Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Just a little misunderstanding...

     This past week, we had a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings. It started when we went out for lunch on Saturday, and Matthew scanned the menu for something yummy. After several minutes, he ordered the Prime Rib.
     I shot him a glance and said, "What are you thinking?" He insisted that he had had it before, and he loves Prime Rib.
     No problem, we have a gift certificate; if he likes it, we can splurge.  
     The look on his face was priceless when they put the Prime Rib in front of him, and he realized that he was not going to be chowing down on BBQ ribs---which he had had before and he does love. 
     After CCD this week, Cheryl and Grace were discussing Martin Luther’s exodus from the Catholic Church. Cheryl was explaining his reasoning, and Grace became a bit disturbed and expressed her displeasure with Martin Luther King! 
     Wait a second, wrong guy, wrong century!
     Then there was Noah. He and Matthew were playing football in the front yard, and Matthew came in to use the bathroom. Noah followed, but he was crying. Cheryl asked him what the heck had happened. Noah reported that Matthew had held him in the thorny rose bush before he snapped the ball, and had run off leaving him in the thorny rose bush. 
     As Matthew exited the bathroom, he was confronted by his over-protective mother expecting an apology. Matthew was surprised, and as he struggled to figure out what had happened, Noah chimed in with... "Well... about that..." 
     Apparently, he just lost, and the whole thorny rose bush thing was all just a little misunderstanding!
     But the all-time misunderstanding in the family occurred several years ago. When Matthew was about 4 years old, we had a Christmas party at our house. At the time, he was not feeling well, and in the middle of the party, he laid on the floor and fell asleep in the middle of a room filled with people. He was very sick.
     The next day, we had to go to Christmas dinners at Cheryl’s mom’s house and at my mom’s house.  We decided that Cheryl would take Matthew to Nighttime Pediatrics while I started the dinner tour at Cheryl’s mom’s. After about an hour, I received a beep on my Nextel---we each had a “walkie talkie” Nextel phone at the time. Cheryl advised that the doctor said we had a very sick boy, and he had to be quarantined for forty-five days. 
     Forty-five days!!!! What does he have? 
     Cheryl calmly advised that he had pneumonia.
     You don’t get quarantined for forty-five days for pneumonia. I want you to go back to the doctor, and see if he uses the words "pneumonia" and "quarantined" in the same sentence again, and if he does, bring Matthew home and I will take him to the hospital!!!  Thats tuberculosis, not pneumonia!!!
     She called back, and again, she calmly explained that the doctor had confirmed his diagnosis, and Cheryl wondered what was my problem.
     In front of her entire family, I not-so-calmly explained that there was no way that this doctor knows what he is talking about, and there is no way that we can keep him quarantined for forty-five days. I had everyone appropriately concerned.
     I left Cheryl’s mom’s house and went over to my mom’s house, and I went straight to my sister-in-law Pam. She has no formal medical training, but she did raise seven kids and knows everything there is to know to about sick kids. I asked her if she had ever heard of a kid being quarantined for forty-five days for pneumonia?
     She looked at me and smiled and said, "Four to five days." 
     "No," I insisted, "she said forty-five---I asked her twice."
     Pam now was in a full out laugh and said, "No, she did not!"
     "Oh yes she did, and I will call her and I will prove it." 
     So I called Cheryl again on our new Nextels and asked her specifically did she say forty-five or four to five. 
Lets just say there was a little misunderstanding that had every family member at Cheryl’s mother’s party, and every family member at my mother’s party in a good holiday mood---except me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Homeschool Photography

Gracie took some awesome pictures to share our first week of homeschooling...
School supplies

Colorful markers

Gracie's workday

Algebra 2

Mom... Can I use my calculator?

Do it by hand...

Still doing math, Gracie?

Love that Ancient History, Geography, and Literature!

Little Einstein

More colorful pencils

Love those sticky notes. Couldn't live without them.

Keep reading. Just try to get the main points!
Done for the day.

Time to have fun.

Funny Guy Friday... Happy Birthday Weez!

    On Tuesday, I had a bad day, and was expecting it to carry over into Wednesday. As I was shaving, I looked into my mirror. Cheryl was standing next to me looking into her mirror. I looked at myself and mentioned to Cheryl that, Today is going to be a bad day! 
    She shrugged, and said that it is funny because when she looks in her mirror, she knows  that no matter what happens today, today is going to be a great day. 
    I told her that we need to switch mirrors.
    If you have read the last two weeks of FGF, you may have noticed that not much bothers my beautiful wife. Not even another birthday. Her birthday was this past Saturday.
     We went to Junior High School and High School together, but we were hardly High School sweethearts. In fact, neither of us can recall a time when we actually ever spoke to one another. We knew about each other, but did not know each other. When we talk about events that we attended, and things that we did, we realize that we did the same things---just not with each other.
    In fact, she was a cheerleader in Junior High School, and I was a basketball player, and she does not remember me. I point out that there were two white guys that played, and I was one of them. She says she remembers John Reilly, and I point out that he was the other white guy that played.
    I was voted Most Likely to Succeed in our last year of Junior High, and she says she does not remember that. She does, however, remember that she voted for Kenny Parisi. Nice guy; in fact, I bought her engagement ring from him.
    Before we were married, we attended our ten year High School reunion. As we entered the room, there was a copy of the Washington Post article about our undefeated State championship team, captained by yours truly. She stood and read the article, which included a photo of a good looking All-Met second baseman. Proudly, I stood and waited for her to tell me how great I must have been. When she got done reading, she turned to me and said Honey, did you know that we had a baseball team in high school!
    We got engaged after dating for only six weeks. I knew that I was going to marry her before we even went out on our first date. Remember in the movie The Godfather when Michael met the girl in Sicily, and immediately fell in love, and then he told the girl's father that he was going to marry her? That is our story, only Cheryl never got blown up.
     At the time, I had been dating another girl, and had to figure a way to break up with her and then ask Cheryl out. That girl called me after Cheryl and I got engaged, and to say that she was a bit upset would be a understatement. I suppose I was lucky I never got blown up.
     I went to talk to her parents before I asked her to marry me. Although they suspected that this would happen eventually, I am sure that they never expected it to happen after six weeks. Her sister thought I was there to ask advice about buying a house, which was kind of silly since I already had a house. Cheryl has asked what I would have done if her father had said no. I advised Cheryl that I never really asked; I just told them about my plans. Looking back, the whole thing was kind of crazy, but neither one of us ever had a doubt.
     On our wedding day, she had never looked more beautiful. In her typical fashion, she was completely relaxed and played Christmas music all morning---did I mention that we were married in April.
     We honeymooned in St. Barth's, an island in the French West Indies, full of topless and sometimes bottomless beaches. But I only had eyes for Cheryl---and a young girl named Vanina, on a boat called the French Kiss. Actually, it was Cheryl that pointed out that Vanina had dropped her top at about the same time that we had dropped anchor.
     I lost my wedding ring on our honeymoon, and it was the first time that I ever saw Cheryl get really upset about something. I told her that I would call Kenny, and have another ring ready to pick up as soon as we got off of the plane. That ring cost about $100, while the five-minute phone call from the French West Indies cost $80. It made her happy, so it was well worth it.
    Grace was born four years after we got married, then Matthew four years later, and then Noah four years after that. We were having kids every time that the country had a presidential election. What can I say, presidential politics is an aphrodesiac?---that, or we just got bored during the debates.
    Cheryl is the greatest mother in the world. This past summer, I was watching her as she leaned over to help Noah get a handle on a little problem he was having. I could not help thinking that I have never loved her more. She is totally devoted to the kids, and that is truly a beautiful thing to watch.
    Her sisters gave her the nickname of Clarice, as in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer's girlfriend. That somehow got changed to Caweese, and then again to Weezer, or just Weez. Besides me and her sisters, nobody else calls her anything but Cheryl. Although occasionally our nephew Vincent calls her Auntie Weezer. Cheryl always points out that if she is Weezer, I am Geezer.
    But this week, she is the one that is a year older, a year better, a year more beautiful. Whenever I think of my life with Cheryl, I can't help but think that my Junior High School class was right, I did succeed. I don't have a successful jewelry store or anything like that, but I married pretty well.
    Happy birthday Weez!  I love you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... First day of home school...

   After much debate, we decided to homeschool our kids this year. It is quite an undertaking for Cheryl, as she has three kids, with three very different personalities, in three different grades.
   I must admit that this was more Cheryl's idea than mine. In fact, I am still conflicted with the arrangement. On the one hand, I know Cheryl will do a great job, and the kids will love learning at home. On the other hand, Cheryl, Grace and Noah have what I can only describe as Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS). Matthew appears to have not yet been afflicted with this condition.
   Anyway, SOS is when you start out to do something specific, but get side-tracked by a shiny object. That shiny object could be anything, really, and not necessarily an actual shiny object. If you have ever seen the dog in the movie Up, that gets distracted by squirrels, the squirrel would be the shiny object. In our house, the t.v., or the laptop, or an ipod, or the telephone could be the shiny object.
    I have discussed my concerns with Cheryl, and advised her that I am the principal. I will not be in the classroom, but will set the school's policy:
    Policy number 1---the kids will get up early and get started on the day.  
    Policy number 2---The kids will start their day with a workout so it does not get lost in the day. This will satisfy the physical education requirement of the curriculum.
    Policy number 3---no visitors during school hours.
    Policy number 4--- the kids will take piano lessons. What the heck, adults that can play the piano have always impressed me, and the kids should have some free time on their hands. This will satisfy the music requirement of the curriculum.
    Policy number 5---the kids have been joking about staying in their pajamas all day long, sort of like mom does. No school of mine will have pajamas as the school uniform, so the kids will get dressed every day.  
    So, day one started much like any other public school day---Matthew was up bright and early with an earache. I had to explain to the big man that there are no more "stay home" sick days because every day is "stay home" day---nice try!  At least he was up early, so he was off to a good start.
    I left the house at about 8:00, and he was the only student awake. I told Cheryl she should wake the other two, but she never did. She told me that this was part of her master plan. Matthew is an early riser, and her strategy was for Matthew to get started before the other two woke up. This was the first I had heard of this strategy, and I got the feeling that "strategies" are going to be whatever happens to fit at that particular time. Her policy appears to be that there is no set policy. Clearly, homeschool policy number 1 was not going to be followed. No problem, there are still four more policies.
   I called at about 9:30 to see how the day was progressing, and was advised that Grace was still in bed, Noah was eating breakfast and Matthew had completed his math, and was on to social studies. What about policy number 2? What happened to the workout that I, as principal, had commanded? Well, it seems that Matthew was going to wait for Grace to join him later on in the day. Hmmm, not sure if policy number 2 is going to fare any better than policy number 1.
   I called again at 1:00, but Cheryl could not talk because her sister Karen had popped in. Seriously, I am not making this up. Cheryl told me that Karen was just stopping by for a minute on her way home from the beach... with her three children.
   I called again at 2:30 and Karen answered the phone. I mentioned the homeschool thing, and she advised that they were having lunch and then recess. I advised that lunch had been going on for more than an hour, and that recess appeared to have started at about 9:15 that morning. Karen was advised that, although I love her dearly, she and her three kids (also homeschoolers---do any of them actually take part in the school part of homeschooling?) don't have to go home, but they have to leave my school, er uh house, as they were clearly violating policy 3.
   Do I even have to mention that we have two pianos in our house, and neither one of them was touched all day long. I take that back, it appears that someone had a bowl of cereal and left the milk-filled bowl on the piano in the yellow room. Not sure that counts as compliance with policy number 4. I am saying no, it does not!
   I arrived home at about 4:00 and Grace was just getting started on her math work. I told her that the idea was to have things done early and not have to be doing school work into the night. It is not home-night-school.
   I asked how her workout went. Not done yet for three reasons. First, she and Matthew could not agree on what workout they were going to do, and apparently their disagreement took so long that they did not have time to work out. Second, Aunt Karen came over and that kind of "messed up" the day. Third, she did not get up until 11:00 a.m. Wow, a trifecta of violations---three of my policies violated in one explanation. At least she was dressed in a pair of sweats. Of course, for all I know she wore sweats to bed the night before.
   I was understandably irritated by day 1 of homeschooling so I decided to leave the house to run an errand. I expressed my "concerns" to Cheryl on the way out, and was told that I was not giving it a chance, and that things will get better. I would have been more reassured if Cheryl were not arguing her case dressed in her pajamas.
   Well, I am happy to report that days 2 and 3 went better. I have decided that I will back off and let anarchy rule the school. Actually, Cheryl did make a schedule.
   I have often been told that I have to get on the Cheryl "Happy Train," where everybody always gets to where they are supposed to be, and everything always works out. The fact is, it does always work out for Cheryl, so why fight it?
   From this day forward, I am buying a ticket on the Happy Train---this will be my one and only policy. Hopefully, I can implement it better than my wife and kids implemented my old policies. I know one thing for sure, I will be on the train early every day, right after my workout, and I will be dressed in something other than my pajamas.
   I suppose that this transition may be a little tougher than I thought.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

History repeats...

    My cousin sent me this video. I had seen it before, but it is worth sharing. Thanks Robert. It's true today. Heed the message.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Funny Guy Friday.......Did you remember to feed the fish?

    I think in the grand scheme of things, I am a pretty laid back kind of guy. At work, if things go wrong, typically, I am the one that lets everyone know that things will work out and whatever mistake that may have been made, can be fixed or forgiven. I think that our staff generally enjoys working with me, and some have commented on how well I handle potentially difficult situations. I suppose that, in part, this is because they compare my reactions to my partner's reactions.
    My partner, who actually runs the day to day events, is a good guy, but is a bit more, how can I say this without offending him, uptight. I have commented to the ladies at work that he is like the dad, who gets upset and gets everyone's attention, and I am like the mom who comes in and tells the kids to ignore Dad and things will blow over.
    In the event that he reads this, he should know that I do not actually tell anyone to ignore him, I am just making an analogy so---to quote Bill Murray in Stripes, Lighten up Francis!  
    Anyway, I only live forty five minutes from my work, but in that forty five minute drive, I apparently pass through another dimension. You see, when I get home, I am perceived as the most uptight guy in the world. I suppose this is because, at home, I am compared to my wife.  If she were any more laid back, she would be asleep---which oftentimes she is. Nothing, and I mean nothing, fazes her.
    If you were one of the six people that read FGF last week, you know that we went to Newport, Rhode Island ahead of hurricane Irene. As the week progressed, the weather reports were getting worse and worse. Although I considered changing our plans because of the predicted weather, I did not. As planned, Cheryl left to drive up with the boys on Monday and I flew up with Grace and my niece on Thursday. Prior to my leaving, I took all of the appropriate precautions---I moved the deck furniture, cleared the patio and placed plastic dropcloths and towels in the corner of the basement that has leaked in the past.
   Once in Newport, our plan was to stay in Cheryl's sister's motor home at a trailer park where her parents stay every year. The park is located right outside of Newport. When I arrived, I asked Cheryl if she had been watching the news. She immediately panicked a bit and thought that she had missed some news about our president declaring martial law or something, and appointing himself dictator of the world.
   When I gently pointed out that a hurricane was bearing down on us and that we had no chance of survival if we stayed in Newport, she shrugged. This is a shrug that I have seen before and it means Yes, I know that the weather forecasters are saying that, and you are believing that, but they are wrong and you are uptight and it is not going to happen so---to quote Bill Murray in Stripes, Lighten up Francis!
   This shrug irritated me because it told me that she was discounting my well informed and obviously accurate portrayal of our unavoidable and untimely deaths, and more irritating than that, although she did not actually say my Bill Murray quote, she was thinking it.
   I responded to her shrug by laying down the law, We are not staying in a trailer park during a hurricane because nothing good happens in a trailer park during hurricanes. In fact, that is all you hear about on the news after every hurricane is how this hurricane destroyed this trailer park, or that hurricane caused major damage to that trailer park---no trailer park! You find us a home with a cousin or something or we leave Saturday morning. 
   After pointing out that it is tornadoes that devastate trailer parks, and not hurricanes, she calmly responded that it will not be that bad, that they overhype these things. And by the way, we cannot leave on Saturday because we would just be traveling south into the very storm that you are so afraid of, and they will probably close the bridges in New York. In an obvious effort to appease me, she did advise that she would call her cousin in the morning.
   My response was firm---you're darn right you will call your cousin in the morning, and I am sure that hurricanes can be bad for trailer parks, too... I mean the motor home may spring a leak or something and that can be bad, and by the way, I thought about the danger of traveling south into the storm, and that is why we aren't going south to Maryland,.....we are going to travel...... west instead of south when we leave on Saturday to go......home, that's right I said west. At this point I was just hoping that she had stopped paying attention. I was just happy that she was going to find us a place to stay during the devastation.
   As the vacation progressed, I watched the news only to find out that the hurricane would be particularly bad in Ocean City, Maryland. In fact I think the newscasters actually said  that they eye of the storm would actually crash down right on top of the condo that we co-own there, but I could have misheard that part.
   I also know that I heard that Southern Maryland was also going to get hit particularly hard by the storm and that they were evacuating parts of Saint Mary's and Calvert County and again, I think I heard the weather men say that once the storm leaves Ocean City, she is heading to Calvert County to destroy our law office. By the way, guess who owns a home directly between Ocean City and Calvert County. Ding, ding ding, that's right, you guessed it, it would be me. What the heck, might as well drop a tree on our house in the process of destroying everything else that we own.
   I was justifiably worried and apparently did not hide it well. While dining at a fine restaurant called the Black Pearl, Cheryl asked why I was so upset. Seriously, there is a storm that is going to crush our place in Ocean City, I am already getting calls from our security service about problems with our office building, associated with the storm... I have been told that we have lost power at our house, meaning that the sump pump in the basement is not going to work, and the food in our freezer is all going to be ruined and will stink up the whole house while we are gone---which in the long run will probably not matter because the tree that drops on our house is going to destroy the house anyway. Meanwhile we are vacationing on an island that, by this time tomorrow, will be swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean. Other than that, my clam chowder tastes just fine! 
   It was at this point that Cheryl pointed out that if a tree falls on our house, wouldn't it be better for us to be in Rhode Island than in the house in Maryland.
   Well, yea, I guess.
   You have a partner in Calvert County that worries about this kind of stuff much more than you do, and he will take care of any problem associated with the building. 
   Yes, that is true.
   Finally, Ocean City was evacuated and there is/was absolutely nothing that you could have done or can do about the condo.
   I suppose.
   Stop worrying, you're getting me upset---now pass me the pepper and order more chowder if you like it so much.
   Wow, all the stuff that is about to happen to ruin our lives and all she cares about is me. How sweet!
   You can't believe how much that drives me crazy! Not a care in the world. In fact, the only concern that she ever expressed during our time in Rhode Island was whether I remembered to feed our stupid goldfish. The 5-year-old goldfish that we won in a carnival that refuses to die, for goodness sakes; that is what she chose to worry about? You have got to be kidding me. All God's creatures great and small! she points out. She is not normal, but what can I do, I am stuck with her.
   Oh by the way, the Ocean City condo was just fine, the office building was unscathed, our basement did not flood, my brother emptied the freezer, a tree did not fall on our house, the storm weakened considerably before hitting Newport, it actually passed to the west of us, and we had a great time at Cheryl's cousin's house.
   As usual, she was right. But I would point out that it would have been a lot worse if I had not worried about it the whole time.
   Oh, by the way, the goldfish is fine.

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