Monday, November 29, 2010


About six weeks ago I had to have the radiator in my car replaced. It was expensive. When I picked up my car I lifted the hood and noticed two valve covers missing. I showed the technician and he quickly replaced the valves covers. Mistakes happen.

Last week on three separate occasions I noticed a small puddle forming under my car. I checked the fluid on the ground which was odorless and tasteless (like Iocaine powder). I figured that maybe when the radiator was replaced there was a hose or clamp or something that was loose, kind of like the valve covers. I called the dealer, explained the entire situation and scheduled the appointment for Black Friday. I was off from work and I could wait for the mechanics to inspect it. If the car needed more work, Lauren would be able to pick me up.

Black Friday morning Lauren decided to go shopping. We were both up early due to Jackson and Wyatt both having colds/sinus infections and it made sense for her to get out and shop. I told her I would take the boys to the car dealer. I didn’t expect it to take too long for the dealer to check the possible leak. I would call Lauren if we needed a ride.

When we pulled into the dealer lot I noticed that all the parking spaces reserved for “service” were full. Actually there was only one space on the entire lot for me to park. I had no idea that Black Friday was also a busy day for mechanics. I escorted a grumpy Maxfield, a snot covered Jackson, and drippy nosed Wyatt out of the car, through the car show room, past several leery eyed sales guys, to the service desk.

When I take my car in for service I usually deal with a really nice guy named Scott. But someone else was behind the service desk when we walked in. I gave him my information and he told me that it may take a while for them to get to look at it. I explained that I made an appointment. He told me they were really busy. I asked him how long and he told me maybe an hour just to look at it. I started to question their definition of appointment when Scott walked in.

“Hey, you brought the whole crew today, huh?” Scott said smiling at the kids.

“Yes. I figured I made an appointment and you guys could take a quick look.”

“We’re pretty backed up back there.” Scott said. “Do you have someone picking you all up?”

“No.” I kind of lied.

“No?” questioned the other guy behind the counter. “This may take a while, so, you know…” He did not finish his thought which I am sure involved something about the kids not wanting to be there.

“I made an appointment.” I said somewhat annoyed. The other guy could tell.

“I know.” said the other guy. “But we are busy.”

“Seriously”, I questioned, “an hour?”

“It could be longer.” He replied, indifferent to the fact that I made an appointment and he was almost acting like he was doing me a favor.

“You can take as long as you like. “ I said smiling. I pointed to my kids. “I am going to take these guys out to the showroom and let them look at all the new cars. I can pretty much guarantee that one, maybe more of the sales guys out there will be coming back here to ask you guys to hurry up with my car because they are tired of cleaning the snot off of all the new cars.”

The other guy behind the counter looked at Scott and asked him if I was joking.

“I don’t think he is.” Scott said.

The other guy behind the counter said. “Uhmm we have a waiting area where you can go.”

“No thank you.” I said. “We’ll go to the showroom. We’ll look around.” Which, we did.

My car was done in 20 minutes.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I sat Indian Style (or as they say now “criss-cross apple sauce”) closest to the base of the piano that Mrs. Miller was playing. I don’t recall if Mrs. Miller actually played songs or if she just plinked away on the keys to get the Kindergarten class’ attention. Almost every day she would read a story from the piano bench to the 18 or so kids sitting on the ground before her.

Usually I would sit in the middle of the pack, or more likely towards the back with Jeff Stewart and Mark Greeves, but not that day, that day I had something to prove. I don’t remember the story Mrs. Miller was reading because I was too busy concentrating on the task at hand. I had to time everything perfectly. Mrs. Miller, with the book facing her, would read a few sentences, then she would turn the book towards the class and with a very slow sweeping motion from our left to right (her right to left)show the class the pictures in the book.

As Mrs. Miller read, I slowly untied my shoe. As she showed the class the pictures I would try to quickly tie my shoe, muttering under my breath something about carrots and making rabbit ears. I tied and untied my shoe several times during the story. Mrs. Miller finally finished the story and asked the class some questions about the moral of the story. I did not pay attention to the discussion I was busy tying and untying. I was frustrated that my plan did not work. Just as Mrs. Miller was dismissing the class back to our desks I untied and tied my shoe with much flourish. I exaggerated every move, crossing the laces, making a huge loop, pushing the loop through.

“Oh Billy!” Mrs. Miller said with a huge smile. “You are tying your own shoes. That’s great.”

I looked up and smiled, finally she noticed.

“Listen up everybody.” Mrs. Miller said to the class. “Billy has learned to tie his shoes. That means he gets a star on his accomplishment chart.”

Mrs. Miller took out a red shiny star from a small box and stuck it next to my name on a chart hanging on the chalk board. “And now Billy has 3 stars so he gets to help hand out our snacks today.”

It was one of the greatest days of my early life. I think I was one of the last kids in my class to learn how to tie my shoe. It was a big accomplishment for someone who looked like this.

Yes that is Mrs. Miller.

When people used to ask my dad how he did it raising so many kids he used to respond by saying he really only need to teach the first few and the rest of us learned from them. I learned how to tie my shoes from my brothers. I am not sure which one. Dennis probably took too long to explain. Kevin was probably too quick. My guess it was either Dan or John who taught me to tie my shoes. It was also probaly Dan or John who would give me noogies to make my hair look like that.

Most of the sneakers for the kids in my house have Velcro straps. There is no real need to teach them how to tie shoes. Do you think that as their generation grows that their shoes will always have a Velcro straps?

Friday, November 12, 2010

100 Months

This blog, most times, falls into the dad blog category. Sure it is from a dad's perspective but I like to think it is more about family then about being a dad.

This Saturday I will be married for exactly 100 months. 100 months ago, Lauren and I became the start of our family. Over 3000 days ago I said these words to Lauren.

I chose you to be my wife.
In front of our family and friends as witnesses
I promise to give you the very best of me
and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to always love you
in good times and bad
in healthy times and in sickness.
I promise to be faithful to you.
I promise to always be there for you
to support you and to nurture you
and to be receptive of the gift of your love.

I love you more today than yesterday
but not as much as tomorrow

I will love you for the rest of my life

As you wish.

A couple of weeks from now will mark the anniversary of when she actually agreed to marry me. The story of that is told here It Would Have Been Romantic and here When She Said Yes

There was nothing in our vows that stated I was going to be blogging about our life together for 10s and teens of people to read. She is as much of Poop and Boogies as I am, which again, is why I think of this as a family blog. I am very grateful to Lauren for putting up with me and this hobby of mine.

And although on occasion I do yell at her and say "Get back, Witch" I do love her more than and MLT.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I sat straight up in bed. Something, a noise maybe, a feeling, an instinct woke me up. The projected image of the time on my ceiling read 3:36 AM. I tried my best to silence my breathing and quiet my pulse which were the only noises I could hear beside the soft hum of the quiet baby monitor. I held my breath and listened towards the boys room. Did one of them cry out? No, nothing but silence from the direction of their room.

Did you ever try to listen harder? You attempt to stretch the muscles in your neck and face in an effort to squint your ears hoping that will be able to make you listen farther. I tried that. Nothing. I laid back down. A minute passed and I started to drift back to sleep when I heard the noise again. I shot back up. The noise was coming from downstairs. Something downstairs was moving. We lost the dog a few weeks ago and we no longer have any cats. What the hell was moving? My heart raced as a I did a quick mental check to make sure I was truly awake and not dreaming. Damn it, I was awake.

I jumped out of bed and put on my glasses. I hate having poor vision. I grabbed a rather large utility knife that I keep stashed in my room and I headed for the steps. I paused, a few steps down, to debate whether I should call 911. My heart racing, my breathing quick and shallow, I descended one more stair, when a loud electronic chirp pierced the dark silence. I stifled a small yelp, my heart stopped. I felt a wave of relief pass over me as I realized that the chirp was from Lauren's cell phone. She must have missed a text message or something. The movement I heard was probably the phone vibrating in her purse which was hanging in the foyer closet. I sighed. I walked down the steps to the closet so I could silence the phone.

I flipped the light switch at the bottom of the staircase. The foyer lit up and splashed light into the darkened kitchen. I turned at the bottom of the steps and I stopped cold. I thought I saw movement in the kitchen. My feet felt frozen. They warmed when I realized I was catching my reflection in the kitchen bay window. I turned profile and sucked in my gut. I shook my head knowing I had gained back about 5 pounds of the weight I worked so hard to lose. I chucked to myself at the fact that I was standing in my underwear holding a knife. How embarrassing would it be to get into a fight with a burglar while wearing nothing but boxer briefs. I don't even like arguing in just my underwear. (Most of Lauren and my personal conversations happened either at night right before bed or in the morning when we first wake up. It is the only time we can talk privately. If Lauren and I ever get into an argument or disagreement it is during this time when we are in bed or getting ready for bed. I always get up and put pants on when we argue. She laughs at this. The first time I did it, she asked me what I was doing and I said "I can't argue in my underwear." Which would be the title of my book on relationships if I ever had a book on relationships.)

I reached into Lauren's purse to silence the phone when I heard movement from the kitchen. It sounded like some one brushed up against a wall. It was a faint noise but I definitely heard it. My whole body went numb with fear. I mentally counted to three and jumped into the kitchen with the knife outstretched ahead of me. I flipped on the light hoping to startle whoever was in there. The problem is our light in the kitchen is on a dial dimmer switch so the whole flick the switch /startle the intruder was more like a turn the dial and slowly increase the light output and un-romanticize the intruder. No one was there.

I searched the entire house, all windows and doors were locked, all closets and burglar hiding spaces were empty. I was confident that there were no intruders. The noise I heard must have been the wind. I went back to bed.

The next day, late in the afternoon, Lauren told me she heard noises coming from the walls between our kitchen and dining room. What kind of noises I asked. She told me "critter like" noises. That night I sat and listened to the wall. There were definite critter like noises coming from the wall. But these were big critters. It sounded like something was trying to climb up the inside of the wall. The noise was the same noise I heard the night before. There is a wooded area behind our house so it could be anything. I thought it was likely squirrels or moles or possible a raccoon.

The next day I climbed down into the crawl space under the house to investigate. I don't like critters. Underneath the kitchen area I discovered a hole that could allow an R.O.U.S. into our house. Everyone knows that are the third danger of the fire swamp. My heart started racing, my feet grew cold. I was more scared than the night I thought there was a robber in my house. I followed the path that I thought a critter would follow from the hole to the wall where the noise came from. I scanned with the flashlight and searched and searched. Just as I was underneath the area where the dishwasher sits, it started through a rinse cycle. The noise from the dishwasher startled me so much that I may have tinkled a tiny bit. I was thankful that I was wearing pants this time.

I searched the entire crawl space and found nothing. I used some steel wool and Great Stuff and sealed every possible hole that could be used by a critter. I just hope that I didn't trap the varmint in the house, and if I did, I hope it is big enough to scare away any burglars.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Brothery Love

It was Wyatt's turn to pick what color cereal bowl he wanted. Ever since the continuing red plate arguments we have started to let Max and Wyatt take turns on picking what color eating instrument/utensil they want.

"Wyatt, which bowl do you want?" I asked. "The blue or the green?"

Wyatt put his finger to his chin and thought about the choices. "Uhmmmm." he hummed to himself.

"That's not fair. Wyatt got to pick last time." Max whined from across the table.

"That's not true Maxfield." Lauren corrected. "Last night at dinner you got to choose. Now it is Wyatt's turn."

Max pouted.

"C'mon, pick already, blue or green Wyatt?" I was getting impatient.

Wyatt turned his soft, big, round,brown eyes towards Max and said "Max, what color bowl do you want?"

Lauren beamed. "Awwww Wyatt. That is so nice."

I sighed and smiled.

Max perked up. "I would like the blue bowl."

Wyatt tilted his head back towards me, his eyes narrowed as his lips thinned into a smirk. "Then," he said, pausing almost for affect but also weighing the consequences of his decision "I will take the blue one."

I am not trying to be mean but the look of satisfaction on Wyatt's face as Max cried out in protest was priceless.