Let me be “brief” …

Since I began writing this blog, I have stated that “change is good”, and I mean that. However, I will say that I am a …

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As a “creature of habit” I tend to order the same things at restaurants, I like my coffee the same way every day, and I drive the same route to work each day. I am very habitual.

For example, I HATE shopping for shoes! Unless, of course, I find a pair that I like. Case in point: I found a pair of New Balance that were very comfortable. When they wore out, I went to the store and found the exact style and bought them again! When those wore out, I went and was told that the particular style I had been wearing for almost 2 years was no longer being made. The rest of that shopping trip was hell for my wife. She watched me as I tried on pair after pair and walked around the store. It was awful. I finally decided on a pair that was close to the ones I had worn previously. I found out that they were the model that replaced the ones I was wearing. No wonder I liked them!

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Some might say I am OCD about certain things, and that may be true. I’m not sure why that is, but a friend who is into astrology told me it is because I am a Taurus.

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This story may not exactly fit into the “safe and settled” category, but I share it because it is as silly as my shoe story and may give you another chuckle.

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My wife loves to shop at Old Navy. She always seems to have “points” and discounts. In preparation for delivering the baby, she needed new slippers and a robe to take to the hospital – she ordered them online from Old Navy. My boys love graphic T-shirts. For Christmas she ordered them some online from Old Navy. Maternity tops, socks, jeans, hats, etc … she gets them all online from Old Navy. It is not uncommon for her to say something like “I just bought $150 worth of stuff from Old Navy, and with my points and discounts, I got it all for $39! She’s amazing when it comes to that stuff!!

So, she recently told me “You need new underwear.” She is not wrong. I do. I planned on going to the store and buying my usual Hanes Boxer Briefs. She asked if I wanted her to order me some from Old Navy. I told her “No. They are not Hanes. I like my Hanes. I’d rather you not waste money on something that I know I am not going to be comfortable in!” She basically said, “Ok,” and left me alone.

For Christmas, she bought some boxer briefs for the boys (cause they needed some). I was folding laundry and mentioned that they boys liked them. She said “You would too, if you’d let me buy you some.” I went off on my rant about not wanting anything but what I normally wear and thought she’d let it go. She basically talked me into letting her order a pack, with the understanding that she would send them back if I didn’t like them.

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Tuesday the boxer briefs arrived. I decided to humor my wife and grabbed a new pair to put on after I showered. To my surprise, I found them extremely soft and comfortable. Comfortable, as a matter of fact, does not seem to really even describe how much I liked them. After I showered Wednesday, I chose to put on another pair of these Old Navy boxer briefs and my wife commented “Two days in a row?! I guess you like them!” Feeling stupid for not allowing her to buy them earlier, and at the same time, not wanting her to “win” this battle entirely, I said, “The fly is a bit higher on these, I’ll have to get used to it….” and ended the conversation.

So what is the lesson learned here? Change is good – especially when you are changing your underwear!

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Tune Tuesday – The Streetbeater (aka The Sanford & Son Theme)

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Tune Tuesday returns today in honor of it being the 48th anniversary of the premier of one of my favorite TV shows, Sanford and Son!  It debuted on NBC January 14, 1972 and starred Redd Foxx as junkman Fred G. Sanford and Demond Wilson as his son, Lamont.  The show ran until March of 1977.  It aired for six seasons and was a top ten show for the first five seasons it aired.

The theme song was released on Quincy Jones’ 1973 album “You Got It Bad Girl” and was released as a single.  The song never released Billboard status when it was released and actually only reached #294.  However, in a Rolling Stone reader poll, it ranked as the 9th favorite TV theme song.

How can you NOT dig this funky jam??!!

Grab Grady, Bubba, Leroy and Skillet and crank it up in honor of a very funny show!

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33 Days – ish

The Countdown Continues ….

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As of today, we are 33 days away from the baby’s due date. Sam is 35 weeks (and three days) along. It’s hard to believe that we are that close! At our OB/GYN appointment on Friday, he grabbed the ultrasound wand and said he wanted to see if she was “getting into position.” He placed it on Sam’s belly and basically said, “Where is she?” We watched the screen, wondering ourselves. He found her, low and in position. He told us that she had dropped and was pretty much ready to come whenever she felt like it!

I’ve been spending some time in the book that they gave us in our childbirth classes.

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In flipping through the pages, there are a lot of things to remember, that I will probably forget! Remember, I’ve never had to go through the “natural” thing before, because both of my sons were born via C-section. Water breaking, counting contractions, and so many other things are all new to me. Even the teacher of the class said “This class is pretty much for the birthing coaches!” I’ve coached T-ball before, but I am sure this is fairly different, except for that both need a catchers mitt…I think.

We have some things in our hospital bag, so I guess that’s a good thing! There is a checklist and as I went through it with Sam, there was a lot of “we’re going to get that this weekend” and “we should get that in order”. I still need to download a “Contraction Counting” App on my phone. It is an app that when a contraction starts, you hit “start” and when it ends, you hit “stop”. It calculates how far apart they are and basically tells you “Get to the hospital, dummy!”

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Baby Bets

Sam told me that even though the baby is due on February 16 (my grandpa’s birthday), she would love for her to be born on the 20th. 2-20-2020. Cool? Sure it is! I, however, think she will be here earlier than that. Sam asked for a date. I really didn’t have one, so I opted for 2-2-2020. Still the same number of 2’s in there. We then went to Facebook. I basically asked for folks to tell us when THEY thought she might arrive (and for duplicate dates – we asked for a weight to break any tie).

The response was overwhelming. Many friends offered their picks for Ella’s birthday. Basically, I found that:

  • More people picked Sam’s choice than mine.
  • The earliest guess – is TODAY (1/14)!
  • The latest guess is February 27.
  • The most chosen day is Valentine’s Day (I hope it isn’t. I kinda want her to have her own day)
  • Only two people picked her actual due date as being her arrival day.

It’s been fun to see how our friends are excited for this. A few of them actually wrote back and changed dates or weights citing reasons for the changes. It’s like betting in Vegas!!

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What does the correct winner receive? A Facebook and blog mention and “something cheap from me. Like a cup of coffee.” HA!

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Keg, Cards, and Diapers

So, I guess this is a thing – diaper parties. A week from Saturday (I still have to send out Facebook invites), my brother in law and sister in law are letting a bunch of my friends come over to their house to drink beer, eat, play cards, watch sports, play video games, and basically “be guys”. The only thing the guys have to bring is a bag/box of diapers for the baby.

I am always looking for an excuse to hang out with my friends, so I am hoping that many can make it. Many of my friends live out of town, and some are a bit closer (about an hour away). It’s been quite a while since the gang has got together, so I am looking forward to the possibility of them all coming and hanging out.

A quick look online and there are some funny names for it on diaper party invites:

  • Huggies for Chuggies
  • Pints, Pizza, and Pampers
  • Pampers and Poker
  • Please bring diapers. They are the Poo-fect gift!
  • Diapers for dad
  • Cover my baby’s rear and enjoy some FREE beer!

The beer will be free. Maybe that’s all I need to get them to show up?

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One guy posted his haul from his diaper party in the picture above. I guess his friends feel he’ll need the booze to cope! LOL

A Puzzling Blog

I remember loving when a school assignment involved some sort of puzzle.  I remember crosswords that were made up of that week’s vocabulary or spelling words.  I also remember math assignments that had a riddle.  As you answered the math problems, the answers corresponded with letters that you’d fill in, and it would eventually give you the answer to the riddle.

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I have loved puzzles for as long as I can remember.  My mom used to do Word Search Puzzles.  There was a book of them, as I remember, up at my grandma’s place in Caseville.  You’d find the word and draw a big circle around it.

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Speaking of Caseville, my brother and I always seemed to go to this one place in town and get these invisible ink books full of puzzles.  You ran this pen over answers, letters, and such and solve puzzles.

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I don’t remember how old I was when I discovered Games Magazine.  I used to buy it all the time.

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At first I did the word searches, the cartoon puzzles involving puns, and eyeball benders, which were usually pictures of something familiar taken really close up and you had to guess what it was.  Then I tried my hand at crosswords.  I wasn’t too good at those.  I was, however, good at crosswords that were TV themed.  In other words, the one that could be found in the back of my grandma’s TV Guide.  I eventually stumbled on my favorite collection of crossword puzzles in this monthly book –

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The TV Guide Crosswords book had “Classic” puzzles from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  They also had themed puzzles, with clues specific to certain TV shows, and new puzzles.  I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was when they stopped publishing this book!

Once I started doing more crosswords, I ventured into regular crosswords, but never did all too well with them.  Games Magazine had a very cool crossword-type puzzle where the clues were in the grid called Pencil Pointers.  I always loved doing those – despite the fact that I never really finished them.

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I was reminded of one of my all time favorite puzzles a few weeks ago, when they were giving out free Sunday newspapers at the grocery store down the street.  At work that Sunday night, I pulled out the comics to see what old favorites were there.  They have an entire section of puzzles there with crosswords, Jumble, and others.  There, in the middle of the page, was the Wonderword.  That brought back a ton of memories!

The Wonderword was a word search puzzle, similar to the one I mentioned earlier.  The difference is that instead of circling the entire word, you circle each letter of the word, like this:

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After you have found all the words, there are letters left uncircled.  You start in the first row and write each of the remaining letters down, in order, and they will spell a word (usually something to do with the theme of the puzzle).

I remember my grandma doing the Wonderword every Sunday.  Sometimes we’d come over and she’s say she couldn’t find a word or two, and have me look for it.

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I remember when I had a paper route for The Detroit News, I’d always be sure to grab an extra set of the comics for myself, so I could do the puzzle and see if grandma and I got the same answer!  LOL – of course, we did!  It was the same puzzle!!!

It may seem silly, but as I sat and did the Wonderword that was in the paper, I felt like a 10 year old kid again.

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It was so much fun, I will probably make it a point to get a Sunday paper more frequently!  I’ll save coupons for my wife, and I’ll do this silly puzzle … or as I call it “a workout for my brain”!

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A Novel Idea

One of my favorite places to hang out is the library.  Last week, my oldest son asked if we could go there so he could look up some things for a homework project.  While he was working on that, I naturally started browsing.  I always start in the New Fiction/New Non-Fiction section.  By doing this, I have stumbled onto some books that I may never have read (I love to do this at the book store, too!).

While looking at the new titles on the book spines, one jumped out at me – “Marley”.  Two things come to mind when I hear “Marley”: (1) Marley and Me (the movie about a dog) and (2) Jacob Marley from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (which I just read for the holiday).  I picked up the book and saw that surrounding the title were links of chains.  Marley’s Ghost in Dickens’ story appears weighed down by chains.

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As you can see by the cover, the book is indeed about Jacob Marley.  I read that this author, Jon Clinch, also wrote a “back story” to Huckleberry Finn, which focused on Huck’s father.  This backstory, gives new light to the story we all know so well.  That is what this book does, as well.  In Dickens’ tale, we don’t know much about Jacob Marley.

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We know that he was Scrooge’s business partner and that he is forced to walk the earth bearing the chains he forged in life.  But what led him to this fate?  Why is Ebenezer Scrooge the way he is?  This book tells us.  I am only a few chapters in, but am enjoying it so far.

It’s been done before – many times

This is not a new concept.  There have been many books, movies, and TV shows that explored how well known characters became the way they are.  Fans of the TV show Taxi may remember a flashback scene where Reverend Jim was drug free!  Jack Benny did many shows telling the story of how he met members of his cast.  The TV show How I Met Your Mother used this entire premise for the entire series.

It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.  I loved the book, and loved the movie trilogy.  The novel was published in 1969, and the film was released in 1972.

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Marlon Brando played Vito Corleone, the head of the Corleone Crime family.

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Two years later, in 1974, The Godfather Part II was released in theaters.  It consisted of flashbacks of how Vito became the Don.  The role was played by Robert DeNiro.

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But what about other characters?  Ed Falco’s 2012 novel “The Family Corleone” tells us.

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The book is based on an unproduced screenplay that Mario Puzo had written.  It gives us a look at some of the minor characters, like Luca Brasi, and how they come to know the Don and how they join the family. A couple books that “fill in the gaps” between the Godfather movie trilogy came out in 2004 (The Godfather Returns) and 2006 (The Godfather’s Revenge) written by Mark Winegardener.

Good characters – Good Stories

When we come to love good characters, we tend to want to know more about them.  We want to see them or read about them in another story or adventure.  Perhaps that why there are so many books that feature a star character (like Alex Cross, or Cotton Malone) or movie sequels (like Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Toy Story).  In the 60’s and 70’s, many TV shows had novels or short stories based on characters (like Get Smart, Kojak, Columbo, and countless Star Trek books).

I LOVE the concept of exploring a well known character and shedding light on their back story. I am hoping this book on Jacob Marley does not disappoint.

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Ice, Ice … Maybe

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“Meteorologists are the only profession where you get paid to guess and be wrong every day!”

I have no idea who is responsible for the above quote, or the many variations of it, but it is SO true!  About 5 days ago, they started talking about a “major storm” that would bring snow, rain, and ice.  This storm was “capable of causing power outages that could last more than 72 hours”!  As we got closer to the storm hitting, the predictions became worse.  There was talk of anywhere from a half inch to an inch of ice or more being possible.

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Meteorologists were all over it.  This storm was to begin moving in Friday night and continuing into Saturday.  We were to get tons of rain (which we did), and there was going to be lots of flooding (which there was), and by late Saturday the winds were going to pick up and turn the water to ice.  That ice on trees and power lines, would cause “massive power outages” and lots of damage.

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Before picking up my sons on Thursday, I stopped for gas.  The place was nuts!  People were lined up, filling gas cans, propane tanks, and their vehicles.  The workers were worried that they were going to run out of gas because so many people were coming to get it.

We stopped at the store to get some groceries.  As you can imagine, everyone was out trying to stock up in case they were “iced” in.  Our stove is electric, so we altered our normal grocery list and got stuff that we knew we could make on the grill outside, or stuff that we could easily throw together without having to cook. We got milk and cereal, bread and lunch meat, and stuff that we could throw in a cooler if we lost power. We also made sure to have flashlights and candles ready.  We also grabbed some water, just in case. We weren’t the only ones….

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Around 11am Saturday, the State Police were all over social media telling people to stay off the roads unless it was an emergency.  The rain was to start changing to sleet and ice around 2pm.  I texted my ex to see if she wanted me to bring the boys home early so that neither of us would have to venture out on Sunday morning.  I hated to cut the time with them short, but at least they wouldn’t be out in a car on icy roads.  They were back home by 3pm.

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Did we get ice – yes.  Was it a lot?  Not really.  Snow ended up covering most of it.  Kudos to the folks who took care of the roads.  Local roads still had some snow on them, but the expressways were clear.  The funniest thing I saw when I woke up for work was this:

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This happens so much that I wonder if the meteorologists are in cahoots with the local grocery stores.  “We really need to get rid of all this bread, milk, and eggs…..can you whip up a nice winter storm to help us move it off the shelves?!” With all the modern technology, you would think that the predictions would be more accurate.  Obviously not.

The last weather man I trusted was Sonny Elliot!  He was a fan favorite here in Michigan. He did weather on radio and TV for 70 years!

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He made up words like “Cloggy” which was a combination of Foggy and Cloudy.  Clousy was Cloudy and Lousy.  Huggy was Humid and Muggy.  His forecasts were full of silliness and jokes.  He’d say things like: “Today will be as pleasant as diaper rash,” “The storm is as suspicious as a dermatologist with acne,” and “Driving will be as hazardous as tap dancing in a canoe!”

I digress.  Let me wrap up by saying that I am glad that we didn’t get as much as they predicted.  I am also glad that we didn’t lose power.  While I enjoy cooking on the grill, I’d much rather do it during the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend or Foe?

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So this weekend, I had two things happen that made me think, then chuckle, then I smiled, reminded of just how good things are in my life.  First, I was out at the store and I saw someone who is a mutual friend of my ex and me.  I wasn’t going to go out of my way to say hello, and I guess I didn’t need to.  You see, as soon as this person saw me, and made eye contact, they immediately looked the other way and walked away as fast as they could.

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As I said, first it made me think:  She’s done what all narcissists do – told a bunch of lies about me and got this person to believe them.  Second it made me chuckle – we used to be good friends.  They have chosen to believe the lies and had the perfect opportunity to ask me about them to my face, and decided to just run away.  Finally, I smiled.  I don’t need people like that in my life!  Go ahead and believe whatever you want.  I feel sorry for you.  You, too, are caught up in the self pity party and in the fantasy story that has been told over and over to make her look good and me look bad.

The second thing that happened was via Facebook.  It’s no secret that when I was in the process of making positive changes in my life, I went through my list of Facebook friends and deleted many people.  I would say 80% of those people were people who were mutual friends of my ex and me.  I knew that those particular people would be people who, if given the choice, would chose to remain friends with her, instead of me.  No loss, really.

So this weekend I get a friend request from one of those mutual friends who I deleted.  Like the first incident, it made me think – Now why on earth would they be sending me a friend request years later?  I was never really that close with that person.  Why all of a sudden? I was really thrown for a loop.  Again, it made me chuckle – see, I recently took the deleting of friends a step further and “blocked” certain people (including a significant other), and so her spies can’t really snoop around on my page anymore.  Then, I smiled again.  It’s really funny to see just how her network of spies is trying to get information to bring back to her.

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The narcissist is manipulative, controlling, jealous, never takes responsibility, is angry and full of rage, shifts blame, and plays themselves as the victim.  They will use whoever they can to get what they want.  They tell stories and falsehoods to get someone on their side, so they can use them for their own reasons.  They live to take joy from others, especially others who they want to control.

To person number one – have a nice life.  I’m here when you are ready to hear MY side of things.

To person number two – Friend Request Denied.