S., but Texans LOVE Texas, and they LOVE being Texans. The same is pretty much true of anyone from the South. We take a certain amount of pride in our rebel past - in our penchant for going against the status quo. The men and women who settled the southern states were generally industrious, hard-working, sweat-of-the-brow folks who didn't take well to being told what and where and how-for. So rather than toil under the dictates of someone else, they stike out on their own. Throw a dart at a map of east Texas or western Louisiana and you'll most likely hit a town that was settled or founded by one of my ancestors - Avinger, Texas - Stonewall, Louisiana - Bossier, Louisiana - a town or two in Alabama. Forget the toothless, inbred stereotypes - these are iron hard folks who look after their own, and more often as not will refuse aide in any form. They don't have to be rich, they just want to own what they have.
Like many southern folk, I can trace my lineage back to Ireland and Scotland. Again, these are proud folk who can be unruly subjects. I take pride in knowing that my ancestors would not settle for merely making it - they set out, leaving friends and family behind, to make more of themselves and to better provide for the generations to come. Instead of waiting for conditions to improve, they sought to improve their condition themselves. No hand out - no blame. Just action.
I guess the point is this - while my family is largely rooted in the South, and I am quite proud of my Southern (and Irish) heritage, I feel more rooted in the tradition of doing what is necessary, what is right for me and mine, and I won't be told what that is.
I hope that this tradition continues through K1 and K2. I want them to be strong and proud, and to do only what they feel is right, regardless of what their friends, or even their family, tell them. I want them to find their own path - to love it, to own it, and to never settle.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

game of the gods

Ultimate season is nearly here! I am giddy with anticipation, even though I haven't played for the last two seasons. I'm hoping that I've grown up enough to simply enjoy playing, rather than whining about my teammate's perceived lack of skill and/or commitment. I can't believe I'm about to say this - though it IS true - winning isn't everything, and I'm guessing that I'll be one of the guys who's finding it difficult to keep up - initially .
I still want to win, though. BADLY! Nothing wrong with that, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

all i really need to know...

I don't deal well with grief. It makes me uncomfortable. I really don't understand people who wallow in their grief. They make me mad. I do understand anger, however. I completely get wanting to choke the crap out of the ***hole who stands at the gas station air compressor after his tire has been inflated simply because he doesn't want you to use the rest of his $.75. Who doesn't get that?
But here's the thing (this isn't earth shattering (if you want deep and groundbreaking check out N's blog)), we need grief - if for no other reason than to help us regain perspective.
I was reminded of this a little while ago when I ran across an NPR interview with Robert Schimmel. I won't even attempt to retell it here, since, as my dear N loves to point out, I suck at it - my version typically takes twice as long as the original.
We'll just stick with the perspective I regained:
Don't just look for opportunities to instruct your children - look for opportunities to learn from them. They have as much to teach as they have to learn.
"If you want to survive, keep marching." Don't wallow. Don't ever quit. I guarantee you someone else has overcome far worse than you are currently dealing with.
Choose your words carefully - you can't unring a bell - don't put yourself in a position to wish you could.
And finally, even with an eternal perspective, life is fleeting and nothing is guaranteed - make the most of every minute you have with the ones you love.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


After months of reading and enjoying my wife's posts and thinking to myself "I should do that, too", here we go. My goal is to give another point of view of this small yet surprisingly power packed family. My wife, N, does a fine job with her blog, but I feel it is important, or will be anyway, for my kids to see our lives through my eyes. They should know what daddy was doing and thinking, if for no other reason than to know I was involved - which I am, and love to be.

A quick introduction of the regulars is in order and then we'll wrap up this initial installment:

B - Dad, Honey.
N - Mom, Babe, all around bad-ass.
K1 - Nearly 5 rowdy boy, older brother, loves his daddy, needs his sister, will run you into the ground.
K2 - 3.5 punk princess, loves her mommy, adores her brother, tolerates her daddy, is tougher than any other child on the planet.