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Monday, November 29, 2010

Twissmus Twees, Skype and Le Croupier

This week, Jack's been fighting the croup hammer and tong.  So as the name suggests, he's been dealing out immunological virulence like bad blackjack hands.  Majesty's got it, or got something-er-other that's similar.  I ALONE have escaped solely by denial.  If you don't admit sickness, voila! you're not sick.  It's mind over Kleenex, people.

We were going to host my parents with a big spread at our house, but Jack woke on Thanksgiving Day in pretty bad shape and we had to cancel.  His (frighteningly awesome) pediatrician happened to be on call, so we eagerly paid the 50 bucks for the privilege of nagging her on a national holiday and were able to skip an emergency room visit.  Chalk that up as another thing I'm thankful for.

But we trotted out the Big Brined Bird anyway, along with Thai Sweet Taters, Death By Cranberry Sauce and some Crack Cocaine Disguised as Giblet Gravy.  The Pie That Almost Ended Our Marriage brought up the rear.

The day after, and not one second before, the Twissmus Twee went up.  Jack was completely bored by the whole ornament-hanging thing.  Ah well, maybe next year.  He did enjoy strolling behind the tree when the grownups weren't watching, trying (I think) to illuminate himself in the spare 120v light socket.  We had to move the much discussed kitchen to make room for the aging fauxenbaum, so maybe he was just looking for his coffee pot.  Who knows.

We finally got a laptop that didn't use a small furry animal on a wheel as a power source, and the thing has a webcam.  And miracle of miracles, my son is now on Skype.  Amazing.

Okay, dad's gotta run.  Enjoy the week, everybody.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Thankful Post

"...[T]here is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more." - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Taking Score
That's about the worst title ever.  Sorry 'bout that.  This resembles one of those ubiquitous year-end posts, but any similarity to actual year-end posts, either real or fictitious, is strictly coincidental.  Pretty much.

It's been a whopper of a year.  Let's recount our losses, in no particular order:
Memorial Church of Christ
The Most Evil Yippy Dog In All of Christendom (Waitaminute.  This is a WIN.)
Geographic Proximity to Super-tolerant Non-Family Members (a.k.a. "Friends")
And our wins:
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
The New House (including the cee-ment pond - Whoo doggy!)
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
The New Town
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
New Church (especially its ridiculously awesome Romans class)
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
What am I truly thankful for?  All of it.  Just the wins, right?  No, I mean all of it.  What?  Storytime?  Oh alright, storytime.

I had this shack in Dallas that I lived in (we creatively refer to it as "The Shack").  It was on Richmond Avenue on the east side of Skillman and it was this sloppy, run-down duplex that I shared with some neighbor or other.  It was all I could afford.  The Shack had rock hard plaster walls that I would shoot pucks against in my dining room.  There was one window unit, and two gas space heaters, one in the living room and one back in the bedroom (reached by navigating the uneven, rotten wood floors).  The ancient gas range served as a pretty effective heat source in the kitchen.  The cucina itself wasn't huge, and one time I was standing in there, cooking up some pasta for the sixth night in a row dinner, when I made an abrupt movement and shot my elbow through the plate glass window behind me.  It went all winter with a black trashbag duct taped over it.  I'm classy like that.

Thanks to Canadia and the Great Plains and all of that, it gets moderately cold in Dallas and I was freezing one night at bedtime.  So I lit the little space heater in the bedroom, and was out like a cheap lightbulb.  Until the carbon monoxide detector that I bought on a fluke went screaming.  An open window and 40 degrees later, I fell asleep under a single quilt.

Appreciating the fact that I would be in a box with a tag had I not randomly spent 15 bucks at Home Depot, I didn't bother using the space heater again.  In the mornings I'd wake up, peer out from under my blanket, and see my breath.  I lived there for several years, until Majesty took me in, sweet soul.  But in the meantime, something curious began to happen.  People would show up in sweaters and coats.  I'd wear T-shirts.  It would snow, and the touques and scarves would come out.  And I'd switch to longsleeve T-shirts.  I could not feel cold.  Because I was always cold.

Contrast
We're the most wealthy civilization in the history of the entire world.  But we're not conscious of that.  At all.  And in this phenomenally prosperous country, sometimes I doubt that I'm really on the more-wealthy-than-not end of the spectrum.  Until, that is, I look at those crazy IRS stats on my TurboTax report.  And I don't even make oodles and oodles of cash.  But there they are, numbers that say I'm probably one of the most wealthy men that was ever born.  In history.  You probably are, too.  You're thinking of your household income and disagreeing.  You're reading this on a computer, in your free time.  During a week where we'll chide ourselves for eating far too much and having too many leftovers.  Right.

And in me I can't help feeling ingratitude.  And in me is the small feeling of poverty.

Maybe that's in some way the point.  Perhaps the bit of ingratitude or poverty we feel accentuate the blessings we do have.  Maybe they allow us to understand the riches (of all sorts) we roll around in like Scrooge McDuck in his swimming pool of gold bullion.  Maybe the absence of thanksgiving (the feeling) makes it that much more valuable.

It could be that the other 364 days are more important than any of us thought, precisely because they are not Thanksgiving Day.

Have a nice one, everybody.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have a Swinging Thanksgiving, Baby

Yours truly is a bit pressed for time as the year dwindles down to nothing.  So I'll simply fling video spaghetti against the wall of the blogosphere in hopes of something sticking.  Jack, takeitaway!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pumpkin Song

Here at CJMP, we are committed to bringing you the very finest in entertainment.  In today's episode, Jack attempts The Pumpkin Song.  With some prompting.  Of special note is the NASCAR-like sponsorship and the incredible hair.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Loxodonta Africana Africana

Go Ahead, Make My All Hallows' Eve
We had a really fine Halloween in the new environs.  On Sunday night, I was glad I had finally pulled the 9mm out of storage, because I'd of course be answering the door all night for trickertreaters.  It then dawned on me that it's probably frowned upon in our new neighborhood to answer the door with a pistol stuffed into your jeans.  The culture shock made me chuckle. 

And for the record, I went armed for the evening only with my sharp tongue and some melty chocolate.  The roughest situation faced was a kid in a San Fransisco Giants uni.  Seriously, kid?!  Where do you live?  Told him he didn't deserve any candy at all, but I'd make an exception.

Oh, and unlike last year, the family pumpkin SURVIVED.  He looks happy, doesn't he?

I Specifically Requested NO MASS MURDERERS
Not much else to report, but Jack did get to parade around the neighborhood as (what else?) an elephant.  In the wild, Loxodonta africana africana is pretty fearless, and doesn't fret about much short of finding the next watering hole.  An important exception:  costumed serial killer mass murderer types.  All bets are off when those dudes show up on the savanna.  As we approach Mr. Killer, I hear little Hathi say from behind my leg, "PICK.  ME.  UP."

Quarantine 
Oh, a few weeks back Majesty and I tramped off to the eastern shore of Mobile Bay for a little getaway, just we two.  The expected getaway turned into a hotel quarantine, as both of us were sick.  And I use the term "quarantine" loosely, since we managed to infect H.M.'s entire family with what is now known as the "Vampire Cooties."  We'd like to now submit our formal apology to everyone involved.

The real zenith of the romantic getaway - this was for our (August) anniversary, mind you - was lying in bed, both of us surrounded by Kleenex, H.M. asleep, me watching the Strangers clinch the ALCS on an A-Rod strikeout.  In the immortal words of Dean Martin, "Memories are made of this."

Boy, Dino sure had that right.

The Hills Are Alive with... Victorian Nannies?
Majesty took Jack to a carousel yesterday.  His reaction while riding the horse:  "I'M MARY POPPINS!"

His favorite movie is now The Sound of Music.  The Captain was noticeably confused when Miss Poppins showed up in the Austrian Alps with her hair chopped off.


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