Archive for October, 2009

 

 

We worried ourselves sick through both of Connie’s pregnancies.  You see, it wasn’t easy for us to conceive so when it did happen we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Both of the pregnancies were difficult so that “shoe” always seemed to be dangling nearby.

 

I don’t remember how many complications we had to endure- but there were many.  I don’t recall how much time Connie spent on bed rest- but it was considerable.  And I can’t tell you how many times we held each other and prayed that our unborn child would be okay- but it was often.  It kind of felt like holding your breath for nine-months- minus the turning blue part

 

The two pregnancies combined were the longest 18-months of my life.

 

But here we are; the boys are thriving, happy and as sassy as their old man.  How lucky are we? 

 

I tell you all of this to explain a concept that I’ve coined the “curse of parenthood”.

 

For those of you unfamiliar here is the basic premise. 

 

You spend nine-months wondering if your unborn child will be okay.  When they arrive you enjoy approximately ten-seconds of blissful relief.

 

It’s during those ten seconds that you fall hopelessly, head-over-heals in love.  A feeling so powerful that you suddenly realize you’ve underestimated the depth of love that one person can feel for another- the love of your child is bottomless.   

 

Many are moved to tears. 

 

Others will vow to love their child unconditionally and always.

 

And some realize that the loss of their child would be a cross to heavy to bear.

 

I think I did all three.

 

The 10-seconds of relief ends and suddenly you find yourself right back where you started- worried about your child- this time for the remainder of your life.

 

That’s the curse.

 

9 months- 10 seconds- a lifetime…

 

 

 

 

I saw a guy texting with such focused determination that he must have been trying to transcribe War & Peace into his blackberry- he did this while changing lanes- on the 495 inner loop- in the rain- with me behind him.  I dislike him very much.

 

That got me thinking about who else I dislike.

 

I don’t much care for the guy who allows his dog to crap on my front lawn at 5am and then leaves it there because he doesn’t think anyone’s awake to catch him.  I’m awake.  I know where you live.  How would it make you feel if I came and pooped on your front lawn?  In my defense I don’t own a dog.

 

I don’t like clowns, mimes or ventriloquist.  I’ve never been traumatized by any of the above.  I just don’t like them and I don’t associate with people who do.

 

If you ride around the grocery store in a motorized cart because you’re too lazy to walk- guess what, I’m not very fond of you.  If your motorized cart operator’s license endows you with a sense of entitlement and superiority then I’m even less motivated to develop a meaningful, lasting relationship.  My two-cents- leave the motorized carts to people who actually need them.

 

If I give you a $2 tip for sacking my groceries I expect some type of acknowledgement- “thank you”, “eat shit”, something.  If you can’t stop fidgeting with your IPOD long enough to nod your head in my general direction then I’m taking my $2 back- and “oh, by the way” the chance of you becoming my new BFF- highly unlikely.

 

There is a really bitter old woman at Lowes who gave me an extremely hard time when I attempted to single-handedly stimulate America’s economy by purchasing $2k worth of new doors.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that by disliking this woman I’ve joined the legions of other dissatisfied customers who have had the unfortunate experience of interfacing with this toxic, vile, Medusa-like-Hag.  My advice to you, or anyone else employed in the service industry, if you hate people find a job where you don’t have to deal with them.

 

Dudes who brush their teeth, shave, blow dry their hair or apply gallons of cheap musk while standing naked in the gym locker room.  I’m not homophobic- I don’t like you because nothing is more disgusting than standing next to a naked dude at 6am while he vigorously brushes his teeth- friggin gross.  BTW, the only men who use blow dryers are news anchors.

 

If you can recite the stats for every player on your fantasy football team but are unable to tell me your child’s shoe size, favorite color or best friend’s name- I don’t want to go grab a beer- I’m busy with my kids, every time you ask.

 

The President of the San Diego State Alumni Association- I’m not going to give you any more money.  Don’t you remember the four-years of tuition that I shelled out for my less than Ivy League education?  Consider that my contribution to the Alumni Association.  And while we’re at it- quit having those poor college kids call my house.  I toy with them mercilessly because I’m bored and screwing with solicitors tickles my wife’s warped sense of humor.

 

Any celebrity who has managed to bankrupt themselves, land in jail, or become hopelessly addicted to illegal narcotics.  I totally understand how difficult it is to be rich and famous- believe me I know.  But having too much money and being admired by millions of people is not an excuse to act like an ass or break the laws that common folk have to abide by.  If I can find your mug shot on the internet or your picture is plastered on every single smut rag in the impulse purchase aisle at the grocery store I don’t have much use for you. 

 

Since I went down this road- just because you’ve been on a reality television show does not change the reality that you have zero talent.  That being said, since you are most likely talentless you don’t rate the same degree of admiration that folks with talent get to enjoy- so quit acting like rock stars.  Enjoy your 15-minutes of fame and when it’s over bow out gracefully.

 

I think that’s it, I love everyone else.  See, told you I was tolerant.

 

Your spine is made up of several vertebra- the one closest to your buttocks is the L-5,  When you improperly perform dead lifts in the gym you’re likely to aggravate the L-5 vertebra.

I did dead lifts in the gym this morning. 

I may have angered my L-5 vertebra. 

The only way to describe the pain I’m in is to ask you to imagine having one of the Keebler Elves, or the Lucky Charm’s Leprechaun if that imagery works better for you, nestled inside the back of your under britches banging on your rectum with a rubber mallet like Jose Conseco inside a batting cage. 

The good news is my elf only swings when I do something crazy- like the Lambada, cartwheels or inhale.  If I can just stop doing all of those things for the next 20-minutes the Motrin should kick in disabling the angry man with the mallet.

I guess the bigger question is- why would I feel the need to pick up a really heavy inanimate object in the first place.  I don’t have a good explanation for that one- it perplexes even me…

 

 

I love telemarketers.  Connie knows this about me and will often pull up a chair when one calls just to listen to my line of bullshit.  The most recent one was a Wachovia sales associate trying to sell me a financial protection plan.  It was a long conversation- I can’t believe the guy hung in there so long.  The following transcription isn’t 100% accurate- but it’s pretty damn close.

 

Shane- “Hello”

 

Caller-  “Hey Joseph, how ya doing?”

 

Shane- (only telemarketers call me Joseph)

 

Caller (hence forth known as Chris)-  “My name is Chris and I just wanted to say thank you for being a valued Wachovia customer all these years- you’ve really done an excellent job staying on top of your finances.”

 

Shane- “Why thank you Chris.  Is Wachovia going to give me a free gift for being such a valued customer?”

 

Chris- “Can I call you Joe?”

 

Shane- “Sure Chris- but only you, okay?”

 

Chris- “We are extending you a gift Joe, we’re gifting you “piece of mind”- and that my friend is something that you can’t put a price on.”

 

Shane- (Now we’re friends?) “Why Chris, tell me more.”

 

Chris- “Have you heard about our financial preparedness program which protects your family and home from such things as natural disasters or loss of employment?”

 

Shane- “Natural disasters!” 

 

Chris- “Yes, natural disasters and loss of employment.  If you were to lose your job while covered under this program your mortgage and other financial responsibilities would continue to get paid for a period of up to 12-months- sounds comforting doesn’t it?”

 

Shane- “I was comforted up until the point where the word natural disaster floated out of your face.  Do you know something I don’t?  What kind of natural disasters are we talking about?”

 

Chris- “A tornado for instance- that’s a natural disaster- can we use that as an example?”

 

Shane- “Is swine flu a natural disaster?”

 

Chris- “You know Joe I’m not really sure, why don’t we use loss of employment- that’s a pretty common thing in today’s economy, don’t you think?”

 

Shane- “What about a tsunami?  If pig flu isn’t a disaster could we at least use a tsunami as an example?  Something about all that water really makes my butt pucker.  Holy shit, one of them tsunami things hit Thailand a couple of years back and damn near wiped out the whole continent- you hearing me Chris?  That my friend is a natural disaster.  Besides, the word Tsunami is cool to say and really hard to spell- don’t you agree Chris?”

 

Chris- “Yes Joe that was a very unfortunate event- extremely sad; and yes tsunami is a difficult word to spell”

 

Shane- “Is this program available in Thailand, because I can’t even begin to imagine the payout for that one.  I bet those folks not only lost their homes they probably lost their jobs too- unless of course they were scuba divers then they probably got paid overtime.  Does Wachovia pay double if you get hit by a natural disaster and lose your job at the same time Chris?”

 

Chris- “Mr. Groah, back to the program- for $7 a month you can participate in this program and offer your family the gift of financial stability during uncertain times”

 

Shane- “Like during a natural disaster right?”

 

Chris- “Yes, like during a natural disaster”

 

Shane- “Can I elect to join the program after a natural disaster has occurred?  That way I can justify the $7 monthly payment to my wife- if I think about it that would be the best $7 ever spent.”

 

Chris- “That’s not how it works Mr. Groah”

 

Shane- “Are you suggesting that I front the money and then hope that a tsunami hits?

 

Chris- “No, not at all- Good God, why would you want a tsunami to hit?”

 

Shane- “To get a decent return on my investment- now you know why I’m such a valued customer- I’m financially savvy”

 

Chris- “You can’t be serious Mr. Groah?”

 

Shane- “Call me Joe”

 

Chris- “I need to get going Mr. Groah it was nice speaking with you”

 

Shane- “Chris before you go, I work for the government and as a federal employee I’m privy to certain pieces of information that the general public may not be- like when a natural disaster is going to occur for instance.  If you give me your home phone number I’ll call and give you some heads up the next time the government plans on creating a new catastrophe.  They normally let us know right about dinner time.  I hope you don’t mind me calling every so often as you gather your family around the table.  I don’t think it will bother you much- after all, you’re calling me around dinner time and you sound pretty damn pleasant on the phone.  I’ve got a pen so hit me with your digits whenever you’re ready.”

 

Chris- “click” (dial tone)

 

Shane- 1

Telemarketer- 0

 

 

 

Flight to Hell, Part II…

October 21, 2009

 

 

I’ve gotten several requests for the follow on story of how I survived my plane ride to Reno so in order to please the masses here it is.

 

As I approached my seat it became clear to me that not only was I sitting in the same row as the family from hell, but in fact, all three seats, to include mine, were occupied by Ms. Joplin, Mr. Hendrix and baby “Sun-Flower”.  The ugly vein that appears near my left temple when I become upset began to pulse so violently that for a moment I believed I was having an aneurism.

 

I fought the urge to disembark the aircraft and calmly stated “I believe you’re sitting in my seat”.  I’m pretty sure that as I spoke bits of enamel were fluttering down from my mouth as I visibly ground my molars to nubs.  The sound of disintegrating teeth combined with the pulsing vein in my forehead should have cued my fellow passengers that I was quite distressed over the seating arrangements, but alas Jerry Garcia was oblivious.  He looked at me, smiled and said “Hey, wow, okay, cool, glad you’re here- you want to hold my son?”

 

A vein surfaced on the right side of my forehead that I had never seen before.

 

I did not reply to his inquiry as I was unsure what FAA regulations I would be violating with the profane string of explicative’s that I was prepared to respond with.   

 

After much debate Mom and Dad decided that I should take the window seat.  Luckily, Dad was only slightly morbidly obese allowing me ample space to spread out and comfortably enjoy the four-hour flight.  I took my seat opened my book and made every attempt to avoid the obligatory small talk that airline passengers often feel compelled to engage in.

 

The next several hours are a blur.  I made every effort to avoid interaction with my newly adopted family.  I read a novel.  I watched an $11 movie that I had no desire to see.  I worked on my lap top.   I studied the complimentary “Sky Mall” magazine cover to cover- in fact; I think I ordered an indoor dog bathroom and a set of “Cats in Motion” figurines.  I hope Connie doesn’t find that receipt- I’ll never be able to explain.  Oh, I also drank seven miniature bottles of merlot.  The flight attendant must have understood the position I was in because she hovered near my row and kept them coming as fast as I could produce my credit card.

 

The only person who had it worse than me on my flight to Reno was the poor girl sitting in front of baby “Moon-Beam”.  That poor kid got kicked in the head rest so many times that by the time we landed she had to be wheeled off wearing a whiplash collar. 

 

Next time I drive…

 

Pirate whore lips- OH NO!!

October 15, 2009

It’s late so I don’t have much time to blog but I thought I should at least make an attempt to capture last night’s surprising dialogue before my brain attempts to push it deep into the recesses of my psyche allowing me to recover what’s left of my meager parental moral compass.

Last night while making dinner Connie and I had the unfortunate opportunity to witness an unusual display of vulgarity from our oldest son.  Here are the facts. 

I was making dinner and Connie was filling me in on the exhilarating details of her day.  That part is pretty common, we often attempt to squeeze a few words in while our children levy their evening list of demands  On this particular evening we were enjoying a couple of extra moments, which we graciously accepted, because Mack and Cayden were busy arguing over the utility of some inconsequential kitchen utensil that neither them knew how to use (I think it was a Pampered Chef Garlic Press, but that’s probably not a  vital detail).  Anyway, Cayden began to whine that Mack was being “Bossy” to which Mack replied- “Cayden quit being such a…”

At this point I had a pretty good idea what word was about to pop out of Mack’s pie hole, but the rational part of me weighed-in and provided two pieces of undeniable logic.

1.  Mack is only nine years old and nine year olds throw out insults like “Dummy head”, “poop face” or “Cotton-headed-ninny-muggins”- they would most certainly not throw down the P-word.  After all the P-word is reserved for high school kids who play contact sports- not little boys who wear footie pajamas and share showers with their siblings.

2.  Even if Mack knew such a word he would never use it in front of his mother and father.  Even at nine he would undoubtedly understand that such casual use of profanity would result in swift but painful parental retribution.

But I was wrong.

Mack said- “Cayden quit being such a P@$$Y”

Connie and I were speechless.  Mack was unfazed.

I asked “Mack, what did you just call your brother?”

He looked me in the eye and said in a calm, collected tone “Oh I called him a P@$$Y”

Connie choked on her tongue. 

I quietly snickered,

Okay, I friggin laughed out loud- but I shouldn’t be judged, he caught me off guard with his nonchalant use of such a culturally unacceptable term for the female flower of life.

I asked Mack if he knew what the word meant but he just looked at me and shrugged.  He was clueless.  Even though Mack was able to use the word in the appropriate (yet undeniably immature and vulgar) context he had know idea of what the word was actually referencing.

By this point Connie had dislodged her tongue form her wind pipe and was able to explain to Mack that the word he used was slang for a woman’s Vagina.

Mack- “Gross!!!”

Cayden- “How do you spell Vagina?”

I’m still amused- I’ll probably go to hell…

Not so friendly skies…

October 10, 2009

 

 

I’ve been traveling a lot with my new job and I’ve come to realize that I don’t enjoy air travel very much.  It’s not that I’m afraid my plane will fall from the sky.   In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m more likely to win the lottery than explode in mid-flight.  It’s all the other stuff that goes along with traveling the friendly skies that really puts me over the edge.  For example…

 

While waiting in the airport to board my flight to Reno a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching a 2-year old little boy completely lose his mind.  Being a father of two, I understand that “shit” happens and sometimes your kids revert back to “lord of the flies” type behavior regardless of your parenting skill level.  But what I witnessed in the terminal was far from the normal two-year old temper tantrum.  What I was watching was a child who had completely lost his little mind and was so far off the reservation that there was no way he was ever going to find his way back.

 

To begin with he was screaming at the top of his lungs and crying uncontrollably- that in itself- no big deal,  But this little bundle of joy was taking it to the next level.  He was sprinting from place to place tackling peoples “single roll-on and personal carry-on items” (that’s all the airlines will allow- if you have traveled lately it will make perfect sense).  I stared in utter amazement as he assaulted some poor guy’s computer bag like a Division 1 linebacker.  I think the owner was as amazed as I was because he damn near spit out the $12 latte he was sipping.  After decimating the lap top he moved over to an orange, hard-shelled roller bag and began to kick it mercilessly to the chagrin of the elderly woman who was still gripping the telescoping handle.  I know what you’re thinking why didn’t someone correct the little maniac and end his reign of terror?  The simple answer is that in our society it’s taboo to correct another person’s child.  To do so could potentially lead to a law suit and an enduring relationship with the child as you pay his/her way through college.

 

The bigger question is- where was this kid’s parents?  The answer- sitting on the side lines doing macramé watching the collective mood of Gate 21 plummet into the crapper.   That’s right I said macramé, they had a bag of hemp twine and wooden beads and they appeared to be making a decorative plant hanger.  They were easy to pick out because they were the only ones whose mouths weren’t gaping open with a look of complete distain in their eyes.  

 

Finally, the father stood up, slipped on his “Jesus Creepers”, adjusted his pony tail and walked over to his boy.  I was pretty shocked.   I’ve read about “flower children” or “Hippies” (what ever you want to call them) but I had never seen one in the wild and this dude and his wife were the genuine article.  They looked like they just came down from a week long acid trip at Woodstock and were flying back to their wilderness commune.  I think he called his boy, “Moon-Beam” or “Orbit-Zoom” or something like that- it was definitely astronomy related.  I personally think “Godzilla” would have been more appropriate considering the amount  of damage he was doing.

 

You’re probably wondering if Mr. Granola-bar was angry.  Did he speak sternly to his hell raising child?  Did he even consider counting him down, putting him in time out or any other parenting measure that we, as responsible parents, employ to convince others that we do in fact, have some sort of control over our offspring?  The answer to all of these is NO!  He simply smiled and in a hushed, calm, pathetic tone asked the boy if he was ready to get on the plane. 

 

Are you friggin kidding me?  That’s it?  Holy Shit, my head would have spun around backwards and fire would have shot out of my eyes if my boys were carrying on as poorly as “Rainbow-Bright”.  But that was it, not even a meager attempt to correct his son’s behavior.  Instantly, the ugly dagger of loathing that had been building among the future passengers of United flight 752 found a target- and his name was Mr. Granola.

 

At this point I had to turn away because all that I could think about was the poor kid was going to face some major challenges through his formative years.  It was then that it hit me.  There were approximately 250 people waiting to board my plane.  The plane had 38 rows of seats, 7 seats per row- that’s a pretty booked flight.  In a moment of panic I began to wonder if God hated me enough to place me within close proximity of Charlie Manson and his kin folk?  Come to find out- yes he did.

 

As I neared my seat the realization that I was going to spend the next four hours nestled neatly between Mr. and Mrs. Granola came to fruition.  I almost threw up. 

 

How I survived is a story for another day…