Archive for December, 2009

Better late than never…

December 31, 2009


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone,


It’s that time of year again so without further adieu the annual “Groah Family” update. 


Disclaimer: If your one of Connie’s 5-zillion “Facebook” friends you probably all ready know everything I’m about to write so disregard this letter and refer to her status updates for “real-time” Groah family information.


Shane-  I’m no longer a Marine.  I retired after 21-years and to celebrate I took a 10-week break from employment.  I would have remained retired too, but I ran out of Harlequin romance novels and the Lifetime channel replaced “Matlock” with “Murder She Wrote” (I just couldn’t get into the story line).  Those two catastrophic events were enough to propel me back into the work force.  I’m currently employed by Homeland Security Solutions Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia.  Great company- most of the people I work with are retired Marines or police officers so the transition into civilian life was fairly transparent.  Not to say it’s been easy- there have been a few hiccups along the way.  For instance I can’t decide what facial hair configuration I should adorn (beard, goatee, clean shaven), I can’t figure out how to tie a Full-Windsor knot and I’m just now learning what casual attire means.  For those of you who are unsure yourself, casual attire is not synonymous with gym apparel.  If I can just master hair and wardrobe I’ll have this whole civilian thing licked.


Cayden- The Nugget is doing great.  He’s in first grade and proving to be an academic phenom.  Some of Cayden’s favorite pastimes are spelling and adding.  It’s really refreshing to witness first hand the success of our American educational system- unless of course you’re trapped inside a minivan with Mr. “Hooked on Phonics”.  Several hours of random academia can make you mildly homicidal.  I’d like to tell you that Cayden has put some meat on his frame but that wouldn’t be truthful.  He’s getting taller, that’s undeniable, but he’s still sporting “bone-muscles” and his vertebras are still visible from head to tail.  However, he has managed to pack some muscle onto his forearms with the aid of WII bowling.   For Christmas Cayden would like a punching bag- apparently the one he’s currently using has a tendency to tattle on him.


Speaking of Mack, the kid’s still rocking.  After only 12 short months of private guitar lessons he’s mastered the opening rift from “Highway to Hell”.  Maybe it’s not the most age appropriate song for a nine-year old- but since when have Connie and I been concerned about age appropriateness?  Academically we’ve seen a huge improvement over last year- all B’s this past semester.  Apparently Mack has recovered his scholastic confidence so we expect even better grades next marking period.  If asked to provide one word to define Mack’s past year it would be “SK8” (I’m down with it aren’t I?).  His dream of becoming a “Rock Star” has been replaced by becoming a pro skater and owning his own skateboard production company.  He’s all ready picked a name “Red and Black Skate Company”.  I’ve seen the kid in the shower and I think that “Black and Blue” would be more fitting- he has crashed and burned so many times he looks like he fell into a hay baler.


Connie is alive and well and thankfully so is her business.  Not even the dreaded recession could stop Barefoot Photography’s meteoric rise to national acclaim.  She’s also rediscovered the joys of physical fitness.  Both of us belong to the same gym but it’s unlikely we’ll ever run into each other while we’re exercising.  I hang out in the weight room and Connie hangs out in what I’ll refer to as the “Dance Studio”.  She’s really into this thing called “Zoomba” which I believe evolved from Richard Simmon’s “Sweating to the Oldies”.  The only difference I can determine is that the foundation of every “Zoomba” routine is the “Booty Shake”.  I’ve never been extended an invitation to participate- which I’m thankful for.  Quite frankly, if I shook my ass as hard as Connie tells me they do it would likely fall off and my center of balance would be forever compromised.


Well that’s it- you’re all caught up.  So as President Obama would say “have a festive holiday season”.  Or as Shane would say- have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!


It’s Magic…

December 29, 2009



The surprise gift of the season was a $3 “Magic 8-Ball”.  When Connie brought a pair of them home I laughed openly.  No way were my boys going to be even remotely interested in this retro, Siegfried and Roy, quasi-mystical trinket.  Hell, if I would have known we were going to try to revive the 70’s this Christmas I would have purchased a bucket of “Sea Monkeys” and a herd of “Chia Pets”. 


But instead I opted for the good stuff.  Like an Airsoft gun that shoots 400 rubber pellets per minute and a wheeled plank of wood capable of propelling a 9-year old kid straight to the emergency room- that’s the kind of stuff little boys want for Christmas.  Leave the “Cabbage Patch Dolls”, “Slinkys” and “Furbys” in the past where they belong!  Boy’s want Christmas gifts capable of inflicting irrevocable harm- women know nothing of the wants and desires of men…


At least that’s what I thought.  This is the part where once again I eat a big honking pile of Crow. 


Mack isn’t stoked about his “Magic 8-Ball”.  He considers it an instrument of learning and best reserved for the classroom on exam day.  I’m not going to argue with him, the “Magic 8-Ball” may be slightly more precise than his current test taking strategies.


But Cayden, on the other hand, is enamored with it and considers the “Magic 8-Ball” is favorite Christmas gift.


He enjoys asking it insightful questions such as:

Does Dad’s butt smell worse than Mom’s? (magical reply “Yes, in due time”)

Can I punch Mack’s lips off? (magical reply “My sources say no”)

What is 2,000 + 8,000, 342? (magical reply “Looks good to me”)

Are flatulent cows responsible for melting the polar ice caps? (magical reply- “Give me back to the kid old man”)  Creepy- I haven’t touched it since.


Other replies which can be found on the icosahedron inside an 8-Ball include:

“Definitely not”


“You will have to wait”

“I have my doubts”

“Outlook so, so”

“Looks good to me”

“Who knows?”

“Looking good”

“We’re all doomed” (nice- nothing like a little seasonal panic to spice up the holidays)


I plan on writing Mattel and suggesting a couple of additional responses for the next generation of “Magic 8-Balls”.  I jotted a few them down:

“Clean your room or your head will fall off”

“Yes, if you brush your teeth this very minute”

“The refrigerator is not designed to cool the whole house, so close the damn door”

“Did you turn off the television when you walked out of the living room?”

“I wouldn’t do that your Father is standing behind you”

“Gold Fish crackers are no an appropriate substitute for a well rounded dinner”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, you’re going to get caught”


Maybe my suggestions aren’t ambiguous enough to feign supernatural insight- but you have to admit they’re a lot more practical…




December 21, 2009

I just spent 1.5 hours trying to escape the mall parking lot.  I’ve seen the worst humanity has to offer.  Christmas spirit- Bullshit!  If Christmas spirit really existed one of the six-zillion motorist who refused my attempts to merge into the exit lane would have exploded in front of my Dodge Ram creating a huge gaping hole to the freeway.  But no such luck- instead they thumbed their noses at me and my extremely impatient children as they inched closer and closer to their “Red Lobster” dinners and “Pier 1” 50% off sales.

Mark my words- I shall never Christmas shop in person again.  From this day forward if I can’t find it on Amazon, Zappos or Overstock it ain’t happening- some Christmas wishes will just have to go unrealized.

Oh by the way, if you’re the old lady who wrestled the Victoria’s Secret Yoga pants from my clutches this afternoon- well done.  I know it wasn’t easy, especially when I body slammed you into the Super Miracle Bra and seamless thong display but kudos to you for holding on and making the purchase.  My only regret is I won’t have a chance to redeem myself.

Gift Ideas

December 17, 2009

I’ve been drinking Carlo Rossi and doing some on-line shopping, friggin dangerous combo.  Funny how your mind works when slightly lubricated with cheap red table wine. 

I’ve got most of the family figured out but trying to find a gift for my father has become increasingly difficult over the years.  So to remedy the problem I went to– this is my fail safe web site for holiday gift ideas.  I never walk away empty handed- so many discounted, yet soundly constructed items, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

In about five minutes I came up with four quality items that I am positive my father would be happy to call his own.

Item #1-

Simply Better Meat Mallet from Jaccard® is FOUR tenderizers in one!

Simply Better Meat Mallet from Jaccard® is FOUR tenderizers in one!

When I saw this nifty little “Meat Mallet” I had to ask myself “what man dosen’t enjoy beating meat?” I mean come on, every guy I know spends an inordinate amount of time whacking on his meat trying to return it to a soft and pliable state- especially if his meat has been stored for a while.  This mighty mallet, complete with ergonomically designed rubberized “grippage”, guarantees to soften up even the toughest of customers- friggin awesome!  If I get this little number for my Pops he’ll be a meat beating fool- which is good because when I spoke to him on the way home this evening he had just got done purchasing $400.00 worth of butcher grade cow- I’m not talented enough to make this shit up.

The only thing that puzzles me about the whole thing is the manufacturer claims that their product is capable of beating meat four different ways? I’m almost 40 and I know of only one way to beat my meat- you slap the daylights out of it until it’s tender- end of story.  If anyone out there knows of three additional ways to tenderize meat please let me know- I’d be interested in trying them all.  Hell, I could have a meat beating marathon.

Item #2

A thick, lush head of hair. Is this a dream? No... it's the Flair Hair Camo Visor.

A thick, lush head of hair. Is this a dream? No... it's the Flair Hair Camo Visor.

Believe it or not, “Billy-Ray-Joe-Bob” is as bald as an egg plant- but you would never know because he’s sporting the revolutionary “Flair Hair Camo Visor”.  I would bet money that the redneck who tore himself away from the NASCAR channel long enough to design this trainwreck had a huge crush on all four of the “Back Street Boys”.  I’ve come to this conclusion because the joker pictured above looks like a middle aged Justin Timberlake- only better because he’s got a kicking, well manicured beard to compliment his straight from “Spring Break 2010” Faux-doo.  If I purchase this for my father I’m going to include some super righteous fake tribal tattoos to go with it; he deserves the total package- from Grandad to “Super Pimpin Frat Boy Gone Wild”- whoot, whoot!

Item 3-

Ho, Ho, Holy shit!- no way am I buying this for my Dad because I love that guy with all my heart.  I just thought I would post this picture in case anyone out there is considering purchasing this number for me.  Be forewarned if you buy me this for Christmas I’ll wear it just long enough to douse myself in gasoline, light myself on fire and run into your home incinerating all of your worldly possessions as I scream obscenities at the top of my smoke filled lungs.  Just wanted you to know before things got out of hand.

Meet the Toilet Monster

Meet the Toilet Monster

Item #4-

The only reason I would buy this for my father is to see the look on his face when it springs up from the bowl to greet him during his 2am potty break.  That shit would be Hil-lar-ious!

But then I asked myself how sanitary could this thing possibly be?  Truth is, once it gets released into the crapper it’s there for the long haul- because I for one am surely not retrieving it.  Not to mention the trauma this thing could cause if someone sat on him in a rush to have their morning BM- friggin sobering thought isn’t it?

Funny, you would think that with all of the advances in engineering the ass-clown who designed the “Shitter Gremlin” would have had just a little more insight into it’s potential for multiple class action law suits?

Well that’s what I came up with so far- feel free to offer an opinion or better yet an alternative gift idea.



This post is going to get me in trouble-mark my words:)

When Pigs Flu…

December 16, 2009

Big Props go out to my wife for her superb performance during the brunt of the mysterious flu like illness that Mack has been battleing since last Thursday.  She’s not one for blood and guts but give her an illness and she’s on it like a Hobo on a ham sandwich. 

We’re reluctant to call Mack’s illness “Pig Flu” because we don’t want to contribute to the Pandemic hysteria that has accompanied the newest strain of winter illnesses- but it sure did act, smell and sound like the “Pig Plague”.

We’re keeping our eyes open and our fingers crossed that Mack will be the only victim.

In case you’re wondering Mack seems to be a bit better today- Luckily Connie did all the heavy lifting yesterday so all that’s left is to hang on the couch and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos with the recovering patient.

I’m a fortunate man.


December 8, 2009

Cayden lost another tooth last night- I helped with the extraction.

Soon after the tears/blood stopped flowing I wrote a note to remind myself to leave the window open for the “Tooth Fairy”- otherwise the “Tooth Fairy” might forget to visit, especially after two glasses of Carlo Rossi ;).  Trouble is, when I went to open the window I discovered the “Tooth Fairy” was fresh out of dollar bills.

I love my kids- but all the “Tooth Fairy” was packing in his fairy purse was a ten spot.

Like I said I love my kids- but $10 in exchange for a nasty dead tooth is not an equitable trade.

The “Tooth Fairy” improvised,

 He left Cayden a Ham Sandwich and a Kohls 30% off coupon.

Funny, Cayden looked really pissed off this morning.

One of Caydens favorites…

December 6, 2009

I say a lot of stupid shit- because, well I’m stupid.

Cayden has certain favorites that he attempts to mimic on occasion.  One of them is this catchy little ditty that I learned on the drill field when I was a young enlisted Marine.

“I’m gonna pull off your ears and shove them in your back pockets so you can listen to me kicking your butt”

Never fails to get a laugh out of Cayden.  He hasn’t quite mastered it yet- he starts laughing every time he thinks about pulling someones ears off.

I hope in the past seven years I’ve given him with more than this to get him through life’s challenges.

But, there is a really good chance that long after I’m gone this will be the one thing that Cayden pulls from the old memory bank when he thinks about his old man.

Could be worse- I could have said “Ass” 🙂

Deal with the Devil…

December 6, 2009

I agreed to take the boys to Chuck E. Cheese this morning for some “game play” if they willingly cleaned up the  basement.  Funny, I don’t remember bartering chores for fun when I was a kid.  The only compromise I can recall was something like “if you clean up your mess I won’t pull your lips over your head”- a far cry from the bribery that I currently employ. 

Things have surely changed.  

Apparently my boys have been led to believe that there are no absolutes in the parent/child relationship- everything is negotiable.  Somehow I’ve come to accept this notion as well, as I often participate in the bargaining cycle like a first time home owner at closing.  Since when did the boys and I enter into an agreement where all of our opinions were weighed equally?  I often have to remind myself that it is “I” who pay the mortgage, shop for groceries and put “Tony Hawk” skate shoes on their feet- plus if you abide by neanderthal rules I outweigh each of them by at least 150lbs.  So my opinion should matter slightly more than the kid who thinks “Glitter Glue” is made form the fart residue of the “Trix” Rabbit.

I wonder what my Dad would have done if he had asked me to do something and I said “You know I’m not really feeling it right now, maybe later”.  It’s likely the preservation of my meager life would be directly attributed to the sudden cardiac arrest he experienced as my flagrant disregard for his authority sunk into his “brain housing” group.

Fortunately for him, the word “no” never passed beyond my subconscious thought.  I didn’t have an ounce of intestinal fortitude when it came to my parents- they said do something and I did it- at least until I hit puberty (then I became a bit of a smart ass).

It makes me wonder what magical parenting theories my folks used to achieve this level of unquestioning obedience to orders?  It couldn’t have been anything founded in research data or trial tested on prisoners- hell, 40-years ago parenting advice consisted of “during pregnancy smoke filtered cigarettes and try to limit yourself to beer and wine during the last trimester”.  If you compare that to what parents put themselves through today it’s a wonder that any of us survived at all- let alone obeyed our parent’s demands.  You would think that with all of the expert advice we’re recieving our kids should be 6’3, 200lbs of tightly packed muscle with IQ’s in the genius range- if you have one of these kids let me know we’ve yet to have one over for a play date. 

I just don’t get it?

Should I throw away “What to Expect…” and purchase a carton of Camels- or should I convince myself that kids are different today because of the crazy hormone levels found in boneless chicken breast?