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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... 'Twas the night...

Funny Guy Friday is written by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
All the creatures were sleeping
... My kids... and my spouse.

The stockings were hung
Each bigger than the other...
"I hope I get more
Than my sister and brother."

The kids were still nestled
All snug in their beds
While dreams of Christmas loot
Danced around in their heads.

And Mom, in her jammies,
Asleep like a log...
Awake, I worried for Santa
"Did we crate the dog?"

When down in the den
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
Stopping first to empty my bladder.

Down the steps I bound...
I showed great hustle...
I took them two at a time...
Pretty sure I pulled a muscle.

The moon shone bright
Through our red front door
I wondered what had fallen
On our nice new wood floor.

When what with my blurry eyes
Did I see?
But a guy dressed in red
Looking straight back at me.

He moved through the room
A fat guy... but quick
I knew right away
This dude was pretty slick.

He waisted no time...
His movements unique...
He was there to deliver...
Should I dare sneak a peak?

I wondered what it was
That he had in his sack
Matthew's phone? Noah's bike?
Or perhaps Gracie's Mac?

From the top of the house
To the door of our 'fridge...
It seemed pretty clear
He'd been drinking a smidge.

His eyes were all bloodshot
His cheeks were quite red
It was hard to make out
Anything that he said.

He drooled and he staggered
Through the room with the tree
I really must admit
It was something to see.

He filled all our stockings
He seemed to be merry...
He tripped on some tinsel
And this made me wary.

He gathered himself
Getting ready to fly
I finally spoke up
"Sir, I bid you good bye!"

So, out the back door
The intruder, he flew
His sack was now empty
'Xcept for a beer... or two...

And with a big mumble
He went out to our deck
"This ain't even my house!
Oh... what the heck."

Turns out he was a neighbor
Who'd had a snoot full.
I didn't much care...
He left stuff that was cool.

But I grabbed him by his shirt
And I turned him around...
"Take my advice, Mister...
Or you may be jail-bound.

"Get out of this fur...
Put your own shirt on...
Your house is over there...
Your wife won't wake 'til dawn!

"Then, get up in the morning...
Get to church for your sake...
It won't be easy to do...
Your head's gonna ache.

"But a Savior was born
Sent to save us from strife.
See for yourself
It might change your life!"

So he shook my hand
And with a twinkle in his eye
He tripped down our steps
And he told me good bye!

I'm not sure if he made it
To church that next day
To celebrate His birth
On Christmas Day.

But I do know that jolly old man
That I caught
Left my kids better gifts
Than the ones that I bought!

At least he heard me exclaim
As he stumbled out of sight
"Merry Christmas to you
And to all a good night!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... Through the eyes of a child...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     I have often said that if people knew how goofy I acted in my every day life, they would never trust me with legal decisions that could affect them for the rest of their lives. This may explain why nobody who reads these Friday posts on a regular basis has ever retained me.
     I don't think that I am goofy in a stupid way, I just think that I still act like a kid... and that's not a bad thing... especially at this time of year.
     Ah Christmas.
     I love everything about Christmas.
     I love putting up lights, picking out the tree and decorating it, and shopping for gifts... most of the time (by the way, if anyone has any ideas for what to get Cheryl, please pass them along). I love giving gifts, receiving gifts, going to church, and being with family.
     I like to think that I see Christmas through the eyes of a child.
     All of my kids enjoy the Christmas season, but as they get older, only one wants to be by my side through it all.
     My little man, Noah.
     Noah is with me every step of the way. He loves every Christmas tradition, whether putting up the lights, decorating the tree, or shopping for his brother and sister, Noah goes at it with great gusto. What a wonderful little companion.
     Last night was a perfect example. We went to Annapolis Mall to have the kids' picture taken with Santa. Not one of the "Santa helpers" that you see in other malls, but the real life Santa from the North Pole. Grace is seventeen and all of her Christmas photos are with this guy.
     Noah showed up wearing his Santa hat, which is kind of a big deal because he is very proud of his sweet 'do! Noah gives this whole Santa visit thing careful consideration.
     In years' past the kids would discuss what they were going to ask Santa to bring. Unfortunately, one year, Noah choked and instead of asking for the stuff he wanted, he asked for the stuff that Matthew had mentioned in the car. This created two dilemmas: Noah was going to get stuck with a bunch of stuff he never really wanted, and Matthew was left with no new ideas of what to request. I think he asked for clothes. Seriously, what kid wants clothes for Christmas?
     As I recall, Santa was able to sort out all the confusion.
     This year, after mulling it over for days, Noah decided to ask Santa to surprise him. This did not give much guidance to those of us that also have to get him a present, but once again, I am sure that at least Santa will come through.
     After the photos, we broke off into smaller groups. I was paired with Noah, and our first stop was the Godiva Chocolate Store. I don't like chocolate so there was very little for me to sample, but Noah had a suggestion.
     Hey Dad, they have milkshakes. 
     Knowing full well that he was less concerned about my potential milk shake than he was about his own, I commented that I don't like chocolate, so there is nothing really here for me.
     They have a white chocolate shake with strawberry ice cream. You would like that. That would be a nice Christmas treat! 
     Well played young man... I would like that, but you do know that Mom would not approve of a milkshake.
     That is why I came with you! Blink, blink... smile!
     You are good. One white chocolate shake with strawberry ice cream to go please. 
     Two hours later, after hunting down all of his gifts, we headed home to make meatballs for our upcoming family Christmas dinner this Sunday. Cheryl and the two older kids were still out shopping so it was just my mother, Noah and I. Of course, we broke down into teams of meatball makers.
     Noah and Grandma versus me.
     Yes, meatball making is a sport, and it comes with trash talk. I got things started...
     Mine are perfectly round balls. Yours are meat blobs. 
     I have Grandma on my side. Ours are better.
     Grandma is old, she has lost it. There is a new chef in town! This was directed at Noah since Grandma is still working out the kinks in her new hearing aids.
     You only made 12 while we made 64! Old Man! 
     I had to figure out how to turn on the oven and that took some time... besides, it's quality versus quantity!
     I don't know what that means... but I have Grandma on my team!  
     The whole Grandma thing gave Noah great confidence. I'm not exactly sure why because when I asked her how long the meatballs had to cook, she could only give me vague guidance: They will turn brown! 
     After we threw the meatballs in the oven we snuggled in to watch Elf. We try to watch a movie every night as Christmas approaches.
     When I got up to check the meatballs, I yelled into the TV room that my meatballs were fine, but their meat blobs had burned.
     In a panic, my mom came rushing into the kitchen, as Noah remained on the couch with his feet crossed on the coffee table and his hands behind his head. Without missing a beat, Noah asked Grandma... How long have you known him? Fifty years? You know he is lying. Our meat balls didn't burn.  
     Back to the movie. So there we were... Grandma and I snoring on either side of poor Noah, who watched to the bitter end. Cheryl and the kids bounced through the door as the credits began to roll and woke us all up.
     Time for bed, but before we could call it a day, we had to gather 'round and read Benjamin Bear. We read one chapter of this storybook a night during Advent. Noah insists on it, and each night provides a new message as we anticipate the birth of Christ.
     Reading that book right before bed is one of our favorite family traditions.
     What a day!
     I wish that I could go back and be ten years old again, and experience the Christmas season as a young boy. Unfortunately, I cannot... no more than Noah can stay frozen in today. I wish he could, and I often tell him that if he stops growing, I promise to take care of him for the rest of his life.
     Ironically, he never takes me up on my offer because he thinks getting old is a good thing.
     I suppose the best that I can do is to continue to act like a kid and hope that none of my clients ever see me.
     May you and your family have a blessed Christmas... and may you always see the wonder of the entire season through the eyes of a child!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... Just in time for Christmas...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     I came home Wednesday early from work to go Christmas shopping. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are a little behind the eight ball this year, but I figured that Cheryl and I could knock some of it out. This was planned and was well known to all involved that Daddy was coming home early.
     Just to be sure, I called and announced that I was on my way.
     Apparently, there have been times in the past when I would say that I was coming home early, but would get caught up at work, or at the field or at the store... you get the picture. I am a dad and like my dad before me, I can exercise my option to talk to people and take my time getting home.
     If you ever had a dad, you know what I am talking about.
     So, imagine my surprise when, at 1:30 in the afternoon, my wife says: No problem, but I'm just about to hop in the shower!
     Hop in the shower? It is 1:30 in the afternoon!
     I know, I've been helping the kids with school.
     Are they done? 
     No, but they can work on stuff while we are gone. 
     I knew that this was not true. They always need her help, and if they say they will work on stuff without us (and by us, I mean Cheryl), they never do.
     Besides that... we need to get the house ready for the carpet men!
     Those last few words were uttered with great animosity. 
     Cheryl was not happy about the carpet project, and this has been a bone of contention in our marriage for the past few weeks. You see, we decided to redo some of the floors in our home. It started with replacing the family room carpet with hardwood. Then we decided to re-carpet the study, as well as the upstairs hallway and bedrooms. I did the scheduling, and I did a superb job of scheduling if I do say so myself. Carpet men coming the day after Thanksgiving... and the hardwood guys coming the day after that.
     BOOM baby! All done! Just in time for Christmas!
     BOOM baby! This might explain being behind the eight ball!
     Okay, there may have been foreseen circumstances, but that's kind of water under the bridge, don't you think?
     Cheryl thought, what with us hosting the family Turkey Bowl football game, the pre-game breakfast, and then twenty-five or so for Thanksgiving dinner, that we might be biting off a bit more than we could chew. I felt we were biting off just the right amount. Like a bandaid that you pull off quickly, so as to minimize the pain.
     We will never get the house ready for all that, she lamented... and lamented... and lamented!
     Nonsense. We'll have people over... and they can spill, spit, burn, stain, and vomit all over the floors and we won't care! The boys and I will take up the carpet in the family room on Friday while the carpet people are installing upstairs. This is perfect. 
     Cheryl was still not convinced. So she prayed about it.
     On Tuesday we got the call that the carpet was on back order.
     I can't believe that you prayed for our carpet to be on back order. 
     Look, God did not intend for all of this to happen in one weekend. We can wait until after Christmas to have the carpets installed. We can decorate the rooms and be done with it until January. This will be better, you'll see.  
     Well, God should have had you answer the phone when the carpet people called because I already rescheduled for December 13th. We'll put very few decorations in the living room... and we'll put nothing in the bedrooms for Christmas. BOOM baby! Still all done before Christmas! This is going to work like a charm... stick with me! 
     Despite the fact that the carpet guys did not come that Friday, we still had to prepare for the hardwood install.  We still had to purchase the wood, move the furniture, take up the family room carpet and padding, and dispose of said carpet and padding... and of course, pull up all the staples. Like most home improvement projects, it was fun... for about an hour. Then it became one big pain in the neck. At one point I looked at Matthew and Noah and said... Men, this is why you want to go to law school someday!
     My helpers and I got it done and our installers arrived bright and early on Saturday morning.
     Like any home renovation, there were little problems that needed to be addressed... and additions... by my lovely wife who, if I did not know any better, seemed to be sabotaging the whole project. Once they took care of all the preliminaries, they got on a roll. And it was a great roll, right up until they asked where the rest of the material was.
     We bought 240 square feet and that allows for some waste. That should be enough, but I must say, it looks a little short!
     Well, somebody may have some dyslexia issues because you need 420 square feet. 
     Ouch! That makes sense since the room is 20 x 21. That was going to put us way over budget!
     When all was said and done, the floors were done in time for us to bring in our Christmas tree, and despite Cheryl's efforts to thwart my plans, the hardwood looks marvelous.
     That brings us to my getting home from work early.
     The carpet men were coming in two days, and the soon-to-be-carpeted study had not been touched.
     No time for Christmas shopping.
     Cheryl teaches school in the study and there is a lot of stuff in there. I mean a... lot... of... stuff. How do I say this... The room is a walk-in junk drawer.
     With our Christmas shopping on hold, my focus was diverted to preparing the study for the new carpet. Like most home improvement projects, it was fun... for about an hour. Then it became a pain in the neck. I see a theme with these home improvement projects.
     At one point, after taking the 700th book off the shelf, I had to ask Cheryl a question... but before I asked the question, I had to ask if I could ask a question without her getting mad at me.
     Cheryl made no promises.
     Do we really need to have all 700 of these books in this room?
     She was right not to make any promises. Let's just say she loves books, and it would be fair to say that we do, in fact, need all 700 books in the study.
     So now, everything from the study is strewn all over the dining room and the kitchen, and we are just about ready for the final piece of the redecorating puzzle. And although I did not get any shopping done that day... when I finally do go Christmas shopping... I know exactly what to give my lovely wife.
     It appears that she loves books.
     Who knew?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Oh Come All Ye Faithful... David Osmond...

David Osmond is the son of Alan Osmond, oldest of the Osmond brothers. He did this in one take.
Credit: Glenn Beck; The Blaze

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


White Christmas: Snow!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... I'm awesome... Ask any tree guy...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     Our front yard is home to three very large Dawn Redwood trees. Cool and beautiful, but they leave thousands of tiny, obnoxious needles all over our yard... and thus, all over our foyer floor.
     I hate those trees.
     Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, their very aggressive roots were intruding all over our yard and so, the trees had to go. A friend of mine is a landscaper and he told me that he "had a guy" who could take care of the job, but he was not sure when he could get to it.
     On Wednesday, I pulled up from work, and, much to my surprise, the trees were down, and Cheryl was standing on our porch talking to "the guy."
     I think they call themselves arborists. Uh-huh. I use my own technical term: tree-cutter-guys.
     As I exited the car, he darted over to me, and without missing a beat, he shook my hand and said... You are Mark Palumbo, you are a legend. You were a couple years ahead of me. I graduated in 1983 and I used to watch you play baseball in high school. You guys were awesome. You won 54 games in a row (technically this was both a true statement and a false statement... I was on the team that won the first 22 games on the way to 54 straight wins, but who am I to interrupt and correct my adoring fans). You were awesome. You were All Met and were captain of that team (all true, I was awesome, All Met and captain of that team). In the summertime, you played with a bunch of guys that I know, and you were a leader on that team... and now you are a big-time lawyer... you are awesome (true, true and true). I was going to just climb the trees and cut them, but then I found out we were doing Mark Palumbo's house, and he is a big-time lawyer, so I brought out the bucket truck. We were not going to have any accidents on this job, and I am getting up all the roots because I don't want Mark Palumbo's boys falling and getting hurt on some root. 
     My man was not done: I remember playing flag football against you and you used to crush us all the time. You were a great athlete (I originally counted this as both true and false... I was a great athlete, but he used the past tense and I am still a great athlete. But you know what? Why quibble? It is true, I was a great athlete).
     Then he expressed his condolences for my father's passing away... almost three years ago. I am really sorry about your dad... I read about it and was going to call you, but then time passed and I just didn't call. I should have! 
     I am sad to say, I had no idea who this very considerate, very astute man was.
     But here is what I did know... I am awesome, and I liked hearing about how awesome I was. I also knew that if I ever need another tree cut down, I have my man.
     But there was more... Cheryl and I had plans that evening to go to dinner and a concert, so I excused myself and went inside to get changed. Cheryl had already gotten ready, but she followed me upstairs anyway and told me that when they first arrived, she greeted them wearing her frumpy work jeans, her unremarkable layered tee shirts, no make-up, and her hair twisted up in her ever-present pencil.
     After getting ready, she had walked outside to take the men some water. This time she was all duded up. My man asked her where her sister was... the one that greeted them earlier. Cheryl assured them that she was one and the same girl. My man said, Man, Mark Palumbo does right by you! (it is true, I do do right by her).
     I am the man!
     And for those of you with a taste for kindergarten humor... I just said do do!
     They did do a great job on the trees, but there was one little problem, they cut our cable while grinding the roots... so... no TV, no telephone, and no internet connection. No big deal because, you may not know this but I am awesome... I can handle any situation without overreacting and panicking. Besides that, I was going out to dinner and a show, and it was probably going to be fixed the next morning. I was willing to overlook my number one fan's teeny tiny little faux pas.
     So... I was feeling pretty good about myself as we headed out for the night.
     When we got home, the kids were doing something really weird.
     I did not really know what to make of it when I saw it, but the only way to describe it is as follows: they were sitting around the living room... looking at each other.... talking... as if engaged in a conversation with another human being... IN THE SAME ROOM... without their communication devices.
     Very odd phenomenon. A lost art... you might say.
     They were actually playing a game called Table Topics. You pick a card and read a question for each person to answer. Questions like... Would you rather be a poor scientist who cures cancer or a rich actor? or... What one trait would you take from each of your siblings? or... Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?   
     As I walked in the room, they asked me, What trait did you inherit from each of your parents?
     I answered: My dad's parenting skills... and my mother's ability to overreact and panic at the drop of a hat? I kind of lied before when I said I don't overreact and panic. I do... sometimes... just a teensy weensy bit. Blame my mother!
     Grace chimed in and said that she got her pudgy nose from Dad... my no-neck-ness from Dad... problems with my teeth and my bad vision... all from Dad! 
     Wait a second: false, false, false, false, and false. I don't have a pudgy nose, and my neck is just fine. Perhaps the vision and the orthodontics are problematic, but they have surgery for stuff like that. And another thing, my guy had no problems with my neck, my nose, my teeth or my vision.
     Perhaps, Grace was not present for his insightful portrayal of my life and my personality.
     No worries. We have a huge elm tree out back that has to come down in the next few months. I'll make sure my loving daughter is here when my new friend comes back to get the job done.
     He'll tell her: I'm awesome. Ask any arborist.
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