23 June 2012

Cover up!

I'm beginning to see where these things make sense
So the Boy and I had a chance to go the Travelers Championship today.  It's being played at a nearby TPC course and to say that the Boy was excited would essentially be the understatement of the year.  His love for golf has become all-encompassing.  It was really fun to spend the better part of the day with him, seeing him completely enthralled by the game he loves.

It's been a warm, no, really hot, week here in New England.  Ugly hot.  And when it gets ugly hot, the ugly comes out.  I do not understand this horrific phenomenon.  But I think it can be summed up in a post on Facebook I sent from the course earlier today:

To the lady in front of me at the Travelers Championship in the tank top and raging case of back acne, cover up! A grateful gallery, and nation for that matter, thanks you!

I'm not kidding about the bacne, it was awful.  Why on earth would you have it on display when it's at the peak of its anger?  Why, I ask you?!  Anyway, this tank topped travesty wasn't the worst of what was on display today.  In some cases, I was embarrassed and in other cases, I felt sorry for those people, both male and female, who clearly don't own a mirror or possess a sense of shame decorum.

I get it.  It's summer, the sun is shining and there's something wonderful about the feeling of the sun on skin.  On more than one occasion, I've wanted to peel off my shirt on a hot, sweaty run but the fact that I still possess a decent (and by decent, I mean unnecessary for a man to have) man-boob rack has stopped that urge.  Yes, I have run shirtless a couple of times and I'm sure for those who saw me it was an experience that was as disturbing as it was sad.  Common sense has ruled for me more often than not, reminding me to cover up.

I've said it here before, I'm no prude and certainly no censor.  And I'm far from an arbiter of style.  But I think I know that if your bacne is raging, if your back and arm tattoos went horribly, horribly wrong, if you're muffin top is more like souffle oozing over, it's time to cover up.  No, I don't advocate for a nation of burqas.   Let's just take a long look in the mirror before going out.  That is all.

20 June 2012

So we bought a house

After three months of looking on my own, it only took about four days after they got here for the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and the Boy to find what I couldn't: a house.

So we bought a house, thus ending the latest round of "Where Are We Going to Live Now?"  It's good to know we'll be able to officially settle into New England soon.

What to tell you about the new house?  Well, for one, it truly is brand-new.  It doesn't have a sump pump, which we will not miss.  It doesn't have an ancient hot water heater that explodes at will.  It doesn't need the roof or every single window replaced.  Oh, Chicago house, we hardly knew ye!

One thing it is - it's smaller.  We have decided to downsize.  We are losing two rooms of furniture with this move.  It's yet to be determined what will happen to said stuff but it's not fitting in the new house, that much I can tell.  It's interesting to be at this stage of life - we really can downsize.  It's just the Boy now at home and he'll have enough space to call his own.  It's going to be fun to see what we can do in the new house.

Another thing - from what we can tell, we will be pretty much the oldest people in the neighborhood.  Lots of young marrieds and little kids.  I guess it's time to make a choice - grumpy neighbor or the guy who has the cool son and cool wife. I should probably go the cool route, right?

17 June 2012

On Father's Day

A wise man heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke. ~ Proverbs 13:1

It's Fathers Day and I'm most appreciative of the counsel given in the Old Testament scripture noted above.  Truly, wise is the man who listens to the good counsel of his father.  And like the quote to the left, blessed is the man who hears many voices calling him father.

I was blessed to have a father who was wise, gentle, and one who counseled well.  Unfortunately, I probably was more often like the scorner who heard not the rebuke than I should have been.  I am acutely aware of my late father's absence on this day.  I would like nothing more than to be able to pick up the phone and wish him a good day and to thank him one more time for all he did for me.  His love for me, a child who didn't filter (and still doesn't) well the things he said, was unending.  His love for his children and his wife set the bar very high.  I work to get to that level each and every day.  I'm grateful, eternally so, for his example and I'm proud to be a son of John H. Lyons.  He was an amazing father, husband, and man. He taught me well.

I'm grateful for the fact that I am a father.  It's been the best experience of my life. I'm grateful for my children - Our Lady of Awesome, CAL, and the Boy. I'm blessed to have a son-in-law, Awesome, who comes from a long line of exemplary fathers and it's so good to see how he cares for my daughter.  I'm even more grateful for their mother, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. My children are who they are because of her.  For that, they should be grateful. Had it all been up to me, I'd have taught them more lessons from 'Homer Simpson's Big Book of Parenting.'  That probably wouldn't have ended well.

And for those of you keeping score, we bought a house today.  The latest round of "Where Will We Live Now?" has concluded.  That is all.

15 June 2012

The (not so) Good Samaritan

One of Christ's best known parables is the Good Samaritan.  The parable, recorded in the book of Luke, tells the story of a man who is beaten and robbed and is passed over by a priest and a Levite. A Samaritan sees him and cares for him and insured that he would be cared for until he recovered.  That act has come to symbolize being empathetic and caring for our fellowman.

I had a couple of Samaritan encounters this week.  First, I was the beneficiary. Earlier this week, I had meetings downtown.  I parked in a lot that only took cash, so in the pouring rain, I had to run across the street to an ATM and then dash over to the office where I had my meeting.  Somewhere on that run, I lost my employee ID badge, which is akin to gold.  I did not realize this until I got back to my office a couple of hours later.  I was getting on a plane that afternoon and I was up the proverbial creek.  As I sat stewing in my office, my phone rang and I ignored my cardinal rule - if you don't recognize the number, it goes to voicemail - and picked up.  The person identified himself and said he'd found my badge and wanted to know how he could get it back to me.  I could not believe it.  My badge has no other information than my company name and my name and my picture, in which I look like an agitated employee ready to go postal.  He took the time to call my company's main switchboard and then tracked me down.  I was pretty overwhelmed by this act.  Since I had to blow by downtown on my way to the airport, we agreed to meet so I could pick up my badge.  When I got to his office building, he came down with my badge and could not have been more gracious.  "I've been there, man," he said as he gave me my badge.  I offered him some cash as a reward and he refused it, saying he was just glad to help.  I was grateful for this act of kindness (not that he didn't take the cash but that he'd bothered to track me down).

I thought of this man's kindness as well as the aforementioned parable during the boarding of my flight this afternoon.  An elderly couple boarded and took the bulkhead row.  The man was tasked with putting the rollaboards in the overhead bin.  As he began lifting one, it was clear there was no way he was getting the bag past his knees, let alone into the overhead.  The people in the aisle behind him made no effort to assist him and there wasn't a flight attendant to be found. It was time to do something good for my fellowman.  I jumped up and took the bag from the man and put into the overhead.  He was said thanks and turned around to sit back down.  It was simple to do and I felt good that I'd done it.  Then it went south.

After he sat down, his wife remained standing and the flight attendant walked by them carrying someone's rollaboard.  Turns out the bag belonged to the wife. As the flight attendant walked by her, she began to shriek, in a voice oiled by a lot of cigarettes and Sanka, "Excuse me!  Excuse me!  Where are you going with that!?"  She was indignant.  Had she bothered to look up, she would have seen that the overhead bins were full.  The flight attendant was trying to find a place as close to the lady's row as possible.  Said flight attendant began to explain that he was trying to find a place for her bag.  Said shrew wasn't hearing it.  I just shook my head, felt sorry for the old man for what he's had to put up with over the years, and thought that the shrew didn't deserve anyone doing her any favors.

It's safe to say that I probably missed the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan with that closing thought.  I guess I've still got some learning to do.

10 June 2012


Not Beijing, but the bark look is all too familiar
We are settling in to our new existence, living in an extended stay hotel.  It's going to be cozy, to say the least, making a temporary home out of a one-bedroom place, but it'll work out. I'm sure our patience will be tried from time to time but we will find ways to not try one another's patience.

What's surprised me is how quickly our collective patience has been tried by our dog, the ever nutty shih tzu, Beijing.  Beijing made the move with us, but she may not survive it.  She appears to be having a bit of a meltdown.  She's gotten used to going everywhere with the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML.  She had to be out of the Chicago house whenever it was being shown, and it was shown a lot.  So every time she hears the door open or the car engine start, Beijing thinks it's go time.  Tragically for her, every time is NOT go time.

She seemed to settle very nicely into our little place and on Saturday night, I took SML and the Boy into West Hartford to experience it and to give Mexican food here a try (which was pretty good although it had a chilling Taco Bell effect on me - I shouldn't have to explain that).  When we got back, and bear in mind, we were only gone two hours, the Front Desk staff awaited us.  Apparently while we were gone, Beijing went ape, barking insanely and incessantly.  Four different guests called to complain, one of the Front Desk staff came up to the room to try and settle her down, and they even tried calling me on my cell phone to report her foolishness.  Here's the thing, while the hotel is pet-friendly, they reserve the right to boot any pet, dog in this case, who is an excessive barker.  Well, with a mere 24 hours in the hotel, we have been warned.

Suffice to say, her nuttiness is going to make life interesting.  I don't think they make muzzles small enough for dogs like this.  So her nuttiness better come down a few notches and fast.  Who knew that barking would be the thing to trip us up this fast?!  Oh Beijing...get it together, dog.

07 June 2012

From the road

Well, we are officially out of our home in the Midwest, documents signed, and we are more than halfway to our new adventure in New England.  I'd like to say we are on our way to a new home, but we're not.  It's an extended stay fiesta for us!  Hope the Boy is ready for life on the pull-out coach.  This experience on the couch will serve him well when he's a married man.  By then, he'll have done enough time on the couch.  He'll know that it's better to resolve an issue with his spouse than to spend a night on the couch, all to prove that he's right.

Anyway, we're about six hundred miles into our drive.  We're in our fourth state of six.  We pulled off the I80 around 9PM and stumbled into a property belonging to a lesser-known hotel chain.  I'm going to be kind and not mention said chain (although e-mail if you want to know who it is).  It's a little rough.  As proof, here's a picture of our some of the hardware in the shower:
I especially like the drop ceiling and the loose tile
This showerhead terrifies me.  It reminds me, and not in a good way believe you me, of some devices I saw when I was spending far too much time with my urologist when he was ruling out a diagnosis of prostate unpleasantness for me. Similarly shaped devices went places they shouldn't have gone, can I just tell you?  I saw this and turned straight around.  I'm thinking I'll skip a shower in the morning. Suffice to say, we aren't spending any more time here than necessary.

All in all, a good day.  Wonderful friends, who we will miss terribly, helped us clean the house, although I continued to argue that the buyers did not, and do not, deserve a pristine house, but that's because I am still a tad bitter about their craziness through the whole sale process.  In spite of that, like I said, it's been a good day.  Tomorrow is going to be even better because the New England adventure officially begins, with my family at my side.

06 June 2012

Movin' on up

The move really is happening.
So it's here.  The Den is a veritable hive of activity today.  As you can see from the photo above, there's a mammoth moving truck in front of the house and it's getting filled.  I look at everything still to go in it and wonder how it's all going to get done today, but who am I to ask?

We are moving.  It is for real.  Our buyers are hell-bent on making it challenging to the last minute but that's for the lawyers to battle out, not us.  I'll say again that it's a good thing that we don't have to be present for the closing.

We are movin' on up, people.  Well maybe not up, but east for sure.  I've had the theme to "The Jeffersons" in my head all morning as a result.  You know it and now you won't be able to get it out of your head.  You're welcome.  To make it stick further, here's my retooling of the song:

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side of the USA.
To a moderate extended stay in the hills.
Movin on up,
To the east side of the USA.
We finally get all back together again.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen; especially since Shari no likey the fish
Black beans don't burn on the grill.  Because black beans are awesome.
Took a whole lotta tryin',
Just to get up that hill, of which there are far too many in New England.
Now we're up in the shadows of Boston and New York,
Gettin' our Yankee attitude on.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby,
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

And you know, although this move is going to bring all sorts of new experiences to the Den, there really is nothing wrong with that.  It's time to move to the next phase of "Where Are We Going to Live Now?"  I'm just glad I'm back with my family and we're doing this together.  

03 June 2012

Sleeping single in a double bed

In 1980, "Urban Cowboy" was released  It was another John Travolta-led cinematic outing, foisting another musical genre on an unsuspecting America. He'd done it before with "Saturday Night Fever" (disco) and "Grease" (50's rock-and-roll) and this time, it was country music.  The movie was a huge hit and it led to a rebirth of interest in country music. It also had some unfortunate side effects. Like people who had no business dressing like cowboys deciding to do so.  I was one of those people.  This decision could not have been more ill-advised. Seriously.

Imagine a gawky (and, trust me, I'm being kind with that word) high school freshman who, on a good day, maybe tipped the scales at 110 lbs, suffering through a losing battle with puberty - straight hair that now looked like it had waves and over-sized tinted glasses that were supposedly cool because they got darker in the sun. They weren't.  So what did I do about it? I decided to make my life exponentially worse by embracing the 'Urban Cowboy' trend that was sweeping the nation.  Cowboy hat, boot cut jeans, and Justin Roper boots were purchased, as was the 'Urban Cowboy' soundtrack LP.  I embraced country music and went to school all decked out in my new look.  To say that this went horribly wrong would be like saying Chernobyl was just a little nuclear leak.  In a few short minutes, I learned a lot about bullying and even more about the foolishness of following trends.

Fast forward more than thirty years and I can laugh now, without reverting to the fetal position and crying, about those days.  If there are any lingering side effects, it would be the fact that I still have a like of country music.  Most of it is the music that I listened to during the aforementioned ill-advised period of my life. One silly song still sticks with me and that's Barbara Mandrell's 'Sleeping Single In A Double Bed.'  It's been in my head since I've spent the last three months doing exactly that - sleeping single.  I've been living apart from my wife, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, because of my new job and my relocation to New England.  We've have had a few days together in the course of the last few months but we've been apart way more than we've been together. Here's what I know - I was not made to be a part from her for this amount of time.  To say that I've missed the companionship of this amazing woman is an epic understatement.

That is why I am so pleased that this week is here.  We move this week.  The best part is that we move together.  I'll be back in Chicago one last time to pick up the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, the Boy, and that nutty Shih Tzu, Beijing, and it's off to New England for us.  The real fun now begins.  I am just so glad that we'll be back together.  This is how it was meant to be for us - to be together. I am happy.

There is a flaw, though, in Miss Mandrell's song.  Have you ever heard of two people sleeping comfortably in a double bed?  That would be no.  We are moving into an extended stay hotel where we have a queen bed, which is going to prove interesting.  The irony of all this separation is that we very shortly are going to be wishing for our California King mattress and its space.  At least we will be kicking each other.  I'm looking forward to it.

01 June 2012

Four - it's the new Five

Is it Friday night already?  How did this happen?  Wasn't it just Monday?  No, no it wasn't.  Welcome to the wonderful world of shortened work weeks.  They are inevitably brutal, leaving you exhausted and wondering, 'Seriously, what just happened?'  Sure, they start with such promise.  A long weekend.  A Monday off. And this week's Memorial Day Monday here in New England was beautiful.  It made it easy to NOT think about work.  But then it was Tuesday and the Work Week Shrew extracted her angry revenge.  She made sure that in the four working days left, the usual 50-plus hours were going to get crammed in.  So those five days were crammed in to four, as they always are.  Four truly is the new five.

Speaking of five, the state of Idaho, where my amazing second child, CAL, is currently living, has decided it knows what's funny and has banned the sale of this:
Are you offended? You shouldn't be.
Really...because they fear it offends a significant portion of their population? That population is, of course, my fellow brothers and sisters in the Church.  Guess what?  If you're offended, it's time to lighten up.  This action does us no favors. None.  Polygamy happened.  It happened in Biblical times and it happened in the early history of the Church.  Those practicing it today and those striving to making it look 'normal' (ahem, creepy, creepy "Sister Wives") are not members of the Church.  This thing isn't offensive.  Offensive would be taking something truly sacred and mocking it, no matter your faith.  The world would be a far better place if we stopped mocking what is sacred to others.

So lighten up, Idaho Legislature.  Lighten up, go take four, because four is the new five.