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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Under construction...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband, Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
     About a year ago, after caulking and re-grouting our master bath room for about the tenth time, I decided that I wanted to redo the room.
     There were two main reasons for the makeover: the first being that our shower is about 3 ft. by 3 ft. and there was barely enough room to bend over to pick up the soap that the kids always leave on the floor. Second, I have no idea how to caulk or grout so I was pretty sure that the water was leaking and our bathroom was about to fall into our foyer. In the very least, I was sure that water had damaged the floor board under the shower.
     When I came up with the idea of renovating, I immediately ran into a big problem. I should not have been surprised, because I ran into the same problem when I decided that I wanted to finish our basement several years ago.
     The problem of course, was Cheryl.
     Cheryl had no desire to finish the basement….and similarly, had no desire to redo the bathroom. She was not interested, and as a result, was completely disengaged in any conversation that I would try to have.
     Hey, I've got a great idea for the bathroom. We can get rid of the bath tub and have a big walk-in shower.
     That's nice honey. Speaking of showers, could you please wash the broccoli?
     What about the bathroom?
     Great idea... you can wash the broccoli in the bathroom. 

     Once I got Cheryl on board with the projects, I ran into a second big problem. This should not have been a surprise, because I ran into the same problem when I wanted to finish the basement.
     This problem, once again, was Cheryl.
     Once she decides that she is going to be engaged, she wants to take over and become the project manager. The problem with that is that for the past year, we have had a project manager---me.
     Hey, I've got a great idea for the bathroom. We can get rid of the bath tub and have a big walk-in shower.
     That's nice honey. Speaking of bath tubs, I think that a nice Victorian claw-foot tub would look great in the corner! 
     We have been married for nearly twenty years and in that twenty years, you have taken about five baths. Now we need a claw-foot tub?
     When I have a pretty new claw-foot tub, I will take more baths. How's that broccoli coming?

    Once Cheryl was on board, we started to get some prices. Wow! I explained to the first contractor, we were re-doing an existing bathroom, not adding another one. Apparently, the second contractor was also under the same mistaken impression about our plans. Their prices never really turned out to be a problem because neither of them ever called me back. I guess the news reports about the economy turning around were true.
     So for a year, we kicked around ideas and flirted with starting the project, but nothing ever really developed as I could not get any concrete prices or return calls. I was fed up one day and was venting to my secretary. She then advised that her husband, Randy, does this kind of work with his cousin Rusty. I was aware of this but was reluctant to have him do the work in case things did not go well. I mean, who ever heard of a home improvement job going bad---but at this point, I was ready to go. She told me he was in the middle of a job and I would be next. Great, another six month delay.
     Six days later, I got a call and the project was on.     
     Randy came to the house to scout out the project, not to give a price, because he charges by the hour, but to see just what we had planned. I was not too worried about him taking extra time because I control every move his wife makes for eight hours a day. I am pretty sure that he likes her, so I had the potential for retaliation going for me.
     You would think that after planning this for a full year, we would have had a concrete plan. We had no plan; all I knew was that I wanted a bigger shower. The three of us went up to the bathroom and began exchanging ideas. After five minutes, I knew I was finished. You see, I have great ideas, but when you start to get down to the details, my mind starts to wander and my eyes tend to glaze over. I was in way over my head and I left the room to go downstairs to talk to my secretary who accompanied her husband.  She was not surprised to see me because she knows I have a little adult ADD and unless the details really matter, I gloss over. My parting words to the contractor and the "new" project manager were, just get me a bigger shower, please! 
     To Cheryl's credit, she did listen to me about the shower and we came up with a plan that did not include a tub. This was definitely, my idea. But Cheryl is also a little bit of a sneaky project manager. She will tell me what she wants and we will discuss her plans. If, by chance, I happen to disagree with an idea of hers, she begins to explain it with every single detail, as if I would agree with her if only I understood her. I understand what she wants, I just don't always want what she wants. By the way, you would be amazed at the long explanation that my rejection of cream colored walls elicited.
     On the other hand, if I do end up consenting to her ideas, they somehow become my ideas. No big deal, but we spend a lot of extra money because she wants me to have what I want. For example, for only four hundred extra dollars, she got me those cross handled faucets that I wanted. Truth be told, I never wanted cross handled faucets. In fact, I had no idea what they were until our salesman at the Ferguson showroom, sensing my ignorance, showed me what they were when Cheryl excused herself to go to the bathroom. In retrospect, cross handled faucets are kind of self-explanatory. They are nice, but I never wanted them---she did!
     By the way, our salesman was a very nice young man that I think my wife developed a little "cougar crush" on. I had to laugh when we were picking out our new toilet and he pointed out that they have them in standard height or comfort height, which is two inches higher. I pointed out that I am 48 years old and have sat on the same size toilet seat my entire life; why would we switch sizes now? He informed us that as you get older, it is easier to get on and off the higher seat. Ouch! At least I didn't have a crush on the little fella.
     Then he suggested we sit on the higher toilet to try it out, and Cheryl actually began to blush and asked the young whipper snapper to turn his head while she tested out the new throne. Fully clothed, in the middle of a showroom floor, she could not sit down on the toilet while this kid watched.
      Anyway, the project is coming along swimmingly. Randy and Rusty are awesome. They came, they demolished, they plumbed and they got everything ready for the tile man. Then they did what everyone named Randy and Rusty do at this time of year: they left for Daytona for ten days to watch the 500. The tile man followed up right behind them and has been going at it for the past nine days and will finish up tomorrow.
     When I come home every night, Cheryl tells me how great the work is and how nice they all are to her as she spends hours of her day in the bathroom overseeing the project. They listen to her ideas, offer suggestions and explain what they are doing. Did I mention that we are paying them by the hour? No problem, Cheryl has become part of the team and they have become part of our family. Our tile man, Gilberto, sat down with us for dinner the other night and has lunch with the family every day.
     This evening she advised me that she and Gilberto will caulk tomorrow and then they should be done. Really Cherylberto, when did you become a tile setter? By the way, the two of you will be grouting tomorrow----you embarrass the entire industry when you try to "talk the talk."
     The only complaint that I have about the whole project is that I am now sleeping by myself. You see, the dust in our bedroom is too much for Cheryl. I can't quite figure out how she can spend all day on the job in the room where the dust is at its worse, but then have to sleep downstairs because there is too much dust in our room. What the heck, I guess I really don't care where she sleeps so long as gets up early enough to get to the paint store in the morning. You see she needs to pick up that cream colored paint that I just have to have. I know it is going to look great!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We are not stupid Mr. President… We know it's not the speculators...

     When the president was asked recently about high gas prices, he blamed those  speculators. Ah. Yes. Nameless, faceless, greedy Wall Street types.
     He thinks we are stupid. Again. This is past getting old.
     If anyone wants to know who or what is responsible, look no farther than ruinous fiscal and monetary policy. Uh… Mr. President… That rests squarely on your shoulders. You and your Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, have been destroying the dollar faster than anyone else in U.S. history. Oh, it started in the 1970's when the U.S. went off the gold standard, but you have accelerated it beyond anyone's wildest imagination.
     I think your pal George Soros referred to this as an "orderly decline of the dollar."
     Read all about it here, and here, from American Thinker.
     "Actually, it's not even that the price of gas is more expensive… It's that the dollar is worth less." 
     Mr. President… If you had run on trillion-dollar deficits and monetizing the debt, you never would have been elected.

Obama's wormy fruit...

     Let's see… Obama waxes religious, and, wow, what a beacon of hope and understanding. Rick Santorum explains his moral convictions and he is some kind of freak-show. The progressives in the media and the culture never cease to display their utter hypocrisy and contempt for the truth. So. very. predictable.
     Here is an article from American Thinker that exposes the truth about Obama's twisted pick-and-choose religiosity that is far from truly Christian. It's worth the read.
     “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them." Matthew 7

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The purpose of ashes on Ash Wednesday...

     This has been reprinted from last year's Ash Wednesday post. May you all have a spirit-filled and rewarding Lent.
     The purpose for getting ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday...
     "The Church extends to all Catholics an invitation to receive ashes. The rite of administering ashes has been created by the Church as a sacramental to make us conscious both of the reality of death and of the necessity for penance and contrition. The effect of this rite depends upon the prayerful purpose of the recipient."
~ From the Sacred Heart bulletin.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Obama: People of faith must bend to the will of the state… Catholics should have seen this coming...

     The American Catholic Church is outraged at the coercive tactics of the Obama administration.
     Better late than never.
     Here's the lesson:  This is what happens when you invite the wolf in to supper… Sooner or later, he eats you.
     Some 54% of American Catholics voted for Obama in 2008. He who captures the Catholic vote, captures the White House.
     And many supported his mandatory health insurance plan. Even many American bishops felt that government-mandated health insurance would help to serve the poor. Social justice and all, don't you know. Never mind that the whole thing was un-Constitutional in the first place.
     But as with government-mandated anything, the state is calling all the shots. And when Obama recently ordered Catholic employers to provide a certain kind of health coverage, in violation of Church teaching, Catholics nationwide said, Wait just a minute.
     Read this great homily, from a priest who is unafraid to reveal Obama's mandate for what it is. And read this post for an excellent summary of this whole depraved affair.
     So it seems that the president responded to the dust-up in typical form: by appearing to modify the order just enough to still force us to do exactly what he wants: free sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception for all. No matter whose moral convictions he steps all over. No matter who pays. Nothing is different.
     None of this is surprising in the least, once you understand who these people are and what their agenda is and always has been: Obama and others like him wish to eliminate religious influence, replacing God with the state.
     In a 2008 speech, making it clear which side must come out on top in a dispute between the state and the Church in order for society as a whole to be better off, President Obama had this to say:

     Notice how this guy never hesitates to exploit convenient disobedient Catholics for his own gain, as if they represent all Catholics; they do not.
     Fast forward through numerous one-size-fits-all executive directives that diminish our freedoms day by day. This latest one suppresses religious freedom and deprives the faithful of their God-given right to follow a well-informed conscience. Not to mention that this is a national mandate for widespread intrinsic evil against life, the very reason the Catholic Church stands against it in the first place.
     Hey all you Catholics who still support this man after seeing him repeatedly discount and marginalize people of faith… The wolf is still hungry.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eliminating God… The rise of the State…

     "When the state eliminates God, the state becomes god. And the state is a jealous god, especially when it takes guidance from a book dedicated to Lucifer." For more on this, read here, by Ebben Raves.

Smithsonian pushing agenda again… Erasing the Resurrection...

     I will never step foot in a Smithsonian museum again. I simply cannot trust them to show me historical truth without pushing their agenda. First, it was the National Portrait Gallery's exhibit (warning: graphic content).
     Now this.
     The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is running an exhibit displaying an edited bible, cut and pasted by Thomas Jefferson, depicting the life of Jesus. The Smithsonian claims that "Left behind in the source material were those elements that [Jefferson] could not support through reason or that he believed were later embellishments, such as the miracles and the Resurrection." The display is entitled, "A Revolutionary Act," and runs right through Easter.
     The [Smithsonian] web site states that Jefferson's "New Testament" is "an extension of his revolutionary spirit" and that, "in religion as in politics, he imagined liberating contemporary minds from inherited misconceptions and superstitions."
     Yes. Because everybody knows those bitter clingers need to be liberated.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Valentine's Day highlights...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband, Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
     About a year ago, we were getting ready to go to Matthew's baseball game, and Grace informed us that she was going to stay home. This was not unusual, as Grace enjoys her time alone and must get tired of going out to the field every night. After the game, we returned home, and Grace came bouncing down the steps and greeted me with a cheery hello.
     This was a little unusual because at that time she was fourteen years old, was rarely cheery and…really enjoyed her time alone, not being cheery, by herself. What a great age for girls!
     She hopped into the kitchen and greeted her mother in a similar fashion and I heard  Cheryl return the greeting in her typical upbeat tone. Then things got ugly! And I mean U… G… L… Y... UGLY.
     Cheryl turned from doing the dishes to give Grace a hug and stopped in her tracks. Are those highlights in your hair? 
     Why yes, yes they are. Do you like them? 
     I specifically told you that you were not to highlight your hair. You deliberately disobeyed me.
     No I didn't. You told me that I could.
     I never told you that you could. In fact, I told you that you could not, and you did it anyway. 
     Mom, you told me I could. I swear you did. 
     At this point, I took cover in the dining room waiting to chime in, but Cheryl seemed to have things well under control. It's funny because I am by far, the bigger disciplinarian when it comes to the every day things. I have zero tolerance when the kids raise their voices, talk back, disobey or reply with smart-alecky comments. Cheryl tends to put up with those things---to a point---before she brings the hammer down.
     On the other hand, if the kids want to watch a movie or go somewhere, they bypass dear ol' mom and ask me. I tend to be a little bit more lenient about those types of things. Cheryl looks up every movie on a website that I have dubbed www-dot-you can't watch it-dot-com. On the other hand, I base my decision on whether I would like to see the movie myself. Not really effective as a screening mechanism, but at least I get to see some movies that I like. We have our different parenting styles, but it seems to work.
     Anyway, as I hid in the dining room, I could not help but think that there had to be a misunderstanding. Grace had to know that her mom would notice the highlights. I mean, I didn't notice, but I am an idiot when it comes to stuff like that. For instance, Cheryl has a rule that Grace can only wear eye shadow, but not eye liner. I don't know the difference between the two, so Grace could look like a mime and I wouldn't take note. Every time I try to tell her she shouldn't have any eye stuff on, she tells me that it is okay and that I have no idea about those types of things!
    As the heated discussion continued between Grace and Cheryl, I decided to get involved and called Grace into the dining room. I was probably much calmer than she had anticipated, but I was sure the whole was just a misunderstanding. I asked her if there was any way that she could have misunderstood her mother. There was no misunderstanding, she whispered, she told me I could put highlights in my hair. The whispering had me a bit confused, but I was not confused for long.
    As those words left her lips, Cheryl came flying into the dining room like she had been shot out of a cannon. Is that your story? Is that what you want us to believe? You have been asking for months to have highlights in your hair and I have said no every time. Do you think that if I had all of the sudden changed my mind and told you that you could do it, that you wouldn't have jumped right out of your seat and run upstairs to do your hair right away. Then she went in for the kill. Why did you wait until we all left the house for two hours to do this? 
     GAME. SET. MATCH.  I have seen some good cross examinations in my day, but this was as good as it gets. Cheryl stood staring at her defeated daughter like a lion stands over a dead gazelle. I swear, I thought she was going to take a bite out of her, had Grace not sulked on up to her bedroom.
     Now it came time to dole out the punishment. I went to her room, as she lay in bed crying, and gave her one more chance to come clean and tell me she did not have her mother's permission to give herself highlights. Tearfully, she confessed.
     What to do, what to do.
     I told her that she could no longer use her cell phone, and that she could no longer use her computer and she was grounded. For how long? she whimpered.
     I thought hard and long before I told her that she was on both actual and electronic lock down until her hair grew back out to its natural color.
     That could be months, she lamented.
     Really, who knew? As you know, I have no idea about those types of things. Perhaps, you should have thought about that before you disobeyed your mother. Good night blondie!
      After about four weeks, Grace was still apologetic. She took her punishment like a man---albeit a man with blond highlights in his hair---and complained very little. She insisted that she was not a bad child and we all agreed. Unfortunately, she had made a very big mistake. After that, Cheryl and I decided to let the restrictions end. As we discussed the whole thing, we also decided that her hair looked pretty good with those highlights---but we didn't tell her that---not until this past Tuesday.
     Tuesday was Valentine's Day. I had not even thought about what to get the kids or get Cheryl until Tuesday morning. I tried to order an edible fruit arrangement, but they were not taking orders after noon on Valentine's Day. Gee, do people actually plan for this stuff ahead of time?
     Okay, Plan B---Call Cheryl and treat her and Grace to an outing at the beauty salon for some pampering. As a special bonus, tell Grace she can get highlights in her hair. After all, she has been doing all of the right things this past year. She is responsible and helpful. Plus, it is fun to surprise her.
     She loved her afternoon out with her mom, and they both looked prettier than ever. Not sure what I will do for Gracie next Valentine's Day, but I am pretty sure that I heard her mom and her discussing tattoos?? I sure hope that doesn't turn out to be just another misunderstanding.
Beautiful Gracie with her new highlights

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daniel Hannan speaks… "We still hold these truths…"

     Too bad this guy is British and can't run for office here.
     If only we had a more representatives with this kind of clarity and humble and abiding affection for our institutions.
     This is a must-see speech, by Daniel Hannan, member, British Parliament. He loves his homeland, England, but she is careening off the cliff of European socialism, having forfeited her national sovereignty and birthright to an unelected distant bureaucracy. And he says he is saddened when he looks in his rear-view mirror, and sees America with her foot on the pedal, trying to overtake him.
     We still hold these truths to be self-evident… that all men are created equal…that they are endowed by their Creator… with certain unalienable rights… that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
     This next election, what will it be? Restoring our Constitutional republic, reducing the size and scope of government, states' rights, and greater freedom for each citizen?  Or will we choose the ever-growing Europeanization of America, greater reduction of her citizens, and the rise of the State?

Klavan on the Culture… "Shut up."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… A little less conversation… A little more laundry please…

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
     Over the course of our nearly twenty-year marriage, Cheryl and I have had two very  contentious issues that we have struggled to resolve. The first was my coaching baseball five days a week at a time when we had two kids at home who were both too young to play. She would grumble about being left alone five nights a week to raise two kids under the age of five without my being around. Two kids, big deal! I have thirteen kids to worry  about five nights a week and four of them can't hit their way out of a paper bag and you don't see me begging for your help!  
     Surprisingly, my argument fell on deaf ears. After a few years, I stopped coaching until our kids started playing. Now that she has a son on the team, she tells me…can't you do something with those kids, you are out at a field five nights a week and you still have four kids that can't hit their way out of a paper bag! Perhaps, you should consider practicing the other two nights of the week! Good riddance! Oh yeah, tell Matthew to take some water. 
     The other issue has proven harder to resolve. The issue that still haunts us to this very day is managing the household laundry. For as long as I can remember, I have lobbied for the very simple strategy of doing a load of laundry a day. This way, it never gets to be too much of a chore. As an added bonus, I would have a clean t-shirt to wear every day. Cheryl prefers the throw it in the laundry room until it piles up so high that you can change the light bulb without using a ladder approach. On a side note, she has no problem with me wearing one of those small t-shirts every once in a while. You know the ones that I can't stand because they are way too tight.
      Typically, I cave on almost every difference of opinion that we have but I refuse to yield on this one. I don't get it. Laundry can only become a problem when you let it get so out of control that it becomes a daunting task. And frankly, I cannot imagine a simpler chore. You throw it in and you walk away----it is something that you do while you are doing something else. The days of taking the clothes to the river and beating them on a rock are over. We have an extra large capacity front loader, for goodness sakes.
     However, last weekend was different. I was so happy to see the laundry getting done at a record rate. My girl was ripping through it like nobody's business. One load would come out, another load would go in, and the load that came out would immediately get folded. This is an important step because there have been many of occasions when the laundry is washed but never folded. It sits in a "clean clothes" hamper for a few days until someone needs something from the bottom of the hamper and dumps the clean, unfolded clothes on the floor. After a day or two of co-mingling with any dirty clothes that may happen to be on the floor, we have no idea what is clean and what is dirty. It is madness.
     Anyway, back to last weekend… After the folding, my girl then had her little minions run the clothes up the steps to be delivered to the appropriate location. Our kids were like little ants doing the Queen's bidding.
     As I watched this operation, I could not help but be reminded of my days growing up in my parents' home. My mom never let the laundry get out of hand. In fact there were times when I had a game in the morning and another in the afternoon and dear ol' mom would wash my uni during the break. In college, I had a magic laundry bag that was full of dirty clothes when I came home for the weekend, and full of clean, folded clothes when I left to go back. I loved that bag! I miss that bag!
     So, I started to think, Wouldn't it be great if my mom lived with us all the time? Oh, did I forget to mention that the "my girl" that I referred to, who was tearing through our laundry, was my mom. Yeah, she stayed with us last weekend, and she was the one making short work of our laundry. I have not conducted any official experiment or anything, but I swear that the washing machine and the dryer go faster when my mom is at our house. She goes at the laundry like a windmill in a tornado.
     Now don't get the wrong idea and think that my mom is some overbearing mother-in-law that sticks her nose in her son's dirty laundry. (That's kind of a gross if you think about it!) No, nothing could be further from the truth. It is as if she enjoys doing the laundry and who are we to get in her way.
     The fact is that I am very fortunate to have a wife and a mother that get along great. Two beautiful people with two very different personalities. Cheryl is the most laid back person in the world and worries about very little. My mother worries about everything, including my laundry.
     Cheryl is content to leave things for the next day, or the day after, or the day after that. My mother has to get everything done right away, including my laundry.
     Cheryl is content in her solitude, with quiet moments, sitting still. My mom wants to be around people------and do their laundry.
     Cheryl likes being around me and tolerates me. My mother loves to be around me….. and thoroughly enjoys doing my laundry. If I say that I am hungry, Cheryl will tell me to get a piece of fruit or drink a glass of water. My mom responds with the seven greatest words ever uttered, Can I make you something to eat? 
     In my mind I say, HECK YEAH, YOU CAN MAKE ME SOMETHING TO EAT! But I try to play it cool, and what comes out of my mouth is, No Mom, I don't want to put you out, but if you are interested, we have some tomato sauce and paste in the pantry and some ground beef, you know, if you want to take a break from folding, and make some meatballs. This gets her every time. (I guess my son Noah comes by his subtle hints honestly.)     
      When Cheryl and I have a discussion, she tends to jump in in the middle of my thoughts and finish my sentences for me. A friend has described this as the middle of my sentence interrupting the beginning of hers. 
     My mother, on the other hand, never interrupts me. Of course, sometimes I'm not sure she can hear me----But she never interrupts me.
      I suppose that I am very lucky to have been blessed with two incredible women in my life. I know that both love me unconditionally, both are awesome mothers, and both are women of faith and great examples for their daughters, nieces and, in my mom's case, grand daughters. Sometimes I feel that I should just go and shout out to anyone that will listen, how much I love and respect these women.
     The problem is, and I hate to say this, I am kind of embarrassed to get up in front of a bunch of people----I have no clean clothes to wear.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Seventeen days of torture...

    We have a friend who had great success losing weight on "the 17 day diet.'' She posted photos of her meals on facebook and chronicled her weight loss daily. As she dropped the weight….and looked like she did when she was eighteen….she became a Pied Piper of sorts. Women all over the world joined in and started their own "17 day diet." Maybe not all over the world but a lot of women she knows have been inspired.
    One of those women following the crowd off of the cliff is my wonderful wife. Although, I think that she is as beautiful as ever, she advised us that she was going take part in the diet plan and get back to her regular weight. On a side note, I love when people say they are getting back to their regular weight as if the extra weight they have been carrying for the past ten years was not their regular weight. 
     Great, that sounds nice, but won't it be difficult having to make two meals every night? You know... the diet meal that you will eat and the regular, you know….meal that I am going to still get to eat….because I don't need to lose weight……and neither do you, but you said you wanted to... sooooo how's this going to work for me?
     Well, she told me how it was going to work for me and it will work something like this: She will make one meal and I will eat that meal….in fact, all of us will eat that meal. It will be turkey, chicken or fish. It will have lots of vegetables and fruit. It will not have red meat. It will not have breads or pasta. It will not have cereals, cookies, cakes, puddings, ice cream or any other sugar vehicle. It will not have sodas, sweet tea or milk. She further advised that she has been told that every couple that she knows that goes on this diet... the husband loses weight much faster than the wife, so it will really work for me. She tells me that if I give her seventeen days, my life will never be the same.
     I am not saying that I eat healthy. In fact, I do not. I rarely eat breakfast and if I do it is either eggs (all of the egg and not just the white part), french toast or pancakes with sides of bacon or sausage and potatoes---I love potatoes. Lunch is typically from a fast food restaurant complete with fries and a large Dr.Pepper. If someone bakes a cake at work, I may partake, but not always. For dinner, I will eat whatever Cheryl makes and I will follow that up with a bowl of cereal. Dessert cereal, if you will... Captain Crunch, Cocoa Puffs or maybe Frosted Flakes. Been doing that since I was a kid. If I do not have a bowl of cereal, I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a tall glass of milk.
    I am not saying that I won't keel over and die one day as a result of a heart attack, but I am saying that I do not put on weight. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (chocolate is not on the diet, by the way) I have been blessed with the Golden Ticket, and that would be good genetics. Not sure why some people put on weight and others do not, but God has His plan. I am not sure what His plan is for me but I fully anticipate having to squeeze into a tight space someday to save some poor child trapped in a cave.
    Anyway, I advised Cheryl that I will play her little reindeer diet games. Like every game, we have rules. Let's review some of the rules, shall we:
    Initially, I was informed that I could eat all the fruits and vegetables that I please. Great, I love fruit and we have bananas, watermelon, and pineapple. I love bananas, watermelon and pineapple. On day one, I enjoyed a nice banana for breakfast and another at night for a nice healthy snack before bed. Cheryl then advised that there is to be no fruit after 2:00 p.m and that bananas are off the list. I can get no explanation on the 2:00 rule but apparently, bananas are too high in sugar…. as are watermelon and pineapple. As far as your typical house fruits go, this leaves apples and oranges. I don't care for apples and can get tired of oranges pretty fast. And it turns out that I can only eat two fruits a day and not an unlimited supply, so now I have to choke down an apple twice a day before the clock strikes 2:00 p.m.
     She told me I could eat as many vegetables as I like. Terrific, can we bake potatoes or mash the potatoes or better yet, fry them up with some onions and olive oil for a yummy breakfast treat? As you know, I love potatoes. Potatoes, as it turns out are off the diet. Last time I looked, potato was a vegetable. I would like further review on the potato violation.
    No dairy is allowed except yogurt. But not the regular yogurt that we buy when it goes on sale. No we have to eat a special kind of expensive yogurt made by a company that I am sure sponsors the "17 day diet." That's okay, I like yogurt and this stuff cannot be that much different than the yogurt that I like, can it? Oh, it can! Think of sour cream with some fruit at the bottom and you have the healthy stuff.
    And then there is the water rule. Eight glasses of water a day plus some hot tea. No idea why hot tea gets special treatment but I am welcoming the tea because I have a chance to get some caffeine in me. I have never drunk eight glasses of anything a day in my entire life. I drink water after working out, but it is not my go-to beverage. Last week, I jokingly asked my sister-in-law to donate her remaining kidney to me if I ever needed it. Well let me tell you, my kidneys are working overtime and at this rate, I may need her to take me up on that request.
    Last night, we went out with several couples for drinks, and by drinks, I mean hot tea---alcohol is a no-no. As is often the case, someone ordered wings----chicken wings, so I thought I had a chance. Cheryl said no, but I could eat the celery. Can I put peanut butter on the celery? Again, a big fat NO! Then what is the point of eating celery if you can't add a little peanut butter? The fact of the matter is that I wasn't even hungry but I am so used to grabbing whatever I want and eating it, and I, I, I…….WANTED TO GRAB A WING AND EAT IT.
     I have also been rejected on my request to eat popcorn. I argued that it is corn, a vegetable, only heated and popped. How is that off the diet? I have been rejected on Frosted Mini Wheats. Again, I argued it has the word wheat in it and it is small, that has to be a good combination. Apparently, there is sugar in the frosted part. Who knew?
     As it turns out, I can apply one simple diet rule in the event I cannot get a hold of Cheryl and it is this: If I like it, it is not on the diet.
     This same rule does not apply to things that Cheryl enjoys. It seems that the creamer that she puts in her coffee is not dairy and does not contain sugar. In fairness, she has asked for the low sugar version of this non-dairy milk product.
     I always thought that I had great will power, and that if I had to go on a diet, it would be no problem. But then I recalled the talk that once I gave as a guest speaker at a drug recovery program. Once a month, I go to address the various legal issues that addictions can lead to. This one particular day was during Lent, when I had given up soda and caffeine. As part of my talk, I always tell the folks that I have never been addicted to anything and it is hard for me to understand that a person could give up so much in their lives by abusing drugs or alcohol. The room was full of people addicted to alcohol, cocaine, heroine and opiates. As I was making this point, someone opened up a can of Pepsi and I stopped in mid-sentence and said, Ooooh I would kill for a Dr. Pepper right now! 
     This made me chuckle and it made me lose all credibility with the group. Fortunately, or perhaps more accurately, unfortunately, there is a different room full of people every month.
    So here is my final verdict of the "17 day diet" and every other temporary diet plan: You can lose weight by cutting out sweets, sodas, breads, etc. but once the diet is over, and you reintroduce those foods back into your meals, the weight will come back. You need to exercise and change your entire lifestyle. You can occasionally eat the bad stuff but in moderation----unless of course you have the Golden Ticket. But even with the Golden Ticket, you need to eat healthier so you can live longer and be there for that kid in the cave.
     So my family and I are all in, and I am hopeful that in the next seventeen days, we will learn that turkey burgers are okay, that water is a better option than Dr. Pepper (ouch) and that green peppers are a better snack than potato chips ….which by the way, I lobbied hard for as a potential vegetable before realizing that all potatoes are off the plan.
    It is a life changing decision and we have decided that we will eat healthy! So there you have it.
    What's that? The Super Bowl is next week? And it is in the middle of the seventeen days? Wow, this could be tough. No wings, no subs, no chili, no chips, dips or sodas? What kind of loving wife and mother makes her family start a diet the week of the Super Bowl?
     Well, I have done some research and it turns out that it is actually healthy to go off a diet every now and again to help the body adapt to the new foods. It makes sense, like using methadone to get off of heroine. I like it!
     Okay, my family is all in for the "18 day diet." Eighteen days and our lives will never be the same.    
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