Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day thirty

I know I just posted about the miracle, but I have access to a 'puter so I might as well use it. (That's what she said. hee-hee) I've been meaning to tell everyone I met my twin. Seriously. Here's the story.

Because of my commute I frequent the gas station by my house two to four times a week. In doing so I have become one of the "regulars" which means the two, overly excited, very annoying, sisters that work there feel the need to chat me up. One day I stopped in after work and was confronted by the younger of the sisters. She unprofessionally yelled across the store as I walked in and informed me my brother had just left. (In no way do these girls know anything about me including my name, let alone my family structure.) When I told her I didn't have a brother she audibly squealed.

She then explained in great detail that a customer had just been in that looked exactly like me. I nodded trying to convince her I cared about her story. I didn't hide it well and she called me out. "Well, if you don't believe me I'll prove it." Uncertain exactly what that meant, I paid for my gas and left.

The next week I repeated my trip into the store and both sisters were working. The older one grabbed my hand as I tried to hand her my cash, and called for her sister. She younger pain-in-the-butt bound around the corner with a piece of paper in her hand. She shoved it into my face and hollered, "Look at this." Turns out this guy had stopped back and the girls somehow talked him into letting them copy his driver's license. As I looked at the picture, I did a double take. Sure enough, this was a guy who could have very easily been birthed from my parents.

Besides random comments from the sisters, I quickly forgot about this stranger. Four or five months passed until the beginning of November when I walked into the store to pay for a tank of gas, and the younger sister informed me my twin had just been hired at the gas station. It now seemed certain I would come face to face with this guy.

The next week I walked across the parking lot and saw a distinctive fat roll across the back of a cashier's head I somehow recognized. As I felt the bump on the back of my own head I knew I was about to have a life changing moment. I pushed open the door and came face to face with myself. Both of us kind of froze for a full five seconds which seemed like an eternity. I stuck out my hand and announced, "I guess you and I are supposed to meet. My name is Sam." The guy extended his hand and introduced himself as John.

I won't lie and say he looked exactly like me. He was a good four inches shorter than me, his hair was a little redder and longer, his glasses were a different shape, and his voice was not as deep. But friends, beyond that, this guy was me. To almost every detail. His cheeks, the setting of his eyes, his lack of defined chin, the small ears, the pronounced red goatee; it was literally like a mirror had been placed in front of my face. This guy and I could have traded ID's and no one would have ever been the wiser.

I pulled into my driveway a few minutes later and told my wife I had met my twin. Our friends Brad and Megan were there and between them and Ell they talked me into going to the gas station to see this so-called twin. I stayed in the car while they each went in to buy a candy bar or drink or whatever their cover story was. One by one they came out with their hands clamped over their mouths and their eyes wide open as if they'd seen a ghost. It was so funny.

So I guess it's true what "they" say... everyone does have a twin. I just didn't expect to meet mine a quarter mile from my house.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The miracle

So Ell and I chose a different path this turkey day. All of mine and some of her family lives too far away to make a day trip worthwhile, so we joined the Austin family and shared lunch with some people from the Salvation Army in Y-town. You can read the whole story HERE. The miracle I mentioned the other day happened at the close of the day. I'll try to make it a short story.

When Ell and I got to New Hope around 9:00 am, the list of food we saw was as follows...
-4 pans of turkey with a fourth on the way
-12 cans of yams
-12 cans of beans
- a box of bread
-a tray of corn
-a bowl of mashed potatoes
-some leftover gravy
-A stack of 6-8 pies

Throughout the day a roaster of smashed potatoes was brought, a van of beverages, a vegetable casserole, and some jars of gravy. Ell added it to the setup and Like Ang said, we ended up with way too much food than we had people.

But that was cool because it allowed everyone to eat at will with no fear of outdoing the supply. (And eat we/they did.) It also gave us the opportunity to send a heaping box, in some cases two, home with every person. The boxes held enough food to feed a family at least a couple more meals. We had a good time packing up every available container to send home with the Kingdom meal folks.

Well here's where the story gets a little crazy. When Ell and Jon and Ang and I walked into the kitchen to see what was left, we couldn't believe our eyes. This is a limited list of what we found...
-6 trays of turkey
-2/3 of a roaster of mashed potatoes
-about a box and a half of bread
-1 tray of corn (not too special b/c this was scarcely touched)
-2 boxes of sliced pie and another 6 whole pies in boxes
-1 and a half trays of yams
-almost full crockpot of gravy

The crazy part is, Jon and Ang took a bunch of food, as did Ell and I and all the others cleaning up. And remember, every single person from KM took a box of food. Of course it would be easy to explain away the extra food; in fact we thought of a few explanations while we bagged and boxed it up. But there doesn't seem to be any other truth except that there seemed to be more food left than what we started with. Anyone heard of the feeding of the 5000? Yeah, I witnessed it. And it was pretty cool.

Day twenty nine

My safety post. Hopefully I don't need it for the same reasons Kimmy didn't. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day twenty eight - Friday Funny

No less than three people sent me this joke this week. Since it seems to be so popular, and since it's seasonally appropriate, I thought I'd share it with all of you.

Thanksgiving Divorce

A man in Phoenix called his son in New York two days before Thanksgiving and said, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your Mother and I are divorcing; forty five years of misery is enough."

"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screamed. "We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father replied. "We're sick of each other and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and let her know."

Frantic, the son called his sister, who exploded on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," She shouted. "I'll take care of this!" She immediately called Phoenix and her father answered the phone, already defensive. "Now I know what you're going to say," he began. "You are NOT getting divorced," the daughter screamed, interrupting her father. "Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?!"

The old man hung up the phone and turned to his wife. "Okay," he said, "they're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day twenty seven

Just stopping in to fill my NaBlo requirement. I'm fairly certain I witnessed a miracle today, and I'm still in deep thought about it. I think it best I write about it another day and just leave you all with warm Thanksgiving wishes. Love you all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day twenty six

After today there are only four more days left in NaBloPoMo. Despite some days of lackluster posting, this is always fun. Fun posting but even more fun having stuff to read every day from so many. And it's been fun once again doing the questions. Thank you to everyone who joined in.

To wrap up my questions, these are a bit more on the thoughtful side. And hey, all you non-participants in NaBlo, you can still copy and paste questions and answer them too. No rules or exclusions here. Join in the fun. Here goes...

1) If your significant other died, do you (in the long term) see yourself remarrying? Would the answer be different if instead of dying your spouse left you for someone else?

2) How many keys are with you when you leave your house?

3) Do you have life insurance? Why or why not? If you answered yes but your only life insurance is through work, would you buy your own if work stopped providing it? Why or why not?

4) Someone offers you (and your other if fitting) the chance to live in the city/country of your dreams; all expenses paid. The catch is you can never speak to any of your current friends again, even if you came back. Do you do it?

5) I had a conversation with someone who considered the "deaf or blind" question unfair since blindness is much more debilitating to a person's quality of life than deafness. In place of the question, he asked (and I ask you,) "If you had to choose blindness or deafness with the inability to communicate, which would you choose?" In other words, you can't learn sign language, you're mute, and you can't read lips. Which would you consider the lesser of two evils?

6) If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be?

7) The Bible says those that do goods deeds for earthly praise have received their reward on earth and will receive no pat-on-the-back in heaven. That in mind, here's a question... You have decided to do something worthwhile for your fellow man. You have no desire for the act to be made public. The problem arises when you realize that if this act were to be made public, many others could join in and make it even more dynamic and effective; maybe even change people's lives forever. By announcing it though, there is certain to be earthly commendation heaped on you. So do you choose to keep quiet and do the good deed because it's the right thing to do, or do you accept the thanks and accolades knowing many hands can do more than you alone can accomplish?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day twenty five

I guess I should answer my own questions, huh?

1) Who is your favorite sibling? And please don't say you don't have one. If you have more than one, you will naturally have a leaning towards one (or two) because humans are wired to have likes and dislikes. Those change, of course; so answer to right now. (If you have peace to keep with family who reads your blog, just say so and you have a free out.)

While both of my "real" siblings read ELEVEN, I could be a wuss and take an out. But I refuse to back down from the hard questions. Especially since I'm the one that asked it.

For many of my adult years, my sister Kristen and I were always closer. Karin and I seemed to fight all the time, and there always seemed to be a tension that was unresolved between us. Not sure why or what that was. But then came the April Fool's Day post two years back. Kristen didn't take the post so well and that seemed to sever our close bond. That, coupled with the fact that Karin seemed to mellow a little after having her daughter, has brought Karin and I closer. Kristen and I still talk, but nothing like before. If she were to answer honestly, she'd agree. So right now my answer would have to be Karin.

2) What was your first computer and how old were you when your family bought it?
Dad bought us a Commodore 64 in 1982 or 1983. So I was 8 or so. He also bought a "Write your own programs" book and made us a game he called Smiley. My greatest computer accomplishment (I'm not a gamer) was being the high-scorer and solving the game. The funny part was there was no solve built into the game, so once I completed all the screens, the game had a technical hiccup and was ruined. I did so well I killed the game! Pretty cool, huh?

3) Does anyone want to buy an awesome log house? (Since only two people answered last time.)

4) Would you consider yourself a dog or a cat person?
I love dogs. All we have right now is cats and they are excellent companion animals, but I'd still love to get another dog.

5) In no particular order, name your top five movies.
Why did I ask such a tough question? Lets see... Big Fish, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Dances With Wolves- extended edition, Legends of the Fall, and, well... I'll say So I Married an Axe Murderer.

6) What are your plans for Thanksgiving festivities?
We are joining our new friends Jon and Angela as they share Thanksgiving dinner with some people from the Youngstown Salvation Army.

7) What is your favorite holiday and why?
I used to say it was Independence Day. What's not to like? Cookouts, picnics, friends, warm weather, fireworks, ice cream, and so much more. I still say it's one of the best, but my favorite is the next holiday that gives me a day off work. Doesn't matter what holiday that happens to be, it's my favorite.

Tomorrow, new, more intense questions.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day twenty four

Everyone has pet peeves. Some of my biggest ones come in the area of driving and drivers. Probably the only one that would fall into the realm of normal would be my disdain for people who don't use their turn signals. I'm not talking about lane changing on the highway or turning out of a driveway, but rather when you're sitting at an intersection waiting for traffic and some numb skull turns ahead of you without his/her blinker. The wasted time alone is enough to cause steam to vent from an otherwise serene driver. I mean, really; would it could kill you to take a half-second of your precious time to flip a lever?

My latest peeves are a little more on the odd side. The first is high beams, or rather the lack of their usage. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's deer season. The deer are horny, there are hunters in the woods, and all the baby bambi's are grown up now. In other words, they are everywhere and they will be crossing roads. The best prevention from hitting one of them is early detection. Unless you're in the middle of a city, or there's no one in front of you or driving towards you..... pay attention now......... --- TURN --- YOUR --- HIGH --- BEAMS --- ON ---!!! These animals are large and can do major damage to a vehicle or the people inside. Turn your high beams on and save a life, whether it be the deer's or yours. Please.

The other one I've had increasing anxiety over lately is tailgaters. And I don't just mean those people that are in a hurry to go nowhere or somewhere and are riding your bumper and waiting for the first chance to pass. No, I'm referring to those jack-holes who follow close for no other reason than that's the way they drive. They make no attempts to pass if you go slow, and follow right along with you if you go fast. They simply think their on-your-butt style is correct. The accident that scarred my family forever was a rear-end-collision, so I'm a bit testy about people who don't know how to observe proper gapping and spacing. If you have no plans on passing me, then back the _ _ _ _ up!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day twenty three

We spent the night at our friends house last night, so I'm taking advantage of their Internet before I go home. Unfortunately I left my great questions at work, so I'm going to attempt asking some new ones off the top of my head. And remember, this is our time to be honest so don't wuss out. Here goes...

1) Who is your favorite sibling? And please don't say you don't have one. If you have more than one, you will naturally have a leaning towards one (or two) because humans are wired to have likes and dislikes. Those change, of course; so answer to right now. (If you have peace to keep with family who reads your blog, just say so and you have a free out.)

2) What was your first computer and how old were you when your family bought it?

3) Does anyone want to buy an awesome log house? (Since only two people answered last time.)

4) Would you consider yourself a dog or a cat person?

5) In no particular order, name your top five movies.

6) What are your plans for Thanksgiving festivities?

7) What is your favorite holiday and why?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day twenty two

So the test is done. I'm comfortable with about half of it. The other half? Not so much; and either is my friend Betsy.We spent a good half hour complaining of how stupid and highly non-relative the test was. Only time will tell how I did. And then we'll have a new conversation.

On the same tone of Debby Downer, I have a sad story to tell. I was hesitating telling all y'all, but I've decided to share. Turn away if you don't want to cry.

Yesterday on the way to work, I came around a curve and saw a small little yippy dog standing in the front yard of a house. I slowed down in case the little yapper decided to run into the roadway. Some young punks were tailgating me on their way to school and I didn't want the little guy to get hit by them either. So as soon as I got beside where the dog was at in the yard, I beeped my horn to scare him so he'd run towards the house and away from the road.

In that instant, the worst thing happened. The beep did as I intended and scared the dog. But instead of running towards the house, it ran right in front of the car behind me. In a split second I saw him run into the road, blinked in horror, and saw the tiny dog spinning in circles across the roadway faster than I was driving. The dog stopped spinning only when it hit the frozen ground on the opposite side of the road, some couple hundred feet ahead of where it had been hit.

The punks behind me slowed down and it seemed for a split second they would do the right thing and go back, but they did not. I literally almost broke down into tears. On the way home I slowed way down to see of the dog had been found so I could take him to the houses around the area and give the people their dear pet. He was not to be found and I drove home in silent sadness.

Sorry to ruin your Saturday night. Hopefully no ones reads this rag today and tomorrow's post will make it disappear.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day twenty one -- Friday Funny

My friend Cyndy seems to be the source of all my recent funny, and today is no exception. Thanks again, sweet Cyndy.
WARNING to all you sensitive types, these are on the border.

Things you can only say on Thanksgiving
  • Talk about a huge breast!
  • Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.
  • It's cool whip time!
  • If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst.
  • That's one terrific spread.
  • I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.
  • Are you ready for seconds yet?
  • Just wait your turn, you'll get some.
  • Don't play with your meat.
  • Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.
  • I didn't expect everyone to come at once!
  • You still have a little bit on your chin.
  • How long will it take after you stick it in?
  • You'll know it's ready when it pops up.
  • Wow, I didn't think I could handle all of that.
  • That's the biggest one I've ever seen!

My challenge to y'all... try and fit one or two of these into your meal on Thursday. If they're readers of eleven it should be pretty funny. I wanna hear the stories, too.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day twenty

Guess what? I took another day off. If God wants me to have this job I'm going to do everything I can on my end.

I'm sorry this may not be an interesting, or long, post, but I'm committed to not miss any more days of Nablopomo. And if that means a crappy short post, so be it.

I'll be back tomorrow with some funny and then throw out some questions on Saturday.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day nineteen

Many times I've complained about the time and energy the bank saps from my life. It's robbed me of relationships, writing, trips, the Road Manager gig with RPM, time with my wife, and so much more. And even now it has prevented me from taking necessary time to prepare for any other job prospects. I truly feel in my heart that God has set aside this Finance Director job for me, but I haven't been able to clear my mind or schedule time to prepare for it. So you know what I'm doing right now? I'm playing hooky from work. (Don't tell anyone, Linda.)

I figured if this is the job I want to have and the one God has for me, I need to make some sacrifices to make it happen. On a side note, isn't it funny how we feel we can't let our companies down; the same companies that are doing whatever they can to let us down? Lunacy. Anyway, I'm taking the day off to review everything and make sure I bring my best to God and the place He has waiting for me.

I know I promised questions, but I left them at work. So I'll ask one just to get everyone's answer...

Anyone want to buy an awesome log house?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day eighteen

Time for Adrienne's questions. For those of you unfamiliar with Adrienne, she's the one person who could rival me in rambling. Which is why I love her. Here are her questions and my answers. Be prepared, a couple of these are intense.

1. You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both). The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2,000. The second option is ten minutes on the moon.Which option do you select and why?
Well the moon has no air. So even if assuming I get a spacesuit in this prize package, I'd rather enjoy a long vacation breathing earth's admittedly dirty air than breathing out of a canister for ten minutes on the moon.

2. Your best friend is taking a nap on the floor of your living room. Suddenly, you are faced with a bizarre existential problem: This friend is going to die unless you kick them (as hard as you can) in the rib cage. If you don’t kick them while they slumber, they will never wake up. However, you can never explain this to your friend; if you later inform them that you did this to save their life, they will also die from that. So you have to kick a sleeping friend in the ribs, and you can’t tell them why.Since you cannot tell your friend the truth, what excuse will you fabricate to explain this (seemingly inexplicable) attack?
Easy. Aliens were attacking his insides and I had to protect him. (Geez, Adrienne, you should come up with more thought provoking questions next time.)

3. What is the worst thing you have ever done to a person?
Something I don't talk about much is that I was a pretty big bully in grade school. And much of my meanness could be considered "worst" is most people's opinion. So I'll just name a few of the more painful things I did...
Kicked a friend firmly in the nuts, punched a boy as hard as I could in the gut, tripped a girl everyday for a week so she ended up with bloody knees, sent a kid to the hospital with a concussion, made someone eat a worm, threw many, many building blocks at many, many people, made fun of a kid for peeing with his pants down, hit a kid in the face with his own toy... Thankfully I grew up.

4. "They" say, and it makes sense, the average American will make one million dollars or more in their working lifetime. If you were given your one million dollars today, a lump sum, tax free, but would not continue to make money, how would you spend the money and plan for your future? Also, you got this money, but your family (parents, siblings, etc.) did not.
Maybe because I'm an economist by day (and a superhero by night), I thought this was an easy one. Much of what we spend our income on is interest and taxes. If we could make our big purchases (house, car, etc.) with cash, we would save a ton of money normally reserved for interest. And since taxes increase at a slightly slower rate than inflation, setting aside funds for a lifetime of property taxes in a simple savings would be more financially beneficial than yearly payment of those taxes. Systematic investment in bond type securities would provide income for a lifetime which could cover future finances. Add to that a business venture providing basic needs which will supplement the bond income.

As for the family issue, I would most certainly pay in full my parents house with the exception that they deed it to me. The interest savings would help them incredibly and I would recover my investment with the sale of the house upon their death.

5. Do I have to think of 7 questions?
Now here are some top form questions. Nicely done.

6. What is going to happen if I don't?
Bravo, Bravo. Another stellar performance in question asking. (BTW, if you didn't ask seven I'd give you a stern looking one eyebrow raise. That is, after I learn how to raise only one eyebrow at a time.)

7. Do you think it useful for the US to spend so much money on space 'stuff'?
Unless they could prove their work was beneficial to our future if the sun would explode, I'd have to say no. The military defense initiations in space I find necessary, but even those can't be aggreed upon by everybody.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day seventeen

First, Kimmy's questions...

1) Describe yourself in ten words, ALL starting with the letter C.
  1. corny
  2. compassionate (wouldn't have been on the list a few years back)
  3. compromising
  4. candle-lover
  5. charitable
  6. compost
  7. currency-counter
  8. contemplative
  9. conspiracy-theorist
  10. catch

2) Describe in detail, your idea of the perfect vacation, including who would accompany you on said trip. Money is no object.

Ooo, tough one. There are so many cool places I'd like to go. And so many places I've been I want to go back to. Hard to decide...... I guess I'll pick Hocking Hills. We stay a week, go with a bunch of good friends, in a cabin or series of cabins, secluded away from it all but close to it all (if you've been there you know what I mean), hiking everyday, eating good with my excellent cook wife and friends, pipe smoking in the evening, hot tub at night. I know we do that every year, but maybe that's why we do it every year.

3) If you could spend an entire day with a famous person, living or dead, who would it be? What would you do, and what would you talk to them about?

The obvious one is Jesus. What a day that would be! But since I have other friends already meeting with him on their "one" day, I'm sure they could squeeze in a couple questions for me. So my answer would be E.H. Gill. Gill was the primary engineer on the Sandy Beaver Canal. He was the real mastermind behind much of the ahead-of-their-time upgrades and advancements that made the canal a reality. His daughter is the namesake (and ghost story) of Gretchen's lock and present day Guilford Lake is named for him as it was one of the man-made reservoirs that supplied the canal. I think it would be super interesting to pick his brain and to take him to what's left of the canal today.

4) What is your favorite Christmas memory/tradition?

My Mom is 100% Scandinavian so we followed a lot of Swedish traditions. One of which is we put up our Christmas tree on St. Lucia day. As I became a teenager, a decorating tradition was established. For a good eight or nine years I broke a glass Christmas bulb every year. It was never on purpose and always an accident. It wasn't funny the first few years but it got pretty hilarious as the years went on.

5) If you had to live on one food and one food only for the rest of your life what would it be?

Oh that's easy; Apples.

6) Have you ever seen Sam naked? (See Sam’s post for details.)

I'm naked as I write this, so yeah. Naked blogging, you should try it. It's quite exhilarating. Walking by my office is of course a shock, but I'm OK with the stares of strangers.

7) If you could be invisible for an entire day, what would you do? Where would you go? Would you tell anyone or would you just hang out alone?

I'm sure I'd tell some people so I could share with them after the fact. I'd visit some enemies and listen in on some conversations. And I'd probably do the same to some friends and then baffle them later with my new-found psychic powers. Yeah, that'd be fun. And of course I'd take a trip to Dolly Parton's house and take a gander at those things. I mean, c'mon, like you've never been curious?!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day sixteen

So she's gone. My wife left me. Before anyone gets sad or mad, she'll be back on Thursday. She is going to Minnhaha on the Megabus with our friends Grant and Brad. They're going to spend a few days with Andrew & Lyndsay as well as see a good concert. We dropped them off at 11:59 last night and as I type this they are about an hour away from the twin cities. So think of me fondly as I attempt to batch it up for five days. I'm already off my rocker and miss her a ton. And if you know me you know it's a big deal for me to miss anyone.

That's all for today. Question answering will commence tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day fifteen

Well, mark one more off my life list: getting drunk and getting a tattoo. Well, I don't get drunk but we did decide to get inked after consuming alcoholic beverages which still makes it just as funny.

OK, so here's the story. A couple friend of ours called us last night to see if we had evening plans. (I'll protect their privacy unless they want to speak up.) We kind of had plans but threw them aside because we don't get to hang out with these cool cats often enough.

So we headed to their house around 7:30 and walked in to find them drinking some wine. This struck us as odd because they had stopped drinking almost two months previous. Not for any bad reasons, but just to set aside something from their lives. Once a month they treated themselves to the joy they'd given up, and we happened to be joining them on that glorious night.

The wine was followed up with some amazing tasting and alcohol-content holiday beer and a great dinner. As we sat and let dinner digest, the lady of the house commented that last month on their one drinking night, she had gotten her nose pierced. Jokes were then passed around what she could possibly do to trump that. After some bad other-body-part piercing comments, Ell made the suggestion of a tattoo. After some convincing we talked the man of the house into the idea, and I started making phone calls.

An hour later all of us spent five minutes each in the tattoo chair and came away with mostly matching tattoos. But more importantly we have an awesome story to tell and some great memories. So yes, we went drinking and got tattooed. WhooRaaa!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day fourteen - Friday Funny

Hat tipped to Cyndy for this...

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his son's bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad.' With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom, and you. I have been finding real passion with Karen, and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes, and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion, Dad, she's pregnant.

Karen said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having more children. Karen has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with other people for cocaine and ecstasy. In the meantime we will pray that science finds a cure for AIDS so Karen can get better; she deserves it.

Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know the grandchildren.

Love, your son,

PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the report card in my center desk drawer.

I love you. Call me when it's safe to come home.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

At the Bank

A lady on the phone about her overdrawn account...

"I don't know why my Aunt is messing with my money. She's messing with my whole life. She said she was going to have me arrested for incarceration. And I didn't even do that!"

Seriously, how do some of these people remember to breath?

Day thirteen

1) Have you ever had sex in a car, truck, van, or any other vehicle?
Yes, in our Volkswagen Bus at a VW show. Pretty awesome, I know.

2) How old were you when you had your first real kiss and what was the other person's name?
My first consensual kiss was at age five and her name was Becky. My first romantic kiss was at age 14 and her name was Tracy.

3) Name one sacrifice you made (or continue to make) since you got married.
Since I was child I knew that I could be comfortable in a non-updated home. No electricity, etc. Ell was willing to allow me the fantasy but enforced she liked light switches and tap water. I love her more than any internal desire, so she won.

4) Have you ever done any illegal drugs?
Yes, pot.

5) Would you (again) if there was no chance you'd be caught or get in trouble?
Not sure. I only did it a couple times, and while it was fun I wasn't fully comfortable with the uncertainty it set into my thoughts. I like being in control of all my faculties, including my mind, which is also why I don't get drunk.

6) What profession was your childhood answer to, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Last year I answered this question as Factory worker, but after talking to my parents they said my answer was usually farmer.

7) How many people have seen you naked?
Tough one. I'd say not counting medical folk or my family... close to 20.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day twelve

In thinking of questions to keep the faithful Nablopomo-ers going, I thought back to last year. If I recall correctly, there were no favorite color or shape questions. (By the way mine are clear and a line, respectively.) The questions had a little more substance and the answers were to be fully honest. To make this worthwhile, this year should be no different. What's the point of even answering if you lie. Know what I mean?

So here's the first list. Copy and paste them to your site and answer accordingly. I'll post a new set next Wednesday and the Wednesday after that. Feel free to stretch them out it you'd like to make it last longer. I'll intentionally post seven questions so that the faint writers can piggyback for a whole week. Aren't I a nice guy? Here goes...

1) Have you ever had sex in a car, truck, van, or any other vehicle?

2) How old were you when you had your first real kiss and what was the other person's name?

3) Name one sacrifice you made (or continue to make) since you got married. (Unmarried folk can answer the favorite color question here.)

4) Have you ever done any illegal drugs?

5) Would you (again) if there was no chance you'd be caught or get in trouble?

6) What profession was your childhood answer to, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

7) How many people have seen you naked?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

eleven eleven

I wanted to post a separate thought from the "figure" question. Today is Veteran's Day. The day we honor those in uniform that have served our country. It's not like Memorial Day where we honor those that have fallen in service of their country, rather it's a day we thank those that have and now are serving in our Armed Forces. A day we try to show them respect we can never fully acknowledge or express.

This post is for you, Evan. Thank you for willingly joining the Navy during wartime with the full knowledge that you could be sent onto the battlefront at any moment. Thank you for doing that which I did not do. Thank you for protecting my wife. Thank you for protecting my parents. Thank you for protecting my sisters. Thank you for protecting my friends.

I love and miss you, Evan; more than I could, or do tell you. On this Veteran's Day I honor you for your sacrifice. Thank you, Evan.

Day eleven eleven, a number so nice they named it twice

Some good responses to Day ten's questions. If you haven't responded yet, please do.

As I read through the comments on that post I see a trend. The trend, paraphrased, is, "I have too many heirlooms and things I couldn't part with. I'd have to take..." fill in the blank(s). When I first sat down to listen to the make-believe conversation in my head, I had a lot of the same questions and concerns. Can I take our photo albums? What about our extensive record collection? Do you mind if I take the guns my grandpa gave me before he died? And on and on. The idea I was trying to get my mind to was a simple, "No" to all questions. You walk out the door with the clothes on your back and your checkbook; that's all. Could I do it? Could you? Could money make us walk away from it all.

I had big plans of pushing this question for a week or so to get as many answers as I could. On a superficial level I'm still super curious to see what figure people settle on, but I've also enjoyed reading why and what people couldn't leave behind.

I like the fire concept that Adrienne and Kim brought to the table. Viewing it like that really puts our "stuff" into perspective about what's important and what's not. And maybe that's why people took the question differently than I asked. A fire is real and in your face, demanding you to react or die. The figure question isn't. It allows you to search your brain and decide what amount of money you'd take to replace your life.

So thanks to everyone who's responded, and please consider answering if you haven't done so. I'm looking forward to seeing more numbers and responses. So....... how much?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day ten

Weekends seem to be my undoing in nablopomo this year. Hopefully this post will make up for yesterday.

Saturday morning, as I cleaned up the last few things in the house my neat-freak wife would surely think needed it, I looked around. For those who haven't been to our home before, it would be hard to describe it. Sure it's easy to say it's a log house and the walls and open ceilings are amazing; or that it's very comfy and inviting. But if you were to describe the decor, or try and label our style into a category, that might be a little tougher. Our furniture, etc. range from Ikea modern to Contemporary simple to early country to retro college-dorm to hodgepodge Americana.

I love our house and I love how Ell decorates. She is so unique in her thoughts and it shows on every wall and on every shelf. As I looked around at it all, I wondered what people would think who would be visiting during the open house. I played out a scenario in my head of a guy and his wife coming in and falling in love with everything. Not just the house or the logs, but everything. I imagined him asking one question, "What would you take for the whole thing?"

What an interesting question. I imagined how the rest of the conversation would have played out...
Me: "What do you mean, 'the whole thing'?"
Guy: "We love your house; the way it's decorated, the artwork, the eclectic collections, the alcohol cabinets, the furniture, everything!"
Me: "So you want to buy it all?"
Guy: "Yes. As is. We want nothing changed. How much would you need to get in your car and drive away right now? Give me a figure."
Me: "You're kidding, right?"
Guy: "No. I'm perfectly serious. Give me a figure."
Me: "The whole thing? Everything?"
Guy: "Everything."

And there it is. There's the question. What would it take to walk away from your home and everything in it? What's the figure? What would it take to walk away from it all? Would you ask for just enough money to buy a new house? Would you ask for enough money to buy new appliances, new furnishings, new toys, a new wardrobe; basically just replace what you had? Would you want compensated for the memories; if so, how much are they worth? What's the figure? I think this could be an eye-opening conversation with some really interesting answers.

Here's the specifics...

-You take all personal information, bills, checkbooks, tax records, kids, pets, etc.
-You take only clothes you can fit into one suitcase.
-You leave all furniture, dishes, towels, appliances, music, books, art, collections, toys, sports equipment, gardens, tools, everything.
-You get in your vehicle, cash in hand, and leave everything else in in the house.

Post your answers in a comment. If your spouse/significant-other doesn't blog, ask them and post their answer. If you read but don't blog, post anonymously and sign your name. Let's see what it would take to start over. Please participate. This should be quite revealing and fun.

So what's your figure?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day eight

This is going to be a short post because I'm in between adventures.
A quick recap of my day...

Watched the new episode of This Old House. (Craaaaaazy!)
Cleaned up to get ready for the open house.
Met with the Realtor.
Went hiking with Ell and Brad to two locks I hadn't seen yet. Was hoping for my friend John to join me but he didn't call so he must have been busy. Next time, John.
Went to the site of "Dwight's Farm" to see the mining activity.
Showered and to the DVI to pick up sweet sweet Megan and Brad.
Now we're headed to a Blues show in Alliance.

Stay tuned, I have a thought-provoking post on the way. Talk at ya later.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Funny

I know St. Patty's day is a few months off, but good Irish jokes have no timeline. And so I share. Thanks to Guy for the steal.

Jacques Chirac, The French President, is sitting in his office when his telephone rings. "Hallo, Mr. Chirac!" a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!" "Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?" "Right now," says Paddy, after a moments calculation, "there is myself, me Cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!" Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command. "Begoora!" says Paddy. "I'll have to ring you back."

The next day, Paddy calls again. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!" "And what equipment would that be Paddy?" Chirac asks. "Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor." Chirac sighs, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke." "Saints preserve us!" says Paddy. "I'll have to get back to you."

Paddy rings again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well! "Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!" "Goodness be to Mary!" says Paddy, I will have to ring you back.

Paddy calls again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr. Chirac! I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war." "I am sorry to hear that," says Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?" "Well," says Paddy, "we have all had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and decided there is no way we can feed 200,000 prisoners!"

Have a great day everyone.

Day seven

You know what they say about hills and valleys; how one always follows the other? Well I feel like I'm on a hill and I guess I should start preparing for the valley.

I'm not referring to anything emotional or deeply spiritual, mostly just the weather and gas prices. This morning it was reported on the local news that my humble little town has the lowest gas prices in the Youngstown, Ohio viewing area. Yes, even less than the watered-down stuff at Wally World. That's pretty good news for me and the 500+ miles I put on my car every week.

And what about this weather? Pretty awesome, huh? Even for all you warm-season-haters, you gotta admit these last few days in NE Ohio have been pretty nice. I bet more than a few of you have even taken a walk outside to enjoy the fall colors and mild temperature. Not something you could have enjoyed if the outside was in sub-zero status.

But, I think all these good feelings are the top of the hill. I fear as the holidays approach, the gas prices will rise and the temps will fall. Oh the valley of despair. I joke of course, I have no impending depression or sadness within me. Just quite aware all my good feelings will soon be lost in the fog of the lowlands. Oh well, a hill awaits me on the other side.

I may come back in awhile with a funny. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day six

So... blog followers. I had a conversation with a fellow blogger the other day about the new blogroll listings. You know, the ones that show each name on your roll and the last time they posted? They've been around awhile and used to be called blog readers; now they're a nice little add-on which made them more convenient. Either way, I love 'em. This other blogger asked me why I didn't add that feature to my site, and went on to explain the ease of use it would be with a long list like mine.

The reason I don't is quite simple. I have a lot of friends and family who don't have high speed Internet connections. Without that speed, additional items or pictures on the home page which require loading end up slowing the whole blogging process. Even though it's a great addition, I've been places trying to blog (even with wi-fi that's too crowded) where the slow load ups ruined the whole experience. I don't want anyone to have a bad experience on my site, so I've decided (for now) not to add blog followers.

In other news, our realtor is having our first open house this weekend. So if you want to come roam around our house and stick your nose into places you wouldn't while we were there, here's your chance. Since they don't suggest you be home during the open house hours, I think we may brave the colder temps and go for a hike. Anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day five (and some At the Bank)

As of this posting, it looks like the voting over at Dave & Betsy's place is pretty comparable to the way the nation voted. Right now it shows 8 for Obama and 7 for McCain. The national vote was something like 52% for Obama and 47% for McCain, so a pretty good comparison, huh?

This is going to be a short post because my tellers are dropping like flies. Last week one of them called off with a horrible stomach illness. Monday, another one left early with the same symptoms. Today, another called off with the same excuse and the icing on the cake, my head teller rushes to the bathroom around 11 am and comes out with a much deserved excuse to go home early. What in the world is going on?!?

As a result I'm covering two positions right now, all while trying to get my own responsibilities done. Not gonna happen. So my time is a bit stretched today and I'm certain blogging is low on that priority list. Enough for today, talk at ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day four

Aside from partisan or topical talk, one thing this election season has done is really spark an interest in voting. I heard a news blurb this morning that the pollsters predict an average 80% turnout; some areas could even be higher. If those kind of numbers happen it will be a record. That's awesome. I don't care about all the different reasons it's happening or arguments about the outdated electoral college, I'm just excited to see the involvement in our democratic process.

If you haven't yet, vote. And while you're at it, click on Dave & Betsy's blog in my blogroll and take their anonymous survey. I'm interested in seeing the results.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Day three and a half

No Shave November is upon us. My beard is three days old and already nicely filling in. I'll probably trim my goatee this coming weekend so it all grows together and looks uniform. Right now is just looks like I lost my razor or got really lazy. Defining the lines of the beard will change that though.

So who's joining me? Kevin, Dave, Dave, the other Dave, Chris, Paul, Steve, John, Kyle? How 'bout you ladies? Any of you brave enough to join in the November fun?

Day three

Two days in and I've already dropped the ball. As my Mom used to say, "Geez Louiz!" It's not that I forgot to post yesterday, I thought about it, A LOT. But I figured even with low gas prices, it was a waste of money to drive into Columbiana just to steal some free Internet and get a post in. I know, that's what I get for being sensible. Maybe I'll post twice today to make up for it. Does that count?

So, the elections are one day away. Do you know who you're voting for? Ell says she knows who I'm going to vote for because she says I mention one particular person more than another. I'm glad she's got my brain figured out, 'cause I still don't know. Maybe I should ask her before I go stand in line tomorrow morning.

We got a couple more big projects done on the house yesterday. I finished organizing (and throwing some if it away) the contents of our filing cabinet which cleared the desk to be taken outside. I felt bad getting rid of it because my Dad made it, but if I kept everything he made I'd have to rent an extra truck when we move. I also cleaned out the row of grape vines and the grape arbor. The weeds had taken over in the late summer so it was a hefty job. While I was at it I trimmed all the shrubs and cleaned out the last of the landscaping beds.

While I was outside Ell attacked the tub. We have pretty hard well water, which, even with a water softener, leaves quite a bit of staining on the porcelain. She scrubbed and scraped for a long time and guess what? The tub's actually white! I thought for sure it was a dingy off-white with permanent streaks of rust. Huh.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day one

I've decided to join the NaBloPoMo event once again this November. The gist of it is to post every day of the month. I think I remember hearing this happens every month but November must be the big one. If you want to read more about it or go to the NaBloPoMo site, click on Kimmy's name in my blogroll and follow the links from her blog.

So............ what the heck am I going to write about every day for a month? It seemed easy to do last year until mid-month when most of those involved seemed to run out of material. That was when it got good because we started talking about personal stuff, deep secrets, etc. Yeah, that was fun.

I think I'll start this month saying I'm sorry. Recently we became friends with a couple that, if they were living closer (or longer here), I doubt little they would have become dear, dear friends. They already have been drawn into Ell and I's inner circle with little effort. They are awesome. The other day I infiltrated a beautifully honest post with nothing more than a desire to have a discussion. I didn't disagree with anything that was written or any of the comments; even so, I made comments that seemed to challenge thoughts and ideas therein. What a jerk. My sister Ginny says sometimes I argue for no other reason than to argue. I know she's right. This was a good example.

You know who you are, and I'm sorry. I didn't disagree but was in a mood to debate. That wasn't right and I'm sorry. I should probably get checked out. Love you both!