Mar 26

The Great Oz has spoken!

I’m sure that you’ve heard the line from the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”.  Sometimes I want to tell people to “pay no attention to the curtain”.  The “curtain” being my face.  Many people, that know me, say that they hardly notice.  When kids stair I miss out on interacting with them.  It’s a bummer.

This was a full week with Connie starting a part-time job and warm weather.  We had a few days in the 80’s and for that to happen here in March is very odd.  The yard needed mowed and edged.  Colin had outdoor baseball practice and a scrimmage.  Jess had volleyball.  Grant was busy being Grant.

The warm weather meant that we would either turn the air-conditioner ON or put in the screens.  Usually, we go with A/C because of the allergies in our house.  But, the pollen count wasn’t bothering us so we decided to tough it out… well, I decided.  This was not one of my more popular decisions.   Then, I couldn’t find the screens.  We slept the first night with the windows closed.  At 3:00 in the morning, I remembered where they were.  The screens were put in the next day, after we had closed on refinancing our home.  A day later the high was in the 60’s.  The problem is that once you turn the A/C on it never gets turned off until the Fall.

The sliding screen-door required two screws in the top.  I know I’ve done it in the past in minutes.  This year it took me at least 20.  Looking up is a bit of a challenge.  The screens on the windows were not much easier.  Thankfully, after the first few went in, the others were easy.

Connie loves to mow, so my job is weedzapping/trim.  The night before she mowed I got out the weed-eater.  It’s funny how the smaller objects are more difficult to handle, not to mention see.  I had no issues until I got mud in my eye.  It was the bad eye.  I’m not sure how it happened, but I got through it.  What normally takes 45 minutes, took well over an hour.

The real story here is that I can do anything that I did before.  It just takes me longer.

Remember, pay no attention to the curtain.

Mar 20

Pancakes anyone?

Do you ever notice, life seems a lot simpler when we slow down and eat together?  In the late 90’s with 3 small children, Connie and I started a tradition that goes on until this day.  For those of you that know me, you’ll not be surprised that it revolves around food.

It started in the late 90’s when Connie found this really good French Toast recipe.  We would make it occasionally and then Connie hurt her back and those times became less frequent.  Then in the fall of ’99 our company decided to have “bring your favorite breakfast meal” to work.  I decided to bring the ingredients and make the French Toast in the office.  Needless to say, it was a huge hit.
The Saturdays that followed included our favorite breakfast meal.  Many times Grant, Jess or Colin would HAVE to help.  This meant one of more of them sitting on the counter next to me as we stirred up the mix.  I can vividly remember lifting them to the counter where assistance was needed.  That seems like such a long time ago.
Grant is now 17 and drives to get breakfast with friends.  Saturday mornings are still reserved for mom and me.  When we don’t have ball games for Jess or Colin, we still have breakfast together.  For the past 10 years the meal of choice has been pancakes.  Everyone always compliments me and thanks me for the meal.  It’s simple with a batter that just needs water added.  Of course, we HAVE to have chocolate and/or butterscotch chips or the fruit of the day.
It’s not the ingredients or the batter that matter.  (unintentional rhyme)  It’s the time.  Time means love.
My mom has the same concept on Saturday mornings.  Although there is a lot more lard and people involved in her meal.  It’s a treat that I get to experience only a few times a year, but it will be something I’ll remember forever.  Just like my kids will remember those pancakes.  Who’s hungry?
Mar 12

Where’s your center?

One of these days I’m really going to accept who I am. There’s something about being “that guy” that grows tiresome.

I took my car in for an oil change last week. Could have been a Victoria’s Secret supermodel and not have gotten any more looks. They must have wondered, “how did that guy get here?”. “is he okay to drive that car home?”. If they were on my right, they didn’t exist. Many of them put their hand on me to lead me. I could have done without that. They all meant well it was just a different experience.

The last few weeks have included a golf trip and so many work meetings I can hardly count.  The  golf trip proved to be a success. To everyone’s surprise, including my own, I crushed the ball off the tee.  After a day or so I realized that I have to over compensate on my irons and fairway woods. If I stand a little closer than what feels comfortable I seem to be able to make good contact. It’s my new center.  My swing has to be natural and the ball has to just get in the way. After I hit the ball, and that wasn’t always the case, I need someone to tell me where it went. If I didn’t hit it I’d simply stay right there and give it another whirl.

The hardest shots for me are from the sand. It takes a lot more precision and mishits are not as forgiving. There were a few times that I spread the sand like a beachcomber looking for coins.   It takes thick skin and a short memory. More than that, I remind myself that I’m fortunate to even be golfing at all.  It’s unfortunate when I actually beat someone. They must feel terrible losing to a guy with one eye. 🙂

Work has been awesome. I can tell that most people don’t look at me differently. I wished looking in the mirror made me feel the same way. I need to keep this blog going to make this a worthy experience. I can’t do this if there is not a positive result or outcome.

I look around and I know that many people have a story. Some have gone on living normal lives. Some have had to deal with loss. I can’t forget what I’m living with. It’s important for me to be treated normally. I hate pity. It’s important for others to remember what I’m going through so they can tell others how I’ve dealt with it.

There’s no doubt that my faith has enabled my attitude. Please don’t read that “he thinks he does no wrong.”. It’s quite the contrary. Most days include words, thoughts and actions that would make you wonder if this is the same guy as the one you read about. It’s something everyone struggles with. We’re all hypocrites.  At the “end of the day” we all come back to “center”.  Your “center” may be left of mine. That’s okay. You still have a center. It’s who you are.

I’d hate for my kids to grow up without a father or my wife to be a widow. The experiences that they have in life will not be normal. But, they’ll still have a center. I didn’t give it to them, but I may have enabled it or strengthened it. I’ll be happy where I am and they should be happy with their lives, as well.

One of these days I’ll join the local golf club again. It will take some time and I’m certain that my eyes are in for more changes in the next year.   On a positive note (at least for me), I was in the minority of our group that didn’t require pain killers before, during or after golf.