Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

March 29, 2009

Don’t Fool Around….Take A Second And Vote For Next Month’s Focus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — 30tocure30 @ 3:31 pm

Only a few more days till April 1st so I can’t be fooling around in finding my focus for the next 30 days. Last month I left it up the readers and they decided that I needed to cure my indecisiveness (seemed only fitting). Having experienced a lot of growth in this area, it appears that you guys knew what you were talking about when you cast your ballot. So, I’ve DECIDED to allow the democratic process to run its’ course again with another poll. Attempting to make this blog a little bit more interactive, I’ve decided to let my readers have a voice in the direction it heads. In a way, I am leaving my fate in your hands. After all, didn’t I say this blog was going to be group therapy for me anyway?

Whichever “issue” comes out on top will be what I devote my energy towards for the next month. Pick the topic that interests you the most and one that you would enjoy reading about. It might be an “issue” you are wrestling with in your own life. You also have the option of “READER’S CHOICE – OTHER” where you can make a suggestion by posting a comment. The poll will close at 9pm (EST) on April 1st. As always, thanks for your input.

 

March 28, 2009

Hobo Frogs Teaching Kids To Read And Make Decisions….That’s Silly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:16 am

 

Hobo Frogs Teach Kids To Read..That's Silly

Hobo Frogs Teaching Kids To Read..That's Silly

 

 

The conquest did not take place over night. It was a gradual descent into kiddy chaos hell. Buying a baby doll here or a puzzle there for the girls seemed harmless enough. After all, like any good parent we were trying to buy our children’s love. I kid, I kid. We actually shelled out the cash for yet another pretty princess just to get a moment of peace and quiet and avoid a meltdown in the middle of Target. Once again, just joking….well, for the most part.

Slowly over time the kid’s stuff took over control of our house. The exact date of when the changing of the guards occurred is up for debate, but I’m guessing it was shortly after having to rent a U-Haul to bring home all the girl’s spoils from a trip to see Granny and Pop-Pop. You want it, we’ve got it: books, blocks, Barbies, ballerinas, beauty products and Blue’s Clues. Without us any the wiser, our house has become a Toys R’ Us franchise.

On second thought, we are closer in style to castoff stores like Ross, Marshall’s or TJMaxx because very few toys have all their pieces intact or are in good working order. This is the result of random quick cleans that take place when we have company coming over or the doorbell rings unexpectedly. My frantic cleaning gene I received from my mother kicks in and I start tossing everything in the corner of the living room, the place where toys go to get lost, broken or misplaced.

The only thing that brings me joy in the midst of cleaning up toys is putting away the Alphabet Pal Caterpillar. When the toy is in Phonics Mode, it is capable of sounding-out short words like DAD. Even though I know the little worm will giggle and say “that tickles,” I try to get it to say random four letter naughty words. Other dads of toddlers please do not shake your head in disgust. You know when your wife isn’t looking you do the same thing.

The problem with our wealth of toys arises during Paige’s naptime. Instead of sleeping, she tries to be stealth and sneak quietly out of bed. More often than not, Paige eventually tires herself out and falls asleep on the rug in the middle of her room. We thought this was the case the other day until we heard “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” not once, but over and over again. When Jenn went upstairs to check on the commotion, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Paige was sprawled out across the train tracks of her Leapfrog Phonic Train set. In her slumber, she was blocking the pathway for the alphabet coal car causing the frogs to freak out. On a side note, does anyone else find it odd that a company feels tadpole hobo’s who spend their days riding the rails are the ideal candidates to teach toddlers their ABC’s?

Anyway, with naptime being a precious commodity, we decided to leave Paige alone and let her sleep.  After all, she was not fazed in the least bit by the noise or the toy train tapping her repeatedly on her shoulder. The last thing we wanted to do was press our luck by waking the little giant as we attempted to turn off the toy and place her back in bed.

Ten minutes afterwards we were regretting our decision. There are just so many times you can hear “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” repeated before you begin to envy Helen Keller for being deaf. The phrase gets stuck in your head and it paralyzes you.  You cannot concentrate on anything else because you are waiting for that silly hobo frog to utter those words again.

I am not 100% sure, but I think another reason the frog’s phrase haunted me is due to my tendency to waver. While trying to cure this nasty habit of mine, I came across a few definitions of the word indecisiveness through my research for the month. Not only does indecisiveness involve having the trait of irresolution, but it also means one has a “lack of firmness of character or purpose.”

Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark, especially when you feel the impact of the word in a sentence like “the king’s incurable indecisiveness caused turmoil in his court.” If this statement is true then the chaos that defines my life from time to time is a result of my own doing. The king of this household is leading his family around in circles leaving everyone confused and disoriented.

Character drives direction. In essences, it serves as a compass for your life. Without character you are lost and the decisions you make are based on feelings and circumstances. Considering feelings are fickle and circumstances can change at a drop of a hat, this leaves you on shaky ground. Regardless of the external factors thrown your way, purpose keeps one on the tracks heading towards a goal. On the other hand, indecisiveness only leads to trying to learn how to pronounce “T-R-A-I-N W-R-E-C-K” from a hobo frog. 

March 25, 2009

5 Is The New 25: You Cannot Stop A Facebook Phenomenon, You Can Only Hope To Contain Them

Filed under: indecisiveness — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:01 am

 

Have You Caught The Facebook Funk?

Have You Caught The Facebook Funk?

 

 

The Carolina Crud, the ILM Ickies, The Plague, The Two-Day Disaster. These are just some of the names given to the stomach bug on steroids that seems to be making its’ rounds recently amongst our friends. For a 48-hour stretch one is knocked completely out of commission and dead to the world. It feels like someone or something yelled ‘FIRE!’ in your lower intestines forcing your insides to bum rush every available exit way. Let’s just say it is not a pretty sight or smell. The only benefit of this bug is that you finally have a legitimate excuse to lounge on the couch in your pajamas and watch reruns of Judge Judy all afternoon.

The outbreak incubator begins to heat up especially if you have children.  Luckily, so far (fingers crossed) our family has been spared the torture of bowing down in worship to the porcelain God. Not wanting any possible bad mojo to come our way, I have avoided crossing the “O” and “U” shelf at Blockbuster just to make sure I have no possible contact with the movies Outbreak and Quarantine.

Judging by the Facebook statuses of my family and friends, a different virus seems to be spreading. It appears to be a mutation of a vicious strand of the 25 Random Things About Me which reached its’ potency peak in January of this year. Nearly 20 million people in the United States alone visited the Notes section of Facebook during that month. To put this number in perspective, this is roughly 4 times more people than the usual traffic it gets.

How quickly the disease went viral was mind-boggling.  At first, it appeared to only target the self-obsessed individual who updated their status every 5 seconds just to be sure everyone knew how much they loved Fruity Pebbles. Then something unexpected happened. A glorified forwarded email became all the rage allowing the disease to spread and get stronger. Suddenly, no one seemed to be immune to its’ clutches, even your retired grandmother in Florida who got tagged by all of her Red Hat society friends.

Every time you logged on to Facebook you nervously wondered if this was finally the day you were tagged. When the initial signs of outbreak made an appearance, the choices were to quickly take antibiotics (hitting ignore) and get better or allow it to fester and leave yourself vulnerable for infestation. The mind became weak as you began to wonder what pieces of information you could share. The nuggets included the highly personal (you’re a bi-polar schizophrenic who has daddy issues), completely random (you only eat Green M&M’s) and stuff bordering on TMI (your feet smell like corn nuts).

Some withheld giving in, but many contradicted this mini autobiography disease. Unfortunately, a new mutated gene has quickly become a hot bed of activity flooding my news feed. The viral marketers of LivingSocial.com have cloned the DNA from the “25 Things About Me” craze by creating the “Pick Your 5.” I guess you could say that 5 is the new 25.

The premise seems simple enough, which explains why it so addictive. Pick the 5 televisions shows you’ve seen every episode, your 5 all time favorite movies or the 5 albums that you can listen to from beginning to end.  Come up with your contenders, whittle down the list, make your final decision and then post for the world to see.

Back in January, I humored you (or bored you…depending on who you ask) by completing the 25 Random Things About Me in an effort to cure my socially stunted disorder, which just happened to be the focus for that month. Fast forward to today. March is coming to a close and I need to know if I have made any progress towards my goal of curing my chronic indecisiveness. Considering the wealth of time I waste filling my noggin with random pieces of pop culture, deciding on something like the 5 CD’s that defined my college years would seem to be near to impossible. But, I’m going to give it a shot by filling out a few of these lists. So, here it goes.

 

Five Albums That Shaped Me

1.     August And Everything After by Counting Crows

2.     Under The Table And Dreaming by Dave Matthews Band

3.     Room For Squares by John Mayer

4.     The Joshua Tree by U2

5.     MTV Unplugged by Dashboard Confessional

 

Five Recent Albums I Dig

1.     Let The Woman by Andy Davis

2.     The Bens by The Bens

3.     We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things by Jason Mraz

4.     Gossip In The Grain by Ray LaMontagne

5.     The Glass Passenger by Jack’s Mannequin

 

Five Best Television Shows

1.     Lost

2.     How I Met Your Mother

3.     The Office

4.     House

5.     Friday Night Lights

 

Five Books I Recommend

1.     Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

2.     Half-Life Die Already: How I Died And Lived To Tell About It by Mark Steele

3.     Divine Nobodies: Shredding Religion To Find God (and the unlikely people who help you) by Jim Palmer

4.     The Year Of Living Bibilcally: One Man’s Humble Quest To Follow The Bible As Literally As Possible by A.J. Jacobs

5.     A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America On The Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

 

Five Movies That I Will Watch Over and Over Again

1.     Office Space

2.     Rudy

3.     Good Will Hunting

4.     Old School

5.     Saved

 

Alright, as riveting and difficult as this is for me, I’ll stop while I am ahead. I think we can all agree on two things if you have read this far: (1) You must be extremely bored or have way too much free time on your hands (2) One cannot stop a Facebook phenomenon; you can only hope to contain them.

March 22, 2009

Swiping Travel Size Maple Syrup Causes Me To Get Roasted By The Gambler

Filed under: indecisiveness — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:26 pm

 

The Gambler Is The King Of Cracker Barrel

The Gambler Is The King Of Cracker Barrel

A normal visit to go see my family in Maryland should take approximately 6 hours and 45 minutes. Silly MapQuest with your “estimated” time and distance. You’ve obviously never taken a car ride with the Ripa clan. Haven’t you heard of potty breaks, switching of DVD’s and the numerous stops we make to stretch our legs?

This is not even taking into consideration the “I’m so tired of being stuck in my car seat that even watching the last installment of the Shrek trilogy will not suffice” freak out that takes place every trip somewhere around the city limits of Tyson’s Corner, VA. Experiencing a double helping of the meltdown to end all meltdowns always serves as a great first memory of our vacation.

The long trek up north not only leads to cramped legs, but clogged arteries as well. The dining options on I-95 are less than stellar. The majority of places right off the highway are fast food joints where the focus of feeding the masses doesn’t lend itself to achieving anything better than the remedial level of sanitary scores. It gives a new dimension to the saying of stopping for a ‘quick fill up for gas.’  If you are feeling extremely daring and venture a few miles into an actual town, you normally come across a greasy spoon where the local yokels don’t take kindly to Yankees who order un-sweet ice tea.

This means when you need an extended break from the ‘are we there yet?’ chants coming from the peanut gallery in the back row, your only option is to head to the place where Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers are king and queen. The restaurant I speak of is Cracker Barrel and there are no fewer than 8 locations scattered throughout our trip. For those unfortunate souls who have never experienced this hallmark of the south, you go for the Chicken Fried Steak, but come back for the Old Country Store. While waiting to be seated, you have the opportunity to peruse rooster lamps, Mork & Mindy DVD packs and inspirational salt & peppershakers. 

Each store also has a giant checkers board set out on display for those who have already purchased their John Deere Neon Wall Clock. Unfortunately, after the typical spanking I receive from Jenn at checkers, my Sawmill Gravy often does not taste as hearty as I imagined it. Look out Scrabble, there seems to be a new addition to the list of games Jenn beats me like a rented mule at every time we play.

How can this possibly be? In order to excel at checkers, a person needs to possess the ability to examine every possible move before they make it.  A plan and forethought is needed to be successful because every move you make creates numerous other possibilities. If this is the case then checkers should be right in my wheelhouse.

As odd as it might sound, it is a game tailor made for those with indecisive tendencies like myself. Worry and stress would appear to be attributes a checker grand wizard should posses. Indecisive people are known to make the simplest of choices larger than life. We fret over every decision that needs to be made.  If you think we are a little obsessive over silly choices like pepperoni or cheese and The Office of Grey’s Anatomy, you have no idea what grief is caused by the big time decisions of purchasing a home, having kids and the grand purpose of your life. The fear of the worst-case scenario often causes me not to act.

Even though I know there can only be one outcome to every choice I make, it does not stop me from stressing about a thousand different scenarios that I “believe” could take place. Not wanting to be caught off guard, I try to prepare myself for how the cards will fall if I chose what is behind door number 1,2, or 3. The longer I sit on making a decision the more outrageous and extravagant the possible outcomes become.

In my indecisive mind, something as simple as deciding to swipe the travel size maple syrup containers off the table at Cracker Barrel causes my mind to race about the possible results of my actions. Needing a sugar shot of adrenaline to keep me awake behind the wheel, my sticky fingers would lead to a slower reaction time and the possibility of a fender bender on the highway. I could become addicted to syrup leading to high blood sugar and an early death. Years later I could get a call from the cops saying Maddie or Paige were caught shoplifting and when I begin to lecture them they say, “Dad, the thought that crime was a viable career option started that one trip up to Granny and Pop-Pop’s house when you said you had a hankering for pancakes.”  Not being so stealth, the waitress could catch me slipping the syrup into Jenn’s purse. She grabs me by the arm and takes me back to the stock room where none other than Kenny Rogers interrogates me. Luckily, after roasting me for quite a while, he decides to take it easy on me. He says he always has a soft spot in his heart for a gambler. 

March 19, 2009

The Magician Of The Mundane Has Fooled You All…

Filed under: indecisiveness — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:34 pm

 

Don't Let The Boredom Fool You...

Don't Let The Boredom Fool You...

From the outside, I appear to be a set in my ways and highly structured. Every Tuesday night you will find our family dining at Atlanta Bread and afterwards letting our girls run wild at Barnes & Noble. Like clockwork, Saturday mornings means pulling the trifecta of bagels, Target and Costco. Sadly, or should I say pathetically, numerous evenings are centered on when the television shows I can’t miss are playing. If heaven forbid there is a rerun, I am beside myself as to what to do.

The insanity of being a man who ‘likes what he likes.’ even trickles down to what I eat. My drink of choice is caffeine free Diet Coke. Only one flavor of ice cream will do: chocolate chip cookie dough. I might get a bad case of the Outback’s after every time I dine there, but the fact remains I don’t have to open my menu knowing I’ll get the Outback Special with Aussie Cheese Fries every time.

Since I was 14 years old, Santa has always left Hot Tamales and Slim Jim’s in my stockings, along with gym socks for some odd reason. There will be some who think I am taking creative liberties and stretching the truth to serve my own purpose of making a point. However, I invite those individuals to join me for lunch at the Subway in downtown Wilmington, NC and watch what happens when I walk in the door. I can guarantee you that the lady behind the counter will instinctively prepare the ‘usual’, which is a turkey and pepper jack cheese on honey oat bread.

The predictability of my life shows up in other ways. Turn on my ‘in town’ car and sports talk will be playing on the radio. When I hop behind the wheel you could blindfold me and not be scared to ride shotgun. I’ll take the routes I know without ever veering off course. After work I’ll drive by Auto Wholesale and lust after cars that are way out of my price range.

The madness of the mundane continues even further. Some believe the information you can find off websites goes on forever, but after checking Facebook, Twitter, ESPN and my fantasy sports team, I feel like I have finally reached the end of the Internet. Ask me to help with a task at work and you can be guaranteed your typical “yes” man will oblige.

When I’ve mentioned to family and friends that for the month of March I am focusing on dealing with my indecisiveness, almost always a puzzled look comes across their face. You indecisive they say as they scratch their heads. I have to fight the urge not to crack a smile. It looks like my diabolical scheme has worked flawlessly. My routine life has masked my indecisiveness. I am a magician of the mundane. In a way, I’ve distracted them through sure boredom. 

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