Archive for April, 2010

Its a man’s weekend.  Mom’s traveling for work and the boys are left to fend for themselves.  Normally I’m pretty  responsible.  I usually make wise choices and exercise exceptional judgement.  But not this weekend.  This weekend the boys and I went a little crazy.  We decided that nothing would commemorate our “Man” weekend like a little semi-permanent inkage.  Cayden got the ball rolling with a little homage to his #1 Homie- Mack.

As you can see by the photo Cayden decided that the best place for a tattoo was the palm of his hand.  I’m guessing that he chose this spot for two reasons. One, he wanted to make sure that every thing he touched from that point forward would bear the mark of “Mack-dom” i.e. the drapes, the bed spread, the fancy monogrammed hand towels etcetera.  It’s probably apparent that I wasn’t around when Cayden inked his first piece of art.  Had I been there I would have put that shit on the back of his neck- probably the only place on his body that he wouldn’t be able to apply to every linen surface in our home.  The second reason, which is only a theory based on how much the boys fought today, is that Cayden wanted to be able to slap the shit out of “Mack” and then blame it on “Mack”.  It’s not a perfect alibi, but it would have caused a moment of confusion, possibly long enough for Cayden to escape, had I not known that he had drawn Mack’s portrait on the palm of his hand.  In case you’ve never seen a picture of my oldest he doesn’t really look like “Ronald McDonald” but it’s not a bad likeness when your drawing it on your own body with a crayola, fat-tipped, washable marker.

Cayden put up a hell of a fight when I made him wash it off- which took a great amount of effort to include dawn dish soap applied with an SOS pad.  To calm him down I told him that I would give him a new tattoo- and so the fun began.

Here’s my first attempt at tribal art work.  Yes, I realize it looks like a fat, orange bird- but it’s all in how you sell it.  I had Cayden believing that it was absolutely the toughest looking fat, orange bird on the planet.  Just look at the kid’s face- he’s feeling legit.  I’m going to run out tomorrow and buy him an orange jumpsuit so he can represent his cell block in the appropriate manner.  If that wasn’t scary enough for good measure I drew a large snake eating his nipple- that shit would make Betty White look BAD-ASS.  I really worked Cayden into a frenzy with all of the tough talk as evidenced by the posturing he did in the photo below.

Some of you may think that the photo looks distorted because my boy’s head appears disproportionate to his body- but it’s not, Cayden is just that damn skinny.  However, the ink has obviously taken effect and he is now unaware that he weighs a meager 21lbs.  If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times the quickest way to go from “wimp” to “pimp” is to add a little “ink”.  Okay, I’ve never said that and I’ll probably burn in hell for referring to my son as a pimp- but damn, he’s got that whole intimidation thing down doesn’t he?  He was so happy with the result that he decided to return the favor and adorn his old man with some similarly tough looking graphics.

Okay, the green and red thing on the left is a venomous snake.  Yes, I realize it looks like the preschool inch worm that you dragged around by a string when you were a toddler- but trust me to a 7-year old little boy it’s a friggin deadly viper.  The red blob on the right is a heart pierced by an arrow.  I drew the arrow so that it was a little more obvious what the red blob was.  Funny, I didn’t feel any more “BAD-ASS” when Cayden was done- not really sure why, but it could have had something to do with my lack of imagination. 

BTW, washable markers only work on little kid skin.  When your forty (+) years old that shit sticks to you like glue.  I scrubbed like there was no tomorrow and that stuff isn’t budging.  Oh well, should make for some interesting conversations in the gym locker room tomorrow…

 

I’ve been told that turning 40 is a significant accomplishment but for the life of me can’t figure out why.  The majority of men live well into their 70’s so what’s so special about the 40 year mark?  Turning 18 was a big deal- that was the year I left for the Marine Corps.  And when I turned 21 I was finally able to legally drink alcohol.  But 40- nothing to remarkable.  I imagine the next big happy milestone will be when I start collecting social security- if it’s still a viable program 20 (+) years from now. 

 

So I’ve done some soul searching over the past couple of weeks to see if I could identify anything that would distinguish turning forty from all of the other non-eventful birthdays.  What I’ve determined is that even though I’ve received no monetary or privilege based incentives for successfully reaching the fourth decade I have developed an unbelievable degree of supreme wisdom.

 

Supreme wisdom may sound boastful but bear witness to a few nuggets of truth that have come to me in just the past two weeks:

 

40 year old hair migrates south- meaning it leaves the top of your head for warmer climates- i.e. your armpits, back and shoulders.  I liken this migration to senior citizens moving to Florida.

 

A late night is defined by remaining conscious through the entire 11 o’clock news broadcast.

 

Music really is too loud- regardless of how low the volume knob is turned down or how badly your hearing has deteriorated.

 

Rap music is just a bunch of folks talking to music.

 

Anyone under the age of 30 is a kid who has “shit for brains”.

 

You shouldn’t shop in the young men’s department at any clothing store- men over forty shop at Sears where they can purchase a sporty cardigan and a set of box wrenches at the same time.

 

Give up your quest for “six pack” abs and settle for a “six pack” of cheap domestic beer.

 

“Old Spice” is a powerful middle aged pheromone which signals your spouse that you’re contemplating several passionate minutes of “Lovin”.

 

You’re more interested in reading all 1,990 pages of the Health Care Reform Bill than applying “Old Spice” in the hopes of getting some “Lovin”.

 

Liver and Onions taste awesome.

 

You seldom use the word awesome anymore- it has been replaced by “lovely” or “pleasant”.

 

 “Yanni” rocks you like a hurricane and you’re completely confused as to why Michael Bolton would be compelled to cut off his sassy locks.

 

Your dream of one day owning a sports car has been replaced by one day owning an RV with comfortable captain’s chairs.

 

Forty is NOT the new 20- if it was there would be a lot more 100 year old people tooling around.  There aren’t, so it isn’t.

 

You’re suddenly aware that a lot of the shit you routinely did in your 20’s had the potential to kill you- these thoughts cause increased heart palpitations and your arthritis to flare.

 

Tying your shoes takes effort.

 

That cute waitress that just smiled at you did so because you remind her of her father.

 

Black socks and sandals compliment every summer outfit- how’d I miss that for so many years?

 

You can party with all of your 40(+) year old friends all night long and it’s so lame that no one will bother to call the police on you.

 

You can survive without an iPhone.  WTF is an iPhone anyway?

 

I’m not wearing an earring- that’s hair sprouting from my lobes.

 

The lushness of my front lawn is suddenly more important to me than wearing pants.

 

Everything my father told me when I was a kid suddenly makes sense.

 

I’m sure there are more truths left to be discovered- and I am looking forward to further enlightenment as I gracefully approach the next decade.

 

 

off the top of my head…

April 14, 2010

5:15 dinner’s on the table

5:17 boy’s are running through the house wearing nothing but baseball cleats and tiny child-sized jock straps.

5:17:01 SHIT!, we’ve got baseball practice in 45 minutes

5:20 For the most part the boys are clothed (-) underpants, the only way anyone will know is if the boys get in a car accident and they’re way to young to drive anyway- so Commando is the way to go!

5:20-5:57 “Cayden take a bite” (repeat this phrase every 10 seconds for a period of 27 minutes and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to eat in a hurry at the Groah household)

5:58 Grab bat bag, bottled water, camp chair, bike, scooter, helmet, book, (3) seperate snack items and the first aid kit (the unsavory task of lugging this stuff to the truck has presented itself so as usual the boys have magically evaporated).

5:59 Holy shit there’s an outside chance that we won’t be noticeably late (I’m a compulsive guy- tardiness is an unacceptable state of mind when your Shane)

5:59:02 Truck departs

5:59:30 Truck returns to retrieve baseball hat- which is an essential item for baseball (PRACTICE)- or so I’m told by the 9-year old Cal Ripkin riding shotgun.

6:01 Arrive at field drop Mack off.

6:02 Play catch with Cayden while Mack practices.

6:03 Cayden catches a “heater” with his adam’s apple and refuses to rub dirt on it like his old man suggest.

6:03:01-6:10:02 Console youngest son while being glared at by other parents.

This is a 45-minute slice of an average evening in the Groah household during baseball season.  It’s currently 9:12- the boys are asleep and I’m at my computer writing this down so that I won’t forget.  But for the record, I’m not writing this down for birth control purposes.  I’m writing it down because these are the things I’ll miss when my boys no longer need me to pack their bat bag, remember their water bottles or to rub dirt on their injuries.  I want to remember them because right now I’m needed, I hold a special place in my son’s hearts, I’m Dad and for now that’s all the thanks that I need.

Hallmark Cards Suck…

April 11, 2010

I recently turned forty and most of you didn’t even bother to send me a greeting card.  Luckily I think greeting cards are a waste of time and resources so I won’t hold a grudge against anyone.  Of course this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the cards I did receive- but, maybe it does- it’s just that $5 is a lot to spend on someone else’s written sentiment that will likely be shit canned ten seconds after being opened.  Does that make sense?  Or did I just piss off a bunch of friends and relatives who took several hours searching for the card that was “made” just for me? 

If you must send cards I suggest you consider taking my fathers approach.  He’s sent me the same card for the past ten years.  Amazingly Hallmark continues to maintain ”my” card in its inventory- or maybe, more realistically, when my father went card shopping he purchased the whole stack because what’s the liklihood of me remembering, year to year, that I’ve received the same one?  I’m not upset, personally I think he’s a wise consumer- I’m thinking when he made the initial investment cards were a lot cheaper than they are now.  I love you Dad, keep them coming- I’m surprised every time. 

The other part of receiving cards is what to do with them after once they’ve been read?  Connie keeps them in a pile on our counter for at least a month.  Periodically I’ll ask her if it’s okay to toss them and I always get the same answer “Not yet, I’m not done with them”.  Not done with them?”- what’s to be done with a card once you’ve all ready read it?  Eventually I’ll throw them away when she’s not looking.  She’s never asked me where they’ve went.  That leads me to believe that she wants to maintain plausable deniability should a visiting relative request to see the greeting card they sent her 15 years ago.  Should this scenario unfold Connie could simply explain to them that her insensitive husband who lacks an appreciation for the personalized poetic gesture of the modern greeting card threw them away when she was off tending to orphaned children in a war torn region of Batswana.  Having the physical appearance of one barely on the first rung of the evolutionary ladder her relatives would consider this a plausible explanation and likely sympathize with her predicament and forget all about the “Holly Hobby” Birthday card they blew $2 on in the early 80′s.  That’s what Connie does with greeting cards- I simply tear them open, shake them for cash and then throw them away.  The funny thing is the cash stopped flowing when I was 12 years old but some habits are hard to break- especially ones which used to result in financial gain. 

It’s likely that many  of you are appalled that I still shake cards for cash so I might as well go ahead and offend you further.  I think E-cards are a slap in the face.  The message which accompanies every E-Card is simple, it tells the recipient one of two things:

1.  Holy Shit I forgot your birthday and this crappy e-card is a place holder for the “way to” expensive gift that I felt guilted into purchasing.

(or)

2.  I like you enough to remember the day you were born, but not enough to stand in line at Walgreens to purchase you a “real” birthday card.

Either way E-cards send the wrong message.  Besides I’m just one step above world wide web illiteracy and if you send me a link to an E-card I’ll likely screw it up and be unable to view the Birthday wishes that you spent all of 10 seconds finding for me.  BTW the same applies for sending me a drink through “Facebook”.  I’ve received at least 50 Tequila Sunrises from people over the past 12-months, but have yet to learn how to send one back.  I’m not an ungrateful drinker and I realize it’s my time to buy a round- but the fact is “Facebook” is smarter than I am.

What else?  Greetings cards with that annoying music playing computer chip make me want to go on a shooting rampage and so do cards featuring half naked cowboys and butt floss wearing beach babes- so don’t send me those either.  I like the three stooges- but not enough to have them grace the front of a greeting card- and I don’t understand Dilbert so that shit doesn’t work for me either.  And never, ever, ever send me a religious card- it will just remind me that I haven’t been to church since I got married and I’m one year closer to spending eternity in a very hot place for sleeping in on Sundays when I should have been singing Amazing Grace with the rest of my God fearing community.

Bottom line- if you like me enough to remember my birthday give me a call- or better yet send me the $5 you were gonna spend on the card- I’d like that too.