Monday, January 30, 2012


I was reviewing my online running journal for 2011 and I ran a total of 444.59 miles. That is not a bad number. My total weight loss for 2011, after going back and forth, up and down, good weeks and bad weeks is zero. What my online running journal does not count is the roughly 200 beers, 150 slices of pizza, the 100 or so hot dogs and the countless Burger King Mushroom and Swiss burger (these burgers are so addictive) I have eaten in 2011. So my exercises has been just, as they say, maintaining. I consider it a Lateral Weight Loss. I am going to trademark that phrase.

Besides my inability to say no to junk food, one of the reasons I have not lost any weight is a lack of inspiration or motivation. I am trying to get that back. I run to exercise my body. I decided that in 2012 I would find ways to exercise my brain and my spirit. The saying is if you don't use it, you lose it.

So far in 2012 I have logged 57 miles running. The motivation has come from the fact that every Saturday I run with my brother and my cousin. I need to keep up with them and there is something about being part of the group that keeps me going. They depend on me, I depend on them. The miles that we run go by fast because of the conversation and social interaction.

The other motivation has been that Lauren bought me a new pair of running shoes.

Stylish huh? These are Vibram Five Finger running shoes. I know they seem weird but these shoes have totally changed the way I am running, the way I am exercising. Every time I go out wearing these shoes I feel like I have to put them through a test of some sort. By testing the shoes I am also testing myself. The shoes put a spring in my step.

I told myself at the end of last year that I need to exercise my brain a bit more. In 2012 I am trying to read more books, news papers and magazines. A few months ago I got an iPad and it has motivated me to download books I would never previously have considered. I think I may even join a book club. There is something about the socializing  and exchanging ideas that is motivational to exercising the brain. The iPad has also improved the way I approach social media. I am more of a participant than a spectator, following links, reading other journals and just learning more overall. The iPad puts a spring into my mind.

New shoes and people to run with has motivated the exercise of my body. The new iPad and seeking more intellectual social environments is exercising my brain.  I figured I need to find a new church or some other means to exercises my spirit. Maybe being around people would motivate me to return.

Yesterday I decided to go to church. As I was leaving Wyatt, the five year old, asked me where I going.

"To church." I said.

Wyatt's response,  "Why? Nobody died."

That right there basically sums up my church going for the past two years.

I have never attended a service in this particular church. Although I found the music entertaining I was not moved, inspired, or motivated. The sermon was spun in a negative tone and was not uplifting at all. The congregation although nice and courteous seemed to be just going through the paces. There were no children at the service which usually provides a fun distraction for me. I found myself looking for an opportunity to leave early which I did. I left with no spring in my spirit.

Exercising the spirit may be more of a challenge for me.

In an effort to be fair to this particularr church as well as attempt to exercise my spirit I will give it another try next week. I will attend a different service with a different minister. I am sure there will be different hymns as well as a different message.
However I think I am going to wear my new Vibram shoes and bring my iPad just in case.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I am telling this story how I remember it. The first part is my take on what my father told me many years ago.

My family went to a normal, suburban, public elementary school. Each year every third grade student took a standardized test (not an IQ test but similar) evaluating their intelligence.  Students that scored above a certain number were invited to participate in an accelerated learning program the following years. At our school this program was called TEC, which I think stood for The Enhanced Curriculum or some such. The TEC students, who were also called "gifted", would meet at various times each week to do special activities, instead of attending their regular classes.
My two oldest brothers were in TEC. When my third oldest brother took the standardized test he missed the TEC cut off score by 2 points. My father went to the school and requested that his third son still be allowed into the TEC program. The principal and Mr. Rothstein, the TEC teacher, both denied my father's request, with the reason that the test scores are the test scores. Mr. Rothstein thought that by making an exception he would open the doors to other exceptions and it would lower the standards of his class. My father argued that it was only two points, and felt since the older two boys were in the program, the third son should be given some credit. It was not like the third son missed by 5 points, that, my father could understand. He claimed that by admitting the third son he would be surrounded by, not only his brothers, but also, the brightest kids. This would be a positive influence. My father also stated that by denying the third son admittance could have an adverse effect on his desire to learn. My dad suggested a retake of the test. Mr. Rothstein would not budge, it was strictly numbers.

My dad was upset by the fact that they did not take other aspects of his third son's personality into account. The third boy learned faster, was more curious about how things worked, had a better disposition and was more patient than the older two boys. All qualities a teacher should want. From that point on, none of my dad's other children were permitted to take the TEC standardized test. Maybe his view was that all of his kids were all special in their own way and he refused to let the school, or Mr. Rothstein test his other children. Or maybe he was just being stubborn, but the younger five children never took the test. The older two were allowed to stay in the program since they had already invested time and energy, but none of the rest of us would be allowed to get involved with TEC. I remember, 20 years later, my dad talking about this situation and he was still annoyed with the school.

Fourth Grade was the first year that my best friend Bob was ever in my Home Room. Home Room was the class where we started the day, had lunch together, had recess time together, Gym class, library time together, and ended the day. Miss Stein, the Home Room teacher took a liking to us and I knew it was going to be a fun year. Then Bob was accepted into TEC. Being in TEC meant less homeroom time, less free lunch time, and less recess time.  Instead of Library time the TEC students would go to TEC. The TEC room was right next to the Library. I could hear the kids laughing and having fun while I sat on a whistle pillow reading James and the Giant Peach.  It seemed like Bob was always in TEC. I ended up being jealous of his TEC friends and really resenting TEC in general. Not being in TEC made me feel inferior. I always assumed I was just not smart enough to be admitted.

I vaguely remember at that time having a talk with my dad about TEC. My dad said something to the effect of "you are better off without TEC."

At that time the TEC class was putting together a theatrical production of Peter Pan. Bob, who was cast as a lost boy, had many rehearsals which kept him after school. One day I stayed with him in the Gym/Theater during his rehearsal. I watched from the gym floor as Sally Senderling, cast as Wendy, was having a difficult time doing the scene where she first meets Tinkerbell. She did not know where to look. Mr. Rothstein (it may have been Mrs. Senderling, Sally's mother who was helping with the show) asked if I could help shine a flash light on the wall to represent Tinkerbell. I said yes. They realized they were going to need someone to do this part for all the rehearsals as well as the show.

I remember a brief discussion about whether a non-TEC person could handle the task of being Tink. They may have been discussing whether a non-TEC person would be allowed to take the part, due to class obligations etc. but I took the whole conversation as a dig at my intelligence.  I insisted that I do the part. The school allowed it.

I recall telling my dad about the part I had in the play. I remember he was not too pleased, possibly because I was involved in TEC and possibly because I was very excited to be playing Tinkerbell. I went to the rest of the rehearsals and perfected hiding behind pieces of stage sets to be Tinkerbell in each scene. I remember feeling somewhat out of place hanging with all the smart kids. I eventually did the two to three shows (uncredited) as Tinkerbell. I was even invited to the cast party at Mrs. Senderlings house after the last show.

By default Tinkerbell gets the most applause in the show Peter Pan due to the whole "clap your hands if you believe" stuff. I pretended that the applause was for me and my flashlight. I know at the time I felt I was not smart enough to be part of the TEC class but hearing the applause made me believe that maybe I was.

I was smart enough. Gifted even.

Either that or I was the best damn Tinkerbell ever. Which I knew would make my father proud.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How to have a secret girlfriend

1.-Always make sure that a secret girlfriend is older. She will like the attention of a younger guy. Cougar is a word they use for this.

2.-Make sure she is married so she cannot keep bothering you at odd times. This is kind of an inverted "hard to get" scenario.

3.-Be nice to her husband so he does not think anything fishy is going on. If both she and her husband are together at an event, ignore her and give the husband extra high fives and stuff. This also works in your favor regarding the "hard to get scenario".

4.-Make sure that your girlfriend's women-friends see you pay attention to your girlfriend. Make sure your girlfriend sees you pay attention to your girlfriend's women-friends. If your girlfriend is a cougar, other cougars can smell a cub a mile away and that makes you more in demand.

5.-Have an infectious laugh, women dig that.

6.-When you do have alone time with the girlfriend give her a few extra kisses to leave her wanting more.

7.-It is okay to cry, every now and then, in front of your girlfriend. She will think you are sensitive and that you need her for emotional support.

8.-When in public with your secret girlfriend act like you don't care for her. This will make her jealous and she will want to win you over even more. This works even better if your girlfriend is an older women. They seek the attention of younger guys.

9.-Smile a lot at your secret girlfriend.

10.- Wait until your girlfriend leaves the room before you tell anyone you like her. It will keep her guessing.

11. Feign an illness every now and then. Your girlfriend (older or otherwise) will take this as an opportunity to care for you which will deepen their commitment to you.*

12.-Don't poop in your diaper when your girlfriend is around. This could be considered a turn off.

Jackson has a a girlfriend. He actually has many girlfriends but the one who owns most of his admiration and love is a Lisa V.   Lisa V lives three houses up and in my opinion cannot get enough of Jackson.  In my opinion, which Jack won't admit, he totally digs the attention she gives him.

Jackson turned three a few days ago and Lisa V. and her family brought him a present. Jackson really likes Lisa V. although he will never admit it in front of her. Jackson is also very popular with all of the other women in our neighborhood, who for the most part, have decided having a three-year-old boy around, that is not theirs, is a fun thing. I can possibly see Jax being the cause of many "Oops Babies" in our neighborhood.

The gift that Lisa V.  brought him was a B. Toys (Just B You) Fish and Splish bath toy. I have written here before on how much I like B. Toys products and now I even like them more.

 I rarely give out parenting advice on Poop and Boogies but I will say when it comes to bath toys B. Toys gets it right. Most bath toys ( by other toy companies) come with some kind of squeezable water shooter, like a rubber whale or turtle or what-have-you. The rubber aquatic animal is squeezed underwater until it is filled with water and then squeezed above the water to shoot a stream of water at the wall or most likely the parent who is actually supervising the bath. Besides the parent getting wet, most of these type of water shooter bath toys also, after time, get mold in them. The next time a child is trying to squirt dad in the face with soapy water, dad also gets a mouth full of grey-ish black mold that was in the bottom of the whales belly for three weeks. It is gross. As a parent I would stay away from these types of bath toys.

The B. Toys gift that Lisa V. got for Jax did not have any squeeze toys. The toy itself, a boat with various scrubbers, floaters and fish like things,  promoted cleaning and just good basic fun in the tub. It was the perfect gift for a three year old.

Lisa V. knew what she was doing when she got Jackson this gift. He loves it. He is excited to take a bath, clean and groom himself, which is in Lisa V.'s favor. She does not want a boyfriend who poops and pees himself and cannot clean himself up.

*Lisa V. is our neighbor that is a nurse who stopped by to check on Jackson after he drank a bottle of Benadryl. Now that I think about it, he totally faked the whole incident just to get Lisa to come to our house.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


I know this may come as a surprise, as it did to me, but these little people in my house, the small, sometimes extremely loud, extremely smelly ones actually grow. I should know this. I have pencil marks, lines with dates and names smudged next to them, on my wall in the hallway near the laundry room documenting their growth. I watch them, everyday, shove gobs and gobs of food down their mouths in order to fuel their growth. Every time I dress them I notice that the space between the hem of their pants and the top of their shoes gets a bit wider.

They grow. I should know this. The smallest of the three little people in my house seems to growing at a faster rate that the bigger two. I should have realized this when he was able to take the eggs out of the fridge and throw them one by one onto the floor. I should have known he was getting bigger when he went into the knife drawer and brought me all of the sharp steak knives and the pair of scissors that he found. You would think I would have noticed him growing when he was able to reach the top of the stove in an effort to grab the boiling pot of water. But I missed all of those signs. I knew he was growing but for some reason I kept forgetting.

The sign of his growth that I did not miss happened a couple of weeks ago.

Early one morning my wife Lauren went out for a run. She left me in charge of the growing little people. I was folding laundry and preparing breakfast (multi tasking) when the littlest small person, Jackson, went up to his room to play with his cars. After a few minutes of silence (cars crashing is not a quiet game)  I knew I had to go check on him. As I approached his door, he slammed it closed and yelled, "No!", which is not a good sign.

I opened the door and the first thing I saw was a small puddle of pink syrup on the floor. Laying next to the puddle was an empty bottle of Benadryl. I looked at Jackson and noticed pink syrup dripping from his lip and running down his shirt.  I asked him if he drank the Benadryl and he said that he did. When I asked how much did he drink he said "A lot." I did not know how much medicine was in the bottle to begin with so I went into a bit of a panic. More of a panic then the time when a three-year-old Wyatt drank almost a full beer. Panics at 6:30 in the morning move a lot slower than afternoon panics.

I made a few attempts to stick my finger down Jackson's throat hoping to get him to vomit. I forgot that these little people also grow teeth, sharp little teeth. He did not vomit. I texted my neighbor, who is a nurse and asked her for advice. While I waited for her to respond I called Poison Control.  They were very helpful in determining how much Benadryl would be dangerous to Jack but we did not know how much he ingested. I was on the phone with Poison Control when Lauren got back from her run.

I hate when these things happen on my watch.

Let me just say this, if you were to return home to your kids at 6:55 AM and your husband was on the phone with Poison Control, there is no way you would react the way that Lauren did. She was calm, cool, and collected. She listened with patience as I told her all that had happened. She only gave me the "you are an idiot" eye-roll once. Okay maybe twice. The nurse neighbor showed up a few minutes later and gave me the "you are an idiot" eye-roll several times. She checked Jackson's vitals and made us feel better. We observed Jackson for the next two hours and finally relaxed when we knew he was going to be okay.

In trying to figure out how Jackson could have gotten the bottle of Benadryl, we realized that we kept the bottle on the middle shelf in the hall closet. Three months ago Jackson was not tall enough to reach the middle shelf, now he is.

That is how I realized these little people grow.

Jackson turns three tomorrow. I want to congratulate myself on not messing him up completely as of yet. I want to congratulate my wife for not killing me, as of yet.

Happy Birthday Jackson Grey, don't grow too fast.