Month: July 2005 (Page 1 of 2)

White Trash T-Shirts

I’m never disappointed by the people I see when I’m out and about. There’s always someone acting like a jackass or dressed inappropriately to entertain me. It’s one of the true joys of living in the Midwest. Example: I was at Target Sunday and saw a guy walking around with a shirt that said “<a href=”;ltr=A&amp;nav=11&amp;prd=14540″>Jerkmeoff</a>.” I think it’s supposed to be a parody of a Smirnoff shirt. I hope. I guess. I’m by no means a prude and have noted my annoyance with politicians who attempt to ban certain styles of clothing several times in my blogging career, but seriously, what makes a person decide to put this shirt on before they go run their weekend errands? “Well, I’ve got my <a href=””>Stars and Bars shirt</a>, my Tony Stewart shirt, but I think I’m going to put my Jerkmeoff shirt on for my trip to Target today. Might help me talk to one of them cute girls they got workin’ there.”

And yes, the person wearing this shirt most definitely had a mullet. Sadly, the odds of seeing someone in a similar shirt in Kansas City is probably equally as high, so I can’t really compare/contrast my old home to my new one here.



Almost a year ago, I brought back two large boxes of old cassette tapes from my step-dad’s home in Kansas City. I’ve tallied those up in a spreadsheet and have a couple writing ideas based on the results that I will get to one day.

Yesterday, however, I took the rather new-millennium step of packing all my CDs away. I already had a large box of all the CDs in my collection that were either crap or rarely played. I still had 100 CDs, give or take, displayed in our basement. Since everything is on the Mac or the iPod these days, I figured I might as well save some space and put everything into storage.

While consolidating, I found an interesting cache of cassette tapes in my storage area. Here are some highlights:

One tape, sans case, marked “Moby.” Probably relatively recent, but before I owned a CD burner. Let’s say 2000.
One new C90 Memorex tape, still in wrapper.
Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Classic 1987 tape that was played at least 200 times before I got the CD in 1990.
Three cassettes which contain the final three games of the 1988 University of Kansas basketball team (Kansas State regional final, Duke Final Four, and Oklahoma National Championship games). One day my kids will find these and ask, “You used to listen to games on the radio?!?!”
A tape marked Mix – Dryer. From a high school buddy, a classic hip-hop mix that had to have been copied about six times before I was able to make my own dub. I recall it being quite hissy and needing to turn up my car stereo almost all the way to barely hear it.
A tape labeled New Mix. The imagination races!
Smooth Jams – Vol. 2. In college I made piles of slow jams tapes, just in case some girl was dumb or drunk enough to end up hanging out with me late at night. These tapes were rarely used, sad to say.
Summer ’91 Mix. Pre-Nirvana, so I’m guessing all hip-hop and R&B.
Ed’s Mix. I believe a tape made up of some of the best of my man E-bro’s 12″ single collection, circa 1991-2.

What is actually on all the mix tapes is pure conjecture because I can’t find a tape player anywhere in the house to review them with! How weird is that? We’ve got at least five CD players and an iPod, but nothing to handle an old school cassette tape. I’ll have to dig around in my in-laws home to see if I can track one down and listen to these fine works (assuming they don’t shred as soon as I push Play).

Assorted Sports Thoughts

Many others have written about this connection, but I for one think it’s very cool that I’m part of the generation that produced Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. Lance avoided the curse of my recurring dream (Which, by the way, entailed him losing control on a mountain descent and going over a guardrail. I had this dream at least ten times over the past year.) and retired at the top of his game, with no questions about his ability left to be answered. Good for him. Hopefully he’s true to his word and stays away. I’ll miss following him each July, but he has bigger things to do in life. I hope he avoids his temptation to slip into politics that so many people seem to be talking about. He’s close with both President Bush and Senator Kerry. Reading his books, he alternately sounds very liberal and rather conservative, depending on what he’s talking about. Some might call him the perfect candidate to bridge the famous red-blue split that is plaguing this country right now. I say, don’t let your ego force you into a position where you’re destined to make 40% of the population dislike you. You can do things equally or more important as in politicians continuing your efforts with your foundation and other similar activities. And all without alienating portions of your fan base.

Tiger, or Toigah as the Aussies call him, has reasserted himself as the best golfer in the world this year. He may have the typical golfer vanilla personality and refuse to take interesting stands on any issue, but his golf is sublime. I don’t understand those who say it’s boring when he’s winning. He plays at a level no one has ever played at, and I love watching him.

As if the Nike commercial that used Lance Armstrong’s press conference in which he announced his cancer diagnosis wasn’t powerful enough, it was masterful to show it immediately after he finished his final ride. The picture of his scared head on the back of this week’s Sports Illustrated is equally amazing.
I’ll also miss people randomly talking to me about the Tour or asking how Lance did that day and having a moment of pause before I realize I’m wearing my <a href=””>Livestrong</a> band and that’s what prompted the discussion.
Worth noting that another phenomenal athlete of our generation, Alex Rodriguez, does not fit into the group with Lance and Tiger. Why? Well, you don’t sign a quarter billion dollar contract then demand a trade because you don’t like losing. What was it Jason Varitek said to him last summer before they threw down…?
So why don’t they use bullpen carts to bring in relief pitchers anymore? I miss those chintzy little golf carts designed to look like a giant baseball cap they used in the 70s.
Regarding Rafael Palmeiro and his Hall of Fame credentials, I don’t understand why we have to decide whether people are HoFers before their careers are complete. Wasn’t Doc Gooden a can’t miss HoFer back in 1984-6? Raffy has always been one of my favorite players and he’s put up phenomenal stats. I’d say he’s borderline HoF now. Great player, but an all-time great? Not so sure about that. But what if he plays another five years, hits another 150 home runs and gets another 750 hits? Without knowing how his career ends, all the shouters and ranters on ESPN need to shut up and save their verdicts for when his career profile is complete.
Ron Artest survived the NBA summer league without any incidents. The Pacers signed European stud <a href=””>Sarunas Jasikevicius</a> over the weekend. If they stay healthy, look out. They’re going to be very, very good.

Now Playing: <strong>Diggin the New</strong> by <a href=”″>Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros</a>


M’s Birthday Wrap Up

I can say, without reservation, that M.’s first birthday was a great success. She got to spend some quality time in the pool. She took two very good naps. Ate some tasty food. Got some presents. And best of all, had a fat slice of her own birthday cake. We kept things small and informal; only four relatives came over for the celebration. Since we were doing things at night, we figured it best not to overwhelm her just before bedtime.

She got a set of stacking cups from her grandparents (someone is actually making money off of creating what are basically measuring cups in different sizes and colors for kids to throw around?), a few books from her aunts, a very nice cow pillow, a Leap Frog school bus that plays songs, her very own red wagon (that she loves to be pulled around in), and of course a Little Tykes basketball hoop from daddy. She loves to play with that, but S. and I may throw our backs out helping her get the ball to the rim until she can stand and do it on her own. What was I thinking?!?!

M. seemed unsure of what to do with her cake at first. S. made a phenomenal white cake with chocolate icing, sprinkles, and a layer of chocolate pudding. M. picked at it and took a few small bites, but didn’t really react. S. finally pulled off a big hunk and offered it to her. The mess making was on! Pudding and icing pretty much everywhere on M.’s body, on her high chair, the floor, and the walls. All this naturally prompted a hasty bath following dessert. There was a bit of a sugar high after the bath, but she crashed right on schedule just after 8:00.

And now the toddler years begin. Walking will come soon, followed by rudimentary language skills, followed by an independent little girl who gets cranky when she doesn’t get her way. It’s there a fast forward button on these things?!?!

One Year

It’s hard to believe that M. turns one year old today. I’m not sure what’s harder to comprehend, though. The changes we’ve made as a family over those 12 months, or the amount of development in M. over that same time. You look at a one-year-old and imagine all of the growing, skill discovery and mastery she still has to do. But really, she will never grow as fast as she has since her birth. Six pounds, eight ounces to somewhere around 24 lbs. now. 19 inches to roughly 27. I doubt she’ll ever triple her weight in a calendar year again. And when you evaluate her skills, she’s really only short walking and talking from being a complete little human. She may not be able to fend for herself in the wild quite yet, but there are few vital skills for survival that she is lacking. She’s gone from a tiny little creature that could only cry and sleep to a bundle of energy that expresses many emotions, makes you aware of her wants and needs, and for the most part does what she wants when she wants.

The personal changes have been amazing as well. Forget all the other non-baby-related issues S. and I have dealt with over the past year. Just learning how to be parents, how to adjust our lives to make room for another human being, and how to create a base for raising a relatively normal family is a pretty staggering process. I’ve definitely had my share of bad days and nights. Talking with other parents, you learn that you’re not alone, and the fact you find some small way to keep your wits about you during the worst of times is a success.
Despite those isolated moments, I can say without qualification that fatherhood is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced or done. We’re lucky that we have a very healthy and happy baby. There’s nothing like the feeling of your child clinging to you when she needs comfort, laughing when you play peek-a-boo with her, or how she shrieks something that’s very close to “Hi Daddy!” when she sees you for the first time each day. People can compliment you on something you’ve created or accomplished and you feel pleased if humble. When people compliment you on your child, though, there is the truest sense of satisfaction, pride, and accomplishment you can possibly imagine.
In a few hours, M. will get some cake and some presents. She’ll have no idea what’s going on. She also won’t realize how profoundly she’s changed our lives and how overjoyed we are to have her.

(Yes, I’ve rigged the Now Playing song to something my astute readers will recognize the significance of.)

Now Playing: <strong>Float On</strong> from the album “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” by <a href=”″>Modest Mouse</a>

Fun With Yearbooks

I brought back several boxes of books and other old items from Kansas City two weeks ago and have slowly been working my way through them. Two absolute gems of finds were my sixth and eighth grade yearbooks (I don’t know if seventh grade is just located elsewhere or if it was destroyed thanks to an especially unfortunate picture of your favorite blogger that year). As you can imagine, each yearbook was good for quite a few laughs. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Sixth Grade, 1982-3:

We were new to yearbooks, being 12 year olds and all, so the comments people wrote in mine weren’t all that eloquent. Examples:
“To a good friend! – Robert”
“To a good friend! – Mike”
“To a good friend. See you next year. – Steve” Thanks to Steve for mixing it up a little.

Here’s a fun one: “Always watch the news because someday you’ll make a good politician. – Pam” Clearly Pam was predicting our modern media age where politics is practiced as much on the evening cable news shows as in Washington or any state capital.

“See you this summer. Stay out of jail. – Mike” Sixth grade was the year of my famous assault on an unmarked police car with snowballs, but I don’t recall there being real concern that I would end up in jail. Hmmm. Am I blocking out some important memory?

“Stay sweet! See you next year! – Krickett.”
“Stay sweet. – Jen.” So it wasn’t just the boys who were repetitive. Now I know I was pretty good friends with both of these girls back then, but rereading these makes me think perhaps they didn’t put much thought into what to enter into my yearbook.

Page 5. My picture. Not too bad. Glasses. Hair still pretty straight. Face still boyish rather than teenage-ish. Nothing to be embarrassed about (yet).

“To a nice boy and a good friend. – Mindy.” Smacks of “You’re ok but not cool enough that I’ll still be talking to you next year” doesn’t it?

And now for my favorite line. “Even though your (sic) a nice person, I’m not nice to you. That’s one of my faults. – Stuart.” Brilliant! My high school friends who might read this will know who wrote that and understand it fits his personality perfectly. A sixth grader writing about his faults in a yearbook. Good stuff.

Eighth grade, 1984-5:

Now things were really picking up. Almost everyone was in the throes of puberty. We were heading to high school, so assuming our “Class of ’89” collective personality. Also, I have a lot more signatures this time. I wasn’t terribly popular by any measure back then, so I can only assume it was the joy of getting out of middle school that caused this frenzy of yearbook signings.

“Have fun. Don’t die. – Chad.” Advise for a lifetime.
“Hi. Glad I got to know you after all. Hope to see you next year and over the summer. Stay sweet. – Teri.” Wow, that’s some statement. Did I miss an opportunity with Teri back in the day?
“Have a great summer. See you next year. Maybe we’ll have some classes together. – Cali.” Holy crap, girls wanted to be in the same class as me?

“You’re a big pain when you’re around Jeff. But you’re really, really cool. Really. – Sofia.” Sarcasm?

“You’re in GT. Why are you such a troublesome student? (Sound familiar?) Home Ec’s been cool. See you next year. – Blair.” Ahh, 8th grade Home Ec. I was in our school’s gifted program and was normally a pretty good student, but when I got around a couple of my friends (two of which were in Home Ec), I tended to act out. Our teacher called me out this way in front of class one day, trying to shame me into being good. I think we put powdered laundry soap in the sugar bowls as payback for her yelling at us that day.

“To a real nice guy. Maybe a little weird but nice. Have a good summer. Love – Amy.” Sounds about right. Love?!?!
“It was nice knowing you. Your (sic) a little weird but have a great summer! – Christi.” Another girl who saw me for what I was.
“You’re weird but a good lab partner in science. Have fun this summer but give the girls a break, ok. – Deana.” Ummm…..

“I wish you didn’t give up hoops. – Woody.” Wow, the best basketball player in our class telling me he needed me out there on the court with him next year. Note to self: begin exaggerating athletic accomplishments as a kid.

“Have a great summer. Work hard in BB. – Coach Jeffries.” I had my gym coach sign my yearbook? Pathetic. And he’s pretty much telling me to hang the hoops sneakers up, isn’t he?

“You’re a cool dude. – David.” David, too, is cool.

Page 8, picture. Ooof. Bad glasses (I believe I broke my regular pair playing football right before picture day, which meant I was sporting the dreaded Backup Pair, Bob Griese models from two years earlier. Hair now much wavier, barely under control. I have the visage of a kid struggling with puberty, a lack of confidence, and uncertainty of who he is (Sure, I can see all that just from looking at the picture!). I was just trying to stay out of the way and not make any waves.

“A real trippin’ actor. Stay cool. Have a nice summer. – Rick.” We made some rather impressive movies regarding issues like time travel in our gifted classes. I really should explore converting those to digital and posting them online, don’t you think?

“You are a tough guy, Jeff told me. See you next year. – Mark.” Translation: I don’t know you very well, but my buddy says you’re cool. Maybe if we have class together next year I can decide for myself.

“Tuff Guy. Have a great summer. See ya next year. Your friend – Steve.” I was about 6’1” 130 or so in 8th grade and two people have called me tough. Were they being ironic? Or was that a put down in ’85 and I just didn’t know it?

“You are an outstanding student (I know this because that’s the rumor among all the teachers). Have a good summer and a really good time at RHS. – Ms. Sterner.” Apparently I didn’t perform all that well in her class if she had to judge me based on what she heard in the teacher’s lounge.

“Start your summer off with a job! – Nestor.” Double-entendre in middle school? I’m shocked!

“Thanks for the good time. You’re a good softball player. Have a supreme summer. – Candy.” I gave Candy a good time in 8th grade? You’d think I would remember. Supreme summer smacks of someone trying to coin a term, doesn’t it?

“You are a nice student to have in class. – Mrs. Bailey.” Translation: You were in my class but did not make enough of an impression on me that I can determine if you’ll win a Nobel Prize or shoot people from a bell tower.

“To a cool brain. Stay a brain. – Jeff.” Ok, Jeff, I will.

“You’re really sweet – stay that way! It’s been great knowing you! Maybe we’ll have a class or 2 together next year! – Mindy.” The same Mindy from sixth grade. And until I looked at her picture, I could not remember who she was. I still can barely place her. She clearly had it bad for me back then. Memo to self: If I ever attend a reunion again, avoid her, or have wife with me at all times for protection.

And my personal favorite: “Your (sic) really cool. I’m glad we are friends. I’ll write you. – John.” This comes from a long-time reader of the blog who moved away after our 8th grade year. The proof we wrote each other was sadly put on public display at my wedding two years ago.

There’s your look back at two of my middle school yearbooks. I know I have my two high school yearbooks (thanks to moving around, that’s all I got) here in the house and there are some epic comments in them that probably need to be shared in the future.


Today is one of those brilliant days when S. is working normal people hours and M. is at the in-laws. That means daddy can do lots of stuff. Here’s my To-Do List:

Finish grad school application (Only two weeks later than I had planned).
Write thank you notes to people who wrote me recommendations.
Complete my blog post about the comments in my middle school yearbooks.
Sort books I brought home from KC.
Schedule oil change.
Go to Target. Purchase M.’s birthday present (which may rhyme with dasketball sloop).
Change light bulbs in bedroom ceiling fan.
Vacuum (Which becomes a weekly requirement rather than just a goal when you have a kid).
Mow the lawn.
Go to library.
Attempt to stay cool.

And you thought I just sat around doing nothing all day!
Now Playing: <strong>You Say You Lie</strong> by <a href=”″>The Raveonettes</a>

Satisfaction of A Job Well Done

Our top-notch plumbing team finally removed all their equipment from our property this morning. What should have been a one-day project spilled over parts of three days. In the process, a neighbor’s irrigation line was cut, the phone line was severed, the plumber’s tractor broke down in our neighbor’s driveway (and sat motionless for roughly 24 hours – luckily the neighbors had both of their cars out of the garage), three of our neighbors along with our house went without power for seven hours on Monday (only 89˚ that day), and S. and I engaged in an epic argument with the power company regarding who was responsible for the bill.

Fortunately, the pipes have been fixed, the phones are working, our neighbor’s sprinkler was repaired, and the A/C is blowing cool air.

We had the added satisfaction of having the power company agree to reimburse us for the costs of the repairs, which apparently doesn’t happen very often. I had an argument with a supervisor on the phone, and when I asked him to please come take a look at the situation, he kept telling me it would be a “wasted trip.”

When he arrived, he was in the pit for no more than two minutes before he looked at me and said, “Send us the bill.”

My blood pressure, which was sky-high until that moment, settled comfortably into the normal zone. I believe we also set some kind of record for most service vehicles in front of one house.&nbsp; At one point yesterday, we had two plumber vans, one flatbed truck, one tractor, three phone company vans, a dump truck, and an electric company truck parked out front.

When we say jump, people say “How high?”

Best thing about all of this: our shitter works again!

My Morning With M

A rare weekend post. Tomorrow is the day the plumbers/electrical people come to hopefully repair our sewer problems for good. It’s only supposed to be 90, so going with out A/C won’t suck at all. Thankfully, I found a sitter so I can stay here and monitor the work while M. chills in climate-controlled nirvana.

Here’s a running diary of my morning with M. Friday.

4:45: M. cries. Wake up and check her. She’s rolling around, grinding her binky against her gums. Damn teething! I pick her up and let her rest against my chest for about ten minutes. She’s out, but I know if I put her back to bed, she’ll just wake up again in 15 minutes.
4:55: Grab a blanket and lay down on the couch. M. takes a few minutes to get comfortable, but eventually falls into an uneasy sleep. I say uneasy because as soon as I fall asleep, she moves around and wakes me up. She also manages to get her hair right against my chin or nose, so it constantly tickles me. Make mental note to shave it all off later in the day.
5:30: She’s slumbering peacefully, but my back hurts from my awkward position so I can’t sleep.
5:55: She starts to wake up, staring at the ceiling and jabbering.
6:00: British Open comes on. Finally, something to watch! Get M.’s milk and sit back to watch some golf. She loves her milk, you know.
6:30: Check OLN. No Tour de France until 7:30 today?
6:31: Curse the French.
6:45: Someone has poopies. It’s not daddy.
6:50: Change diaper. As soon as I get her cleaned, M. flips over, laughs, and crawls away from me bare-assed. I grab her and put her on her clean diaper. Someone in the Open makes a putt and the crowd applauds. M. claps along with them. Funniest moment of the morning.
7:10: The Today Show really sucks these days.
7:15: Freaking <a href=””>A-Rod</a>.
7:20: M. seems uninterested in my monologue about how the <a href=”″ id=”2109938″>greatest golfer of all-time and his heir apparent</a> are dominating coverage on TNT this morning. Apparently, sucking your own toes is more interesting than this golf history lesson.
7:40: Is that mommy I hear upstairs? Crying from M..
7:45: S. gets up and relieves me.

Still no walking. Unless S. holds her hands, that is, then she struts around like a champ. I predict she’ll walk one week from Monday, which of course is her birthday.

Although her recognizable vocabulary is still pretty much “mama” and “dada,” she does have some other “words” that she reuses in similar situations. Example, when she’s babbling about something, she often uses the term “Bop-mmm.” I don’t know if she’s dyslexic and means “mmm-bop” or what, but we hear that a lot. Anytime she sees a duck, she said “Bah-bah-bah” which is about as close to “quack-quack-quack” as she can come. “M., what does a duck say?” “Bah-bah-bah.” Always three times. She even points at the <a href=””>Aflac duck</a> and says “bah-bah-bah.” Very cute.

I think kids enjoy repeating things because parents force them to. You know how little kids want to be swung around over-and-over, or go down a slide 50 times, etc.? I used to think that was because repetition is a learning tool or their complete lack of cyncism and total devotion to the pleasure of the moment was what caused it. Now I believe it’s because the typical kid has to put up with this from their parents:
“M., how big are you? Where’s the fan? What does the duck say? Where is your tongue? Where’s your mommy?” Repeated about 20 times a day. I can only blame myself when she wants to read the same book ten times before bed each night next year.

Another cute but somewhat unfortunate development is M.’s kissing skills. She was learning how to blow kisses when we were in KC, so some of you saw that. She puts her palm against her mouth and holds it. She hasn’t really learned how to blow it away yet. If you asked her for a kiss, though, she would slowly lean into you and put her forehead against yours. Very sweet. Yesterday, though, she spit out her binky and came at me with an open mouth. Like 20 times. I need to explain that we’re not in Kentucky (no offense to any Kentucky readers out there) so French kissing your dad isn’t cool. It is pretty funny though. When I turn and put my cheek towards her, she thinks it’s great fun. She’s now connected “Give daddy/mommy a kiss” with the action, too. “<a href=””>So that’s how it is in their family?</a>”

As I mentioned above, she likes to clap. What’s scary is she now knows when the appropriate moment to clap during her Baby Da Vinci DVD is. A week ago, she wouldn’t clap until she heard the clapping from the screen. Now she starts clapping at the exact moment the kids on-screen clap.

I forget if I mentioned we got M. a wading pool that now sits on our deck last weekend. Thanks to a week of rain, she’s not been able to use it much. But Sunday we took her out and stuck her feet in. She shrieked with delight. 30 seconds later we had stripped her down and dropped her in naked. She loved it. I hope this isn’t a habit that carries over to high school and college. The picture at the beginning of the post was obviously taken last week when we still had the good manners to put our daughter in her bathing suit.

Happy Monday to all. Hope to return Monday night or Tuesday, electrical availability allowing.

Now Playing: <strong>Feels Good</strong> from the album “The Revival” by <a href=”″>Tony Toni Tone</a>

Hello, Goodbye

Goodbye: Formula. M. had her final two ounces of Similac yesterday. We’ve been giving her 50/50 bottles of formula and milk since we returned from KC. The last can of formula is gone and she’s on the cow full-time now. She doesn’t seem to have noticed the switch at all. As an added bonus, we’re only using a bottle before bed now. She gets a sippy cup the rest of the day.

Hello: New teeth. I sat M. down and had a talk with her before we left for KC, asking that there be no teething until we returned home. She was nice enough to wait until the night we got home to start cutting at least two new chompers. Two came in yesterday, for a total of eight so far, and there appear to be two more that are close to coming through. All this means she’s been extra cranky, waking up in the night again, and even more clingy anytime she can see her mom. She can be hanging out with me, perfectly content, and as soon as S. walks in the room she starts screaming and reaching for her. Does wonders for dad’s ego.

Oh, and we’ve determined the cause of our plumbing problems. I’ll spare you the details, but a fix involves digging up a portion of our yard, a portion of our neighbors yard, destroying some of our neighbors shrubbery, and cutting power to everyone in our cul-de-sac for much of the day Monday. Seems a certain transformer was placed on top of a certain sewer line, and over 13 years, said sewer line has slowly been crushed. Fun stuff. The estimate would be a nice down payment on a minivan.

« Older posts

© 2024 D's Notebook

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑