Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

February 27, 2009

B-4 I Sink Your Battleship, I Better Learn The Rules Of Engagement

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

 

At Least With Battleship I Have The Possibility Of Winning Due To Dumb Luck

At Least With Battleship I Have The Possibility Of Winning Due To Dumb Luck

As much as I rail against the predictability that is my life, I am starting to believe there is something to be said for routine. In a weird way, it provides a sense of comfort knowing you can focus on the things that really matter. Spending quality time with Jenn, minus the girls, does not happen as often as either of us would like. Most of our days involve a constant hum of ‘mommy I want’ and ‘daddy can I.’ Just being able to eat a meal with both hands rather than having one arm clinging to Paige as she attempts to climb out her highchair is a novel concept. So, when we get an hour or two alone, what we do is of little concern.

The typical date night normally involves dinner, a movie and finds us winding down the evening at a local java shop. One reason I love this is because it means I get to sip a girly coffee drink without anyone catching on, including the barista. The tip is ordering the Fru-Fru drink first and then the manly drink second. It goes something like this: “She wants (point to the wife) a tall decaf skim sugar free Vanilla Latte no foam and (lower your voice for emphasis) a Grande STRONG black coffee for me!”

As I settle down with my Vanilla Latte into a booth, Jenn chooses a board game for us to play. Choose is probably not the right word considering we both know she is going to bring Scrabble back to the table smirking all the way there. The grin comes from the fact that she knows she is going to own me yet again and it gives her the opportunity to do her happy dance. It’s a cross between the Icky Shuffle and Dirty Bird mixed with a little bit of the Macarena and Running Man. Yet, somehow I am the competitive one in the relationship.

In the twelve years we have known each other, I have never come out the victor in a Scrabble game with Jenn. This makes me feel D-U-M-B (9 points). Jenn would disagree and say that she is just more S-T-R-A-T-E-G-I-C  (12 points X triple word score = 36 points) with her letters. After a few rounds that end in my miserable defeat, I ask if we can Q-U-I-T. 

Jenn obliges, but says the only other option that has all its pieces still intact is Battleship. After having her hit me with triple word score after triple word score, a classic naval war game seems fitting. It appears payback will happen on the open seas. Thinking my beautiful wife will aim for the center I place my fleet around the edge of the grid.  Pretty soon we both are aiming at targets.

Back and forth we go attempting to knock out patrol boats, submarines and destroyers. Tonight I am the Admiral of the Navy having decimated almost all of Jenn’s ships. Feeling a little snarky, I begin to deal with my embarrassment over the Scrabble debacle by gloating:

 

Me:  B-4 I take out your last ship I am willing to sign the documents for your surrender

Jenn: Hit! Easy fella. If you don’t watch it, I’ll C-2 it you are sleeping on the couch tonight.

Me: Miss. Sorry, for my poor A-2’tude. But, can’t you handle a little losing?

Jenn: Hit!  E-8 it! You sunk my battleship. Are you happy now venti boy? Why don’t you order another Latte while you do your victory lap!

Me: To honor this glorious occasion, I think I will….I think I will.

 

My victory was the product of pure dumb luck. I landed a few targets earlier strictly by chance. Even though this evening it was done all in good fun, those gloating missiles on the other hand were launched strategically. After a few years in any relationship, one begins to learn the other’s “board strategy and tendencies.” Having insight into their vulnerabilities, weakness and insecurities, you know precisely where to aim your verbal artillery in any argument. If you are not careful, disagreements can spiral out of control and closely resemble the game Battleship where you are on separate sides of the board lobbing missiles at one another. Your living room morphs into a scene out of Pearl Harbor.

Yet, why do we resort to this tactic? Do we do it out of frustration? Maybe we approach arguments like debates where there has to be a definite winner and loser. Is it a trick we use so the other person will see how serious we are in defending our perspective? Or does the Battleship technique come out strictly because we are mean spirited and cruel? As wrong as I know it is, when I get wounded, I want others to feel my pain.

The thing is when Jenn’s words seem extra sharp it normally has nothing to do with her tone. Her intent behind speaking up is never malicious. I know how deeply she cares about our marriage and also my character. The words sting due to the sobering truth they contain. The accuracy of her words being right on point is extremely freakish.

This is one of the major reasons I love Jenn. She will not allow me to remain the same and pushes me to be a better man.  Somehow Jenn sees things I tend to lend a blind eye towards or bad habits in my life I do not want to admit are there. Unfortunately, rather than confronting my own inadequacies, I have the tendency to try and lob a missile in her direction in hopes of calling a truce so we can go about our business with little to no change. If the Navy gets wind of how oblivious I am to the rules of engagement, they might demote from Admiral to deck hand. I better shape up or ship out. 

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 11, 2009

Silly Opie, Drive-bys are running rampant in Mayberry…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 5:45 pm

 

Ice Cube Needs To Set Opie Straight...

Ice Cube Needs To Set Opie Straight...

Awe shucks Opie, here is 5 cents go buy yourself a soda pop.  How did you become so naïve? I am thinking mercury was in the lake Andy and you spent all that time fishing around. Perhaps Aunt Bee put some extra ‘special’ ingredients in her delicious brownies that eventually fried your brain. Maybe you started to believe all those foolish tales Barney Fife told you.

You have to understand that Mayberry is a thing of the past. The sunny streets of southeastern North Carolina are just as dangerous as the gritty sidewalks of Compton, CA. No longer do people only named Doughboy, Ricky Baker, Mad Dog, Dooky, Furious Styles, Monster and Yo-Yo have to watch their backs on the way to the convenience store. Alexis, Charles, Buffy and James are just as vulnerable when they are heading to Abercrombie & Fitch. Living in the ‘burbs provides someone the same chance of being a victim of a vicious drive-by than growing up in the hood.

Don’t believe me? What if I told you that I witnessed with my own eyes a grand total of 52 drive-bys in a single 24-hour stretch? No need to worry. The victim in every incident survived, but was obviously startled over what they just experienced. I should know because I was the one getting shot up like Swiss cheese.

It might help to explain the weapons of choice were not bullets, but a quick shot of four small words. Yesterday, I managed to endure a barrage of vicious “hey how are you?” drive-bys. This social incident occurs when someone utters this phrase without even stopping to wait for a response. Here’s an example: lets say you are having one of those days where the clock hasn’t hit 10am and all you want to do is crawl back in bed, pull the covers over your head and start over. With your eyes all glazed over, you sip your burnt Dunkin Donuts coffee as you ponder how your life reached this point. Your thoughts are interrupted when a co-worker on their way to the copy machine passes by your cube and asks, “hey how are you?” Instantly, your spirits are lifted. Someone actually cares. However, before you can utter a word the co-worker is nowhere to be found. Without realizing it, you’ve become yet another victim of the “hey how are you?” drive-by.

In our culture “hey how are you?” has replaced “hello” as the standard greeting. The question mark at the end is irrelevant because more often than not the person asking the question is long gone before a response is given. They are expecting you to follow the social protocol of responding with a “fine,” “okay,” or “can’t complain.” Since I find this ritual puzzling could serve as an insight into why I am socially stunted. I am clueless when it comes to rules of conversations and relationships.

Just for fun, I decided to carry a small notepad and mark down every time I was hit with this “hey how are you?” line of questioning. Yesterday, it was 52 and counting. I decided to be a good boy and not verge from the agreed upon rules. However, the more times I said ‘fine’ I began to imagine the reaction one would receive if they strayed off course and actually told someone who asked how they really were doing. “Well Jim, let me tell you. Life doesn’t make much sense right now. My back hurts because I spent last night on the couch. My wife and I aren’t speaking. The kids are driving me absolutely insane and are constantly bouncing off the wall. We are living paycheck to paycheck. I spend the majority of my days in a square cube doing busy work my boss is too lazy to do.  While I am working all I can think about is if this is all there is to life. I’m out of shape, angry and bitter. And to top things off I have this rash that won’t seem to go away. Care to take a look?

There would be some who would continue along their way assuming you gave the normal answer of fine. Others would be forced to stop and pick up their jaw off the floor due to being in complete shock about your honesty. A few brave souls would actually stop, take the time to listen and eventually lend a helping hand.  Now, don’t be rash (sorry couldn’t help myself). I am not saying we all should verbally throw up on every single person that asks what is up. But, maybe we take steps to let a select few into our world and if someone is vulnerable enough to share what is taking place with them we put everything else in neutral, stop our drive-by and listen. 

January 2, 2009

Don’t Pee Your Pants… Socially Stunted You Are Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:02 pm

After a long winter break, class is finally back in session. All my issues come parading into the room ready to show off their latest Christmas attire. When ‘anger’ notices that ‘lack of patience’ has on the same pair of Sanuk Sandals he promptly blows a fuse. Typical reaction.

The majority of the struggles mingle in the front of the room chatting up a storm only stopping their rambling when breathing is needed.  A few of the others whip out their new iPhone and start twittering away or whatever the kids call it nowadays. Scanning the room, I notice the back row of desks and the issue sitting all by himself. It dawns on me that he never makes eye contact, always has his iPod buds in his ears and mumbles when asked a question.

Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted when ‘lack of manliness’ struts his stuff. After being at the head of the class for the past month, he is full of machismo. There is a bit more confidence in his step. He foolishly thinks the ladies are checking him out now. What ‘manliness’ fails to realize is that they’ve nicknamed him ‘patchy’ for his inability to grow facial hair after 30 days of not shaving.

Back to the socially stunted kid who avoids conversations like the plague. When someone does engage him the nervous tics start to go off like fireworks. As I quiet the issues and struggles down to let them know it is that time to pick a new leader of the pack, he starts shifting nervously in his chair. I know chances are good ‘socially stunted’ might soil himself if he becomes the center of attention, but enough is enough. It is his time to shine. Shine or stutter. Either way we are going to work this issue out.

When I call him forward, he hesitates, but eventually gives in. Many of the struggles are confused because they never noticed the kid before in class. He is that quiet. I ask him are you ready for some fun? Face downcast, he mutters out quietly, “um…yeah…I…um..g-g-g-uess…so.” Wow, do we have a lot of work ahead of us.

 

So, for the next month my focus will be:

30 Days To Quit Being Socially Stunted

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