Category Archives: Nostalgic Humor

FOOD FOR (the) THOUGHT(less)

    

The other day, I drew the CONCLUSION that I’m not against sitting down with the family and having a meal together. We do it all the time. It helps keep the family, well, together! Evening meal time is a time of sharing, talking about the events of the day and generally, a place to chew the fat. (Not that we chew much fat. We’ve tried to cut out as much fat out of our diet as possible.)

I remember one night, many years ago when, after having our meal together, I did what I usually did after a hard day at work. I herded three youngest of our six kids off to bed while the oldest two, mom and the baby stayed up a little while longer. It was only about 9 PM and, as usual, I was sleepy. So……..since Dad was going to bed, the younger three should also go to bed. I thought that all I had to do was to tuck them into their beds and then I could be off to mine. That should have been it. That should have been the extent of my duties at night. How hard could something like that be? How long could that take? That was the way it was supposed to be but that was not the way it was going to be that night!

I tucked the two youngest kids into their bunk beds and the older one into his double bed. It was at precisely that magical moment that the action began. Requests, excuses, tattlings, whinings and general chaos.

“Can I have a drink”?

“I have to go potty”.

“I’m hungry now“.

“I’m cold”.

“I’m too hot”.

“Will you scratch my back”?

These and so many more stall tactics were incorporated, even before the tungsten in the switched off light bulb had cooled down. I wasn’t going to turn the light back on so I did my best to deal with the kids in the dark. And then, there was one question that always caused me to turn the light back on. One question I simply could not resist. One question, which looking back on it now, many years later, I realize the kids knew I couldn’t resist.

“Dad, will you read to us”?

“Okay, just a short bedtime story”, I thought. After all, I enjoyed a good bedtime story as much as the other kids did but that night, I wanted to read something I felt was interesting to me. Unfortunately, classic poetry was out of the question, unless of course, it was the all educational Dr. Seuss or the Bernstein Bears. What I was going to read had to be light and childish and something a little bit more exciting than a picture book. To my way of thinking, all of their choices of reading material were about as exciting as the getting the flu! After much begging, I graciously gave in.

“Fine! I’ll read the book you chose”!

I was too tired to argue anymore about whatever it was that they had chosen so I lay down on the double bed with two kids laying on one side of me and one on the other side. I began reading but abruptly stopped my reading when I had a question of my own to ask.

“How come it smells like someone wet the bed”?

One of the kids replied, “Because they did”!

“Where”?

“Right where you’re laying Dad”.

By then, it was too late to move. I had already begun to sponge it up. Gross! I quickly made a mental note that from then on, I would not give the kids anything to drink…. for three days before I put them to bed!

As for the bedtime story I had begun to read, somewhere after the first five or so pages of a twenty page book, the story had worked its magic. The sound of snoring was echoing off of the walls, but that was only to be short-lived. One of the kids interrupted the noise by saying, “Dad, wake up. You’re keeping us awake with your sleeping!”

Was it my fault I couldn’t keep my eyes open when I stretched out on a bed with a good child’s book in my hands? A moment’s relaxation could have turned into a night’s sleep, if only the kids had not interrupted me. I was so ready for sleep, why weren’t they?

I tried reading again and again, the story worked its magic. I closed my eyes for just a second and the next thing I knew, the kids were fighting and crawling all over me as if I was a human jungle gym. Right about then, my wife called out and asked me, “Are you putting the kids to bed or not”?

When I said, “Yes Dear”, she said, “It sure doesn’t sound like it”! Then she added something like, “Did I need her to come in and do it for me”?

Like I needed her to do my job! Then again, I did wonder why they were having such a hard time falling asleep when I was having no trouble at all.

It wasn’t too long before, once again, I was lulled off to lull-lull land by the rhythmic soothing sounds of the kids screaming and hollering at each other! I never did know how long it was before I woke up to the sound of too much quietness. The sound of silence was eerie. It was plain to see that the kids were still not asleep, that much was easy enough for any sleepy-eyed Dad to see. Something was wrong. They were not fighting! There was no screaming. No one was wetting the bed! Instead, the only noise I heard them making was a munching, crunching, chewing sound. I wanted to know what was going on.

The two youngest kids were sitting on one side of me and the older one sat on the opposite side as I lay in their bed. Their positioning had not changed. The three sat there, quite contentedly chomping on some of those little fish-shaped cheese crackers. They weren’t being very neat about it either. As I began to wake up a little bit more, I began to wonder why I was covered with crumbs. Cheese cracker crumbs.

As it turned out, while I had been sleeping, the kids had gotten hungry and one of them had quietly gone for snacks. Whether on purpose or not, they had shared their munchies with me, turning me into a piece of furniture. Specifically, I had been used as a table. Each kid had put their personal stash of cheesy crackers somewhere on my belly. Quietly, politely and one at a time, the kids were eating their crackers from off of my tummy. I was covered with a mess of yellow crumbs up and down my belly and I had an itching in my belly button.

Looking back on it all now, there were three things I should be thankful for. First, they were all quietly sharing. Second, they were eating crackers instead of something that required forks, knives and spoons. And, third, if it had been potato chips they were eating, they may have used my belly button to hold the chip dip! Now that would have been disgusting!

     Below is another sketch I made in ink, on colored, lined paper, years ago.   I have since discovered erasures, white, unlined paper and colored pencils.  Now, that’s progress! 

Advertisements

NOSE PUTTY

 

     Sounds rather disgusting, doesn’t it? Nose putty! Call it ‘nasal glue’, ‘nostril paste’ or ‘whatsnot’, it’s still, well, still disgusting but let me try to explain why I would pick such a deep, dark, secretive subject to talk about.

     Several years back, while listening to a Sunday morning sermon in our Church, I happened to glance over at the little boy who was sitting in our row.  I had learned earlier that the boy was nine years old and it was his father who was delivering the message that day. Though his father was an interesting Preacher, as the service proceeded, it was his son who held my attention all the way through.

     I noticed that the boy had what appeared to be a dark blood blister on the tip of his forefinger and I was only slightly curious as to how he got it.  It didn’t matter.  I had come to Church to worship God, not pay attention to anyone in my pew.  Before my mind had a chance to wonder back to the speaker, I soon realized that what I had been looking at was a well-worn, flattened out booger ball! The boy had only been storing it temporarily on his fingertip for future use, all of which I soon was able to witness, whether I liked it or not!

     You may have heard the old saying that goes, “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose”!  Right?  Judging from the size of the wad he was maneuvering, this boy must have had several gracious friends who had allowed him to freely pick, generously giving him what he had needed!  That which he kneaded was more than I cared to cast my eyes upon.  It was obvious to me that the boy had maybe just heard his father’s message the Sunday prior.  To keep from being bored out of his skull, he had bored something out of his skull to concentrate on!

     Several times throughout the service, I tried to take my focus off of him and refocus my thoughts back on his dad’s preaching.  I was doing just fine untill I made the mistake of looking over at the boy a few minutes later and noticed that the booger was missing from the his finger. It was no longer between his finger and thumb.  Instead, it had been moved to the tip of his nose, close to the source of it’s original origin!

     Again, I put my mind back on the message and again, was successful for only a short time. Unfortunately, my curiosity got the best of me and my eyes strayed to my little boogery pew neighbor. That time when I looked, I noticed that the boy had folded up a dollar bill he had pulled from who knows where and firmly secured it to the end of his nose by the same black lump he had been working earlier. Thus, the fitting terms, ‘nose putty’, ‘nasal glue’, ‘nostril paste’ or ‘whatsnot’!

     Once more, I steered my mind back to the message his father was continuing to deliver as his son continued to wear the dollar bill on the end of his nose. Ignorantly, I thought the situation could not get worse, but when I looked over at the boy, I promptly proved myself wrong. The situation had gotten worse. The booger ball was then being employed to hold the dollar bill to his chin, looking a little like a cheap dollar goatee.

     By that time, I had completely lost any inkling of actually concentrating on the message of his father, though I still tried to pretend that I was listening to him.  I asked myself, “How could his dad not see what was going on with his son”?  Perhaps he had noticed all of my squirming and thought I was getting convicted by his sermon, causing him to preach even harder.  What he didn’t realize was that my uncomfortableness was not coming from his message but from his snotty little kid who was occupying a space in my pew!

     A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the dollar bill and the nose putty were both missing from his face. What a relief! They were not on his nose and they were not on his chin.  At that point though, I only hoped for two things. One, that the dollar bill was not  going to end up in our tithe box after the service was over. We just didn’t need any donations which came with (snot) strings attached!  And two, I hoped that he had not eaten the booger, or the dollar as far as that was concerned!

     As the morning had already shown me, I didn’t have long to wait before my next answer came concerning what had happened to the missing booger. The dollar bill never did reappear but the booger continued to live on at the touch of the little boy. Booger Boy had smeared his home-grown ‘play dough’ across the inner side of the arm rest of the wooden pew we were sitting in! That seemed to be his last desperate attempt to lose any connection he had ever had with the booger toy he had so fondly embraced throughout a 45 minute sermon.

     When at long last the message was over, I found myself urgently wanting to get out of our pew, even though i was fully aware that the only route of escape was to squeeze past the same area in which the boogery scene had taken place all morning. Early on, I had made up my mind that whether the young boy was a visitor or not, I would restrain my usual practice of shaking hands with him as I normally would have.  No way did I want to shake the hand that had played in Booger Land!

    Throughout the rest of the day, I tried my best to remember what the message had been about.   What really worried me was that I was not going to take home any part of the message his father had so diligently preached. My true fear was that the only thing I was going to take with me that day was the remnant of the little boy’s nose.

     My CONCLUSION concerning the content of the message that morning, was that for some reason, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Nothing seemed to stick. Even now, I try to recall it, but nope, it’s just snot happening!

MY IDEA OF ROMANCE

     When I first met my (future) wife around 1977, I drove a 1976 Monte Carlo, much like the one below only different!  Mine was white with the black vinyl top.  And maybe not quite as shiny.  It also had magnesium wheels.

1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo picture, exterior

     After we were married for a while, we sold the Monte Carlo and our major source of transportation was a 1946 Chevy pickup, much like the one below, only different!

     Mine 1946 Chevy was not shiny but was rust and white colored.  The white color had been painted over the original  dark green color as was evident by the paint still on the engine’s firewall.  The rust was not actually a paint color but was the color of oxidized metal or car cancer. 

     Anyhow, a friend of mine had installed a 1969 Chevy Impala, automatic engine in place of the old engine which had ‘died’.  It died when a piston went through the wall of the engine which has the same effect as a bullet through the heart!  The friend did a ‘transplant’ for me with much metallic surgery. 

     After work one afternoon, I drove my potential wife to the place of my chosing where I was going to have a serious talk with her.  Living in western Nebraska, my choice location just happened to be an old abandoned sugar beet pulp pit.  This pit was an eight sided ‘pit’ which looked much like a football stadium in shape.  Though it was large, it was nowhere near as large as a true stadium.  Its sloping cement walls looked as if they could have once held bleachers for fans to sit in.  Over the years, one of the walls of the pit had crumbled which made it easier for us to climb up and over.  Once we were  inside, we would be completely out of sight of everyone which meant that we would have the whole place to ourselves.  Though we were alone, it was clear that in previous years, we had not been the only ones to have visited the place.  Others ‘visitors’ had used the pit as a dump site but I, in my romantic quest, played all of it into my plan. 
     Ideally, I would have taken my sweetheart into the mountains or at least used them as a backdrop, with a stream gently cascading at our feet.  But, having no mountains closer than 100 miles away and the Platte River about three miles away, I adapted things in my own way.  We walked, arm in arm over to an old, rusting wash machine which was resting on its side.  I asked my Love to have a seat because I had something to ‘talk’ about.  She cautiously obliged and I began my un-rehearsed speel.
     “Pretend this washing machine is a huge rock.  See the dry, dirt-clogged gutter where juice from the beet pulp used to drain into?  Pretend it is actually a beautiful stream flowing down from the mountains all around us”.
     Not quite seeing the same picture I was giving, “What mountains”? she asked.
    I pointed to the edges of the pit which were maybe twenty feet high and said, “Those mountains”. 
     Eventually, she humored me although I’m sure she still didn’t see the same romantic setting I was laying out for her.
     I continued.  “Those weeds over there are rose bushes, for pretends and the sounds of the (nearby, still functioning) sugar factory are little birdies singing at the top of their little birdie lungs.  Okay?”
     Before she had a chance to question my wild imaginations any further, I decided I better get down to the business I had brought her to the pit for in the first place.  I got down on one knee in the dirt, took her hand and asked her if she would marry me.  How she could she resist my plea amongst such a romantic atmosphere was beyond me!  At that point, it didn’t matter whether she saw the same scene I was seeing.  The important thing was that she did not resist or refuse but accepted my offer and we sealed it with one of many thousands of kisses before and since then.  I don’t mean one of thousands of pulp pit kisses!  From there on out, we still haven’t lost the feeling of true love, going on 33 years now.  I have come to the CONCLUSION that perhaps there are more romantic places than where I took my gal.  If some guy ever wants to take one of my daughters down to the pit, I better be going along.  You know, as part of the pretty scenery!

ROMANCE, RATS AND SHOELACES

     Romance, rats and shoelaces hardly are kissing cousins when it comes to being related to each other yet, somehow I managed to lump the three together!  It all was so innocent and began when I had just cleaned up from a hard days work and was sitting on the couch with the love of my wife for eighteen years, my wife.  She was looking lovely as ever.  It was early in the evening and we were leisurely sitting in front of the flickering glow of the TV set.  Although we were all alone on the couch, we were not at all, all alone.  Strategically seated around the room were all six of our children, each one in their personal favorite spot.  With that setting, I could tell that romance for the evening was going to be tough but still, I was going to try.  I was not embarrassed to show romance to my wife in front of the kids.  They had seen us smooch and snuggle too many times to count and each of those countless times were enough to gross them out.  They freely showed true feelings by their reactions of gagging or complaining or both simultaneously.  With those visions vaguely on the back of my mind, I leaned close to my wife’s ear and whispered these six little words;

     “Sweet nothings.  Sweet nothings.  Sweet nothings.”

     I was whispering sweet nothings into her ear.  In between crunches of the corn chips she was munching on, her response to my romantic gesture was, “What”?

     I tried to tell her to hush because I didn’t want it to be obvious to the kids that I was trying to work my romantic magic.  After all, any couple that was near the forty-year old mark should not be romantic, at least according to them.  Their biggest nightmare was to see their own parents being romantic!  How terrible could that be? 

     Looking around, I noticed that not a kid had seemed to have noticed nor had any one of them lost their focus on whatever it was they were doing at the time.  That gave me reason to be encouraged enough to try it again.  Once more, I whispered the same six words.

     “Sweet nothings.  Sweet nothings.  Sweet nothings.”

     Ah, but the second time, her response was different.  She turned to me and repeated what she had heard.

     “Sweena, sweena, sweena?  Who’s Sweena”? she asked as she took  another corn chip and put it in her mouth.

     Instantly, I began to question the futility of the situation but decided it was time for me to step things up and take desperate measures.  Taking her face in my hands I kissed her long and deep.  Then I said the next six little words that popped into my head.

     “You smell like a rat, Dear”!

     What I said and what I meant were two entirely different things!  Of course, after my bold statement, it was at that exact moment that the radar of each kid came on.  Normally, anytime an adult spoke, their radar was turned off.  Not then.  It was up and running.  Full blast!

     Glancing over his shoulder, my sixteen year old son said, “That really sets the mood for romance, Dad!”

     Our fourteen year old daughter then said, “Smooth move, Dad”!

     Of course, her comment was followed by, “Way to go, Dad” from my eleven year old son. 

     His seven-year old brother chimed in and said, “”Awe ver!  Dad said Mom is a rat”!

     Not to be outdone, our four-year old daughter said, “Dad!”

     And last but not entirely least, our eight month old baby girl had to get her two cents worth in.  For some reason, she simply started to cry.  

     It was at that precise moment that the whole ball of wax of romance, rats and shoelaces came together.  All I was trying to do was to be a little romantic but when I mixed in the part about the rat, the shoelaces naturally had to follow! 

     My wife looked long and hard at me then spoke her feelings on what I had just said, thus, the introduction of the shoelaces.

     “You just stuck your foot into your mouth, Mister”!

     Quickly, I tried to cover my verbal tracks by saying, “I mean, your breath smells like a rat.” 

     Wrong line number two!

     Glaring in my general direction, she continued by saying, “You just stuck your other foot into your mouth, Buster”.

     I could see the ice beginning to form over any romantic attempt I was going to put forth from there on.  And yet again, I tried to come to my own rescue.

     “It doesn’t smell like a rat all the time”.

     “You just swallowed both feet, clear up to the laces of knee-high army boots!  Thanks a lot, Dear!”

     With that said, I knew I had just put a polar icecap on my own iceage which was going to last a very long time, especially if I didn’t stop before I got any further behind.

     By that time, none of the kids had any idea of what was on the TV nor did they didn’t care.  As it turned out, I was more entertaining than anything they could ever think about viewing on the TV! 

     Looking back on it so many years later, I still ask, “How was I to know that one little ‘rat’ comment could cause such a big stink”? 

     All I could do that night was to head off to bed, pull the covers over my head and wait for the thaw.  One CONCLUSION I have learned from all I had  been through was this:  Corn chips, when eaten, will always smell like a rat!   And whatever a husband may do, he must never tell his wife what her breath smells like!  Never!

     PS:  This is another one of the stories I wrote about 1996.  As said before, since that time, I have discovered white, unlined and uncolored paper; pencils and erasure for rough draft sketches and colored pencils to add color to my sketches.  Has my artistry improved?  Probably not but I still love giving it a try.  Hope you liked what you just read.

I’M REALLY BUMMED

     One day, I took it upon myself to do something really nice for my beloved wife.  I was carrying on a tradition I had been doing for a long time.  Years earlier, I heard a radio broadcast from Paul Harvey’s, The Rest Of The Story about a man who had bought roses for his wife every day for something like fifty years.  It sounded like a good, romantic idea so I began  my own tradition.  Every payday, I would buy my wife flowers, well, one flower and take it home to her.  When I first began this tradition, I had also used roses as my flower of choice.  A single rose for my love.  Nothing was too good for her!  She loved the roses and I loved giving them to her but there were one or two flaws with roses.  One, roses had thorns.  Two, roses were quite expensive and their cost could fluctuate greatly from one week to the next, especially around the holidays.  It wasn’t like my wife was not worth the cost of a single rose every two weeks because she was.  Rather than look on the cost of flowers as an expense, I looked upon the price as an investment.  I was practically a banker with my investment way of thinking!What played into my second choice of flowers were reasons three, four and five.  Carnations were less expensive.  Even during times of special occasions, their prices didn’t fluctuate from season to season.  At the original time of this writing in 1996, a buck a piece was the norm.  

     Another thing about carnations that made me make them our flower of choice was that they lasted longer than one week.  Some, if they were completely fresh when I bought them could last from one payday until the next. 

     And lastly but most important was the fact that my wife really did love to receive carnations more than she did roses.  Ah, what sweet luck. 

     The particular payday I referenced in the beginning was like many of the other 364 days in Portland, Oregon.  It was raining and though it was, the rain was not the problem I am endeavoring to explain. 

     On my way home, I had parked about a block from my flower shop and was walking back to my car in the rain, holding a fresh, white carnation in my hand.  Having become a regular, my florist had wrapped my flower in a funnel-shaped tube of colored paper.  She had also tied a pretty ribbon around it making it look quite impressive for a dollar. 

     I was feeling pretty good about myself because I just knew that when my wife got her flower, her eyes would light up.  Perhaps, her eyes would then cloud over with tears as they had in times past.  After presenting her with such a beautiful flower, I would say those three little words she had become so used to hearing.

     “What’s for dinner”?

     Her response would be something like:  “What?  No, ‘Honey, I’m home, how was your day’?  No, ‘I love you Dear’, it’s good to see you?  Not even a kiss?” 

     Of course, after that, I did only what I thought was proper and right.  I repeated, “Honey, I’m home.  How was your day?  I love you Dear.  It’s good to see you”.

     With that being taken care of, I followed it all up with a kiss.  My wife’s response to what I had just done was, “Do you really mean it or are you just saying those things because I just said them”?

     “Yes to both questions.”

     That’s pretty much how it went that night.  I announced my arrival by asking for dinner, she asked her questions and I gave her the responses she wanted me to say.  Before she had a chance to say more, I quickly asked, “Do you like your flower?”

     She had told me before how much she loved getting a flower each payday.  Sadly, for me that evening, I really didn’t have a flower to offer her.   Things had changed in between the time I had purchased her flower and my walk in the rain back to my car.  As it turned out, just before I got to my car, I was trying my hardest to avoid all of the puddles and keep from getting drenched.  It wasn’t working because I was getting soaked through and through.  With my car was in sight, I just happened to glance to my left and noticed a man sitting on the low brick wall of a flowerbed in front of a bank.  Looking closer as I hurried past him, I could see that the man was not just any man.  He was a homeless man.  A street person.  Some might even call him a bum.  He was someone who slept out in the open and rummaged through dumpsters in allies, looking for pop cans and any other useful items he could fill his empty shopping cart with. 

     As I walked past him, I was truly grateful that it wasn’t me sitting in the rain.  I was blessed with a job and a home to go to at nights.  I was also blessed with a car.  I was thankful I wasn’t living off of the streets like he was.  I was glad I could afford such luxuries as the white carnation I had just purchased for my wife.  Closing the door of my car, suddenly, I had a twinge of conscience  which quickly erupted into a full-fledged attack of guilt.  There, in the rain, sat a man holding on to an empty shopping cart, save for a coffee mug in the bottom.  He just sat there in the rain, watching people go by on the busy street.  Very few of them even noticed him and those who did, hurried on past him before he had a chance to ask them for something.  He was bothering no one because he was asking for nothing.  All he was doing was watching.  I just sat there, out of the rain in my nice, warm car watching him in my mirror as he watched what was going on around him. 

     It was then that I began to notice a few more details about this man.  I could see that he wore a red baseball cap with the brim turned off to the right.  It was perched crookedly on his head with a mess of unkempt hair spilling out from under it.  The side of the cap, which had become the front, had a big patch of grey duct tape on it.  On the tape was what I presumed was his name.  It said, “Old Stu”. 

     Finally, after several tense moments, I could not take it anymore.  I was going to leave the security of my car and approach the man.  Just before I got out, I came up with a plan of what I was going to do once I actually made contact with him.  I grabbed my wife’s carnation and headed in his direction.  He saw my approach but did not move.  He just sat there as the rain continued to come down.  I held out the flower and awkwardly said, “Here, this is for you”.  Then I quickly asked, “Want a carnation?”

     He smiled slightly.  I got a better view of him as we stared silently at each other for what seemed like an awfully long time.  He looked a bit ragged as he was sporting what must have been a week or more of facial stubble.  I could not help but notice that he was missing most of his teeth which caused his face to cave in around his hollow mouth.  When he spoke, his words came out slightly mush-mouthed and was a little hard to understand.

     “A pflower pfor me?” he asked 

     Though he identified that the ‘pflower’ I was holding out at arm’s length was for him, he made no move to take it from me.  Not knowing what else I could do or what I should say next, I stuck the point of the funnel-shaped flower paper in a coffee mug that was sitting in the bottom of his shopping cart.  It then fell over and leaned against the side of the cart. 

     I had accomplished what I had intended to accomplish.  As I turned to go, again, he smiled only slightly and said “Pfank you.”

     I nodded as I walked away and was suddenly feeling pretty good about myself and my selflessness as I got back into my car.  I had done something special, for a total stranger, who appeared to be living off of the streets in the inclement weather.  I was trying to not get too puffed up with myself although I was pretty proud of myself for what I had just done.  I had never done anything like that before.

     The whole way home, I kept thinking of my wife’s response when I shared with her the hospitality I had shown to Old Stu.  Surely, she would be pleased and I would be recognized as somewhat of a hero.  She would practically fall down at my humble feet in adoration of my thoughtfulness to a perfect stranger! I was going to be her Knight in shinning armour.  Her beloved husband!  Her Prince!  Her everything!  I tried to not dwell on how just how great I really was!  There was no one else like me!

     Once I got home, I was almost bursting with a desire to tell my wife of my good deed but I decided to contain myself.  I wanted the moment to be just right, the mood to be perfect.  All of the kids needed to be present, just in case they felt the necessity to add to the admiration that I soon would be getting from my wife!

     Finally, the proper time came while we were all seated at the supper table.  I hushed all conversation and eliminated all distractions.  All eyes were on me.  clearing my throat, I said to my wife, “I guess you have noticed that I didn’t bring you your usual carnation”. 

     I was going to draw the occasion out, play out enough line, set the hook deep in all of their hearts then reel in their emotional affections!  That was my plan alright. 

     “Didn’t you get paid today”? my wife innocently asked.  I answered her that I had indeed, to which she followed up with another question.

     “You just forgot to buy my flower, didn’t you?  That’s alright.  You don’t have to get me a flower.”

     My plan was going to be harder to carry out than I had initially thought.  It was getting hard to tell just who was fishing who.

     “Well, no I didn’t forget to buy your flower”I said.  “As a matter of fact, I did buy your flower.”

     Her response was, “I thought you said you didn’t buy me a flower”.

     “I never said I did not buy you a flower.  What I said was that you may have noticed that you didn’t get your flower”.

     I went on to explain my act of unmatched kindness in as much detail and with as much enthusiasm as I  could as my wife and kids looked on with awe!

     “I did buy you a flower but I gave it to someone else” I announced cheerfully.  With the attention of the whole family, I had them all right where I wanted them.  And yet, the expressions on their faces began to worry me.  It was like a silent look of unspoken accusation so I continued on with my explanation.

     “I gave your flower to an old man”! I said proudly, perhaps puffing my chest out just a bit.

     “You what”? she asked in surprise, not batting an eyelid.  In fact, if I had not known better, I would have said that her eyes bugged out…..just a bit.

     Still, I felt like I had finally hooked her and I slowly began to reel her in. 

     Smiling, I said, “I gave your flower to an old man sitting on a wall by the bank”.

     “You gave my flower to a bum”? my wife asked. 

      At last, she was getting the picture!  I found myself fighting hard to not radiate in my humble act of earlier kindness but evidently, for my wife’s sake, I still had a bit more explaining to do.  No problem!  I would just give her the facts.

     “He wasn’t a bum.  He was a street person”!

     “He was a homeless bum!  You gave my flower away to a nameless, homeless bum”! 

     She sounded a little bit irritated.  Things were not going exactly the way I had pictured that they would go but I thought I could still save face.

     “He wasn’t nameless.  His cap said, ‘Old Stu’ on it.

     “Old Stew”? she asked.  “You gave my flower to an old, stewed, homeless bum”?

     It’s not that my wife is a card-carrying, nameless bum hater or anything like that.  Quite the opposite.  She is a loving, caring, generous individual who would do just about anything for anybody.  Perhaps, I had crossed a fine line in giving her flower, (my small token of my undying love to her) to a….to Old Stu.  Just perhaps!

     It was somewhere around that point in the conversation that the more I tried to back pedal, the deeper in I got.  From there on out, each little detail I added only made matters worse.  The hole I was digging seemed to be turning into a deep grave that threatened to cave in on me at any second.  Finally, I just gave up when some of the kids chanted, “You gave moms flower to a drunk!”  “You gave moms flower to a complete stranger!”  “You gave moms flower away!”

     Needless to say, I had not earned any brownie points with my wife and the whole flower issue like I generally did ever pay-day!  Instead of feeling like I was floating on cloud nine, I felt like I was in the middle of a big black rain cloud of guilt.  All that was missing under my storm cloud was Old Stu!  The rest of the evening only went downhill from there!

     The next day, the guilt cloud followed me all day long until after work, on my way home, I went back to my flower shop.  That time, I didn’t stop with just one single carnation.  No siree!  Instead, I bought two carnations to replace the one I had sacrifically given away the night before.  Walking back to the car, I was relieved that Old Stu was not sitting on the wall where he had been seated the night before.  Good!  I wouldn’t feel compelled to give him half of my wife’s flowers!

     On my own initative, when I got home, I walked in the door, kissed my wife, asked her how her day went, told her I loved her and handed her two neatly wrapped white carnations! Her eyes clouded over and I was where I should have been the night before if it had not been for some random act of kindness to one named Old Stu. 

     Looking back on it all now, I have come to the CONCLUSION that the whole experience could have left me feeling really bummed!      

TRUE (FALSE) CONFESSIONS!

     I never had the full conversation you will read below and after writing it, I’m glad I didn’t.  I did “steal” my brother’s car while he was at work.  My other brother, my friend Ed and I did do cookies in the gravel parking lot of the swimming pool  and yes, the local police “caught” us.  The rest of this nostalgic story is the part that is 100% fact challenged!  In other words, it may not have happened exactly like I have written it.

     Dad, have I told you lately how great you are?  How did work go?  Glad to be home?

     I peppered my dad with questions to soften him up so that, perhaps, the consequences I might have been called upon to suffer might have been sufferable!

     You remember Keith’s car?  Funny thing happened today but I suppose you’re too busy to hear about it.  Nice talking to you. See you later!

    You know, Ed?  You like Ed, don’t you?  I do too. He’s my best friend.  I look up to him as a role model.  You know, his mom and dad are divorced but he has managed to hold it together.  He’s a really cool friend and you want me to have cool friends, don’t you?

     No comment from my dad so I proceeded.

     Well, Ed and I, we sort of did something today. Did I mention Ed comes from a broken family and never really had a dad who loved him? 

     Still no comment.

     Before I tell you what I need to tell you, I have to tell you something else.  Sometimes, I don’t know why, I have no idea why I do some of the stuff I do but I do.

     Too wordy.  Might not come through as clearly as I wanted it to.  

     What do you want this time, Ivan?

     It never was, “What can I do for you my son”? Or, “What do you need”?  or “How can I help you?”  It was always, “What do you want this time, Ivan”?

   I knew my chances were slim that I had won my father’s favor so soon in my defense of my actions so I had to deplore another tactic.  I had to go for the “sympathy factor”.  I was factoring in that if I came across pathetically enough, I might get the sympathy I needed to avoid the punishment I knew I had coming.  I began to tremble, just a little for visual effects.

     Dad, I think I have a tumor.

    You think you have a tumor?

     Yeah, I think I have a tumor and sometimes, it makes me….. do stuff.

     Stuff?  What kind of stuff?

     You know, stuff……… Just stuff.

     No, I don’t know what kind of stuff you’re talking about.

    It’s because I have a tumor.

    You already said that you know?

     Ya.

    Just where is this tumor?

     Um, it’s, it’s… it’s in my head.

      I pointed up to my head and slowly rotated my finger in circles. I also looked down to the ground and slightly off to one side. 

     In your head?  Where in your head?

     Deep, deep in my head.

     How deep?

     Like, inside my mouth!

     I opened my mouth just a crack and made my lower lip quiver just a bit.  A little spit drooled out of the corner of my mouth and I had to slurp in hard to recover it before I continued.

     In your mouth, huh?

    Ya, in my mouth.

    Where in your mouth?  Your tongue?  Your cheek?  Where?

    Um, on my tooth!

     On your tooth?  You have a tumor on your tooth?

     Ya.

     Let’s just have a look at it.  Open up and I’ll have a peek at this tumor of yours.

     You can’t.

     Why can’t I?

      Um, because it’s not there.  It’s gone.  It’s not in my mouth anymore.

     It’s gone?  What happened to it?

     Remember Ed?  He knocked it loose last night.

     Ed knocked it loose?  How did he knock it loose?

     He hit me in the mouth.

     He did?  What happened to the tumor after Ed hit you in the mouth?

     I swallowed it.

     Slowly nodding his head up and down, almost as if he were trying to understand my explanation, he continued.

     So you swallowed your tumor, last night, after Ed knocked it loose?  Okay, that means that by now, it should have passed from your stomach and should be real close to your backside right, right?

     Ya, I guess so. I mean, maybe.

      As your loving father, I feel it is my duty to do my best to see to it that that tumor is removed.

    By this time, my dad was loosening his belt like he does when he has eaten too much.  I don’t think he had over eaten lately.

     But dad, I haven’t even told you what I did.  I mean, I haven’t even finished my story.

     I’ve heard enough to know that whatever you did, it deserves some kind of justice and I’m here to administer it.  Now, what did you do?

     Like a knife had been plunged into my belly, I spilled my guts.

     Me and Ed took Keith’s car for a spin in the gravel parking lot over at the swimming pool.  

     Did Ed drive?

     No.

     Did your older brother give you permission to be anywhere near his car while he was at work?

     No.

    Do you even have a license?

     No.

    Then what made you think you could drive Keith’s car?

     I don’t know.  I guess my tumor.

     At that, Dad stopped fiddling with his belt.  Was I going to get a reprieve? If I was, it would be the first one ever that I could remember in all of my fourteen long years!

     Too-moor?

       My dad had seemed to be having a hard time saying tumor but I wasn’t about to point that out to him at that time.

   Too-moor.  Tu-moor.

     I was not going to say anything but then, Dad said it wrong the third time.  It was then, that in my infinite wisdom, I felt it was my responsibility to correct him.

     It’s tumor, Dad.  Tumor.

     No, it’s too-moor as in, I was just going to ground you for a day but you have talked me into two more.

     Again, fiddling with his belt, my dad felt like he was on a roll. 

     I think I’ll go have another piece of cake.  At least one more, maybe even two more!

101 THINGS I MAYBE SAID TO MY PREGNANT WIFE!

     Sometimes, we hubbies can be, how shall I say it? 

A little bit unsensitive maybe.  Insensitive.  Under sensitive. 

Especially  in such times as during pregnancy!            

                                                                                                                                               

     A certain part of the male human mind doesn’t always comprehend how gingerly a wife needs to be dealt with during this all important part of a marriage.  They need more of our concern and less of our lack of understanding.  More of what they want and need to hear and less of what they hear when we don’t think through what we say months in advance before we say it!

     Having been through six pregnancies myself and survived them, I feel I have some very important information to NOT pass along.  In other words, learn from my mistakes.  It will make your own nine months more survivable and you may live to become a father again!

  1. You have to go to the bathroom again?  You just went, didn’t you?

  2. Is that my bowling ball you are hiding under your dress?

  3. Hey, your underwear are a size bigger than mine!

  4. Say, you’re getting bigger all over!

  5. You’re crying just because I said your hormones are wacko?

  6. I suppose you think your being pregnant at home is worse than my going to work everyday.

  7. You’re not going to have morning sickness all nine months are you?

  8. You crave what?

  9. Of course you’re uncomfortable and can’t sleep but why should I have to suffer too?

  10. It’s three o’clock in the morning!  How come you didn’t crave this at some decent hour?

  11. Aren’t you afraid that all that chocolate is going to make you fatter?

  12. So, how long has it been since you last saw your feet?

  13. Are you sure when our wedding vows said, To have and to hold“, it wasn’t referring to your responsibilities with the children?

  14. You’re not going to cry again, are you?

  15. But you do waddle like a duck!

  16. You think you having a baby is worse than when I had my tonsils taken out?

  17. You want me to rent a truck so you can ride in the back?

  18.  You really can’t suck that gut in, can you?

  19. If you swallowed this cute little outfit, would the baby be born with clothes on?

  20. Do you have to make those annoying grunting sounds every time the baby kicks?

  21. You don’t think I could handle having a baby?

  22. What do you mean, you can’t fit behind the steering wheel anymore?

  23. It’s not over til the fat lady sings!

  24. You’re telling me that you sat down without help but now you need my help getting back up?

  25. Honey, have you seen my sign that says “Wide Load”?

  26. Okay, okay, you don’t look like a Sumo wrestler after all!

  27. I’ll quit saying, “Thar she blows” if you quit huffing and puffing every time you move.

  28. Maybe I should call a tow truck to help get you out of bed!

  29. It bothered you when I asked if you ever heard the song, “I feel the earth move under my feet”?

  30. At least if you fell in the lake, you would float, belly side up.

  31. I call it the “Belly Barrow”!  It’s my version of a wheel barrow for your belly!

  32. With the “Belly Barrow”, you can really push your weight around”!

  33. If you dyed your hair green and wore an orange shirt with a smiley face on it, you’d look just like a jack-o-lantern! 

  34. Of course you’re big but that just gives me that much more of you for me to love!

  35. Either I’m shrinking or you’re taking up a lot more of the couch than you used to!

  36. Please don’t sit on my lap right now…or for the next few months.

  37. When the baby is born, I think both of my arms may be broken so that I probably won’t be able to change the baby’s diapers.

  38. I watched you give birth to the last five kids and believe me, it’s not a pretty sight!

  39. When the baby is born, let’s send out double print pictures so everyone will think we had twins!

  40. Can’t we just tie a string to the baby’s foot, tie the other end to a door knob and slam the door to get the baby out?

  41. But newborn babies do look like raisins!

  42. But what if I really am allergic to baby puke?  What then?

  43. Could you move over please?  You’re blocking the light from the lamp!

  44. So, when I say, “Hey Hippy”, it hurts your feelings?

  45. You’ve got one maternity dress now.  How many maternity dresses do you need?

  46. The reason maternity clothes cost so much is because there is so much material!

  47. So, you’re saying that having a baby is not at all like spitting out a water melon seed?

  48. But I was just kidding when I told the photographer to get out the wide-angle lens! 

  49. But you do remind me of the Pillsbury Dough Boy!

  50. Well, sure, you are eating for two, but two whats?

  51. If this is all there is to having babies, how about a couple dozen!

  52. I still think that if we would have named the kids, “One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six”, it would have been a lot easier than coming up with six different names.

  53. I think that after you give birth to the baby, I deserve a good long break, don’t you?

  54. You mean that even turning sideways, you still can’t get close enough to the sink to the dishes?

  55. Is that really a baby in there or are you just over-eating?

  56. I suppose you don’t think I would change places with you if I could…..for a few hours!

  57. If you’re retaining so much water, how come you can’t make a trek through the desert like a camel?

  58. I could see it if I had said that you looked like a zucchini but what’s wrong with saying you look like a pear?

  59. Were those pants always that tight on you?

  60. That floor board never creaked before!

  61. What a coincidence!  Now, you’re getting heart burn from your own cooking too!

  62. You’re six months pregnant, you’ve put on some weight and you’re asking me if your face looks fat!

  63. If walking hurts your feet so much, why don’t you just lay down and I’ll roll you where you want to go!

  64. Me?  Well, ya, I was humming “Deep And Wide”.  Why?

  65. Let me review this: I go to the video store, rent Free Willy, Dumbo and Moby Dick.  I bring them home.  You cry!

  66. Your mother didn’t laugh either when I told her you were on the level because your bubble is in the middle!

  67. Let’s see, you’ll be nine months in December.  Want to be Santa Clause this year?

  68. Don’t look at it as always spilling food down your front.  Look at it as an extra shelf to catch crumbs for later!

  69. What do you mean, “You can’t catch me now but just wait”!?

  70. Look at it this way.  If we go to the beach, no muscle-bound ape is going to kick sand in my face as long as you’re there!

  71. As much as I need to go, as badly as I want to leave, I just can’t seem to move.  You’re standing on my foot!

  72. Just because you crave something doesn’t mean the rest of the family craves the same thing!

  73. You remind me of a fast-food place.  Everything is super-sized!

  74. Maybe we better not cross that bridge.  It has a weight restriction posted.

  75. I’d love to let you sit on my lap but the feeling is just now returning to my legs from the last time you sat on it!

  76. Didn’t you used to have an “outie” belly button instead of an “inny”?

  77. I don’t want you to freak out but there’s a big hairy spider on your foot.  Just kidding!

  78. What do you mean, “Once you have the baby, you’ll need something other than maternity clothes to wear”?

  79. Isn’t being pregnant fun?

  80. Just pretend you’re looking into one of those trick mirrors at the carnival that makes everyone short, squatty and fat!

  81. Have you noticed that when you sit down, your whole lap disappears?

  82. I don’t suppose you have any idea what happens to all the left-overs that disappear from the fridge each night, do you?

  83. In the fable of The Tortoise And The Hare, do you suppose the husband is the hare and the pregnant wife is the tortoise?

  84. Some day, you’ll look back on all of this and cry all over again!

  85. You should feel lucky.  Some wild animals are pregnant for a year or more!

  86. Just think.  When you pack for the hospital, you can sit on and close your own suitcase!

  87. That’s not chocolate covered spaghetti that you’re eating, is it?

  88. You really get around, don’t you?  Get it?  Get a-round!

  89. If you ever fell out of an airplane, you could use your maternity dress for a parachute!

  90. That’s quite a spread you got there, Partner!

  91. Only 47 more days til “blast off”!

  92. Let me rephrase that: No man or woman is an island!

  93. You’re lucky you’re not a wiener dog.  Otherwise, your belly would be dragging on the floor!

  94. You aren’t thinking of becoming a belly dancer, are you?

  95. Pop goes the weasel!  I mean, Pop goes the…toaster?  Pop goes the…. Poptart? 

  96. How’s my little Hunch Belly of Notre Dame doing today?

  97. If it’s twins, are you going to be pregnant for 18 months?

  98. Potholes never bothered you before you were pregnant!

  99. I just saw your “bowl of jelly” move all by itself!

  100. If you keep huffing and puffing, you’ll blow the house down!

  101. You are talking about fixing the dog, aren’t you?  Aren’t you?

     Actually, I probably didn’t use any of these (at least not out loud) so no need for anyone to want to ban me from the earth for actually being a thoughtless father.  I value my life, my wife’s feelings and the awesome privilege of being a father, especially six times over! 

Thank you my beloved wife,

Carrie Dawn.

     I have been told that a woman having a baby compares to a man having kidney stones.  My wife has had six babies, I have had two major bouts with kidney stones.  She said I owe her four more kidney stones to catch up to her.  I told her, “If you want more kidney stones, we’ll adopt the last four!