Saturday, December 4, 2010

Soccer Moms, Penises, and Dildos

The autumn soccer season is coming to an end, and it has been a fun season. Not just because it is fun coaching Alissa, but because my wife was able to come to practices and games. Sherri is so busy with work that it is hard for her to attend. She got to be a genuine “soccer mom.”

Soccer Moms

At the start of the season Sherri had to take Alissa to practice while I was working late. This is something she didn’t have to do in the past. I would show up with about an hour left to practice so she could go home after HER long day at work. But she would stay to the end of practice, not because she was that interested in practice, but because she had made a new friend, Melissa.

Melissa is the single mother of a player named Abby and her son Brock. My kids and her kids are now good friends. Just like Sherri and Melissa. I would say that Melissa and I are friends now too, although there are times that I find her to be a little too wild for me.

One of those times was at soccer practice. All the moms were gathered together, doing whatever soccer moms do during practice. Sherri and Melissa were being abnormally chatty and goofy, kind of like high school girls. If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed that Melissa had brought a little something to drink. I would have guessed wrong, Sherri did.

Penises

Melissa has been over quite a bit the last couple of months and I have found one thing very annoying about her. She likes to text on her phone in the middle of having a conversation with someone, like me. Is she even listening to me when I speak?

One day Melissa shared with Sherri and me what kind of text conversation was going on while she was visiting us.

She has a male friend on the east coast that has known her for years. I guess he has feelings for her that he has never been able to express until now, with pictures. She showed Sherri a picture, and Sherri was speechless. “Hey Tom, want to see?” Melissa said. I looked at Sherri she gave me that I don’t know if you do look. Before I could think about it, Melissa had the picture of some guy’s junk in my face. “Wow, that’s shinny.” I said. “Looks like he shaves more than his face”

I have a phone and it has a camera. I have never had the urge to take a picture of my unit. It seems like everyone is doing it. I must not be cool.

Dildos

Maybe it’s a girl thing, I guess, for the most part, dildos are. But I would think you would at least want to know someone more than a few weeks before you start talking about that kind of thing.

Sherri got off the phone with Melissa one night and said to me afterward, “Melissa wants to take me to Skitzo Kitty and buy me a dildo.” “I don’t want to know how that came up,” I replied.

Later in the week Melissa, Sherri, and I were at the kitchen table, talking, and texting, while the kids were burning stuff in the fire pit. “Hey Tom, you know what Sherri needs?” And she goes on to tell me what she needs and how to use it for maximum and multiple results.

I did not volunteer to go down to Skitzo Kitty with them if that time ever came.

Sherri talked to three other "conservative" friends about the invitation, two of them already had a little (or big) friend in the nightstand. I guess Sherri isn't that cool either, or I'm just doing my job!  :)

I’ll Miss You Melissa, I Think

We helped pack Melissa’s moving van and sent her back home to Florida last week. She had moved out here to be with her boyfriend. Not the texting guy. When he started being a jerk to her kids she decided to move back home. I can respect that. But I’m a little sad for Sherri because I think she enjoyed her friendship. She doesn’t have many friends outside of work, so it was a nice change.

Even though she made me feel a little uncomfortable at times, I will miss her and her kids too. They were fun to have around.

I’m sure we will keep in touch, but I won’t be texting her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If She Could Just Learn To Talk With Those Eyes

My wife has told me about this kind of thing happening in her store. I believed her, but I didn't think I would get to experience it too.

Living in a resort community that has a lot of senior citizens has it's privileges.

Yesterday I was at my local Office Depot buying some stuff for a science project that I, I mean, Alissa is doing.

As I was standing in line behind an old lady who was arguing with the cashier about the price of her ink cartridge. I thought I heard something odd. I was pretty sure what it was, but didn't want to say anything.

Pfft...

I look at the cashier and he looks at me and we have this entire conversation with our eyes, "OMG, did she just do what I think she did?"

PPPffffttt....

"Yeah, I KNOW she did!"

PPfftt..PPPffffttt....PPPPfffftttt.....

Unfortunately there was a third person there that hasn't learned the art of eye conversation, "Daddy, that's gross!"

I quickly turn to Alissa and snap her a look that said, "It wasn't me! It was her!"

She totally understood the look, she just didn't use her eyes to respond, "Oh, that's funny."

sigh

P.S.
I didn't know how to spell the sound of a fart, so I Googled it. There were many versions. That spelling looked best to me.

The woman never acknowledged the farts or what Alissa said. I wonder if she even knew.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Guess I Won't Be Going To Panera For A While.

Have you ever done something embarrassing, at least in your own mind, and then avoid the place or people who witnessed that embarrassing moment?

That happened to me earlier this month.

My wife and I had a really nice Italian dinner here, on our 25th wedding anniversary back in September.

We had the Bruschetta di Pomodori for an appetizer and thought that it would be an easy thing to make at home.

Sherri called me from work and said, "Why don't you buy a bottle of red wine and make that appetizer we had at Amore. You can just buy the kids a pizza."

I'm thinking, "If I don't screw this up, it could be a great night for me!"

Now I'm on a mission. I'm going to go to Panera for a Bruschetta and Henry's for some fresh garlic, tomatoes, basil, and some wine.

So I'm at Panera looking around for a loaf of Bruschetta and I'm not having any luck. I finally go to the counter and ask,"Do you have any Bruschetta?" The girl looks at me kind of funny and says, "No, but I can slice up a nice french baguette for you." "No, that's OK. I'll find it somewhere else." And I leave for Henry's.

Henry's has a bakery, so I thought I should find it there. But I was bummed out that Panera didn't have it. Sherri loves Panera.

I had the same kind of luck at Henry's. What the hell! So I go to the counter and it hits me as I'm gettting ready to ask this girl for help, "What kind of bread do you use for Bruschetta?" "Usually a french or country style bread." She responded. "Would you like me to slice one up for you?"  I'm such a dork. 

"Yes please. I'll take the french bread."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Works Better Than Netflicks

This is a busy time of year for me. Like there isn't a busy time for me! It is just extra busy.

One time a year we close down the golf course and over seed it. The course will be closed for almost a month. The first week of that month involves a lot of work, that usually means 10 to 12 hour days. I am almost done with that.

Needless to say I come home very tired.

Two days ago I got home just in time to have to prepare dinner for the kids. I was very tired and was not in the mood for the usual drama that my loving children save for when mom or dad come home.

I just wanted to sip wine and  make dinner in peace.

Usually I can pick a movie on Netflicks and the kids semi-quietly watch it. But Austin is grounded from the TV until that "D" is raised to a "C".

If I was sipping wine and the little sister kept picking on the big brother, there might be an other Turfdad disappearance from the blogosphere.

So I pulled out my secret weapon.

I can put one of these in the outdoor fire pit and my kids will be hypnotized by the fire for the next two hours. It is almost scary. I hope that doesn't mean something about my kids. Should I be worried when they ask, "Dad, is it OK to burn this!" Although I did let Austin burn some crummy homework and tests.

So we ate outside. The kids got to burn some marshmallows and homework. I sipped wine by the fire. And my wife didn't see flashing red and blue lights in the front yard when she got home from work.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Come On Justin It's A School Night!

You would think the people who schedule shows for Justin Bieber would be more considerate to his fan base. My 9 year old is at his show tonight with her mother on a school night! Doesn’t he have school in the morning too? :)


The two girls spent a good part of the day getting ready for tonight. If I didn’t know better, I would think they were going out to try and score teenage boys.

Alissa’s new concert outfit was cute for a 9 year old, but my wife’s outfit was hot. What the hell! I took her to a Tom Petty concert a couple of years ago and she looked like she was going to work!

This will be Alissa’s first concert. I was 17 when I went to my first concert, Foreigner at The Forum in Inglewood, former home of The Lakers.

I saw a lot of shows back in the 80’s. Here is a list. I saw most of these shows before I got married at 21. It’s a lot.

Foreigner, The Police, The Who, The Clash, David Bowie, Journey, Heart, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Cougar, Queen, Def Leppard, Billy Squire, Oingo Boingo, Men At Work, Stray Cats, INXS, Flock of Seagulls, The Pretenders, Missing Persons, Berlin, English Beat, and Styx.

These were the bigger names. There were probably just as many smaller shows that I saw too.

Most of those shows were good. Oingo Boingo and the Stray Cats were really fun to see. They just got up there and played while everyone else bounced around and had a great time. Queen and Bowie had big elaborate shows with lots of glitter, not as fun, but very well done. If any of these shows were disappointing it might have been Elton John. It just seemed like he was going through the motions.

When I went to see Tom Petty with my wife at The Indian Wells Tennis Gardens it had been over twenty years since I had been to a concert. And some things never change, the smell of pot. I had to laugh to myself when I smelled that familiar scent about twenty minutes into the show. I guess some of us never grew up.

I wonder what kind of mischief goes on at a Justin Bieber concert? I doubt there will be pot smoking. I’m sure I’ll get the low down on that tomorrow morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It Wasn't My Plan, But I'm Fine With It Now.

Back in February of 2009 I got laid of from the work.

I was crushed.

Even though I had done nothing wrong, I felt like there was maybe something I could have done to keep my job.

There wasn’t anything I could have done. My employer wasn’t the golf course I worked on but the home builder that built the golf course. And we all know what the housing market was like in 2009.

I was on unemployment until November that year. I took a job at a different golf course for much less money and way lower on the management scale. And I was happy to do it. I was beginning to think I would have to get back into retail or the restaurant business. My time in turf school would have been wasted.

I should not have worried. When I look back at things now it looks like there was some sort of plan, something I really didn’t have any control over.

I think God wanted me some place else those nine months. And as it turned out, I needed to be home.

Sarah’s Return

We brought home our oldest daughter Sarah from a residential treatment center a couple of months before the lay off.

She had been there for almost two years, with little results. The county that we adopted her from was helping us finance the treatment and decided they would not pay for this type of school if her behaviors were not improving. They suggested a home for problem teenagers. They did not recommend bringing her back into our house.

We thought she needed one last chance at being a part of this family. We didn’t adopt her just to give up on her and send her away. So against the recommendations of the county, we brought her home.

I was excited that she was coming home and so was she. But after a couple of months the honeymoon was over and Sarah was out of control again.

For nine months I endured Sarah’s weekly therapy, two different “super nannies” provided by the county, and countless nights of arguing and her running away. I could not have done the first two if I was working.

As much as we wanted things to work out, we knew she had to go. So when she told us that on her 18th birthday she was “out of here!” We made it all possible, and held her to her word.

Finding Work

I did not spend all of my “unemployed time” babysitting my 17-year-old daughter.

I continually applied for work at most of the local golf courses, but all I got was the cold shoulder. I didn’t get a single interview for 9 months. I know times were tough, but there were some job openings and I had a good resume with experience in the positions that I had applied for. I should have had some contact from of these golf courses. Something wasn’t right. I would eventually find out what that was from my current employer.

After months of rejection letters and no replies at all, I finally got an interview for an hourly position at the place I work now. It was the only interview I had the entire time I was unemployed, and I was sure I had aced it. But I got the same old rejection e-mail a week later.

I really knew something was wrong when I saw the same position posted on the company’s web site a week later. I wanted to call the lady who interviewed me earlier and see if I could reapply since the position was open again. But I didn’t know if I would be pushing my luck.

So I started applying at all of my local retailers. I thought my golf course maintenance career was over.

Someone Is Watching Over Me

About a week after I saw that job posted again I was at church.

As I was walking to the parking lot I saw a familiar looking lady. We made eye contact and she smiled like she knew me. I thought I knew her but I couldn’t remember from where, until I had got in the car. It was the lady that had interviewed me. Weird.

Now I am really wondering if I should call her back about that job opening. I could tell that she wanted to talk when I saw her.

I decided to call her the next day and ask if I was eligible for that opening, but I wasn’t going to say anything about church. I wanted to keep things professional. Interviewers and possible employees shouldn’t be talking about church.

When I got a hold of her the next day I asked about the opening again, intentionally ignoring the fact that I saw her at church the day before. She said, “I’m really glad you called back. Didn’t I see you at church yesterday?”

So much for ignoring church.

“ I have been thinking a lot about you Tom. You and I had such a good interview that I was sure that I could hire you. But I have to tell you something Tom; we got a bad reference on you. My boss said he might hire you at the level you applied for, but you would never be promoted, which is what you are aiming for. Is there something you would like to tell me?”

I didn’t provide any references that would say anything but nice things about me. But I knew exactly who had talked to these people, a superintendent that lost his job because of me. He used to work for my current employer before he was my boss at my old golf course.

At first I tried to explain things without using names or details because my old employer said I couldn’t comment on the situation or my old boss or I could be fired. So I never did. But it hit me as I was trying to explain, I sound like I’m hiding something. Why am I being loyal to the company that laid me off 9 months ago? They can't fire me now, and I cashed all the severance checks.

I stopped what I was saying and said, “This doesn’t sound entirely honest. Let me start over.”

Then I told her whom I thought her reference was, and why he lost his job because of me, in detail.

She could not confirm if my suspicions were correct, but said that things made a lot more sense to her now and that she would get back to me about the position that I had applied for. She called me the next day and informed me that I had an interview with the new superintendent. That went very well.

My new employers created a new management position for me. The pay wasn’t that great, but it had benefits and it covered the money I received from unemployment. But the pay didn’t really matter, I was just glad to be working again.

Coincidentally I had two other job offers the same week, one retail job and a one at a commercial nursery growing herbs. The nursery job would have paid a lot more, but I didn’t want to ignore all the good signs that came with the golf course job. The lady who saw me at church really went to bat for me and I wasn’t going to let her down a week later for a few more bucks.

Today, almost a year later, I am back to my old management position, assistant superintendent, and back to a salary that my family is accustomed to. And I really like where I work. They make me feel wanted.

I hear about my old employer from time to time. Things didn’t get better after I was laid off. There were more lay offs. They actually terminated everyone and rehired the ones that they wanted as part-time employees.... with no benefits. I don’t want to work for a company that treats employees like that. As it turned out, that lay off may have been the best thing for me.

It All Makes Sense Now

They say that hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back at the last two years things I can clearly see what God has done for me.

1. He took me out of a bad job and provided severance pay (No one else on the maintenance crew got that.) and unemployment benefits.

2. He put me in a place where my family needed me, home.

3. When things calmed down at home, he found a better job for me.

I truly feel blessed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wedding Day: Vol. Two

There was so much to tell about Sarah’s wedding day I couldn’t fit it all into one post. And I was too busy to write such a long entry. So, where did I start volume two?

Somebody Get the Crisco, Sarah’s Dress Doesn’t Fit!

The damn thing fit a month ago. It was snug, but it fit.

Sherri told Sarah that she needed to drop 5 to 10 pounds just to be on the safe side. Not gain.

Amber (who actually works in a dress shop), and Brianna were there to save the day.

“Don’t worry Sherri, I cram ladies into dresses all the time,” Amber exclaimed.

She had even mentioned in the car ride that she knew this going to happen and that she brought a can of Crisco just in case.

Two Out of Three Isn’t Bad.

I had mentioned earlier that Anthony only had three guests. His guests were his father (Artie), his aunt (Anita), and his brother (Joe).

During the weeks before the wedding I had heard nothing but bad things about Anita and Joe. Anita was a bitch and Joe was a pothead.

I ended up liking them both very much.

I think Anita tells it like it is, and the young couple don’t want to here it. She made it very clear that she thought they were not ready to get married. But she was also there, on time, and supported her nephew on his important day. She was definitely OK in my book.

Joe is a pothead, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t likeable. And after spending some time with him that afternoon I could tell he was a good kid.

He mingled with the entire wedding party, friends and family. He gave a well thought out and touching toast to the bride and groom. And he was just pleasant to be around. I think Amber and Brianna really liked him.

I can’t imagine what his life has been like the last couple of years. His mom killed herself. His dad is never home. They fight when he is home. His big brother isn’t a great role model. And now he has to live with my crazy daughter. Hell, I couldn’t live with my crazy daughter. No wonder he smokes pot.

Sherri and I both agree that if the marriage lasts any amount of time and if the families get together more, we would try to invest some time into Joe too.

Well, I’m Glad I Brought the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen...

...By the end of the night, Sarah wasn’t.

There was some doubt whether or not there would be bridesmaids or groomsmen at all.

Amber, Brianna, and Joe had no transportation and no money for clothes.

My son Austin was the other groomsmen. He has unlimited funds!

So, you know how they got there, now you know how they got their clothes.

No big deal, at least we didn’t have to buy the wedding rings or the marriage license. Oops, scratch that, we had to buy that stuff too.

Anyways, all four of them were terrific. They were very sociable with everyone.

I was really impressed with Austin. He is only 14 and he handled the day better than a lot of adults I know.

Amber, Brianna, and Joe hit it off real well, too well for Sarah. She didn’t like the girls spending so much time with Joe. By the end of the night she had called both girls bitches and said she could have Joe any time she wanted.

Things You Don’t Tell Your Husband Until All of the Guests Are Gone

My wife is a smart woman. She didn’t tell me about a conversation she had had with Sarah a couple of weeks before the wedding.

It was the day after the wedding and we were back at Shelly’s cleaning up.

We were sitting around the kitchen table eating lunch when I told the sisters how good I thought both of them looked the night before. Shelly looked at Sherri and said, “I hope not better than the bride.” Sherri rolled her eyes.

I could tell Shelly wasn’t just making some off-hand comment; there was something more to tell.

“What?” I said.
“ Someone new to the family thinks your wife is hot,” Shelly replied.
“ Hey, someone thinks you’re hot too!” Sherri snapped back.
“ That’s right it’s going to be a threesome.”
“ Anthony wants some Sherri and Shelly action?” I asked.
“ Nope.”
“ Joe?”
“ No, that would probably be Amber and Brianna action.”

Silence.

“ No way...Artie? How in the hell would you know this?”

The conversation Sherri had with Sarah was about how Sherri was going to look on the wedding day. She asked her not to look better than her on her wedding day. Apparently Artie was teasing her about how hot her mother and aunt was and next time they came over that they should just stay the night.

Normally we take Sarah’s stories with a grain of salt, but throughout the telephone conversation Sherri could hear Anthony in the background egging on the whole threesome idea.

Guess who’s not coming to my house for Christmas.

Wrap Up

Believe it or not, it really was a nice evening. Sherri and I were very pleased with the outcome. Sure, there was goofy stuff, but what wedding doesn’t have a little drama. And that only seems appropriate when my daughter is involved.

There is a gallery below with my profile.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Wedding Day: Vol. One

Last Friday my daughter Sarah got married. It was the first wedding my wife and I have done. The first wedding my “minister sister-law” Shelly has done too. You could say it was our warm up wedding. My youngest Alissa is only 9; we have a little time before we have to worry about throwing her one. AT LEAST 10 YEARS, I hope.

There were some very good things to say about the day.

The place looked great. The food was tasty. (Tri-tip roast, potatoes, fruit salad, and spinach salad.) The weather was reasonable for the middle of July. And my wife was looking fine. The party was a complete success, and we pulled it off for less than $1200 bucks!

I say “party” because it was more like a party for the people from the bride’s adopted parents side of the family. Sarah hardly knew these people, but they “knew” her from all of the horror stories they had heard about her. They were there to support the rest of the family because that’s what good friends and family do. The groom had 3 guests show up, and one of them was 30 minutes late. Details about that later.

Everyone in attendance had a great time, except for maybe Sarah and Anthony. They expected more gifts and money. Sarah got mad at the bride’s maids. And they got tired and bored and actually left the party early. It’s not like they had any place to go; there was no honeymoon. They were just getting a ride back home to Anthony’s father’s place, where they live with Anthony’s father and brother.

Everyone else stayed and helped clean up. It was work, but it was fun visiting friends and family. It’s a shame the bride and groom couldn’t stick around to see what kind of family that they have married into, to see they got more from this wedding than just a few gifts and some cash. Hopefully they stay married long enough to figure it out.

I may sound disappointed, but I’m really not. We fully expected this kind of reaction, so there was no surprise. I was very proud of my family and the wedding they gave Sarah. A wedding that you know probably shouldn’t be taking place, but you do it because you are supposed to be supportive and it’s the right thing to do as a parent, even when that child has not brought much to the table.

I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.

So you must be asking were there any “entertaining” moments or highlights to the day? Of course!

Tom’s Taxi Service

I spent a big portion of my day driving.

Brianna and Amber were the bride’s maids. They live in town by me. Both girls are 18 and live on their own, but they have no car, and the wedding is 90 minutes from here. They needed rides to and from the wedding. No problem, I happen to be going that way!

This was a good start for the day. The girls were a riot. The ride was very enjoyable. Unfortunately, I spent half the time apologizing on the way back for Sarah’s rude behavior. They were cool about it. They know Sarah is Sarah and kind of accept it. They are good friends.

My other pick up was later in the afternoon, 45 minutes to, and 45 minutes back. It was the groom and his brother! They don’t have a car either! And apparently Anthony’s father was too busy to take his son to his own wedding. At least he was going to give them a ride home. Hey, he happens to be going that way! They all live together!

I was OK with picking up Anthony, but annoyed that his father could not step up for his son and get him to the wedding. But I was pissed off when I arrived to pick up the boys and their father was home, butt planted in front of the TV. He didn’t even get up to introduce himself until Anthony made him.

At this point in time I felt sorry for the boys. Anthony’s father was a real piece of work. Did I mention Anthony’s step mom, the woman who raised the boys, committed suicide about two years ago after a huge fight with his father? It was tough watching the groom pace around the house while everyone waited for his father to show up. He was 30 minutes late to his son’s wedding.

And there is more about my new in-law, but I’m going wait. This post is long enough and I have so much more to share. It’s kind of like Kill Bill; Tarantino had to make two movies because it was too long.

And no, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad does not show up at this wedding.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

He Would Probably Get Along With Mel Gibson. (Wedding Series #3)

I had heard so many wonderful things about Anthony, my son-in-law to be, it was hard not to have an opinion about the young man before I met him.

Here is a small list.

1. He is 24 years old and has already been married once. Sarah is only 18. He has lost visitation rights to two his two kids because of his bad temper.

2. He was kicked out of the Tay Center because he said he was going to kill his ex-wife. His brother is in jail for life because he killed a man. Sarah and Anthony were both residents at the Tay Center, she moved in with him at his dad’s place shortly after he was kicked out.

3. He used to have a job, but he lost it when his sister-in-law took the car she had bought him away. This would be the murderer’s wife, see # 2 on the list above. Apparently he was taking care of his brother’s wife in more ways than one. She didn’t like it when she found out he was shacking up with my daughter.

There are other things I could add to the list, but I think you may be able form an opinion from just that.

These are all things that my daughter has told me about a person that I’m supposed to welcome into my family. My opinion is based on all of the things that she has said, but she never mentioned this one thing,
“ Mom, when can you and dad come out and see me and Anthony?”
“I don’t know Sarah, probably on a day when your father and I are both off. It might be a while.”
“Can we come out there?”
“Uh...no. Besides you don’t have a car.”
“We could rent one.”
“Uh...no.”

I guess Sherri was on speaker because now she heard Anthony yelling from the background, “ I bet they don’t want to meet me because I’m black!”

Interesting, of ALL the things that we have heard, that wasn’t one of them, and at this point his skin color would be the least of our concerns.

“Sarah, your father and I will work out a time to go and meet with you and Anthony. Also, if I am on speaker, that is rude and I don’t appreciate it. Please explain to Anthony that you never told us that he was black, and you may want to tell him what you have told us about him.”

We don’t know how that went, but they are still getting married!

Like I had mentioned here, we met Anthony the night we looked at wedding dresses. I’ll be honest, I was dreading the visit. While driving to B.F.E. Sherri says, “ Slow down, we are going to get there too early.” “We could stop and get a drink.”
“We could stop and get two drinks.”

We attempted to do this, but the only place we could find on the way to B.F.E. was a biker bar called “Chicks and Brews”. I looked at Sherri and she said to me without actually saying a word, “Uh...no.”

Without the aid of a couple of “brews,” my “chick” and I arrived at Sarah and Anthony’s trailer modular home about 10 minutes early. The place actually belongs to Anthony’s father, but he is a long-haul trucker and is rarely there, like that night.

The Google Maps worked great, but it failed to tell us one thing, and so did Sarah, the last mile is all dirt, no pavement, just rocks, holes, cactus, and rabbits, lots of rabbits.

Anthony likes to hunt rabbit. I know that because that evening he gave Sherri a “good luck” rabbit’s foot and sent us home with rabbit pelts for Austin and Alissa. They were homemade and pretty nasty, but it’s the thought that counts, I guess. In addition to rabbit, he also hunts the lizards and snakes around the property, and he only hunts what he can eat. We definitely won’t be going to any barbecue parties at his house. I can see it now, lizards on a stick, kind of like those alligators on a stick in The Waterboy.

So, the inappropriate question running around in my head as we were driving up this dirt road was this, “How black is he?” I had to say something to Sherri, “ So you think he is going to be Rick James black or Derek Jeter black?” Sherri stares at me blankly, then says, “Who?” The answer really wouldn’t have mattered, I was just curious.

Well, Anthony was the whitest black guy I have ever met. As a matter of fact, I thought he looked a lot like my son Austin. I would have never known he was black if he had not said anything, I might not have believed him either. But since that night Sherri has met his father, and he is indeed black. His mom, who doesn’t live around here, is white and mentaly unstable.

After hearing all of those crappy things about Anthony I wasn’t expecting much from the evening out with him, but it wasn’t so bad. When Sherri and I were driving away from our visit she immediately got on the phone to tell her sister he was ok. I agreed. But since then Sherri and Shelly have had bad experiences with him and our original opinion is back in place. I won’t go into the “bad experiences,” this post has already been a long enough bitch session.

Believe me when I say Sherri and I take all of this stuff seriously, but usually just laugh at it like it is one big Jerry Springer show. I don’t write about it because I want people to feel sorry for us, I write about it because I think it is entertaining, like a Greek tragedy. The way things are going, some family member is going to accidentally have sex with their mom, poke their eye out with a crack pipe, collect disability insurance, and live happily ever after in a trailer in the middle of B.F.E.

How to throw a cheap wedding tip #3: Have your daughter marry a complete loser. He probably won't have many guests. At this point in time Anthony has four.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shelly Is In the Building "Wedding Series #2"

ALL OF MY IN-LAWS ARE GREAT. I wish my wife could say the same. I actually thought about what a great family I was marrying into before I popped the question.

My sister-in-law Shelly is really coming through for us on this wedding.

She has volunteered her house for the ceremony and reception.

She found a lady at her church to provide flowers and decorations for $300. Doing all of the decorating is included in the price.

But the most interesting thing she is going to do for us is marry Sarah and Anthony.

Shelly is the family counselor for her church. She also has a private practice.

The church had to make cut backs, just like every other businesses these days. When they laid off a couple of ministers earlier this year she had to become the “family counselor/minister.” She really just does the counseling stuff, but sense she has the title, she got ordained.

This will be her first wedding.

I would guess half of the people that show up are there to see Shelly’s first wedding, not Sarah’s.

I don’t think the whole “Elvis” thing I mention earlier is going to fly, but I do think Shelly will be just as good, if not better.

How to throw a cheap wedding Tip #2: Marry into a great family that will always be there for you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just Don't Call Me Frank "Wedding Series #1"

When my wife wants to make things happen, they will happen. This wedding is no exception.

One of the first things Sherri took care of was the wedding dress.

Sarah had been looking for dresses at a bridal shop out where she lives and wanted Sherri to come out and look at them with her. This kind of sucked because Sarah lives about 90 minutes away.

I told Sherri she was a good mom for going out of her way to make this nice for Sarah. She told me I was a good dad because I was going with her.

“What? That sounds like a girl’s day to me. You don’t need me around.”

“You are going to meet Anthony, and you guys are going to wait for us. Then we are taking them out to dinner.”

“I guess I do need to meet my son-in-law to be before the wedding”

My son-in-law to be will be a separate post in it’s self.

We told Sarah that we would buy the dress, but it needed to be around $150. She told us that she had a couple picked out and that she wanted us to see her in them. I guess “around “ was too loose of a term for her. Each dress she had picked out was “around” $700.

At least we got an idea what kind of style she was interested in and what size to look for. Sherri would start looking at second hand stores and on the Internet.

It was surprising that were so many nice dresses available at the second hand stores, but size was a problem. I guess only skinny short girls give up their wedding dresses for charity.

Sherri ended up buying the dress on-line. She found a site that would custom make the dress from the measurements that we send. It seemed like the site was very thorough about all the information that they needed to make the dress, so she decided to go for it. The price was less than $200 and more than $150, my definition of “around.”

About two weeks later there was a package from Shanghai, China waiting at the front door. What did Sherri order from China? Is this the dress? Wow, that was fast. Can’t wait untill Sherri gets home.

“Hey honey you got a package today.”
“Is it the dress?”
“Didn’t open it, it came from China.”
“Really? China? That was fast.”

She opened the package. It was the dress, and it was beautiful.

“Well done Kathy Lee. The dress is beautiful.”
“Gifford?”
“Some thirteen year old probably worked day and night for 25 cents an hour to get that dress here so fast.” Smile on my face.
“Oh! I saw the China address and I knew you were gonna go there!”
“Poor kid probably got a beating for taking a potty break too.”

Poor Sherri, everyone she has talked to about the dress has teased her about the same thing, without me saying a word.

How to throw a cheap wedding tip #1: Buy the wedding dress from a communist country with no labor laws.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Better Than Twilight or Harry Potter

Elvis was booked, so we got the next best thing...

A few weeks ago I wrote about my oldest daughter Sarah. In that post I noted that she was off of her birth control and that "we all knew what was next." I thought I knew that she was going to get pregnant, not engaged.

My 18 year old daughter getting is married to a guy she met back in February. The happy day is, July 16th 2010, NEXT MONTH! It’s a good thing we got them to push the day back four weeks so we could have all this time to figure out how we are going to pay for this thing!

Most of our savings are gone because of my lay-off last year. Who am I kidding; the savings are toast.

I had a small argument with my wife about if we should even throw her a wedding. She convinced me that we could pull this off, cheaply, and that it will be the only one we will do for Sarah, plus it was the right thing to do.

My wife is a wise woman. How she ended up with me I don’t know.

There are so many things about this wedding that I’d like to write about. I just can’t cram it all into one post, so I’m going to break it up into a series of posts, better than Twilight or Harry Potter.

In one of those posts, I will share what is the next best thing to booking Elvis for your wedding.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Gallery: Man's Best Friend and His Friend.

My friend Tara does this thing called The Gallery. This is my first attempt at it. This week's subject is friendship.

One of the hardest things I have had to do, is come home from the veterinarian without the family pet.

It all came very quickly and without warning.

Splinter was not that old, only 10. He had become very lethargic and was having difficulty breathing.

The diagnosis was an enlarged hart. There was nothing the vet could do to fix the problem, but we could try to manage the condition for the remainder of his life; best guess 6 months

This would be a huge bill, and I was still unemployed. Even if I had the money, putting him down would have still been the right thing to do. That didn’t make me feel any better. I cried like a little boy as Splinter fell asleep in my arms. I cried with Alissa when I gave her his collar.

It took the kids about a week to get over the loss of Splinter, me a while longer. But there was someone else having a harder time than the rest of us, Ernie our yellow Labrador retriever. He truly missed his little buddy. Splinter was a dachshund.

Ernie is only 2, and had grown up with Splinter; he was his big brother. Big brother knew how to have fun and get into trouble. Big sister Mia, Splinter’s actual sister, barely tolerates Ernie, and lives up the term “bitch” in more ways than the AKC definition.

I wasn’t ready to get another dog, we still had two, and I just had to cash in the 401k to pay the veterinarian and some other bills. But the continual heavy sighing and whining was driving us nuts. Ernie needed a new friend. We decided a trip to the animal shelter was in order. It’s a good thing I just got a job or this trip would be totally irresponsible!

The last time I had been to an animal shelter was about 15 years ago. It was small and drab, kind of depressing.

This shelter was large, new, and shinny, not depressing, you could almost say cheery.

For $115.00 you get a dog that they will spay or neuter, computer chip, a bag of treats, and a squeaky toy. Great deal.

We wanted Ernie’s friend to be another small dog. We also wanted another male because we didn’t want any problems with “the bitch” Mia. We made a selection and approached the attendant.

We told the attendant why we were there and that we had chosen a dog. The attendant had a great idea, “Why don’t you bring Ernie down to meet his knew friend?” “We can do that?” I said. “Sure, better to find out if they get along here than at home.”

Good call Mr. attendant man, selection number one DID NOT like Ernie. Good thing I had a second dog in mind from the beginning. My wife didn’t like this dog because he was too “yappy.” I liked him because he reminded me of Mr. Fox.

Well, those boys played like puppies from the get go. Ernie would be very happy with this new friend, if mommy would just give us the green light. I thought it was a no brainer, so I was surprised when my wife reluctantly said OK.

Now, “Axel” is her little cutie and she liked him all along.

Roles are now reversed. Ernie is the big brother, and he is a great one. He lets that little guy chew on him like he was a bone, yet he is obviously holding back when its his turn to dish out the punishment. He loves his little brother, and I know the feeling is mutual. The two are inseparable.

And what is Mia’s take on the new friendship? “They both suck.”


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Has He Started Shaving Yet?

My 14-year-old son Austin has. It doesn’t look like Justin Bieber does.

I was going to name this post “My Son Can Kick Justin Bieber’s Butt,” but let’s be real; my daughter could probably kick his butt too.

Why is this boy so popular? I hope it’s not because of his music; it makes me want to puke, violently. I have only heard “Baby” about a million times in the last three months. I think I have it memorized now. It’s not like it was that hard to do, just repeat “baby” again, and again, and again, and then say the 15th letter of the alphabet. Are you counting letters on your fingers?

My youngest, Alissa can’t stop obsessing about him. All of her allowance is spent on Justin Bieber junk. Her favorite waste of money is any teen magazine with a J.B. poster in it. “J. B.” seems like an appropriate term for this kid. Currently, there are 15 posters in her room.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I had a nice poster collection when I was a kid too, but mine were classics!

I just hope that Justin Bieber doesn’t start getting all “Marilynn Manson,” I could not stand for my little red head dying her hair black, and I have already seen her older sister do it, broke my hart. I bet before Marilynn Manson became Marilynn Manson he was Justin Bieber.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Felt Like Sending Her To Russia...

... but I settled for Utah.

I understand how Torry Hansen felt when she put her adopted Russian child back on a plane to Russia.

I sent my oldest daughter to a residential treatment center 3 years ago. She was 14 at the time and had been in my home for about 5 years. Her behavior had gotten so out of control that we really had no other choice. For the sake of the entire family, and her own safety, she had to go to a place that could control her.

Sarah stayed in the residential treatment center for a little over 2 years. Most “guests” complete their treatment in 9 months. We could no longer afford to send her there and see little results. So we brought her home to give it one last try.

Again, we had little success.

On Sarah’s 18th birthday, we moved her out of the house.

We didn’t just pack her bags and kick her out on the street. We set her up with a place to live, rent-free. She would share a house with 4 other girls who had been in the foster care system too.

She would get food stamps; have Medi-Cal, and the opportunity to go to school, at no cost to her.

She just needed to follow the house rules and she could stay as long as she wanted.

Two months later, Sarah has moved out of that house, and into another house with some boy she met.

She is unemployed and not going to school.

She has stopped taking her medications and hasn’t got around to getting her Depo Provera shot.

I think we all know what’s next.

My point is that I signed up for this entire headache, and so did Torry Hansen. I think she could have handled it better. The boy may have needed to go, but not that way.

Maybe she didn’t have the support system that we had available to her? When you adopt a child from the state and that child is categorized as “special needs,” there are many services available to you. We did our homework and found those services, and used them. It was the only way we could afford the things we did for Sarah.

We did not have to adopt Sarah. It did not take long for her problems to show up in our home, and the social workers did not recommend keeping her. But we had made a commitment to her when we invited her into our home, and we have stuck to it. We kept the siblings together, we got Sarah through school, and she is not a teenage mother. Maybe that is all God expected us to do. Maybe he had similar expectations for Torry Hansen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When Does Your Kid Know More Than You?

My phone is a Samsung Rogue.

I use it to TALK to people and occasionally take some pictures.

Apparently it does a lot more than that. Do I know how to Twitter or Facebook on my phone? Nope. Attach pictures, send e-mails, and merge calls, not a clue.

Can my kids? Well...yes. Even my 9 year old has a better grip on my phone than I do.

Does she have a phone of her own? No. I don’t know where she learned this stuff.

I guess I could sit down and read the manual, but who has time for that? It’s not like my kids did.

I just let them show me how to do it. It makes their day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

ADHD and an Organic Lifestyle

I have recently started living an organic lifestyle. It has helped me loose a fair amount of weight and I feel good about what I'm putting in my body.

My organic lifestyle started out as my own little project, but my family has seen my success and has embraced the change in their lives too.

It made a lot of sense to me to avoid all of those chemicals, pesticides, and hormones. It feels good to help maintain mother earth too.

Getting off of sleeping meds was another goal of mine. The organic lifestyle has eliminated my need for Ambien too.

I did not like the idea of being dependent on drugs. I really didn't like that idea for my daughter either, but her doctor suggested medication for her insomnia and ADHD.

Strattera and Vistaril are the medications my daughter will be taking. They don't sound very organic.

I hope they work, but just in case I'll be doing my homework on-line to see what I can do to treat her problems organically.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This is not my first time.

This is not my first blog, it is my fourth. I purchased my own domain for the last one, but shut it down after I got laid off from work and couldn't justify the expense.

I also needed some time to get my life back together.

I was fat and on unemployment. I wanted things to change and I felt that my blog could be a distraction. So I put it away until I felt I wasn't being irresponsible for having one.

That is was just how I felt about myself. I don't judge any other bloggers.

Does this mean I am no longer fat and unemployed? Yes, it does.

I am by no means skinny, but I have lost close to 50 pounds, and I feel much better about myself. Losing the weight has done wonders for my self-esteem, but getting off unemployment has done just as much.

This new blog will just be me sharing stories. Many of these stories will be about the little girl who gave me that shiny blue bottle in the profile picture.

I wrote this poem and posted it in one of my other blogs, but I think I'll post it here too. It just explains the way I feel about a red head that truly does have me wrapped around her little finger.

Green Eyes Red Hair

Green eyes, red hair
Tiny freckles everywhere
Green eyes, red hair
Born with attitude to spare


Green eyes, red hair
Clean your room and make the bed
Green eyes, red hair
I'll probably cry the day you wed


Green eyes, red hair
I love the girl that drives me mad
Green eyes, red hair
I thank the lord that I'm her dad

The Shiny Blue Bottle

My photo
Indio, California, United States
My 9-year-old daughter gave me a bottle for my birthday. She told me the shiny blue bottle was filled with her love. I'm not sure I'll ever get a better gift.