Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Melancholy Pup...

The last few weekends, my wife, Laura and I have been super busy… and our weekends do not seem to be letting up anytime soon. Every weekend we seem to have plans. It looks as if we may have to schedule time to stay home! It would be nice to be able to spend one entire weekend at home resting, but, obviously, we are kind of a big deal! If we aren’t out-of-town we are helping with a garage sale, or at a birthday party, or a high school reunion or a wedding, etc… Will it never end??? Will Laura and I ever get to spend some time at home??? Our dogs seem to be noticing we are not at home as much. Our usually ever-so excited beagle, Logan, has been moping around the house in a “ho-hum” kind of way, as if she knows what is coming. I can just hear what she is thinking… “You are gonna bring something home, I can just tell! Last time you acted this way you brought home Andy…” But, of course, our feisty Westie, doesn’t seem to notice anything. He struts around like nothing is wrong… We are not sure if Logan is sick or just sad!

It all began this past weekend...it was the annual fall garage sale for our subdivision and, certainly, you do not think my sister and mom would miss that opportunity, do you? They are garage sale experts! They have garage-saling down to a fine art. Well, as Laura and I were heading out of town, to go to our nephew Drew’s 4th birthday in South Carolina, we drove past some houses that had a lot of colorful articles outside in their driveway.

“Wow, look at all that stuff!” I said to Laura while stopped at a stop sign on Woodbridge Lane. “Look at all that baby stuff!”

“It looks brand new…What are you doing?” said Laura while she watched me pull out my phone to make a call. “Who are you..”

“Hey, mom!” I said “where are y’all?” Mandy and mom were driving down from Dalton that morning.

I went on to talk to mom about all the baby stuff at a house just down the street from ours on Woodbridge Lane, right past the home with the Prudential sign in the yard. I wanted to make sure they stopped by to look at it because if it was in good condition it would be wonderful for us to have for Baby Skates.

“What is it?” said my sister, Mandy, who I could hear in the back ground. “What does it look like?”

“I don’t know,” I said “It’s one of those baby things where the kid sits in the middle, and it’s round, and has all kinds of things to keep it occupied.”

“Oh okay,” said mom “We will look at it and let you know…”

“Alright! Thanks!” I said quickly, “I better go, gotta pay attention to the road, thanks mom!”

Fast forward, nine hours, Laura and I arrive home from Drew’s karate themed birthday party in South Carolina. (I will tell that story at another time.)

We walk inside and my mom and sister went a little overboard... the first thing we see is an adorable little wooden zebra with wheels that Baby Skates will love to ride one day... and a little Mickey & Minnie throw blanket. And, there it was... the colorful, round toy that I saw on the side of the road on Woodbridge Lane. But, there was something different about it... it was all taken a part! Apparently, it is a multi-use toy and can be used in many different stages.

After changing, checking email, and eating dinner Laura decides it is time to disinfect and put this thing together! I just smile and say "okay!" Knowing all good and well she would be doing this and I would be supervising from a distance.

As Laura pulls out the Clorox wipes from beneath the kitchen cabinet the dogs get all excited when the different colors parts of plastic are being brought down stairs. They have no idea what these things are and why are they in our house? I think they thought they were toys for them, but were not sure how to proceed.

This is when Logan begins her mop. She proceeds to walk over to Laura and look at her with a fond look of sadness. As she was saying

"Is this what is has come to? Are you going to give us up? I have been speaking to other dogs around the neighborhood and they say all the signs your body is going through is the sign of a baby... and well... I've seen Lady and the Tramp!"

Laura pats her leg and Logan plops herself right in her lap. Andy, very taken a-back from this, because he is "momma's little lap dog." I call him over to me and he sits in my lap while Laura cleans the blue, orange and green plastic pieces.

The bottom piece is round and bright green... Andy decides to investigate this and also feels this would be a nice place to sit!

Finally, Laura finishes cleaning and now it is time to piece everything together... after a forced snap here and there it's done!

We go ahead and start touching the buttons and making them do all their "sounds" because we need to go ahead and get the dogs used to these alien tones! The dogs sit on the kitchen floor looking perplexed and confused. I go ahead and pick up Logan's front paws to show her it's okay to touch, smell or even lick... although Laura has already disinfected everything! Andy follows in suit and they do a thorough investigation even CSI would be proud of.
We went ahead and put the toy, one day I will find out the technical term for this piece of baby equipment, in the den where it could sit so the pups could get used to this foregin object in our humble surroundings. Now all we need is a CD with a baby crying... I can't wait to see the look on their faces when that happens!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Child Who Must Not Be Named...

This past weekend my wife, Laura, and I went on a trip to the Highlands of North Carolina with some of her family. We left on Friday, September 12th, just when the gas crisis began because of Ike. My opinion of gas prices being hiked just because of a hurricane is stupid! But, that is a whole blog in itself. I digress… We were gone only for a short vacation, Friday to Sunday. But, my story is not of the entire vacation, but of one incident that truly sticks out in my mind as both the cutest and saddest moment that I have experienced in a long time. Although, please note: to respect the confidentiality of a certain little boy, who must not be named, I am changing his name so to protect I promise I made not to speak of this incident to anyone.

It was Saturday, and everyone was getting ready to go to dinner.

“Can I use your bathroom to get ready?” asked Laura to her sister Amy.

“Sure!” replied Amy while taking pictures of her son Peter. Peter is a cute, blonde haired boy about to turn four years old. His idea of a fun day consisted of rough housing, riding around on his daddy’s shoulders and, of course, all things Spider-man.

“This is my transformer.” said Peter, while showing me a black race car with purple markings on it.

“Can you turn this into Venom for me?”

“I am not sure,” I said raising my eyebrows to Amy, “but I will certainly try!”

I proceeded to work on the progression of the transformer from car to action villain, but to no avail, I had no idea what I was doing. Any kind of toy that Peter had it had some sort of affiliation to Spider-man.

“He is very loyal to the genre” explained Amy.

“Here this might help,” said Laura while handing me a piece of paper with red writing all over it. She apparently had finished getting ready and was now trying to help with this insufferable toy.

At the top of the piece of paper read “How to transform Venom.”

“Oh great, thanks.” I said in a very sarcastic tone.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate directions. I guess it’s just a guy thing. After about 5-10 minutes of trying to transform this toy I said “I’m sorry Peter, but uncle Eric can’t figure it out!”

“It’s okay.” said Peter “Can aunt Lala do it?”

“I’m sure she can” I replied. “Aunt Lala can do anything!”

“Here, let me try.” said Laura.

I proceeded to take my turn in the bathroom to get ready for dinner.

While I was in the bathroom I could hear outside the door what was going on in the next room.

Peter was giving Aunt Lala and detailed description of what his toy did and showed her the different ways it could stand up and fight other action figures he had.

“And, if it stands up like this” he started “he can battle Spider-man and Sandman” he seemed to explain all this in a manner that said “Oh-my-God-You-Are-Kidding-You-Didn’t-Know-That?”

Laura would just say “that’s cool Peter, wow!!!”

After about 15 minutes in the bathroom I was dressed and ready.

“Wanna go upstairs so we can go?” I said looking at Laura, Peter and Amy. “I’m ready!”

We all trampled up the stairs which looked like it had been trampled on quite a bit throughout the years. The Berber carpet was light beige, but had a couple of stains here and there from all the people who had rented the cabin before our stay there.

“You all ready to go?” called a voice from the top of the stairs. It was Laura’s mom, Carol, who didn’t know we were already on our way up.

So, we all headed, out the big wooden door, to the restaurant. Laura, Amy, Peter and I were all in one car and Laura’s Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-law rode in another. The drive to the restaurant was long and winding and the views were absolutely breathtaking. But, the only thing on Peter’s mind that evening was his toys.

We finally arrived at the restaurant after what seemed hours, but honestly was about 30 minutes, but driving around a curving mountain makes it seem like a lot longer than it actually is.

We all got out of the car and I ran around the other side to help Amy extract Peter from his car seat. “

“Do you need to go to the bathroom?” asked Amy.

“No mommy, I do not need to go to the bathroom.” he said in a very matter-of-fact tone.

Peter is a very well spoken, almost four-year-old, in my opinion. He likes to enunciate his words, although he does get carried away at times and you find yourself with a screwed up look and thinking “what did he say?” Sometimes Amy can’t even decipher his words, but she does what any loving mother would do… she just smiles and says “Yeah! Uh hu!”

I proceeded to pick Peter up in my arms as we walked into the restaurant. One by one we walked through the door and waited to be seated.

The restaurant had a historic feel to it. It felt like we were sitting on a huge open-aired porch. All the tables were round and sitting spoartically on the floor. There was a huge antler-inspired light fixture, which didn’t seem to be working because it failed to give off any light at all. It was a rather mild night when it came to weather. The wind was not cool, but still not hot, it was just like Goldie Locks would of liked it, just right!

“How many in your party?” I heard a woman ask. “Seven adults and two children. We will need a high chair and a booster seat please” said Laura’s sister Jennifer.

Jennifer and Paul, Laura’s sister and brother-in-law, brought their daughter, our niece, Annagrace, along on the trip. Annagrace is a beautiful fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed, slightly temperamental child. She brought along her baby doll, Sammy, to the restaurant and at the table Peter decided he wanted to play with is.

“Nnnnnnnnnnnno!” said Annagrace in all her two-year old glory!

She apparently had no want or need to share her baby doll with Peter, nor did she want to trade for his transformer.

After about ten minutes we all ordered our food and the children proceeded to color and play with their toys. This kept them occupied and happy.

After dinner, everyone sat around stuffed and full. So, it was time for birthday gifts for this dinner was not just a regular dinner, but a birthday dinner for Laura’s mom, Carol. Laura’s family likes to wait at the end of dinner to open gifts, which is opposite of my family, from which we all open our gifts before the feast!

Carol opened her cards and gifts from us all and we headed out of the restaurant. Peter and Annagrace had already been uprooted from the table by both Paul and Bill in order to keep the peace in the open aired eatery.

Laura, Carol and I proceeded out the side entrance to the car. We saw Peter and Annagrace gleefully romping in the gravel parking lot.

“Oh this makes me nervous” said Paul. “All they have to do it trip and you get both crying and a skinned knee.”

“Yes, I can just see it now,” I said. “Which one you think it will happen to first?”

Everyone started to round up the kids so we could head back to the cabin, but there was an issue with Peter. He had a look on his face that read “I’m not happy.” He was frowning, on the verge of tears. Carol, Laura’s mom and Peter’s Nana couldn’t even get him calmed down, although she did figure out the source of the problem.

“Amy,” Carol said “he’s wet his pants.”

I headed over hoping there was something I could do to calm him down. In all the rush to get out of the cabin Peter’s extra clothes had been left and so there was nothing to change him into.

I bent down to his level and said “Peter, are you okay?”

He wouldn’t look at me, but his frown was certainly evident and was so deep that I could feel so bad he was feeling. I took it upon myself to pick him up and decided I was gonna take care of this situation. I felt so bad for him, I knew being a little boy one of the worst and embarrassing things that could happen is to wet you pants.

“In all the excitement he just couldn’t hold it” said Carol. “Are you sure you wanna pick him up?

“He has plenty of clothes back at the cabin” said Laura.

“Yah, I don’t mind, honestly.” I said.

I looked at Amy and said in a low voice “we need to get him out of these wet clothes; he has got to be uncomfortable!!!”

Amy shook her head, yes, in approval.

I went ahead and told Peter what I was about to do and tried to talk to him to get his mind off the situation.

I opened the car door to try and shield him from the public so not to embarrass him anymore than he already was. I had him stand inside the car on the floorboard in front of the seat while I took his wet pants off.

“You know Peter, when we get back to the cabin, we are gonna build a huge fort, okay?! Does that sound fun?” I asked him.

“Yes!” said Peter.

“Mauldin, can you pop the trunk?” I asked.

“”Okay.” Laura said. She and I occasionally share a brain. She proceeded over to the trunk of the car and got out one of the beach towels that we had brought along on the trip just incase we were to go swimming!

“Thanks, sweetheart, you read my mind.” I said.

“You’re doin’ good, Daddio,” said Carol.

“It’s pretty much common sense,” I started! “I was in his situation when I was little.”

We sat Peter in his car seat and covered him up with the blue and orange, Stitch beach towel.

Laura decided she would drive on the way back to the cabin. Peter’s demeanor had completely changed from what is was earlier. So, I turned around in the passenger seat and put my hand on his and said, “Buddy, seriously, it’s okay. It happens to the best of us! We all have accidents. Yours was just today.”

“I know, but I didn’t mean to” said Peter.

“Peter, guess what?” I said. “Uncle Eric has had an accident before too!”

This apparently was exactly what he needed to hear… not to mention his mom was sitting next to him consoling him and making sure he had his T-rex and Transformer toys to get his mind off what had just happened.

“Peter,” I started “don’t worry; this will never be brought up again. We will never tell anyone you did this!”

“The situation that we do not speak of” wispered Laura in a very Harry Potter-esq tone. (see Voldemort.)

“Okay.” said Peter totally convinced.

So, I have upheld my end of the bargin, although, I did tell the story, I did not implicate exactly who it was about.

Besides, One day he will totally look back and laugh!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Water, water, everywhere!

Okay, do I have a story for you!

But, before I do let me just say, when you are forced to use your split-action reflexes, then you can really find humor in this anecdote.

Yesterday, after I got home from work, Laura and I were standing in the kitchen recounting the details of our ever-so hectic days at work. We were having the usual “how was your day honey?” talk.

We fixed a couple of turkey sandwiches and sat at our bar counter to enjoy what dinner we had before Jenn, Laura’s sister, came by to pick her up for the impending PTA meeting.

“Today was really busy and can you believe I have to go back for a PTA meeting?” Laura expressed so joyfully.

“Well, my day was crazy too, and just think, all I was looking forward to was coming home, watching TMZ and being lazy with you on the couch.” I said while standing in front of the sink.

“Oh and don’t forget that we need to take out the trash,” Laura said.

“Oh yah, or our house will end up smelling really bad when we get back.”

Laura and I had planned on going out-of-town, for the weekend, to the mountains, in North Carolina, with her parents, sister’s and brother-in-law.

I remembered, “hey, have you emptied the coffee yet?”

“No,” Laura answered so gracefully while putting down her sandwich.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I can’t eat this,” she said while putting her hand over her mouth, now full of what seemed turkey sandwich. “Baby Skates doesn’t seem to like it.”

I proceeded to go over to our new coffee marker, which we had gotten as a wedding gift, and emptied the old coffee and coffee grounds. I love the smell of coffee, but to think we would get back and in from a weekend and find it was producing new life from mold spores I thought to preserve my love for coffee it might be best to throw it out.

I started to empty it in the sink and pour out the old coffee.

“So, have you finished packing yet?” asked Laura while she watched me smell the nasty old coffee grounds.

“No,” I said while turning on the facet and washing the sink out. “I was gonna do thaAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” A cold blast of water came shooting at my shoulder soaking my gray polo shirt and splattering not just all over my face, but shot clear across the kitchen straight into our den.

My first thought was stop the water from going in my face. I reached out my hand to stop the flow of evil, cold water, but it just squirted it in a different direction.

Why wasn't it stopping it?! Duhhh...

Thankfully it hit the pilar that stands in the middle of room that separates the kitchen and den.

Water was everywhere… all over the kitchen floor, the hardwood floor in the den was thoroughly soaked, the couch, end table, pictures, books, coasters, almost nothing escaped the streaming water flow from our angry sink which did not seem to like being separated from it’s facet counter-part.

Thank the Lord Logan and Andy were out side, or they would have freaked out! Andy would of probably ran in terror!

My instinct was to block the flow with my hand, but immediately remembered Laura telling me how this happened to her when I wasn’t home and she did the same thing before thinking, “turn off the facet!” Brilliant woman!

Thanks to my wife, and my Spider-man like reflexes, I pulled the lever to turn off the water and started the clean-up process.

“Laura, can you run and get me the swiffer?” I asked, ever-so calmly.

I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, stunned. What just happened?!?!?!

I have never felt so stupid in my life, but if it had never happened I would not have had this wonderful story to tell you.

So, moral of story, when water starts coming out of your sink at alarming rates, your hand is not a sufficient enough block.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blogger's Block

I’m sorry that it has taken me so long to write another blog, but honestly there is not much to report!

Although, when my loyal blog fans, all two of you out there, asked me to write another entry who am I to deny you???

It is true though, not much has been happening lately, so I guess I kinda fell into, what I call, blogger’s block… I don’t know if that is a real term or not, but maybe I just made it up?

This past weekend, Labor Day weekend 2008, was a fun time, Laura and I went to Panama City Beach, FL with my family to have a short, but very well-deserved vacay. Went got some sun, ate some overpriced seafood and enjoyed spending quality time with my sister, Mandy, mom and dad, nephew, Everett, brother-in-law, Kelly, and my mom’s friend and my sister’s nanny, Sherrie!

It was a lot of fun and Laura and I had not been on a road trip together probably since our trip to Gatlinburg with her parents. We saw quite a lot of Mormons on that trip, but alas, no Mormons in PCB, although they could have been there, but just out spreading their gospel.

We took off on Friday, August 29th, after work, even though hurricane Gustav was lurking and looming in the Gulf of Mexico. But, thankfully the weather was fair and we didn’t get any ill remnants of Gustav. And, could someone please give Soledad O’Brien a call and tell her how to pronounce “Gustav.” We listened to satellite radio on the way home and she mispronounced the hurricane the whole way.

We had to get back because both Laura and I had to be at work on Tuesday. We got up on Monday and by 10am, est. we were on our way back to Canton.

Thanks to Jenn and Paul, mine and Laura's sister and brother-in-law, for watching the kids for us! (Logan and Andy stayed behind, of course, and were ever-so excited to see us when we got back.)

In other news, our 12-week check up for the baby is coming into view next week! Tuesday, September 9th, we will go and make sure everything is “right as rain” with Baby Skates. I will surely have a more interesting blog entry that day, I promise.

Hope you all are having a great week…