Roughly 23 million light years away from the Milky Way Galaxy is the Whirlpool Galaxy. It was discovered in 1773 and some 230 years later some scientist somewhere decided to use the Hubbell Telescope and what he found, right in the middle of this galaxy, is this picture.
Of a cross.
Millions of light years away, made millions and millions of years ago.
Thanks to my Pastor, Darrell, for sharing this yesterday at church. It made me feel really small and really blessed, all at the same time.
I'm not even going to try and make sense of what happened in Connecticut today. How a human being can walk into a school and cold bloodily kill 20 innocent children, kids full of joy and happiness and not a mean bone in their entire body who had never done anything to anyone? As long as I'm alive I'll never understand it.
In the days to come I'm sure we'll read about this person being mentally ill or off his medication or whatever passes for an excuse these days. We'll hear from neighbors proclaiming shock they can't believe it or others saying they saw it coming. We'll hear from the pro-gun wackjobs and the equally wacky anti-gun contingent yelling about how it's a God given right to own a rocket launcher or how we need to ban all guns and all live in a commune together.
I honestly don't know the answer. I fully support an individual owning a weapon to protect his family or home but I really don't see the need for having machine guns, UZI's and anti-tank missiles for "personal protection". All I know is my heart is broken tonight; broken for 20 precious children who are dead for no reason, for 7 adults who spent their life educating young people, and for our country.
Like I said, I can't make any sense of what happened today and I'm sure I never will.
But I'm pretty sure when the founding fathers put in our constitution the right to bear arms, they never in a million years imagined something like today happening.
What I do know is this; when I go tuck my kids into bed tonight I'm gonna hug all three of them a little bit longer and harder than I normally do and I'm going to say a prayer for everyone affected by today's senseless tragedy.
I'm eating lunch with Trot today and his poor, frazzled teacher comes up to me and asks "So, are you enjoying Hanukkah?"
After nearly choking on my water she explains to me that yesterday they were getting ready to read a book on Hanukkah and she asked the class if anyone was Jewish and Trot immediately raised his hand and yelled "I am!" Upon being confronted about whether this was true he sheepishly replied "No. But my Grandma is!"
I think it was the fact that there are 8 days of celebrating which means 8 days of presents that made my little nut job suddenly wish he was Jewish.
You can't say he isn't trying to play all the angles he possibly can.
We watched "Bean: The Movie" with the kids tonight for our weekly movie and going into it you figured the biggest laugh was going to be the scene when Bean loses his watch in a Turkey he's stuffing and ends up with it on his head while he stumbles around the kitchen.
And it ALMOST was.
When Bean is stuffing the turkey with dressing, Rakes sits straight up on the couch, looks at me with eyes as big as 50 cent pieces, and says:
"Dad! Did he wash his hands before he started stuffing that turkey?"
Looks like the OCD didn't fall too far from the tree.
The past several months have been, well, an ever loving mess. We've been bombarded with tv ads, celebrity phone calls, Facebook posts and pictures, and mailing after mailing from the various political candidates. You couldn't watch the baseball playoffs or the World Series without seeing one commercial after another from everybody from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama to your local congressman to the guy running for Head of Portable Toilets.
In addition to all the media hype you couldn't go to work or out to eat or to the restroom eating out without basically getting into an argument with someone who just had to let you know what they thought about the President or Governor Romney. Quite frankly, it was starting to give me a splitting headache.
Now, depending on which camp you're in, you're either dancing on air or stockpiling guns, food, gas masks and roach motels. I don't quite know what the answer is, but my little tree hugging brother wrote a fantastic post about it all from a Christian perspective, and if you're a believer I happen to think that this is exactly the way you should be looking at this whole thing. And it doesn't really matter who you voted for.
You can read the entire post HERE, but this is the part that I really want people to hear.
"And beyond that, what does my reaction to the election say about my trust in Him? How many of us throw out Romans 8:28 in every situation, except when it’s one that doesn’t go our way? Has He ceased causing all things to work for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose? Or are we upset because what God purposes doesn’t always line up with what we desire? Consider Paul’s words to Timothy: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (I Tim. 2:1-6, NKJV)"
In short? Can everybody just chill out and live long and prosper?
About 2 months ago Ang and I came up with an idea to keep Trot from wetting the bed. Very simply, it's me going upstairs around 10:30 every night and carrying his comatose body to the bathroom and getting him to pee, all the while hoping he doesn't decide to let go and hit me, the wall, or the floor before going in the toilet.
Tonight he took it to another level; after finishing his business he lets out a fart that would have been better than the bean eating scene from "Blazing Saddles" which causes me (Yes. I may be 42 physically but I'm actually 8 mentally) to bust out laughing.
As I'm trying to pick him up and carry him back to his room he mumbles "It wasn't me. It was Rakes" which only makes me laugh even harder. Before I can put him back into bed he says it again, which by this point I'm CRYING.
Even in the deepest hold of REM it is ingrained in him not to take the blame, and like a thousand times before when I ask "WHO DID THIS"? I get the always classic blame the other guy, no matter how definitive the evidence is.
I had a parent/teacher conference with Trot's speech teacher today and for once? Got some good news. He's met all his goals she set but since we still have some concerns they are going to keep him in the program for a little while longer.
He's got some issues with reading and I sort of feel like the speech issue may be affecting the reading, even if the therapist doesn't agree. His regular teacher was also sitting in and during the course of the discussion I also mentioned that in addition to the speech and reading issues I was worried that the alopecia thing was maybe affecting him as well.
Don't get me wrong; he hardly EVER mentions it but I've gotta wonder how it is affecting him. In the course of all this, his teacher told me something that made me realize the future of our country may not be as bad as I imagine it to be.
When I mentioned the fact that he was bald and his Mom and I were worried about how he was handling it, she looked at me and said the following:
"Just in case you were wondering, he's got 20 friends who are militant about Trot AND his bald head. If anyone say's anything about it they let them know in a HURRY that it's not cool".
Being a parent is never easy and at times heart breaking.
Today reminded me that it's also the best job on earth.
A few people have asked me recently why I haven't posted anything in a while. Truth is there just hasn't been much to write about.
Trot has been on green at school for the last 3 weeks, which is either a minor miracle or one of the 7 signs of the Apocalypse. Rakes has been completely absorbed with soccer and some game called "Minecraft" and rarely makes sense in anything he's telling me.
Ciera's whirlwind romance with HIM lasted all of three weeks and so far all is quiet again on that front, which I've gotta admit makes me nervous. Sort of like the opening scene in "Saving Private Ryan" when they're on the boats and it's all calm but you KNOW when that gate drops all hell is gonna break loose.
On a baseball front the Sox were out of it by July; I was just too pigheaded to actually believe it. And the most exciting thing about them this off-season is they hired one of the least charismatic managers since Art Howe managed the A's. Who knows? Maybe Farrell will do a fantastic job and if nothing else Lester and Clay will appreciate the hire.
So I guess I haven't written much lately since there really hasn't been much to write about.
Imagine that: My life has actually been calm lately. Which has been nice.
But I've got a sinking feeling that it won't, or can't, last.
Trot will break this green streak in a blaze of glory by taking the Principle hostage with a paper clip and a bag of Teddy Grahams or Ciera will come home saying she likes some 6 ft 6 inch 300 pound right guard on the football team or Rakes will stop speaking English all together and start talking entirely in Pokemon'.
Which is ok too.
'Cause quiet is really sort of boring the crap out of me.
After I put Trot to bed tonight I went in Rakes room to say goodnight and asked if his Mom said prayers with him.
"Yes. No. I think it's yes. I'm not sure, Dad. Just to be sure can you say them again?"
Ciera, who normally rides to school with a girl down the street rode the bus because she wanted to talk with a couple of friends she hasn't gotten to hang out with in a while. About 1 I get a text from her saying the girl she rides with totaled her car on the way in, with a car running a stoplight and broad siding her on the passenger side.
I saw pictures and the side of the car Ciera normally sits on was pushed all the way to the drivers side.
So, pretty much the thing I dreaded most about Ciera going to High School has happened, and they've only been in school a little over a month.
A Jr of all things.
Now, she can't REALLY "date" until she's 16 which makes it somewhat easier. And I've already gotten her to utter "Dad, you are RUINING my social life" at least 3 times so I've got that going for me. And all in all she's a pretty good kid.
But I still don't like it.
On the plus side I told her that if her and this punk want to "date" he's gotta come over and talk to me. ASAP.
Which means at the very least I get to make some kid extremely uncomfortable as I let him know exactly what I'm gonna do to him if he hurts my little girl.
I should have known something was up when I took this picture right around the time he was two. Look at him; food all over his face, grinning like a maniac, and squeezing food in his hand like he's straight out of the Congo.
Yesterday Trot came home from school and proceeded to tell his Mom, after she asked him what he did at school that day, and I quote:
"We made a soccer ball out of wood and kicked it around the room, then made a football out of flowers and threw it to each other outside, then we played tag."
When Ang called his bluff and said she would call his teacher he responded with the following.
"OK. We DIDN'T do that. I just wish that was what we did".
14 years ago High School was the farthest thing from my mind as I held a beautiful baby girl. I thought about her first words and steps and wondered what she'd think of me when she figured out who in the world I was.
The next several years sped by filled with pushing her in a swing, teaching her how to ride a bike, reading countless books to her whenever I could, and generally spoiling her rotten. Then, all of a sudden, we were in Kindergarten and I thought "plenty of time until she grows up" and then somehow we were in 3rd grade, then Middle School and like some demented ostrich I kept my head buried in the sand and pretended High School would never get here.
And now it's here. She's this grown up thing with attitude to burn and she's hit the ground running with band, football games, Honor's classes and her need for me consists of giving her money and driving her from place to place. And I realize that my little girl that I've known all these years is no more.
But, and she'll kill me for saying this, every night when she's ready to go to sleep she comes out of her room at the top of the stairs and says "I'm ready for bed, Dad."
And just like I've done almost every night since she was born, I kneel down next to her bed, hold her hands, and say her goodnight prayers together.
Really hope she doesn't grow out of that anytime soon.
The only place I've ever seen a trade like this made, yet it happened in real life as Beckett, Crawford, Gonzo, and for some weird reason Nick Punto all get traded to the Dodgers for James Loney and some prospects (some of which are reported to be pretty good).
I get that it needed to happen; Beckett wore out his welcome about 2 years ago and even though I've always liked the guy and probably always will? I get why people are glad he's gone; I'm a fan, but I'm not stupid.
Crawford never got out of the starting blocks with Boston due to injuries and general bad luck, and I hope a move to the West Coast (where he probably wishes he'd gone when the Angels came calling anyway) will do him a world of good.
It's Gonzo I'm really going to miss; a guy in his prime with the sweetest swing since Ted Williams and he played First like he owned it. He's going to mash for the next few years until, like all of us, Father Time finally catches up and he becomes a mere mortal.
Gonna be interesting to see what management does or doesn't do with all that extra money they suddenly have.
One thing you can say for sure; it's never boring in Red Sox Nation.
Do to the sheer weight of Trot-isms that have been coming fast and furious lately I'd forgotten about one Rakes story that happened the day we were leaving for vacation.
I gotta preface this by saying I'm a bit of a germophobe; BIG believer in washing hands, not touching the inside doorknob in a public bathroom, not touching a pay phone no matter what the emergency could be, etc..... and I sometimes forget kids see EVERYTHING.
As we left out that morning for the beach Ang had to stop at her hairdressers to pick up something vital. I have no idea what it was, only that there was no way on earth we could go to the beach without it and apparently this product isn't found in ANY store, mall, gas station, or Wal-Mart in America. So we went.
Mind you, we've been in the car a total of 10 minutes so far, and even though I made everyone go to the bathroom BEFORE we left the house, of course they all had to pee when we get there. After Ang and Ciera and Trot go, I send Rakes to one and I use the other. (I didn't have to go, but there was no way I was stopping for ME when I knew we had at least another 23 more we'd have to make before getting to the beach).
As I leave the room there is nobody there; no sign of anyone. So I call Rakes' name and get a THUMP, THUMP, THUMP coming from his door and him calling "In here, Dad". I open the door and there he is, standing like Hawkeye Pierce right after he'd scrubbed for surgery and before Hot Lips put on his surgical gloves. With great big eyes he say's "I didn't want to touch the handle and they don't have any towels. I just figured I'd wait on you to come and find me".
At lunch time today Ang was in our room while Trot was supposedly eating lunch, but when she came out of our room his food was at the table but he wasn't. When she called out his name, Rakes came walking out of the playroom carrying a pint of ice cream and a serving spoon stating "he's been in here eating this".
Mind you, we have told them both about a million times apiece that we are NOT eating outside the kitchen, so by the time Trot came moseying in from the bathroom Ang was about to hit the roof. It was at this point the following conversation took place.
Ang: "Trot, why are you disobeying us when we've told you time after time not to eat outside the kitchen?"
Trot: "I don't know."
Ang: "Didn't you ask Jesus into your heart?"
Ang: "And didn't you just get baptized?"
Ang: "So why aren't you listening to him talking to you and telling you to do the right thing?"
Trot: "Mom. I can't HEAR Jesus. The television is too loud".
If he doesn't become President one day he's gonna make a fine Congressman at the very least.
Trot had a buddy come over around lunch today to swim and spend the night; sort of a send off to summer since he's headed back to school in a few weeks.
This friend of his goes to church with us and his Dad is a Deacon and member of the choir, so of course something Trot-esque was bound to occur.
It didn't take 5 minutes.
As Ang is talking to his Mom, Rakes is asking if he can watch violent movies and wondering what video games they have need to be put up for the night while Ang is turning what I imagine to be a vivid red. (Thankfully I'm at work while all this is going on). As they are explaining to Trot's buddy and his Mom what video games they CAN play, the following takes place.
Rakes: "We have the game Doodlebob, but Trot can't play it because he can't spell".
Trot: "Yes I can"!
Rakes: "No you can't"!
Trot: "Yes I can! I can spell ass! A.S.S."!
I've got a sinking feeling we aren't getting a Christmas card this year.
I spent the past week in Myrtle Beach for our annual vacation, which is typically a lot of fun mixed in with a few doses of stress and a shot of blind fear. Without further ado, the top 5 Trot moments of Beachapalooza 2012.
1. Upon meeting a couple of college kids in the pool, Trot asks where they're from. Turns out it was Durham, NC whereupon Trot responds "I'm from Durham too. But now I live here".
2. Every 10 minutes he would barge into the ping pong room, look around, and yell at the top of his lungs "I got winner!"
3. At my urging he walks up to the hostess at Olive Garden and say's "Hey baby. Can we get a table?" Not 3 seconds later our buzzer beeps alerting us our table is ready. He now thinks this will get us a table anywhere we go at a moments notice. Trot: The Hostess Whisperer.
4. As I'm carrying him up the beach he grabs my neck and say's "You're my favorite Dad, Dad."
5. On the drive home the kids are watching the first "Star Wars" and one of the Empire big wigs utters the line "We will CRUSH the Rebel Alliance" which I immediately start repeating. Trot, sitting in the back seat playing his DS then utters "We're eatin' fish tonight!" in his best Bruce the shark voice from the movie "Finding Nemo".
*Image courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
Ollie Marquardt 1931
Bill Marshall 1931
Urbane Pickering 1932
Johnny Watwood 1933
Dusty Cooke 1933
Rick Ferrell 1934-35
Heinie Manush 1936
Buster Mills 1937
Joe Vosmik 1938-39
Dom DiMaggio 1940-42
Eddie Lake 1943-45
Dom DiMaggio 1946-53
Sam Mele 1955
Billy Consolo 1956-57
Ken Aspromonte 1957-58
Jim Busby 1959-60
Gary Geiger 1960-62
Dick Stuart 1963-64
Lennie Green 1965-66
Reggie Smith 1967-73
Rick Burleson 1974-80
Mike Easler 1984-85
Ed Romero 1986
Spike Owen 1987-88
Nick Esasky 1989
Phil Plantier 1990
Steve Lyons 1991
Rick Burleson 1992-93 (COACH)
Steve Rodriguez 1995
Trot Nixon 1996, 1998-2006
J.D. Drew 2007-11
Cody Ross 2012
Other than Dom DiMaggio and the Rooster, not much to write home about regarding the number 7 before Christopher Trotman Nixon arrived in Boston, where he became one of The Guys. A guy Boston just fell in love with who played like his hair was on fire, had a helmet so dirty it looked like a science experiment gone awry, and more than once looked like he was going to run through the outfield wall going for a fly ball.
Then came J.D. Drew. I liked J.D. But he wasn't Trot, and that was his biggest downfall with a lot of Red Sox Nation. He didn't have that fire or whatever it was Trot had that made everybody love the guy. You NEVER saw J.D. look like this..........
And if memory serves me correctly, this was in a game when he wasn't even PLAYING.
In the year of our Lord 2012, Cody Ross is doing the number 7 proud. He's a dirt dog who hits bombs and when he KNOWS he's gotten all of one? He's got this little bat flip he does that I'm pretty sure is going to earn him a bean ball at some point but I doubt very much that he cares. In the last 2 nights he's hit three 3 run HR, including a walk off tonight against the White Sox to take that series 3-1 and once again give all us Sox fans hope that maybe, just maybe we're still in this thing.
I'd like to think that somewhere Trot is nodding his head in silent approval of the man roaming his former territory in right field.
*Image courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
After limping to the halfway mark with a 43-43 record the Red Sox have a little bit of work to do in the next 3 months if they have any prayer of reaching the post season.
With that said here are my top 5 predictions for the second half of the year which, as usual, were pulled right out of my rear end with absolutely no basis on statistics, knowledge, or even common sense.
1. Papi continues to mash in his quest to get a multi-year deal in the off season and Gonzo finally realizes he's Gonzo and starts launching moon shots at will.
2. Pedroia comes back healthy and plays like his pants are on fire and at one point gets ejected for cussing out Laz Diaz while sitting on his shoulders, hitting him with his bat and shouting "It was NOT a strike" at the top of his lungs.
3. Jon Lester gets traded. Read where Peter Gammons said he's unhappy in Boston, so I say ship him out, get something back for him, and move on. He's won 5 games so far; I think they can get that production from somewhere. Don't get me wrong; I love Crabby. I just think it's time for something to happen and out of all the pitchers Boston has, he's got more trade value than any of them at this point.
4. Salty hits 40 HR, strikes out over 100 times, and starts a fight with the Yankees by shoving his mitt in A Rods face as a tribute to Tek.
5. The Sox win the Wild Card but lose to Texas in the first round.
It's the Rangers time and they are too good this year for anyone, including the Nationals.
Which is who I'm picking as the NL team in the World Series.
It's been at or near 100 degrees for the better part of a week here and as a result we've taken the kids to the pool every chance we've gotten. Yesterday while I was working Ang took the boys and Ciera to the pool for about 5 hours, most of which was apparently passed in the elation only found in summer and usually only found in children.
Except for one brief instance where Trot's swim suit fell completely off him when he jumped in the water and he decided he'd just skinny dip.
In a public pool with about 25 people in or around the water.
While his Mom chased after him as he JUST stayed out of her reach, giggling like a maniac the entire time.
I grew up watching reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" and quote Barney Fife as often as possible in daily life and Rakes and Trot both could have just as easily been named Opie.
Not until I finally grew up sometime last year did I take the time to think about this show, about ordinary everyday people who lived in a simple place in a simple time took place in one of the most divisive eras in our history. While Vietnam raged and the hippies took root in California and LSD was dropped world wide life in Mayberry went on. Simple and fantastic and totally unbelievable, yet the show never once finished lower than first place in the ratings.
Which tells you a lot about what the country needed during that time.
Thanks for giving it to them, and through the magic of reruns giving to me and my kids and most likely my grand children.
In retrospect, allowing them to take martial arts may have been a mistake. Although I won't know for a few years, letting these two learn several different ways to kill a man may not be the wisest choice I've ever made as a parent.
I should probably sleep with one eye open and just hope for the best.
*Picture courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
I knew this was coming. Known it for weeks now, ever since Middlebrooks got called up and started looking like the second coming of Mike Schmidt.
But much like I also know that EVERY morning Trot is going to get up before anyone else, let the dog out of Ciera's room and proceed to cause havoc and mayhem in his wake I had just sort of buried my head in the sand and pretended like it wasn't going to happen.
Yet today it did and even though I knew it was inevitable Youk is a Red Sock no more. Gone to the south side of Chicago to the White Sox and with his departure David Ortiz is the last man standing from the greatest Red Sox team I've ever seen.
I'll miss the dirty uniform, the funky batting stance, the balls to the wall way he plays the game and I'll even miss him slamming his helmet down when he strikes out looking.
But most of all?
I'll miss hearing Fenway Park yell as one "YOOOOOOOOOOUK" every time he did something spectacular.
So long, Youk.
I hope you get a 5 minute standing ovation the next time the White Sox come to Fenway.
Normally with Rakes and Trot I'm writing about farting or peeing or acts of general mayhem that hopefully don't end with a visit to the hospital. Today? Not so much.
My brother and his family came up for Father's Day last night and spent the night with my folks and today he brought my two nieces over to go swimming for the afternoon.
The kids were swimming while he and I discussed the state of world affairs or some other crap and the next thing I know Matt (my brother) is throwing his glasses on the ground and flying out of his chair and I'm wondering who Trot threw in THIS time and look over and see Rakes, calmly treading water with one arm while he holds my 3 year old niece under her arm with the other hand while desperately trying to keep her head above the water.
She had been sitting by the ladder and he just so happened to be getting ready to climb out of the water when she leaned a bit too far over and tumbled in.
Here's a kid who spends most of his time playing video games and asking me questions like "Is the Ark of the Covenant REALLY made out of gold and why did the German's want it?" and in what is the biggest moment of his life so far he responds like a seasoned pro.
I had to drop a check off at the bank on the way to work today and as I'm getting out of my car a lady who had to be at LEAST 85 was walking to her car parked right next to mine. I should mention here my car has, in addition to a big dent on the right rear quarter panel, a sticker of Manny Ramirez, a Red Sox clover, a BecKKKKKett sticker, and one more.
About the time I get to the end of my car this sweet little lady who was hunched over like Quasimodo while wearing a Gilligan cap and Bermuda shorts asks me "What in the hell is a Youk?"
So, in the middle of the State Employees Credit Union parking light right at high noon I explain he's a baseball player named Youkilis and proceeded to do my very best Fenway Park version of "YOOOOOOOOUK!" for her.
After I'm done she looks up at me like I've got three heads and mutters "Whatever".
My sister called me yesterday and jokingly asked me if I was OK. Turns out she got a phone call from the lady who taught Trot in Sunday School at church the other day and during the time for prayer requests Trot offered up the following.
"We need to pray for my Dad. He was walking to work the other day and fell down. They think he had a heart attack".
Apparently he said this with a straight face, never minding the fact I won't walk to the mailbox, much less work which is about 3 miles away. As for the heart attack part, I MAY have mentioned once or twice or 149 times that if he and his brother kept up with whatever mischief they were making at the time they were going to GIVE me a heart attack, so I can't really blame him for that one.
This is just one more example of why I think this kid will be a politician someday.
He can lie to you with a straight face and not blink an eye.
It's funny. Walking her into school for her first day of Kindergarten seems like it happened yesterday. I remember teaching her how to ride a bike, pushing her on the swings so high I worried she would fall out only to have scream "Higher, Daddy!" and taking her ice skating for the first time and her not letting go of my hand the whole time.
Seems like we were just in the ER at the hospital that time she got a roto virus and her needing an IV of fluids while the ER doc took care of some drunk 2 booths down almost had me going to jail for assault if that doctor didn't hurry up and get in the room to take care of her.
Today my baby girl graduated from the 8th grade to a High Schooler and I've been in sort of a stunned state all day long. I honestly have no freaking idea where the years have gone; I can remember almost everything about her childhood but it seems like it just started yesterday. Never in my life have I wanted to somehow stop time and just keep her just the way she is right now, even though I know it's only gonna go faster and faster as the days go by.
Today I realized that on the day she graduates High School I'm more than likely going to be a blithering idiot.
I just hope senility has set in by the time she gets married, 'cause otherwise I'm not really sure how I'm going to get through it.
As a Dad of two boys there are a lot of things you've got to teach them. How to throw a ball, catch it, and hit it. You always say "Yes Ma'am" and open doors for women and look people in the eye when they talk to you. The list goes on and on.
Yet on one crucial issue I'm apparently a miserable failure.
Lifting the freaking toilet seat when you pee.
Trot lifts it half the time but Rakes just can't keep to grasp the concept of lifting something up and then putting it back down when you're done.
In fact, I don't have a clue what he's doing in there; most of the time there is more left on the seat than there is in the toilet and it makes me wonder if he's doing jumping jacks at the same time he's emptying his bladder.
I can honestly say I've spent more time talking to them about this than breathing, yet they can't seem to get such a simple task committed to memory.
If it weren't for two women living in the house I'd have taken all the seats off the three toilets a long time ago and just put in a trough.
Saturday night (when the Sox aren't playing) is movie night around the house and last night we watched "We Bought A Zoo", which was actually pretty good.
Before we started I asked Ang, who'd seen it already, if there were any parts where I needed to have the mute button ready just in case Trot or Rakes learned a few new words to share in Sunday School in the morning and she let me know there were only a few.
For the next 15 minutes Trot asked what they were, when they were coming in the movie and could he say them if he heard them. He finally ran out of air, leaned back on the dog like it was a throw pillow, and watched the rest of the movie.
Right before the closing credits were about to come on he sits up, looks around and asks...........
*Image courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
If you'd have told me in Spring Training that Felix Doubront was gonna be the best pitcher on the Red Sox staff the first of June I would have told you the odds were better Trot would get "Student of the Year" before that happened.
My sister has been filling in and teaching Rakes class at school since his teacher decided to quit during the year. (I have no idea if this is just a coincidence or a direct result of having Rakes in the class, although I have a few thoughts about it). Today Trots teacher found my sister and asked the following;
"Is Trot on medication?"
My sister replied not that she knew of and asked why.
"Well, he's been so well behaved today and I asked him if he was taking any new medicine and he said yes. When I asked if it was today he said he started it yesterday."
He did admit, after the teacher asked if he wanted to verify that with my sister, that he was "just kidding".
Turns out all you need to do to make a hyper-active child act calm is take him to the swimming pool 4 straight days and just flat wear him out.
The following is a letter his teacher sent home from school today; her name has been changed to protect the innocent.
"Trot is on red today because he refused to do what I asked him to do twice today. We took the writing test and he got up twice after I clearly asked him to sit down and raise his hand. He didn't like my answer to he got up again and went to OTHER TEACHER.
"He was already on yellow for talking during class time."
When we asked him why he didn't raise his hand he responded "Dad, I raised it for so long I almost fell asleep and she STILL didn't let me talk!"
At least it wasn't like last week when he got on red for looking under the bathroom stall at some other kid doing his business.
I've gone almost a week without a new post, which is probably the longest I've ever gone. Part of it has been nothing really new to write about and part of it has been due to the fact Trot and Ang came down with some kind of flu bug last Thursday and I've been a one-man show for the better part of a week.
Drove Rakes and the neighbor kids to school on Friday, worked all day, took Ciera to ballet practice first thing Sat morning, worked all day, went home and took her to the ballet concert that night and didn't get back home or eat dinner until almost 10.
Taught 2 year olds at church on Sunday, then had to take Rakes to the neighbors house before taking Ciera BACK to day 2 of the ballet concert that afternoon, and then back home. This isn't taking into account all the everyday normal stuff I had to do, like yelling at Rakes for dragging the dog, who was ASLEEP at the time, across the floor by his collar, clean up various spills, food, clothes, and toys up off the floor.
All that just bled over to Monday where Ang and Trot were home again. All day. On my day off.
So I cleaned the house from top to bottom and almost killed Trot AND the dog when they went running hell bent for leather into the kitchen not 3 minutes after I mopped the hard wood floors.
Went back to work today, only to have to leave at 11:30 to take Ciera to the orthodontist, where I calmly gave over enough money to fund a third world country's budget for the next 6 months, only to be reminded I get to do it all over again at her appointment next month.
As I went back to work and wondered what my life would be like if I'd never gotten married for the better part of the day I had almost convinced myself that I'd made the wrong choice some 20 years ago.
It was when I got home and saw a little bald headed boy tormenting a dog, another boy that looks like I spit him out, a beautiful daughter that is growing before my eyes and the woman I love finally feeling like herself again that I realized what all I would have missed if it had gone a different way.
And I told myself I wouldn't change a thing.
Except for maybe letting them talk me into getting a dog.
My day started yesterday at around 5:15 when Trot and Rakes decided that was a perfectly reasonable time to get up and start role playing Mario Brothers in Rakes' bedroom followed by 2 more hours filled with chasing the dog around the house, wrestling each other, and apparently trying to break the sound barrier with voices only.
8 hours of work later I pick the boys up at my parents house (Ang and Ciera had gone to dance practice) and upon entering my home I see the remnants of Hurricane Keagan. First he'd crapped on the stairs (Ciera, ignoring my pleas on the phone just a few short hours ago had NOT taken the dog out), left our bedroom door open, meaning the dog got into the bathroom trashcan and had strewn it's contents all over our room.
They had also left all their lunchboxes on the kitchen table and Rakes' now resembled something that had been put in the garbage disposal; I should point out at this point I'm sure my blood pressure is at stroke level and I'm rambling incoherently about sending the dog to Siberia while Rakes keeps finding MORE stuff, like the trash all in the toy room that I still don't know where it came from.
The dog, sensing something is amiss, promptly goes into our bedroom, crawls under the bed, and won't come out until 10 minutes later when Trot drags it out by his tail. I've gotta be honest; for one brief moment I considered just opening the door, letting him run out, and writing a kidnap note from Morris the Cat stating "this is for all the cats that have ever been chased by a dog".
Thank God the Red Sox won or yesterday might well have been the day they put me in that straight jacket for good.
Ang got a call from the boy's school on her way to work Friday and it turns out it was Trot's teacher.
Thinking it a little odd that the first question out of her mouth was "Does Trot eat breakfast in the morning before he comes to school?" she quickly discovered the reason for the call.
Turns out Trot had been arriving to class about 15 minutes late each day as he took a side detour to the cafeteria to have his SECOND breakfast of each day and was telling his teacher that we didn't feed him anything before he left.
The little con man even told his Mom, after she let him have it for not paying for any of these meals that "It's free, Mom. The lady has all the money in her computer where she punches the numbers in".
I have no idea whether he believes this or if he's the biggest shyster since Leonardo DeCaprio in "Catch me if you Can" but what I do know is this.
He's 6 years old and he already reminds me of Henry from "Goodfellas".
Part of me fully expects him to be running a rolling craps game and taking bets on college football by this fall.
*Image courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
I've never hid the fact that I've always been a huge fan of Josh Beckett. Going back to 2003 when he sent the Yankees home in the World Series all the way until yesterday he's been one of my favorite players. I loved the gunslinger attitude, the competitiveness whenever he was on the mound and his bull dog mentality when it came to doing his job.
Yeah, he could be a horses ass at times. And yes the "I'm a jock and I know it" act got old at times but he always reminded me of a guy who could have pitched in any decade and pitch well. The fact he always took responsibility whenever he came out and laid an egg on the mound always went a long way too.
Yesterday I lost some, actually quite a bit of respect for Beckett. Not because he gave up 7 runs in less than two innings. Not because he played golf on his off day last week when the team skipped his turn in the rotation for a lat issue. Guys have bad games; it happens. And pitchers playing golf on their off day probably goes back to Babe Ruth, although I doubt he'd let a thing like golf get in the way of his serial drinking.
No, what really bothered me was this exchange he had with reporter Gordon Edes.
Question (paraphrased): Did the golf business have any impact on how you pitched?
Answer: None. None.
Question: Anything to say about the golf business?
Answer: No. I spend my off days the way I want to spend them.
Question: Any regrets?
Answer: My off day is my off day.
Question: Given that you were skipped a start with what was described as a tight lat muscle, do people have the right to question why you were golfing?
Answer: Not on my off day.
Question: Do you understand the perception that leaves when the team is playing as poorly as it is?
Answer: We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.
Wrong. Dustin Pedroia gets 18 days off a year. YOU pitch in roughly 30 games so you get around 130 days a year off. And it wasn't about the golf; it was about you acting like a 5th grade child when a reporter asks you a perfectly legitimate question. It's about those other 24 guys on your team who are scuffling like crazy to get out of a season long rut where you can't win at home, can't win on the road, and are looking way up at the rest of the American League East.
As my kids, especially my boys, get older and as a result argue more and more I'm starting to realize that adults aren't really that much different than kids.
Sure we ACT more responsible and have bills and jobs and other crap that kids thankfully don't have to worry about for the most part. But when it comes to disagreements and different opinions? We're not much different than Rakes and Trot hollering "No I didn't. YOU did" at each other about 1000 times.
I guess it's always been like this and I've just been to busy to notice but when did civil discourse about things give way to acting like 3rd graders trying to play with the same toy?
At least with my kids I can send them to their respective rooms and eventually it'll all sort itself out.
And if that doesn't work I can just send them out to the backyard until the little voice inside my head telling me to ship 'em off to Military School shuts up.
*Image courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
When your 4th outfielder is throwing 83 mph in the top of the 17th inning you know you've had one of those games.
After staying up for a 13 inning loss Friday night I missed Saturdays game due to work and I think God knew I needed the break.
17 innings, every relief pitcher on the team except for 1 used (Bobby V must be saving him for tomorrow night against the Royals, although he must be assuming Dubront is going 8), Pedie playing like it's game 7 and for one brief moment the vision of Marlon Byrd being the hero in the first walk off game of the year.
After it was all over and I angrily shut off the stupid Orioles broadcast I had an epiphany. Or something.
If that game hadn't have involved the Red Sox I'd be saying it was one of the best games I'd seen.
Off to Kansas City tomorrow where I'm hoping the road trip of last week repeats itself.
There was a time I thought 43 was old. Ancient even. The older I got, however, the more I realized that just like Alan Jackson says 40 is just a stepping stone.
That hit home today when I read about the death, presumably by suicide, of Junior Seau. He was a year older than me so as I came up through my twenties and thirties Junior was a guy I could relate to. I remember when he finally retired after stopping and starting for the better part of 5 years and realizing then that even though you reach a certain point where you can't do what you used to you still live on.
Today that ended for Seau.
I don't know if concussions played a role in Seau's death and it's likely we won't know for several weeks. What I do know is a relatively young man with three kids, money and a very giving charity that he ran that greatly impacted the San Diego area decided, apparently, to take his own life.
He played in the "steroid era" for sports and played with what can generously be called reckless abandon. For 20 years as a PROFESSIONAL he played a violent game in a violent manner which doesn't take into account his years in college at USC, High School, Jr High, and Pee Wee. With all the recent deaths of retired football players at a young age who committed suicide or died of heart ailments at a time they should have been enjoying retirement and playing golf I can't help but wonder if that contributed to this tragedy.
The ironic thing is on the site where I first read about Seau's death right below it was an article about Roger Goodell suspending Jonathon Vilma for the entire year next season for his role in the bounty scandal.
The only thing I know for sure about all of what I've written is this.
My two sons, if I have anything to say about it, will stay as far away from a football field as humanly possible.
*Picture courtesy of Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
"Dad, am I going to be a midget"?
This is what Rakes asked me tonight while I was making dinner and I have no idea where it came from. We've had talks from time to time where he asks how tall he'll be and while I have no idea I do tell him that based on the lack of height from both his parents I wouldn't hold out hope for being a basketball player when he grows up.
Then, not 15 minutes later, the game comes on and there is Pedroia and his eyes light up. Remembering the time I talked about how all his life every one has told Pedie he was too small to make it at whatever level he was at Rakes then says "Dad, if Pedroia can do that then so can I, right?"
I had been outside playing soccer with the boys for about an hour this evening when Keegan, running like there was a milk bone truck rounding the corner, came flying out of the house and took off down the street so fast I barely had time to process it.
Turns out Rakes had left the door in the garage wide open when he came back outside so the dog decided to take an afternoon run. Ang gets in the van to try and find him while Trot and Rakes jump on their electric scooters like some demented Neighborhood Watch team and Ciera alternates between calling the dog's name and yelling "I Hate You!" at Rakes. Meanwhile I'm secretly thinking that my problem has been miraculously solved and imagine the dog running toward freedom with a smile on his face.
His freedom, and my fantasy of a dog-less existence proved to be short lived and I'm happy (or not so happy) to say the dog is currently laying at my feet after being found at a house about a half mile from ours by a surprised home owner.
A 9 run lead after 6 innings somehow turns into a 15-9 loss where the bull pen makes the Bad News Bears look like an All-Star team and the manager suddenly looked every bit of his 61 years.
All I know is there is nothing I'd like better than to get up tomorrow morning and read the Sox have signed a certain right hander who is currently retired and probably sitting underneath a Mango tree wondering if he's got one more dance in the Light Fandango left in him.
After several weeks of being on "green" at school with just a few "yellows" mixed in we finally had another Defcon 4 today. Trot came home on "red".
When I tried to to find out what happened during our daily phone call/status update once he got home from school he spent 3 minutes pretending he didn't hear me after I asked what happened. Once that jig was up he told me that some random kid pushed him and told the teacher Trot was the pusher and not the pushee. In a way only a Dad who thinks his son has been wronged, I spoke with righteous indignation and told him I would fire off an email to his teacher.
This was met by stunned silence, a few seconds of the phone being rattled and the words "Here's Nanny".
Turns out he basically shut out the teacher all day and did what he wanted to which resulted in him landing on red and getting grounded for the rest of the week. Think "Ferris Buellers Day Off", only Ferris is a bald 6 year old, can't drive and didn't get away with it.
If he ever comes home and tells me his best friend is named Cameron and he likes a girl named Sloane I'm gonna run into the woods behind the house and live in a tree until he leaves home.
*Picture courtesy of my friend Kelly and www.sittingstill.net*
This is Steve. He's a Ferret. Not a real one, although sometimes I wonder.
He's been to Fenway Park hundreds of times, been photographed with multiple players, and can Palooze with the best of 'em. In fact, the first time I met Steve was in Baltimore when he came flying through the air at me, courtesy of a well placed sling shot by Kelly.
He's got his own uniform, a Kyle Snyder autographed jersey, and probably has more friends on Facebook than I do. The only reason I don't know this for sure is I'm afraid to actually check.
And now he's got something that will live on forever, or at least as long as Fenway Park is standing.
A brick. Inside Fenway Park.
This may be the most awesome thing I've ever seen.
I realize Jacoby getting hurt sliding into second is a bad thing. I know they won't score 12 runs a game just as sure as I know Trot won't go a week without peeing in the bed. And as much as it pains me to say it I realize Josh Beckett won't be the ace every time he pitches.
But today in Fenway? Under a beautiful sunny sky Beckett was Beckett going 8 strong, everybody hit and hit well and the Sox took it to the Rays 12-2 in Fenway Park's opener in the 100th year of the ball park.
Tek and Wake threw out the first pitch, I had at least 4 friends that I know of at the game and I'm pretty sure Teddy Ballgame was looking on and smiling.
The kids were out of school yesterday and being that it was a picture perfect North Carolina day, Ang and I took them fishing at the local lake. We packed a picnic lunch, got some blankets to lay on and looked forward to a day out in some fresh air.
On the way I told both boys that the first one to put their foot in the lake was going to have to sit out for an hour and watch the other ones fish because we can't seem to go to the lake without somebody trying to walk on water or swear they saw a fish and were trying to impale it on their toenail or some other cockamamie excuse.
We weren't there 2 minutes and I hadn't got the first hook baited when we heard...... splash.
Somehow Trot had gone rear end over tea kettle into the lake, all 3 foot of him and had this look of "How did this happen?" as all 4 of us practically peed our pants from laughing and spent the next 1 1/2 hours wearing his underwear and Ang's hoodie while his clothes dried in the sun.
Needless to say we didn't catch any fish. Again. Rakes got his fishing pole hooked in a tree while standing on a bench (don't ask), Trot flailed away at the water with HIS pole like he was beating a duck to death and went to the bathroom in his pants while frantically trying to make it up to the rest room at the top of the hill.
I blame myself. Every time we decide to go fishing I've got the image of Andy and Opie heading to the old fishing hole in my head while they've got Pantera blaring in theirs.
The dog is still hacking up candy and wrappers he ate 5 days ago? No problem.
Caught Trot trying (and thankfully failing) to feed the dog with stomach issues a chocolate pop tart earlier? No problem.
Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey on the DL already with a thumb issue and Beckett has seen 2 specialists about his OWN thumb issue and Youk is hitting around the Mendoza line for Spring Training? No problem.
Iran working on nukes and North Korea has one, making the two craziest regimes this side of the guy in Venezuela and Jr's Fantasy Baseball teams? Meh.
'Cause tomorrow is Opening Day, albeit in Detroit and I'll be at work when the game is on. But still; it's Opening Freaking Day and that means for the next 6 months there will be baseball. The video is a little long but if you're a fan of the game? Well worth the listen.
In yet another reminder that we have a lot to learn about having an indoor dog I bring you the following story.
Ang and the kids had already headed over to my parents house for dinner tonight when I ran home after work to change into my "non-work" clothes. Usually when I enter the house the four legged creature that has taken over my home is RIGHT in front of the door waiting to attempt to lick all the skin on my body. Today? No dog.
After hollering his name several times I could hear a faint whining sound emanating from my bedroom. Upon entering the room I discovered my closet door completely closed and scratching coming from the other side. I opened the door, Keagan ran out and I found two bags of Carmel Creames tore open on the floor with the individual wrappers opened up just like a human would do it. Oh yeah, the light was on and Ang SWORE she turned it off.
So I've got $7 worth of candy gone, a dog that apparently can turn a light on and close a door but not open it and the sinking feeling that no matter now often I take this thing out to go to the bathroom I'm gonna find a not so nice surprise waiting for me in the morning.
I've have GOT to install closed circuit cameras in the near future.
Imagine, just a few short weeks ago I was worried that Trot was going to be the one who sent me to an early grave.
Who knew Trot would bring me one of the sweetest moments I've ever had that involved somebody I'd never met before?
Ciera spent the night with a friend and Ang and I took the boys out for hot dogs for dinner.Right as we're getting ready to wind our meal up this man I've never seen before, along with an adorable little girl wearing a bandanna appeared at our table.
"My daughter just wanted to know if your son is ok?" he asked. I explained that Trot had alopecia and he informed me that his daughter, a 7th grader for God's sake, just finished her Chemo and had spotted Trot the minute we walked in the door of Zacks, our local hot dog establishment.
And just like that all my self pity over my son losing his hair and worrying about other kids making fun of him went flying out the window. My son is perfectly healthy except for having no hair, yet this precious little girl fighting cancer saw us walk in and immediately worried about HIM.
I fully believe Trot's hair will come all the way back one day in the near future but if it doesn't?
Sweet Holy Moses I've still got so much to be thankful for.
I'm pretty sure I'll remember that sweet little girl for a long, long time.
Leave it to a child to remind us of what is REALLY important.