Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Warning

The warning label from one of Wyatt's Christmas gifts. For easier viewing, I think, if you click on the picture the image will get bigger.

My favorite is #1. b).

Because every house has "the dusty place".

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mostly Dissastified

I answered the phone on the second ring. I knew from the caller ID that it was a telemarketer of some kind.

"Hello. May I please speak with William?" The voice on the phone asked.


"This is William."

"I am calling on behalf of TD Bank and I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your recent transaction."

"Is this some kind of survey?" I asked.

"Yes."

"We only use TD Bank for our car payment. Every now and then I will drop off a check at the local branch." I explained hoping to avoid the survey.

Lauren was out and Max and Wyatt were running around like wild Indians (I am sure that wild Indians is not a political correct phrase but that was what they were doing, flapping their hands over their mouths while screaming). You are probably thinking that I should have just declined to do the survey. Well I know that the person calling me is just trying to do his job. I work in sales and I am constantly using the phone and I know how difficult it is to get people to listen. Most times I will listen to a telemarketer or a survey-taker. Again they have a job to do.

::tangent::*
I used to hate getting junk mail; fliers, credit card offers, free trip offers and all of the other junk mail. I used to think junk mail was such a waste. Then one time during an email exchange I found out that one of my very dear blogger friend's husband worked in the junk mail business. I am sure they do not call it junk mail business but something like Direct Marketing. Now I look at every piece of junk mail. Why? Because it is some one's job. Not just one person but many. Somebody had to design the mail. Someone had to make the presentation and sale to their end customer to approve the final product. And, yes, a postal worker had to deliver the mail. People just trying to make living. Now, I appreciate the junk mail.

I know there are arguments out there about the environment and saving trees but I know that I have received fliers about saving the environment in junk mail form. I also know that the person who is trying to stop junk mail to save the environment, is just doing their job, and the fact that junk mail exists gives them a job. Think about it.

::end tangent::


"It will only take a few minutes of your time." The man said.


"Okay. Make it quick."


He then asked me questions about the service I received and if the tellers were friendly and if the transaction was done in a quick and timely manner. I was to answer his questions with "very satisfied", "mostly satisfied", "dissatisfied" and "Very dissatisfied" (that's what she said). I answered "mostly" to all. Every time I answered a questions I could hear him click the keys on his computer documenting my answers. The entire survey took about 8 minutes. He then asked me if there was anything I would like to add.


"Yes." I said. "The actual transaction, at the bank branch, that we were just discussing, took a total time of 3 minutes to complete. Your survey took 8 minutes. If you add these 8 minutes to the 3 minutes at the bank for one transaction, that is a total of 11 minutes, which, as far as I am concerned, is too long for one simple transaction."


There was silence on the other end of the line. I did not hear him clicking his computer.


"Excuse me?"I said.


"Yes. Sorry sir." He said. "I have been doing these surveys for a while now and that is the first time anyone has pointed that out to me. Thank you for your time."

He hung up. I felt all smug in my "11 minute bank transaction" answer. I was the first person to ever point that out. I felt pretty smart. That was the first time any one ever pointed that out...then it hit me. He was being sarcastic. And it was too late to change my answers about being satisfied.








*The Tangent style of writing is credited to MRTL and was used in accordance to all copy right and by-laws and credit, although strict written consent was not obtained prior to the posting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spirits of Christmas

Spirit of Christmas Past

Hard Wear



Greatest Gift


Spirit of Christmas Present

Last year Lauren trash picked some wicker rein deer. They were covered in Christmas lights and they seemed cute. She thought they would be great for our yard for our Christmas decorations for this year. That Lauren, she is always thinking ahead. I stored the wicker light covered reindeer in the garage for 6 months. I got tired of moving them every time I needed to use the mower that I eventually move the deer to the attic.

Our attic was/is packed with junk and the reindeer were jammed between an old pool table and some fireplace equipment and covered by a musty mattress. Once the holiday season arrived I took out the deer and put them in the front of our house. I did not plan to do too much with lights and I figured they would work for one year. I plugged them in with some other lights that I hung on the bushes and fence, only to find that half the lights on the deer were not working. I didn't care. I stood the deer next to a bush and was happy to have just half a lit reindeer.

The deer wouldn't stay up. Being crushed in my attic had caused the wicker legs to warp in a way that prevented them from standing straight. They kind of leaned bit. In an awkward way. Lauren called them stroke patient deer. Then two of the sets of lights I hung on the bushes went out. They were indoor lights and could not take the cold temps. Our house became a ghetto Christmas house.

Our next door neighbor asked Lauren if she wanted help fixing the deer and the lights.You know your Christmas decorations are bad when your neighbor volunteers to help you make them look nice. That means he was embarrassed for us and for himself and wanted to keep the property value up. Lauren declined his help. That night my brother Jim called me from his cell phone. He was out driving through neighborhoods with his family looking at lights. He laughed and mocked my decorating.


Spirit of Christmas Future

Both Wyatt and Maxfield asked for the I-chip for Christmas. I just can't believe that they can make an MP3 player that holds 50,000 songs the size of a thumbtack. I told them both that I would take them to have the I-chips implanted at the Piercing Pagoda. I told Max he could drive so he can get some hours in under his learner's permit. He is going to be in for a rude awakening when he has to pay for his own solar power for the car. I can't believe the price for an hour of sun is now up to 3 bucks.


Merry Christmas Everybody.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Emergency Education

Max received a fire safety and emergency coloring and activity book from his pre-school. He has been working very hard on coloring all of the pages and recently he asked me for my assistance with one of the word searches. I sat next to him at the table and we searched for words like "escape" and "hazard" and "fire engine". Once we finished the search Max turned the page and the next topic was calling 9-1-1.

You hear and read stories all the time about how some 3 year old saved his grandmother because he knew how to call 9-1-1. And you are impressed that a child knew to call 9-1-1 that you forget that it must have sucked for that child to actually had to have called 9-1-1 in the first place. I figured with the activity book in front of me it would be a good time to discuss the topic with Max. I mean I could always use the coloring book as a reference guide, except I would have to solve the puzzle first in order to get guidance. Maybe they should cover this topic of calling 9-1-1 on MommyCast.

I showed Max which button to push to turn on our phone, and how to listen for the dial tone before dialing. I explained that 9-1-1 is the phone number for the police, ambulance and the fire department all at one location and he is only ever to dial 9-1-1 if there is an emergency.

"What kind of emergency?" He asked.

I looked at the activity book. "If the house was fire."

"But I am supposed to get out of the house if it is on fire and wait for you and mommy at the end of the driveway."

"Yes. You are right. If the house is on fire you just get out. Right."

Stupid activity book.

I thought for a minute and said "Just say mommy was not home, and I fell off a ladder while I was painting crown molding for the baby and I hit my head so hard that I could not wake up, that is when you should call 9-1-1."

"Only if you fall off the ladder?"

"No, but if I got hurt in any other way and I could not use the phone then you call 9-1-1."

"But you won't get hurt Dad."

"But can you imagine if I did?"

"No. You won't get hurt."

"No I won't. But just picture in your mind that I was not home and something happened to mommy and she was not okay, you could call 9-1-1."

"Mommy won't get hurt."

"But if she does..."

Max cut me off, "I don't want to call 9-1-1."

I could tell I was scaring him and I decided on a different approach. I did not want him to have nightmares about Lauren or I getting hurt. Maybe I was throwing too much at him, asking to imagine his parents being hurt and all. But I also wanted him to be okay with calling 9-1-1. Again, the coloring book was offering no help.

I pointed to our neighbors shed. "Do you see that shed out there? If that shed was on fire, you should call 9-1-1."

"That shed?" Maxfield asked and pointed in the backyard.

"Yes."

"How would that shed catch fire?"

"That doesn't matter..."

Max cut me off. "Oh I know. If a dragon sneezes on that shed then, then I will call 9-1-1."

I hope and pray that we have no serious accidents at our house, but if we do, I hope they are caused by dragons.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Portraits

Wyatt Blue-age 2.5years-Happy go lucky kid with a great personality.


Maxfield Alexandre-Age 4.75. Handsome and smart with a great sense of humor.

William-Age 5-DORK.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Inflated Ego

I was standing in the customer service line at the Toys’R’ Us, waiting to exchange a toy, when I felt someone touch my arm and say. “You’re Bill M, aren't you?"

“Yes.” I said as I turned to greet a smiling face. “And how do you know that?” I asked.

“I am Mrs. P. Paul and Gina’s mom.”

“Oh. Hi. How are you?” I think I shook her hand but maybe I didn't.

I went to school with both Paul and Gina and I worked with Paul for a few years. I was not sure how she recognized me though. I could understand that she knew me as one of my family but not Bill specifically. I only recalled ever being at their house once, when I was on the same “illegal” scavenger hunt team as Gina. And that was when I was a sophomore in high school. I use the word “illegal” because that was what the cops told us, but they never arrested any of us.

“I just want to tell you. I just love your blog.”

I smiled from ear to ear, my hat size increasing by two sizes. “Thank you.” I replied. She recognized me from Poop and Boogies. I felt pseudo-famous.

“I read it every day.”

“Thank you. Really.” I started to blush.

“Paul told me about it when your father passed away. I went and read it from the beginning. It really is a wonderful thing you do.”

My head size grew some more.

We talked about my dad, her son Paul as well as some other mutual acquaintances. We talked about the blog some more. She asked how Lauren was feeling and she told me she read her blog as well. She asked me how my reunion was why hadn't I posted anything about it yet. There were people milling about us because I was in line, it was not a really a line but more or less people standing in a group waiting for the customer service desk. I let a few people jump ahead of my turn so i could continue my conversation.

“It is just a joy to read.” She said.

Her cell phone rang and she answered it. “Hello.”

“It’s Gina.” She said to me and then said into the phone. “You’ll never guess who I am talking too. Bill M. Yes. Yes, yes I told him. I will call you back.” She hung up the phone. “She asked me if I told you that you are one of my favorite people.”

I blushed some more and I started to try and figure out how I was going to get my overblown noggin out the automatic sliding doors.

We chatted a bit more and she complimented the blog again. I told her it felt weird being recognized for the blog and I apologized if I had bad breath because I was not expecting to run into anyone. She assured me I did not have bad breath but she may have been just being nice and she left.

I waited a few more minutes before I stepped up to the group of people now waiting in line. I was smiling because of how cool it was that Mrs. P told me she enjoyed the blog and that I was recognized. I was kind of in my own little world when I felt some one tap my shoulder.

“Excuse me,” I heard over my right shoulder. “Are you…”

I turned quickly and said, “Yes…I’m..” and I was totally prepared to say Bill from Poop and Boogies because I was sure whoever was trying to get my attention overheard my conversation with Mrs. P.

And they finished with, “…in line for the customer service desk?”

Ego deflated.

Thanks Mrs. P for reading. It was great to see you and thanks for making my day on Saturday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brain

Wearing a green blanket over my head turns me into the sea monster. I was battling Spiderman and Spiderman's helper. Spiderman does not have a sidekick and since they both can't be Spiderman, Wyatt's default superhero is Spiderman's helper.

As I, the sea monster, wrestled the superheroes I would threaten to eat their ears or their belly buttons or toes. The only way the two Spidermen could defeat the sea monster was by pulling the green blanket away, which would turn me back to a normal person. I took down Spiderman #1 and pinned his shoulders to the ground.

"Unless your helper saves you, I am going to suck your brains out through your ear." I rasped as I leaned in and made slurping noises next to Spiderman's ears.

He giggled and yelled, "Wyatt save me."

"It is no use Spiderman. He is distracted by the TV." I growled. " And now I am going to eat your brains."

"Stop." Max said. Not Spiderman but Max. He was very serious."You can't do that."

"Can't do what?"

"Eat my brains."

"Yes I can."

"No. You. Can't."

"Why not?"

"Because I only have one brain. You keep saying brains." Max stressed the "s" at the end. "I don't have more than one."

Proud Father Moment




My brothers, at Thanksgiving, teaching Maxfield how to play Craps. He made his point his first time rolling the bones.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mother's Ring

I don't know if I was told, or if I read it somewhere, or if I just made it up, that the father of a new baby is supposed to get the new mother a gift after she delivers the baby. I guess the gift is kind of like a "There you go. Good job. Atta girl." type of gift. Somewhat like a trophy. (Now that I think about it, a trophy would have been an awesome gift. I wonder if they make delivery/labor trophies. I may be on to something. A gold plated women in stir-ups on top of a marble base with a shiny etched plate that reads "#1 Pusher." I need to remember this.) I decided to go with a Mother's Ring.

The typical Mother's Ring has the birthstone of the child in it. I wanted to have the ring to be able to give it to Lauren while she was in the hospital. Maxfield's due date was February 29th. February's stone is Amethyst. There was a good chance Max would be born in March, which the stone is Aquamarine. I wanted to be prepared so I went to the jeweler and ordered two rings with the understanding that I would be returning the one I did not need. Max was born in March.

Wyatt was due mid June and I felt fairly safe to order a ring with an Alexandrite stone. We were in Florida at the time and I went to one of those jewelry stores in the mall. I explained to the young girl that I was looking for a Mother's Ring with Alexandrite. She showed me all kinds of fancy settings with Diamond encrusted this and that and super duper brushed gold with a Illudium pu-36 explosive space modulator. The cost of the rings she showed me were more than what I paid for for Lauren's engagement ring.

"I would like a plain ring setting." I said.

"You want a plane ring?"

"Yes. Just plain. With a stone on top."

"I am not sure we have something like that." she said.

"I do not want something too gaudy. My wife would not like that. Nothing too complicated. Just a plain ring."

"I could see if they could make a custom plane ring for you." She was being very helpful.

"I don't get it. Why would a plain ring be custom?" I asked.

"Well we do not carry anything that looks like a plane."

"What?"

"You want a ring that looks like a plane, right?"

"No. I want a PLAIN ring. Plain as in simple. As in not too much bells and whistles."

"I am sorry but we do not have any bell rings either."

This conversation went in circles until I grabbed a catalog and showed the girl a picture of what I wanted.

Lauren is not one for too much jewelery. With the third kid coming she did not really want a third ring. It would be too much on her fingers. I needed to find a ring where I could have all three stones in the setting. Around the time we were discussing the ring I received an email from this company . The email was not spam. Apparently someone there reads my blog and knew I would be in the need of a Mother's ring soon. We exchanged some emails back and forth and their website makes it easy to build any type of multi-stoned ring.

I added the link to my side bar so I could find them when it came time for me to actually order the ring, which, will be soon. I am having fun mixing and matching various stones and settings, although they do not have an airplane style ring. The new baby is due January 4th. Lauren could go early so I am not going to order the ring until I know for sure what stone I need to get. Try it. Mother's Rings.

Now I am going to have to google search birthing trophies.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Last Year- Miscarriage

Last year Lauren had a miscarriage. It was her second one. All miscarriages suck, but the one she went through last year was worse than the first one she had a few years ago. What made it worse was the fact that we actually got to see the baby's heartbeat and ghost like images and shape on an ultrasound just a few days before the miscarriage.

She was 9 weeks along in the pregnancy when Lauren felt a little strange and there was some spotting. We immediately went to the doctor and they gave her the ultrasound and assured us everything was okay. They said they were 95 percent positive everything was fine. That was a Friday.

The following Monday I went out of town for a few days. I was on I-4, heading to Tampa Florida when I got a phone call that Wednesday. Lauren called to let me know that she knew something was happening and needed to go to the hospital. She needed to arrange a sitter for the kids and her mom was going to the hospital with her. I was 1000 miles away and was helpless. The sad reality about a miscarriage though is that everyone is helpless. There is nothing anyone can do.

I spent the rest of that day and night calling every half hour for an update. It was early evening when Lauren called me back to break the news. We lost the baby.

Did you see what I just did? I used the words, her and she when talking about the miscarriage but I used the word we when talking about the loss. That is just not fair. I did not get it at the time. When Lauren had her first miscarriage back in the fall 05 I was somewhat detached. Yes it sucked and I did what I could, but I just didn't get it. A few days after that first miscarriage, my dad called me and said, "Bill, make sure you mourn for that baby. Not for your wife or anyone else, but for yourself." I didn't get it.


The one last year. I still didn't get it. I flew home on Thursday and spent the next few days doing my best to help Lauren. I was sad for her but the whole situation still did not affect me to any extreme.

I know there is a lot doubt and regret and guilt that goes through a woman's mind when she has a miscarriage. "Maybe I should have taken it easy, this would not have happened." "Maybe I should have stopped drinking tea." "If only I would have eaten a bit healthier."

The thoughts are endless. These thoughts, combined with actual physical discharge of the baby as well as hormonal changes, can have a very dramatic effect on a woman. A man does not get it and never truly will.

A week after the miscarriage Lauren's father died. Three weeks after that, my father died. Somewhere in between all of that we had two boys to tend to and Christmas and work and, well, life. Lauren and I stayed positive through all of that. We usually do. I am a firm believer of casting away negative thoughts. But we kept looking for meaning in all the sad events.

One night, while talking about losing the baby, while I still didn't get it, Lauren said to me, "Bill, I can't stop thinking about the baby."

I tried to tell her there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. That is what everyone says. That is the cliché. That is supposed to be positive and take away the "woulda coulda shouldas".

Lauren then said something that I will never forget. Something that made me actually get it. Something that brought me to kind of understanding of a woman's thoughts when they have a miscarriage. She said:

"In some cultures and spiritual practices they believe that a baby chooses it's parents. I can't help but feel what is wrong with us as parents that this baby chose not to be with us."

I finally got it.

I started to question myself. I started to have doubt and regret and guilt. My thoughts were endless. "Maybe I am too hard on the kids. Maybe I am not a good role model. Maybe I am not cut out to have three kids. Maybe I don't deserve to have more. Why would this baby not want to be with me?"

I got it. And somewhere in between mourning for my dad and Lauren's dad and tending to the boys and work and life, I mourned for that baby we lost. I came to terms with the fact that we had a miscarriage. That it was our second one.

This year, December 2008, we are expecting our third boy. We are happy. Things are good. I have said it before, I am the luckiest and that too, I get.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Naming the baby

People are asking Lauren and I if we have decided on a name for the baby. Our answer is and was with Maxfield and Wyatt, "We are not telling." Or I tell them we are leaning towards d'Artagnan*, Dart for short, from the Three Musketeers but Lauren needs some convincing.

When we were expecting Maxfield, the name we originally thought to give him was Westley. We made the mistake of telling my Mom, who then rolled her eyes and told us she did not like that name.

"Wesley?" She asked.

"No. Westley."

"Wesley? Wesley? Oh I don't like that." She said.

"Why?"

"It makes me think of Wesley Snipes and I don't like him." She said.

I explained to her the name Westley was from the Princess Bride. Which then made her chuckle and roll her eyes some more. I think she confused the character with Andre the Giant. The conversation ruined the name for us and we went with our second choice. After Maxfield was born and we told her his name. When she heard the name Maxfield, I think at that time, she started to prefer Westley. We explained the inspiration behind the name was Maxfield Parrish, the early 1900s painter, which caused her to giggle. Of course, as with all grandmothers, after meeting him, she was fine with his name.

When Lauren was pregnant with Wyatt, we kept his name a secret. We did not want anyone to ruin the name for us. Wyatt's name is inspired from N.C. and Andrew Wyeth. But since we did not want everyone thinking the kid could not pronounce his name, or that he had a speech problem, we went with Wyatt.

This next baby's name we are keeping a secret as well. It will be inspired though. Most of my family thinks I am weird for giving my kids names that have meaning to my wife and I.

The other day we were at my Mom's house and she asked us about names. We told her the ones that we ruled out and she rolled her eyes and scoffed at our choices. Basically making fun of our choices. As she was talking I remembered a story my dad told me about the night my mom went into labor with their second child, my brother Dennis.

My mom and dad were driving to the hospital and and the song Monday, Monday by the Mama's and the Papas, came on the radio. It also just happened to be a Monday. My mom turned to my dad and said something to the extent of, "Oh Skip, this is a sign. If this baby is a girl we have to name her Monday."

My father usually ended the story by saying "I never prayed so hard for a boy in all my life. I think I prayed so hard for a boy that is why the next 7 were boys."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vacation

I am on vacation this week. I took some time off to get some home projects done before the baby arrives. Basically, I am doing some baby begatting. Okay, I know that sounds very ...well...whatever...you know what I mean.

So far, I have cleaned the attic and garage and I have painted the foyer and stairway and all the trim. I also painted all the crown molding in our foyer.

I so know the baby will come home from the hospital and the first thing he will notice is the crown molding.

I know this whole process is called nesting, but I also know I have never seen a bird's nest with crown molding.

By the way Lauren has a funny post up at Gigglepotamus.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Letter B


video

Max learning to write....


..and already sending the ladies love letters.