"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Like A Horse And Carriage

With so many analogies at our disposal to describe this wonderful pairing of love and marriage, that whole "horse and carriage" thing puzzles me. Granted, it rhymes quite nicely...and is probably more appropriate and rhythmically appealing than other rhymes like "insult and disparage," but I think we can do better than a beast of burden and an antiquated mode of transportation. (At least I'm hoping.)

Therefore, on this our 15th anniversary, I've decided to embark upon a personal quest to come up with 15 better analogies for love and marriage...specifically my marriage to the lovely, alluring, fun, charming and witty Cindy.

Love and marriage
Love and marriage
Go together like...

15. Beef and Cheddar at Arby's. (the cheese, not the dog, silly.)
14. Black and brown which Cindy is pairing up in our new bedroom decor.
13. Salt and Caramel in Starbuck's delicious Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. (again, caramel the candy, not Caramel the dead hamster.)
12. The white gold and diamonds in Cindy's wedding rings.
11. Lime and tortilla chips in Cindy's favorite Tostitos.
10. Cement, rocks, water and sand...the ingredients in the concrete we mixed in Mexico.
9. Chocolate and peanut butter...(well, actually you could say chocolate and then insert literally anything in the world: pretzels, chips, strawberries, coffee, cardboard)
8. "Ginger Twist" hair color and blonde highlights.
7. Buffalo wings and blue cheese.
6. Sunday afternoon and a nap.
5. Colonel Mustard and a lead pipe (and perhaps a conservatory for good measure).
4. Satellite TV and DVR.
3. Bella Swan and Jacob Whatshisname. (Cindy's on Team Jacob, I think)
2. A couch and a large fleece blanket
1. Cindy and Scott.

OK. Granted, none of these really work well in the context of the original meter of the song, but the sentiment is there, I assure you.

And if I had to be completely honest, I might admit that sometimes Cindy and I go together like oil and water. Life's just funny that way. There are so many ways that the two of us are polar opposites, but that just means the "S" on my magnet is drawn that much more strongly to the "N" on hers. (Check your daughter's sixth-grade science book if that metaphor was lost on you.)

I love the two of us together; I think we challenge each other in such good ways that we both know we're better now than we were 15 years ago.

She's the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I don't tell her nearly often enough. I watch how she is with her friends and see how much she is loved, and I can't help but feel proud that she is 100% mine. She makes me look so good, that if I think about it too long, I start to feel bad for her that she's stuck with me.

I suppose I can return the favor and try to be the best man I can be for her sake.

I love you, Cindy.
Thank you for loving me right back.
Feel free to suggest other comparisons you feel are fitting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snowed In

I know that some areas of the country are well-equipped to deal with 15 feet of snow.

However, our part of southern Indiana is blanketed under 10 inches of snow. And under that luxurious blanket of snow is another blanket (or maybe an afghan, coverlet, antimacassar or SnuggyTM) of ice.

Schools are closed.
The university is closed.
The county offices are closed.
And I'm going to imagine that my office is closed.
I feel that if I close my eyes and imagine hard enough, the imaginary closed office can become a reality. Even if the place is open, I suppose I can call my secretary and ask her to put a "CLOSED" sign on my particular door.

After all, my kids have requested a snow fort.

Monday, January 26, 2009

But Will They Serve Jell-O In The Basement?

This evening, I was driving three of my girls home from basketball practice.

Off on the side of the road, they saw two deer feeding in the front yard of a nursing home. We LOVE to watch deer. We frequently get to see them eating persimmons in our front yard; they've even come right up to our house to eat our flowers.

So I pulled into the nursing home parking to get a better look. Even more fascinating than the deer, though, were the accomodations inside. There was a huge picture window revealing a beautifully appointed dining room, and Jenna remarked, "Oo. I'd like to go in there sometime."

"Well, it's a nursing home," I replied, "so maybe one day you'll come to visit Mom and me in there. You WILL come to visit us, right?"

The role of the "Good Daughter" was played by Shelby who assured us, "But Daddy, you'll live with US."

The love continued to flow, and I asked if they'd really let us live in their basement.

"Yeah," said Brynne, whose spot in our will is questionable. "We'll LOCK you up down there."

Giggle. Giggle. Cackle.
And then it was all downhill while they planned terrible menus to hurl down the stairs at us.

Yup. I think we'll be looking into long-term-care insurance.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Do You Spell Relief?

Cassie keeps amazing us.

Once a quiet, shy little girl who would hide behind our legs, she keeps finding herself on the stage in front of an audience...and appears incredibly comfortable. Who would've guessed?

She had a starring role in our church's children's musical last spring.
She played violin in a school concert for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
And then this week she competed in the school spelling bee.

Amazingly, she looked natural up on the stage in front of the whole school. She didn't look a bit nervous.

By contrast, her mom (Cindy) was an absolute wreck.
Curled up in a catatonic ball under a cafeteria table, Mom could barely stand to watch each time Cassie got up to spell. It was genuinely entertaining to watch Cindy develop nervous tics and sweat and hold her breath.

Cassie was awesome. She spelled with ease, and I am so proud of how hard she prepared and how well she did. There were some really hard words that many of us had never heard of before, and we even questioned if some of them were even really words on this planet.
In the end, Cassie lasted all 18 rounds and came in second place.
PERFECT! If she had come in first, she would have had to go on to compete in the next round downtown.

And I don't know if Mom could handle that kind of pressure.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wicked. Awesome.

For Christmas Eve, our girls usually get to open one present. This year I wrote up several clues for a scavenger hunt. When they solved a clue, it would lead them to their gift. They started to catch on that the initial letters of the clues were going to spell something.


Cassie was less than thrilled at the prospect of something made of "wicker" but kept playing anyway. They finally found the last clue (started with "D") which led them to their individual presents, each related to the musical "Wicked." Wicked jewelry. Violin music for the musical. A behind-the-scenes book. A real-live flying monkey. Finally we revealed that they were also receiving tickets to see it together as a family.

I honestly can't remember if I ever posted about the musical "Wicked" after the first time we saw it last year.

If I didn't, I apologize, because it is absolutely the best musical I've seen to date.

Men who are reading this, please understand that when I use the term "musical," I'm using in the technical sense that it is a play and there is music and singing. Many of us are familiar with the broader sense of "musical" which also implies "goofy," "flamboyant," and "sequined dancing freaks singing nonsensically." If musicals generally make you vomit in your mouth, I'm willing to bet that you'll be surprised at how vomitless "Wicked" could be.

If you don't know anything about the show, it takes place in Oz. You'll find out about a baby that is born green, and through no fault of her own, she is hated by her father and shunned by her peers, no matter how hard she tries to do what's right. You can imagine how that might turn someone into a "witch." Opposite this pea-colored social leper is Galinda (as in the future "Glinda the Good Witch") who is tragically blonde, beautiful and in love with her mirror, her shoes and the new guy at school.

You develop a sympathy for the green girl, which makes you feel guilty for any negative thoughts you'd had about the Wicked Witch of West from the book or movie "The Wizard of Oz." You also run the risk of digging up long-buried guilt for the way you treated others in your childhood based on their outward appearance.

A good lesson for kids. (Totally clean performance. Didn't have to cover my kids' eye even once.)

Great music for singing loudly in the car.

Some laugh-out-loud moments.

Incredible costumes, scenery and technology that makes you want to get a tour back stage as you go home wondering "How'd they DO that?"

If you end up finding the show somewhere in your area and you discover that you have six extra tickets, I'm pretty sure we could work out a way to join you for a fantastic evening.

The winged monkeys were quite handsome. Particularly praiseworthy is their creative hairstyling, maximizing the impact of all 17 of their strands of hair.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How You Say "Historee"?

What a week! We have been witnessing history before our very eyes.

1. First of all, I haven't been blogging very frequently. This undoubtedly means I've been working. Historic indeed.

2. And I'm sure one day you'll be rocking on the veranda of a southern plantation nursing home reminiscing with Old Lady Higginbotham about exactly where you were on the day that former French president Chirac was mauled by his own clinically depressed maltipoo (maltese+poodle). I have to admit that I rushed home to tell Cindy the news. I couldn't risk her finding out this bit of info while she was home alone with our own maltipoo Cheddar and a full set of knives.

3. Certainly, equally historical is the fact that I'm almost finished with taxes. I'm considering going ahead and filing electronically even though I haven't received all of my paperwork yet from banks and all. The IRS likes it when we "guesstimate," right?

4. Of course, overshadowing all of these other events is the inauguration of President Obama. I'm very happy to be alive to see this day come.

As a former elementary school student who was in classes with inner city friends bused in from downtown St. Louis in the 70's, I've grown up with the understanding that little black boys and girls can grow up and do exactly the same things as little white boys and girls. However, as we all know, there can sometimes be a difference between what CAN happen and what really DOES happens. A black man/woman COULD technically have been president for many years, but in the back of the minds of this nation there was the gnawing doubt, "are we really as accepting and color-blind as we say we are?" Many minority children (and adults) have experienced that phrases like "you can be anything you want" were just trite sayings at best and outright lies at worst. Hopefully, we'll keep seeing more walls come down and more doors open.

Admittedly, I can't take any credit for the dawning of this new era as I didn't vote for Obama in November. But I hope that even we lowly McCain/Palin supporters will be permitted to celebrate.

The next threshold to cross?

Putting a maltipoo in the White House. The Obamas have said that they're going to need a hypoallergenic puppy for those girls, and I hope that they won't be prejudiced against pups like Cheddar just because of one little presidential mauling in France.

(Chirac IS expected to live. Thanks for asking.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Jenna Is Grounded...

So Jenna looks at me a couple minutes ago while my belly was showing, and she says:

"Daddy needs to wear bigger shirts."

I'm sure you know that Cindy's laughter only encourages her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Have A Winner!

In my last post, my friend Tim creeped you out with his "are any of your daughters 18 years old yet" question.

We had some great guesses as to why Tim was asking this awkward question.
It turns out that rthling (Diane) was right on with her guess:

"...my guess is that he coaches a sport team, and your girls are very good at whatever sport he coaches. But they have to be 18 to be on the team."

She hit the nail on the head! Tim is our Dodge Ball team coach!
It wasn't really a contest, and I don't really have a prize for you, Diane. But the smug satisfaction that you were so stinkin' right will at least help get you through another day.
Speaking of not winning...
We signed up with our bank to qualify for free stuff when we use our debit card as a credit card. Essentially, we choose to sign for purchases instead of punching in our PIN. No big whoop. But every so often, some random bank customer will find that they're the winner and that specific purchase will be paid for by the bank.

That can be really cool when you're making a ginormous purchase like 500 rolls of toilet paper at the warehouse store.

However, today I was pumping gas in suz-zero temperatures, and the gas was frozen or empty or something, so it took a laborious 2 minutes to pump ONE DOLLAR's worth of gas.

I stopped and decided to head to another station for faster and more liquid gas.
The thought crossed my mind: "I'll probably win and get that whole dollar of gas for free."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Out of Context

At lunch last week, my friend Tim asked me:
"So...are any of your girls 18 yet?"

He did not mean for it to come out the way that those around us thought it sounded.

But that really doesn't matter, because with each retelling of his line, we insert winks, eyebrow raises, beady eye glares or creepy smiles where the lips curve up revealing a gold tooth that sparkles and makes that "ting!" sound. I think it embarrasses him slightly.

Any guesses why 31-year-old Tim wants to know if any of my preteen girls are 18 yet?
I'm sure you can come up with some interesting guesses before I reveal the interesting truth.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why Do They Even Call It "Dodge" Ball?

It turns out that the last words you hear before you're pulled inexorably into the light of eternal paradise are "Aim for the old bald one!" Evidently, God still has something planned for my life because he brought me back and caused me to survive what was perhaps the scariest 30 minutes of my adult life.

Not surprisingly, the scariest 30 minutes of my adult life were exactly like the scariest 300 minutes of my childhood.

I don't know why they called it "dodge" ball when "hit" ball or "inflict pain" ball was more accurate. The only thing I had going for me at gym/recess was that I didn't bruise. My skin might turn a subtly yellower shade after a particularly harrowing game of dodgeball or jumprope, but at least there wouldn't be the big black and blue welts that a lot of my friends had.
To this day, I don't know that I've ever had a real classic bruise. The closest I came was giving plasma in college. When they started pumping the blood back into my veins one time, the needle had jiggled loose [my fault], so the blood was just being squirted randomly outside the vein and under my skin puffing up like a balloon. Even then, just a bigger yellow spot. Maybe I'm an alien.
Anyway, last night was a test as I faced my childhood fear of being pummeled to death by large rubber balls. Everyone was all friendly and nice...until the whistle blew to start the match. I was suddenly nine years old and had no place to hide. I was the oldest player on both teams, I believe; I also doubled as the weakest and least-coordinated. I'm not humble, just honest.

In case you wondered, this was organized like a real sport and everything. Did you know there were RULES in dodgeball besides "1. Hurt people" and "2. Make them cry"? A lady who knew way too much about dodgeball ran through the rules with all the teams.

I quickly learned that, since the goal was to win games, it was best for me to either sit out or hand off any balls I got to the players who could throw worth squat. I tried my hardest to give the other team the impression that I was no threat, that I wasn't worth aiming for. And they STILL hit me. Good strategy is to aim low. If you throw high, the ball can get caught and the thrower is out.

This explains why my legs were numb when I left the game. And why they still feel wobbly today. And why I nearly fell down the stairs.

And why my wife doesn't think I should play any more dodgeball until I grow up.

At least someone thinks I'm young.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

No Dodgeball For Old Men

As I stood in the high school hallway tonight waiting for the cheerleaders to vacate the gym so our dodgeball game could begin (yes, there'll be time later in the post to address the subject of me playing dodgeball), some young(er) guys were discussing their weeks:

Punk: "I was on the Wii Fit this week, and it said my Wii Fit Age is 37 years old."

At first, 37-year-old me thought that he was bragging.

Upon further examination--namely detecting the disgust and shame in his voice--I figured out that he was complaining that he is in horrible shape and surprised not to be bedridden and expecting anyday to be shot and put out of his misery.

After being made to feel sufficiently old, it was time to suit up and play dodgeball. Yes, grown-up dodge ball.

Wait...holy Toledo! Is it 7:30 p.m. already? Wheel of Fortune's over, so it's time for me to take my pills and get to bed.

I'll fill you in on the dodgeball scoop tomorrow after my proctologist appointment and bridge game.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Switched Before Birth In a Codependent Rage After Dark By The Murderer Who Shopped Among Us

I must remind myself.

Lifetime Television is for women.

It's for chicks who like to curl up on the sofa and engage in such absorbing titles as:
"The Nanny Who Ate My Chocolate And Stole My Man"
"Adopted By My Twin"
"Sleeping With The Librarian Who Couldn't Reed"

So why can't I turn it off right now? And Cindy's not even watching it!!!!!!!!

The self-loathing is almost too much for me to bear. Is there a support group out there for me?

Updated to add:
The baby's fine.
The unfaithful daddy's shot in the back.
The detective/aunt caught the c-section kidnapper who looks like Celine Dion.
Daughter forgives mother.
Blah blah blah blah.

Monday, January 5, 2009

She Doesn't Like People Eating Paper or Yelling

We have been so proud of our children for getting along well while we've stepped out of the house and left them...alone. It sounds so negligent when I put that actual word in print. But Cassie is 12, has memorized the number for 911 and has read books about surviving shark attacks and such, so we feel comfortable with the arrangment. To help them know how to use their time wisely in our absence, we usually leave a small list of chores to do before they veg in front of the TV.

We've never come home to drunken parties or blood splattered on the walls. Then we got this note when we got home recently:

Brynne & Jenna got in a fight. Jenna wouldn't clean up (she wanted to do a puzzle) so B ripped up what Jenna had done so far. Jenna went upstairs crying. Brynne yelled at Shelby. S yelled at B. Shelby and Brynne yelled at Jenna for not doing her part. I didn't get in a fight with anyone. Brynne ate the list. I don't like people eating paper or yelling. P.S. Me and Shelby finished our job first.

And then to clear her good name, Brynne added on the back:
I fixed the puzzle and Jenna forgave
After : ) Before : (

It's nice to have this kind of documentation to keep us apprised of the goings-on at the homestead.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Yes, Virginia, Cheese IS An Appropriate Gift

Many of you were wondering if I received any cheese for Christmas. The answer would be a resounding "Yes."

My father-in-law supplied me with a nice variety from Hickory Farms. It was a huge package, and I was pleased to see that space hadn't been wasted on a lot of crackers and other non-cheese items. It blesses my heart to see a gift pack comprised almost entirely of cheese.

The only thing better than a gift pack comprised almost entirely of cheese is one that IS entirely comprised of cheese.

Like the big gift back with huge blocks of different cheeses from my sister-in-law. She sents scouts to Wisconsin to pick them up at a cheese factory. Can you imagine? Whole factories where they make nothing but cheese. Could there be a place on earth closer to heaven? We have our cheddars and swisses and colbies and pepper jack and I don't know what else. I think there are 6 or more blocks, so enough to last well into next week.

So, yes. It WAS a wonderful Christmas.
God bless us, every one.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Haven't Screwed 2009 Up Yet

I've been able to keep my New Year's resolutions so far. To this point, I haven't done any of the following
(Wish I could have said the same thing EVERY year):

- Tripped on frozen horse poop in a McDonald's parking lot and patched up my chin with stitches.
- Took a youth group to King's Island amusement park and left the tickets back in my office desk.
- Called my wife "Mother"
- Called my mom "Honey"
- Wet my pants
- Told an off-color joke in the presence of my senior minister
- Wore a skirt
- Left a baby home alone in a crib
- Snorted Altoid dust
- Ate a Bacon-and-Cheese-Flavored Cricket

All of those are things I have done in the past with the exception of the last one. The crickets were a gift from my nieces that we forgot to sample when we all got together last week. (Ain't that a cryin' shame.) I'm really hoping they'll forget all about them when we get together next time.

I hope you're having as much success with your resolutions.