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

Friday, June 27, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Catching up on a little correspondence...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    This past week, I had the opportunity to catch up on some current events and to visit with Cheryl's sister, who is visiting from the west coast. With all the activity, I did not have time to write a normal Funny Guy Friday, but I did get the opportunity to catch up on some correspondence. In lieu of a new FGF, I thought that I would just share those letters.
    Hope you enjoy!

Dear IRS Auditor,
    Thank you for your recent letter advising that I would be subject to an audit for tax year 2012. The purpose of this letter is to advise you that I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?
     Okay, I will start with the bad news. Unfortunately, I kept all of my tax information on my computer. More specifically, I kept emails, receipts, deposit slips, letters verifying my tax deductible charitable contributions and mortgage interest statements all on my laptop. Unfortunately, simultaneous with my opening of your audit letter, my hard drive crashed.
     And you will not believe this next part... my wife, unaware of your audit... recycled my hard drive. I know... crazy... right? Recycled it... right at the same time as my receiving that letter.
    I know what you are thinking... no way that that could happen... just a little too coincidental, and there has to be a way to retrieve all that stuff.
    There isn't. I tried. I really, really tried.
    I contacted an independent I.T. specialist and he conducted a thorough, exhaustive search for the relevant information. Unfortunately, I have to report that my nine-year-old son, Noah, who headed up the search, could not find a single item. Lord knows that he tried.
   But all is not lost, remember my good news/bad news scenario? Here is the good news: not all of the stuff on my computer crashed...only the "tax stuff" that you want to see from the relevant time period of January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. So the good news is that Noah was able to retrieve all the other stuff from that time period that does not matter...and I will be more than happy to provide those documents to you.
     Please know that I am sorry for this turn of events, but understand, it could happen to anyone. I am serious... 
A N Y O N E!
    You should not be upset because I will be providing over a million pieces of irrelevant information for you to review. You will have to trust me on the other stuff...the stuff that you will never see...it is all good...not a scintilla of misconduct!
    There you have it. Stuff is gone...things happen!
    Sorry about that.
    Hope you are not upset.
                                                            Funny Guy

Dear FIFA,
    Let me start by saying... I am not a soccer fan, but I am loving this World Cup thing. These guys are incredible athletes that can do amazing things with a soccer ball. Being somewhat new to the sport, I am confused by a few of the technical aspects of your game and was hoping that you could clear up a few things.
    First, can we just decide right now that your sport is soccer and that football is the name of the game that is dedicated to the NFL? I understand that calling American football, "football", doesn't make any sense and that you guys kick the ball with your feet so football seems to be a name better suited for what you do. But here is the thing... we here in the good ol' U S of A have this thing called the NFL. In fact, I believe that the NFL has a trademark on the name football. Please, can we all just agree that we are going to stick with the name soccer?
   What's that? You are offended by this and you plan to have Trademark Commission revoke the NFL's trademark rights.
   HA! HA...HA HA HA HA HA! That is laughable! We are not some third world country that allows two or three government bureaucrats to decide to take away an organization's property rights.
   That is so preposterous that we shall move on.
   Second, can we just agree to call the field... the field... and not "the pitch"? Again, not to be too nitpicky... but "pitch" has a completely different connotation in American sports. Besides that, pitch just seems so snobby! Just sayin'!
   Third, and I am not sure how to address this without offending anyone... but... your guys fake a lot. They throw themselves to the ground. They writhe in pain. They call out a stretcher. They complain to the ref. Then they jump to their feet and continue to play as if... as if... well... as if they were never really hurt in the first place.
    Fourth, and this kind of dovetails in with number three... it would appear to me that soccer is the only sport where a guy bites a guy in the shoulder, and when the victim of the bite defends himself by throwing an elbow into the biter's face in an effort to free his shoulder from the other gentleman's mouth, the biter has the audacity to complain that he hurt his teeth. Then in an interview, he points to his swollen eye and complains that he was, in fact, the victim of the scrum because it was he that suffered a black eye as a result of the other gentleman throwing an elbow.
    I understand you suspended Hannibal Lecter, but perhaps you should consider retaining the services of Yukon Cornelius and Hermey. Yukon and young Hermey were famous for removing the Abominable Snow Monster's teeth, and their talents seem to be just what you need.
    Finally, can we talk about 0-0 ties (that should be read as "zero-zero ties" and not "nil-nil ties"...again just a little snobbish don't you think).
    Just food for thought... Nobody wins in a tie!
    Think about that!
    Anyway, thank you for your attention to these matters and I look forward to your response.
                                                                 Funny Guy

Dear Brother-in-Law,
    Hey, it was great seeing you recently when you came in to town. Really enjoyed the site-seeing we did in DC the other night.  It would have been nice if you would have waited for us while you walked ahead by fifty yards everywhere we went. I know you were in a hurry, but did you really have to resort to name calling? And is "Team Pokey" really the best you could do? 
    That's okay. At least you were standing still on our in-laws' porch, when we were watching that thunderstorm with all the kids. That was pretty wild! 
    I did not know that you never get those kind of storms in the great state of Washington. You would think that the way you talk about how great Washington is, that you would get cool things like thunderstorms... and unrelenting humidity... but you don't, do you?
    Doesn't seem so great to me.
    Another thing: I learned a lot about what kind of courage you have during that thunderstorm when you started explaining how whenever you do get a little lightning at your work, you shut everything down... "Can't work... boo hoo hoo! Conditions are bad... I can't work!"
    I understand that thunderstorms can get pretty scary, but my court cases go on in rain, snow, sleet or hail. In fact, I was once in a middle of a trial when the building started shaking and I found myself right smack dab in the middle of an earthquake. You know what I did? I finished my question. That's how a lawyer handles a little bad weather.
    I guess you pilots roll to the beat of a different drum! So, a little electrical storm can drop a plane from the sky... big deal. I expected so much more out a of a "former" jet fighter pilot! You... in your cool leather jacket and snazzy aviator glasses! 
    And another thing... TOP GUN was a stupid movie! There I said it. 
    If you like Tom Cruise so much, "A Few Good Men" is a much better choice.  
    Ever heard of "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Twelve Angry Men," and "My Cousin Vinny"? Now those are some flicks worth watching!
    Maybe we can catch one of them next time you are in town... if there's not a thunderstorm to watch.
    One final thing... our mother-in-law likes me better than you!
                                                                 Funny Guy

Friday, June 20, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Happy Father's Day...

    Last Saturday, while Grace and Cheryl worked at home getting Gracie packed and ready to volunteer at a week long camp for children with chronic medical conditions, I took the boys out to dinner with some friends.  The girls were leaving that night so they could be in Charlottesville, Virginia at eight o'clock the next morning.
    As we left the restaurant, the boys asked if they could spend the night at our friends' home.  Although the next day was Father's Day, I thought nothing of it because Grace would be at the camp and Cheryl would not be home before noon.
    When we got home, the boys raced into the house to get their stuff for the night. I took the dog for a quick walk and when I walked into the house, I heard Gracie speaking rather harshly to Matthew upstairs.
    Matthew... it is not the same thing... I am going to volunteer to help kids with chronic medical conditions.
    What difference does that make? 
    It makes a big difference! 
    Whatever it was that they were discussing, it was causing a lot of friction... and I had heard enough.
    Look, I have no idea what you two are fussing about, but knock it off. 
    Silence. Whatever it was, it was now over! Or more accurately, whatever it was, it was not for my ears.
    I later found out that Grace took exception to the boys not being home when I woke up on Father's Day. In fact, nobody in my family was going to be home on Father's Day. Gracie was of the belief that the only excused absence on Father's Day involves volunteering to assist children with chronic medical conditions.
    Sleepovers don't cut it!
    You know what all this meant don't you?
    I got to sleep in. I could wake up whenever I wanted... and when I did wake up, I could just lie in bed for as long as I wanted and do nothing... perhaps, even, go back to sleep. I had a free morning! Yay for me! This was gonna be nice.
    Not so fast, my friend!!!
    At 7:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was Cheryl.
    Hey what are you doing? 
    Did I wake you? 
    If I were sleeping and now I am not, it is fair to say that you did wake me! 
    Sorry about that... Happy Father's Day... can you do me a favor? 
    She forgot to get someone to cover her eight o'clock adoration for her.
    Of course, Cheryl saw this as an excellent opportunity for me. What better way to start Father's Day than for me to spend an hour with The Father... the Big Kahuna of Father's Day, if you will? The Father that started it all and to whom we owe all of our blessings.
    She laid it on pretty thick... accurate... but thick. 
    She added that when she does adoration, oftentimes, she will ponder that my dad is there with her. This made me chuckle as I pictured the end of Star Wars 3... the real Star Wars 3 which later became Star Wars 6.... when Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Yoda all come back from the dead and stare approvingly at young Luke Skywalker.
    I pictured my dad standing there with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit looking on as Cheryl prayed... with little Ewoks dancing in celebration.
    Sure, I can do that... sleep is overrated! I'll go to the 10:00 Mass right afterwards.
    Adoration was great... I stayed awake the whole time.
    Funny thing when I got there, I took over for another gentleman who was there for his wife. He commented that his wife thought it would be a nice start to his Father's Day to handle her 7 a.m. hour.
    Are all women so diabolical giving?
    Then off to Mass... alone... all by myself... no kids... no wife... where I was sure there would be a great homily about dads.
    I arrived early and had nothing to do. Typically, I would pray but I just spent an hour in adoration; I was all prayed out. My mind wandered, as it often does. I have a theory that Joseph is way under-appreciated, but I thought that on this day, Joseph would get some well-deserved props.
    Wrong! Apparently, there this Holy Trinity thing that gets its own Mass... on Father's Day, no less.  Not sure who designs the liturgical calendar, but I have a bone to pick. Joseph got the shaft, again.    
    At the end of every Mass, our congregation turns to the statue of Mary and sings a song in honor of the Blessed Mother. I had the crazy idea that we would... maybe on Father's Day... we would sing a little ditty about Joseph... BUT NOOOO!
    The church sang the same old song that we always sing....
    Immaculate Mary, 
    Your praises we sing... 
    You reign down in splendor 
    with Jesus our King.
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria
    Aaave, Aaave Mariiia
    To be clear... I love the Blessed Mother. In fact, that song is one of my favorite parts of the Mass. Buuut we sing it... or one just like it... every stinkin' Sunday. Can't we, just once, sing a song for Joseph. Just one time... on Father's Day?
   What's that you say? There are no songs for Joseph? Say no more, I am on it!

   Under appreciated Joseph 
   You deserve your own song
   Few mentions in the Bible 
   and that is way wrong.
   Go... Go... Go Joe
   Go... Go... our man Joe
   Betrothed to the Virgin 
   When an angel did appear
   "She is pregnant with the Saviour, it's true... I swear"
   Go... Go... Go Joe
   Go... Go... our man Joe
   "You marry her anyway
   And raise His sweet Son 
   He could have picked anyone, but you are the one"
   Go...Go...Go Joe
   Go...Go...our man Joe
   Then off to Bethlehem 
   On a donkey you were sent
   Without any questions, away you went 
   Go... Go... Go Joe
   Go... Go... our man Joe
   No room at the Inn
   Added to your plight 
   Then shepherds and kings crashed your party that night
   Go... Go... Go Joe
   Go... Go our man Joe 
   An inspiration to dads 
   Always calm, cool and fair
   A carpenter by trade... you could even build your own chair!
   Go... Go... Go Joe
   Go... Go... our man Joe. 
    It's kind of a work in progress.

    Anyway, the boys got home at noon. Cheryl got home at 1:30, and together we spent the afternoon watching Noah's team win the Little League championship. We returned home for a victorious steak feast. It was a great day. The only thing missing was my baby girl Gracie.
    No problem, she had an excused absence... she was helping kids with chronic health issues.     
    Truth be told, my kids give me a gift every day. They are decent, thoughtful and loving children. It is all I can ask for... that and one stinking day to sleep in!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Party rehash...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    Well, we had over one hundred people show up for Gracie's graduation party. Not to toot my own horn, but I threw THE....BEST....PARTY....EVER! Don't get me wrong, Cheryl did some stuff too...but it was mostly me!
    Gracie's only regret about the party was that she did not get a chance to speak to everyone. I told her that was no big deal...I didn't talk to anyone at my wedding. I mean, I wandered around the reception and said hello, but I did not really talk to anyone. People are happy to get a hello, drop off a gift and grab some free food and a beer.
    Besides, Gracie can rest easy because I spoke to everyone at the graduation party.
    We have a pretty good formula for parties at our house.
    We cook a turkey and then get my mother to make meatballs, rigatoni and potato salad. My brother-in-law gets the beer...always too much beer, but we never run out...and then Cheryl spends most of the party refilling the empty food trays. I have the most important role in the whole process...I meet and greet our guests. Entertaining all these people can get exhausting. And it is tiresome having to answer all those questions...Where is Cheryl? Is Cheryl ever getting out of the kitchen? Wow, does Cheryl always work this hard? 
    Cheryl is in the kitchen....Probably won't get out of the kitchen....No, she does not typically work this hard. Now stop asking me the same silly questions, and I will show you where we keep the drinks!
    For whatever reason, Cheryl decided that we should have this party catered.
    I reluctantly agreed, thinking that my mother may need a break from all that cooking. We contacted Cheryl's brother's girlfriend who caters parties all the time. We went with a Hawaiian Luau theme. This included chicken teriyaki on a stick, BBQ with slaw, roasted vegetables, sweet potato fries, Hawaiian rice, fruit kabobs, and a variety of desserts.
    Nothing quite as good as my mother's meatballs, but it was all very yummy!
    So, as it turns out...my idea to have the party catered was a stroke of genius. The only thing we had to do was keep the coolers filled with ice, empty the trash cans and make sure that the kids did not lose the bean bags from the corn hole game.
    We had corn hole (professionally painted by Noah) and a frisbee game called Can Jam set up in the backyard. Both games were a great success, with one ugly exception.
     It all started when my nephew, Daniel, paired up with his fiancée, Kelsie, in a game of corn hole against Matthew and his friend, Tommy. With Daniel and Kelsie ahead 21-18, Tommy had the last toss. Kelsie had one last opportunity to clinch the victory...all she had to do was get one bag on the board for one point, thus making it impossible for Tommy to get the tie with a 3-point toss into the hole. Kelsie failed to make the shot and Daniel warned...If Tommy gets this in the hole, the wedding is off!
    Disturbing indeed...not the fact that he threatened to call off the wedding over his fiancée's lack of execution during corn hole. I actually admire his competitive spirit. No, what is disturbing is that he might be marrying a girl that can't handle pressure. For goodness sake, all she had to do was get one bag on the board!
    For those that care...Tommy choked, and the wedding is still on.  Good for Daniel and Kelsie...I guess! Unfortunately, I think Tommy and Matthew did break up.
    Now back to the party...
    Whenever one of my nieces or nephews graduated from high school, I took it upon myself to make a video chronicling important events of their lives. For instance, when my nephew Jonathan graduated, I told the story about the time his parents attempted to abandon him and join vaudeville as a magic act. Or, how Daniel was the only boy at an all girls' school. Or, how my nephew Joseph lost everything that was important to him...to the DeMatha Stag mascot.
    Okay, full disclosure...none of those things really happened...except, of course, in my videos. As the writer, producer and director, I tend to have creative license! I mocked them, I mocked their siblings, and I mocked their parents.
    So, how could I do such creative investigative reporting for my nieces and nephews but not for my own daughter?
    After visits to Gracie's elementary school, middle school, high school, and home school, it became clear that her former teachers barely remembered having Grace in their class. But, it turns out, and this even was a surprise to me...I was kind of a big deal at all of Gracie's schools.
    We had a great time catching up with and interviewing former teachers. And for those teachers that we could not catch up with, we found "suitable" replacements. They all willingly took time out of their day to participate in my little reindeer games.
   If you are reading this Debbie Kucevich, Margie Cavanaugh, and Leigh Hampton...thank you very much. And to the fake señora DiGiussepe...gracias and good luck with those immigration issues. The video was a big hit!
   By this time you may have guessed, I did not mock myself one little bit! Remember? Writer, producer, and director? Hello!
   Gracie had a great day. She had an opportunity to spend the day with friends and family that have meant so much to her over the years. Cheryl asked that people write letters to Grace for a keepsake book she will assemble this summer. The letters were moving and told the story of how a beautiful little girl grew up to be a lovely young lady. This is hard for me to say, but it turns out that it is Gracie that is kind of a big deal!
   We love you Gracie girl and cannot wait to see what God has in store for you!  And guess what...in four years, I get to throw another rockin' graduation party.
   In the meantime, Gracie, please do me a favor: don't go to any other parties while you are in college. They will not be fun... and they will only pale in comparison to the ones that I throw!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... If you give a mouse a cookie...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     Have you ever read the children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?
     Basically, it starts out with a little boy giving a mouse a cookie... and then the mouse wants a glass of milk. When you give the mouse the milk... he wants a straw. After he drinks his milk... he is going to want a napkin... etc, etc.
     The more the boy gives the mouse, the more the mouse wants. One thing, unavoidably, leads to another.
     Parties at our house are like that. Despite the fact that we live day to day with all of our home's "little imperfections," parties give us an opportunity to spend a bunch of money... er uh, make some small home improvements.
     We are throwing Gracie a little graduation party this Sunday. If you happen to be around Sunday after three, come on by and say hello.... we would love to see you.
     More importantly, we would love for you to see our house.
     You see... If you Give Your Daughter a Graduation Party... you have to paint the front door... the same front door that has been chipping away paint for the past year.
     If you are going to paint the front door... you might as well take care of the back door too... and fix all the splintered wood and paint the back deck. If you are going to paint the back deck... you might as well get new flower boxes for the rails.
     If you are going to get flower boxes for the rails... you might as well buy new outdoor furniture. If you are going to have new outdoor furniture to sit on... you might want to get rid of the pile of debris in the backyard so your guests won't trip over it. And since your guests will be strolling around your yard... you might as well clear out all the flower beds.
     If you are going to clear out the beds in the yard... you might as well get poison ivy. Oh wait... no no no... we don't want poison ivy. That would be really bad right before the big party. Could you imagine getting poison ivy all over your hands, arms and legs before the crowds come? Trust me... that would be bad! Lets skip that part... I wish I could... thank you very much!
     Let's see, where were we?
     Oh yeah... if you are going to clear out the beds in the yard... you might as well edge the yard and trim the grass. If you're going to edge the yard and trim the grass... you might as well finish painting the corn hole boards that have been sitting in your garage for the past six months. If you're going to play corn hole on the freshly painted boards that had been sitting in your garage... you will want to place them on your well manicured lawn. If you put the corn hole boards on your lawn... your guests will be standing there looking at your house. If people are looking at your house, you should probably power wash it.
    If you're going to power wash the house... you should probably clean the windows. If you are going to clean the windows... people are going to see into the house.. so you better get all the light bulbs changed inside so people can see what they are looking into.
    On a side note, I find it remarkable that nearly all of our lights always burn out at the same time. What is up with that?
     Of course, if people are going to be looking into a well-lit house... you better get the house clean.  Once you get the house clean... people are going to want to come into the house. If people are going to come into the house, they have to come through the front or back doors. If people are going to come in the house through the front and back doors... you should probably paint the front door and the back deck.
     And you know... if you are going to paint the front door... and the back deck...
     We always manage to get it all done, but it is not without a lot of effort. In fact, if history is any indication, we will be "efforting it" right up to the very end.
     We will call may sister-in-law at 2:20 and ask her to bring ice. Funny thing about this is that three of my sisters-in-law just read this, and each thinks I am writing exclusively about her... we spread the ice request around depending on what time we will need it. You would think that after the hundreds of parties and family functions, we might just remember the ice. We don't.
     Cheryl will get her shower at 2:30, and I will follow her at 2:55. There is a very good chance that I will greet the first guests with a towel wrapped around my waist. I will hand them a knife and ask if they mind cutting up some fruit. Before they have a chance to say no, I will be off getting my shirt out of the dryer and heading back upstairs to change.
     Our kids tend to disappear during the wild last minute rush to get the party started. If they make the mistake of showing their faces, I will ask them to do something... anything... to "move the ball forward." And all will respond that they are already doing something for Mom.
    Really? Did Mom ask you to sample the lemonade with a frisbee under your arm? 
    We are very proud of our beautiful high school graduate and would love for you all to share the day with her. I was serious when I said if you are in the area, feel free to stop on by. However, I do have one final bit of advice: if I were you, I would not arrive before 3:15.
    And if you really want to make this host happy, congratulate me on my freshly painted front door, my freshly painted back deck and my freshly graduated daughter... in no particular order!    
~ The Graduate ~
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