With Trot dealing with this hair loss thing I told myself that if for some reason all his hair did end up falling out I was going to shave my head and be bald with him. The only flaw in this plan is I have a peanut shaped head, meaning I'm gonna look like that baby on "Family Guy", only reversed.
Throw in the fact I'm not exactly the best looking guy around and the bald thing takes a hard turn toward horrendous.
So I'm growing a gnarly looking beard to hopefully compensate for the possible frightening sight of my weird shaped head totally bald.
As his parents, we realize his hair is coming out and have taken every step we know how. He saw his doctor the day after we noticed it and saw a specialist two days later. Yes, it looks bad and no, he doesn't really think about it much. Although after you went on and on and on and on about it today HOPEFULLY it won't cause him to dwell on it.
I realize you get most of your information from Dr. Phil and Oprah and while we greatly appreciate your suggestion to "get on the Internet and find out what it really is" I think we'll stick with the plan of seeing the COLLEGE EDUCATED SPECIALIST who we currently are putting our trust in.
Even though I'm sure it was well meaning, you may want to give people advice and make comments on certain things when you are, well you know, ASKED to. And you may want to consider that SOME people may prefer to handle the way they treat their kids and related medical issues in a more scientific way than Googling it.
It's days like this I'm grateful I was at work and not with Ang when this happened.
'Cause I'm pretty sure this lady would have left with a hair dryer implanted in her ear.
Nothing say's Christmas like Alopecia, Pokemon cards, and comparing gifts from Grandma.
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Merry Christmas from my slightly crazy corner of the world to yours.
As I slogged through another day of retail sales, listening to the same Christmas songs over and over again it didn't feel a lot like the Holidays. Doing my best shucking and jiving while trying to convince people they NEEDED that new bedroom suite for Christmas it didn't seem like Christmas was just 5 days away.
Until I got home.
And Ciera was actually SKIPPING around the house about Christmas Eve at her Nana's and Rakes was bouncing off the walls about what Santa was bring him and Trot was so amped up about his goodie bag he got at his Christmas party today that he could barely get a sentence out. Throw in the fact today was the last day of school for close to two weeks and all three of 'em were positively giddy.
It was then that I remembered Christmas isn't about me.
Not a long time. In fact, there isn't a whole lot one can accomplish in just three seconds. Three seconds, in the grand scheme of time and years and life is an insignificant speck in the context of the millions and millions of years this rock has been spinning around in space, right?
Today, even though I've spent roughly 8 years screaming myself hoarse about looking both ways, stopping at the end of the driveway, and in general paying some type of attention to where you are and what you are doing, Trot jumped on his brothers electric scooter, flew down the driveway,........
And slammed full speed into the drivers side door of a car cruising down the street in front of my house.
Thankfully he's OK. Thankfully it was driven by a 76 year old lady going under 25 mph and not one of the idiot teenagers who use my neighborhood as a cross through and think they're in Germany on the Autobon. Hopefully he has FINALLY got it into his thick head about being careful.
Three seconds earlier and he'd have been hit head on by that car instead of running into the side of it.
I couldn't have come up with this on my own but for the life of me I can't remember where I heard it or read it. Could have been ESPN radio or somebody at work or on television; wherever I got it I think it's a pretty valid argument.
There is a scientific experiment, used by Scientists (I emphasize that because MOST men or women of Science have a hard time believing in God) called the Placebo Effect. It goes something like this; Let's say you have some physical ailment and are invited to take part in a study with like minded individuals. Half of you are given a real pill for the ailment and the other half a placebo. At the end of the study they look at how many given the placebo actually got better, even though there was no healing power whatsoever in it. The experiment is basically used to show the power of the mind and that if you BELIEVE in something hard enough with your mind you can do something that in all reality shouldn't happen.
I realize that's a really dumb way to describe that but it's me; what did you really expect?
Now, if we can believe that our mind can heal our body just by believing we're taking a pill that will do it, is it really that hard to buy that Tim Tebow can play football and pull comeback after comeback out of his backside the likes of which we haven't seen since the 2004 ALCS?
Understand this; not for one minute do I think God cares whether the Denver Broncos win a football game. Personally, I figure he's got bigger fish to fry. But if Tim Tebow BELIEVES God has given him a gift to play the game and if his faith allows him to believe that he CAN come through and win in any situation then he's doing the same thing those people taking that placebo that get better are doing.
The difference is they call it science and Tim calls it faith.
I went to pick up the steroid cream for Trot'sAlopecia this afternoon and the conversation went as follows.
Me: "I'm here to get a prescription for Trot Dalton".
Her: "What was that first name again?"
Me: ::sigh:: "Trot".
Her: "Here it is. That'll be $662 dollars".
Me: "You have got to be s*&**^g me".
Her: "No. That is the cash price with someone with no insurance".
Me: "We HAVE Insurance".
After clearing THAT up it turns out we ONLY had to pay $64 dollars. As I drove back to work the more I thought about it the madder I got. Over $600 dollars for a tube of cream the size of Neosporin would have cost me that much if I hadn't had insurance?
Somewhere there is a single mom with no insurance with a kid with Alopecia. And she has to decide whether to pay the rent, buy groceries, make the car payment, or buy her kid a cream that will keep his hair from falling out.
Thursday we noticed his hair was missing in several spots, so Friday we took him to the Doctor where they took some blood ("Trot, my little butterfly needle is going to take some of your blood". "No it's NOT.") but ruled out anything Thyroid related.
Then today I took him to the Dermatologist where he was diagnosed with Alopecia at the ripe old age of 5. You can see the side of his head looks like a tee box missing a few divots.
Topping it all off was a head to head meeting with Rakes on the trampoline this afternoon that left that nice little quails egg you can see in the middle of his forehead.
Thankfully this is happening to the one child I have who could truly give a flip; he's already asked me if he could shave his head and if he does I'm buying him a rain coat, an endless supply of lollipops and teaching him to say "Who loves ya', baby?" to everyone he meets.
Granted, this is the same face he makes whether he's going to the bathroom, playing soccer, or telling me about his latest Pokemon card but we took the kids to our little town's Christmas parade today. Ciera was marching with the band and it was my one Saturday a month off from work, so we loaded up Heckle and Jeckyl and off we went.
There was our local Congressman, a couple of Harley's, those little bitty cars the Shriners drive, and several Tractors. Big ones, little ones, green ones, and orange ones. For a minute I was worried we'd stumbled across some deranged John
Deere fashion show. I kept expecting Alan Funt to jump out of one, shove a microphone in my face and tell me I was on Candid Camera.
Trot, however, was a man on a mission. Didn't matter what went by us he was focused on one thing and one thing only; candy. Going in he didn't realize a big part of the parade was the people IN the parade throwing candy to the ones watching it. At one point he turned to me and in the most serious voice asked "Is it Halloween again, Dad?" Granted, they were only going about 5 mph but there were a few times I was worried he was going to dive under something moving to get his 4,398th Tootsie Roll.
It was all worth it after I was able to grab a shot of Ciera looking the other way at her Mom hollering at the top of her lungs; the look of mortification that her parent would yell out for her was totally worth the fact I had to avoid yet another Tractor and a group of Girl Scouts to get across the street to take this picture.
1. I love the fact, even though he's joking somewhat, that Bobby Valentine uttered "I hate the Yankees". I'm a huge Tito guy, but the days of the Sox/Yankees seemingly one step away from having vacations together are over. I'm hoping for an all out brawl sometime in July.
2. I went and ate lunch with Ciera today and was "Looking forward" to getting to chat it up with He Who Won't Be Named. Turns out he got silent lunch for arguing with the teacher, which makes me wonder; did he get in trouble because he's a punk or did he intentionally do it to avoid having to talk to Ciera's Dad for 30 minutes? Either way, I still don't trust him as far as I can throw him.
3. The Miami Marlins are spending money like the ghost of George Steinbrenner is running the team. Heath Bell, Mark Buhrle, Jose Reyes, ..... I half-way expect them to sign up Reggie Jackson and Frank Thomas just for kicks.
4. Trot has wet the bed 7 out of the last 10 nights. I'm starting to think banning liquids after 9 a.m. may be the only way to get this to stop. Otherwise, I'm burning through sheets like Grant did Richmond.
5. Tito got the job Valentine left at ESPN on "Sunday Night Baseball". In a little over a year we've seen the dismissal of Joe Morgan and the hiring of Terry Francona.
Trot and Rakes were in the Christmas play at church tonight, in which Trot was a Shepherd (he'd told me for weeks he was a wise man but maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part) and Rakes had a air guitar solo. Yes, a air guitar solo in a Christmas play. They made a video of it so I'll post it hear at some point; suffice it to say he made Michael J. Fox's performance of "Johnny B. Good" in Back to the Future look like child's play.
My biggest worry was the wild card that is Trot; I was imagining pants being dropped, him yelling out "I HAVE TO PEE!" right in the middle of a serious moment, and him sucker punching the poor kid who drew the short straw and was standing next to him.
Thankfully, none of the above took place.
However, at one point I had the following conversation with myself.
"He's pointing at his nose. Please don't. And he's doing it. He's picking his nose in front of 200 people".
I didn't realize I was saying it out loud until Ang elbowed me in the ribs.
Oh, and he fell down while walking backwards during "Did the Shepherds Need Shades?".
I DID have the video on my phone ready just in case. You never know when that $100,000 moment is going to drop in your lap.
I picked Ciera up from my sisters house tonight and as she came out the front door she says "He who won't be named (only she used his real name) is inside".
I of course marched right up the driveway and into the house and introduced myself, followed a half second later by Ciera, who I'm sure thought I would RUIN her life in one sentence.
Just when I'm ready to get out a heat lamp and grill this kid for a good hour with a rubber hose close by he asks "You a Red Sox fan?" Seeing as I'm wearing my science experiment gone wrong, ever present cap I'm not totally shocked by this question and I'm THIS close to making a "you're a real Sherlock Holmes, huh?" crack and then he goes and floors me.
"So am I". And I notice the Red Sox necklace around his neck. Mind you, Ciera could have tipped him off that it wouldn't be a bad idea to have something Sox related on at all times just in case we met, but it looked sort of worn and ragged so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
I'll save the "20 questions about the Red Sox" quiz for next time.
Sure would be easier to hate this kid if he was a Yankee fan.
I'm entering a new phase of my life. And no, it's not the Bobby Valentine era, although that DOES have my interest peaked.
This one is a lot scarier; Dad of a teenage daughter.
Up til now my biggest worries have been related to urinating and the constant threat of a broken bone at any moment, and while those are still very, VERY real they're now paired with dealing with a teenage mutant daughter.
One minute she's giving me a hug and telling me she loves me and the next she's stomping off to her room and yelling at her mother over her shoulder. She simultaneously talks about he who shall not be named and some tv show on Disney while complaining about school and freaking out about her lack of trendy clothes. At this point I half expect her head to spin 360 degrees on her shoulders and green slime to come spewing out of her mouth.
This is the same little girl that not that long ago would run to the door whenever I came home yelling "DADDY!" at the top of her lungs and jump into my arms. Nowadays I'm lucky if I get a "Hi Dad" and a peck on the cheek before she goes stomping off to bed.
I keep telling myself it's only temporary and one day in the not too distant future she'll come around but in the name of all that is Fenway Park?
I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to keep her Mom and her from killing each other before that happens.
He managed the Mets to the 2000 World Series, so he can manage in a media circus.
He's smart, witty, a baseball lifer, doesn't seem like he takes a lot of crap off people and he's got thick skin. All of which will serve him well in Boston.
In Japan, he managed for several years and took his team to a championship so he can deal with foreign players and the chaos that usually follows them so dealing with a multi-national clubhouse should be a piece of cake.
But the biggest reason I'm stoked about Bobby Valentine being the next manager of the Red Sox?
He once got tossed out of a game and came back to the dugout wearing the lamest disguise this side of Robin's little mask.
Seriously, a fake 'stache, some sunglasses and a hat?
For the first time in two years, we're going to have an official Christmas card. And no, this isn't it, although it's sort of fitting, right?
For whatever reason, Ang decided we'd have a family card this year so we hornswaggled my sister into riding to the lake with us to take our mug shots. And yes, the thought of "We're going to the lake to take a picture. The odds Trot stays dry are about 100 to 1" DID cross my mind.
Yet except for a few times where it was somewhat dicey everybody stayed dry, shirts stayed tucked in, I didn't have a coronary yelling at someone, and for the most part nobody got muddy.
In our very Griswold like tradition, Thanksgiving Day has always been the day we get all our Christmas stuff up. Partly due to Ang being a teacher and having the weekend to get it all together, partly due to me only getting the one day to help her, and the other part being I have a touch of OCD and getting the tree up and all the decorations put out would just seem hinky on any other day.
After we got the tree back home, lo and behold we had our first Christmas miracle of the year; while sliding the couch over I looked down and found Rakes long lost DS. This thing has been missing since around the first week of school and I KNOW I looked under that same spot under the couch AT LEAST 15 times but there it was.
After a day of arguing, untying tangled lights, vacuuming 800 gazillion pine needles and garland off every square inch of the house, watching Trot break 2 ornaments I've had since I was 5 years old, and listening to Trot mangle "Oh Christmas Tree" in a way only he can?
If you couldn't tell by the fact he looks EXACTLY like me, right down to the unruly mop of hair sitting on top of his head, the fact he's wearing a Red Sox shirt and jeans with at least 2 visible holes in them would tell you right off you're looking at my son.
8 years ago tomorrow it had been me, Ang, and Ciera for 5 years; granted, we tried to have them closer together but there's a line that goes something along "If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him YOUR plans". And so it was, on November 23 2003, just 11 months before the Sox finally broke through, that my son was born.
It's been a wild ride, most of which I've documented here along the way. The Doc told us he was probably a Downs Syndrome baby, then he came out feet first with the umbilical cord tied around his neck yet he's smart, funny, healthy, rowdy, polite, and the apple of my eye.
Tomorrow he turns 8 and if I slow down and think about it I'll probably cry like a baby but for right now? He's my best bud, my Red Sox watching companion, my catch partner, and he thinks I'm the best thing in the world.
Has it ever felt like you were going to drop over in agony just by touching the hair on your arm?
Or the outside of your ear hurt just turning over? Or your legs feel like you've just done 100 squats when you haven't seen the inside of a gym since Clinton was in office?
I have no idea what I've got; no fever, no sore throat, a mild headache, and otherwise seem fine except for the fact it feels like I'm getting hit with a hammer every time I take a step.
Throw in Rakes getting up 13 times in the last 30 minutes, wondering how I'm getting out of bed and to work in the morning, and this thing with Ciera and "He who shall not be named" is showing no sign of ending soon and I could use a Valium, a nap, and a shot of Johnny Walker.
Ang fell asleep at 8, followed by Trot crashing on the chair around 8:20, leaving me and Rakes sprawled on the couch watching Kitchen Nightmares while he looked at one of Ciera's yearbooks from when she was in Elementary School.
Somebody stop the roller coaster; I wanna get off.
Although I know in 10 years I'm gonna be looking at my empty living room on a Friday night and wishing I could go back.
To paraphrase the great quote from Al Michaels in the 1980 Winter Olympics:
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?!?!
They may come home on yellow everyday, but they haven't missed a day so far and both got, wait for it.......
Academic Awards at school today.
So Trot can't go to the bathroom without hollering his head off or pinched that little girl the other day or wanders off to the science lab for 20 minutes at a time; he got most improved in Math!
And even though Rakes can't sit still, his desk area at school looks like a small explosive device went off and leaves his lunchbox at school roughly 3 times a week; he got the advanced reader award for 2nd grade!
I still think they'll end up as the stars of "Jackass" someday, but maybe, JUST maybe they can somehow win an Oscar doing it.
About a month ago Ang asked me if I could take the kids to the Dentist this morning, and like most things that give me nightmares I immediately pushed it to the back of my mind and pretended like she never asked, only to be jerked back to reality on Saturday when she reminded me.
My first thought was "Why do I agree to these things?" immediately followed by "Dear God, I hope Trot doesn't get a hold of a drill while he's back there". Turns out, it actually went pretty smooth. We got there at 7:50, spent 15 minutes filling out paperwork while watching Trot stalk some other kid in front of the tv out of the corner of my eye, and about 8:10 they took 'em all to the back.
Now, Ciera I'm not worried about. But those two living Super Balls out of my sight and with totally unaware dental hygienists had me a little nervous. Turns out, other than her comment to me of "Well, HE'S a little handful isn't he?" I had nothing to worry about. No cavities, no expensive crowns, no unauthorized use of the thing that sucks the spit out of your mouth, and no sticking utensils in inappropriate places.
Trot, however, did provide a laugh. The lady cleaning his teeth asked him if Rakes was his brother, and when Trot said yes she remarked that she wouldn't have guessed.
"Yeah. He's the quiet one."
I think I'll just duct tape a video camera to the top of his head from here on out.
I'm WAY late with this but as most of the free world knows already, Jonathan Paplebon signed a 4 year, $50 million dollar deal with the Phillies. No more "Shipping Up to Boston" in the ninth, no more river dancing in compression shorts with a Bud Light box on his head, and no more 6 minute pauses between pitches.
From Day 1 he made no secret of his desire to test free agency and I'm guessing when he saw the Phillies were willing to make him the highest paid relief pitcher in history that was enough to seal the deal. However, unless your last name is Rivera and your first name is Mariano being a closer is a crap shoot; yeah, Pap did it for a long time but history is littered with guys who have sev
eral great years then just lose it for one reason or another.
I don't know if Pap will lose it just like I don't know if he'll end up in the Hall of Fame. I DO know that I agree with the Red Sox brass in that I don't want to give him $50 million to find out, not when that money can be used elsewhere.
Good luck, Paps.
And thanks for 2007.
*PICTURE COURTESY OF KELLY AND WWW.SITTINGSTILL.NET
I'm not gonna get too far into it, as every news source, web site, newspaper, and networks are covering it ten fold but the horrifying stories coming out of Penn State are turning my stomach.
There are a lot of questions that need answers; how did this sick, demented individual not only gain but maintain access to the facilities of one of the most prestigious colleges in America, how much/how long did the 84 year old patron saint really know, and how did so many people turn a blind eye come to mind.
But for me, the biggest question is this. How did this eyewitness, who purportedly witnessed first hand something even hardened criminals serving life in prison find completely depraved, just simply walk away and wait until the NEXT DAY to tell someone?
Not go to the police, not tell a superior IMMEDIATELY, and better yet, not do his very best to put this guy THROUGH the nearest available wall?
I'm 5 ft 5 and weigh 145 pounds when I'm wearing 10 foot weights in my shoes and this guy would have been breathing through a tube and eating all his food through a straw if I'd seen this. The fact that these people just turned a blind eye and apparently hoped it would all just go away makes me sick to my stomach.
If we don't look out for the children and the disabled and the down trodden and the ones who don't have a voice then what are we?
There's a line in Shawshank where the warden threatens Andy that he's gonna throw him down into the pit with the Sodomites in the prison.
My God, if there's one time in life that I wish I could channel a movie it's now.
Have you ever gone on a bike ride with a 5 year old who just got rid of his training wheels a few weeks prior?
If you haven't, DON'T. Unless you're wearing a football helmet, have nerves of steel, and the reflexes of Spider Man.
This all sounded like a fantastic idea; perfect fall afternoon, spending some quality times with my two boys, and me getting some semblance of exercise. And like all of the things that in my head are great in theory, in reality this was an experience in survival.
For one thing, he's determined to at least keep up with Rakes and not let me get ahead of him, which is fine. Except he's looking everywhere but where he's going which in turn makes you feel like you're riding bumper cars. I figured out I needed to stay behind him after the 5th time he ran me into the curb while avoiding him flying into me.
In addition there were about 15 "I need to take a rest, Dad" the first of which occurred no more than 100 yards from our driveway. We had to stop and push our bikes up any hills bigger than a bike ramp (Of course I had to as well as him; remember, I couldn't get ahead of him) and on the ensuing down hill rides?
Have you ever heard anyone use the phrase "Hell bent for leather"?
Imagine Trot wearing a deranged smile going roughly 15 miles an hour down a hill with his feet off the pedals yelling "WHEEEEEEE!!!!" at the top of his lungs. Throw in the fact he still hasn't grasped the whole "push back on the pedals" stopping thing and you get him with his butt 2 inches away from the back tire, dragging his feet on the ground to try and stop at the intersection at the bottom of the hill while I'm screaming "THE BRAKES! HIT THE BRAKES!"
As we slowly pedaled our way home I kept repeating the same thing in my head, over and over.
I wonder if EvelKenevels kid started out like this.
Rakes got a speaking part in the kid's Christmas play at church this year.
It may be time to look into another church to attend full-time.
This may be the first time in history a parent is going to be guzzling Pepto like it was water during the program.
Throw in the wild card that is Trot ALSO being in the play?
They may ask us to leave before this thing is half-way over.
"America's Funniest Home Video's" is still on the air and you can bet your sweet boopie I'm bringing the camera come December. If nothing else, I may be able to fund a couple of college educations out of all of this.
Baseball is over and won't return for 6 months. Theo and Tito are gone, one to Chicago and the other to God knows where.
Trot is on a record setting pace to shatter the Kindergarten "Get on Yellow" prize, Rakes is asking me what "gay" means, and Ciera is THIS close to me shipping her off to Alaska to live out her teenage years, although if I did I'm pretty sure some Eskimo in the middle of nowhere would find her and my stomach ulcer will go Defcon 5 no matter what I do.
So I'm left to become obsessed with a show called "Bar Rescue", which is really nothing more than "Kitchen Nightmares", only this time without a foul mouthed English dude. In his place is a foul mouthed dude with big eyes and male pattern baldness who "fixes" bars by showing the clueless owners how their inept staff is costing them money by over pouring and how drunk people REALLY want more edible food.
If I learned one thing over the past week or so it's this.
I REALLY need to get a hobby.
Or MLB seriously needs to look into going year round.
"I think I flushed my amethyst ring down the toilet."
"Trot was playing with your shaving cream in the bathroom and had it all over the sink, floor, and toilet. I cleaned it all up and I think I threw my ring AND the toilet paper into the bowel."
Yet another one of those conversations that I have with Ang on a seemingly daily basis about Trot; turns out he spewed my shaving cream all over the bathroom (he told his Mom he was writing her a love letter. May I remind you he's 5. How does he come up with this stuff?) and in the process of cleaning it up and yelling her head off my dear, sweet wife thought she'd flushed a $500 dollar ring (a gift from my brother in law about 10 years ago) down the toilet.
Thankfully we found it in the trash can, tangled up in the bag that came out of the bathroom can.
No, I have no idea how this happened. And no, I didn't say a word.
But the fact a valued piece of jewelry can end up in a trash can thanks to a 5 year old, a can of shaving cream, and a demented mind is frightening on about 300 levels.
I went and ate lunch with Ciera at school today, which is no small miracle since she's in 8th grade now and I figured the last thing she'd want was her old man coming to school and all her friends seeing how "awkward" I am. (Awkward is her new favorite word. Rakes is awkward, a movie scene is awkward, me wanting to take our picture is awkward, me wearing jeans and flip flops is awkward,.... you get the idea.)
Yet last night, when her Mom asked if I was eating with the boys today she very firmly and very loudly said "He's eating with ME."
So I did.
Upon arriving, she had me sit next to her and I pried out of her what had gone on that day while she looked distracted. I figured it was because "he who shall not be named" was sitting one table over and I was asking her if I should go over and say hello. Turns out, she was just waiting on everyone else to get to the table.
Then, her and about 8 girls at our table and her cousin and about 8 boys, including the one on my hit list, all bowed their heads, held hands, and prayed for their food. Turns out they do this everyday and don't really care if other kids or the teacher have a problem with it.
I never did anything that gutsy when I was 13.
Just when I thought I couldn't be more proud of her, she goes and throws me a curve ball.
I'm not going to mention this kids name, but according to Ciera he's, and I quote, "Just my friend, Dad."
She sits with him on the bus, talks about him constantly, and tonight went with one of her girl friends to a Haunted House here in town where she told her Mother, who somehow is happy about all of this, that he'd be there and told me he probably wouldn't be.
I gotta admit; I'm about as ready for this as I am for Alf to land in my back yard with ET and the two of them set up a tent and stay for a week.
Can this really be happening already? Is it too late to buy a gun? Can I train Rakes and Trot to take out a human being with nothing more than a Pokemon card and a plastic sword? Better yet, even though I'm not Catholic will they accept her into the local nunnery?
The next 5 years are gonna be like riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at some local carnival.
Fast, scary, and I'm gonna feel like throwing up after it's over.
Due to the fact Trot conked out on the couch with his legs draped across my lap around 7 and Rakes basically sticking toothpicks in his eyelids to stay awake around 8, something happened tonight that hasn't happened in a long, LONG time.
I carried both my sons up the stairs to bed, one sound asleep and the other not too far behind.
And as I tucked each of them into bed and said their prayers with them, I found myself doing something I very rarely do.
Fighting back tears.
'Cause as fast as they grow up and as big as they seem to me now, they are still just two little boys who wanted their Dad to sometimes tuck them into bed at night.
And that made me one happy, somewhat frazzled, Dad.
As soon as I took Trot's training wheels off today and watched him practically burn rubber down the drive way I asked myself the following question.
"What in God's name did you just do?"
This is a kid who I caught jumping from the landing at the top of our stairs onto the couch last week, a kid who would play frogger on the Interstate, and so far in his 5 years on earth has shown exactly zero fear of anything.
So naturally I take off the two things keeping him from being the 21st century version of EvelKenevil.
I fully expect a ramp 8 feet high to be built and sitting in my driveway by Wednesday.
Took the kids fishing today and all the tangled lines, multiple "Dad. I'm hung on a rock" moments, high blood pressure, Ciera and Rakes getting soaking wet jumping out onto a rock, and the cost of the worms was worth it when Ang put Trot to bed and he said, with a grin as big as the lake we fished on......
I'm not gonna re-hash the events of September have turned the Red Sox, in one brutal month, from a model franchise to the MLB's equivalent of The National Enquirer. It's all been documented by men and women who write a whole lot better and with way more knowledge about it than me.
As a fan, it makes me sad that the greatest manager this team ever had and the G.M. who led them back to the promised land are both gone within a week of each other. It makes me angry some idiot decided to throw a good man in Terry Francona under the bus on his way out.
I wish Mikey Lowell's body could have made it one more year because I've got a feeling if Scenic was still in that locker room some of the stupid stuff we've been reading about never would have happened. Or Schilling or Timlin or Trot or any of the guys that you KNOW wouldn't have allowed the inmates to start running the asylum.
I've watched every game of the post season so far and watching these teams fight and battle and jump up and down and in general act like little kids getting to play a game for a living is reminding me yet again of why I love this game so much.
Amazingly, there is a "Trot peeing somewhere inappropriately" story that I hadn't heard until tonight.
My Mother-in-Law is the secretary at our church and today she was having a meeting with the Pastor and another employee. They were in our pastor's office and at some point in the meeting the other employee looked out the window and commented on how beautiful some sort of bush was.
She then asked what happened to the other ones that had been there before, and Darrell, with a serious face, uttered "I don't know, but the one that is there is the one Trot peed in about 3 years ago".
This was right about the time Trot stopped wearing a pull up and would pee in anything when the urge occurred; plastic alligator, vase, garage floor, flower pot, and apparently the bushes at church. Ang remembers running to get him and looking up to see our Pastor merrily waving hello at her and Trot at the time.
How this story has eluded me for 3 years is a mystery, but what is truly amazing is the bush he peed on has flourished while the others have gone the way of the Dodo bird.
*Image courtesy of Kelly O and www.sittingstill.net*
I sincerely hope somebody in the upper echelon of FOX Sports was watching the first two games of the ALCS and now realizes just how God awful horrible the combination of Buck and McCarver truly is.
Maybe they're like Rakes and Trot; if I separate the two they are like angels. Put the two together and it's WW3. So putting Tito with Buck made the latter infinitely more listenable and Francona was fantastic. He honestly blew me away with how composed, funny, and insightful he was for an entire broadcast.
Possibly this would work the other way as well; put a new play by play guy with McCarver and maybe he's not so bad, although I highly doubt it. He's been on auto-pilot for years now and the last time he came up with something insightful was probably during the Nixon administration.
And as much as I enjoyed Tito, get ANYBODY to take over. At this point, Mayor Menino of Boston would be better, and Jr calls him "Mumbles" if THAT tells you anything. Give me John Smoltz or Boomer Wells or Mickey Rivers for God's sake; HE makes as much sense as McCarver does these days.
Wally Pipp had Lou Gherig and hopefully McCarver had his these first two games.
'Course this is the network of Rupert Murdoch and Bill O'Reilly.
But the world of sports got the short end of the stick with the passing of Al Davis. Look up "Maverick" in the dictionary and if they are telling the truth there is a picture of Al Davis there.
He was born in New England, grew up in New York, and sounded like a cross between Rhett Butler, Vinnie from the Bronx and my Uncle Possum when he talked. He wore his hair like a 50's Hood, thought black and white jogging suits were the height of fashion, and LOVED speed.
The physical kind, not the drug.
He was the ultimate bad guy in a sport full of 'em and relished every minute of it. And in this age of political correctness he was one of the last links to an era where you said what you believed and didn't give a rip if it offended somebody. He collected bad attitudes and guys who were thought to be past their prime and proceeded to win Division Titles and Championships along the way.
Best thing about Al? If you were a Raider even once, you were a Raider for life.
And in this time of "what have you done for me lately" a guy like Al Davis was a rarity.
As I sit and watch Game 5 of the ALDS and pray Detroit can take the Yankees out (3-1 Tigers in the top of the 6th right now) I got to thinking about all the things about not having the Yankees, and to a lesser extent the Red Sox in the playoffs for the rest of the way would make me happy.
10. No stupid re-hashing of 1978, 2003, and this September. And you KNOW if the Yankees or Red Sox make the World Series FOX is dusting each and every one of them off and running it into the freaking ground.
9. Tony LaRussa micro-managing the game like some demented chess player. He may be one of those guys who is actually too smart for his own good.
8. Being able to sit back and watch the game without developing a bleeding ulcer. This happens whether it's the Red Sox or the Yankees. Combine the two and I'm main lining Tums until Christmas.
7. The Brewers. Animal House meets the 2004 Red Sox with the added bonus of the bigg
est "vegetarian" in Prince Fielder I've ever seen.
6. The random come out of nowhere player that you never imagined turning into this years October hero. My money this year is on Delmon Young; if only for the sightings of his brother Demitri in the stands. When I last saw this guy he looked like the Yokuzuna version of a baseball player, and that was when he was PLAYING.
5. Giving the casual fan the experience of seeing just how good Miguel Cabrera really is.
4. The World Series could be played in Detroit. After the recession and the decline of the automobile industry and the 25 percent unemployment in what was once a great industrial c
ity, how cool would it be for the Tigers to rally the state of Michigan together, if only for a few weeks?
3. Roy Halladay vs Justin Verlander THREE separate games? This is the 2011 version of Gibson vs. Koufax.
2. This guy.
A baseball lifer who finally got his break and then almost threw it all away by doing cocaine, Ron Washington has a infectious love for the game and his players that makes my heart happy. He's a players manager and every quote from every Ranger I've ever read gives me the feeling they'd run through a concrete barrier for the guy.
1. Jim By God Leyland.
He's looked like this since 1991 when he managed the Pirates and he's only 66 years old. He chain smokes Marlboro's, drinks his weight in coffee every day, uses the word Horse*(&% the way most of us use "OK" and mumbles his way through every stupid in game interview MLB makes him do. He's one of the last links to "Old School" baseball the game has left and he's been a winner almost everywhere he's been.
I love guys like Jim Leyland. He'll cuss a guy out and then start crying when talking about how much he loves the guy. He's an AL manager who'll double steal, put on the squeeze play, and tell a guy to hit away at 3-0, all in the same inning.
He reminds me of Sparky Anderson and Earl Weaver and Casey Stengal and in this age of Sabermetrics and new age technology and Bill James "Hot Chart" or whatever it's called it's nice to know there is a guy who will play a guy like Don Kelly and hit him second in the lineup just on the basis of "his gut".
Sometime between this summer and the start of Kindergarten Trot apparently turned into Jim Carey from "Liar, Liar". From spinning whoppers that would make Paul Bunyan blush to the one that has me and his mother scratching our head.
Every day he's been telling his teacher he has to buy milk and for the first couple of weeks, she went along with it. Until I emailed her and told her that he brings his lunch EVERY DAY and doesn't need to buy milk.
So yesterday he again buys milk, then comes in from recess to report the miraculous discovery of a Yoohoo in his book bag, claiming no prior knowledge of said milk product. So, after getting home from school yesterday we have an EXTREMELY long talk about lying and more to the point, lying to our teacher. After much pleading, crying, begging, and promising no more lying, I was confident we had the problem under control and he'd turn down the path of the righteous.
Right up to the point I got ANOTHER email today from the teacher saying Trot had emphatically told her he HAD to buy milk and did NOT have his own.
Which was proven false about 3 seconds later when his teacher opened his lunch box.
I have no idea what is so magical about the milk at school, why he feels like he needs to lie about it EVERY day, and what exactly is going through his skull because when I ask him why this is going on he just looks and me and mutters "I don't know, Dad".
Most kids will lie about bad words or stealing or cheating or peeing in the punch bowl; leave it to Trot to be completely honest about all THAT stuff yet feel the need to perjure himself over a 50 cent carton of milk.
I blame the Red Sox collapse in September for making me this melancholy. If they were still in it I wouldn't be spending Sunday night watching the Ravens/Jets, flipping back to the Cardinals/Phillies game and DEFINITELY wouldn't be surfing YouTube and stumbling across this video.
13 going on 30 and as much as I try I can't slow it down.
On a day where I felt like like I lost a family member and just needed a hug my youngest son came through in a big way, although it probably shouldn't make me laugh as much as it did.
Trot, after going 4 straight days on Green at school only had to make it ONE MORE DAY to earn a reward. This kid had turned into Eddie Haskell before my very eyes, even earning a compliment from the teacher when I went and ate with him on Monday. Honestly? It was starting to scare me just a little.
Turns out there was no need for panic; he went from green to yellow to red faster than I could ever imagine by yelling TWICE in the hall to get on yellow then for some reason deciding to practice his 40 yard dash.
Right through the middle of the Spanish Immersion classroom on his way to the bathroom.
While the teacher was in the middle of her lesson.
In addition, although he packs his lunch every day he still has managed to twice go through the line and get the hot lunch, even though he has no money in his account. Rakes was particularly upset that Trot got to partake in the Nachos yesterday while he had to make do with a sandwich.
So today the Principle walked Trot down to the cafeteria, and much like a lawman does in passing out Wanted Posters, kindly introduced Trot to the ladies in the lunchroom and informed them that if he tried to buy his lunch he was most definitely not allowed to do so.
On a day that saw Terry Francona leave the city of Boston for good, Trot provided the perfect antidote for my personal blues.
Now, if I can only figure out a way for him not to get expelled over the next 11 years......
So the "Greatest Team Ever Assembled" turned out to be, well, not that. In April we had too much pitching and one by one they fell to the wayside; Daisuke, Typo, Hill, and Jenks. And the ones that didn't get hurt were at best inconsistent and at worse "drive you to consider drinking Drano" horrible.
One of our prize off season moves was spectacular for the most part but seemed like he hit into an inning ending double play at every crucial moment and the other one played like a guy trying desperately to live up to a huge contract and failing miserably. The nuttiest guy this side of Julian Tavarez ending up being the best relief pitcher we had, Wakefield suddenly got REALLY old right before our eyes and John Lackey may be in over his head in Boston.
Youk played the whole year seemingly in pain or trying to pass a kidney stone, Scutaro was dinged up, and due to age and injury a philosophy major from Yale ended up catching in the last two games of the season.
However, Ellsbury turned into an MVP candidate, Pedie continued to dirty his uniform every day and play like every at bat was Game 7, Beckett became Beckett again, and we finally may have found a worthy successor to Trot's "Dirt Dog" status in Chronicles.
I can't sugarcoat it; the season was a disappointment to the players, the front office, and especially the fans. We ALL had expectations, and even after starting 0-6, after they climbed back from the abyss it sure felt like destiny to me.
But it wasn't.
And you wanna know something? That's OK. Because for 6 months my team, except for April and September, played the game of baseball at it's highest level. Even with all the stuff I mentioned above, they STILL were one of the best teams in the game. And I yelled and I cheered and I cursed and I hoped that this was going to be one of those years where I got no sleep in October and loved every minute of it.
Didn't happen. And that's OK. Because for all the ulcers and irregular bowel movements and splitting headaches that made me worry I was about to stroke out in the end?
It's just a game. A game I love and obsess over and cherish, but still just a game. It's not more important than my faith or my family or friends, even if sometimes it seems like it. It's an escape from a world that has war and recession and terrible crimes against humanity and gives me a reason, every night from April through September, to forget about all that. Even if it is just for a little while.
I went and ate lunch with the boys at school today and after enduring a 1 hour "rain delay" after eating with Rakes, Trot appeared.
While the rest of his classmates were walking in a straight line and holding their finger over their mouths in the universal signal for "quiet" my little weirdo was twirling his lunchbox side to side and singing a song under his breath, which I think was "Camp Town Races".
This was the first time I'd eaten with him at "real" school (The teacher asked all the parents to wait until 2 full weeks in) and I had no idea what to expect. Would he tell me about what he had done that morning and would I want to even know? In the first 2 weeks he's come home on yellow roughly half the time, including once for looking under the stall door at some kid going to the bathroom.
What I got treated to was 35 minutes of him yelling either "Hey! I know that kid!" or "Hey! I don't know THAT kid!" at the top of his lungs while he totally mutilated a ham and cheese sandwich, ate half a Rice Krispy Treat before dropping it on the floor in mid-wave to the P.E. teacher and one attempt to join another class outside on the playground.
I think lunch was God's way of helping me get ready for the game tonight, where the Sox are currently losing to the Oriole's 6-2 and the Ray's are up in Tampa.
I love going to Boston. Love Fenway, the buildings, the accents, the history as you walk the streets and look at things that have been there for hundreds of years and will be there for hundreds more after I'm long gone.
But I couldn't live there. The noise, the traffic, the people EVERYWHERE at all hours of the day would send me running and screaming to the nearest loony bin after 6 months. I can't help it; I was born in a small town in Virginia, grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, and for the past 21 years have lived in a small town in North Carolina. I love going to the city, but I'm just a small town sort of guy at heart.
I like the fact they roll the sidewalks up at 8 p.m. and the cops driving through my neighborhood 4 or 5 times a night. Granted, they do this because there is nothing else going on, but that's a good thing, right?
I can walk outside on my back porch right now, at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, and not hear anything but crickets and the occasional bull frog in the patch of woods behind my house. Main Street has 2 stop lights, a hardware store, the post office, and 2 locally owned restaurants and every building is full.
I thought about this tonight while we ate dinner with two other families in our neighborhood at the local pizza place and realized that my kids are growing up just like I did, albeit in a much louder and faster paced world. And I'm glad I'm getting to raise them in sort of the same way my Mom and Dad raised me.
'Cause the world is fast enough just as it is without me doing anything else to make it go any faster.
A beautiful Fall night at Fenway park with friends watching Beckett and the Red Sox win may not be perfect.
But it's as close to it as I've found.
Yeah, they're in a massive tailspin right now. And yeah, it'd be nice to have the Wild Card locked up, setting up the post-season rotation. And the thought of facing Verlander twice if they can stumble to the finish and make the playoffs isn't exactly heart warming.
But for one night in Boston, sitting next to friends and listening to the sounds of Baseball's Cathedral?
No, not the Red Sox season, although 5-16 in the month of September isn't exactly filling me with candy grams and good feelings.
I'm talking about my trip to Boston. For the 3 of you who read this thing on a semi-regular basis, I've been sort of quiet for the last week or so. I went to Boston last week and just got back home tonight, and while pictures and stories are still to come, here's the Readers Digest version.
Fly into Boston, hit the Cape, back to Boston to see Beckett win, back to the Cape, back to Boston and quickly go to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, back to Boston to see Monday's day game, watch the beat down Monday night, see a bunch of good friends, have a most excellent time, and end it with my Pop picking me up in a massive thunderstorm in Raleigh.
Great to see all my friends and even better to come home and see my beautiful wife, daughter, and the two future Teamsters leaders.
Now, time to sack up fellas and finish strong.
You've got the Yankees coming up, still have a lead in the Wild Card, and a week and a half to get 'er done.
As I sat in the Orthodontist office with Ciera, waiting for the Doctor or Dentist or Quack or whatever you call him, Hootie and the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand" came on. Naturally I started tapping her on the leg and pointing to the ceiling due to her comment from a short while back when she stated, and I quote, "They're weird, Dad."
And naturally, she rolled her eyes at me and muttered "Daaad". It was at that point I had an epiphany; she's not my little girl anymore.
Granted, I'm still her Dad and no, she's not going away to college tomorrow, but that downhill slide I've dreaded since the moment I first held her has started. Somewhere along the line she went from this adorable little girl to a beautiful young woman who has got this huge piece of my heart in her hands and one day is just gonna tear it to shreds.
Today, it's braces and one day soon it'll be a car and boys (I've told her repeatedly that not only will SHE hate me but any knucklehead who shows up at MY front door to take her out will hate me as well) and after that college and hopefully AFTER college I'll have to walk her down the isle and give her hand to the guy who replaces me in her heart.
I tell myself it's a long time away but the past 13 years have gone by so fast that I'm pretty sure I'll turn around and find myself in a church someday wondering "How in God's name did I get here and where did the time go?"
'Course Rakes and Trot setting fire to the alter or trying to pick up the ministers wife or giving each other a hot foot will most likely take some of the pain away while I envision 38 different ways to have them shipped off to ToraBora but I gotta tell you.
As bad as my heart hurt just thinking about it today in that medical office?
I can't IMAGINE how bad it'll feel on that day in the suddenly not so far away future.
Ciera had just turned 3 less than a month before 9/11 and just a few days after that horrible she asked me why did that plane fly into that building as I sat, in total disbelief, watching it happen over and over again.
Just the other day, Rakes caught me watching some other show about it and uttered "What was that Dad? Did that just happen today?"
Lots of things have happened since that day. I've had two more children come into this ever changing, always scary world. The Red Sox have won two Championships, we're fighting two wars that are a direct/indirect result of that tragic day, and had our everyday rights and habits changed forever.
However, 10 years ago tomorrow morning, we all learned what a TRUE hero looked like. It was that firefighter and police officer that ran into those burning buildings in New York and Washington D.C. that never came back out. It was those men and women who wear the uniform of the greatest country on Earth with dignity, bravery, and honor. And it was that stockbroker or commodities trader in the Towers leading people to safety and then going BACK to try and help more.
Lastly, a hero looked like those ordinary men and women on Flight 93 who uttered "Let's Roll." and in the process of losing their lives saved the lives of thousands of others.
Took Ciera'sIpod and docking station away for not doing the laundry, had to force myself from not strangling Rakes after I told him to brush his teeth only to find him elbow deep in soapy water trying to give himself, and I quote "A Soap Tattoo Sleeve" and yelled for Trot to get in his bedroom only to find him UNDER his bed.
All the while Ang is fighting a Migraine and unable to help and Andrew Miller is doing his best impression of a Major League Pitcher and failing miserably.
So not only do I feel like a complete failure as a Dad, the Sox drop 3 out of 4 to the Blue Jays and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be mainlining Maalox by the end of the week.
I emailed Trot's teacher last night to find out what we could do at home to sort of back her up while Trot gets used to all day at school. Turns out in addition to pinching, pushing, and the subtleties of the word "idiot" we've got another issue to deal with.
While I question the wisdom of giving a 5 year old a hall pass to go to the bathroom by himself, I understand why they do it. Nobody wants some kid whizzing in his pants one hour into the school day; multiply the kid times 22 and it makes even more sense. And even though they go, as a class, FOUR times a day apparently Trot needs more.
Mind you, this is a kid that when he's home will literally have a race between his feet and his bladder on which one will give up first while running to the bathroom because he just COULDN'T stop playing whatever video game he was plopped in front of. At school? Turns out he has to go roughly 35 times in an 8 hour period.
So the other day, when he asked again, he was given his "Get out of Jail" pass and 20 minutes later I guess they figured they'd better go make sure he hadn't fallen in.
Turns out he was in the Science Lab, playing with the Lizards. I should have warned her that giving that maniac a hall pass to roam the school was the equivalent of giving an alcoholic the keys to the liquor store and yelling "Have Fun!"
*Picture courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
When I woke up this morning, there were three texts I was praying I wouldn't get.
First, from Ang. "You need to come home; Trot has locked himself in the dryer on the Spin Cycle.
Second, from Ang. "I'm calling a plumber; Rakes has his leg stuck in the toilet".
Third, from Jr. "Beckett's hurt".
Thankfully, only one came true, although I think I'd rather it have been the one about the toilet. THAT? I can do something about.
Now, in addition to the scary fact the Sox either score 15 runs or none is the knowledge that the ace of the pitching staff sprained his ankle on a Toronto Blue Jays mound that the Oliver Stone part of me thinks was jimmied and is out of action for, at the very best, a week.
So the first full week of school for Trot ended today and we got his first Behavior Chart. Green is good, yellow is not, and red is the signal he needs to put a book down the back of his pants so his tail won't burn when I get done with him.
Turns out he hit yellow the last two days; after last nights talking to I was sure he'd be on his best behavior (or at least what constitutes "best behavior" for Trot. It's like asking a polar bear not to eat the salmon. He may eat it or he may not; just depends on if he wants to.
Anyways, Ang asked him once she got home why he ended up on yellow. What follows is the conversation the two of them had.
Ang: "So, why did you get in trouble today?"
Trot: "A boy named Jacob pushed me. So I pushed him back".
Ang: "Are you sure that's it?"
Trot: "Well, then I left that center and went to another one. And this boy Ben said the word "idiot". And Mom, you know that is a bad word. So I said "Don't say that word, Idiot!"
Ang: "And is THAT all?"
Trot: "Well, on the playground I pinched a little girl in my class."
Ang: "Why did you do THAT?"
Trot: "I don't know. But that was IT."
After having virtually no issues with Ciera from Day 1 I've got the sinking feeling we ain't in Kansas anymore, Toto.