Monday, January 07, 2008

Here We Go...

You can't make every game a life-or-death situation. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot.
The Steelers lost this weekend. I've discovered that how well my life is going is in direct proportion to my reaction to these losses. The better I'm doing, the less important is the result of the game.

I've also discovered that I can control this, which is something new. At least, it's new to me. In other words, even if there's a whole bunch of crap going on in my life, I can still choose how I react to it. So, if I can handle the big and little crises that make up my life, the outcome of a game played by people who don't know me and have no interest in my life, and played several hundred miles away from me, should have no real impact on my emotional well-being at all, right?


Well, sorta. But surprisingly little. And that's a good thing.

And another thing...

I mentioned a few years ago that I'm not the sort of fan that is so rabid that my fandom takes over my decorating choices. But my brother is. We went cross-state this weekend for a visit, and so I thought I'd share a few pictures of his living room:

The 'drapes' are actually shower curtains, since for some reason, they don't make drapes with Steeler logos on them. I can't for the life of my understand why not. The two non-Steeler pillows are the same material as he used on his desk chair.

See the cabinet in the corner? Filled with Steeler memorabilia and tchotchkes dating back to the mid 1970's. Included in there are DVD copies of all six Super Bowl games, plus an honest-to-goodness record (you know, the ol' 33 and 1/3 rpm jobber) of the radio broadcast of their first Super Bowl victory, in 1975.

Above the TV (which is one of those 50- something -inch HDTV jobbers--but not a plasma screen--he doesn't trust them), more stuff, including his license plates. We live in state that requires both front and rear license plates. Why in the hell did he buy three license plates he couldn't put on his car? I guess for the same reason he bought a fleece throw he won't put on his couch.

And a flag he won't fly outdoors. Those two felt banners, by the way, are originals, too. From the mid 1970's. There's two more over to the left that I didn't get in the shot, also from the same era. I suppose that if he ever wants to buy a new car, he could just put those up for sale on ebay.

So, there is little joy in Mudville, or at least that small part of it that resides in my brother's living room. I'm not sure why he has all this stuff up, other than for some reason, he needs to feel that connection to something outside of himself. I guess I don't understand it.

In other news. I'm putting away my collection of 75 Santas and 34 nutcrackers tonight.

Why are you laughing?


Friday, January 04, 2008

Story Idea

My son is drawing a cartoon right now. His story is about a polar bear who decides to sell his fur, since polar bear fur is considered the height of fashion.

Once he sells it, he uses the money he gets from the sale to buy himself a coat.

He buys a polar bear fur coat.

I love my son.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Halls Were Decked

And I'm back. Happy New Year.

Hope everyone's Christmas was a good one. Most of my Christmas week was good. I had Lt. Trouble and Puddle together at my house for a good part of it. Puddle dropping in on occasion, and Trouble staying with me.

Actually, Trouble didn't even make it into town until about 3:30 PM on the 25th. He got a great deal on a flight that came into a neighboring city on Christmas day, so I had to drive 100 miles on Christmas to get him. Not a big deal, because the kids were at their Mother's this year (as per our divorce settlement), so it wasn't like I had much of anything else to to. Plus, I had my new hooptie, so the ride was pretty sweet.

What do you mean, what new hooptie?

Oh. It has been a while, hasn't it?

The previous week, I finally got out of bankruptcy, and that, coupled with my previous windfall, (with a generous dose of suspicious noises emanating from my old van thrown in for good measure) , prompted an early purchase of a new car. Well, new to me, anyways.

I'm now the proud owner of a 2003 Chevy Impala LS, loaded, with a V-6, sunroof, spoiler, premium sound system, heated leather seats, and only 45,000 miles on it. That picture over there isn't my car, but but it could be--right down to the color and the rims. I have a client who's become a good friend over the past few years, whose used-car business is set up backwards from most: he does a credit report on you, looks at your finances and expenses, and then figures out how much you can really afford to spend on a car, then finds a car that fits. He went out and 'stole' this car for me. Plus he threw in a 5 year, 100k mile warranty on it for one buck above his cost. Man, it's a sweet ride. The kids love it, and even the El-Tee was impressed. Surprised the hell out of him when we left the airport, that's fer sure.

And, yes, it's far too nice to be a real hooptie, but a white guy can pretend to be a brotha, can't he?

So where was I? Oh yeah. Christmas.

I didn't get the kids until Christmas night, so I dropped him off at his mom's and met up with him and the kids (and EW) at one of EW's sister's houses in the afternoon, and they all came home with me.

Lots of fun opening presents. One of my daughter's 'big' presents was a used Olympus digital camera. It sold for several hundred bucks about two years ago, but now it's been replaced with smaller cameras with larger memories, but it's still a good camera--better than the cut-rate ones I would have had to buy if I had spent the same amount on a new one that I paid for it. Plus, the size is better for littler fingers.

She set the timer so that we could take this picture. I got all my kids football jerseys this year. Trouble is a big fan of the Bills, as is my youngest son. Puddle likes the Bills too, but likes the Steelers even more. Just like me. So I got them all jerseys. And Trouble surprised me with a jersey of my own--customized with my last name on the back, but with the number of my all-time favorite player.

After all the presents were opened, I brought out a last, Santa-sized bag, with five identical packages in them. I handed them out, and kept one for myself, and told them not to open them until I said so. Inside were identical Nerf guns. My youngest son wanted the Nerf dart tag game, but I saw these six-shooters at the store, and thought it was cooler, since you didn't need to reload as often. Well, if I was going to get one for him, I'd need to get one for my daughter as well. And I would be a complete idiot (and a sitting duck) if I didn't get one for me. And then when I found out Lt. Trouble would be here, it seemed obvious that I would have to get him (and then Puddle) each one as well.

Best $36 I think I ever spent.

I wrapped them loaded and ready to go right from the moment they were unwrapped.* Since I already knew what was in the packages, I was able to get the drop on them, and nailed them all before they could react. Which was fortunate, because after that I was pummeled. It turned into an hour-long house-wide foam-dart firefight. My oldest, especially was in his element, squeezing off rounds while executing SWAT maneuvers on us.

I still haven't found all the darts yet.

The rest of the week went okay, except for the glaring lack of interest Trouble showed in his mother. He has a lot of anger and resentment towards her, and I had to practically twist his arm to get him to spend any time at all with her. I had to keep reminding myself that it's not my problem, but it's incredibly sad to see. I know it's eating her up that he doesn't want to spend time with her. And, of course, even though I was advocating that he spend time with her, she's already made it known to me that it's my fault he didn't spend time with her.

No surprise there.

But now he's in Vegas with his fiancee, and Puddle's on his way to his girlfriend's house in New Jersey. My youngest two and I did our now-traditional New Years' Eve of games, movies, and watching the fireworks from our front porch.

And as much as I love the holiday season, I'm looking forward to getting the Santa's all packed away, the tree taken down, and the return of what passes for normalcy in my little crooked house.

Maybe it's just my age, but I'm beginning to see the advantages of a little undecking these days.

A blessed New Year to all of you.


*Something that I'm doing with regularity these days in 'pre-opening' the kids stuff; making sure the work, have batteries, et c. I'm tired of getting them cool toys that are then nearly destroyed as they struggle to remove them from packaging designed for shelf appeal, not ease of removal from aforementioned packaging.