Monday, December 31, 2007

Conversation with my daughter

Hana and Sheila got new Digital Cameras for birthday and Christmas respectively. They are exactly the same camera. I asked Hana where her camera was cause Sheila's is sitting right here beside me.

"Upstairs in my room," she said.

"How can you tell which camera is yours," I asked.

"Cause mine is upstairs in my room."


A man's man

I almost had a new reputation at church as a man who keeps his family in line, including his wife. ALMOST, I said.

Get this picture.

I'm in Sunday school listening to a fabulous teacher tell us many spiritual things, and my wife walks in the back and taps me on the shoulder.

"Preston's having a hard morning and I need your help."

I get up and follow her out.

"He's been running from me and he refuses to go to class. He's very near throwing a fit."
I go out into the foyer with my wife to find him and he's not to be seen. Sheila's pretty mad at this point. (Her days of actually chasing after a kid down the hall are pretty much near the end.)
Then I see him hiding under a coffee table.

I go into 'Dad' mode.

"Get up. What's the problem?"

Whining ensues.

"I can't understand you when you whine. Speak clearly please"

Note my calm tone?

He refuses to speak or sit up on the couch and begins to make some rather ugly comments.

We all have those days, right?

So here comes the good picture.

I'm sitting on Couch B, leaning forward in intense mode, Sheila is sitting on Couch A leaning back frustrated and nearly at her wits end. Preston is curled in a ball at the X mark, refusing to speak and trying to hide from the world.

Along comes a friend who happens to live across the street from me, on his way from class to the Men's room.

Before he walked in the foyer I had made the statement to Preston, "If you refuse to talk to us and apologize to Mommy for making rude and ugly comments, then you will lose your privileges for the day."
Just as he entered the room Preston's time for compliance had run out and I made the statement, "OK. If that's how you want to act then you have lost all your privileges for today. And you can't earn them back."

I noticed a pause in his step and I was hoping that he wouldn't feel the need to enter the conversation, but he went on about his mission.

We finally got Preston up on the couch, Couch A that is, and he apologized and was calming down when my friend returned from his chore.

As he walked back through the foyer I heard a chuckle and he went on back to class.

It wasn't until after church that I saw things from his perspective. Seems he had heard just the statement about losing privileges and not been able to see Preston hiding behind the couch. This fellow thought I was making the statement about losing privileges to my wife. He told me later that at first he wanted to talk to me about my marital communication skills until he saw the whole picture.

I'm not sure if he wanted to correct them or learn from them.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Well, It's a done deal. There is a new member of our little clan. This expands us to 6. We're getting bigger and bigger. We all went together as a family to the court, sat in front of the judge and said this is what we want. We want this little guy to be a full-fledged member of our family.

Some things came to mind as I sat there.

I'm 45 years old and this is the first time I've had to appear before a judge. I guess I've done OK in that regard.

Also, this was probably one of those hearings that a judge looks forward to presiding over. I'm sure he sees lots of crap throughout his day and to have a room full of smiles and mom's crying tears of joy probably makes his day.

My brother-in-law was there with his camera taking pictures of this momentous event and the judge just smiled. Also, I am sure, not a common occurrence.

Preston's case worker wanted to come and watch as well. I was thinking, "You did good, lady. You did a good job with this one."

After it was over Sheila wanted to go out to lunch to celebrate so we went to a restaurant that I have never been to but Sheila and Hana raved about it. Cold Stone Creamery. I knew they served ice cream since that's what they're known for but I also figured they served maybe some small sandwiches of some kind since that's where my wife wanted to go for lunch. Alas, once again, I was wrong. No sandwiches. No hot dogs. No meals of any kind. Unless, that is you consider a big bowl of ice cream with fudge, chocolate chips, and sprinkles, all served in a waffle bowl a meal. Apparently my wife a daughter do. I must admit, it was the best ice cream I have ever had. I had Cake Batter ice cream with white chocolate chips and pieces of Heath bars in a regular waffle bowl. My word, was it ever good.

After the ice cream we were gonna take Preston to the mall cause he wanted to get his ears pierced and he wasn't allowed to do that while he was still a foster child. But we ran out of time and had to go straight to the movie theater. What a shame. ;)

So we went from ice cream to an arcade at thye theater and played a couple games, bought two big bags of popcorn, with two big jugs of Diet Coke and went in to find our seats.

The kids wanted to sit in the very back and this is one of those cool theaters where you can see over the person in front of you so we said sure.

Turns out one of my bosses was in there with his family as well.

We saw the new National Secret movie. It was pretty good. Not as good as the first one but then they very seldom are, right?

After the movie we were all pretty wore out so it was off to the house to try to find soemthing for dinner.

Can you say FULL?!

Nobody could agree on what they wanted so I pulled an executive decision moment and said, "You're all on your own."

Preston and Isaac had frozen Bagel Bites.

Hana wanted something from Lil' Bella's which either has or will change it's name to Payne's pizza or something like that.

Sheila, Ben and I wanted to Chinese so it was off to the Jade Palace for our regular fix. (Hana doesn't like Chinese food. I keep asking her how she could be my child and feel that way.)

General Tso's Chicken, Pot Stickers, and two orders of Beef Lo Mien with varying degrees of spiciness. We sat down and watched a few episodes from the first season of Seinfeld. I made it through the first two and then I was asleep in my chair. Can you say 'Archie Bunker reincarnated'? I told Sheila that National Secret was the first movie I had stayed awake through in several months. Yes, I regularly fall asleep in the movie theater. I'm a lousy date. I fell asleep during Saw4. Sheila woke me up by stabbing me in the arm with her fingernails. Either it was an intense scene or I was snoring.

Well, that's it. Life goes on in the Prozac belt. See ya next time.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Four Days

I just wanted to make it four days in a row.

See ya.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Three days

I'm on a roll! Three days blogging in a row. What can I say. My fans are screaming for me. Can you hear them? No? Turn up your scanner. Now can you hear them? I thought that was the problem.

There's a laundromat, or is it laundrymat, a half block away across from the video store. When we're outta soda's we'll walk down and get a Diet Pepsi out of their machine. We've lost money a few times but that's the price of living in America, right?

I walked down there yesterday evening to get me and Isaac a soda cause he was helping me shovel the ice off the sidewalk. Dropped 4 quarters in the machine, hit the appropriate button and a diet Pepsi dropped just like it's supposed to. But then another one dropped. And another. And yes, you guessed it, another one. I thought "Cool, four sodas for the price of one." And then I hit the mother lode. The machine spit my 4 quarters back at me. JACKPOT!!! If only the Vegas slots worked like that for me. On top of that, Sheila looked under her bottle cap (yes, I let her have one) and found the "Buy one, get one free" line. Does that count as 5?

My yard looks really nasty with the snow mostly melted and the mud raising it's ugly head. I wonder if I can replace it with Astroturf.

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. I was planning on waiting til the end of next week when I figured they would be real cheap but we got a good deal. Six foot tree that's real pretty for $25. The guys were closing up shop for the season, lucky we stopped on the way home, and they threw in two wreaths, three bundles of cuttings, and 75 feet of that fresh garland stuff. Know what I'm talking about? Had to cut some branches off the bottom of the tree to get in the stand but it still looks good. I took the branches I cut off and stuck them in the mud right in front of my porch. Viola! Instant bushes. Is that how you spell viola? Sounds like vwahlah. Anyway. There you go.

Picture time.

This is what the front drive axle of my semi normally looks like.

And this is the landing gear under the trailer under normal conditions.

Now here's both those items after driving 11 hours through snow and ice. I'd lay good money I had an extra 2000 lbs of snow and ice hanging off that truck by the end of that day. Maybe that's why all the scales were closed. That and the fact that all the troopers were out helping the stranded motorists.

Maybe I should stop for fuel.

My truck is equipped with "Optimized Idle". What this is supposed to do is start and stop the engine in order to maintain the temperature in the cab while I sleep. It'll run the AC or the heat, whichever I need. Did you notice I said "supposed to"? It doesn't work on my truck. 554,000 miles has a tendency to cause wear and tear on a system. So when it's hot outside I open the vents on the side and the top windows of the sleeper and relax. Actually, that works pretty well unless we're talking 90's. When it's cold, I use what's called a Webasto heater. It's like those propane torpedo heaters you see in construction sights. It runs off the diesel fuel and heats the cab that way. If the temps drop below 20 I just run the motor. Below 20 for too long and the motor will be hard to start in the morning unless I plug it in, and unless I'm at my own shop, chances are I'm not gonna have a place to plug in.

I noticed on my Stat Counter that I had 63 page loads on Sunday. Man, there must have been a large number of extremely bored people on Sunday.

Can you tell it's been quiet in my house? I've gotten a lot done this morning. And Preston's up. He wants hot chocolate, puppy chow (the candy kind). Wants me to teach him how to make coffee. Here comes Isaac. The quiet is officially over.

See ya.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Price of a child

How do you put a price on a child? As you all probably know already we are proceeding with the adoption process of a little guy we call Preston. He is a gem and fits into our family like a glove. As far as my other children are concerned he's already their brother. We cannot imagine life without him.
Yesterday we met with authorities from his home county in order to negotiate whatever support we may be able to receive in order to acclimate him into our family and to meet his medical needs.
Awful! Absolutely Awful experience. My wife and I had already determined that we would proceed regardless of the support level that we received but this little man has needs that are out of the ordinary due to the crap that he's already been through. Can our family cover those costs? Never mind the fact that when he becomes our son in a legal framework we will no longer receive the stipend that comes through the fostering agency.
So we ask. What can the county commit to? Obviously governments are limited by budget constraints and if you have ever dealt with a child welfare department you probably know that they are at the bottom of the barrel as far as allocations are concerned. It's a crime. Governments spend so much money and we hear everyday of money being wasted and stolen from this department or that one. On the way into work this morning I heard that Medicaid was under investigation for $90 million in questionable expenditures. We don't need $90 million. Maybe 0.00001% of that. Maybe. (Hope I got that number right.)
Well, as far as we are concerned, on December 28 this little man will be part of our clan. Officially! On paper! Signed, sealed and delivered. Regardless of the help we can get, it's a done deal in our hearts.
If fostering is within your capabilities as a family, it is a fantastic way to make a difference in the life of a child. My wife was created for this. This is her skill. She excels at that. Me, I tag along and say "Yes, dear," whenever it is appropriate. Which is usually about every 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

By the way

By the way, everyone got home OK on Saturday. Despite all my worrying. After they were home we pretty much hunkered down and waited the storm out. It hit again on Sunday and I didn't leave for my run til Monday morning. Spent Saturday night with the family watching movies and eating Chinese.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday, In the park

It's Saturday afternoon, snowing heavily outside, (of course it wouldn't be snowing heavily inside and if it were I would have a lot more problems than life has already thrown at me) my wife and the two oldest are off in town and I think are on their way home as we speak. I have moved all my music around, stolen some from hotplate's blog, loaded it on my phone so I can listen since my 8-track deck still isn't working in my truck, read through some of the posts on my Google-Reader that I've missed this week since my kids wouldn't let me on the computer, made my various and normally humorous comments, wondered if that's really how you spell kanipshen, took the two youngest and a friend of my son's who is here for the weekend to the recently rebuilt McD's in town for breakfast cause Preston wanted scrambled eggs and I hate making them, oohed and aahed over the modern decor that McD's has gone with here in Mayberry, called my wife to make sure that she was okay and remind her to drive carefully on the way home, got back home and started reading blogs again, made Isaac put the clean dishes away, checked the weather, put on another pair of socks, told the kids to turn it down, snickered over Julie's husband and their tree, checked the weather, called my wife, told the kids to turn it down, wished I was where Craig and Diane were, called my wife, checked the weather, moved some music, rejoiced in the fact that my freight is all in a box and doesn't have to be chained down, burned (or AM burning) a DVD, talked to the local Jehovah's witness that knocked on the door, wondered if Tracy made those videos herself, found out they don't celebrate christmas, asked them if that means they don't drink coffee, had to explain my humor...again..., wondered about greeny's pole dancing skills, tried to keep playing my Play-Station while the JW's were talking, thought, "Hey, my kids use that word all the time.", walked them to the door, said goodbye, wished them a Merry Christmas, went back to the blogging, wondered if I would ever use this word in a sentence, thought about Mark's dad, called my folks, told Preston that if he wanted anything for dinner before mom got home he could have anything from the litter box that he wanted, got the two young ones to help me with the dishes, picked up the dining room and the living room, started another DVD since the first one finished, and wrote this blog. Time for a drink. What! My margarita bottle is empty and gone. Oh yeah, now I remember. WOOT! That was a fun night. I wonder if Sheila's passed the liquor store yet?

PRESTON!! Get outta the litter box!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's official

It's official. We have been officially approved for adoption. No, not for us to be adopted. For us to adopt our little guy, Preston, whose been with us for 10 months now. I cannot in any way shape or form imagine this house without him now. The final hearing is Dec. 28. What a Christmas present!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Thanks for all the good ideas. I really appreciate it all. I must say, I was in a fairly bad mood that morning but things are better now. Still the same as far as hecticness goes but I've got a better attitude.

I have taken all of your suggestions to heart. I ordered her a little something that I can't tell you about right now because she sometimes reads this blog but I think she'll like it and I'll let you know about it later. Next week maybe.

I have also thought about what Dan said. "Fatherhood is sexy". Never thought of it that way but now that I think about it she really enjoys it when I do something special for the kids, not just for her.

We could both stand to walk more, her knee is better now, and even though it's not the best weather for walking, that's something that we need to do. Seems like that's the only way we're gonna get any quiet time is to get out of the house. It's too cold to get hot and heavy in the park so you probably won't read about us in the news anytime soon.

Which reminds me. We went to counseling a few years ago and the counselor recommended we strengthen our marriage by finding ways to be intimate without engaging in sex. He said we would talk about it every week and see how it was going. The first week he asked how things went and we said it wasn't too bad, and te second week was pretty much the same. The third and fourth weeks were a little harder we told him but we had discovered some new things about each other. The fifth week without sex we went into see him and he asked how things were going.

I said, "We failed. We couldn't help ourselves."

He said, "Tell me what happened."

I said, "You know, we talked about the fact that she's been wanting to do some painting around the house and She thinks it sexy when I help her with things like that. Well, we decided to paint the living room and the kids were out of town for the weekend at the grandparents so we could get the painting done without any interruption. She bent over to pick up a can of paint and I just couldn't help myself. I had to have her right then."

He was pretty disappointed and he said,"It doesn't sound like you two are serious about this therapy. If you can only go five weeks then maybe you should try some other therapy and not come back here."

I said,"That's ok. We're not aloud back into Home Depot anymore either."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Not a happy one

I didn't realize two weeks have gone by since my last post. Same old problem, kids and work. If it's not one thing it's another. But I wouldn't trade either for anything right now.
So why do I feel so alone sometimes. this is something I have been struggling with lately. Sorry if this isn't my usual happy go lucky post. Sometimes life gets in the way and I just want to keep rolling when everyone in front of me is stopped for that red light.
Been married 23 years. Have 4 kids. An adoption is in the works. I have an excellent job. It pays well and I enjoy it. I have a house, renting but at least a roof over my head. Two cars, three dogs a cat and a couple fish. There are so many other ways that I am blessed. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
So what's the deal? Why should I feel like moping and throwing ye old pity party? My wife lives in the same house with me, that's usually how it works, and yet I miss her. I tell her that and she says the same thing and then life gets in the way and we still miss each other. We try to take time with each other and but it usually doesn't happen without some very serious planning aforehand. Which takes any spontaneity out of the picture and seems to ruin it.
Man, this is a really depressing post. If you want to keep reading, go ahead. If not, see ya next time and have a good day.
You would think after being married 23 years we would have this thing down better than this. Her sister is two doors down and her folks are moving to town. I already miss my wife. Will I miss her more? I read Diane's blog and I am seriously, intensely jealous of the time they have together. I know life is not always a bed of roses. I'm not an idiot. But then there should at least be a rose here and there. Wouldn't you think?
So what to do? We separated once a few years ago and I really don't want to go through that again nor do I want a divorce. She's an unbelievably sweet and wonderful woman. I just don't want to share her. Is that selfish? If so, right now, I don't care. I don't want to share my wife. I saw the TV show and the movie and neither one was any good.
What is going through my mind right now is that I need to step up and make the changes that are necessary. She likes surprises. So I will surprise her. She likes chocolate, what woman doesn't, and she likes candles. Maybe a chocolate candle?
So I need to work on this. My problem is that when I get down and feeling alone, which happens from time to time, I don't always make the right choices regarding how to deal with my loneliness, and I usually feel worse.
AM posted about online shopping and I don't do much of that. Maybe I can surprise her with something special. I need some help though. If you know of cool places to go online, please, please, please, let me know.
Sorry again that this isn't so joyful here but it's early Saturday morning and the house is quiet and...well, enough excuses.
So help...
Her likes: Little house on the Prairie, The Walton's, Chocolate, candles, scrap booking, children, babies, Americana, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Kenny G, Kenny Loggins, buying things for other people, Willow tree stuff, action movies.
Dislikes: Coffee, gossip magazines, nuclear war, vegetables, laundry.
If you're a guy, what would you do for a woman like this? If you're a woman like this or even if you're not like this but still a woman, what would you want done for you? And remember, 4 kids and two of them in college. Money isn't growing on trees here, it's being yanked up by the roots and that only with much fight and determination. Email me if you want.
She's a great wife and we need some spark back.