Monday, October 29, 2012

Do you Job

Person A:  Doesn’t trust the religious right, doesn’t believe you have the right to buy firearms, and thinks it’s wrong the government kills criminals.
Person B: Believes in a strong military presence, lowering taxes as a method to stimulate the economy, and doesn’t trust the government to run the DMV effectively, let alone things that are important.

While I try to avoid politics, we are less than two weeks away from choosing our next president.  So, if we don’t talk about it now, then when? 
I love watching politics.  I think it’s interesting and important.  Typically, my television has two channels; — football and CNN.  During the second debate, my wife was driven from the room after I told her to keep her comments to herself and listen.  She only returned while I was watching the post game, although I believe in politics its called spin.  Once again, she voiced shock and surprise to be married to a person who watches hours of recorded political coverage.

This is not a political blog format, so my goal is not to tell you who to vote for or even to tell you who I am going to vote for.  Here is the point — there is too much hate in politics today. It’s on both sides. And it is unnecessary. For the Republicans it happened sometime during the Clinton Administration, and for the Democrats it was clearly Bush/Gore. 
I believe every generation believes their present day is the last to come, whether it is an actual apocalypse scenario or just the sentiment that things have never been so bad before ever.  Personally, I have never understood that idea.  For the last three election cycles, the country has been fairly evenly divided 50-50.  Now, some people look at that as a reason to dig in their heels but not me. If 50% consider themselves conservative and 50% consider themselves liberal then that means that 25% of each side is fairly close together. 

We see it every election cycle.  What does a good candidate do? They flirt with the extreme side of their party during the primaries and then get as close to middle during the general election.  Listen, G. Bush was not an idiot.  He graduated from college and twice became the leader of the free world.  Furthermore Obama is not a lying socialist.  If he were, he would not be so close to re-election.  The world is not ending people, so take a deep breath.  The simplest answer is often the correct one.  In this case, two people who care about our country did what they thought was best.  Let’s stop the name calling.
There are two points that many Americans seem to forget.

Number one — voting is a responsibility, not a right.  Get off your lazy ass and do your job.  Whatever your piss -poor excuse is it’s not good enough.  When you stop using your rights, then you lose them. 
Number 2 — I have never seen an active tank roll down Main Street.  There are very few countries that can say that, and yet, every four years we change power without a single gunshot being fired.  This is truly amazing and should not be over looked.

So am I person A or B? The answer…Both.  Here is what you need to do over the next week and a half. Pay attention, make your own decisions, remove the hate, and realize other people may disagree with what you have to say.  Do your job, and go vote. 

Oh and stop blasting your political opinion on Facebook….no one really cares what you think.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bad Guys

This summer, I was working out by the pool and had taken the boys into the back yard with me.  The pool is fenced off, and the gate to the front yard locks from the front.  So, I felt comfortable working, without having to worry too much about the boys. 

When I stopped to take a break, I walked around to make sure they were not getting into too much trouble.  Only Jackson was there, and he was asking to go inside.  I went inside, and had a brief moment of panic when I didn’t hear Glenn.  I checked all of the rooms but did not see him.  As I walked past the front door, I saw him out of the corner of my eye.  He was sitting on a chair on the front porch.  This is how I learned Glenn could now officially open every door in the house.  I went outside to yell at him, and asked him what he was doing.
He was very calm, and let me know that he was just watching those guys over there mow the lawn.  I told him very seriously that he was never allowed to go into the front yard without a parent, but he did not understand why.

“There are bad guys in the world, and they might try to take you or hurt you.”
“I’m very strong,” he said, not really getting it.  So, I dumbed it down a bit.

“Maybe the bad guys will just walk up to you and push you over. You need me with you so I can protect you.”
That did it.  He promised he would only come outside if I were with him.  And I promised to myself  I would start locking the front door.

The next day we were getting into the car, and he saw another lawn crew, made up of mostly Hispanic men, mowing a lawn.  He pointed them out, and said, “Look Dad, bad guys!”
 Great, now my three year old is a racist….

Monday, October 22, 2012

Through the Lenses of a Blog

A couple of weeks ago, I missed a blog entry. Sure, I posted a oh-so delicious chicken pot pie recipe, but I think, we can all agree, that’s not going to cut it.

I was pretty disappointed in myself when I didn’t have my shit together enough to write a one-page blog entry.  It may not seem like much, but that’s how it always starts for me.  First, I miss one, than I miss another, and, pretty soon, I am depriving you of what I can ONLY assume gets you through your week.  
When I was starting the blog, the number one piece of advice I received from the Internet was to set deadlines.  So, for those of you who don’t know (which would be most of you), here is the process.  I write the blog entry sometime between Sunday and Wednesday and send it to my sister to edit. This is because I have the writing/spelling skills of a 5th grader.  She usually gets it back to me by the weekend, and I post the blog on Mondays.  Usually a slow “news” day, and, if you’re going to be slaking at work, Monday is the day.   So, when you read this, I will have written it last week. Thus, I posted a blog on the Colts Vs. Packers the day after they CRUSHED the Houston Texans.  Thank you Rodgers for a much need fantasy day against my sister. [Editors note: you suck]

The week I missed the blog was a very stressful week.  I had a lot of family drama on my plate, and I certainly wasn’t ready to blog about it.  So each time I sat in front of the keyboard, I knew I was writing about something that I wasn’t focused on really.  I was surprised how something that had come very naturally the first few months had so quickly become a struggle
Not long after I started this blog, I noticed a change in how I view day-to-day events and conversations. Everything is filtered through the lens of the blog. For instance, I was sitting on the porch with my buddy and he says, “Yeah I like sleeping with her, but she is so annoying.” 

My first thought was, I am drinking with Quagmire, and the second thought was that comment must  go into the blog. 
Also, a few people have begun quoting my own words back to me.  Tammi is very fond of this.  My grandmother caught me smoking (well, she caught me chain smoking — reference the family drama above.) And she happily pointed out that I said I was going to quit. I never said it to her, per se. She read it on my blog. Hee. My grandma likes my blog.

I have all of these half blog entries floating around in my head, and I’m waiting for the other half, if you will.  Currently, I have four or five ideas in my head that haven’t yet made it onto paper yet.  There is one on how as parents we always judge each other to make ourselves feel better, my top three priorities as a parent, how men are treated differently as parents, one questioning whether I am a soccer mom, how as parents there is a perception that you can’t make mistakes, and a few that just make fun of my wife. Anyone have something else they think would be good let me know.
Then, to make it worse my sister mentions that most blogs post more than once a week. UGGH… You people are such a burden.  Well I accept your challenges.  I have decided to try and break it up a little more, and re-challenge myself.  So, I am going to make sure I don’t miss another Monday post, but I am also going to add a Shorter Thursday post about whatever cute or annoying thing my kids have done that week.  The good news is I am still enjoying myself.  I hope that ya’ll are as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Colts Vs. Packers

Since a very small age, both of my boys have worn Packers gear during football Sundays.  When I joined Tammi’s family, the very first Christmas I received Packers and Badgers gear for gifts.  The Packers are a big deal in WI.  It is my belief, that this is a result of the ground being covered with snow for nine months out of the year.  There is, literally, nothing else to do during fall and winter.  So it has always been understood that, regardless of where we live, the boys Will be Packers fans.  As Tammi says, it is their birthright. I’m all for it. I am a big believer in you root for the team where you hail from.  Sadly, this means that if/when we have a 3rd kid, I am going to be forced to raise a Cowboys fan.
For myself, I was born in Indiana and raised a Colts fan.  It was a lot harder growing up as a Colt fan in Cowboys country.  I had the misfortune of becoming interested in football after Johnny U but before Manning.  So, winning seasons were not something I was used to experiencing.  Until the age of 19, the best QB they had was Harbaugh.  I took more shit than I gave and watched more Notre Dame games as a result. 
Like many people in this country, I am a huge Fan.  In my case, it really is short for fanatic.  Tammi really, really, wants to be a football fan.  The truth is she is more of a casual observer, using Packers games as a napping tool more than anything else.  When they win, she says Rodgers is a great QB. And when they lose she either says the offensive line is bad or the receivers need to catch the balls thrown their way.  At work she tries to sound smart, by repeating the facts she hears me say while on the phone.  For her, part she usually sounds very intelligent.
For the first time, Glenn has begun to take an interest in football.  At first, I was very excited and had visions of me and my boys reading the Sunday paper, watching the pre-game, and bonding over our national past time.  He is very close but he has a long way to go.  He knows what his team colors so when we saw someone in the grocery store wearing a Packer’s jersey, he shouted, “Dad, they are on my team.”  But he also gets very upset when I tell him his team isn’t playing on Tuesday.  He will see a long throw and say that it was a good catch.  Yet, he saw the Oakland A’s, and thought they were on his team as well….Same colors.  He also will routinely tell me that mommy and Jackson are on his team, but not daddy.  When I let him know that his Aunt Ellena is on my team, he pouted and said, “uhh I wanted Ellena to be on my team!!”
This past Sunday there was a big family feud taking place — my Colts vs. their Packers. So when the two teams played this weekend, Glenn was very quick to let me know that his team was the best, and they were going to win.  I made a poor parenting decision when Glenn and I decided to bet one timeout on the game.  When the Packers were up by three scores, he called to let me know that his team was winning.  Then, something amazing happened, and the Colts took the lead with about four minutes to go.  Excited about the Colts winning — and forgetting I was talking to a 3 year old — I ran up and essentially did a happy dance in front of my son.  Yet another poor decision. I seem to make a lot of those. He burst into tears and began sobbing, well, like a three year old.  He shouted at me, “But I wanted my team to win!” 
Now in my defense (something the Packers should look into getting) he also reacts this way when we don’t get to go to the park, or one of the dogs chews up one of his toys. I tried to calm him down by letting him know the game wasn’t over, and his team was very good.  When the Packers missed the game-tying field goal, I explained that it’s about enjoying the game and not letting it become too important.  It is after all just a game.  Inside I screamed, jumped up and down, and celebrated the victory.  The next day Glenn used his sad voice to let me know that daddy’s team had won, but that it would be ok.
And, no, I did not give him his time out.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

For those of you looking for a funny story or a life lesson, you’re going to be disappointed.  This really is just a simple recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.  I suspect if you consider yourself a chef, than you will not think this much of a chicken pot pie, but I love it.  It is one of my favorite fall meals, and taste just like the frozen version you would buy in the store. 

There is one disclaimer.  It has a lot of salt.  The frozen version does as well, so it’s just a matter of what you are used to.  Start out with a little, and you can always add more.

-1lb of chicken
-1 can of cream of chicken
-1 small bag of frozen mixed vegetables
-2 frozen pie crust
-1/4 cup of milk
-1 tablespoon of salt and pepper to taste

 Place one of the pie crusts in a circular oven safe bowl.  Bake according to instructions on pie crust, about 20 minutes.  Cut up and cook chicken. Add cream of chicken, vegetables, milk, salt, and pepper.  Pour into bowl, and top with second pie crust.  Let the pie crust defrost a bit, to make it easier.  Cut a few slits in crust, to allow ventilation. Cook at 350 four about an hour to an hour and a half. It is done with the crust turns golden brown, and a knife comes out clean.

What I really like is how simple this meal is, and it is delicious on a cool fall evening.  If you try it let me know how it goes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night

I went through a phase in my twenties where anytime I went on vacation, I would break my glasses, usually at the start of the trip.  Each time, I was forced to use my prescription sunglasses for the remainder of the vacation.

The first time was in Arizona.  My sister, friend and former brother-in–law all went camping for a week.  It was a great vacation.  We would find something touristy to do, drive there and then find a campground at night.  The next day we would drive somewhere else and find a new spot.  On the first full day, I decided to leave my glasses on the top of a mountain, never to be seen again.  The most notable drawback to wearing my sunglasses all day on a camping trip is that sunset happens about an hour earlier.  So, when we got to a campsite, I would help pitch camp, but I very quickly stopped being able to see. Anything. At All.  So, I just started drinking. I figured if you can’t see anything, you might as well be drunk.  Thank goodness, I’m not blind.  The funniest part was the day we went to Carlsbad Caverns.  I can only imagine what people thought, as they saw me walking through a cave with sunglasses on.  I hear it was beautiful. To me, it was just dark shapes.

Another time, I went to New Orleans for a three-day concert.  For those of you who have never been to New Orleans, first of all, what are you doing? And, secondly, there tends to be some drinking involved.  The first night we were there, we met some friends and went out to the bars.  A good time was had by all, and a very good time was had by me.  The next morning when I woke up, my glasses literally disintegrated in my hands.  ON go the sunglasses.  During the day, of course, it was fine but at night not so much.  I had friends walk with me to the bathroom, or anywhere else for that matter, so that I was capable of finding our seats on the return trip.  On the final night of the show, during the lead act (Iggy Pop), I just laid down and closed my eyes.  What the hell right, I couldn’t see anyway.
So, what does any of this have to do with the theme of my blog — being a stay at home parent?  Well, it’s currently 8 p.m., and every single light is on in my house.  This afternoon, while wrestling on the floor with the boys, I took a foot to the face and, snap, there went my glasses.  On go the sunglasses.  Proof that everything we do in this life, prepares us for what we do next.  Right before the kick to the face, I had been telling the boys to calm down and stopped playing so rough.  Clearly, I would have been better served by straight taking a break and making everyone breath for a moment. 

In the past, when my glasses had broken, I dealt with it stride.  Not so much this time.  I blew up! I yelled at Glenn, called him names and pushed him away from me.  I stormed outside and took some me time.  After all, (as I tell the boys) it’s ok to be upset, it’s ok to be mad, but if you’re going to act like an asshole, you need to leave the room. 
It was an over-reaction only a three year old could appreciate. What has always shocked me about these moments is the zero-to-sixty time.  One moment, you are a completely rational person.  Sixty seconds later, you’re irrationally yelling at a three-year-old.

When I came in side, I had to apologize to Glenn. I told him it wasn’t on purpose, and it was just an accident.  He thanked me, and we went about our evening.  Except for the apology, it was an all-around fail.  As parents you are going to fail.  As a person you are going to fail.  It’s never about the failures. It’s about the recoveries. 
Well, I can’t see anyway.  I’m going to go get a drink.