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Going to be one of those days…

March 25th, 2009 No comments

I caught myself saying “It’s going to be one of those days” to my wife this morning. I’m not entirely sure what “one of those days” entails. But people say it from time to time while being completely unaware of what it means themselves.

Who was the first person to use that phrase? And what guidelines was that person using to compare “one of those days” to?

Was it back in medieval times when knights were shining their armor and realized that his squire neglected to shovel up his steed’s poo and thus stepped into it? Did he at that point mutter under his breath, “I thinketh that tis wilt be one of those days”?

Well regardless of where the phrase originated, I’m thinking that I’m doomed to have one of those days. (Without the horse shit).

Today marked one of the first times in recent memory where my alarm clock actually woke me up. Normally, I beat the alarm clock by 20-30 minutes, which I use to get the kitchen situated. Not today though, so I knew I was going to be a little behind. I proceeded to make my way into Trace’s room, and nearly stepped in cat vomit.

Damn cats. I love them to death, but why do they insist on throwing up on the carpet when we have hardwood floors that are so much easier to clean up than the carpet? I mean, most of our floors are either hardwood or tile, but they feel the excessive need to throw up on the plush carpet.

I had to get back to the task at hand and get Trace up for school though, so after a quick wiping of the carpet I make a mental reminder to come back and thoroughly clean this up. Oh, I see Trace is already awake and dressed for school, this means that he’s ready to eat breakfast, and seeing as how I’m even more behind than I originally thought, I need to get his breakfast going.

I make my way into the kitchen and see the pile of dishes in the sink. Normally, I’m quite anal about doing the dishes before going to bed at night, but I treated myself to some TV instead and figured that I would get them in the morning. Damnit! I forgot, I need to empty the dishwasher from last night too.

So here I am. A sink full of dirty dishes, a dishwasher full of (I’m assuming clean) dishes, a hungry child, and no coffee. Ok. I can’t make coffee until the sink is empty. I can’t empty the sink until the dishwasher is empty, and now Trace is being the most hyper kid I’ve ever been around. He’s going non-stop with his talking and I need to remind myself that he’s 8. I get his breakfast made and sit him at the table. I begin to wonder how on earth he’s able to eat those pancakes while talking constantly.

I open the dishwasher and learn that for whatever reason, it didn’t run. So now I have a full dishwasher of DIRTY dishes, a sink full of dirty dishes and still no coffee. I must have said something along the lines of “Damnit!” because Trace commented that I had used a bad word. Whatever.

I slam the damn dishwasher shut and begin to hand wash the dishes in the sink because I’m going to need coffee STAT. Finally! I’m able to get coffee going, but it’s going to be at least 10 minutes before it’s ready. Trace goes off to brush his teeth and makes a comment about a cat throwing up. Oh yeah, I need to clean that up! So I proceeded to do so.

My coffee pot beeps to inform me that the coffee is ready, but by now it’s 7:20 and I need to get Trace outside for the bus. Normally, the bus driver is very prompt. Not today. One of our neighbors has a son that gets on the bus at the end of our driveway and she comments about it as well. The time is now 7:40 when the bus arrives and we notice that it’s a different bus than normal, so the normal bus must have broken down or something. Whatever. Not my issue.

I walk back in the house and pour myself a nice hot cup of coffee and sit at my computer while my wife finishes up in the shower. She comes on out, walks into our computer room and mentions that the air conditioner isn’t working. We have air conditioner problems. The drain pan fills from time to time and needs to be drained. I need to figure out how to fix that problem for good.

As I begin ramming my head into my desk, my wife asks, “What’s wrong?” To which I reply, “I think it’s going to be one of those days…”

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Stepparenting…

March 24th, 2009 No comments

Baseball just started in our little community and Trace has recently started practicing with his new team. They draft teams each year, so he’ll see some familiar faces and some new faces. Well, Trace was fortunate enough to be on the same team with Devon. Devon’s dad was Trace’s basketball coach this past season (they went 10-0 – Woot!) so it was really neat to see Trace’s basketball coach again and talk with him some more. Anyway, at one of the recent practices, I had a good opportunity to talk with Devon’s dad for an extensive amount of time. The topic of parenting came up and he went on to tell me about how much admiration he has for stepparents.

Now in case some of you out there don’t know, I am Trace’s stepfather. I married his mother roughly 3 years ago, but she and I have been together since before Trace’s 2nd birthday.

Back to the story though, Dany (Devon’s dad) explained to me about his wife being a stepmother to his oldest son and truly adores her for accepting this child from a previous marriage as if he were her own. He commented further by saying that if he didn’t know any better, he would have thought Trace was my own because I’m always the one he sees at practices, I’m always the one he sees at every game.

He found it quite odd that Trace’s father just doesn’t make the effort to be there for his own son because when he and his wife split up, he made it a point (including changing jobs) to make sure he was a part of his son’s life. He said that he thinks he saw Trace’s dad at the very last basketball game, to which I said, “yes, he was, but Susan had to guilt him into going.” Dany shook his head and told me that Trace was indeed lucky to have a stepfather willing to do whatever it took to make sure Trace didn’t do without the experiences that all kids should have growing up. It made me feel good. I like doing things for Trace.

However, with being the stepfather, there are times when it’s not that great either. Father’s Day is hard on me. It really sucks that his a**hole of a father gets to go months without calling or seeing his son, but makes sure he swoops in on Father’s Day to pick up his son. I told this to Dany, and he comforted me by saying, “Bob, that is the tough part of being the step. But trust me, it gets easier. It may be years from now, but when he gets old enough, he’ll think back and you’ll be the one he remembers as doing all these things with him.”

That same day, my wife and I picked up iPhones. I told Trace that when I got an iPhone, I would give him my old phone for him to use. Well, I couldn’t get back into the car before he was asking me for my old phone. Of course, I chuckled, because he’s 8 and wouldn’t expect anything less than that.

A few days later, his a**hole of a father called the house. We always let Trace answer it because, well, neither Susan nor I want to talk to the bastard (if we can help it). Trace went on to tell his father that he has a phone now and was smiling about it. It was at that point when he said, “My mom and dad just got iPhones, so now I have a phone…”

My jaw dropped, but I have to admit, it made me giddy to hear him refer to me as his dad (especially to his dad).

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Facebook

March 23rd, 2009 No comments

Lately, I’ve become more and more active on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong however, I don’t sit on it all day, but I try my best at updating my status regularly and so forth. Facebook had done two things for me. The first of which was to reconnect with former classmates.

Looking back at my childhood, my fondest memories are the ones from my years at Vernon C Haynes Jr High School. Haynes is a magnet school now, but back when I was there, it wasn’t. I had some truly great classmates back then. A lot of good memories to reflect back on. I made some good, solid, and quality bonds with some of my classmates back then. I truly felt sad during my last few days on my ninth grade year, knowing that the classmates that I had was about to be split among different high schools in the area. I took steps to make sure that I got to stick with my best friend through high school and attend East Jefferson. Even though I got to continue on with David, I knew I would lose contact with great friends like Richard Howe and Eddie Painter. I was fortunate enough however to know that at least some of my classmates from Jr High were going on to East Jefferson as well, but not all of them.

Facebook has allowed me to see what all of those former classmates of mine are up to. I truly enjoy thinking back and reminiscing of those days of old.

However, Facebook also reminds me of the days where I was in a dark place. The years that followed the glorious days of Haynes (specifically my years at EJ) were very hard on me. I went through a lot of inner turmoil and emotions that I have up to this point repressed.

During the early months of my Junior year, I suffered the loss of a dear friend in a car accident. I still think of her to this day, and I still pledge to memoralize her in some way. A couple of months later, my mom got a transfer to Baton Rouge. She had informed me that I would have to pick up and move and start fresh. I wasn’t having any of that as I begged and pleaded for her to find some way to keep me from starting over. She agreed to allow me to stay with my grandmother so that I wouldn’t have to change high schools midway through. A couple of months later, my friends had talked me into running for Senior Class president. Unfortunately, I lost. During my campaign however, I managed to alienate myself from the majority of the class of ’89. Granted, I still had some good friends at EJ, some that I appreciate for not turning their backs on me. I pissed some people off. A lot of them. It was at this point where that move to Baton Rouge was becoming appealing. But my friends stood behind me. I truly enjoyed that. That’s what made them my friends. It was only after the election that some of the ones that I pissed off approached me and asked that I become part of the Senior Class council the following year. I heartily agreed as it showed acceptance on their behalf.

When my Senior year started, I stayed with my grandmother again. I enjoyed the good times that seniors enjoy (i.e. Ring Day). But right before Christmas of 1988, my grandmother had passed away. I was shattered. My uncle and my older brother were staying at the house, so I could continue to stay there as well and finish off the last few months of high school. But it was hard. Very hard. I had no direction. I lost focus. My grades began to slip. And the relationships that I had formed with friends outside of school began to deteriorate.

I think that’s what gets me the most. I didn’t care about who I pissed off at EJ because I thought I had a great group of friends outside of school. Weekly plans of hanging out with this circle of friends grew dismal. I was gradually faded out of the circle along with my friend Kevin. It almost seemed like we became the outcasts. The phone calls that I normally get inviting me to this place and that, stopped. I had no idea why, but I knew I had Kevin. Kevin stood by me and we hung out more and more. We became family.

When graduation day came, I shed numerous tears when my mom informed me that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the ceremony. Both my uncle and brother would also be unable to attend. I was lost and alone. Kevin was there though. He made sure I got there. And even though he knew David, I kinda felt like he was there for me. I appreciated that.

So here I am. Going on and on about what Facebook has done for me. I am grateful for being able to catch up with friends of old. I just wish it wouldn’t have brought up some of these old feelings that I repressed so long ago. Things that were unresolved and will continue to be unresolved. I only hope that I can find a way of blocking those things out again.

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My Hayden Panettiere Story…

March 11th, 2009 No comments

My wife and I listen to the Walton and Johnson show (Eagle 98.1) every morning on our way into work. Yesterday they were talking about Hayden Panettiere and about how much of a diva she is. For those of your that are unfamilar with Ms. Panettiere, she is the woman that plays the cheerleader on NBC’s Heroes.

Well, hearing them go on and on about her, it reminded me of an event that happened to me which involved this same Ms Panettiere. My wife suggested that I call into the W&J show and tell them my story, but instead, I sent an email from their website www.waltonandjohnson.com instead. Since the email was sent using the form on the website, I don’t have the original email in my sent items. Instead, I will retell the tale…

Dragoncon is a Science Fiction/Fantasy convention that is held annually in downtown Atlanta during Labor Day weekend. It’s a good time for me to get together with some friends (inluding my best friend from High School – David) to take in the convention, eat well, and catch up with one another. One of the guests that was appearing at Dragoncon 2008 was no other than Hayden Panettiere.

All of the mainstream guests can be found in a huge ballroom, with tables set up so they can sell autographed pictures of themselves for fans. I don’t typically buy these pictures, but my friends will occasionallly indulge because they’re into that sort of thing. My friends David and Brian decided to get in Robert Englund’s (Freddy Krueger) line because they had never met him before and wanted his autograph. I stood in line with them because I thought it would be cool to shake Freddy Krueger’s hand (sans bladed glove). At this point I noticed Ms Panettiere had no one in her line. I told my friends that I would be right back and that I wanted to meet Hayden and let her know that I enjoy her work.

I approached Ms Panettiere and said simply, “I just wanted to come by and say hello, and that I love your work on Heroes.” Now, these guests that appear at these conventions normally have an assistant working with them or “handler” that help peddle their pictures and stuff. Hayden Panettiere had two. The first one (the woman) told me that I had to get in line if I wanted to talk to Hayden. I looked at the woman and said, “there is no one in line.” The woman pointed to a piece of tape on the ground and told me that the line began there. I saw the piece of tape on the ground, but there was no one standing behind it. I decided to humor the handler and walked over to the piece of tape, stood firm for a few seconds and then approached Ms Panettiere once again. At this point, the handler asked me if I was going to purchase one of the photographs, to which I replied, “No. I just want to say hello.” The woman then raised her hand waved at me and simply said, “Goodbye.”

I turned and began walking back to my friend that were still standing in Robert Englund’s line when an Atlanta police officer came up to me and asked me to talk with him for a moment. I obliged and politely asked, “Is there a problem officer?”. The police officer responded by saying, “I’m escorting you out of the convention.” A friend of mine ran in front of us and asked the police officer to stop because he wanted to take a picture of the cop holding my arm and walking me out. The police officer told my friend that this was not a joke and that I was leaving. At this point, I started to become a bit agitated and started asking the officer if this was some sort of a joke. He said that I was leaving the convention because I was making inappropriate remarks to one of the guests.

I was stunned. I asked the police officer, “Who?” After escorting me out of the ballroom, he started to question me by asking me specifically what I had said to Ms Panettiere. I responded by saying, “I said Hi.” He repeatedly asked me is there was anything else, to which I responded, “No. All I said was hi.” The officer starts referring to me by name at this point because everyone attending the convention is required to wear a badge with a name on it. He tells me that Ms Panettiere has left the area and is enroute to her hotel room because I had approached her in a threatening manner. I adamantly plead my case and inform the officer that this has to be some sort of a joke and that all I said was hi. He then asked me why I keep harassing Ms Panettiere. I ask him what he meant because that was the very first time I had even seen the woman. He then informed me that he’s not accusing me of anything, but that he has to take any allegations like this seriously.

At this point, I decided to use some logic and asked him if he would escort Ms Panettiere out of the convention if I told him that I felt threatened by her. He snickered. I then demanded to speak to convention personnel. He instructed me to stay put where I was standing (which I was happy to do so because I wasn’t guilty of anything) and returned with two members of Dragoncon personnel. They took down my name and asked me what happened and I told them that I simply said hello to the girl and the next thing I know, I”m being escorted out. They then informed me of an incident that occurred earlier in the day where someone dressed in football attire (I was wearing an LSU shirt) was harassing her, but acknowledged to the police officer that I was not the guy from earlier.

The officer agreed to release me, but asked if I would stay away from Ms Panettiere (which I was absolutely happy to oblige). I called my friend via my cell phone to let them know where I was so they could find me (going beyond my willingness to oblige the officer’s wishes).

Our trip was cut short last year due to the impending hurricane that was bearing down on Louisiana. My friends and I had to rebook our flights and pack up a day early. As we were heading toward the Marta, I happened to run into the same police officer. As I approached, he smiled and shook his head. I told the officer that I harbored no ill feelings towards him and that I understood that he was only doing his job.

He looked at me and said, “Bob, you need to try and let it go. You can’t help it if….” My friend Randy interjects at this point and says, “She’s a bitch!” The police officer smiles and said, “Have a nice trip.”

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Incredibad – The Lonely Island

March 10th, 2009 No comments

Ok, I have to give some credit to a coworker for turning me on to The Lonely Island.   He sent the original link to me of the ‘Jizz In My Pants’ video that can be found on the right hand side of the site.

After watching the video the first time, I felt compelled to watch it again.  And then again, and then again.  I would go to the grocery and the lyrics would just pop into my head.  I couldn’t go anywhere without the words to that song going through my mind.  I had to share the video with everyone.   My sister-in-law came into town with her fiance’ and I wouldn’t let them put their luggage down without first showing them the video.

Then I heard about their album Incredibad.  I checked it out.  Holy shit! I can’t stop listening to it.  I’m going to put a link to the other videos that accompany some of the songs on the album.  “I’m On a Boat” is just too damn funny on so many levels.

So if you’re looking for an entertaining album, check out Incredibad by the Lonely Island.

http://www.thelonelyisland.com/

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