The Happy Wife was up in Nashville last week hob-nobbing with the stars of Country Music. she had a blast. See the new photo album, "Nashville!" Yes, that's Keith Urban.
My wife Dee Dee has completely lost it! Now she's sitting at the computer hitting the refresh button on this post because she wants her picture to come up when people Google Keith Urban's, instead of Nicole's. Sheesh, give me a break! She's going to be hopping mad when she sees this, but, hey! I'm the one who's getting dissed here dammit.
She's got really great teeth, doesn't she? And a lot of them, too.
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? e must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. " They really should get lives.
" He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.
I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came! , and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! " He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown , and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.
" Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story." I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.
Never underestimate the power of y our actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God in others.
"Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
I can't help but wish I'd been a better friend to my alcoholic friend Carl, may he rest in peace. I'll try to do better in the future. So to Ken, Mavich, Bill, Buzz, Nate, Schnidley, and my new Women's Auxiliary buddies, thanks and I'll be there for you.
Almost a year ago I put up a post about my kids riding in the carts at Home Depot. For some reason, I keep getting comments to the old post, about once a month. Interesting. I wonder what search engine entry keeps bringing people to that post. Here's a copy of it:
I owe that guy an apology
I was at Home Depot the other night with my 6 year old daughter and, as usual, she was riding on the cart. She loves going to Home Depot with me because riding on the cart is fun. I like having her with me because she's fun, and she's interested, and of course, because I love her.
Then the well-trained Home Depot guy comes up to me and says she needs to get off the cart. And I say back to him "It's all right. She can ride." And he says, "No, sir, she really has to get off the cart." Firm, but polite. Not rude in any way.
And that's when I went off on the guy. Not sure what all I said, but I do remember saying "Weren't you ever a kid?", and "I don't care about Home Depot's lawyers!" I wasn't, remarkably, profane, but I was pissed and I think I had some Bill Cowher style spittle flying there for a minute. I shouldn't have been quite so forceful with the guy, who was just doing his job, but really!
I am the DAD. I will decide what level of safety is appropriate for my children.
If I say it's OK, then it's OK. Back off, quickly.
There are way too many lawyers and they need to be ignored and defied more.
There are too many risk managers and we've given them too much power. Take it back.
You might get hurt in life -- this does not give you any kind of legal standing whatsoever.
If I see that guy today when I go to get some ogee baseboard to replace the termite-eaten baseboard in my bedroom I'll apologize to him. I'll also tell him to tell his manager to back off on this one -- when we go back to Home Depot my daughter will be riding in the cart whether they like it or not.
Little did I realize the controversy I was stirring up. Invariably, the comments I receive are much like this most recent one:
You are the dad so ACT like one! you should be helping to prevent your kid from getting injured. Not a very pleasant site [sic] for your daughter to be going to prom some years later with a huge scar on her lip or missing an eye. grow up and act like the adult rather than letting your child go wild. ESPECIALLY at home depot of all places!!! you types piss me off when I go in there and you pay no mind to your children especially since they have no concept on [sic] danger. I was a kid once and got hurt plenty of times but not under my dad's supervision.
Hmmm. These people, always men so far, always miss the point -- It's up to me to set the standards for my children, not Home Depot, its lawyers or its risk management department. And it's not up to them, either. Hey, I'm a law & order kind of guy, but respect for excessive authority can be taken too far. All these would-be principals will suck the all the fun out of life, if we let them.
And besides, how dangerous is riding in a cart, anyway? Is it more dangerous than riding a bike or a scooter or a skate board or snow boarding or surfing? Is it more dangerous than riding in a car on US 19? Or climbing a tree? What is wrong with you people? How do you plan to teach your kids courage and joi de vie if you never let them do anything that might scratch their beautiful little faces?
Mind your own business.
UPDATE: a picture of my daughter after last night's zip line accident, which had her flopped on her back in 8" of decomosing seaweed goo. She was not a happy camper.
Note to self: start buying stuff, especially more ammo. Mmmmmmm, ammo!
Underwear (4) and for girls, bras (2) Socks (4 pairs) T-shirts (4) Jeans (2) Sweatshirt & pants (1) Raincoat / poncho (summer) Overcoat, hat and gloves (winter) Spare pair of shoes / sandals / sneakers / boots Towels (2) (For my Readers in colder climes, I cannot recommend these boots highly enough: light, easy to put on / take off with gloves, and my feet have never been cold with them on. They last about 4-5 years—with heavy usage—and I’m about to order my third pair.)
B. Carry bag / backpack
Games, CD players and CDs Spare batteries – and when those batteries run down, that’s it 2 or 3 books + U.S. Army Survival Manual Laptop computer & car power supply
Toiletries bag (inside the backpack):
Toothbrush Toothpaste Deodorant Sanitary stuff (girls) Prescription medications Tylenol etc. + Toothache remedy Sunburn lotion Shaving gear (Our kids would also carry their handguns and ammo inside their backpacks, rather than strap them on.)
C. Survival Items (ours are in the Grab ‘N Go Bags)
Medical (in Ziploc bags):
Advil (sunburn, minor pains) Aspirin (“heart meds”) Tylenol-3 (Rx painkiller) Benadryl Antacids Immodium Potassium Iodide Neosporin 10% hydrocortisone ointment Antiseptic wipes or bottle of Curel Antiseptic soap in its own baggie Hydrogen peroxide / disinfectant Calamine lotion Band-Aids Small roll bandage Ace bandages (knee, ankle) Curved sewing needle Sewing needles & cotton thread 10’ nylon thread Scalpel blades Tweezers Tampons (for wound care) Sponges Eyewash / eye drops Soft earplugs
Large black plastic garbage bags Ziploc bags Insect repellant wipes and sprays Toilet paper
Signaling & Navigation:
Emergency radio Mirror Whistle (or one of these combos) Small compass Large Compass Maps (for the 100-mile radius around your house, get one which shows all the small backroads and country roads, because major highways are likely to be parking lots) Walkie-talkies & two sets of spare AA batteries Pencils / pens Sharpies Paper Flourescent orange or pink ribbon Red spray paint
100’ parachute cord 200’ twine Ropes Tie-downs Duct tape Zip ties Assorted rubber bands Safety pins Red electrical tape Superglue
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.