Southern Discomfort

Well folks…today was a sad day indeed.  After a wonderful New Year’s celebration last night and a great dinner with my family and friends this evening, my 2011 bubble was quickly burst when my Southern upbringing reared it’s country head.  Yep, y’all heard me right.  My evening was shattered by an “accent malfunction”.  Allow me to explain…

My wife, kids, and I went to our friend’s house this evening to enjoy some Yakiniku (a Japanese style cookout where you grill your meat and veggies on a small electric grill placed in the middle of the dinner table).  After dinner, we decided to play a few games; couple versus couple.  First we played Catchphrase, which went pretty well.  My wife and I won one game and our friends, Rebekah and Kevin, won the other.  After Catchphrase, we decided to try our hands at Pictionary.

I will be the first to admit that my drawing skills are less than desirable.  My rabbits look deranged and the cows that I draw normally turn out looking like obese mountain lions, but for some reason, my wife is very skilled at deciphering my scribbles.  We did very well the first game and ended up winning.  I must admit that the hamster that I drew on a tight rope was very abstract and thoughtful.  After our win, I suggested that we switch from couples to Man versus Woman.  The ladies obliged and we began a literal battle of the sexes.

At first, Kevin and I were handily dispatching our lovely female foes; quickly guessing what the other was drawing. Eventually though, we began to falter.  The ladies had a pretty astounding run in the end and were able to tie the game.  With one move left for the win, it was my turn to draw.  Flexing my skilled fingers, I sharpened my stub of a pencil and selected my card from the box.  My daughter flipped the hourglass timer and I began to draw.

After a few moments, Kevin had guessed that I was drawing Gel; the kind that you put in your hair when styling it for a night on the town or the form in which toothpaste comes inside of the tube.  Unfortunately, my dear wife had glimpsed the card as I passed it to her and she wore a look of both confusion and amusement on her face as I “high fived” my partner and congratulated him on a job well done.  Rising from her chair, she dug the card from the discarded pile and showed it to Kevin’s wife, who then joined my wife in a bout of hearty laughter.

“What the heck is so funny?” I asked.  “Do you guys enjoy losing?”

“Think again there Redneck,” they said as they showed me the card.

The card said Jail, not Gel.  Crestfallen, I hung my head in shame.  How could I have made such an error.  I cursed my Southern upbringing and my country accent as my wife and her friend celebrated their glorious victory.  There are many times that I relish my Southern roots, but tonight they betrayed me.  Damn my sweet sweet Georgia drawl!


Have a Merry Winter Holiday!

Christmas postcard, 1911

Goodbye Santa

Well Folks…it’s that time of year again.  Families are decorating holiday trees, lovely artificial Georgia Pines festooned with low watt energy saving winter lights and orbs of colors that span the rainbow.  Mothers everywhere are baking Gingerbread Person cookies outfitted in smart pants suits smudged with blue and pink icing.  Dad is gearing up in the gym, going to cross fit classes so that he can fit into his new chinos from Banana Republic.  With all of these things going on, I think that it is high time to share the history of how Christmas became Winter Holiday…

A very long time ago there was a man named Santa Claus.  He lived in a wondrous place called the North Pole.  Each year, with the assistance of a highly trained cadre of elves (a tiny breed of human who in the Eighties we referred to as midgets), Santa made and delivered toys to all of the world’s children on Christmas Eve.  He asked for nothing in return.  He simply loved to put smiles on children’s faces; much like Michael Jackson (too soon?).  Santa had a team of reindeer that could fly.  They pulled him in a huge sleigh through the chilly winter skies, landing on rooftops all over the world to deposit Santa down chimneys so that he could deliver toys to the little boys and girls.  This happened every year for many, many years.

Today we have no Santa.  We have replaced him with nervous parents who scour the internet searching for age appropriate toys (usually geared towards learning tolerance and/or foreign language skills) for their children.  Our children no longer feign sleep just to wake up to GI Joes and Barbie dolls.  Nope, those days are long gone.  The kiddos are now nestled snugly in bed with their laptops and iPads cruising Facebook and being internet bullies, waiting for the morning to come so that they can open the presents that they helped their parents pick out.  How did this happen?  Let me explain:

I’ve told you about the glorious days of Santa Claus, but I did not share the story of his terrible fate.  You see, Santa caused a lot of discontent to a lot of people (mostly residents of California, but I digress).  The first problem that Santa ran into was global warming.  His snowy homeland, a place held together by the imagination of millions of children around the world, began to melt away.  Children everywhere were being indoctrinated into the myth that is global warming and with each tear shed for a sweaty penguin, Santa’s home began to melt.  The next problem that Santa faced was a heavy accusation of running a sweatshop full of undersized adults, or little people.  This ridiculous subterfuge caused discontented mutiny in Santa’s workshop once word spread to the elves that they were being kept down by “the man”.  Soon, Santa had no one to help him make toys.  To add insult to injury, Santa’s jolly wife, Mrs. Claus, left him for a woman named Marge after attending Lilith Fair.

Today you can still see Santa, smelling slightly of liquor, panhandling for change in front of outlet malls all over the country.  Do yourself a favor and give the guy some change.  Maybe some hope and change.  It seemed to have worked for America.

OB/GYNs are Peeping-Toms

Lounging around the womb.

Hello Folks. Yesterday I accompanied my lovely wife to the doctor’s office to take a sneak peek at the kiddo in utero, and boy what a cool little ‘field trip’ that turned out to be. For those Dudes out there who have never had the pleasure of spying on a fetus, I’ll give you the down and dirty…

The first thing that happens when you arrive for your appointment is the pregnant woman (we are going to call her Momma) gets her vitals checked out. It is important to make sure that Momma is on track with blood pressure and weight gain. We don’t want the baby to be hungry or tweaked out, so a quick check of the vitals is imperative. Everybody loves a chunky baby, right?

Next, Momma gets interviewed by the Nurse. There is a long list of questions that the nurse reads out, which I can only guess was written by a military interrogator. I’m not quite sure what some of these questions had to do with pregnancy, but if anyone can tell me what “when was the last time that you ate a peanut butter sandwich after watching the episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Izzy over-sympathized with a dying patient?” has to do with incubating babies, please let me know.

After the nurse is happy with the answers to all of the questions, you are moved to an examination room. Here is where things start to get a little interesting. There is a small television monitor plugged into an outlet alongside the exam table. This is the ultrasound machine. This nifty gadget is what the Ol’ Sawbones uses to photograph and monitor the baby. I’m not entirely sure how this device works, but I assume that it runs on the same principals as SONAR. Like a mighty Spruance Class Destroyer tracking down Soviet subs, this precision instrument pings sound waves through the soft tissue of Momma’s belly and gets a return off of the baby, which is displayed on the screen for our viewing pleasure. I wish that I could have been given free reign over that apparatus for fifteen minutes. I could have literally looked into some bodily mysteries that have always eluded me, but that is for another forum. Back to the baby…

Next, the Doc squirts some aloe-vera type stuff all over Momma’s belly and begins to rub a probe around until we get a good heartbeat from the baby. This part can be particularly stressful. I find this akin to an elderly man scanning the beach with a metal detector, patiently canvassing miles of sandy shoreline, listening for that sweet soft beep. Once you have located the baby’s heartbeat, you are ready for the fun to begin, but do not let the brevity of this description fool you, dear readers. It can take an awful long time to pinpoint the baby’s tiny heartbeat. I don’t know where our little gremlin (this is a pet name, I assure you) could have possibly been hiding, but it must be part ninja because it dropped a fetal smoke bomb and disappeared for a good two minutes. Vanished. Kapoof. After a couple of very long minutes of searching, we found it and relaxed a little. We still had a few things left to do; we had to get a look at our little miracle and do a little prenatal paparazzi-ing.

Once the heartbeat is found, it’s face time. This is when you get up-close and personal with the baby. The Doc switches out the previously used probe for a small instrument that looks like a paddle. This is used to peer through Momma and into Baby. The Doc moved that paddle all around my wife’s belly until she found the ‘sweet spot’ where we could get the best look at our new addition. Now, my wife is only 13 weeks along, so I wasn’t really prepared for what I was about to see. I expected to see a little tadpole-ish dude or dudette looking up at me like an alien who has been trapped inside my wife and cannot figure out how in the heck it got there. Boy was I wrong! The little person that appeared on the screen before me actually looked like a tiny little human. Not a tadpole, not an alien, but a human being. Granted, I couldn’t see a lot of details and this machine was definitely not an HD Sony Bravia, but I could certainly ascertain that this little guy looked a lot like me. It already had arms. It had legs. The little chap had the whole kit and caboodle! From what the Doc said, the only body part that has not formed at this point is the lungs, but it’s all gravy because the baby uses Momma’s blood for oxygen. Kind of spooky, like we have a sparkly little Edward incubating in my wife! Living on blood…yuck.

Back on topic. I’m pretty sure that the baby takes after me because we have a tiny show off on our hands. As soon as we got a good view of the fetus, it started cart wheeling all over my wife’s placenta. This baby was dropping it like it was HOT! We could see the little arms moving. The hands were opening and closing, the feet kicking, the booty shaking. Our kiddo was a rockin’. I must admit that this was a pretty cool experience. The Doctor takes some snapshots of the baby while explaining what you are looking at on the screen. The pictures, kind of like second rate Polaroids, are printed out of the bottom of the machine. Just like the photo booth at the mall, but free! Either way, the snapshots never really come out exactly like what you are actually looking at on the screen. The picture labeled “Baby’s Head and Arms” came out of the printer looking like a dragon that was attacking a medieval castle, but we accepted the portraits none-the-less.

The last thing that the doctor does is some measuring. Doc uses a digital tape measure to figure out if the baby is on the right track, growth wise, and lets you know the age. Cool stuff. Our baby looked good to go, so we were both very happy. All in all, it was a great experience. I enjoyed spying on our little one. Now we are waiting for our next visit when we get to see if my superior genetics have produced another son or if my wife’s secret prayers have been answered for another daughter (I know you want another girl Baby!) Either way, I’m glad that all was quiet on the “southern front”. Until next time, stay classy.

This is the measurement of the baby's head.

2010 Name That Twin Contest

Well folks, today marks the day for the first annual Name That Twin Campaign. The rules are simple. You must tag my twin brother Jeremy and I each with a fitting nickname. Sadly, most of you out there do not know us. In actuality, this is a post that is none-to-covertly aimed at getting under my dear brother’s skin. Either way, if you would like to play, please feel free to chime in. The contest will run for seven days and will be open to anyone who can bang out a coherent entry on their keyboard. I will announce the winner on my blog in seven days.

I have come up with my own entry to start things off. Don’t worry, I will try not to be biased when judging, but I am fairly certain that my entry will win.

Here is my entry:

Me: The Professor

Jeremy: The Chimp

***Disclaimer-my brother is not actually a primate, but in some circles I am considered a professor.***

What do you folks think? It is kind of catchy, huh? I imagine that it will make conversations regarding my brother and I much more interesting. For example:

“Wow, did you see the pictures that The Chimp took this weekend at Vikki’s wedding?”

“What? Vikki hired a Chimp to photograph her big day? I knew that she and Bill were struggling, but jeez louise.”


“Did you hear that The Professor is now living in Japan?”

“I did. I also heard that The Professor and his wife are expecting their third child.”

“The Professor is awesome.”

“I know. He is, isn’t he.”

I tell you what folks, nicknames sure can spice things up. I am looking forward to some interesting entries. Good luck and hope to hear from you soon. Let the fun begin!

Bad news, good news, and how a crow delivered a story idea.

Bad news...

What a difficult weekend!  My daughter has been in and out of the ER for the last couple of days, dealing with an injured shoulder, so my wife and I have been kind of stressed out.  Currently, I am not home (I am quite a ways away), so my poor wife has had to bear this burden all by herself, with my support solely through Skype or via cell phone.  I wish that I could be there for them in person, but I cannot.  Thank God that we have a good cellular plan.  Go Softbank!

Since my wife is keeping me posted via cell phone, I spent a few hours in the park today awaiting updates from home.  The signal inside of this massive steel warship is non-existent, so the park on base became my mobile command post.  Before leaving the ship, I packed my book, grabbed my Sony Mylo, stuffed my cell phone in my pocket, and headed to the park.  On the way, I made a quick stop at Starbucks and purchased a mocha-something-or-other-frappuccino.

Once at the park, I located a nice park bench and began to construct my command and control center.  After I was satisfied with the set up, I kicked back and waited for my phone to ring, providing an update on our daughter’s status.  Enjoying the sun shining down on me through the trees, I settled into the book that I am currently reading, ironically (you’ll soon find out) entitled Crows and Cards.

Good News.

After about an hour of reading, I phoned my lovely wife for an update.  The doctors examined the x-rays and have decided that our daughter’s arm is not fractured!  Great news, although she is still in a lot of pain.  Poor thing.  With that good bit of news, I resumed reading.
How a crow delivered a story idea.

While reading my book, I noticed a lot of aerial shenanigans in my peripheral vision.  I lowered the book from in front of my handsome roman nose (my nice way of saying big) and directed my attention towards the escapades unfolding all around me.  I was suddenly aware of swarms of crows and sea-hawks, giving the resident pigeons a ration of you-know-what.  The crows were diving down towards the pigeons, followed by the graceful and predatory dive of the sea-hawks.

After watching a few unsuccessful dives by the crows and sea-hawks, I realized that the pigeons were scattering in every direction of the compass each time an attacker dove to strike, causing mass confusion among the birds of prey.  It seemed that the vulnerable pigeons had found strength in numbers.  How intelligent these rats of the sky seem to be!

In the heat of battle, an evil crow decided upon a ‘kamikaze’ attack directed towards the pigeons and almost ran into the bench that on which I was sitting.  If it wasn’t absolutely silly, I would swear that the bird was after the shiny ipod that lay by my side.  The wayward crow screamed towards a pigeon, pulled up a little late, and grazed my bench; pointy claws scraping at my nano!  All of a sudden, I was struck by an idea for a story.  Fantastic.  It was truly an inspiration from above.

I guess that is enough excitement for one day.  I will update you folks on our daughter’s status as soon as I can.  I think that she is will be alright, but she’s going to be in pain for a few days.  Wish us luck…

My son has foreseen my demise!

Tonight my son happened to cruise into the living room while a commercial on television was showing off the new xbox 360.  It is sleek.  Beautiful.  Too bad he already has an older one that works.  He asked me if I would buy him one.  I declined, but counter offered that he save one dollar per day for four hundred days and then he could buy one for himself. I’m gonna chock the conversation that ensued up to the fact that my son just turned six and has a skewed sense of time.

“Dad, that would take a long time!”

“It sure would buddy.”

“You will be dead by then!”

“What?  Are you sure bud?  That is only 13 months from now.”

“I’m sure Dad.  Why don’t you just go ahead and buy it before you die so that we can play together.”

….I guess that is sound logic from a six year old.  Let’s hope that he is not clairvoyant.  Now I have to buy the new xbox.