Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

April 2, 2009

The Mismatched Socks Have Spoken: Time To Turn This Domestic Dud Into A Domestic Dude

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:38 pm


Most Men Fear The Iron...

Most Men Fear The Iron...

Running frantically down the hallway I bump into a few of my issues and regrets that are making a B-Line to the exit doors. I know I am a little late, but why are they out of the classroom? Trying to figure out the exact time, I reach into my pants pocket for my cell phone, but it is nowhere to be found.

Then it hits me; in my rush to get out the door this morning I forgot to grab them from my other pair of slacks along with my wallet. I guess lunch will consist of me feasting on leftover ketchup and mustard packets from the teacher’s lounge.

Entering the classroom I realize that I’m twenty minutes late and few of the issues decided to stick around to see if I would actually show. Before I can even start today’s lesson, the regrets that are sitting in their seats begin to chuckle. Cynical side raises his hand while attempting to hold back laughter.


Cynical Side: “I am sorry teach, but I have to ask: what is going on? Did you dress yourself in the dark? You look like a hot mess.”

Me: “Sorry, I slept through the alarm clock. Jenn and the girls went to visit her folks out west and I’ve been bacheloring it up for the past week. I think I am doing okay.”

Cynical Side: “Yes, if by okay you mean wearing a wrinkled shirt with an imprint of an iron on it, mismatched socks and jeans where you can play connect the dots with the stains then yes you are doing an amazing job. Let me guess…you are wearing used boxers.”

Me: “In my book if you flip them inside out, they’re brand new.”

Cynical Side: “I feel for you teach. It must be hard to find time to clean clothes and do other chores while you sit on the couch watching reruns of Scrubs as you eat McDonald’s for the 4th night in a row.”

Me: “Wait a second, I actually made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich one night and I whipped up something this morning: Pop Tarts. I like to call it the breakfast of champions. And as far as the laundry goes I still haven’t figured out if the washing machine has the door on the side or on top. It is very confusing if you ask me.”

Cynical Side: “That’s a Pop Tart? Wow, I thought it was…. well I wasn’t really sure. I just know it smells like burnt tires. Look, all of the issues and regrets eventually want our time in the spotlight, but some things are bigger than us. You know what you need to focus on this month.”

Me: “I think you’re right.”


So, I guess it appears that for the next month it is going to be:

30 Days To Go From Domestic Dud To Domestic Dude


Breakdown Of Reader’s Vote (66 Total Votes)

Domestic Dud To Domestic Dude (22)

Obsession With The Scale (18)

Cynical Side (14)

Anger (10)

Other/Reader’s Choice (2)

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 13, 2009

Yo Dawg, Is That Randy Jackson Doing The Truffle Shuffle Or Me Shaking Off My Indecisiveness?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:21 pm
Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture Chunk...

If I had to describe my dancing ability I’d say it’s borderline smooth and graceful. Jenn, on the other hand, uses words like spastic and convulsive to explain the movements that take place once my feet hit the dance floor. Having watched myself moonwalk in my bedroom mirror since I was 10 years old, I dismiss what she says as silly talk. I know there is soul somewhere deep down inside me.

Granted, it has yet to show up when I bust out the Running Man, Funky Chicken or Robot, but I know all of the time I have spent watching and studying Randy Jackson’s Presents America’s Best Dance Crew will eventually pay off. Even after tuning in to numerous episodes, there is one thing that still leaves me puzzled: why is the big guy’s name attached to show anyway? Mr. Dog Pound doesn’t strike me as being someone who is nimble on their feet. I believe the only dance move that wouldn’t cause me to test my gag reflex is if Randy were to ever reenact Chunk doing the “Truffle Shuffle” from the movie Goonies. I am pretty sure I would actually pay to see that take place. I realize those are some pretty harsh words considering they are coming from a man who has two left feet.

Part of me has embraced my lack of rhythm. My skills, or lack thereof, always causes my two little girls to chuckle when we have our weekly family dance party and that is good enough for me. Paige will point to the “I-Poo” and request the “Yeah-Yeah-Yeah” song. Knowing this might cause some of you to question my parenting skills, the tune she is requesting is actually Duffy’s “Mercy.” Considering I just divulged that little nugget of information, I guess I should feel comfortable enough to let you know that some of her other favorites include Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai. Don’t worry neither girl is really listening to lyrics of the songs, they are completely mesmerized by their daddy’s arms and legs thrashing to and fro wondering if he is dancing or having an epileptic seizure.

The moments where I regret not knowing how to two-step or waltz is when Jenn and I go to a wedding. Sitting on the sidelines eating my weight in free filet mignon while others cut a rug on the dance floor is not Jenn’s idea of a fun evening out. On numerous occasions, she has brought up the idea of taking a dance class together. The closest I’ve come to lessons is freshmen year of college when I filled one of my physical education credit requirements through square dancing, but I am pretty sure this doesn’t count.

I could use the excuse that lessons would be another expense for our shoestring budget or yet another activity to fit into our busy schedule, but those are not the source of my hesitation. The reluctance stems from knowing I might misstep, trip over my own feet or cause Jenn to ice her feet after every class due to my clumsiness. One way you can tell a professional dancer from an awkward and uncoordinated novice like myself is where their eyes go when they misstep. It is inevitable to find yourself offbeat at one time or another, no matter how many times you’ve taken to the dance floor. While the pro looks towards their partner to find their rhythm together, the inexperienced dancer tends to look down at his or her feet. When this happens, moves become choppy, forced and the center of the dancer’s attention.

Many of my movements over the last 7 years have been more than choppy. They have felt down right unnatural. I find myself wondering if this is the step I should be taking. Almost every decision I’ve made has been second-guessed and plagued with doubt. The funny thing is there was a time in my life when I was confident in the choices I made regardless if they were wise or completely off course.

However, after the experience I had with my first job after college, everything seemed to change. A little background information for newcomers to this blog to get you caught up to speed. With my college diploma in Christian Ministries in hand, this idealist dreamer was ready to transform a younger generation for God as a youth pastor. I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I was called to do with my life. Yet, no textbook or lecture prepared me for what I encountered at the church. Things that were thrown my way seemed to set me up for automatic failure. I felt hopeless and alone. Coming home almost every evening defeated put a strain on my relationship with my beautiful new bride, Jenn, as we were fulfilling roles no spouse should.

For the sanity of our marriage, and ourselves, we knew I had to hand in my resignation and move on. The problem was neither of us had an answer to the important question of: move on to what? My state of mind at the time was cynical, bitter and confused. I did not know how to rectify the fact that I had told God I would go anywhere for Him and the first place He sent me seemed to be the dark wilderness. It made me doubt if I had completely mistaken God’s calling on my life and if that was the case wondering where that left me. Was it the situation or myself that caused my first experience into ministry to be unsuccessful?

Not wanting to venture into another youth ministry position, have it fail and ultimately realize it was me all along; I gave myself a year to figure things out. Instead of going forward, I decided to remain in neutral. Having no children or responsibilities at the time, Jenn and I decided to move down to Wilmington, NC. I could over spiritualize it and say ‘we felt this was where the Lord was leading us,’ but that would be a bold face lie. We packed our bags and headed south towards the beach based off a survey we filled out on a website called Jenn got a job working retail while I got my dream job (note the sarcasm) filling out spreadsheets for corporate America.

Sitting in my cubicle filling out TPS reports is where my tendency towards indecisiveness originated. Day after day I wrestled with contentment and questioning every decision that came my way. As odd as it might sound to some, being unsure of my abilities, passion and vision as it related to my job left me paralyzed with the fear of making another wrong decision not only in regards to employment, but in every aspect of my life.  

Eventually, I grew tired of living life staring at my feet and not focusing on what was ahead of me. This shift in perspective took place only when I became willing to take the diffciult, yet necessary steps, in examining my time at Ashton as a youth pastor. It wasn’t until I could see how my character was shaped and formed during the process that I realized there was a purpose for going through what I did. In the midst of everything I perceived as a failure, God still moved in the lives of young people I influenced. While journaling all my thoughts down on paper, something else interesting happened. I began to fall in love with writing all over again. I guess it wasn’t Randy Jackson doing the Truffle Shuffle after all, but me who found a way to shake off my indecisiveness. Hopefully, once these 30 days are over I’ll samba my way out of second-guessing for good.

March 10, 2009

Welcome To Moe’s Has Me Welcoming Indigestion…..And Regret

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:14 pm


Indigestion Often Leads To Regret

Indigestion Often Leads To Regret

Why o why do I continue to go Moe’s Southwest Grill? Is it because I secretly have it out for my stomach and want to punish my bowels at all cost? Tonight, Jenn and I had the perfect escape clause when we realized Kid’s night was on Monday and not Tuesday night. Our attempts to leave nonchalantly were thwarted after Maddie pleaded (parent speak for completely freaked out) for a Moo Moo Mr. Cow.

She won this round and we decide to order our food. I choose my usual, a Joey Bag of Donuts. The poor burrito did not stand a chance. I devour it in a matter of minutes without coming up for breath. This was not a smart move on my part. As I now struggle with a bad case of indigestion, I begin to ponder other choices in my life I regret making.


Here is just a sampling of the many regretful decisions I’ve made over time:


Deciding to waste two hours of my life watching Swing Vote.  Who knew that Kevin Costner still had it in him to make a movie worst than Waterworld? Granted, the film did have one bright spot. It is the only movie ever to create bipartisanship among political rivals. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and even most Communist were willing to cross party lines and create an amendment demanding Hollywood refund every moviegoer who purchased a ticket to this political “satire.”

Deciding to dye my hair while my parents were on vacation in 1997. I was trying to look like Billy Joe Armstrong, the lead singer from Green Day, by saying good riddance to my Mr. Straight Lace look. Instead of coming out Billy Joe blonde, it turned my scalp into Big Bird bright yellow. Let’s just say that people had the time of their life making fun of this nimrod.

Deciding to take for granted how quickly Maddie would grow up.  Don’t get me wrong there are moments upon moments with her that I will cherish forever. Late night bottles, dirty diapers, tea parties, movie nights and cuddling on the couch are just a few. Yet, registering Maddie for kindergarten, I am now realizing how my priorities have been of whack and my push for “me” time seems silly now.

Deciding my body could handle eating an entire Watermelon after being dared to do so at a summer picnic with family friends (are you noticing a trend here?). It appeared the first few hours afterwards that my belly would reign victorious. That was until about 2 in the morning when watermelon seeds rained from the sky in the bathroom. The walls, once white, now have a permanent pink sorbet tint to them.

Deciding to not listen to Jenn’s advice to put on sunscreen while at a water park. After all, it was a sunny, but cool day and I was an Italian who had never been sunburned before. Well, like the saying goes there is a first time for everything, even sun poisoning. I spent the next week soaking in a white vinegar bath while my skin peeled like a shell off a hard boiled Easter egg.

Deciding to not attend a large university with a strong athletic program, not because I was an athlete, but because I am a big sports fan. This regret showed up every time I’d go to a Penn State football or Maryland basketball game. Instead of being a Cameron Crazy, Orange Crush or a part of the Nittany Nation, I was one of about 20 fans nicknamed the Messiah Mutes who cheered on the Division III powerhouse women’s basketball program.

Deciding to pass a car on a double yellow line while in a 16-passenger van filled with kids. We were late coming home from a youth ski trip and I didn’t want to look irresponsible as the fresh faced youth pastor so I just went for it. Pulling into the parking lot, all the parents were there waiting for me as well as the off duty cop who was behind the church van and watched the entire incident go down. She was none to pleased with my behavior and slapped me with a driving ticket.


This last one touches upon a section of my life that had numerous regrets: my time as a youth pastor. Some of these regrets came from my own doing and others as a result of my reactions to things that happened to me. As I try to pinpoint where my indecisiveness originates, I keep coming back to those three years spent in Ashton where an idealistic dreamer somehow turned into a bitter cynic who was now worried about taking another incorrect step. Going into greater detail as to why this is the case will have to wait till my next blog post. I know this could appear to be a cheap teaser forcing you to come back to hear the rest of the story. However, I am pressing pause on delving into this regret mainly because this topic demands more attention, but also due to my bad indigestion. Welcome to Moe’s is about to welcome in the stinky stink into my bathroom. 

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