Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

I <3 My Dentist

Most people aren’t fans of going to the dentist.  I mean, there are those that look forward to their six month check up so they can have that professional cleaning that sticks with you for such a long time that you almost hate to eat or drink something because you know that once you do, you can’t get that super clean feeling back for another six months when you come in for your next check up.

I can honestly say I’m not a fan of cleanings.  Yeah, you teeth feel clean and junk, but you also feel like you’re chewing sand until you eat or rinse a few times.  But beyond that, I always feel as though I’m running a gauntlet of dental instruments trying to find a cavity or tartar build up that wasn’t bothering me… but the hygienist knows it will turn into a larger problem if it isn’t take care of right away.  And thus begins the scraping with that mini pick ax trying to mine the garbage that has decided to take residence on my tooth.  I’ve always been prone to cavities, this probably adds to the anxiety of getting the cleaning… it was never a matter of IF a cavity was found, it was how many.  My worst report was double-digit cavities after one check up.  We still joke about that one no matter how good or bad the report ends up being.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post.  My dentist and her staff are awesome.  Even though the reason for my visits typically cost not only time from family or work, but usually end up in a little discomfort to my gums or teeth.  But even with all that aggravation, I still look forward to going.  I would mention my dentist & her trusty assistant by name but they specifically said they were concerned about making the blog, so I won’t mention them at this point, maybe if they leave a comment you can learn their true identities.

Being able to joke and spit one liners while my dentist is trying to complete a filling or drill a cavity is what makes my visit worth while… I know, (because she told me as much) that they look forward to my visits because they know every visit will be different from the last.  I like to think if I can bring a little joy to their day by being a fun patient, then maybe they will take it easy when drilling, scraping, and mining in my mouth.

…. oh… and the nitrous helps.

Thanks for visiting… I welcome all comments, even if it’s just to say you were here.

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Hello Old Friend

It was the changing of the seasons and time to rotate the clothing stock.  I’ve always been a shorts and t-shirt type of guy… only recently having exchanged the t-shirts for polos in an effort to appear more professional around the office, but the shorts were always a staple, especially in the summer.

With spring around the corner and my love of shorts instead of jeans growing ever stronger with each increasing notch of the mercury I decided it was time.  Time to put the long sleeve shirts, the hoodies, the winter gear to the back of the closet and bring forth all the wondrous goodies that make warm weather more enjoyable.

As grabbed handful after handful of shirt filled hangers, almost as if by movie magic a golden shaft of light worked its way through the clouds and into my bedroom.  Through some magnificent geometry of refraction and reflection this solid beam of light completed it’s journey into one of the darkest corners of my closet.  Like a beacon in the night leading a ship into safe harbor, this drew me in… almost begging me to see what lies in this beam of light.

After shuffling a few random shoes and ties out-of-the-way, there it was.  My most favorite of concert t-shirts.  Immediately I was brought back to the deafening noise of the speaker towers amplifying crunching guitar riffs and thumping drum beats.

It was my first show, I had missed the cut off to get fan club tickets; but through the connections of my father, I was able to score two seats in the lower bowl of the United Center. Stage left, 18 rows up; and all for the low price of about three dozen tulip bulbs.  Tulip bulbs were not cheap, and in fact were shipped from the Netherlands, as luck would have it I knew a couple of the guys who worked at the tulip farm and they gave me one heck of a deal.  All I knew was that I was going to Chicago to see Pearl Jam and my tickets would be at will call.

Knowing that this was the first Pearl Jam show I would ever attend I wanted desperately to soak up all that could.  The vendors, the ticket scalpers, other fans desperately looking to improve their seats, even the “unofficial” t-shirts being sold in the parking lot… you know the type.  The shirts that look like they were made in someone’s basement with a few iron on patches… yeah, I took it all in.  Knowing that the higher quality, as well as higher priced shirts would be inside, I held on to my money for inside the venue.

After making our way into the venue, my best friend who made the trip with me, decided we should check out what the whole arena had to offer.  We would stop at each vendor station and see what wares they had to offer.  The first few had a limited selection and nothing really jumped out at me.  I was looking for a concert t-shirt that would be different from what most had ever seen.  I wanted it to be the envy of all those that didn’t make it to the show.

And then like a bolt of lightning… there it was.  The shirt that would be mine to forever seal this night full of memories from my first show of my favorite band.

As luck would have it, I found that shirt 12 years later at the bottom of my closet and all those memories came flooding back, just as I had hoped.

This post is fiction and is part of The Red Dress Club Friday Link-Up.  While the location and t-shirt are real, some of the events written about in this post did not happen.  Comments are welcome and thank you for reading.

They See Me Rollin’

As some of you may know, I am a bowler.  I’ve bowled at Nationals, several State Tournaments, and numerous City tournaments… but last night in my weekly league I accomplished something I have been striving for ever since I was able to average 200+ on a consistent basis.  I bowled an 800 series.

Last Season's 300 Ring

I’ve been fortunate enough to have achieved perfection in the way of a 300 game twice in my bowling career.  I’ve missed it twice with a 299 and again with a 298.  Even with those high scores, the elusive 800 series was always  10 or 20 pins out of reach.

Last night was different, way different.  I’ve had nights on the lanes where it just felt like everything was clicking as it should and I would feel like bowling a big game, even a perfect one, was well within reach.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but the last perfect game I bowled, that night I had the feeling after the first couple of balls that I my chances of rolling a 300 were better than average.  And as things would have it, I was able to get that 300 game… even failing to reach a 700 series; which is odd considering with a 300 you’re almost halfway there.

This is what makes an 800 series so difficult to reach.  The margin for error is so great that one needed to be on point for three games, at least 31-34 shots out of 36.  Having 12 strikes in a row for a 300 is one thing, but to accumulate 30+ over the course of 3 games makes for a long night.

Okay, enough of telling you about how difficult it is to bowl an 800.  To the uninitiated it just sounds like a large number… many of you might not appreciate how significant this feat is, and that’s okay.  I’m not looking for accolades, that’s not my style, even if this post is starting to come off that way.

Time to step back off my soap box and just say, I bowled an 800 series last night with games of 269-268-267 = 804.  I was more nervous going into the 10 frame of that last game than I was for either of my 300, 299, or 298 games; knowing that I needed just one more strike to get to the 800 mark was excruciating.  As fate would have it, I managed to get that one last strike… and with the City Tournament coming up this weekend I can only hope I can make a good showing.

 

Gonna See My Friend

While standing at the sink this morning, washing a sink full of dishes I noticed these two cups just sitting there as content as could be.  Now, bear with me as I get a little symbolic here, but I want to say that these to cups just looked happy to be in each others’ company.

I realize inanimate objects don’t care where they are or what they are doing… I get that, I’m not completely crazy… but they looked happy.

Don't They Look Happy?

Obviously the one on the left is mine and the other is Kate’s.  I took this after they had been washed, dried and were ready for their close up.

Normally these two cups wouldn’t last 3 minutes on the coffee table with Short Stack running around causing havoc.  What got me thinking was the fact that mine says “The Best Dad Ever.”  A bold statement to be sure, but I realized that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to be that Dad if it wasn’t for Kate being a Mom… and a damn fine one at that.

I know she goes through her days sometimes wanting to be home with Short Stack and me being the one at work… I know she feels like she is missing all the growing up time while she is away bringing home the bacon.  We have made this arrangement work, and it has worked for a reason.  I just hope she knows that even when she isn’t here, E and I think of her often and can’t wait for her to come home.

Parting Ways

Behind her eyes there’s curtains…
And they’ve been closed to hide the flames,… remains…

She knows… their future’s burning,
But she can smile just the same, same…

And though her mood is fine today
There’s a fear they’ll soon be parting ways

Christmas morning my Grams said goodbye to my Gramps as he succumbed to The Lord calling him home to heaven.  I cannot begin to express the strength or courage my Grams has shown through this whole ordeal for the last month or two.  The visits from the Hospice nurse giving her Gramps vitals and how well or poorly he happened to be doing since her last visit.  The pain on her face when he would “forget” to put on his required oxygen while going about his business around the house.

She even told me about how rather than being a real “bitch” and harping on him to keep his oxygen on, she would rather enjoy the remaining days she had with her best friend instead of spending them at odds with him and his hindered memory.  Through it all she remained by his side, from what I understand finding it difficult to get sleep for fear something may happen that would need her attention.

The relationship my Grams & Gramps had been the poster child for what a sucessful marriage and home life should be… they succesfully raised eight children of their own, along with countless foster children that came through the front door; always accepting them as part of the family and never turning someone away if they could help it.

Standing, like a statue
A chin of stone, a heart of clay, hey…

After the funeral, while everyone was sharing memories of Gramps and their experiences with him, Grams walked up to the mic with a message to everyone in attendance with a significant other.  She said that she really wished she could talk to Gramps about everyone showing their condolences, sharing memories, and celebrating his life.

But she couldn’t.

She reminded us that we need to cherish our time with our significant others… we need to not take that time for granted because someday that person won’t be there to talk to or to share a thought with.  Even in mourning, she wanted to pass along advice and remind us just how fragile life is.

And though he’s too big a man to say
There’s a fear they’ll soon be parting ways

Grams laid Gramps to rest December 29th with the whole family in attendance.  Many a tear was shed, and the void left by his passing won’t ever be filled.  What we do have is the memories of the good times and conversations past.

* Lyrics from the song “Parting Ways” by Pearl Jam

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Ask and you shall receive… today’s post topic comes via Twitter from Lins610.  Lins610 asks “I’d like to know if you have always had the “stay at home dad” in you or did you adapt?”

Great question because during my days leading up to the arrival of E, I had wondered what my feelings would be on the subject.  I’ve always been able to get along with younger kids, not sure what it was but I’ve either been able to relate to them and they never really were scared of me.  In fact, back in my middle school days I would volunteer to help with nursery during Sunday service at church.  Obviously most of the girls would want to help, but I was one of the few boys that would want to as well.  Those 3 and 4-year-old kids were a lot of fun.

Even into my high school years, while my nursery volunteering went away in order to give other kids a chance, I still found that I had an uncanny ability to get along with the younger crowd.  When friends / cousins started having babies, I was never afraid or slow to want to hold or play with them.  So I suppose it would just be a natural progression to enjoy a child of my own.

Now, getting back to the question at hand… have I always had the “stay at home dad” attitude or did I adapt?  Well, leading up to E’s arrival, Kate and I had talked about it and I know I had made the statement that if we could swing it financially, I would be all about staying home and being a full-time house husband.  Then, when being laid off back in October of 2009, I was essentially thrown into that role and I think I embraced it as much as I could thinking that it was only temporary until I could find new employment.  Fast forward almost a year and a half and I’m still at home, raising E, doing my best to keep a little house, maintain my grades as a part-time college student, and still be as supportive of Kate as I can.

Ultimately, yes, I think I’ve had the stay at home dad mentality since becoming a dad.  While I miss adult interaction on a regular basis, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been able to spend with E for anything.  I suppose if there was a positive to come from losing my job it would be that.

I suppose this was the long answer to Lins610’s question… the short being, yes, I think I had it in me all along and was just waiting for the opportunity to show off my “Molly Homemaker” skills.  Thank you to Lins610 for her question… If you have any other ideas or questions that you’d like my thoughts / opinion on, please feel free to comment here or shoot me a tweet.

Oh hey

Oh hello there.  Just wanted to stop in and say hi and let you know I’m still around.  Things have been crazy busy lately with school, unemployment extensions, holidays, and the like.

I’ll be back again soon, hopefully with a little more substance.

Happy Holidays!

Over 30 Required Class Exemption? I Think So

I’ve made no effort to hide that I’m a back to school parent.  In fact I’m proud to say that I’m a mere three credit hours away from graduating with my first Associates degree.  I think that is rather impressive considering it’s only taken me 12 years to get that degree.  I do have one issue however.

Of those three credit hours, one of them MUST be a Wellness class.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being healthy, getting exercise and striving for a more active lifestyle; but to REQUIRE that a back-to-school adult take one of these classes I find it to be a little ridiculous.  I’m mean, really.  I think if you’re a student that is over 30, you should be exempt from having to take a Wellness class…. either that or offer classes in the evenings so I have options with regards to my potential work schedule.

I was thinking about taking bowling for my wellness credit, until I realized that all the classes were offered at 10:30 in the morning or 1:30 in the afternoon.  How can I possibly clear that with a potential employer?  I can’t, that’s how.  It’s very aggravating to have to try to fit this type of class into a schedule that is already full up with home life, married life and parenting.

Yes, perhaps I’m just on a whine train here and I should be happy that I’m able to take these courses and get a degree… If I had known I was going to need this wellness credit to graduate I would have taken a fitness class when I went to college the first time.

Lookin’ Out My Back Door

I’m not a fan of the big city.  Have never really been a fan of all the traffic, the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.  The uneasy need to always lock your doors when you run in for a soda at the gas station.  Finding it unnecessary to even have a car because of all the public transportation that is readily available.  No, not for me.  I love my car, I enjoy the ability to wake up in the morning and spot a mother deer with her fawn in my back yard.

This was the scene out our back door yesterday morning.  A light rain had just started to fall and I thought the clouds with the sun looked pretty neat against the fall colors of the trees.  I’ve never professed to be a semi amateur photographer so forgive me if some of the settings could have been improved by using a different mode on the camera.  All I know is that this picture is way better in my book than concrete buildings or looking into my neighbors window because we share a backyard.

I’d Make A Terrible Hooker

Now that I have your attention

I’ve been an interviewing fool the last few weeks.  For some reason I’ve been able to get in the door and interview for those positions that I really want, but when it comes to closing the deal I apparently can’t do it.  Not sure what it is or what I’m saying that either turn people off or have them decide to go a different direction.  I understand the need for a college education and showing that you know how to take and pass a test, but when does a person’s personality, professionals skills and talent come into play?

I was damn good at my job; I’m not afraid to admit it.  I truly feel that the only reason I was let go was due to budget constraints… why else, in a tightening economy would you let go of your sales and estimating department?  Obviously, if your goal is to increase sales, you wouldn’t get rid of your entire in house sales department.  Since being laid off in October of last year, I’ve continued my contacts with a few of my friends  in the business and I know they haven’t increase business since letting us go.  And that’s ok, it’s a business, whether it’s relation that runs the place or not.  I get it.

But now that I’ve been out in the job market, interviewing my ass off and feeling like I’m totally putting my best me out there, for some reason I continue to be rejected and I have yet to hear anything but positive remarks when I ask for feedback or what I can work on for future interviews.  I guess that’s what burns me the most; I have no idea what to work on moving forward so I can’t improve my chances if I’m doing everything right, right?

Someday I’ll be able to post about how kick ass my new job is, but until then I’ll keep putting my best me out there for hire.  I have good feelings about what is around the bend; keeping my head up and thoughts positive is what is proving to be the tough part now.

…and on to the next one.

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