A Busy (and Painful) Weekend

Saturday

Saturday morning, I came home from work and went right to bed. Sam and I had plans to celebrate our anniversary this weekend. Originally, I was going to take her to an amazing Italian place in Troy (about and hour and 15 minutes from our house). After some discussion, we decided that since it was really the only day we had together, and I was going to sleep for part of it, that we should grab dinner somewhere closer. We decided on Outback Steakhouse. Now, Outback was the ONLY chain restaurant we ate at in Florida when we got married. We picked Outback for that reason, and because it was close to a few places we wanted to go to while we were out.

This was the first time we have been out to eat in a restaurant since all the Covid stuff. They did a good job of spreading everyone out. It has been so long since we were out, it was almost awkward. It was nice to have dinner together. It’s really amazing how something so trivial can mean so much. I will never take those little moments for granted….

After we ate, we decided to walk through Barnes and Noble. Ella loves books, so we looked through the various kid books and picked up a new book for her. She loves the Jimmy Fallon books (Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, and Everything is Mama), and Sam found one called “This Is Baby” (which she loves just as much!). I picked up a book for me, too. It was my anniversary present from Sam. She had asked what I wanted and I told her to just get me a gift card. Instead, she went with me and I got to pick out what I wanted (More on that in a few).

With baby #2 on the way, we wanted to stop at Target to see what the double strollers looked like. I never in a million years would have guessed that I would be looking at double strollers! Anyway, they only had one there to look at, which I thought was odd. Sam is all about online shopping, but she’d like to at least see the thing before we buy it. Since they didn’t really have any, we decided to look in the toy aisle for a few things. We bumped into one of our sleep teachers, Angie, and her husband there. It’s been forever since I saw her, and we were just talking about finding a day to get together for coffee. They were out getting presents for grandbabies.

The world had changed. Normally, when I run into someone I know I offer a handshake or hug them. Here we were, all wearing masks, and kind of standing our 6 feet apart. We chatted for a while and then we had to get going because we needed to go pick up Ella from Nana’s house. This is where is was crazy awkward for me … I wanted to reach out and shake Dave’s hand and give Angie a hug, but instead it was kind of a “well….ok…..good to see you …. take care…..so long…” thing. It just didn’t seem right walking away like that. I dislike the new “normal!”

Sunday

Sunday was extra busy! We all got up and had chocolate chip pancakes. Afterward, Sam and I compiled the grocery list and I ventured out to Meijer. I always seem to have to go back to an aisle because I either walked right by something OR I didn’t see it on the list until almost the end of the trip. Ella napped while I was shopping and woke up as I was bringing in the groceries.

The weather was just beautiful. I think it was like 65 degrees. We had bought Ella one of those Cozy Coupe cars with the intention of giving it to her for Easter, but decided that the weather was so nice, we should give it to her Sunday. I’m not sure why, but I thought that it literally just snapped together…..it doesn’t. I had to go get my drill, a screwdriver, and a hammer to put it together. At any rate, She really loved it and I got to push her around the neighborhood in it.

We spent the afternoon outside in her car, in the stroller, going down the slide, and running on the trampoline. Eventually, she started to yawn and I knew it was nap time. Once I laid her down, the real work began for me.

Despite my best attempt to tell Sam that the lights on the house were “Easter Lights,” I took down all the Christmas lights. I can’t complain, and I’m glad I finally had good weather to do it. This year I had strung some up high on the front porch, so I had to drag out the ladder to get to them.

Once I had the lights down, I took the totes back to the basement. While down there, like a typical guy, I noticed this huge plastic house that Sam had in the basement so our nieces could play in it. We had talked about bringing it outside and cleaning it up for Ella. So, while Sam slept for work, and Ella napped, I took it partially apart and brought it upstairs. I had measured it and figured I could get it outside no problem. I got it up the stairs, through the basement door and once at the side door – it had to really yank it out! It was SO snug! I was able to get it outside and get it washed and back together!

After I got it back together, I was back inside making dinner, so Sam had something to take to work.

Needless to say, I was in bed early that night!

My phone sent me a notification that night that said my “panoramic” photo was ready to view. I didn’t take any panoramic pictures while we were outside Sunday. However, my camera took two separate pictures and combined the two and put Ella in the picture twice! At first I thought it was weird, but after looking at it, I think it’s pretty cool!

Two for the price of one….

Monday

Another beautiful day, this time 70 degrees. It was windy, but that didn’t stop us from playing outside. More trips around the neighborhood in her car and in her stroller. Then we played in her house. I’m thinking we need to get a chair or something for her to put in there, because she walks in and really doesn’t know what to do in there.

A Good Read

The book I got for my anniversary is called “100 Bible Verses That Made America.” So far I am enjoying it. It is really amazing to see how people of the past used the Bible and the principles to help shape this country. The only issue I have with the book is that every time it quotes a Bible verse, it quotes it from the NIV version. The NIV version wasn’t even around until the 1970’s. To me, it would seem that they would have used the KJV to quote from. Whenever it quotes a verse, I just grab my KJV and read it from there. Still a very interesting and enlightening read.

A Real Pain in the … Back!

About two weeks ago, I was getting out of bed and kind of felt like my back was tight. Over the next few days, I started to feel like it was even in my hip. I’m really not sure what I did to it. It’s been bugging me and kind of annoying. I’ve taken ibuprofen and such, but it has been getting worse. Monday, I pushed Ella in that car around the neighborhood (which meant I was leaning a bit forward to push her). Then I walked another mile or so with her in the stroller. It felt good to get out and walk! I love walking, but by the time I got closer to home, I could feel like my hip was hurting more. Later, I was feeling pain when I sat on the floor to change diapers. When I got up from bed, I could hardly move and the pain was excruciating.

I had to make an appointment with my doc for a refill on my prescriptions, and I plan on asking her about it when I go in. In the meantime, I have to wait until Thursday morning and these are my friend ….

They don’t help a lot, but they do bring some relief. This morning, when I got up, I was tearing up from the pain. I was trying to load the dishwasher and could hardly bend down. Trying to get pants, socks and shoes on only brought about more pain. I’m gonna try to get in to the chiropractor, too. I’m really hoping it is nothing, but I tend to always think the worst.

I’m off to pop some more ibuprofen…..

Thanks for reading!

“I wish I still had …” (Episode 1)

I-wish

This may (or may not) be the first of a series of blogs.  The idea came to me as I was looking through my blogging notebook this evening.  My notebook contains various scribbles and thoughts that I think may be worthy of a blog.  Sometimes these come from writing prompts, sometimes a fellow blogger’s blog can spawn an idea, and sometimes they come from random memories.

The premise of this idea is a simple one:  “I wish I still had (fill in the blank).”  The reason I think this could be a series is that I think there are a lot of things that could fill the “blank”.  I am sure that you could do the same.  As you read the statement, you probably had an item that immediately came to mind!  Here is my first “blank”…

1988

Back in the late 80’s there was a store at Eastland Mall called Suncoast Motion Picture Company.  I used to visit it all the time!  They had all kinds of music, movies, and memorabilia.  This was back when you could buy movies on VHS and BETA tapes!  I could spend hours in there.  I would compare it to an FYE or Barnes and Nobel.  They always had movie and TV themed shirts (much like what you would find a Spencer Gifts), books about movies, and other entertainment oriented items.

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It was at Suncoast, that I purchased the first of many Three Stooges VHS tapes.  Up to this point, if I wanted to watch the Stooges, I had to stay up until midnight to catch them on Channel 50, or rent them on the 8mm film projector from the public library.  You could video tape them from the TV, but many times they played commercials in between shorts.  With the ones I bought from Suncoast, I could watch them unedited and uninterrupted!

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One of the things that Suncoast had were these Three Stooges collectible dolls that were made by Hamilton Gifts.  The detail of the faces was just amazing!  I don’t recall how much they cost, but I remember asking for them for Christmas that year.  I remember that year, my parents got me the Moe doll.  If memory serves me correctly, my aunt got me the Curly doll.  I went and bought the Larry doll with my own money.  They stood proudly on the shelf in my bedroom for years.  When I moved out, they stood on a bookshelf in my apartment.  They were always out on display.

When I got married the first time, they were still on display in the “entertainment room” which is where I kept my many books, videos, and our computer.  Eventually, I was told to “find a place for them” outside of the house.  I had a couple radio jobs which allowed me to display them in my office.  Eventually, after losing another radio job, they came back home with me, where I was forbidden to put them on display.

Eventually, I was told by my ex that we were having a garage sale.  I was to go through my stuff and we were selling it.  Some things I didn’t mind parting with – the VHS movies I had on DVD were an easy purge.  Little by little, she kept pulling stuff out that she wanted gone.  There were things that I ended up selling that I truly regret (my first DJ rig, for example).

As the day for the garage sale drew closer, things kept getting added to the “sell” pile. When I saw my Stooge dolls on there, I blew up!  I was NOT going to sell them.  She insisted that I was!  It became the classic “they go or I go” argument.  In her magical and totally narcissistic way, she used her power of manipulation to explain I didn’t need them.  By selling them, “we’d have money to pay bills and get ahead”.  The sentimental value didn’t matter to her.  I would say that 75% of the stuff sold at the garage sale was mine.

I remember the person who bought them.  I purposely priced them high in hopes that they wouldn’t sell.  The woman dickered with me on the price and talked about how her grandson loved the Stooges and so on and so forth, which made it a little easier to let them go.  I can still remember that gut feeling when she walked out with them.  Instant regret!

Fill in the blank – I wish I still had those Three Stooges Dolls.

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I know what you are thinking – they are dolls!  What the hell would I do with them today?!  I don’t know.  I really don’t even know where I would display them.  All I know is that they meant a lot to me, and I wish I still had them – for sentimental reasons.

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A good book, a great compliment, and bad dreams.

Intro

5-Days

It’s been 5 days since I have had a chance to sit and blog.  I have been able to jot things in my notebook, but just never had the chance to write.  This blog, like the last one, is a collection of thoughts from the past 5 days.

A Good Book

I have a habit of going to that store and snapping pictures of books that I want to read in the future.  Every now and then I have to scroll through the many pictures on my phone to remember them.  I need to add them to my “Good Reads” app, so they are all in one place, but I never seem to find the time to do that.

My wife and I tend to read very different books. I read a lot of history themed books, as well as mysteries, thrillers, and biographies.  She reads more Jodi Picoult type stories.  I had received a Barnes and Noble gift card some time ago, and my wife and I took a walk through the store to see what I might want to spend it on.  While walking through the “New in Paperback” section, I saw one that caught my eye.

I have read a few books that used World War II and German Concentration Camps as a setting.  Some were true stories, some were fiction.  When I saw the book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, I picked it up to read what it was about.

tattoo

While the book is a novel, it is based on the true story of a man and woman who met and fall in love while imprisoned at the camp Auschwitz-Berkenau.  The author, Heather Morris, wrote the story after many interviews with Lale Sokolov.  The novel is based on his story.  After his wife, Gita passed away, he wanted to share his story.  The result was this book.

I read it knowing that it was a “fictionalized” version of their story.  The author stated that she wrote the story that Lale intended her to write.  Late last year, there was some controversy saying that there were things that were incorrect in the story.  The author again said that she wrote what he told her to write.  None of that takes away from a very powerful story of love and survival.  While I wished for more of an after story, I am excited to hear that there is a sequel due out next month based on one of the other characters in the book – Cilka’s Journey.  I will definitely be reading that one, too.

A Great Compliment

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It’s always great to catch up with an old friend.  It’s even better when you catch up and can talk about the good things going on in your life, instead of the bad.  My friend and I last chatted shortly after I got remarried, so it had been a little while since we chatted.  I was able to talk about my newfound happiness, the positives and positive changes in my life, and, of course, the news that we are expecting a baby in February. After chatting for some time, my friend said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I don’t mean to sound mean or rude, but it is like I don’t even know you anymore!”

How could I take this as mean or rude?  I knew exactly what my friend meant.  I was a different person, a couple years ago.  It always seemed like I was complaining when we talked.  I was forever venting about the misery and worry in my life.  I was in a very deep depression.  I was SO unhappy.  I was struggling with everything and anything.  I was blaming myself for so many things! I took the blame for almost everything.  I had given up.

“It’s like I don’t even know you anymore!”  No – you don’t!  I am NOT that person anymore.  I don’t focus on negatives.  There is a smile in my voice when I talk about my life.  I have been blessed with an amazing soul mate who has changed my life in so many ways.  I don’t think you are mean or rude – instead, I thank you for the amazing compliment.  A compliment which proves that it’s not just me who sees the positive changes in my life – it’s others, too!

“When someone pays you a compliment – don’t disagree.  Accept it with grace, and most importantly, BELIEVE what they say!”

Bad Dreams

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It has been some time since I have had a nightmare.  Last night, I had a few!  I probably should have wrote them all down, because I have forgotten some of them.  I know I woke up at least 6 times in a 7 hour period.  With every wake up, I got more and more annoyed.

I often try to think about why I dreamt about something.  Sometimes, I can make a connection to something from the previous day.  For the life of me, I have no idea why I dreamt about what I did.  In the first dream, I was standing in a house looking out a window.  I was staring outside at an older car, possibly a Chevy Caprice.  Someone is standing next to it about to break into it or something and I am trying to yell out the window – I was doing everything I could to try to scream something at the person – but I could not make a sound.  I woke up in the middle of those non-existent screams.  I had only been asleep for about an hour.

In one dream, I am watching TV and I hear gunfire outside.  The windows around me begin to shatter as bullets break through them.  On the TV, I see the house I am in (it’s not my current one) on the news with “Breaking News” about a standoff in a local neighborhood.  I can see police outside the one side of the house and when two men jump through the window into the house I woke up.  (This dream may have stemmed from a radio show I heard on my way home.)

The final dream I remember involved me being chased by someone.  I don’t even know why I was being chased.  It was weird because the scenery around me changed often.  I started running through a neighborhood.  I then was running on a dirt road, through a shopping mall, and eventually I was running on the beach.  As I was running through the sand, I could feel myself sinking deeper into the sand until I couldn’t move my legs.  I was struggling to get my legs and feet out of the sand and they wouldn’t budge.  I woke up with Sam’s leg on top of mine.

On days where I have to work, I hate when I keep waking up.  I only had two cups of coffee last night and I was done with them by 3am.  I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary (which has led to weird dreams in the past) and was tired enough that I should have been able to sleep right through.  I didn’t.  I know better than to let it bug me, because the more you focus on how you need to sleep, the more it keeps you awake (at least that is the way it works for me).  Hoping that tomorrow’s sleep is a whole lot better.

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Tune(s) Tuesday – “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Then They Do”

Let me preface this blog by saying I had an absolutely amazing Father’s Day Weekend!  Friday, I spoke with someone about some future possibilities (a future blog), Saturday I got the best unexpected surprise (which is another future blog), and Sunday, I spent time with my sons.  Past Father’s Day’s we have gone to ball games, the zoo, Outdoor Adventures, etc… This Father’s Day was a bit more low key.  We went to the movies together and saw this Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie  (which despite knowing a thing about Pokemon, I thought was a good film).  Afterward, we went to the Sloan Museum in town to see the Robot Zoo exhibit.  We also spent a little time in Barnes and Noble (getting ideas for my youngest’s birthday and checking out what they had on vinyl.

While I sat there waiting for the movie to start, I was looking at my sons.  They are out of school for the summer and they will be in 12th and 7th grades next year.  It is almost unreal how fast time has flown by.  Today’s tunes are fantastic songs that are great not only they tie in with Father’s Day, but they are a reminder to enjoy every moment – because time waits for no one!

It Won’t Be Like This For Long – Darius Rucker

This song was a hit, despite the bad reviews it received in industry magazines.  I always liked it, probably because I could relate to how fast my kids were growing up.

He didn’t have to wake up
He’d been up all night
Lying there in bed listening
To his newborn baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It’s gonna be OK
It won’t be like this for long
One day we’ll look back laughing
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

 

Four years later ’bout four thirty
She’s crawling in their bed
And when he drops her off at pre-school
She’s clinging to his leg
The teacher peels her off of him
He says, “What can I do?”
She says, “Now don’t you worry
This will only last a week or two”

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon you’ll drop her off
And she won’t even know you’re gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

Someday soon she’ll be a teenager
And at times he’ll think she hates him
Then he’ll walk her down the aisle
And raise her veil

 

But right now she’s up and crying
And the truth is that he don’t mind
As he kisses her goodnight
And she says her prayers
He lays down there beside her
‘Til her eyes are finally closed
And just watching her it breaks his heart
‘Cause he already knows
It won’t be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah this phase is gonna fly by
So he’s trying to hold on
‘Cause it won’t be like this for long
It won’t be like this for long

 

Then They Do – Trace Adkins

This is the same kind of song as the one above.  What I love about this one is the “Twilight Zone”-ish ending to it.  What I mean by that is that as parents, sometimes we just wish our kids will grow up – and then they do.  You get what you wish for, but sometimes it takes getting the wish before you realize it is not what you wan. It’s a reminder that sometimes all those little things that maybe drove us batty, are the things we really love about our kids.  Time moves forward – and moments come and go.

This can also be said of loved ones who are no longer here.  The stories that my grandma and my mother told over and over – at the time I remember thinking “this story again?!”  Now, I’d give anything to hear them tell those stories again.  Treasure each and every moment with your kids!  Enjoy even the things that drive you crazy – because soon, they grow up and you’ll want those moments back.

In the early rush of morning,
Trying to get the kids to school:
One’s hanging on my shirt-tail,
Another’s locked up in her room.
And I’m yelling up the stairs:
“Stop worrying ’bout your hair, you look fine.
“Then they’re fightin’ in the backseat,
And I’m playing referee.
Now someone’s gotta go,
The moment that we leave.
And everybody’s late,
I swear that I can’t wait till they grow up.

 

Then they do, and that’s how it is.
It’s just quiet in the mornin’,
Can’t believe how much you miss,
All they do and all they did.
You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
Then they do.

Now the youngest is starting college,
She’ll be leavin’ in the Fall.
And Brianna’s latest boyfriend,
Called to ask if we could talk.
And I got the impression,
That he’s about to pop the question any day.

I look over at their pictures,
Sittin’ in their frames.
I see them as babies:
I guess that’ll never change.
You pray all their lives,
That someday they will find happiness.

Then they do, and that’s how it is.
It’s just quiet in the mornin’,
Can’t believe how much you miss,
All they do and all they did.
You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
Then they do.

No more Monday PTA’s,
No carpools, or soccer games.
Your work is done.
Now you’ve got time that’s all your own.
You’ve been waitin’ for so long,
For those days to come.

Then they do, and that’s how it is.
It’s just quiet in the mornin’,
Can’t believe how much you miss,
All they do and all they did.
You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
Then they do.

Ah, then they do.