Archive for the ‘Manliness’ Category

 
 

 

 News Flash “Gorilla-Man still at large, Police baffled”

This is a “no shit” headline from the local metro news rag that I grab each morning before boarding the train. You can only imagine my excitement when I read that a “Gorilla-Man” was roaming the seedy underbelly of the Baltimore Metro area. If you’ve known me longer than a minute you know that I have a less than healthy fascination with giant primates. Can’t get enough of them- can’t explain why it’s always been so. And this head line really captured my attention because the author labeled the beast a “Gorilla-Man”. Had it been a run of the mill Gorilla escaping from the zoo the author would have referred to it as such i.e. “Run of the Mill Gorilla escapes zoo- eats cab driver and flees”. See the difference? Gorilla-Man offers so many more possibilities. Could it be that the missing link has finally surfaced? In Baltimore no less? Maybe it was a Sasquatch? I for one never gave up hope that those things were colonized somewhere in the Rockies just waiting to reclaim their rightful place at the head of the food chain. Friggin awesome, I’m camping out with the kids until we see this thing first hand- Connie where’s my binoculars?

Come to find out it wasn’t a “no kidding” Gorilla creature- instead it was a regular dude dressed in a gorilla suit. But I wasn‘t completely disappointed because at least this joker was original. Come to find out the guy would throw on the gorilla suit, run into a grocery store and go straight for the bananas. Reports indicate that on several occasions he actually snatched the entire Chiquita display and then hauled ass out the front door. The news paper wrote that “Surprisingly, witnesses were reluctant to apprehend “Gorilla-Man””. No Shit! This isn’t so friggin surprising to me. I would imagine that most people who witnessed the robberies did one of two things:

a. Shit their pants because the gorilla suit was so realistic that they actually feared they were about to be eaten by a giant, rampant primate.

b. They were too busy rolling on the floor laughing to interfere.

or

c. They stood frozen with envy because they hadn’t thought of doing it first.

I know I said two, but the third option is kind of personal- I‘m probably the only one who would experience these types of emotions when faced with similar circumstances. Admittedly, I’m a little jealous. Not only does this guy have a gorilla suit but he also has a great sense of humor and most likely a shit ton of stolen bananas. I don’ t think he’s a criminal- I think he’s a friggin super hero, just a tad bit misguided.

When I got to work I immediately called Connie to tell her what I read. Not sure if this is something that occurs between other married couples but when I read something about Gorilla creatures the first thing I want to do is share it with my spouse. Connie was a little “ho-hum” about the whole thing but she did give me some food for thought. After I ran through the details she told me that you better be careful if the police read your blog they’ll probably call you in for questioning (reference post- “Go-rillas and Heat Stroke”). I hadn’t thought about that one- who knows my post may have been the Gorilla Man’s inspiration. Maybe I should be more careful what I write about in the future…

Last weekend I had some alone time with Cayden and as a special treat I took him to get his first Slurpee. I figured what could be the harm- I loved those things as a kid. So I walked him through the door and stood him right in front of the machine that put 7/11 on the map. I even allowed him to pick out the flavor and the size just to make it an extra special event- you can probably see where this is going. Cayden chose a 48 ounce Mountain Dew Slurpee- again what could be the harm, right?

I know all of the mega-parents out there who spend hours reading labels for artificial sweeteners and whose children’s lips have never touched a carbonated beverage are probably choking on their organic carrot sticks right about now. But my generation ate green M&M’s, Pop Rocks and drank from the life giving spring known as the Coke-a-Cola bottling company. My generation lived without fear and trusted that the FDA was doing their job and wouldn’t dream of placing dangerous items on our grocer’s shelves. Of course that was before the realization that just about everything on the menu causes cancer, hair loss, melanoma’s (I love the way that word sounds), dwarfism, joint pain or erectile dysfunction. Who would have known? I guess that’s the curse of advances in medical science- we’ve learned that every thing we enjoy will cause irreversible harm and will most likely kill us. How’s that for a pleasant thought?

Regardless of the Surgeon General’s warning against the evils of Slurpees I went ahead and dropped a $1.99 on the counter, slapped my boy on the back and said “suck it down buddy you only live once“. Now, I don’t know if Mountain Dew Slurpees cause any of the heinous afflictions that I listed above, but I do know that if you suck down 48 ounces of ice without taking a breath you’ll likely throw yourself into a coma. I know this as fact but I got so wrapped up in thumbing my nose at society, a society that seems hell bent on sucking the fun out of life, that I forget to provide Cayden any guidance on moderation. Tragically, Cayden did exactly as I instructed and in 5.2 seconds he had completely drained the entire thing- 48 ounces of frozen Mountain Dew. I started questioning the strategy of my mini-rebellion.

For a minute no one said a word. The clerk witnessed the entire thing and stood ready to call for a life flight if required. I prepared to rush Cayden to the bathroom where I figured I could thaw his head with the assistance of the hot air hand blower located in the men’s room. Then he moved. Cayden lowered the cup, licked his lips and smiled. I allowed myself a brief glimmer of hope- maybe Cayden doesn’t have a human brain, maybe he was born with several extra layers of skull insulation, maybe the slurpee wasn’t that cold to begin with? Cayden’s delayed facial expression dashed all of my irrational hopes.

His eye’s slammed shut, his teeth gnashed together and his little hands curled up into fist. Then Cayden made this god awful “Whooooooooooo” sound that frightened the rest of 7/11’s patrons so badly that they dropped their Nacho’s and Big Gulps and rushed for the door. I’m not sure how long the “Brain Freeze” lasted- time kind of stood still. But I knew it finally passed when Cayden was able to tell me who he was, where he was and his mother’s name- “Mom”.

Did the experience scar him? I’m not certain it did, but when we picked up Mack later in the day Cayden was quick to tell him that “Mountain Dew Slurpees aren’t good- next time I’m getting a coke one.” Maybe there was some permanent “Brain Freeze” damage after all.

BTW, I would caution anyone who reads this about providing your 40lb child with 7-zillion grams of caffeine (about the same amount contained in a 48 ounce Mountain Dew Slurpee). I don’t think Cayden slept for three days and I’m certain his mouth didn’t stop running for twice that amount of time.

Gym Etiquette…

May 8, 2009
 
I love to work out- I’ve been doing it consistently for over 20 years. And in the past 20 years I’ve been in a hundred different gyms and just as many locker rooms. If you’ve never exercised in a public gym and you’re considering joining one allow me to offer you some sage advice on proper locker room etiquette. This applies to men’s locker rooms only. The only insight I have into women’s locker rooms is what I saw in the movie “Porky’s” and Connie told me that it’s not very accurate (there goes that male fantasy!).

So I came up with these locker room commandments from stuff that I see on a consistent basis at the gym I’m currently working out at. At first I thought it was just me who thought that some of the behavior lacked decorum- but it isn’t, several of my friends feel the exact same way. So without further ado “locker room Commandments”:

Thou shalt not attempt to engage in conversation while buck-ass naked drying in the breeze of a 6-foot floor fan.

Thou shalt not place one’s sweaty bare ass on the locker room benches- A cloth barrier between sweaty ass and bench is mandatory.

Thou shalt not comment on your buddy’s improved physical appearance while standing naked in a group of other men you have never met before.

Thou shalt observe the imaginary bubble, hence forth referred to personal space, at all times while inside the locker room- clothed or otherwise. “Close Talking” is frowned upon considerably.

Thou shalt travel to and from the shower with a towel wrapped around one’s waist. Wandering around the locker room aimlessly with a towel draped over your shoulder and nothing covering your man parts is creepy.

Thou shalt not groom theyself in front of the few available mirrors while naked- Rule of Thumb pants first, application of hair care products second.

Thou shall not burst into song while in the shower with 20 other men.

Thou shalt not ask one’s buddy to examine any type of boil, cyst or ingrown hair while naked in a public locker room.

Thou shalt maintain eye contact if conversation is absolutely necessary. However, most conversations (except possibly “Help me I’m on fire”) can wait until both of you are completely clothed.

Thou shalt not spend more time in the locker room than one did in the gym actually working out.

These are some basic survival tips to help the novice gym rat get started. Some may think this advice sounds homophobic- but before you start typing an angry comment about tolerance let me say that it has nothing to do with sexual orientation. The intent is to encourage people to exercise some decency, courtesy and respect- I think everyone can get behind that, but I’ve been wrong before…

 

 

 

Batter Up…

May 2, 2009
 
 

Baseball is in full swing for both of our boys. This is Mack’s second year of baseball but first year of kid pitch. Cayden’s brand new to the sport so he’s cutting his teeth in T-Ball. Connie and I, being the supportive parents that we are, have all ready reprogrammed our weekly routine to support this endeavor. It’s not easy, especially during the school year but we’re making it happen.

We‘ve been going at it a few weeks now so I figured it might be time to provide an update on their progress. Let me start with T-Ball, after all in the world of baseball this is where it all begins.

T-Ball- I’m pretty sure that the only reason Cayden is even remotely aware that he’s playing baseball is because we make him put on a uniform. At his current developmental stage concepts such as competition and winning are abstract at best. What mostly interest Cayden are the bugs and flowers you can find in center field and the collection of miscellaneous grown-ups sitting near the baseline yelling at his fellow bug collectors to pay attention. Cayden is also extremely fascinated by the stitching on the inside of his glove. I know this because I often see him with his face inside the pocket as if he just caught a human head.

I’m sure it’s irritating for my son when an occasional baseball rolls by, interrupting what ever daydream he is currently fixated on. But he handles the interruption quite well- he simply gets out of the way and continues on with his mental journey. I don’t get upset with him- I can still recall Mack’s first two years of soccer when all he wanted to do was fly around the field pretending to be an airplane. Strangely his flight pattern never coincided with the path of the ball- go figure. The best thing about T-Ball is the kids get to interact with these amazing people called coaches who have three times the level of patience of a normal human being. Where they found these saintly parents is beyond me, but I‘m certain they weren‘t recruited from the 0530 metro platform crowd. Also no one ever loses in T-Ball. Everyone plays, every scores and at the end of the year every one gets a big honking trophy. Some parents complain that this method of organized sports won’t teach their kids one of life’s most valuable lessons i.e. if you suck someone is going to kick your ass and take all the rewards- but I’m fine with it. Let my kid learn those lessons a little further down the road- let them play, let them win, and let them all be champions for just a little while. All in all, a great experience for my kid. He’s learning some fundamentals (most likely by osmosis), meeting some new kids and with a little luck he should be pulling down a 7-figure salary right about the time I retire from my second career.

Mack on the other hand is in his second year of baseball- the 8-9 year old kid pitch league. Kid pitch is an entirely different sport than T-ball- these kids are actually in it to win it. I am amazed at the amount of development that occurs in just a couple of years. The pitching piece is a little crazy- you can count on a batter taking one to the grill at least once an inning- but those kids are tougher than a pair of woodpecker lips and shrug it off like nothing happened. Mack is focused and truly enjoys competing. I’m pretty proud of his ability on the field and the level of sportsmanship that he displays regardless of whether they win or lose. The biggest draw for Mack however is not the sport itself, it’s the fact that he gets to wear an athletic supporter and cup. Even before the season began he was pestering us to get him one, so Connie finally gave and made the purchase- I didn‘t know they had them that small- who would have known? Mack‘s enamored with his grape helmet- so much so that the minute he got home from the sporting goods store he threw it on and asked Cayden to test it‘s tensile strength by beating on it vigorously with both fist- mind you, while he wore it. He then asked Cayden to kick his junk repeatedly with, and without, shoes on. I finally stepped in and called a halt to the testing just as Cayden was about to head butt Mack’s groin- it was just slightly too creepy for me to allow. The trouble with this whole scenario is that once Cayden starts something he‘s hard to shut down. In fact for the next several days he would ambush Mack and smash his crotch to see if the cup could withstand the assault. Problem is after the first 24 hours of wear Mack placed it with the rest of his uniform and went unprotected while not on the field. More than once Cayden brought the poor guy to his knees.

The cup has become the centerpiece of Mack’s baseball experience this season for more reasons than just Cayden‘s research methodology. For instance, a few night ago while I was standing around flapping my face with a bunch of other parents Mack approached me with his hands crammed down the front of his pants. The group of parents I was talking to stopped what they were doing to watch what was happening. Mack reached in and with a good solid tug released the cup from it’s secured location and brought it out into the daylight. He then asked me to hold it for him for the remainder of the practice. I’m not squeamish- but I felt that holding my son’s sweaty cup for 4-more innings of baseball was a bit much. It’s kind of like having your elderly Auntie ask you to put her upper bridge in your front breast pocket for safe keeping- not going to happen. Undeterred by my response, Mack placed his water bottle on the ground and then put his nasty old hard hat right down on top of the nozzle. The other parents (I think there was about 6 of them) watched the whole thing unfold. They didn’t say anything but I could tell they were wondering if I was going to let my kid continue to use the bottle that the cup was resting on. I ended up giving him mine and spending the rest of the game walking around with his cup in my hand. Funny I didn’t shake a single hand after that- word sure does travel fast. Since then the cup has been lost about a dozen times and has replaced Mack’s baseball hat as the item we scramble to find before games and practices. You would be amazed where that thing turns up- next to the TV remote, kitchen counter, bathroom cabinet- I even found it on my work bench one time. I told Mack I’m going to staple it to his crotch so he won’t lose track of it- he thought that was cool.

Well that’s the baseball update. We have games tomorrow starting at 9 am- promises to be interesting because we have team pictures first. I should probably polish Mack’s cup he’ll probably want to wear it on the outside of his uniform- man that kid is strange.

 

 

If you know me at all you know that I have a strong affection (probably slightly unhealthy) for Carlo Rossi Wine. I’m very sincere- I absolutely love coming home and pouring a glass of Carlo’s classic Burgundy to take the edge of my day. I’ve even been known to splurge occasionally and purchase a jug of Carl’s “Reserve Merlot“- but only on those days deserving of special recognition. The reserve vintages are not something I indulge in routinely as once your taste buds grow accustomed to something so perfectly balanced it’s almost impossible to accept anything less- besides I don’t want people to think that I’m a “wine snob”.

I preach the virtues off Carlo’s products but I am in no way officially affiliated with this pioneering Wine Czar- I am nothing more than a loyal consumer. I’m just a hard working guy who discovered the joy which resides within the screw-topped, 5-gallon jug- easily located in your grocer’s tasty beverage aisle. Truth be told it was Connie who introduced me to this palate pleasing delight early on in our marriage. Way back then we didn’t have two nickels to rub together- but luckily you could get ten gallons of Carlo for the one nickel that you did have. Seventeen years later we could probably afford to move up to something more fitting of our socio-economic status (possibly something that comes with a cork for instance)- but I’m a loyal creature of habit and I’m not about to abandon the guy responsible for so much joy over the years. Connie on the other hand has lost her way and moved on to other less prolific alcoholic beverages. Not sure what happened to her? One day she announced that the jug of Carl on our kitchen counter had gone bad (how one could tell that a jug of Carlo had gone bad is beyond me). She exclaimed that it tasted like vinegar and proceeded to pour it down the drain; the same thing occurred with the next jug and the one after that. Come to find out it wasn’t the Carlo that went bad, it was Connie’s taste buds. They had revolted and would no longer willingly accept the staple wine that had graced our home for so many years. I however remained faithful to Earnest and Julio and all the fine products that they lovingly produce in their vineyards- besides you can grow accustomed to the taste of just about anything (to include vinegar)- I‘m living proof.

Now that you have the background and I’ve openly proclaimed my admiration- it is with great excitement that I announce that Carl himself has been surfing my Blog. Well maybe not Carlo himself, but definitely his vineyard henchmen. I know this because one day as I checked my stat counter I saw several hits from none other than E&J Vineyards (aka Earnest and Julio). Holy Shit! I felt as if I just met Elvis in the Tupperware aisle at Target. I was honored, but perplexed- why would Carlo be interested in me?

My initial thoughts were that E&J liked what I had to say about their products so much that they were looking to bring me into the fold. Could you imagine? Shane Groah National Carlo Rossi Spokesman Extraordinaire. Or maybe they would ask me to represent E&J at international wine tasting events. I obviously have a sophisticated palette and in-depth experience/ knowledge of fine wines- I‘m a shoe-in. Then there is always the possibility of endorsement deals. I envision a Carlo Rossi summer clothing line; a cook book; a Carlo “Musk Body Spray” perhaps? The possibilities are endless- who knows maybe with a little luck Carl and I could venture into reality television. After all you really don’t need any real depth of subject matter to capture an audience in the reality TV genre. As you can see I’ve got a lot of brilliant ideas to improve sales and increase Carlo consumption in untouched consumer markets. I could be a force multiplier Carl. Roll the dice, take a chance, have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch. This close to retirement it’s encouraging to think that my next career could involve something I’m so passionate about. A guy can dream right?

But then I thought what if I’m wrong? What if the “Carl” is displeased with me and his henchman are stalking me to ensure I don’t say anything damaging about their leader. Maybe they’re more like CIA than smiling, barefooted, grape-smashing wine makers. Panicked, I searched my Blog to ensure I didn’t say anything really negative and luckily all came back in Carlo’s favor. I have no desire to bite the hand that feeds me. Someone as mighty as Carlo Rossi could easily crush me like one of the many grapes that thrive across his landscape or worse yet he could turn off the eternal spring of delicious cheap wine that helps me relax after a tough day of making decisions that impact the very fabric of our nation (jest). A “Carlo-Embargo” if you will. How friggin cruel would that be?

I know that these to possibilities seem pretty extreme- but situations involving the “Shane” rarely develop in the relative safety of the “middle ground”. I’m either going to be the next Carlo Rossi Super Hero or his henchman are waiting outside my door ready to work me over for being a smart ass. Hmmm, smart ass… sounds like a potential plot line for that reality show I was talking about…

Sarcasm- a form of irony that is bitter or cutting, being intended to taunt its target. (Wikipedia, 2009)

 

My Corps…

April 7, 2009
 

I’ve been a Marine for 21-years so obviously I have found some rewarding facets of my job that have kept me coming back year after year. As I near retirement I find myself trying to revisit those reasons more frequently- not that I‘m second guessing myself, I guess I‘m just reminiscing. Here are a few of the things that make being a Marine so great and a few things I‘ll miss as I evolve into a civilian once more.

Being a Marine is never having to say you’re sorry- superior fire power and the backing of 202k of you closest friends guarantees you’re correct in almost every situation.

Camouflage matches everything and never goes out of style.

You get paid (not well mind you) to stay in shape.

You get to travel to all those exotic locations you’ll never find in a travel brochure or Carnival Cruise Line port of call list. “Next stop Iraq- make sure you remember your body armor and have a lovely visit.”

All those Marine clichés that only sound cool when you’re one of the Nation’s finest.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body“- (quit your whining it’s gonna get worse)

“Shoot, move, communicate“- (the only things you really ever need to remember on deployment)

“The only easy day was yesterday“- (Today is going to suck)

“Semper fidelis“- (Always faithful- God, Country, Corps)

“Good to go?”- (Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?)

“Strong“- (I like what you just did- do it again)

“Copy my last? Roger. Out here“. (saying good bye to my mother on the phone)

“OOH RAH!” (The Marine equivalent of the word dude- with just as many interpretations and uses.)

Everything you need to survive can be carried on your body and moved from place to place with nothing more than the boots on your feet and the determination in your heart.

Young Marines- they can make things explode that are normally completely benign and they can break those things which claim to be unbreakable.

Standing around at a party and listening to everyone talking about how shitty their work week was and wondering how shitty it could have possibly been without anyone trying to shoot them? Come on guys how bad could it be?

Getting air lifted out of the field after 2-weeks of busting your ass hiking around in the woods.

Your weapon passing the armorer’s inspection on the first attempt to get it locked up for the weekend.

Hot coffee in the field.

Coming home from deployment and bringing everyone back that you left with.

Scorpion fights in the desert- always put your money on the green ones they are extremely surly little beast.

Formation runs when a former drill instructor is calling cadence.

Being dirty for so long that you no longer smell bad (takes about three weeks, I know this as fact).

Listening to your troops crack jokes when they’re sitting in a bunker waiting for Scuds to hit- they’re never as funny as when they’re scared.

Getting an excruciating ass chewing from my Battalion Commander that ends with “How’s Connie and the boys?” He still had love for me even when I screwed the pooch.

Telling people I just met that I’m a Marine- every other occupation I can think of pales in comparison- of course that’s my own personal opinion.

Drinking beer with a bunch of Jarheads and telling deployment stories that at one time were pretty close to factual.

Being told to do the impossible with minimal support or resources and knowing that you can do it- simply because you’re a Marine.

You don’t punch a clock. Why would you- you’re there until the job’s done.

Hand grenades, not just because they’re fun either- but for the eerie feeling of knowing that if you screwed up the results would be extremely unsavory. (If you’ve ever thrown a hand grenade you know thee feeling I’m talking about)

Post deployment purchases- Mustangs, crotch rockets and Tattoos. I’m not allowed to purchase any of the above- but I can live vicariously through my young Marines as they roll through the gate in a car they can’t afford slathered in Neosporin.

Wearing my uniform in public and having a little boy ask me for my autograph and the thanks I receive from his grand father who served in Normandy.

Marines.

 

Corpsman Up!!!!

March 28, 2009

Here’s a fact- little boys get hurt.  I know this because I was once a little boy and I have all of the cool scars to prove it.  Most of my childhood injuries were a result of doing stupid things- they didn’t seem stupid at the time but then again I was the kid who believed new tennis shoes made you run faster and if outfitted in the right pair of under-roos I could achieve flight- I guess stupid is relative.

But this post isn’t about preventing my kids from doing stupid things. I don’t dedicate myself to impossible causes there are too many cards stacked against me- they’re boys, they’re high energy and most importantly they crawled to shore from the Groah family gene pool.  Every male in my family tree has been pieced back together more than once- it’s highly probable that my boys will be no different. 

Some of you may think that I’m being fatalistic but truth be told injuries are a fact of life when you’re a Groah-man.  The flip-side of that is Groah-men down play the extent of their injuries to avoid going to the hospital for emergency care.  So if you’re unfortunate enough to be a Groah-woman you have to be extremely vigilant for the tell tale signs of catastrophic injury.  When I was growing up you knew my Dad was in trouble when he yelled for you to bring him a role of paper towels and a beer.  When this request was levied my Mom would immediately run to the scene to render aid- which my father would most likely refuse.  For instance, I once saw my Dad care for two completely mangled fingers with 6-paper towels and a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbons.  He continued to work on my sisters ’76 Thunderbird (with a claw hammer) even though his hand looked as if it fell into a taffy puller.  You heard me correctly he was working on her car with a claw hammer- but as stated I’m not here to prevent stupid things from happening- my focus is on what to do after the injury has occurred.

My boy’s inherited the Groah family curse and get injured frequently enough to assure me that yes they are my sons.  They haven’t quite developed the injury denile mechanism yet so they don’t feel compelled to mask the extent of their wounds- but I am sure with time that facet of our DNA will blossom as well.  

Now, since I grew up in an enviroment where injuries were common place- combined with the nature of my current profession- I’ve earned the title of resident paramedic.  I don’t think many injuries happened in Connie’s childhood home, they were all to busy studying, playing varsity sports and prepping for college.  So I’m the man when the call for ”MEDIC UP!” is sounded.  Here is some advice if you too have been given this prestigious position within your family.  I’ll use last Friday night to help illustrate my points.

The alarm was sounded at 1900 hours (7 pm for you civilian folks).  Mack ran up from the basement with a look of terror on his face and announced “Dad, Cayden’s hurt really bad”.  This is never a good sign.  If the injury is benign Mack doesn’t bother to tell us- he normally cares for his brother on his own.  Granted Macks medical repertoire is mostly comprised of repeated pleas ”to be quiet so Mom and Dad don’t punish us”- but Friday night went beyond his medical training so he sought out my services.  I rushed down the basement stairs to survey the damage.  On my way down I listened to the pitch of  Cayden’s screams.  I can tell the difference between tears of anger, frustration, hurt feelings, fear and ER worthy injuries.  By the time I made it down the stairs I knew he was truly hurt.  I got to his side.  Cay was laying on the floor holding the back of his head and I could tell by the amount of blood that he would be needing some stitches. At this point the best thing I could do is calm him down.  So I spoke to him softly and asked him about where it hurt and what happened.  “Well Dad, take a look at where the blood is gushing out of my scalp- that’s a good place to start ass-wipe”.  He didn’t really say that, but judging by the moment of lucidity that I witnessed after I posed the question he was definitely thinking it.  Point being, the last thing my boys need when they’re scared is for me to lose my composure- to do so would send them into utter panic.  I scooped him up and rushed him to the kitchen.  Connie was standing by, with a wash cloth and an ice pack.   I cleaned the area around the cut and continued to talk to Cayden.  At this stage in the care giving process I’ll throw in some jokes to see if I can get the victim to smile- if I can get them to giggle I know that it’s mostly fear causing the tears and not the injury itself.  Within moments Cayden was laughing and asking for his Nintendo.  That’s a good sign.

Some other hints, try to keep them from looking at the blood flow, lots of blood scares the shit out of them so keep it mopped up as best as possible.  It’s also helpful to keep their siblings from offering commentary as you tend the wound.  Mack, likes to say things like “Holy Cow!  Look at all that blood- Dad is Cayden dieing?” this of course sends Cayden’s anxiety level through the roof and all the work I did to calm his ass down is now out the window. 

As I triaged the wound Connie went to retrieve our meager stock of medical supplies.  I asked her for gause and a bandage to hold it in place for the trip to the ER.  She produced the gause but no joy on the bandage.  I had to improvise so I asked Connie for an old pair of pantie hoes- strange look, but she ran to get me a pair.  When she returned I had her cut off one of the legs.  I placed the gauze on the wound and then slid the pantie hoe over Cayden’s head to hold it in place.  This worked extremely well- so if you don’t have an Ace Bandage handy keep it in mind.  Cayden was pleased with the head gear- he said it made him look like a ninja, especially when he pulled it down to his lips.

Wound tended, I broke the news to Cayden that we would have to go to the hospital- instant fear.  First question, “am I getting shots?”.  Always answer ”NO” to this question- even if you know you’re seven years behind on the kid’s immunizations and it’s likely that they are going to get every shot in the inventory.  If you tell your kids that shots are even a remote possibility you’ll add an additional 30 minutes to your hospital commute- all of which will be spent begging and pleading for them to get in the car.  In  cases involving emergency care little white lies are sometimes necessary.

So I managed to get the boys to the ER.  Mack wanted to go with to provide moral support and I didn’t have the heart to tell him no.  So the three Groah men hung out at the emergency room watching Sponge Bob Square Pants from the comfort of an automated hospital gurney for the remainder of our exciting Friday evening.  I wonder how many generations of Groah’s have done the exact same thing over the years?  My guess is I am not the first.

BTW- Cayden toughed out the three stitches like a true hard-ass.  Not a single tear while the sewed him back up- the kid is John Wayne incarnate, I’m so proud.

One last bit of  advice.  Purchase a nice sharp pair of cuticle scissors and a good pair of tweezers and keep them with your medical stuff.  It’s a lot more convenient to pluck the stitches out yourself than having to sit in a waiting room for hours to have your doctor do it.  I’m Hella proficient at this- must be all the practice I get.

Final note- In the time it took me to write this post Mack had his own accident requiring ER care, I’ll blog about that later- pretty funny stuff- no stitches this time they used glue.

Happy Birthday- says who?

February 13, 2009
All of the happy, lighthearted people must have jobs that don’t require them to begin their commutes at five in the morning. I’m sitting on the metro and I don’t see a single person who would willingly point me in the direction of a garden hose should I burst into flames. I’m probably annoying them with the big stupid grin plastered to my face, but truth is, I love early mornings. If it wasn’t for evening family time, I would go to bed super early just so that I could wake up and drink coffee in the inky pre-dawn darkness. What can I say- I flat out dig the world at rest.

I view this eccentricity as yet another indication that I’m getting old. Now, I realize several of you will argue that turning 39 isn’t old, but you haven’t factored in years of Marine Corps service. Marines age similarly to dogs- every year you wear a tree suit, multiply by two. So that makes me about 60 and a hard living 60 at that. But it’s not just the actual number of years that tells me I’m approaching the top of the hill; there have been several other indications over the past few months as well.

For instance, I now own a pair of slippers. They’re not a cool pair of $90 Ugg‘s either. I’m sporting a pair with flannel lumberjack-patterned insoles. “Say hello to Grampa kids, but speak loudly his hearing shit the bed years ago“. This troubles me as I’ve never owned slippers. In fact until a few years ago I didn’t own jammies or any other night time comfort item- unless you count the occasional glass of Carlo. I was impervious to cold weather- you know the guy who amazes his neighbors by taking out the trash in the dead of winter wearing nothing more than a well worn pair of boxers. Now I have to bundle up just to convince my creaky-ass joints to get out from under the covers each morning. Obviously my blood is thinning and my circulation is slowing to a halt- that my friends is an undeniable sign of getting old.

Did I just mention creaky joints? I think I did but as I near 40 my memory seems to be failing me more and more. Oh Yeah, joints, which I’ll soon be smoking plenty of to ease my rheumatism. My joints don’t creak they scream. Twenty-one years of sleeping on the ground, humping a pack and wearing body armor have left me as crooked as a politician and as broken as our economy. My back and neck are riddled with arthritis and my knee caps and elbows float freely to and fro. But I’m hard headed and refuse to believe that this isn’t the same body I had in my late teens so I constantly test it just to see how jacked up I am. Here is a short list of thing I have tried in the past couple of months to prove my body is the same now as it was back then:

The worm- remember that fancy little break dance move form the 80’s? Yeah, I tried to show it to the boys one evening and all I could muster was laying on my stomach- I didn’t look like a worm I looked like a plank of wood yanked off an old barn door.

Sitting Indian Style (maybe I should say Native American style)- I told Connie I was going to try to get in this position and she called the paramedics before my butt hit the ground- good foresight, it took three full grown men and 6-percosets to get me off the floor.

Spinning in circles- Remember when you were a kid and you would spin in circles as fast as you could to get super dizzy- don’t try this as an adult. My spinning consisted of one fairly rapid 180 degree turn followed by a severe bout of nausea and confusion.

None of my tests worked out as I had planned- dead give away I’m getting old.

How about this one- I now wear glasses. I used to have bionic vision capable of amazing things. Now I have a pair of wire rimmed military issue spectacles strapped to my head so I can type a post about how old I’m getting- how ironic is that? I would imagine in the not so distant future I’ll need one off those helpful cell phones with the giant numbers so that I can punch in 911 when I slip and break my hip walking out of the Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans. Better yet, I wonder when my insurance will cover that snazzy emergency call button that alerts paramedics when I’ve fallen in the shower- you know what I’m talking about, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I‘veheard rumor that you can charge your IPOD with those things and that they double as a 4GB thumb drive when your not in the midst of a medical emergency- how useful. Speaking of insurance I got a no-shit letter from my insurance company last night wishing me a happy birthday and encouraging me to buy more life insurance. In what universe is that an appropriate birthday salutation? Happy Birthday Shane, you’re getting older make sure your family is taken care of before you kick the bucket! How friggin morbid is that? So instead of that anniversary “Matlock” box set I was thinking about I’m going to get an additional $14.99 worth of coverage and roll the dice.

My hearing is also shot but this was more of a consequence of shooting anti-tank rockets than an old age thing. Back in the mid-90’s they tried to convince me to consider hearing aids but my vanity would not allow it so I pretended not to hear them and walked out of the office. Maybe I should reconsider? With the way technology is today I could probably get some type of high speed space helmet that enhances all of my senses at once- I’d be like Spider Man only not so limber.

The last indication was the additional hair I seem to be sprouting in locations that should most likely remain hairless. What’s up with the extra hair follicles? I don’t strive to have an “Austin Powers” tuft of hair snugly nestled between my shoulder blades nor do I desire eyebrows that must be combed and gelled after a good gust of wind. Sure sign I turned one of life’s many corners was when my barber asked me if I wanted her to trim back my eyebrows. Holy shit woman that’s for old guys I’m just a kid, chill out with the brow clippers! Insulted, I pinned my eyebrows back away from my face and stormed out of her shop. It took me a week to come to grips with the realization that I would now have to fork over an additional $1.50 to keep my brows from intermingling with my “Magnum P.I.” chest hair- humiliating.

So there you have it a flattering look at an ageing guy. I know I’m not the only man going through this right now. I hang out with a crowd of dudes all about my age and we’re all faced with the same realization that we’re no longer 20 years old- but come to think of it when I was 20 I was as dumb as a wash cloth, what was so great about that? Maybe what I should do is just embrace the inevitable and age gracefully? Nope that doesn’t work either. I know, I’ll just bitch and moan a lot and tell people stories about what it was like when I was young- that’s a much better idea and it‘s the final indication that yes I‘m getting old..

Just a quick disclaimer before my Mom calls me up to yell at me:  I don’t really think I am old, because if I did that would mean that every single person older than I is really, really old.  And an insinuation like that my friends could make for a very lonely birthday.

Dad, look what I made…

February 10, 2009
Mack has found a new passion in life- he makes weapons. I guess I should be worried that my 8-year old son has fashioned a completely functioning crossbow out of rubber bands and old chop sticks. Or maybe I should be alarmed that he acquired the knowledge to build such a weapon from You Tube videos titled “Homemade weapons”. Lastly, maybe I should show a little parental concern because Cayden just shot through the kitchen with a pie-tin sized bull’s eye taped to his back- but I’m not concerned. This statement probably makes me sound like a horrible parent but I can explain.

The reason my panties remain un-bunched is that so far every weapon that Mack has built is pathetically inadequate for taking down Cayden sized prey. I’ve seen several of his creations throughout the weekend and I believe the majority of them are as benign as a feather duster. He has a homemade BB gun made from a mechanical pencil, a dart gun which used to squirt water and the above mentioned chop stick hurling crossbow. He told me the other day that “he was born to make weapons”- that admission was a bit unsettling. No parent wants to announce that their child is an international weapons manufacturer at the local garden club meeting- unless of course the club meets in Baghdad.

The one piece of this new found fascination that does concern me considerably is that the Marine in me can’t stand to see an ineffective weapons system and the tinker-er in me has the technology to make those weapons better, stronger, faster- sort of like the guy who rebuilt Steve Austin after his space ship crashed in the 6-Million Dollar Man.

So when Mack wasn’t looking I tinkered with his dart gun and increased the muzzle velocity on the damn thing by approximately 300%- enough to fire a tooth-pick clean through a ½ inch piece of sheet rock (our dining room wall happens to be made of that material this is how I know the thickness, whoops). Smelling a potential law suit I quickly reversed the modifications I had made and put it back on the counter.

Note to self- deny my services if Mack finds “You Tube” directions for homemade hand grenades.

Into the Wild…

February 7, 2009

Okay, I’m not sure how I can work this into a post that makes any sense because my head is buzzing with so many random smart ass remarks that I feel like I am about to explode. A few weeks ago the Groah family was searching for some exciting weekend fun that wouldn’t crush our meager savings. We take this “national state of economic emergency-thingy” very seriously so we’ve cut back on a lot of unnecessary spending- BTW it sucks. Spending money is a damn good time.

Anyway, we decided to take the kids to the hillbilly mecca known as Bass Pro Shop. If you’re currently reading this while wearing a camouflage bathrobe by the light of your deer antler reading lamp I apologize- I’m not trying to offend.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bass Pro Shop, you’re really missing out. This place is about a million square feet of camouflage, tree stands, fishing poles, guns, knives and taxidermied wildlife- things that make Mack’s heart flutter with excitement. Mack believes that the only things our home is missing are a couple of animal heads hung from our dining room wall and a smoked glass gun cabinet in our kitchen- so Bass Pro is the perfect place to improve our home decor.

But I digress. I like Bass Pro and best of all there is no cost for admission- it’s like a free amusement park for rednecks. So when we went a couple of weeks ago, I brought our camera to capture some precious moments of two boys set free in “Man-Land”.

Photo #1- “The Wild”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mack is posing in front of an extremely authentic depiction of a moose’s natural habitat painstakingly created by Bass Pro wildlife engineers. Atleast I think that’s what the sign to Mack’s left told us. Just a couple of novice observations. In what wildlife dimension did moose and skunks share such close quarters?  They are far from related- I don’t think they travel in herds or share similar migratory patterns and I’m positive they can’t procreate (physically impossible). Not to judge, but if they did travel together and sensed danger and the ”fight or flight” mechanism kicked in, wouldn’t the skunk’s far shorter legs make it impossible to keep up with his friend the moose? Maybe the skunk rides the moose to safety, but then the question is how does the skunk get on top of an 8-foot tall moose?

My interpretation could be misguided. It could be that moose feed primarily on squat, stinky rodents (like this skunk for instance) and the intent of this scene is to show the moose about to swoop down and capture his prey. That’s some scary shit isn’t it? A giant, 9-zillion pound carnivorous moose running around eating skunks- sounds like a Stephen King book plot.

All of this could potentially make sense if it wasn’t for the hum of fluorescent lights and the giant climbing wall in the right hand side of the picture. If you include those two minor details, it appears that the moose and skunk are patiently standing in line for their opportunity to engage in some trendy, extreme sports activity.

Photo:  “The size of your paws is not directly linked to the size of anything else”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a giant man-eating grizzly bear, also standing in his natural habitat- which apparently is located among the Underarmour leggings and wildlife-themed embroidered sweatshirts.

I decided to feed my youngest to the bear just for fun. I know he is a man-eater but between meals he would probably appreciate a small, low-carb snack. Initially Cayden was terrified, but then we both noticed something that made us giggle (refer to below photo for explanation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bear was enormous except for one little appendage- his man-parts. No wonder the bear is angry, he must get teased mercilessly in the wildlife locker room after he hits the gym. Can you imagine the feelings of inadequacy? If I was him I wouldn’t go rearing up on my haunches unless I was wearing some panties. But maybe it works to his advantage during the hunt. He raises up, his victim gets one look at his junk, starts to giggle, and then while rolling on the ground in fits of laughter, is mauled to death by the bear with ease.

I wonder, if the bear could speak “horse” would he go to the horse for advice- maybe a couple of exercises or some supplement suggestions to help him with his little problem?

Sorry if you consider this a bit vulgar or inappropriate- but it’s kind of like watching monkeys throw poop at the zoo- you shouldn’t laugh but you can’t help yourself.

By the way, for the men out there, if your spouse tell’s you that you’re hung like a grizzly bear, it’s not a compliment.

Photo: “I’m crazy about fishing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My boys are crazy about fishing.  Even more so now that they know for a fact that fish larger than the lures in their tackle boxes exist in real life. Mack stood in front of this display for 20-minutes trying to hatch a plan to break in after the store closed for a little one-on-one angling time. All that Cayden wanted to do was to go for a swim and befriend the 70-pound catfish lurking toward the bottom of the tank.

Well I have to wrap this up. I just heard Mack fire Cayden from their band- AGAIN. That makes six firings in the last hour between the two of them. So as I head down to the basement to engage in contract negotiations, I’ll leave you with this:  Bass Pro Shops is a fun, free, Sunday afternoon activity for boys and girls alike- so turn off the TV, gather your survival gear, and make the trek. While you’re there, don’t forget to pay your respects to “Tiny” the man-eating grizzly- just try not to stare- he is very self conscious.