Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

January 22, 2009

Lumpy, Jenn & The Harlot: My Security Blankets

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:23 pm

 

Where Is My Blankie?

Where Is My Blankie?

Getting the girls ready for bed can be compared to a delicate dance routine. When we hit each step on beat it is a graceful thing to watch like the waltz. Yet, if we miss just one mark the rumba turns into a bloody rumble. It’s similar to a train wreck or Warren Sapp performing the cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars (they are one in the same), as horrible as it may be you cannot direct your gaze in another direction.

The other night it appeared as if Jenn and I were going to receive perfect scores from judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. The rhythm was there: bath, pajamas, milk, Blue’s Clues, teeth, story time, songs and prayers. While we were about to hit the ending by clicking the gate closed and move into our jazz hands celebration, shrieks of horror rang out from the bedroom. Rewinding the routine back in my head, I realized a misstep had occurred.

We had tucked Madison away for the night without her beloved Pink Blankie. Our oldest made it abundantly clear to everyone in our neighborhood that our lack of wisdom was an affront to God. How dare we forget to make sure her long laundry list of dolls, books and blankets were not all spoken for and wedged all around her. Maddie is incapable of sleeping without everything being in its’ place. They provide her a sense of comfort and support.

No matter how old we get we all are still children inside. We need something to cling on to get us through our days on this spinning globe. They may not be pink pieces of cloth with a silk border covered in slobber or a stuffed monkey in a dress. But, do not be fooled. Each one of us has our security blankets. The thing is we’ve become experts at concealing them so they are hard to detect with the naked eye.

There are three ladies in my life and they all make me feel secure when I know they are around: Lumpy, Jenn and The Harlot. Lumpy is my body pillow who I spoon through the night except for the agonizing stretches when Jenn is pregnant. Being married allows me to pass off Lumpy when I check into a hotel room on vacation and get weird looks from the guy behind the concierge’s desk.  

One of the reasons I love Jenn is for the fact she was wise to my affinity for body pillows pre-engagement, but still decided to marry me anyway. This is a sign of a good woman. Without her by my side, I am lost and incomplete in so many ways. Jenn is the ying to my yang. She is the social butterfly to my inept conversations. She cares for people so deeply while often times I am a selfish dirt bag. This probably will come across wrong, but I don’t have to speak a word if we go to a social event because Jenn does all the talking for me and I would have it no other way.

First Lumpy created a divide in our marriage bed – literally. Having come to grips with the Great Wall of China, Jenn had to watch as I welcomed The Harlot into our relationship. With envy in her voice, ‘The Harlot’ is the name Jenn gave to my beloved Macbook. She knows if I would leave her for anyone, it would be this sleek white laptop that with my North Face vest, Buddy Holly glasses and facial hair complete the artistic trendy poser look I have tried to achieve for so long.

Yet, The Harlot is my security blanket for more than my image issues. I wonder if I pursued a career in writing because my words remain upfront while I stay behind the scenes. A shy guy like myself relishes the ghostwriter role. The laptop allows me to be the man in charge of every conversation. In this dialogue of one, I feel powerful and free. Trying to get my thoughts down on paper comes with ease while expressing the same feelings verbally is down right painful. With that said, the vulnerability of making my thoughts public in a blog terrifies me as well. Because if a reader rejects my writing then what I am left with? How will I make it through my days on this spinning globe? I guess it will involve draping my leg over every faithful Lumpy and crying myself to sleep at night. 

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Peach Fuzz, Stubble & Hairy Zen: Reflections on the Great Beard Experiment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:04 am

 

A Man Can Dream About Having A Beard This Glorious

A Man Can Dream About Having A Beard This Glorious

Today marks the fourth week of The Great Beard Experiment. The disposable razors and shaving cream have been tucked far away in the medicine closet. For the past 28 days, it has been Mach Zero in our household. Sadly at the beginning the best this man could get was to have his facial hair grow in bunches. Enduring this patchy spot, things began to fill in to the point 6th grade boys have stopped pointing and calling me ‘peach fuzz.’ In fact, Trix are no longer for kids as this man gets a milk beard every time he eats this sugary cereal. I am now waiting to officially reach Hairy Zen when small birds starting build nests in my beard.

You might be wondering what sparked this facial hair frenzy. Here are a few reasons for why I have decided to go Gillette free:

 

(1.) Out with the old and in with the new. In order to accomplish a New Year’s Resolution, it means other activities have to inevitably fall by the waist side. Carving out time for my new priorities meant becoming creative in the area of time management. Let’s say the average shave takes 10 minutes. Over the course of a year this frees up 60.83 hours or approximately 2.5 days to invest in learning another language, taking a pottery class or working out in the gym.

(2.) These tough economic times have hit the checking account pretty hard. Like the majority of middle classers, every one of my pennies counts. Rather than give up Starbucks or my frequent runs for the border, the razors were cut from the shopping list.

 

Enough with the practical. Let’s get to what truly kept me from reaching for the blade when the urges to itch the stubble became uncontrollable.

 

(3.) Since Christmas morning I have been attempting to fool others into believing I am some sort of an outdoorsmen even though the only rock trail I have climbed is the Code Red of Mountain Dew. Knowing my love for looking like a trendy poser, Jenn gave me a North Face vest for the holidays. Hence the new Grizzly Adams look and my sudden love for Eddie Bauer sweaters.

(4.) In tribute to tonight’s season premiere of my all time favorite television show Lost, I decided to head back to the island and unlock my inner Sawyer. The chances of me actually accomplishing this feat are not good considering the fact the majority of those time wasting Facebook applications say I most resemble the portly funny man Hugo instead.  This isn’t the only thing going against me. My unkempt look comes closer to Tom Hanks in Castaway then the con man that makes most women weak in the knees. Trying to make up the difference, I have created a sarcastic nickname for every person I know.

(5.) As fun as it is to pay student rates at the movies, I am tired of having a baby face. For crying out loud I am in my thirties. I do not need crayons and three kiddy menus when I take my family out to eat.

(6.) A bushy beard also helps me brave the arctic temperatures of Wilmington, NC. It is the only way I survived the massive snowstorm of 2009. Clean-shaven Tony would of frozen in that light dusting of accumulation.

(7.) Curiosity killed this cat. I wanted to see what celebrity I would look like when hairy. Would I resemble Cuban dictator Fidel Castro or the former gun touting Charlton Heston? If I had my choice, I’d want to be the bearded Sting on Obama’s inauguration night. That my friend was a thing of beauty.

(8.) The growth of facial hair seems to be a common occurrence for guys who have waved farewell to the corporate world. Along with burning all of your collared shirts, ties and slacks, the beard is one last act of sticking it to the man for the years of busy work and TPS reports. 

 

The last reason deals with January’s focus of curing my social shyness. In a previous post I mentioned an eHow.com article I came across about tips to enhance small talking skills. Considering I started the month at the remedial level in the art of conversation, any tip that would get me to the barely passing level I was willing to try out.

Another trick the article offered up was expanding my horizons by trying something new every day. The problem was many of their suggestions were either lame or impossible for me to accomplish. Going home a new way is out of the question since my daily commute to work is a gas guzzling 1.6 miles. Try sushi – as much as I want to love this cuisine since it fits into my desire to be hip and trendy, the fact is I absolutely hate fish. Play pinball, paint a watercolor or bake a pie. That would be a no to #1 and # 2 while I’ll leave the last to Betty Crocker. Then it hit me: grow a beard.

 

Nothing makes a better icebreaker then facial hair. The conversations are endless:

 

“Hey…I think you have some dirt growing on your upper lip.”

“No, I do shower from time to time. What you are looking at is my new sweet stache.”

 

“Have you converted to another religion….are you a Hassidic Jew?”

“Nope, I am still down with the Big J.C.”

 

“Did your hair on the top of your dome take a vacation to South Beach?”

“No, the missing persons report I placed for the hairs on my head have created very few leads…”

 

“Are those M&M’s stuck in your beard?”

“Yes, this is where I hid my mid-afternoon snack when I find myself zoning.”

 

The results have been amazing. It gives me a foot in the door when it comes to small talk. Conversations seem to be lasting longer. I even get a few laughs that are not related to the hairy mess growing around my chin. So, all you shy guys toss those razors in the trash and beard up! 

January 19, 2009

OMG! TMWFI…I H8 when people TXT me even my BFF!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:18 pm

 

I am Far From A Text Messaging Wizard..

I Am Far From A Text Messaging Wizard..

Remind me again what that nagging feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is called when you know you haven’t been 100% truthful with someone? Guilt, right? At first, I thought I was experiencing severe hunger pains so I stuffed my face with a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Value Meal at McDonald’s. This only added heartburn to my massive amount of guilt and unfortunately Rolaids only cures one of these two symptoms.

The onslaught of guilt occurred at the beginning of this month. When it came to my 30-day experiment to cure my social issues, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to fess up to my dishonesty. I guess there is no time like the present so here it goes: Paige and Madison haven’t actually lost my cell phone…the truth is I just don’t like talking on the phone at all. As good as that felt to get off my chest, it still represents a shading of the truth. There are the occasional times when I purposefully give my phone to the girls and encourage them to play “hide daddy’s Razor” in hopes it will disappear so I can avoid dead air conversations.

Talking on the phone is an excruciating exercise for me. Please understand it is nothing personal. It does not matter if Jenn, my mom, other family members, friends or co-workers are on the other line. This is one of the few moments when as a father I hope my children actually start bouncing off the walls so I can quickly hit the end button. Conversations on the phone should only be used for business purposes. Once business is taken care of it is time to hang up and move on. When a person doesn’t sense this conversation is like pulling teeth for me, I develop a bad case of the “so’s” and “um’s.”

A huge majority who are reading this blog are saying: RUS (are you serious)? People actually talking to each other on cell phones is so 2004. You would figure my apprehension towards talking on cell phones would mean I am a text-messaging wizard especially with my girly hands that seem perfectly engineered for typing. Sadly, this is not the case. I tend to come on the tail end of tech trends. Hence, the reason 30 To Cure 30 is my first attempt at blogging and this art form being practically dead.

It has been said that text messaging has the possibility of being just as addictive as cigarette smoking. Just ask the guy in India who sent over 182,000 text messages in a month. What could this guy possibility be talking about? There is just so much one can say about the latest Bollywood movie release.

When I worked in the corporate world, I had bosses who had their crackberry surgically attached to their hands. Other friends have confessed about texting while on the throne. I have made a mental note not to borrow their phone even in extreme emergency situations. Hopefully, my friend and I are not alone when he suffers a severe injury because for all intensive purposes he is goner as there is no chance I am dialing 911 on his phone.

They tell me that texting becomes a breeze once you learn all the shortcuts and acronyms. I barely have a grasp on the English language and now you are asking me to memorize a completely different dialogue. Tonight I’ll end this entry by getting my feet wet with text messaging. Before you LOL (laugh out loud) because it is not perfect, remember I am a n00b (the kids say that means newbie).

 

IMHO, when PEEPS MSG me I’m left trying 2 FItb.

AAMOF , I have to tell Jenn to HOAS as I am IOMH as MEGO. KNIM?

I H8 TXT’ing….why can’t you JLMK what you are saying.

SIG2R. TTYL…OO

 

Hopefully, my sad attempt didn’t cause you to ROFL. 

January 17, 2009

When Will My Ghetto DVD Player Go To The Big Electronics Store In The Sky?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:54 pm

 

Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind

 

 

Our ghetto DVD player has been on its’ last leg for quite awhile now. Numerous discussions have taken place about moving on and finally upgrading to something fancy: you know like the kind ritzy city folks own that do not freeze up every 5 seconds. After cutting in and out during a key moment in a romantic comedy, Jenn contemplated smashing the machine to smithereens and sending it to the big electronics store in the sky.  The DVD player was unaware that absolutely nothing gets between Jenn and John Cusack.

Granted there are some benefits to the machine we own. Thanks to the player’s tendency to skip, the girls barely have time to get cozy on the couch in their PJ’s before a movie is over and it is bedtime. In a blink of an eye, Ariel goes from fin to feet in the Little Mermaid while Snow White somehow moves from rooming with 7 midgets to instantly living large in a castle with her prince. This piece of electronics has also saved me from enduring numerous chick flicks and for that I am forever grateful.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the time has come to read the DVD player its’ last rites. But, I just don’t have the strength to do so. The machine holds sentimental value, as it was the only man gift I took home from our wedding. Actually, Jenn was gracious enough to let me use gift cards to purchase it after our reception, but that is beside the point. Having received plenty of Bed and Bath, she realized I was close to ‘beyond’ the point of no return if I had to unwrap another mixer, kitchen utensil or smelly candle.

Maybe another reason I cling to the machine is for the fact it reminds me of how often I stumble over my words. Just like the DVD player, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when my tongue goes into fast forward or reverse mode. When I find myself in a social gathering attempting to make small talk, my mind races over what to say while my words sputter out in slow motion. I notice a look of confusion coming from the person standing across from me as they attempt to follow the story as it skips from point to point.  The conversation plays out so smoothly in my head. It is sharp, witty and always on point. Yet, the dialogue gets lost in translation during the execution. Pretty soon I give up, excuse myself and head towards the bathroom.

Then there are the occasions when life seems to be happening in slow motion while my words come out in warp speed.  I watch them flow out of my mouth one by one, but before I can stop myself the closing credits are running with a path of devastation playing in the background. This time I receive a different look from the person standing across from me. It is one of heartbreak and pain. My words have caused hurt I cannot take back and wounds that will take time to heal. During these times of chatter, I wish life were like a DVD player and came with a pause and rewind button. It would allow me to be kind and rewind. Yes, I have a grasp on technology and realize you do not have to rewind your DVD’s. I was using some artistic liberty as an author to put a neat bow on this blog entry. So deal with it. There goes my fast forwarding mouth acting up again.

 

January 15, 2009

The Big Guy Upstairs Loves Crocs, Jim Belushi, Texas and Chick-fil-a

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:39 pm

 

  

God Loves Chicken Biscuits

God Loves Chicken Biscuits

Blessings from God are serious business. Literally. And I’m not talking about televangelists using ‘blessings’ for bankrolling their summerhouse in the Hamptons. I am speaking of true favor from the creator of the universe. One should consider themselves lucky if they have this honor bestowed upon them. He does not go handing them out to everyone like those annoying Domino Coupons hung on your doorknob or stuck underneath your windshield. Tonight I was reminded of a few things God blesses:

 

(1) Of all the states in the union for God to bless, it seems odd he would choose one known for belt buckles, corporate punishment and livestock. But, who am I to question the big guy upstairs. For whatever reason, he decided to bless Texas with His own hands by bringing down angels from the promised land. God gave them a place where they could dance so if you want see heaven brother here is your chance. A side note: if you are fortunate enough to come across a broken road in Texas then you have just witnessed a double blessing of God.

(2) God must really love himself some Jim Belushi. This is the only way to explain why the sitcom (I use that phrase loosely) According to Jim managed to stay on air for eight seasons. Either God blessed him or Belushi made a deal with the devil. I’m thinking it is the latter and came as a package deal with George Lopez.

(3) Whoever came up with Crocs. Only God could have had a hand in rubber shoes taking over a nation to the point where grannies think they are ‘down’ when they put on their pink colored Crocs with extra special charms attached to them.

 

Yet, nothing makes the Lord smile more than when another Chick-fil-a pop ups in a strip mall. This glorious southern creation gains his favor not for their sweet tea, chicken biscuits or for the fact they are closed on the Lord’s Day. He blesses the ‘Fila for the constant thank you prayers he hears from parents with little children.

The stream of appreciation speeds up during cold, rainy and snowy days.  Parents like me are laughing because they know about the sweet relief I am talking about: the play area. When the weather outside is frightful, it provides a place where the kids can go crazy for 20-30 minutes while you catch your breath and get a break. It also serves as an excellent bartering tool when your kid refuses to eat their chicken nuggets, fruit and lemonade.

Unfortunately, since the play area is hardly a secret it serves as a popular destination for families. The swarm of kids also means a swarm of parents. In such confined spaces forced small talk is inevitable. More often than not I sneak out, grab the sports section of the local paper and leave Jenn all by her lonesome. I avoid any glances in the direction of the play area because if Jenn and I lock eyes then I get the ‘look.’

Tonight, there is no way she is letting me off the hook. She kindly reminds me what this month’s focus is all about. Wow, you cut me deep Jenn, you cut me real deep. I hope my overprotective dad gene will kick in giving me an excuse to watch my girls and not make pleasantries about the age of our kids, where we got their cute outfits, how Paige really is two even though she is mini-me and squashing the rumor we put extensions in Madison’s hair (we’ve honestly been asked this on more than one occasion). Our girls decide not to bounce off walls so Jenn and I get the joy of listening about the potty training problems of a young boy whose running nose is greasing the twisty slide like Crisco. Oh no…Paige just bum rushed another girl. Most nights I would be completely embarrassed. Tonight it allows for the perfect excuse to ‘discipline’ or in other terms exit stage right. 

 

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