Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year

Happy New Year from my little corner of the world to yours. And no, Trot didn't turn into a flesh eater overnight; Just a combination of ham, Doritos, and a chocolate cookie.

All in all, 2007 was a pretty good year; I celebrated my 15th year of marriage, I've got three healthy children (well, physically anyway), and the Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in 4 years.

I met a lot of new friends online, and had the pleasure of meeting several of them in person, including my adopted sister Tex.

My resolutions for the new year are pretty simple; Laugh more and yell less, tell my wife I love her at least 10 times a day, and kiss my kids more often.

Other than that, I'll do what I've always done; take it one day at a time and muddle along the best I can. Like the great prophet Forrest Gump once said, "I'm not a smart man".

I have no idea what the new year will bring; I'm just figuring on going along for the ride.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

They Did It For Sean

I interrupt the normal drivel about my nut job family and the Boston Red Sox to make the following announcement; my football team, the Washington Redskins, made the playoffs. Better yet? They beat the Cowboys to do it.

If you think I'm letting the fact Dallas had already wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs going into the game, pulled Tony Romo, and for all I know had the guy who hands out the Gatorade playing free safety by the end harsh my mellow? You are sadly mistaken.

Other than that period from 1983 to 1992, where they appeared in 4 Super Bowls and won 3, the 37 years I've walked this rock have not been kind to the 'Skins. For every Joe Gibbs, George Allen, Marty Schottenheimer, and Vince Lombardi as head coach they've also had THESE guys; Bill Austin, Jack Pardee, Richie Petitbon, and Norv Turner. And for the record, Steve Spurrier NEVER coached in Washington. You hear me? NEVER.

Comparing Jack Kent Cooke to Daniel Snyder as an owner is sort of like comparing Ann Margaret to Paris Hilton as an actress. Getting richer and younger is cancelled out by being dumber with way less class. After that magical 9 year period, the next 15 years have been one frustrating season after another. From 1993 through 2006 their record was a scintillating 95-135 with 2 playoff appearances resulting in a 2-2 record.

After starting this year 5-3 they proceeded to lose the next 4 games. Their best player, Sean Taylor, tragically lost his life as well during this time. I'm not one for mystical forces and looking at your own belly button for the answers to life, as anyone in my family will readily attest.

But for a team to win it's last 4 games while dealing with the unspeakable tragedy of a young mans life senselessly being snuffed out AND end up making the playoffs? THAT doesn't happen.

They say a picture says 1,000 words; I'll let this one of Clinton Portis speak for me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Think She Finally Snapped

Strangely, the moment I realized my wife was certifiably insane wasn't the culmination of some gradual build of events. No connect the dots from one weird incident to the next, no telltale signs, and no "I saw this coming" revelations.

I knew when I rolled out of bed this morning. In 15 years of marriage, she has NEVER taken the Christmas decorations down until after January 1st; when I walked out of our bedroom today, the house looked like Cindy Lou Who's did after the Grinch got through with it. She had ripped down every bit of garland, ribbon, and lights we'd put up not 5 weeks earlier.

Before I realize it, I'm recruited into taking ornaments off the trees and stuffing things into boxes and 2 hours later it's like Christmas never happened. After a lot of yelling about "You slept in and I've done all this work and why won't you just help me", all I'm left with are lights outside to take down and approximately 5 million pine needles to vacuum off the floor. Don't let anyone fool you; a fake tree that is 20 years old sheds as much as a live tree does.

For a brief second I panicked and the one thought that rushed through my head was "Oh crap. She's pregnant". Then I realized that there was NO way a just God would allow that to happen, and figured it was the onset of menopause, which caused another wave of desperation to wash over me. Thankfully, I was wrong on both counts.

Turns out she just got a wild hair when she woke up and wanted to get it over with. Since this woman NEVER does anything without analyzing it to death, I can only conclude that myself and our three little bundles of joy have finally pushed her over the edge.

If that's the case, I only have these 4 words to offer:

God help us all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Visit from a Scouser

*Photo courtesy of Ciera*

While there was doubt whether Horshamscouse would survive his visit, I'm happy to say my friend John did indeed make it out alive after coming to Casa De Ted.

Rakes and Trot were immediately in awe, I think because of the accent. I'm not sure John noticed, because even in a state of amazement they still act like they are hopped up on sugar. Or meth, take your pick. It helped that John showed up with 3 bags full of presents, including a soccer ball(he noticed in an earlier picture Rakes was playing with a ball that was too big. Them Brits and their football), New Zealand hats, a CSI kit, and even some Jade earrings for Ang all the way from New Zealand. The highlight?

The bears Rakes and Trot are holding: if you look close, one is New Zealand police officer and the other is a crook, complete with miniature handcuffs; Appropriately, Rakes is holding the criminal. Both boys have went to bed the past 2 nights clutching these as they went to sleep, so well done John.

During the day I learned that the Horsham part of his tag name is a market town outside of London, while a scouse is short for scouser. Scouser is actually a Danish dish that the people of Horsham were known for eating, hence the Scouse part. Like some daft tourist, I had to know what a pound was compared to a dollar and what in the world a "quid" was. Turns out, it's a pound. Who knew?

I also got a big kick out of the language difference: "Bugger" and "bollocks" were as funny to me as I'm sure "Y'all" and Angie saying "Tahed" when calling my name were to him. "Homemade Biscuit" is apparently universal.

Surprisingly, there were no major International incidents concerning the boys; they were actually on pretty good behavior. I think Trot running pedal to the metal toward sharp corners made John a little jumpy, and at one point he remarked to Ciera that Rakes didn't seem to have a volume other than 10. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and paid a visit to my Mom and Dad; Right after Mom was diagnosed with cancer, John sent us some DVD's of New Zealand for her to watch, so she was tickled to meet him.

Just before leaving, Rakes asked Horsham to "read me a tory":

Note the look of intense concentration on Rakes' face: this is usually only seen when he's getting ready to give Trot a flying body press. With the last story told, John, I imagine with great relief, headed back to his sister's home in Virginia. The fact he got pulled over, had to call a tow truck, and may have been driving illegally is a story for another day that I think I'll let him tell if he wishes.

Almost as soon as he'd left, Rakes looked at me and asked this: "Dad. Been is Mr. John toming back again? Me like him. Me like him A LOT."

I'd say it was a success.

Safe travels, Horsham.

You're welcome here anytime.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

It appears the great plague of 2007 has finally decided to leave my house and move onto greener pastures; Ang and the kids seem like they have recovered and for some weird reason I was spared the worst of the beast.

There was no new post yesterday because I spent last night reading the biography of Slash (G-n-R guitar player) and chanting "I will NOT get sick, I will NOT get sick". All the while my stomach was making noises like Jeff Bridges' did when Jim Carey gave him that laxative in "Dumb and Dumber". Somehow it appears I escaped the monster's wrath.

Today was the first relaxing day I've had in a while; slept in, then took in the new Nicholas Cage flick "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" with Ciera, Matt, Amanda, Stacy, Keith, Jared, and Libby. I'm pretty sure Keith gave Stacy a roofie in order to get her to come, but I'm glad she did.

There aren't a whole lot of movies I can take Ciera to that I actually enjoy, but this was one of them. Jerry Bruckheimer at his car crashing/shoot 'em up best, but no cursing and a good message. If you've got young children it's a good film to take them to see.

Tomorrow marks the arrival to NC of Horshamscouse, who's coming to visit this nuthouse. I'm making him sign a liability waiver that if he gets sick, he was duly warned. I'm also advising him to bring earplugs, full body armor, and an athletic cup just in case. And not necessarily in that order.

Great Britain meets the Deep South.

Anyone available to interpret?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Medicine for 1 wife and 3 kids beat down from the flu and one dead-tired Dad? $57 dollars.

Carpet cleaner, Lysol, and detergent to clean everything from the plague? $23 dollars.

Loss of productivity of Dad due to lack of sleep? $2 dollars. (Let's be honest: I don't REALLY do all that much.)

A dime for every time I fussed at the boys tonight for running, yelling, and in Trot's case, sneaking outside? $1,000,000,000.

Looks of joy on their tired, sick faces as they opened up Elmo, Batman, and Hannah Montana toys? Priceless.

I'd like to wish all of you who come by here on a regular or semi-regular basis a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

And if you see Santa, tell him to hurry up with those horse tranquilizers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is Anybody Here A Doctor?

I could have used one of these suits this weekend; Apparently, my house was where the bubonic plague decided to take up residence the past 48 hours or so.

First it was Trot who started with a runny nose and ended up expelling what I'm POSITIVE was more than his body weight until late yesterday afternoon. Just when I thought we were out of the woods, Angie gets sick in a way I never read in one of those "What to expect when you get married" books we read 16 years ago. I'm a firm believer that God never intended for a man to see his wife do the following: A. Go to the bathroom, B. Give birth, and C. Throw up.

That is why he invented Doctors and doors.

During the night I wake up to what I initially believe is a flock of seagulls coming down the chimney; turns out it was just Rakes flipping out because he had gotten sick in his bed. And on the floor. And all over his stuffed animals.

Remember, the one who SHOULD be handling this is riding the porcelain highway, so here I am disheveled, half asleep, and muttering under my breath about that stupid Bing Crosby/David Bowie version of "Little Drummer Boy". Just when it can't get any better....

Ciera turns into that kid from the Exorcist around 8:30 this morning. Honest to God, I kept watching her, video camera at the ready, waiting for her head to swivel 360 degrees. How I have not gotten this entity yet is beyond me; I've rubbed my hands raw washing them under scalding hot water and I think I cleaned WalMart out of Lysol.

Thankfully it looks like the worst is over; Trot has been asleep for over an hour and Rakes went down 30 minutes ago without me having to threaten to barricade his door with a refrigerator. Ciera is eating an ice pop in my bed and Angie's skin color no longer makes chalk look like a neon sign.

I really hope Santa is bringing me syringe full of Horse Tranquilizer tomorrow night.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One Year Later

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

I got to thinking earlier today while I was getting Trot out of the sink for the 5th time in 20 minutes that it had been close to a year since I started this little lemonade stand called Red Sox Dad. Sure enough, when I went back and looked at the archives, it'll be one year tomorrow.

In honor of my good friend Tex, who sort of gave me the final push I needed to get the thing up and running, I've used a picture of Josh Beckett for this post. Beckett also happened to be the subject matter, such as it was, for my first ever entry for the blog. You know that saying about even a blind squirrel finding an acorn every now and then? In hindsight, that first one hit the nail square on the head: Who'd a thunk it?

Reading over some of the earliest posts, I've got to give a big thank you to anyone who's still reading that was around for the first few months. While I'm not gonna win a Pulitzer anytime soon, I'm a lot better now than I was then. Of course "better" is a matter of opinion, but I'd like to think so. For those of you who found me later and still take the time to stop in everyday, thanks.

As far as my regular group of reprobates and mental patients who obviously have a sadistic side, a big thanks to you as well. I appreciate all the comments and constructive criticism I get from you. And by constructive criticism, I of course mean insults: well, Tex, Matt, and Scott provide the insults. The rest of you are much nicer.

If you fall into the "read daily but occasionally/never comment" group, I appreciate you reading this mess as well. I've said from the beginning that it's therapy for me and since it's free, it's a whole lot better than a shrink. Like any writer, you're only as good as your subject matter.

Luckily mine is the Boston Red Sox, who are positioned to be REALLY good for a LONG time, and my completely insane children.

It looks like you may be stuck with me for the foreseeable future.

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Update On The Can't Miss Kid

Outside of following the Red Sox with a fervor usually reserved for radical Islamists and Fantasy Football players, my other favorite baseball related thing to do this year was try and keep up with Josh Hamilton.

I've posted a few times on him: local Carolina boy who was the 1st pick in the 1999 baseball draft. You may have heard of the guy who was picked 2nd: Josh Beckett. Hamilton was the classic tale of someone who had the world by the tail, but ego, drugs, and alcohol took him down.

Except this kid was the exception: through faith, hard work, and the love a woman who wouldn't give up on him, he made it back. All the way from strung out in some crackheads mobile home to playing CF next to Ken Freaking Griffey for the Cincinnati Reds.

After being away from the game from basically 2002 to 2006, he played in all of 15 minor league games in 2006. With the odds almost a million to one, he made the Opening Day roster of the Reds this past season and ended up hitting .292 with 19 HR's and 47 RBI's in 90 games.

Word came down late today that he had been traded to the Texas Rangers. Part of me is thrilled for the guy because Ron Washington seems like a perfect manager for this kid and part of me is already worried that change may not what he needs in regards to his recovery.

I hope he's mature enough to handle it, though the fact he's made it this far tells me he is.

I hope he'll get the support in Texas he had in Cincinnati, and the fact Washington is there sort of tells me he will.

I hope he hits .300, 35, and 120 next season; 'cause if anyone deserves to have success it's Josh Hamilton.

If this isn't the perfect time of year to wish for hope, I don't know what is.

Merry Christmas, Josh.

I'll be pulling for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What was Tek THINKING?

*If you like the picture, see Kelly*

Back in 2004, Doug Mientkiewicz ended up with the ball that represented the last out in the first World Series title in 86 years for the Red Sox. To call what happened in the ensuing months controversial wouldn't do it justice; you would have thought Eyechart had made off with the Holy Grail, Mona Lisa, and Manny's lucky underwear all at the same time.

So when Jonathan Papelbon struck out Seth Smith to end the 2007 World Series and Jason Varitek, the esteemed Captain, stuck it in his back pocket on his way to the mound, you gotta figure all is well.

Even the announcers commented on it, noting there would be no controversy this time around. I mean, who better to be entrusted with such a valuable piece of history than Tek, right?

Turns out he must have had one too many bottles of champagne while celebrating and the ball ended up back with Papelbon. How else do explain the fact the most respected player in the Sox locker room gave THAT ball back to a guy who danced in his underwear on the field, sported a Bud Light box on his head, and by all appearances is nuttier than an out house rat?

After nearly 2 months of wondering what happened to the ball, the truth is finally out: does it honestly surprise anyone that Pap's dog ate the freaking ball?

Of course it did.

It was probably wearing a Kibbles-n-Bits box on it's head at the time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Silent Night It Wasn't

Ciera had her play/Christmas musical at church tonight, and as usual did a great job. Dad and Mom, as usual, forgot to bring the camera and I have exactly zero pictures to show. Thankfully they video taped the whole thing and I can get a copy later.

There was no kids classes tonight, which meant Rakes was in the sanctuary with me the whole time. When we first picked our seat out, he bunny hopped all the way down the pew and turned to face me. He then yelled "Here I tome, Daddyman" and proceeded to hop his way back down the pew.

Once I convinced him to move down to where my parents were sitting, he yelled out every 3 seconds "I Tan't SEE!", even though the thing hadn't even started yet. As I leaned over to talk to Angie, I made a critical mistake: I took my eyes off him for a few seconds. When I turned back around, one of the ladies sitting in the row in front of us was pointing at the end of her row with a concerned look on her face.

There he was, no socks or shoes, standing on the 1 foot long, 3 inch wide arm of the pew, bouncing up and down like some meth addict in need of a fix. And the program HAD NOT EVEN STARTED YET.

After I had corralled and gotten him still, the musical started. 5 minutes in, I hear a familiar form of gibberish at a REALLY quiet point in the program. Turns out the nursery workers had brought the toddlers in the sanctuary, and sure enough, there was Trot on the back row, pointing and ranting right after his Sissy had her speaking part.

Every song and every story you hear during this time of year talks about the peacefulness of Christmas and silence seems to be a prevailing theme: I can truthfully say that since Ciera came along 9 years ago peace and silence are two words that have NOT been a part of Christmas for us.

However, laughter, joy, noise and happiness have played a prominent role.

Call me crazy, but I think we got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Can't Believe I've Put Up With Her For 15 Years

15 years.

3 wonderful, healthy, and completely deranged children.

2 Miscarriages.

10,000 kisses.

4,321 arguments. (This may be on the low side)

4,321 time I've said "I'm sorry". (Also may be a conservative estimate.)

4,897,565 laughs, smiles, and " Stop cracking me up or I'm gonna wet myself" moments.

Missing out on winning the Funniest Home Video $10,000 dollar prize because the video camera wasn't charged when Rakes was doing something funny? More times than I care to count.

2 Red Sox World Championships.

15 years ago tomorrow I somehow convinced the most beautiful woman I've ever seen decide that spending the rest of her life with ME was a good decision. Through every dumb, idiotic comment, every "I promise I'll do it tomorrow", and every time I've let her down as a husband, she's been right there by my side.

Happy 15th Anniversary, Ang: I don't deserve you.

In a related note, I'll also always be thankful you have REALLY bad short term memory.

Thanks for putting up with this idiot: I love you more than you'll ever know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Walking Tall or Lying Through His Teeth

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize."
Andy Pettitte

"I did something absolutely wrong. I shouldn't be made a hero."
F.P. Santangelo

"Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today."
Roger Clemens ATTORNEY Rusty Hardin

"Once I learned Anavar was classified as a steroid I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him and have never taken Deca or Anavar."
Brendan Donnelly

Just a small sample of reactions from players mentioned in the Mitchell report: anything stand out? The biggest fish caught in Mitchell's net has his LAWYER issue a statement ( by the way, if it's slander, WHERE is the lawsuit?) and his running buddy uses the same excuse I do when I've ticked the wife off: "If I did it, I'm sorry".

Meanwhile F.P. Santangelo (Who? Exactly.) flat out admits it and Donnelly flat out denies it, which means he's either an idiot or is in fact telling the truth.

Donnelly was one of two players named who played for the Red Sox in 2007: the other is Eric Gagne. Since Red from Surviving Grady already wrote the best thing I've seen regarding Gagne, I picked Donnelly to focus on.

This is a guy who spent 10 years in the minor leagues before making it to The Show, except for a brief period in 1995 when he was a replacement player in Spring Training: trust me, this didn't earn him any brownie points with the big leaguers. I'm guessing "Scab" was the nicest thing he heard. Because he crossed the picket line, he's ineligible for Union benefits, has no say in anything union related, and if Jimmy Hoffa were still with us, Donnelly most likely wouldn't be.

He's also at various times been suspended for having pine tar on his glove, been the Hulk Hogan to Jose Guillen's Andre the Giant, and upon arriving in Boston, immediately let Dan Shaughnessy know he wasn't going to be a part of the CHB's pot stirring.

Last, but not least, is this: After being accused of "vigorously" adjusting his cup toward an opposing player, seemingly in an aggressive manner, he responded with this. I'm paraphrasing, but " Of course I wouldn't do anything that crass: there were F%$#&^g kids in the stands" essentially covers it.

Does THAT sound like a guy who gives two rips about what the public, the writers, or MLB thinks? So why would a guy like that lie about using PED's? A man who has been caught cheating (the pine tar), has a running feud with a certifiable maniac (Guillen) and incurred the wrath of the most powerful union in sports going to lie about whether he used an illegal substance? When all the guys that ARE admitting it are being nominated for sainthood because they are "coming clean"?

I actually believe we may have one guy who is denying he did it that is telling the truth. No "it was from a tainted supplement", no "I thought it was a B12 shot" and no "If I did it" nonsense. Just a flat out denial of any wrong doing.

I believe Brendan Donnelly.

Of course, I may just be subliminally wishing for a joint Josh Beckett/Brendan Donnelly press conference where they commit at LEAST 8 FCC violations while talking about that nights game when in fact, he's guilty as sin.

You just never know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a New Day

I can't decide if he looks like Edward Furlong in "American History X", Private Pyle from "Full Metal Jacket", or that kid from "Sling Blade". Should you ever get the wild hair to go buy yourself a hair trimmer to give your 4 year old a hair cut, a word to the wise: DON'T.

If you spend any amount of time reading this car wreck filled with incorrect pronunciation and grammar, you know that I'm either doing one of two things: pontificating about the Red Sox or talking about my deranged family.

Yesterday was one of those days where I went to bed at night thinking I'm a horrible Dad and convinced my kids would be better off being raised by Angie and a hamster: every time I turned around there was yelling, crying, screaming, and throwing something at someone. And that was just me.

Due to the fact it was pouring down rain all day and about 40 degrees outside, we spent all of Saturday indoors. Having to spank Trot on the hand for trying to bite through the PlayStation cord and then pulling it off the cabinet, then listening to him scream for, I kid you not, 47 minutes that "Dad pop" while he smacked his hand was just the start.

Until nap time, the rest of the day consisted of Trot and Rakes on what appeared to be a concerted mission to do everything in their power to see how many different shades of red my face could turn: if I wrote it all down, it'd make the Mitchell Report seem small.

At 5, I had to go pick Ciera up from play practice in the rain and somehow in the entire 20 minute drive home she picks me backing into the garage as the perfect time to let me know she has the Youth Pastors keys: I didn't ask why she had the keys because I was scared the top my head would pop off.

Giving Rakes his haircut while he screams "Dis it taking FOREBER" in between crying fits, it hit me about 5 minutes in: This was NOT going to be good. I don't think Angie even got that slow pit in her stomach like I did: she pretty much just started to cry.

We ended the day with Curly and me playing Star Wars Legos on the PS2, fighting the bad guys while my 4 year old mental patient berated me with "You not mobing fast enough, Dad" for an hour and a half.

After feeling sorry for myself the rest of the night, I woke up this morning and came to some realizations:

I'm not a bad Dad, I just had a bad day, and all the things my kids do that make me want to run away and join the French Foreign Legion don't make me lose my patience: They TEACH me patience.

Finally, I learned this: trying to cut corners and save money with 3 kids and a stay-at-home Mom anywhere you can is a good and noble idea.

You just don't do it with hair cuts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Day After: I Needed a Break

After "Black Thursday" and the Mitchell report, I needed a laugh: I found it while googling "Images of Manny Ramirez" and surfing the World Wide Webs. Here we see Papelbon and Lowell, dressed in their Sunday Go To Meeting clothes and drinking beer out of a can.

Contrast that with this shot of Manny dressed like Arthur Fonzarelli and Okajima looking like Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" drinking what looks to be wine out of a crystal goblet. If you use your imagination, you can almost hear Manny saying "Heyyyyyy": I'll give you 10 to 1 odds there is a black leather jacket to the left of Manny JUST off screen.

If you look over their shoulders, you can see Lowell and Papelbon, along with what appears to be the back of Josh Beckett and his girlfriend's heads. I can only imagine they were playing cards while Beckett was muttering epithets and dropping the F bomb every 3 seconds while he and Papelbon stare each other down and Lowell plays the peacemaker.

All the while, Manny and Oki are seemingly debating the merits of what type of Red Wine goes best with halibut and which one of the Three Tenors was actually the best.

After 2 days of talking wonks going on and on about the Mitchell report, who else is out there whose name DIDN'T come out, and hearing more about Roger Clemens than I'd want to in a lifetime, finding these pictures was a Godsend.

My quest for tomorrow? Previously undiscovered pictures of Papelbon doing the Riverdance WITH the Bud Light box on his head.

Like I said: I need the break.

*Saturday Night: After a day filled with crying, yelling, and Rakes ending up looking like he's ready to join the Marines, I just don't have it in me for a new post. I'll try tomorrow: for now? I'm gonna go downstairs, watch my World Series DVD for the 3rd time, and try to forget today ever happened. Is it Spring Training yet?*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Tale of Two Trots

I got a call from my buddy Josh up in MA today, and the poor guy sounded like he'd just been to a funeral. This was around noon, a good two hours away from the release of "The Mitchell Report", a nearly 2 year witch hunt that Uncle Bud commissioned to find out the "truth" about steroids and baseball.

Josh told me that WEEI was reporting that among the names on Mitchell's list was Jason Varitek, Julian Tavarez, and Trot Nixon: His sadness wasn't for Tek, or Tavarez, or Trot (Incidentally, NONE of the three were mentioned in the report: some dink just dragged their names through the mud for nothing), it was for me. I'm paraphrasing here, but "I just feel bad for you and your boy."

Spoken like a fellow Munchkin: Thanks, man.

What I told him in response was basically this: If Trot Nixon HAD showed up on that list, it wouldn't have changed the fact he is one of my all time favorite players or caused me to regret I named my son after him. Nixon just happened to come along during the most controversial period in baseball since Shoeless Joe Jackson fixed the World Series: for any player in the same boat, it's gonna be guilt by association. And that's too bad: because of no tests for certain drugs such as HGH, we'll NEVER know exactly how many guys skirted the system.

Besides, with every passing day I'm more convinced that choosing the name Trot for our 3rd child was perfect. Consider today:

My Mom kept him for a few hours today, and at one point, she found him furiously running in place.




She had to change his socks, shoes, and pants: WHY is this child fascinated with the commode?

Later on, I took Ciera to the book fair at her school: when we left, the boy was fine. When we returned 45 minutes later, he had ran into an open cabinet door and richoched off the wall, ending up with a Gorbachev-esque mark on his forehead and a wicked bruise on his nose:

Now, if THAT isn't a Dirt Dog, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Wild Bunch

Every now and then as I'm driving back and forth across NC calling on my customers, I'll imagine myself as a stay at home Dad: you know, if we win the lottery, Ed McMahon comes knocking on my door, or suddenly some never before seen athletic skill appears and I become the oldest Rookie of the Year EVER.

Taking the kids to school, cleaning the house, and changing diapers? I already do all that, just not as much as Angie. Taking them to the park, outside to play, or to the mall? I could do that: might take some getting used to, but man would it be nice to be able to be with my kids all day.

Just when I think I've got myself absolutely convinced I could handle it, I invariably get a call from Angie like the one I got today: and I realize I've been kidding myself. There is NO WAY I could do it and keep my sanity.

Rakes followed Angie into Ciera's room and asked about all the presents under her little tree ( We have to put the presents upstairs with the door locked: don't ask.), in particular one that was bigger than the others.

Angie: That's yours.
Rakes: Can I open it?
Angie: Not until Christmas.
Rakes: Otay.

Angie locks Ciera's door, then locks the study door that leads to Ciera's room, AND puts the penny used to open the doors on TOP of a picture frame hanging 5 feet off the ground. Two minutes later, after changing Trots diaper, Angie comes out in the hall and sees the following: a chair under the picture frame, the door to the study open, and strolling out of Ciera's aforementioned locked door, Rakes.

Angie: What are you doing buddy?
Rakes: Me not doing anything.
Angie: You didn't open that present did you?
Rakes: No, me not. Dat is a cool Spider Man helmet, Mom.

Later in the day, completely wore out by Trot pushing a bar stool around the kitchen and climbing into the sink, on top of the stove, and into the refrigerator, Angie takes some wire and ties all 4 bar stools together while Sundance stands there and quietly watches her.

10 minutes later she hears the unmistakable sound of a bar stool being slid across the floor: how that little sucker cut that wire we have no idea.

Now, what they did today is pretty tame in the grand scheme of things: but make it 5 days a week with days like today, and then combine THAT with the peeing out of the car door, playing in the toilet, and rubbing lipstick all over the wall incidents that always pop up.

THAT little cocktail?

I'd never get out alive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Serenity Now

I had all three kids by myself from 4:30 until 9:45 tonight for Angie to go to a local women's club meeting where she attempted to sell the rest of her and Amanda's stuff they've made.

I have NO clue how she does this everyday by herself, 5 days a week: I changed 4 dirty diapers (all Trots), threatened to send Rakes to Military School at least 6 times, and promised myself I'd start Home Schooling Ciera within the next 2 years.

Mind you, this was ALL within a 5 hour window with a 30 minute dinner break included: I need a shrink, a drink, and possibly a lobotomy to recover, and not necessarily in that order.

Highlight of the night? Rakes and I playing "Star Wars Lego" on the PS2 while Trot tried to turn himself into a mummy with the chord from the remote: good times, good times. Throw in me not having a CLUE how to help Ciera with her 4th grade homework, Trot wanting to climb into the kitchen sink every 2 minutes, and some telemarketer trying to sell me a time share in Orlando and you've got the recipe for a mental breakdown looking for a place to happen.

Before I finish, I need to send out a prayer for Matties little girl, Caroline, who is in a Raleigh, NC hospital tonight with pneumonia: be well soon, Baby C.

Also, to my sisters Sonya and Sheri in Oklahoma City, who have been without power since early yesterday due to the ice storm of biblical proportions that hit that part of the country on Sunday. PV's for you as well.

I'm guessing you don't want to hear it was almost 80 degrees here today and I currently have the A/C running?

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tis the Season

Have you ever gotten home after dark and thought about hanging Christmas lights on the tree in front of your house? In fact, not only YOUR house but the nice widow woman who lives next door? If so, can I give you a bit of advice?


The fact I told Rakes and Ciera they could "help" me may be coloring my advice just a little: throw in Trot figuring out how to get out the front door, my aforementioned widow neighbor trying to hold the ladder, and everyone in the universe picking tonight to drive down our street on the way home, and you've got a recipe for an epic meltdown by Ted.

Do you realize it's EXTREMELY stressful to be on the top of a 12 foot step ladder with a strand of Christmas lights in one hand and a paint roller extension in the other while a not yet 2 year old is playing in the street while headlights are coming down the road?

If you didn't: Trust me.

It is.

Add to the equation a wife with a previously unknown knowledge of EXACTLY how the lights should be strung, a faulty drop cord that keeps tripping the breaker, and Rakes figuring 6:30 pm was the PERFECT time to ride his scooter in the road, and you'll get some idea of how the night went.

And I STILL don't have my lights up on the tree: I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day".

At least I still have this going for me:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Looking at the Lights

Most Sunday evenings from Thanksgiving until the end of the year, we load the kids up in the man van and go look at the Christmas lights. Tonight we started at the rest home down the road, where they do a Two Night Only drive through light show.

Per Ciera's request, we popped some popcorn before we left for her and her brothers to eat during the drive: We didn't make it out of the garage before Trot dumped his out all over himself.

Once we got there, as much as I hollered, waved my hands in front of his face, and at one point, PHYSICALLY turned his head, Trot wouldn't take his eyes away from Toy Story, which was playing on the built in VCR. As far as he knows, we loaded them all up and drove around the block for an hour.

Rakes at least paid attention: though after we saw the Chick-Filet cow wearing antlers and passing out "gifts" (which turned out to be a baggie of cookies stuffed in a plastic cup), every 5 seconds he would blurt out "Me wanna get my present from the Chicken Cow!" The facility sets on two man made lakes, with trees and lights scattered all across the water: it really was beautiful. Too bad Trot was engrossed in the adventures of Buzz, Rakes was obsessed with the cow on two legs, and Ciera was more into laughing at Frick and Frack than actually looking at the lights.

At least we tried, right?

I think the elderly residents who were directing traffic and no doubt praying no out of control SUV would come along had the best time. At every intersection we heard a "Merry Christmas" and "Thanks for coming" shout. If they only knew I had the 2007 version of John Dillinger and Al Capone in the back seat.

Next weekend it's the drive through Nativity Scene at the local Methodist Church.

Real people acting out Mary and Joseph, live animals, and Rakes and Trot.

I REALLY hope they have good insurance.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's a Pirates Life for Me

Rakes went shopping with his Mom and sister today, and came home with this Pirate get up: He wears it well, right? Why does he always want to play the villain?

He's also bent his new Star Wars PlayStation game won't let him be Darth Vader. "But Dad: HIM is who I want to be." I swear it won't surprise me if he asks to be Barry Bonds for Halloween next year.

His Uncle Keith asked him last night if he had swallowed a megaphone. As I've mentioned before: He's LOUD. Angie said you could hear him all over the Dollar Store today: in fact, Ciera said she was going to look at something a few isles over, and I quote: "Don't worry Mom. I'll be able to find you: I'll just listen for Rakes and I'll know exactly where you are."

See, MY kid is the one all of you are muttering about under your breath when you're shopping, wondering why his parents aren't doing something about him. Just to give you a heads up next time: We ARE trying. It's just tying him to the shopping cart and putting a muzzle on him is sort of frowned upon these days.

I think I'm just gonna start telling people he's got Tourettes Syndrome.

Word came out today that Eric Gagne declined the Red Sox offer of arbitration: that big loud WHOOSH you heard was RSN letting out a collective sigh of relief. It looks like the Brewers are on the verge of getting a deal done with him, and I wish the hoser nothing but the best. That said, I'm extremely grateful I won't have to breathe repeatedly into a paper bag while offering Hail Mary's everytime he pitches next season.

Making the move for him, at the time, was the right thing to do: the results, however, reinforce an important life lesson for all of us. To paraphrase Richard Vernon from The Breakfast Club:

Sometimes when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

*Update: I just heard this about today's shopping trip. Rakes had to "GO POTTY" so Ciera took him. 5 seconds later, Rakes was running out of the bathroom at Walmart with Ciera right behind. According to Angie, Ciera spent the next 5 minutes proclaiming to the world that "I didn't get to wipe and Rakes never went!" I'm glad I've held firm to my No Shopping Policy Until They All Hit 7. *

Friday, December 7, 2007

Surviving Santa. Or Santa Survived. Take Your Pick

What is it about Santa Claus that causes reactions like the one Rakes is having in small children? All week long he'd been going on and on about getting to see Santa tonight: in order to get him to even take the picture I had to PROMISE him he didn't have to sit on Santa's lap, he could get a cookie afterwards, and I'd take him to the bathroom as soon as we finished. Yet he STILL looks like I told him he couldn't have that catapult he wants for Christmas.

I'm pretty sure I threatened to make him sleep in his Christmas stocking as well, but there was a lot going on, so I can't swear to it.

Some other moments from visiting Santa:

Rakes uncovering one of life's great mysteries while watching the puppet show: after going behind the screen, he finds out there are PEOPLE who make the puppets move. I was cracking up at his expression and more than a little sad he figured this out, all at the same time.

Ciera's reaction to Santa's helper asking what she wanted him to bring her this year: happy, yet sort of embarrassed. I'm starting to think this might be the last year she is fully behind this whole "magical man bringing presents to ALL the children in the ENTIRE world" thing. With 90% of her friends telling her he's not real, to her being pretty quick on the uptake, I'm pretty sure she's on to the whole thing. In fact, I think she's kept it up this long for my sake: she knows how much it's going to break my heart when she finally grows up, I think she's putting it off for me. Excuse me for a second: it's a tad dusty in here.

I'll end on a good note: Trotter high fiving Santa Claus. He jibber jabbered at him the whole time, and except for not wanting to sit on his lap, Trot seemed rather fond of the guy while we were there. I'm honestly amazed we got one picture where he was looking at the camera and not craning his neck in a way that would have crippled a lesser child just to take a peek at Mr. Kringle.

As an adult, we tend to lose sight of how special Christmas really is: all the hype and commercialism makes me weak in the knees.

Viewing Christmas through the eyes of a child?

It's like you get to be 4 years old all over again.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Choice For President in 2008

As we near the end of 2007, we're less than one year away from voting for our next President.

I've studied the candidates closely, listened to their positions on the important issues, and tried to discern what is the truth and what is b.s.

I want a President who is intense, focused, and ready to do whatever it takes to right the ship. I want a person who will put the best interests of this country first and his/her own interests second. Someone who will have a platform of solving the war in Iraq, fixing the economy, and getting us back to being the beacon of light for the rest of the civilized world.

Brutal honesty, loyalty, and a definite plan in mind for leading this nation for at least the next 4 years: After much deliberation, I think I've found my man.

Seriously, he CAN'T be worse than any of the rest of them, right?

*Thanks to Kelly for the use of the picture*

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dr. Phil NEVER talked about This

I ask you: is this normal sleep attire? For whatever reason, Rakes has gotten into this weird habit of wanting to go to sleep dressed like a mental patient for the past few weeks. Tonight, it was dinosaur pajamas, his pre-school T-shirt, and my Redskins toboggan from when I was a kid: only HE wanted to wear it backwards.

All this came after I got him out of the tub. He stood there with his towel on, shivering and going "I'm TOLD, Daddy, I'm Told" for about 3.7 seconds, then dissolved into a giggle fit.

Upon me asking him what was so funny, he belly laughed and pointed downward.

Sometimes I find it hard to go on with a straight face.

So, now it looks as if the Santana deal is out the window, which is fine by me. The way I see it, we've won 2 World Series without him, so it's not like we need him to win. Thing is, I'll get up tomorrow and they'll be saying we are minutes away from announcing a deal.

Right now, I just wish they'd say yea or nay so we can all get on with our lives: I've had 7 months of intense drama this year already, thank you very much. I want to enjoy Christmas without worrying about who will make up the Sox middle relief corp this year, but you and I both know it'll keep me up at night.

Finally, rumor is Varitek has instructed Scott Boras to explore contract extension talks with the Red Sox: in all the Lowell/Santana mess I'd forgotten the Captain's deal runs out after next year. So now I've got THAT to obsess about as well.

Somebody hold me: I think I need a hug.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Waiting for Johan

I got my World Series DVD in the mail today, and it's burning a hole in the case as we speak: So this will be short and sweet.

Apparently, we've basically got Johan Santana in a trade for Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Justin Masterson, and Ryan Kalish, the latter two being top prospects in the minor league system. Except we really DON'T have him yet: there is the tiny matter of how big of a small third world country does he want to own? IF the trade happens, the Red Sox will have 72 hours to work out a contract extension: if they don't accomplish that, the deals off.

All this is doing wonders for my budding ulcer, by the way.

The Detroit Tigers DID make a major trade today. In exchange for 6 minor leaguers they received Miguel Cabrera AND Dontrell Willis, which automatically makes them the front runner in the AL Central for 2008. Bonus for the Red Sox? Neither one will play for the Yankees: at least next year, anyway.

Finally, Trot pulled the Christmas tree over on top of him today: Angie found him lying on the floor, tree laying on top of him, merrily playing with ornaments and lights and without a care in the world.

I'm starting to worry:

He may very well out-Rakes Rakes.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Over the River and through the Woods

When I last saw Rakes and Trot this morning, Angie had them loaded in the man van and heading off to visit Angie's Grandmother, Annie. I've gone on these trips before, and the combination of headstrong, curious children and slow moving elderly people has presented a bit of a challenge. What happened today may well keep Angie from ever going without back up again.

According to her, for awhile all went well. Annie's son and his wife were there, and they were enough of an audience to keep the boys busy. For a while. It wasn't long until Trot was firing the contents of Annie's fruit basket across the room while shouting "ball" and Rakes was doing his 2 ft, 4 year old impression of J.J. from Good Times.

It was then that Trot discovered Annie's walker, which he then proceeded to bang into every wall, door frame, and piece of furniture in her room. About the time Ang got THAT put away, her phone rang. At this point, the wheels just freaking fall off the visit.

As she answers the phone, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum take off running down the hall like someone with their hair on fire: if you've never seen a 4 year old and a toddler run, it's sort of like a Mama Cheetah flat out hauling tail while the newborn baby Cheetah hurtles along RIGHT on the edge of out of control.

When she finally catches up to them, they are in some elderly mans room. He's passed out asleep in bed while Rakes is standing over him shining a flashlight at his eyes shouting "Wake up Grandpa! Wake up!"Meanwhile, Trot is frantically running in circles in this poor mans bathroom, looking for something, ANYTHING, he can stuff in the commode.

As Ang comes into the room, Rakes turns to her and says "He not waking up, Mom. What wrong with him?" while all she's trying to do is keep Trot from clogging this poor guys toilet up and getting them out of there without him waking up. They somehow make their escape without either the old man stirring or his toilet overflowing in the process.

After I got home, I asked Rakes why he was trying to shine the light in the mans eyes: his response? (You have to get the visual at this point: he's in a cape, a Spider Man mask, and holding a Pirate sword.)

"I was dust tryin' to see what tolor his eyes were, Dad."

Of course he was.

I'm not sure Dennis the Menace's Dad ever had days like this.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Final Countdown

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

On April 2 of this year, Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald wrote the following:

"Ramirez has two seasons remaining on his eight-year, $160 million dollar contract, and then he'll be out of the Red Sox lineup and out of our lives for good. We're at T-minus 19 months to liftoff from Planet Manny, and then the man will disappear into Red Sox history, never to appear at NESN again."

I knew this was coming: it's sort of like tax day: you just put it to the back of your mind, force yourself to forget about it for a while, and then deal with it when it gets here.

Over the weekend, I received my Boston Herald and Boston Globe commemorative World Series books in the mail, and reading those I came across the article I quoted. Technically, Manny won't be a free agent: the team has $20 million dollar options for 2009/2010. The likelihood they exercise them falls right behind Rakes NOT getting in trouble tomorrow and the sun rising in the morning. NO WAY this ownership group is going to give 1 player $40 million for 2 years: especially not one who will be 36 at the end of next year and whose effort and defensive skills are considered by some as, well, questionable at best.

No more manic finger pointing, petting other players heads, and water bottles in the outfield. No more IPods during BP, random head first slides, and wearing Wally's glove in the dugout.

On the flip side? No more tape measure Home Runs, no more circus catches NOBODY saw coming, no more getting to watch one of the best pure hitters to ever play the game on a daily basis, and no more man hugs with Papi, Tito, the clubhouse attendant, and the guy selling hot dogs behind the Red Sox dugout.

Without Manny, the Red Sox world will be a little less brighter, a little less quirkier, and infinitely less entertaining.

Finally, I've gotta wish a Happy 33rd birthday to my younger and much uglier little brother, Mattie. You're getting old, man.

Welcome to the club.