Brain Dump, 03/2015

March 7, 2015 3:21pm
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I haven’t done a post like this in a long time, but after revisiting some of my earliest blog posts I guess I’m feeling nostalgic for something a little different today… 😉

  • I feel like we still have a ridiculous amount to do for Christopher’s birthday party, and whenever I try to think about it I just get overwhelmed by the idea that he’s almost 1 year old already!!!
  • His favorite show by far is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but sometimes I also treat him to the occasional old episode of The Muppet Show and it delights me to no end how amused he gets by the puppets despite their being nearly 50 years old.
  • I bought new seeds the other day to try and resurrect my mini-garden out by the pool – cucumbers, tomatoes, and flowers. The pots are currently filled with weeds that are growing great, so maybe that’s a good omen that I’ll do better this time???
  • I really hated the movie Oblivionyet it seems to be on TV all the time and I end up watching parts of it anyways.
  • I’ve probably been eating way too many peanut butter M&M’s lately.
  • My office is a complete disaster right now because I had to tear my closet apart looking for something and I never put all of the boxes back. I should really pause from writing this and take 10 minutes to put them all back.
  • There – that’s better!
  • Over the last several weeks I’ve found myself inundated with this strange urge to go hiking – not suburban sidewalk hiking, but actually out in the woods and stuff. It’s just that time and scheduling are limited, and I really need a new pair of shoes, and roughly 1,000,000 other excuses…
  • I’ve really been in the mood for plugging in the PS2 and playing a little bit of Grand Theft Auto, but I feel like I have way too much on my plate to justify it right now.
  • I think that the Series 13 set of Lego Minifigs that just came out is possibly my favorite yet, even though my wall display is almost completely full and I’m going to have to redo the entire lot to fit them in.
  • I need to set aside some time and do our taxes one of these days. We’ve finally got all of the paperwork and we should even be getting a refund … I just have little desire to wade through all of my business receipts for the last year to file for it!
  • I hate housework because it feels like such an insurmountable task to me. I look around and see just such a ridiculous amount of stuff to do between the garage to the kitchen to the general clutter – it’s frustrating when even an honest afternoon’s work barely puts a dent in it.
  • I really want to start writing my humor column again, but whenever I think about it, fifteen other things pop up that I should be doing instead.
  • I need a vacation! We’d really like to go on another cruise this year, and possibly go up to Michigan for a week this summer, but logistically with everything else that’s going on I’m not sure whether either of them are actually feasible.
  • I have a feeling that 2015 is going to go by really quick, and I desperately hope that I have some great things to show for it.

Movie Marathon Day!

January 10, 2015 12:34pm
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Sara and I used to go to the movies all the time, but since we’ve had the baby I think we’ve gone exactly twice.

The first was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which we actually saw the last night he was in the NICU before we were able to bring him home.

The second was Sex Tape, which was a pretty disappointing movie and I think the first time we went out and left him with a sitter (well, his aunt, anyways).

So this weekend we found ourselves with an unexpected offer once again for said aunt to kidnap Christopher overnight and we’ve decided to use this time to catch up on not one, but two movies that we’d each wanted to see in the last couple of months but just had no way to facilitate.

  • My Pick: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Her Pick: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Movie reviews to come shortly!!! 😀

Writing something else…

September 2, 2014 2:18am
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I’ve been supposed to be working on another project for the last couple of days, but I’ve just been really stalled out and no amount of staring blankly at the screen and trying to avoid Internet distractions has been able to help get me back on track, so instead I thought I’d try something a little different.

I realized that I haven’t blogged here in about a week, so here are a few random brain drippings with the hope that their departure from my head will somehow lubricate my creative process into doing what it’s supposed to do once more… 🙄

Birthday #34
Birthdays just aren’t as fun and exciting when you’re in your 30’s as they were in the past. I guess it’s probably best that I have child now so that I can funnel that annual excitement into his celebrations. Would you believe that his half-birthday is coming up at the end of this month?! I sure as hell can’t!

Too Much Pizza
Is it even possible to eat too much? I think it might be because I found myself kind of grossed out by it the other day. Granted, it was one of those ready-made Little Caesars pizzas that kind of taste like plastic anyways … for some reason I have a memory in my head of them previously tasting a lot better than they do today, although granted that may be partially influenced by the number of birthday parties that I used to attend at our local Little Caesars

…which is gone now. I think there’s a Walgreens in that building or something? You really can never go home…

Every. Simpsons. Ever.
Apparently FXX’s 552-episode marathon of The Simpsons ended tonight. I watched it for a little while here and there … I wish I could’ve binged and watched as much as possible, but that writing thing mentioned above kind of preceded sitting on the couch and watching cartoons for 12 days straight!

A Very Merry Disney Christmas
I’m really looking forward to the holiday season this year because December is going to be filled with lots of company for us, which we typically don’t have because we don’t like to travel in the wintertime and most people have their own goings-on back home for Christmas. But this year will be cool because my sister & co are coming down the week before … and we’re trying to work out the details to spend it over at Disney World … and then as soon as she’s out, at least one of my cousins will be here for the next week, which will also be super cool because since I moved away I’ve really only ever seen them for weddings and funerals…

New Timeshare Owners!
Another exciting thing that seemed to take all summer was that Sara & I bought into the Disney Vacation Club, which is Disney’s timeshare program, and we’re really excited about that. A big part of the purchase was funded by some money that I inherited from my grandparents after my Grandpa died in January … I knew that I wanted to use it in a way that I could remember them both for years to come, and so 28 years of vacations over at Disney seemed like a pretty good investment once we finally found a DVC resale that fit the bill!

We’re hoping to be able to use our new points for the previously mentioned Christmas Disney trip, though we haven’t gotten our membership cards yet and I hear that reservations in December are pretty hard to come by. I’m very curious to see firsthand how easy reservations in general are to book, both during peak times like Christmas as well as just random weekends on short notice, because that’s going to greatly impact how we use our membership in the years to come.

Food / Diet / Bleh…
I don’t want to talk about this one.

No,  seriously – the past couple of weeks have been very much a rut in multiple ways, but tonight was a little better food-wise, so maybe that will be a turning point? I know that Sara’s really frustrated herself lately, so I’m hoping that maybe if we’re both on the same page at the same time, that’ll help us both start to move in the right direction just a bit.

Plus, both our fridge and pantry desperately need a good cleaning out, so I think that might happen this week in support of these efforts.

I guess it’s bedtime now.
So much for getting back into the groove tonight! I guess we’ll just have to see where we stand tomorrow and then go from there, but I’m also trying to somewhat get my sleep schedule less ridiculous so I’m trying not to let myself stay up writing (or not writing) all night anymore.

I’ve never really been a scheduling person, but it would probably do me a lot of good. 😛

Leg Problems

April 7, 2014 12:22pm
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For the longest time growing up, I used to think that I had something wrong with my legs. I would get charley horses where it felt like someone was taking my muscle and wrapping it around the bone from the inside, to the point where I was convinced that they just had to be something far, far worse than charley horses because it just felt far too painful to be something that so many people had, and with such an innocent-sounding name.

Charliehorse[1]I mean, how in the world could something named after a beloved character on Lamb Chop hurt so much?!

I think it was compounded by the fact that they almost always happened at night when I was laying in bed, and it became particularly awkward when I grew older and actually had someone laying next to me because I would wake up in so much pain and have no idea how to get it to go away aside from swearing under my breath and praying for it to stop as I tried not to kick the person beside me!

I guess I always just looked at whatever it was that other people called charley horses to pins and needles or something far less threatening. This all came to mind because I had one when I was getting up this morning, and I still concur that if they’re going to hurt that bad, we need to come up with a much less innocent-sounding name…

What. A. Week. 😯

Where do I even begin?! It’s been a week of tests, a week of chaos, a week of hospitals.

Yes, I said hospital(s) … as in plural … multiple hospitals!

Ok, well it was technically the same hospital, just with multiple visits… 🙄

I was actually going to write about visit #1 the other day, and I didn’t even get a chance before we were on our way to visit #2! So yeah, that’s how my week has gone… 😛

The first trip surprised us just after lunchtime on Tuesday, and stemmed from some overnight tests that the doctor’s office had just gotten the results back from … you know, one of those gross, pee ones!

I joke about it now, but that was a pretty scary moment in time because the way it was presented to me was – “They want me to go to the hospital because I might be preeclamptic and they might have to deliver the baby today.”

She’s only 33 weeks right now and it’s definitely too early, so I raced home as sanely as I could manage – on the way, Bob Marley’s Jammin’ came on the radio, which I took as an amusing, little sign that I needed to calm down and do what I needed to do! 😉

Thankfully, everything was fine and after a couple of hours of monitoring, we were on our way and even still made it to our final childbirth class that night, which was nice because it was probably the most beneficial of the three!

It was a little crazy, but we figured that everything was ok and went to our first of two doctor’s appointments today when, just before leaving the high risk doctor, she decided to take Sara’s blood pressure and then came back, “So I’m going to send you to the hospital…”

Don’t get me wrong – it’s actually fantastic that they’re being so cautious with everything, even though my wallet isn’t exactly feeling the same way because I think in total we’ve been to hospitals four times since we got pregnant last August. Ironically, the most recent hospital is currently working on renovations, so maybe this is just how I’m supposed to do my part – I don’t know! 🙄

Anyways, today’s visit was only a couple of hours, too, and we made it home not long before company got here for Sara’s baby shower this weekend. As far as we can tell, the baby shower is still on for Saturday, presuming I get a day off from taking her to the hospital and all! The nice thing is that I’m getting really good at driving down there, and she’s already got a bag packed from the last two times … so I guess if anything, this has been good, expensive practice???

As a side note, the delivery date has basically been moved up to mid-month and now I’ve pretty much been relegated to doing just about everything from dishes to laundry to painting the baby’s room, etc… No pressure there!

I was going to turn left into a grocery store parking lot to pick up a few things, but that light in particular doesn’t have a green arrow and sometimes it’s hard to see if there’s traffic coming from the other direction when there’s somebody trying to turn left as well from the other side of the intersection.

I had thought that everything was clear, but apparently the other car must’ve been floating in the blind spot of another car trying to turn left because I didn’t see him until I was already in the middle of the lane.

I still don’t really know how we didn’t collide – I could see him coming at me, almost seemingly in slow motion, to the point where I remember wincing and bracing for the impact … and yet instead of crumpled metal, apparently I also hit the gas and he swerved and slammed on his breaks because a second later I had cleared the intersection and my car was still thankfully in one piece.

I sat in the parking space for a good couple of minutes before I went in, partially thinking that someone was going to come in after me about what had happened, but aside from his squealing tires just before we didn’t collide, that’s all that I ever heard from the other driver. I even took a look around the back of my car when I did get out just to see if maybe he had nicked me and I hadn’t felt it or something, but there was nothing.

There’s even another light maybe 1/4 mile up that has an extra turn lane and green arrows, so I guess I’ll just use that from now on unless it’s painstakingly clear that there’s no one coming from the other direction. One close call is enough for me! 😕

So I did it. I went out for Black Friday shopping last night.

Well, sort of…

After we ate last night, the whole family ended up going out for a bit of the madness, and admittedly it was kind of fun! For what it’s worth, we did leave pretty late – we probably didn’t even show up at Best Buy until around 10pm, so it’s not like the whole adventure impacted dinner … if anything, it provided a much needed break in between dinner and dessert, actually! 😉

Anyways, a couple of thoughts about Black Friday:

#1 – I think that it sort of gets a bad rap … sort of.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – trampling is bad and if you’re one of those people who’ve been caught on tape being crazy, then you’re an asshole and you need to re-evaluate just how much a $5.99 DVD player is really worth to you.

But crazies aside, I do think that Black Friday serves a greater purpose because it gives people a chance to stretch their dollars farther in order to get more presents for the people that they care about. I’ve heard of many people who feel that they have to go shopping on Black Friday because it’s the only way that they can get things for all of their kids, or that Black Friday is how they’re able to justify getting that one big gift for the whole family like a new TV or a computer or something.

And I have no desire to get into a debate about the true meaning of Christmas, be it biblical or simply just not focused on presents, presents, and more presents.

I personally celebrate the commercial spirit of the season, and Black Friday allows that to flourish a bit more than usual, so if you have a problem with that, blame the economy, not people who go out shopping in the middle of the night in order to fill their kids’ wishlists that year…

Now that said, #2 – I also think that the slow creep of start times is getting kind of ridiculous.

This year a lot of the sales started at 6pm on Thanksgiving, which as far as I’m concerned is still prime turkey eating time! Now luckily it kind of worked out for us because we had little desire to be there the second the doors opened (aka Crazy Time), so heading in at 10pm gave us time to finish dinner and play a game of cards before heading out, and by then the initial crazy had pretty much died down when we walked into Best Buy. There were still a lot of people inside, but the line outside was like 10 people deep for some XBox One promo or something, so it wasn’t too bad.

Ultimately our excursion only took us to 2/3 stores – Best Buy and Toys ‘R Us/Babies ‘R Us – and we were back home by something like 1am, but I still feel for all of the retail workers that had to go in super-early or miss Thanksgiving entirely in order to support Black Friday and I kind of wish that there was at least a little sentiment that Thanksgiving Day Proper be left to family and then maybe sales kicked up at midnight or 5am the next morning or something.

As it was, the TV that I wanted from Best Buy had been on sale all week and the guy cited that only one model was even going to have tickets – the rest we could come in and get any time, and if they were out, they could order them for us at the same price. In fact, my whole take was honestly pretty simple and didn’t require much going out of my way whatsoever…

  • AppleTV – I’ve wanted to play around with one of these things for a while to see about finally setting up a home media server and Best Buy had them for 15% off, so I logged onto BestBuy.com shortly after 6pm and ordered it no problem.
  • 2nd Desktop Monitor – They also had a monitor similar to the one I use now on sale for $99, so I ordered this at the same time as a predetermined Christmas gift from the wife.
  • New TV for Bedroom – This was the only one that posed the slightest challenge because it sold out online and they didn’t have any in the store because apparently they don’t even stock the model I want in the store! That said, I went up to customer service and asked about it, and somehow they were able to put one on order for me anyways that will be here sometime next week!
  • Misc. Toys & Baby Stuff – Honestly, Toys & Babies ‘R Us were basically dead by the time we showed up and it was more a chance to point out some of the stuff on our baby registry to family than snag any huge deals. We still grabbed a few random things anyways – a couple of kid gifts, a few things for the baby, and a couple of Wii games for us just because they had Mario Galaxy 2 for $30 and we didn’t have it yet. Sadly, Toys ‘R Us is typically kind of overpriced anyways, so nothing monumental here, but I still like walking through there because toys are fun, and as an added bonus, it’s always amusing to listen to parents go, “What the hell is a Skylander?! I don’t know – I think he wants the blue one…”

Not sure if we’ll stumble out to any other stores for sales throughout the weekend. My main point of interest at this point would be Legos, and most of the Lego sales are crap this year. We used to scan all of the cheap DVD sales, but I’ve been trying to steer us more digital anyways and we never even bothered to unpack our DVDs from when we moved last summer to boot! Maybe we’ll go looking for some decorations, though … trying to get the abode a bit more whimsical on account of soon having a child to celebrate Christmas with us, so that’s probably a pretty good excuse for lights and garlands and all sorts of Christmas whimsy spending around here!

Because apparently I’ve turned into Martha Stewart now.

Whatever. Say what you will, but the bitch knows how to build a centerpiece that will put your grandmother’s to shame. To shame!!! 😯

Life is Hard

November 11, 2013 10:03pm
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This video has been going around a lot recently, and for good reason – there are a lot of really great thoughts in it. I love the story about the pancakes, but the part that really hit home with me was when she talks about the dangers of ranking my hard against your hard

Sara and I have had a really hard time getting pregnant. I’ve promised myself that once we’ve had the baby and all of it’s behind us, I’m going to write about it in more detail, but for the time being, I’ll just say that it’s taken us years to get where we are today and tens of thousands of dollars to get here, and for now we’ll leave it at that.

It’s been really hard, but quite frankly, a lot of the time what made it even worse was not having the social support that we didn’t know we didn’t have until we were already up to our necks in it.

Comparisons were levied at us from every direction. We had friends try to minimize what we were going through by telling us their own pregnancy horror stories. We had family tell us that it wasn’t fair for us to distance ourselves from gatherings because other people had it hard, too. We also had friends and family who held back the good tidings in their own lives because they felt bad about the things that we were going through.

It was after one of these randomly terrible exchanges that I started analyzing what was going on around us and it really made me start to wonder, “Why does your hard have to be worse than my hard? Or better, for that matter? Why can’t we just sit here and sympathize with each other over the phone and recognize that we’re both going through some really hard times, and support each other instead of one person having to win over the other???”

Because believe you me, I certainly didn’t feel like I had won that conversation. Knowing that I’ve got it harder than somebody else doesn’t help me to get through that situation any better than knowing that it could be worse. If something is hard for me, then it’s hard … it doesn’t make it any lighter because I could have cancer or my loved one could’ve been killed in a plane crash instead of simply having to endure this less hard problem of not being able to make a baby.

Everything is hard, and most everyone goes through hard patches in their lives, but that sentiment should never be used as an argument to “Suck it up!” because “Everybody’s got problems…” 

Everybody’s got problems because life is hard, and we should strive to help each other through those hard times by being there, and being supportive, and listening, and not judging, and not comparing someone else’s struggles to our own as a means to justify how much sympathy they deserve. We could all stand to be a little more neighborly and easy-going on one another instead of always being so quick to throw our own challenges into the mix when the other person is just trying to unload.

What would’ve helped in any of those situations is if someone would’ve spoke up and said, “Hey, it sounds like what you’re going through is really hard. Do you want to talk about it?” Or, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee and try to get your mind off of that stuff for a while.” Or even just, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you. Full stop.”

It’s actually pretty simple because my problems may not be about you, but you’re welcome to try and help be part of the solution … as long as you can remember that they’re about me and not about you.

And that’s actually pretty hard, too, but it’s something that we all have to work through together. 😉

More Home Improvement Fun
Been tackling a handful of new projects around the house again, several of which have been on my list for a while now but were deferred due to either bad weather or a lack of the necessary parts. Replacing a handful of broken boards in the fence, resurrecting our sprinkler system that’s had a leak since the week after we moved in, installing the first of so many shelves that are needed to hold all of the crap that  we have around this place … and yet I swear for every one thing that I finally cross off the list, another three miraculously pop up in its place!

Still, it’s definitely fun seeing things start to take shape around this little home of ours – I guess I just wish we had a little more free cash lying around so that it could all happen a lot faster. Seriously, we need so many shelves between the family room, our bedroom closet, bathroom, etc…

Turning a Blind Eye to Politics
So how am I doing so far for February?!

I know I’ve said it about a million times – I find myself drawn to politics because I think there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in this country that needs to change, and at the same time I often times watch myself getting so wrapped up in some of these issues that it feels like it starts to cut into some of my creative efforts … and that’s bad. I honestly don’t write that much about politics as compared to everything else.

If it’s between politics and funny stuff, I’d much rather write jokes than rant about the Tea Party, so being as busy of a season as this is turning out to be, I’m trying my best to avoid the crazy so that I can focus all the more on creating stuff that’s actually enjoyable to read… 🙂

Missing Mickey Mouse
And lastly for this update, 2013 hasn’t seen very much Mouse thus far, though for reasons not to be disclosed February has been “hectic,” to say the very least! At this point our last trip was spending Christmas Eve at the Magic Kingdom … we had talked about maybe trying to spend New Year’s Eve there as well, but being our first holiday in the new house, we weren’t sure about how our new neighbors like to celebrate and Cleo doesn’t do well with fireworks – especially when she’s locked inside her cage… 🙁

If nothing else, we’ve got reservations in March for the brand new Be Our Guest restaurant in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom … it seems like just yesterday it felt silly having to make them so far out in advance! We also really need to find the time (and money) for a slightly longer vacation over there – it’s kinda crazy to think that it’s now been over a year since we’ve spent even a single night on Disney property … not sure how that slipped through the cracks last year, but hopefully 2013 will be a little more kind to us in the necessary departments to make a long weekend more of a reality!

Goodbye, Shorty…

October 20, 2012 3:06pm
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My wife’s grandmother passed away last weekend.

That’s why I haven’t really posted much this week – we flew up to New York to be with family first thing Tuesday morning, and have been here through the week. It’s kinda sad that often times as you get older, you get to a point where you really only see extended family for weddings and funerals, and yet at least in Shorty’s case, something tells me that she would still take comfort in the idea of everyone getting together on her behalf, even at her own final expense.

There was a time several years ago when all she wanted was to make it down to Florida to see Sara and I get married. None of us, including her doctors, thought that it was very realistic given how she’d been in and out of the hospital so much lately, but sure enough she kept on fighting and when we looked out across that beach before saying our nuptials, she was there – just as happy as ever.

That’s how I’m personally going to remember Shorty – so happy, so friendly, so kindhearted from the very moment that I first met her. She shared a kinship with my wife that was cherished like no other, and I’m grateful merely to have gotten to tag along and snag up the tiniest of pieces for myself over the six years that I got to know her…

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