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

Friday, February 22, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... What did I do to deserve this?

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... I married a funny guy...
    This past Saturday, Cheryl helped organize a woman's retreat at our church. The next day, on the way to Mass, she was reciting the list of women who had attended. There were more than a hundred women, so it was a long list. I mean a long, looooong list. I knew most of them, but then she mentioned a name with which I was not familiar, and I asked a very simple question... Who is she?
    You know who she is. 
    No, no.  I do not know who she is. 
    She is kinda tall, blonde... graduated with my brother. She helps with the children's choir. Very pretty... with a beautiful voice.
    But sweetie, I only have eyes for you... and ears for you! 
    Okay, I know that I exaggerate the truth a bit, but I have to be perfectly honest... I really did not say I only have eyes for you and ears for you. I said...  
    Still not ringing a bell. I don't recall ever going to Mass with the children's choir.
    Yes you did; on that Feast of Mary... all the singing groups were at Mass.
    I do remember I had arrived late... I made a joke about the men in the choir eating all the kids in the children's choir, but I never noticed any tall blonde leading the kids. For all I know, she was just another victim during the Feast of the Kids' Choir. 
    At this point, Gracie chimed in:
    You know who she is dad; she is tall and blonde. 
    Okay, we have established tall and blonde... sounds like I'd like to meet her... but I still do not know who she is.
    At this point both Cheryl and Grace got upset with me.
    You're not trying.
    I'm not trying? What are you talking about?
    Whenever you don't understand something, you shut down. 
    I don't know the tall, pretty, blonde woman who runs the children's choir. I understand that I do not know the woman, and I am neither ashamed nor confused by this fact. I don't know the woman.  
    This battle was not over. Once we arrived at church and got settled into our pew, Grace and Cheryl scouted the woman out. In the middle of the Gloria, Grace pointed her out to me.
    Oh, the woman between the two tall guys?
    That's her husband and her son. Her son went on retreat with us.  
    Yeah, I know him, I think. Big kid... went on retreat with us? 
    Yes, yes, you know her, too.
    No, no, I don't. In fact, I was going to say I did not know her even if I did.... but I don't. So there! Are you going to get mad again?
    Mom is right, you don't try!  
    How is it that I am the bad guy here? I didn't deserve that. I was just minding my own business, not knowing someone, and all of the sudden, I get attacked.
    This was not the only time during the week that I would suffer such an undeserved assault.
    Late Sunday night, Cheryl came down with the stomach flu. I like to think this was God's way of paying her back for the way she had treated me on the drive to Mass. I could be wrong now... but I don't think so.   
    Anyway, she was completely out of it on Monday so I told the kids to stay out of our room and be quiet. I checked on her now and again, but she was either asleep or in the bathroom. Being the good husband that I am, I even did about ten loads of laundry.
    Tuesday was more of the same for Cheryl, but I had to go to work. When I got home, I got the kids fed (Actually, I made Gracie feed the kids, but I ordered it, so I am taking credit for it), and I readied Matthew for his CCD class.
    After dropping him off, I attended the first session of a program that the Church is putting on during Lent. It was Cheryl's idea for us to participate. She has never met a church function that she did not want to try, but since she was sick, I decided to go by myself... all by myself... alone... without Cheryl... at a church function... solo... alone... at church!
   Certainly, this would make my sick little girl happy.
   When I got home, she asked how things had gone.
   Fine. It was good.
   Tell me. 
   It was like the first day of class, when they hand out the syllabus, nothing too exciting. Oh, I did get approached about organizing and running a men's retreat. 
   Tell me about that. 
   What's to tell... I got asked to organize and run a men's retreat like the one you just did.  
   That was it. I knew Cheryl had to still be feeling the effects of the flu because my bare bones  description of the conversation would not typically suffice.
   Wednesday morning, Cheryl was up early and hopped in the shower. I was shaving when she revisited the whole men's retreat topic.
   I told you last night, I was asked to organize a men's retreat at the church.  
   That's it? I want a story. I need a story... something linear... with a nice beginning that develops the characters taking part in the conversation... a middle that begins to tie together all the loose ends... and a thrilling conclusion that wraps up the whole story in a nice tidy package complete with a bow. You give me nothing. Forget it, I have to work too hard with you. Oh, and by the way, I just threw over the dirty clothes from our bathroom that you must have walked over for the past three days.  And you know, it might have been nice for the kids to have checked on me every once in a while when I was sick.  
   Feeling better, honey?  
   Yes. A little.
   Are you really feeling better?
   Yes, I am feeling better.
   Then can you iron a shirt for me?  
   I have already done too much today, and I am going to lie back down.
   That was it. 7:45 a.m. and she was back in bed under the covers leaving me to fend for myself. This, after all I had done for her.
   What did I do to deserve this fate?
    I had done the laundry.
    I had checked on her every once in a while.
    I had kept the kids away from her so she could rest.
    I had attended the church thing... by myself, I might add.
    Forget it, it is obvious that I can't do enough around my house, so I am going to concentrate all of my efforts on that men's retreat thing. Cheryl tells me the first thing I have to do is to come up with a topic.
    I wonder if the priests have any insight on a husband's role in keeping a marriage healthy.
    Forget it... There's only one hope for the husband... Divine Intervention.    

Friday, February 15, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... I'll see your sacrifice, and I'll raise you one......

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... I married a funny guy...
    What a week for our little Catholic family. It is the beginning of Lent, and we started it off with the annual pancake supper on Fat Tuesday. As we feasted on fruity chocolate pancakes, the topic of the dinnertime conversation turned to What are you giving up for Lent?
     Leave it up to us to make it a competition.
     Matthew started the bidding at electronics. Noah called the electronics and added drawing. Gracie is eating only food on the 17-Day Diet. Matthew and Noah globbed onto that and then suggested that since everyone is doing the 17-Day Diet, Grace has to add to her sacrifice.
     Grace is the least competitive sacrificer and strongly disagreed with their suggestion. She emphatically stated that she would not give up electronics but conceded to exercising daily (not that big of a deal because she does that already). I decided to give up facebook, exercise more, and curse less... a trifecta of sacrifices. I don't curse a whole lot, but any cursing is too much. Then Cheryl dropped the grand daddy of all sacrifices... she is going to give up talking.
     Wait a second... You can't give up talking, said........ everyone in the room.
     Yes, I can... But I don't mean talking altogether. Just over-talking. I tend to over-talk by giving long drawn out explanations. I use too many words to get my point across when fewer words will do. I tend to use fifty words instead of seven. It can be an annoying habit, this whole over talking thing. People need to listen longer because I go over things two, three, four times just to make my point. You see brevity is the key to life... and to humor, but sometimes I am not brief... sometimes I am not funny but that is a different story altogether. What I really want to convey is that I tend to say many words when a few will do. I tend to go on and on. 
     Gee honey, I never noticed. 
     If you are keeping score at home, I stuck with the trifecta, Cheryl went with "no talking," and raised it with fasting from facebook as well. Both of the boys went with interesting combinations: Matthew added cold showers to his original no-screens commitment... and Noah will sleep on his floor, give up ice in his drinks (not sure where that came from), in addition to no gaming on the computer. Gracie stuck with the 17-Day Diet... Oh, and she added giving up listening to music. Well... she'll only listen to Christian music, anyway.
     Ash Wednesday was day one of Lent, and I am sad to report that things were not going well. I have three clients that have hired me for my alleged legal expertise. All three called to get my advice and all three spent 15 minutes explaining to me why I was wrong. For the record, I was right. After the third call in the span of 90 minutes, I had had enough. It was as if I had no control over what was spewing out of my mouth. Seriously, though, why pay me so that you can ignore me? It seems to me, that people can ignore me for free. Cheryl has done it for years.
     When I got home from work that evening, Cheryl was talking up a storm. There did not appear to be any difference between the old, over-talking Cheryl and the new, only talk when I need to talk Cheryl.  When I pointed out my observation, Cheryl indicated that what she was saying needed to be said. She also pointed out that after she finished saying what needed to be said, she would go right back to not talking. 
     I get it... Cheryl is giving up talking unless she has something to say. I kind of like that. I am giving up all cursing unless there is something to curse about, and then I will go right back to not cursing. Whew, I feel better already. 
     Gracie is struggling because the 17-Day Diet requires that you have food in the house that is on the 17-Day Diet, and Noah spent the first night nestled between Cheryl and me (technically not a violation because he was not in his bed, but it violates the intent of the sacrifice rule). Plus, he was halfway through his nice cold lemonade before he remembered the ice thing. 
     Matthew reports that he took a cold shower, but we are completely relying upon self-reporting for that one... although I am sure there will come a day when Noah will sneak in the shower in an attempt to out him. 
     In spite of our rough start, we looked forward to the Ash Wednesday Mass. In fact, Matthew was serving on the altar. We arrived almost thirty minutes early, which is unprecedented... we actually beat the priests to the church. Typically, we sit in the end section where you can sneak in without much notice, but on this day, we had the whole church to ourselves. Gracie, being the creature of habit that she is, led us to our regular spot in the late section. 
     All of these great seats in a near-empty church and there we sat, tucked away in the late section. The pastor approached, and before he could ask what in the hell we were doing in the late section when all of the prime spots were open, I volunteered that we were there to report on people who would come in late. He advised that he does not care about the late arrivals, but he would appreciate a heads-up on the early-leavers. For the record, there was only one, and fortunately for her, I did not know her name.
     The celebrant gave a great homily about how we need to guard against distraction... and be vigilant and strong with our Lenten sacrifices because there is one who is never distracted and is watching our every move. I turned to Cheryl and wondered aloud about how the priest knew our nosy neighbors. Cheryl advised me that he was talking about the devil. I knew that.
     Then it dawned on me, it was perfect devil stuff... first day of Lent and I get three back to back to back calls from clients that drive me crazy. I took my eye off of the ball for five minutes and he took advantage. Oh, he is a sneaky little guy, that devil.
     Day one was my wake up call, now I am ready. Fortunately, I still have thirty nine more days to get it right. I must admit, it would be much easier to concentrate on the task at hand if I could just get Cheryl to stay quiet.

     On a separate but related topic, Matthew advised me that the Pope gave up being the Pope for Lent. And I thought that Cheryl was making a big sacrifice. Please pray for the Church to select a worthy successor. If you want to read about my favorite Pope story, check out this Funny Guy Friday from a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dr. Ben Carson's speech...

     Here is the link for Dr. Ben Carson's speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. A must watch!  God bless this man.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Funny Guy Friday… My last request(s)...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark.  So, I married a funny guy...
     I just got home from a funeral service for a colleague's young husband. He died unexpectedly in the middle of the night. He leaves behind his wife and his two young sons.
     His father-in-law spoke at the service, and he addressed his comments to his two grandsons. He spoke from the heart, and it was so very moving.
     I stood in the back hallway next to very good friend of mine, as it was standing room only. My friend was brought to tears. When a young lady handed him a tissue, he, of course, pretended not to cry. I, of course, chuckled at that.
     Guys pretend not to cry because they think their friends will tease them mercilessly if they show emotion. Who would do such a thing? I thought of that commercial that says… It's not tears; it is the awesomeness leaking out.
     As I drove home, I began to think about my own funeral.
     Let me state right here: I am not afraid of death. As I have explained to my kids... if I truly believe what I profess to believe, I know where I will be when that time comes. What is there to fear?
     No sir, I am not afraid of death.
     What I am afraid of is that nobody will come to my funeral. That I will be dead and it will just be Cheryl and the kids… and maybe not even Matthew if they schedule my funeral on a game day. I actually would encourage his absence if he were the starting second baseman. I mean, Wally Pipp missed a game because of a headache, and we all know how that turned out. Seriously though, wouldn't you think that Cheryl would have planned the service on an off-day.
     I began to wonder who might speak at my funeral. So, minutes after leaving the service, I decided to plan my own funeral.
     I called my friend… you remember my friend… he was the girlie-man that burst out in tears… like a little baby crying for his precious mommy. I advised him that if I die, I would like for him to be one of the speakers at my funeral.
     His reaction to my request was a bit off-putting: he was excited.
     I hope something happens to you soon, because I have some great material. I am a great pick to speak at your funeral. Plus, I will be funny. 
     I took this as a positive… now people will come to the funeral just to hear his jokes. Of course, I had to hide my own excitement… Just try not to cry, you big cry-baby-sissy! Awesomeness, my rear end!
     One more friend and then perhaps a family member would round out the list of speakers. My best friend from childhood, PJ, could be a good choice, but he really is a huge crier. I mean a cry-at -a-hallmark-commercial type crier. I don't think he could make it thirty seconds before breaking down in a puddle of goo. He does, however, have a brother who would have no problems.
     His brother is a former Secret Service agent, once stationed in New York City. Once, PJ and I went to visit him, and we arrived as he was returning from his late night shift. He informed us that their older brother Tim's grandfather-in-law, Gus, had died that day. We asked how he died, and he told us, Timmy killed him.
     Yeah. Timmy gave the surgeon permission to operate, and Gus died during the surgery… so… (and as he said this, he laid his service revolver on the breakfast table continuing... in essence… Timmy gave the doctor a gun and told him to go and kill Gus. Timmy feels terrible… Can you pass me the butter? 
     Now that guy will have no problem making it through a nice five-minute eulogy.
     I'm not sure which family member I want as my final speaker. I suppose it could be my brother Jeff, but he tends to be… um… critical. I can hear him now, Can you believe it... he got hit on the head with a baseball. Why wouldn't he just catch it. I mean I knew he couldn't throw very well, but I always thought he could catch. Geez, it hit him right in the head… just catch the thing and you wouldn't be dead.  
     Perhaps his wife Theresa could say a few words, but I would be afraid that she would make up some bad stuff. I have a theory that she over-exaggerates her dislike for me because she has always secretly liked me best.
     As for the musicI will leave that up to Cheryl's mother. She led the church folk group for years, and I would hazard a guess that she might enjoy picking out the music for my funeral.
     My final request for my funeral is that Cheryl wear black… for the rest of her life. What the heck, my nice Italian Aunt Mary did when her husband passed away.
     Cheryl's response to my final request… I don't look good in black. Maybe chocolate... or eggplant. 
     Those are not even colors... those are foods.
     How about teal? Teal is the universal color. Everyone looks pretty in teal. 
     You do understand that the love of your life will not be around to see you in these flattering teal outfits. 
     I'll never meet anybody else if I am stuck wearing black all the time. How about I wear black for the funeral... and then I change into a teal outfit for the repast. I promise to wait a month before dating. I'll still wear teal if you want. 
     As I plan my funeral, I can't help but think about that grandfather talking to those two young boys. He told them that their father loved their mother... loved them... and that they should be proud to tell people that they were his sons. He told them that their father was a good and honest man. As far as I am concerned, that is the highest compliment you can give a person.
     I hope someone mentions it at my funeral.
     Hmm… Maybe I should write all of this stuff down somewhere.

On a serious note… Please keep our friend Tracey and her boys Daniel and Timothy in your prayers this week.  Thank you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... One word... maybe two...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... I married a funny guy...
     I came home from work the other day, and taped to the door was the word ARISE. Not sure why it was on the door, but I figured it had something to do with the day's home school lesson. Cheryl will use bay windows to conjugate verbs, solve math problems, and do art work, so the word ARISE taped to the door did not stand out as odd. A few days went by and ARISE never came off the door, but still, I didn't ask.
     Cheryl's sister Ann, came to visit for a weekend, and, as is often the case, all of our kids woke up and gravitated to our bed one morning...
     (On a completely unrelated note... when Cheryl and I were first married, we simply had a full-size bed. We loved it. We could snuggle and hug and all that stuff without any effort at all. Then we graduated to a queen-size bed, and snuggling required one of us to cross over the "cold zone" in the direction of the other. The queen also allowed for at least one other person in the bed, and by this time we had Gracie. Today, we have a king-size bed, and snuggling requires a reservation. I don't even see Cheryl on most nights. Of course, all of our kids can climb aboard at any given time, so I suppose there is that.)
     Anyway... I went downstairs and advised Annie that the gang was up in our room, and she should join in the fun. She came up and hopped on the bed with Cheryl and the kids.
     The discussion meandered back and forth and at one point, I heard Cheryl explain to her sister that she is doing this thing where, instead of making New Year's resolutions, you choose one word for the year that will remind you to meet your goals. For instance, instead of saying you will lose twenty pounds, you pick the word healthy to remind you to eat healthy and stay active every day. Or, instead of saying you will go to church every Sunday, you pick the word praise to remind yourself to look to Heaven on a regular basis.
     After an hour of talking, Annie and the kids decided that they would like to play a board game called Funglish. Everyone was very excited except Cheryl; she wanted to stay in bed and take a nap. We literally had just woken up about two hours prior to this, so one would assume that she would have been well rested.
     Finally, we coaxed Cheryl out of bed, and as I trotted down the stairs, I saw that word again... ARISE! 
     I thought to myself...
     No, it can't be... she didn't... no way... she wouldn't... no way in the world...
     CHERYL, did you pick the word arise to be your word for the year?
     Oh yes she did! This made absolutely no sense to me, so I began to run through all the reasons that she would have picked the word ARISE.
     My first thought was that she just started at the beginning of the alphabet and ARISE comes before the word ASLEEP. Asleep would have been a much better word for her. She loves to sleep, and I can attest that she is pretty good at it, too. Many a night I have lain awake worried about the kids... work... money... the future. You name it; I lose sleep over it while Cheryl snoozes away.
     Then I thought that she may want to try her hand at baking, so she wants to remind herself to add the yeast to her bread to get it to RISE. That did not make any sense either.
     Then I thought that she was trying to remind herself to ARISE off of the couch once she has finished watching Monk after Monk with the kids.
     When confronted, Cheryl quickly backed off of her word of the year.
     I ditched ARISE. 
     How can you ditch your word of the year when we are not even out of the month of January? Besides, it is still taped to the door, you know.
     Yeah, I was going to take it down, but then I decided to take a nap.   
     So, what is your new word for the year?
     As in, I feel refreshed after I take a nap? 
     No, REFRESH is a word that reminds me to do little things along the way... to remind me to REFRESH. 
     What are you talking about? Take a shower; that always works for me. 
     No, you are not getting it... REFRESH. Renew. Start everything clean and simple. Just a reminder to myself to make everything special and new again. Kind of reviewing and redecorating and reviving our home and our lives. Doing little things to make our lives better. For example, I bought little soap dishes for the shower, so we have a place for our brand new, pretty soap bars. 
     Now we are talking... I like the shower idea.... That's my idea.    
     You are not getting this.  
     I don't think you get it. Perhaps you could have picked the word PERSEVERE to remind yourself to stick with the word ARISE. 
     Don't you get it? I refreshed my word choice and picked refresh.
     She was right, of course. I wasn't getting it at all. I mean, I got the whole word of the year thing, but I did not get ARISE or REFRESH as words for Cheryl.
     Here are some better words to remind her to make my life... Did I say my life?... I mean our lives better.
     Each day, she can think, I need to clean today. I need to do a load of laundry today. I need to iron some of Mark's work shirts today. I need to use my inside voice today. 
     I like those words for Cheryl.
     Cheryl just read this and has advised me that although each person is only supposed to have one word for the year, she can think of two words for me.
     I don't think that she can post that on the front door.

Note from the editor...  
Dear Funny Guy...  You know my two words for you are "Love you," of course.
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