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Friday, May 25, 2012

Funny Guy Friday…..What else could it be?

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
     We have all heard the story. A man, approaching the age of fifty, has a mid-life crisis and  decides to leave his wife and family for some twenty-something babe. Well, I think my wife has some delusion that I am going to fly the coop.
     I know what you are thinking… There is no way that he is approaching the age of fifty. Well, I am.
     I know what else you are thinking… There is no way that Cheryl believes that Mark is going to leave her and the kids for a twenty-something babe. Well, I think she does! You see Cheryl is going through some changes and the only explanation that makes any sense is that she is afraid of losing me. Let me elaborate.
     My first clue came several months ago when she asked me if I thought that she needed to lose weight. Of course not, you look great! I answered sincerely. Why do you ask? I asked fearfully.
     I weighed x when we got married, and now, three kids later, I weigh y! At this point my eyes glazed over thinking that I was going to have to do an algebra equation. Cheryl went on: I think that I, (and by I, she really meant the entire family) should go on this diet called the Seventeen Day Diet. 
     That is up to you, but I think you look great. However, I do recall that you lost weight right before we got married, and you ended up having to pad your wedding dress with... ahem… strategically placed stuffing… getting me to the altar under "falsie pretenses," if you will… that's not going to happen again… is it? I asked lovingly.
     Well, four months later (the Seventeen Day Diet is a misnomer), she has lost more than twenty pounds and looks better than ever. The other day, I was coaching third base at our son Matthew's game and Cheryl came walking up over a hill... and it was as if everything stopped, a light shined on her, and I could have sworn there was a small breeze that blew only on Cheryl, as she stopped and swung her hair back out of her face… ALL IN SLOW MOTION.
     She has only pulled that slow motion thing on me twice before. The first time was after we first got engaged and she went to California for a week. I remember playing in a softball game and she came walking up to the field upon her return. She had on a neon colored shirt and she was looking tanned and beautiful. The second slow motion event was when she walked down the aisle on our wedding day. As you can see, she only resorts to this move when she is desperately in love with me.
     Now some people may be thinking that she did the weight loss thing for herself. This, of course, is nonsense. She can't leave herself, only I can leave her. Besides, where else would she go? What could possibly be better than what she already has? Women die and want to come back to life as Cheryl. No, she lost weight because of some irrational fear that I am leaving her… I am sure of it. Seriously, what else could it be?
     Besides, there are other signs that are hard to miss. For example, she is saying weird things… things that make her sound like she is twenty-something. Just the other day, we had this conversation when I came home from work looking for some shorts to wear to baseball:
      Honey, did you wash those clothes that I asked you to wash this morning before I left for work?
      Oooh, no, I am sorry, I forgot. You know, it would be a big help if you would throw your clothes over the railing when you want them washed.
      Oh, I thought putting them in the hamper and requesting that they be washed was enough.
      DUDE, you have to throw them over the railing!
     Why do I need to throw them over the…………Did you just call me DUDE? 
     Yes, yes I did, DUDE! Throw the clothes over the railing………DUDE!

     If that isn't enough evidence that my wife is talking younger, wait until you hear this. The other night we were watching Dancing With the Stars. It was the final show, and they brought back some of the already-voted-off contestants for some encore dances. The host of the show announced that one of the contestants, a young man from a Disney show, was coming back to do a "free style" dance. This prompted the following exchange beginning with Cheryl proclaiming, Oooh… I can't wait... This is going to be sick
The rest of the family didn't know what to say or do.
     Matthew:  Mom, did you just say that this is going to be sick?
     Cheryl:  Yes, I did.   
     Mark:  Oh, honey if you're going to get sick, go to the bathroom, and we will pause the show and wait for you.
     Cheryl:  I am not going to get sick, the dance is going to be sick! 
     Noah:  Is mommy getting sick?
     Mark:  I am not sure Noah, but apparently someone is going to get sick. Matthew, Grace, are you guys okay?
     Matthew:  I'm fine.
     Grace:  I'm fine too, but I wish Matthew would get out of my chair!
     Mark:  Stop worrying about your stupid chair when your mother is about to get sick! 
     Cheryl:  I am not going to get sick, the dance is going to be sick. You know, cool, Off of Da' Hook!
     Mark:  You know, you kids better start hanging up the phone when you are done using it; apparently, it is making your mother sick when you don't.   

     There are other signs that Cheryl is afraid that I am going to leave her. For instance, every Sunday for the past year, she wakes up early, gets showered and dressed, and heads off to Adoration. After putting two and two together, I can only assume that she is going to pray that I stick around. I cannot say for sure what she is praying for because I have never been invited to join her, but I think it is a pretty safe bet that she is praying that I stick around.

     So now it should be clear to everyone that my wife is afraid that I am going to leave her for a younger woman. Not convinced? Then, let's review the evidence.
    - She decided to lose weight for no apparent reason.
    - She is making herself look good and showing up late for stuff so she can make some grand entrance and flip her hair back in slow motion. I call this her "I am desperately in love with my man" move.
   - She tries to sound young by calling me DUDE when I don't throw my dirty laundry over the railing.
   - She uses terms like "sick" and "off da hook (not even the hook)" out of the blue.
   - She is going out every Sunday morning before I wake up, so she can be alone to pray that I won't leave her. Admittedly, I cannot confirm that she is praying that I don't leave her. Frankly, I have no idea because she is up and out before I even get out of bed. In fact, I cannot confirm that she is even at Adoration. Oh well.
    Clearly, she is desperate, and she is in love. What else could it be?
     Wait a second.
     Something just occurred to me.
     Oh no, this is bad. This is really, really bad.
     - My lovely wife has decided to lose weight for no apparent reason.
     - She is doing the "I am in love, looking good, slow motion walking thing." The more I think about that move, it happens when I am desperately in love with her, not when she is desperately in love with me.
     - She is talking younger and using terms that I haven't heard in more than thirty years, and, frankly, that I don't even understand.
     - After twenty years of laundry bliss, she is hoisting unreasonable demands upon me, requiring me to "throw my dirty clothes over the railing."
     - She now refers to me as DUDE. Not even in a loving tone, I might add. She used to call me honey and sweetie, now I am just DUDE. Next she'll be calling me the Alimony DUDE.
     - She is going places without me and doing who knows what… without me! Adoration my eye.  She is having breakfast with a younger man.
     What else could it be?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Good things come in threes...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark.  So… I married a funny guy...
     There are weeks that I struggle to come up with things to write about for Funny Guy Friday. It is then that I thank God that we have Noah: a funny, mixed up, cute little seven-year-old that I can always count on for a little material.
     After Cheryl and I had two kids and two miscarriages, we had a discussion about staying pat with two. About a month after our decision, I came home from work a bit dejected.  Cheryl greeted me at the door and asked if everything were okay. I had just made partner at work, and I had told Cheryl that I was no longer on salary and that I was going to get paid once a month, and if it were a bad month, I wouldn't get paid at all. On this particular payday, I had made $1,500 for the entire month. OUCH!
    Cheryl told me she had a surprise and she handed me a small, wrapped, flat, rectangular package. I grabbed it and told her, You did not have to wrap a new credit card for me, although it will come in handy this month; I already have plenty of credit cards. She told me it was not a credit card and asked me to unwrap it.
     As I unwrapped it, I saw that it was a pregnancy test. I looked at it and I asked, Whose is this? Is this my niece's? Why would you give me my niece's pregnancy test? This is kind of gross!  She assured me it was not my niece's test but it still did not register.
     You see, with her other pregnancies, we were trying to get pregnant, and we were in it together. I mean, I was right there when she would take the tests, and I did everything except urinate on the strip myself. This was different, this test was done without me.
     Cheryl told me it was indeed her test, but I was still not sure of what was going on.  I asked Cheryl if it were positive or negative… the whole time wondering why she would wrap up a negative pregnancy test. She must think that I really did not want to have another kid.
     After it finally registered that we were going to have a third child, Cheryl asked me two questions. First, Are you happy? Are you kidding? I would have had thirty kids if it were possible. Don't tell Cheryl this but the only reason I was content to stop at two in the first place was because Cheryl had had really tough deliveries and she was getting older. Not older in the regular sense of the word, but older in the childbearing sense. Then something registered with Cheryl and she asked, Do we have enough money for another child?  We didn't have enough money for the first two, so why worry about that now? By the way, that may have been the first and last time that she has ever asked about money. What a great wife!
     So now we have Noah and we could not imagine our lives without the little man, and I could not imagine what I would do on a slow FGF week without him.
     This week Noah approached Cheryl and me and told us he had a great idea for a gift for his sister when she turns sixteen. We asked what he had in mind and he told us he wanted to buy her an itunes gift card. Great idea. We told him that a $25 gift card would be great. $25? That is not enough. I want to get her a $100 gift card. By the way, how much does a $100 gift card cost? he asked.
     Well, $100, of course.
     $100? That's stupid. Why would anyone pay that much for a gift card. Just give her a $100 bill. Great idea, do you have $100 bill?
     Yes, yes, I do, he advised. This left me with two thoughts: where did he get a $100 bill, and now I will stop borrowing from Matthew every time I have no money for the pizza guy.  
     Then on Wednesday, we got a big rain in the morning. The boys' baseball games were called off fairly early in the day. The problem was that the rain stopped and the sun came out and the field that Noah was scheduled to play on was dry enough to play. A late email went out and I got a call from Cheryl on my drive home advising that it was game on. She told me Noah was out playing and was not going to be happy about this turn of events.
      Noah does not love baseball. He likes it okay once he gets out there, but the real reason that I think that Noah plays baseball is because his dad played, his uncles played, his cousins played and his brother is still playing. He also plays because he likes to get new cleats. As of right now, there is no great passion, but we are working on it.
      I told Cheryl to rally the troops and get Noah ready because he was going to go to the game. About twenty minutes later, I walked through the door to find Noah in his game shirt and a pair of shorts. I was a bit surprised that he was not ready to walk out the door in full uniform. I told him to get up and get his stuff because we were leaving in two minutes. I was not happy and it was obvious to everyone because Grace actually got off of her facebook and went to help him find his stuff.
      Once in the car, I tried to explain to Cheryl what the phrase "rally the troops" means. This did not appear to amuse her and she explained that it was all that she could do to get him to get his shirt on. As loudly and as clearly as I could, I explained to Noah that when Mom tells him to do something, he is to do it whether he likes it or not. I may have even quoted a father of one of my old girlfriends and told Noah that if Mom tells you that a flea can pull a plow, you should hook it up and not ask questions. 
      He explained that he does not think he is that good in baseball and he did not want to go to the game. Then he asked what a flea had to do with anything? I abandoned the flea thing and sternly explained what it means to be part of a team.
     Always kinder and gentler, Cheryl jumped in and told him that when you do the right thing, God will provide blessings. Whatever, Miss Goody Two Shoes. That is all well and good, but God also knows what it is like to be on a team!
     We got to the game a little late and Noah almost immediately came up to bat.
     I interrupt this regularly scheduled FGF for this important baseball note:
     Not to get too Inside Baseball on everybody, but for the most part, Noah has good mechanics with his swing. He has a balanced stance, he loads his hands, he shifts his weight, and he finishes his swing. There are times that he looks great up at the plate. The one little problem is that he misses the ball… a lot. Although it has frustrated me a bit, I realize that in the long run, his good mechanics will help him become a better hitter. There are kids that hit the ball and, as a dad, I wonder, How is that kid hitting the ball and Noah is not? As a coach, I think, That kid is going to have to completely change the way he swings when he gets older. Maybe the fact that earlier in the year, Noah fouled a pitch off of his bat right into his face doesn't really help much… but he seems to be over that little incident.
     Back to our regularly scheduled FGF:
     We got to the game late and Noah almost immediately came up to bat. On his second pitch, he laced a single to left for his first hit of the season. Second time up, same result for his second hit of the season. Third time up, he dinked it down the first base line and beat out the tag. Three for three. Sweet night at the plate.
     On the drive home, I told Noah that as usual, I was right. Noah asked me what I was talking about. I told him that I have always said that if you do the right thing, God will bless you with three hits!
     Both Noah and Cheryl were quick to point out that it was Cheryl who suggested the whole God/Blessing thing while I rambled on about a team full of fleas. Whatever. They never really listen!
     Now that I think about it, I am onto something with blessings coming in threes. For Noah, he did the right thing and he came out of it with three great hits. For Cheryl and me, we did the right thing and we came out of it with three great kids.
     So, as usual, in a round about way…...I was right!
     Funny how that always happens on Fridays!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… Our big week!

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So… I married a funny guy...
     This past week we had two big events in our household. On Sunday, Noah received his first Holy Communion. He looked dapper in his double breasted suit that we borrowed from a family with twelve kids. Why shop for a suit that he will only wear once or twice when you have friends with twelve kids? Heck, we could do all of our shopping in their closets.
     Noah looked so good in his suit and tie that I caught him making out with his reflection in the mirror. Okay, he wasn't exactly making out with himself, but he was giving himself the dreamy eyed "smolder look." How could he possibly turn himself down?
     First Communion was preceded by weeks of classes and practice with his CCD classmates. On Saturday, they had their final practice and Father Parry took the opportunity to go over some of the questions that he planned on asking them on Sunday during his homily. When the time came, it was obvious that the kids knew their stuff. They answered his questions with complete confidence and accuracy. I am proud to say that Noah's hand shot up on just about every question.
     On the way to church that morning, I gave my boy some great advice that I learned in law school. Always raise your hand on questions that you know so they won't call on you when your hand is not up. Beat them to the punch----best defense is a good offense. I would like to say that this strategy served me well, but the truth of the matter is, I never knew any answers in law school, so I mostly resorted to Plan B. Plan B consisted of keeping my head down and pretending to read something out of the book.
     I must admit, I was a bit nervous. What if Noah missed a question right there in front of God and everyone. Everyone would blame me because they all know Cheryl is sort of a super human Catholic and I am a lowly convert. The potential for me being humiliated was very high.
     Anyway, Noah got a softball of a question that he fielded with ease. I felt a bit relieved and was now able to sit back in my pew and enjoy watching the other kids make potential fools of their parents. For instance when Father Parry asked who can give Communion, one youngster blurted out that Jesus can give Communion. Father Parry was very kind and said that if Jesus were here, he sure could give Communion. Deep down I know he was thinking, Yeah sure kid, Jesus is coming down from His kingdom in Heaven to administer the Eucharist. While He is here, perhaps he could crank out a wedding and a baptism for good measure. That kid's poor parents must have been devastated.
     As the homily wrapped up, Father Parry commented on how wonderful the kids performed and how impressed he was with their responses. Then he asked the kids if there were anything important that he had left out… sort of acknowledging to the congregation that he was done and we would be moving on to the big event.
     Then it happened… one little hand shot up and one poor dad started sweating and squirming forward, back to the edge of his pew. Who was this brave young First Communicant that was going to tell MONSIGNOR Parry what he had left out? You guessed it; it was Brother Noah.
     At first there was silence… an awkward, dead kind of silence. Then Noah advised, You forgot to say that if you are sick or are taking care of someone who is sick, then you don't have to go to Mass on Sunday. 
     Oh no, what a knucklehead. What was he doing? Surely everyone was going to think that I am always trying to get out of going to Mass. Everybody knows that Saint Cheryl would never dream of getting sick on a Sunday. What was Father Parry going to think? Maybe I could slip an extra $100 in the basket.
     Father Parry got excited and agreed that this was true and that he did forget to mention that. In fact, he walked over to Noah and gave him a holy high five and told him that he must have really been paying attention to remember such important information.
     Whew, crisis averted! I think my father-in-law, who was sitting behind me, leaned over and gave me a nice reassuring pat on the shoulder. On further review, I was proud of Noah, but I was left wondering why he was the only one in the class that remembered the only way to get out of going to Mass on Sunday.
     The second big event this week was that Matthew turned twelve on Tuesday. We could not be prouder of Matthew, who is becoming a fine young man.
     However, I was a bit surprised when my wife sent an email to a group of kids, and to me at work, inviting us all to a party on Saturday. That's right, I got an email inviting me to my son's birthday party. I wonder who is paying for this extravaganza.
     I was more surprised to read that the party will start at 2pm and will include a movie, pizza, and play time, and will end around 9pm. Seven hours with a bunch of pre-teen boys; why, that is a fate worse than death. Why not invite them over to spend the entire weekend?     
Cheryl assured me that this is what Matthew wanted and that it will be fun. I am sure that it will be, but I am just as sure that I will have a major headache as a result.
     Hey, you know what… I won't have to go to Mass on Sunday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Funny Guy Friday… All aboard!!!!

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband, Mark. So… I married a funny guy…
     For about two weeks, my daughter Grace had been complaining about pain that she had felt after doing her nightly crunches on a semi-hard floor. She claimed that she had broken her tailbone. We did what we normally do when Grace complains… we ignored her.
     Unfortunately, the complaints continued, and I asked if she had fallen and somehow injured herself. I was suspicious because for Easter, Cheryl bought Grace a Rip Stick. A Rip Stick is a cross between a snow board and a skateboard. I have dubbed it the Broken Wrist Stick because that is what I see in our future. I was sure that she had fallen and was not telling us… and by us, I really mean me because I have made my opinions of the Rip Stick known to all that would listen.
     On Friday, Cheryl called me at work and had that overly calm tone in her voice that tells me she has bad news but I should not be worried. It seems that along with the pain, Grace had some swelling and a fever, and since Grace's pain was getting worse and not better, they were on their way to the doctor's. The problem is that severe pain with fever is not good, and can sometimes be really bad. If you know me at all, you may have guessed, despite my wife's calm demeanor, I was very worried.
     Once I got home, Cheryl called from the doctor's office and let me know that they were headed to the hospital for a little procedure that would relieve the pain. Not a pleasant procedure but fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. I was surprised to hear that Grace did not want me to know what was going on because she was sure that I was going to "flip out" at the news of a trip to the ER. I am not sure what Grace expected from me, and I also wondered if she thought I would just forget about the whole episode and never asked what happened. Her reaction also clearly exhibits the differences between Cheryl and me.
     Allow me to elaborate…
     While at the hospital, my daughter was wearing a shirt she had made for a high school homecoming game that read We bust ours so we can beat yours. Cheryl laughingly pointed out the irony of the shirt, considering the fact the Grace thought she had a broken tailbone.
     I should have been with Grace because I would have taken the whole thing way more seriously than Cheryl. She never gets upset, and tends to down play everything. I, on the other hand, have normal human emotions and get fearful and upset. I can sum this up by saying: I overreact at potentially bad news and she does not. I think my way is better for everyone involved.
     A little morphine, and a reassuring bedside manner from the attending physician, and my girl Grace was pain free once again... and on her way.
     A couple of days later, at a follow-up visit with the pediatrician, we were advised that a further surgery could be required someday. This sent Grace back into a panic. Again, I wish I had been there to suffer with my baby girl. Cheryl told her to relax and never assume the worst. I would have told her to go ahead and assume the worst, and if it is any different we can readjust. That is normal, isn't it? If you think like me, good news is like a bonus that you never expected to receive.
     The pediatrician referred us to a surgeon. It turns out that she is the mom of one of the kids on my baseball team. I assured Grace that if the doctor messed anything up, I would dramatically reduce her son's playing time. I felt that we had the upper hand on this situation.
     Grace and I were both very nervous about the meeting with the surgeon. Grace did not want to go and I must say that I did not blame her. After hearing Grace complain about the appointment for several minutes, Cheryl had had enough: Stop thinking about yourself and say a prayer for Aunt Karen! she demanded.
      What in the world was she talking about? We were all thinking that we love Aunt Karen and we know she is having some issues, but if Grace is going to say a prayer, why can't she just say a pray for herself. Cheryl then launched into an explanation: Instead of  worrying about something that may or may not happen in your future, say a prayer for someone who is actually suffering.
      Can't we do both? Can't we be scared and nervous without knowing what is really going on? Why can't we be miserable anticipating the worst? And then say a prayer for Aunt Karen. Seriously, what is with Cheryl?
      But my wonderful wife was not done yet. She took this opportunity to impugn my good character with the following life lesson: You have two options every time you come to a cross road. You can take the dark and cloudy, scary road, with monsters and goblins at every corner, jumping out and telling you that things are going to be bad… we will call that the Daddy Road. Or you can take the road of sunshine and happiness where all is calm and good… we will call that the Mommy Road. No matter which road you take, you end up in the same exact place. Why worry yourself on the Daddy Road?
     Wait a second... the Daddy Road is a good road. Daddy Road is a crowded road with lots of people that, well, er uh… lots of people that anticipate the worst and fear the unknown.  That's normal isn't it? I mean, do most people wait to find out the whole story before they start to worry? Nobody does that, do they?
     Mommy Road may be bright and happy, but nobody is there except my wife and a couple of Disney Princesses. You know the ones that have birds that help them get dressed and  squirrels and bunnies that help them mop their dirty floors.
    Well, the good news is that Grace received a bonus… no extra surgery will be required.  It turns out that Cheryl was right, and there was no reason to get excited. After receiving the good news, Cheryl told Grace the same thing that she has been telling me for the past twenty years… Feel free to climb aboard the Cheryl Happy Train. There is plenty of room for everyone.
    I suppose that Cheryl is right. Why worry unless there is something to worry about? God has His plan and no matter what we do, His will will be done.
    I hate when she is right!
   After twenty years, I should know to jump aboard the Cheryl Happy Train. The only problem is that I can't do that right now because I have this pain in my right knee. I am pretty sure that I have a torn ACL and will not be able to jump aboard anything for some time. I haven't seen a doctor or anything, but what else could it be? I hear the surgery is a bear and the rehab takes months.
    Woe is me!
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