Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fishing Cousin

This 13 year old Boy Cousin (BC) is the kid that is the master jokester, bodily gas magician, wise ass and trouble maker...but when it comes to fishing…he puts everything else aside. He fishes with his dad a few times a week and with his friends several times a week. He’s got bags of gear and many poles. He loves to fish. I love this about him. I think that he likes fishing about as much as I do. So this trip to the lake, his dad was not able to come. I picked up the slack and played the role of the fishing guy. I agreed to take the boys fishing pretty much anytime that they wanted. I really liked this job. I love fishing and it gave me an opportunity to run off with the boys to hit the lake or the river at any moment.

The first day, we went down to the dock at the house to see what we could catch…kind of a test run for the week of fishing. I asked BC if he had brought any gear for me to use. He, of course, said that he did. I smiled and joined him on the dock. After looking through what he had brought, I chuckled to myself because he had a few raggedy rods, with no line on them and a seemingly half packed backpack with some gear in it. I suppose that it was more than I brought, so I said nothing.

We started fishing and I felt at ease and quite happy…then it started. BC had gone back for a cast and tangled his line in one of the ropes that tied down the boat. After messing with it for a few minutes, I asked if he needed some help. He said thanks and then backed away. I knew that this happens and did not think much of it at the time. It was no more than 20 minutes later when I heard him cussing under his breath…I looked over and saw his line caught up in a tree about 20 yards down the shore. My mind flashed back to the previous year…did this happen last year and his dad was just here to get him out of these messes? Was I so into my own fishing that I did not realize that he was a “tangler?” Maybe this was just a fluke. I let it go, pulled his line out of the tree, tied on a new set up and continued fishing.

After he had inadvertently tangled his line around mine, two trees, a dock rope, Cody’s and been stuck on the bottom twice, I decided to call it a day. Well, I guess I had to since we were now out of hooks, sinkers and bobbers. As I walked back up to the house…all I could do was shake my head and laugh, thinking “How can his father deal with all of the ‘detangling’?” His father is a very serious angler and is very particular about fishing properly.

To sum this up, BC is now referred to as CMUWATB (Completely Messed Up Wannabe Angler Tangle Boy.) He was able to not only get his line tangled on everything possible (and a few things that I did not think was possible) making it so that we had to completely re-spool 2 rods due to no line left, but he also fell into the water 4 times, slipped and tripped in the woods and on rocks more times than I can recall. After the first few days, during which time he spent a total of about 12 hours fishing without catching anything, he announced that he was giving up on the fishing. Thank you Lord! I must have spent $50 on replacing gear over those first few days.

Scarily enough, I came very close to giving up on fishing all together fishing with this loony boy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Redneck Poker

Night two of our week in Georgia, the boys (Cody and “Boy Cousin”) pressured all of us for a friendly, family poker tournament. Remembering last year, I told the boys that we could get a game going, but that it would be a serious game and that there would be no cheating, no stealing of chips, and no fooling around…that if they wanted to play, it would need to be a “Real” game. The three of us gathered the chips and cards, sat at the card table and then were joined by IM and her sister. I was pleased…this could actually turn out to be a fun game. As it was our first game, there was no money involved…this was our practice.

After setting up, distributing the chips and (once again) explaining the rules, I began to deal the cards. Everything began fine but after a few minutes, the boys decided that it would be good for their luck to transition into their alter egos. Now we are talking about two of the whitest 13 year old boy on the planet…their alter egos were men from Pakistan. They had been talking with a Pakistan / Indian accent since we go to the lake house two days earlier. My god they can be annoying…talking about 7/11, slurpies, Hindu gods and karma. Anyway, the game continued and so did my aggravation level. I guess, with all that has been going on with me, I was in no shape to try to play a serious game of poker with these fools. I did, though, think that having IM and her sister at the table with me would help to keep things in check. WRONG!!!! They were as bad as the boys. With my blood already at the beginning stages of a boil, I had to try to explain why you can’t get 3 pairs, how a small straight is NOTHING, and why they had to put in an ante…that it is just the way the game is played.

With nobody paying attention, betting large amounts on crap hands and turning around in their chairs to watch TV, I was about to blow a gasket. Then it came…the one that sent me flying over the edge…the entire table (IM and her sister as well) began to have a burping and farting contest, proclaiming that there is no other way to play cards in Georgia. I guess I would usually join in and think it was fun, but not this night. The odor was…visible…you could actually see the fumes rising around the table. It seemed to have an intoxicating effect on everyone there…except me. Everyone was laughing, clapping and leaning from side to side, trying to squeeze out a blast better than the last one. I had had it! I finally, decided that going “all-in” with a 2 and a 5 would be the best thing to do…so I did not have to quit. Now to most, this would be recognized as someone who just did not want to play any more…but NO… the entire table felt the need to start chanting, “you lost, you lost. We beat you, you suck, we are the best” etc. etc. I made my way out of the room, onto the deck for a few big breaths of fresh (clean) air…at times I actually with I meditated or knew yoga or something.

And I thought I had my homicidal thoughts under control.

I worry about tonight…we are supposed to have our first real game tonight…for money…LORD HELP ME!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dad Number 3 - Not Natural or Adoptive...Step

The phone rang, with an unexpected, yet familiar number. I was about to head out the door to 5,000 stairs that lead down to the boat dock to go jet skiing when my cell phone rang. I looked over at where my phone was, trying to decide if I should answer it or not. I walked over and looked at the number that was calling…I knew it…but it did not register, I thought to myself that If it was someone that I really did not want to talk to, I could just say that I was on vacation or busy and get rid of them. This was NOT the case, It was my older sister. I had not spoken to her on the phone for some time now so she we went through some mild formalities about life and how things are going. Then she said, “Well, I am calling for something pretty specific.” My mind race. What could she be calling about? She never calls me for nothing. It has got to be big.

She then proceeded to tell me that my father (he is actually my step father, but he raised me and I refer to him as my dad) was going into the hospital for exploratory heart surgery. Coincidentally, at that point…my heart stopped. I expressed my surprise, fear and anxiety over what she was saying. This all coming after I finished saying that things were so good and I was f-ing around on the lake and basically doing nothing for ten days…. And that MY life sucked due to all of the stress I’VE been going through lately. Then I went on to tell her about the pregnancy of one of my childhood friends…what an ass I am. Why didn’t I just ask what was wrong from the beginning?

So I asked her what was going on…has he been sick? How long have there been symptoms, etc. She explained to me that for the past few weeks, he had been experiencing some stress and mild chest pain…but nothing major. After she filled me in and I had a basic idea of what was going on, I thanked her for calling, told her that I’d keep in touch and then called my mother. Dialing the number, I had, yet another, brain vomit….I had no idea what to say. I have been through so much lately that I felt as though I have used up all of my “It’ll just come outs”. As I heard her voice, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt on top of an, almost, uncontrollable urge to cry. I knew that me crying would send her over the edge. She is a strong woman, but very emotional at the same time. The guilt that I felt was due to the fact that I never really got the chance to tell my step father (dad) just how much he meant to me…until just recently through a birthday / father’s day EMAIL where I started to tell him about his effects on me.

Anyway, it was her voicemail, I left a message with my mother and then with my dad saying that I was thinking of them and loved them…..I needed to speak with someone!

Then today, I got another phone call, I must have been out …it was a voicemail…This time from my younger sister. I had not hear from her in a while either. I listened to the message and heard that the exploratory surgery that my father had gone in for lead to him having to stay in the hospital for the 4 occlusions that they had found. QUADROUPLE BYPASS SURGERY! Shit!

I called my mother…who was controllably…. FREAKING OUT! I spoke with her for a while and she seemed to be doing ok, but I could tell that she was out of her mind worried. I felt as though I was going to explode. Over the past 2 weeks, I had been through divorce court, meeting my birth mother and now this. I could hardly hold back the tears.

I know that I would have a hard time explaining my father to you so, I’ll just say that he is the guy that has always been there…has always been strong…has always been logical…and ALWAYS loving. But at the same time…very factual and particular. The kind of guy that makes it hard to say things like “I love you” or whatever the sentiment. In the days that I was just coming to be able to express these things towards him….this happens.

After hanging up with my mother, I quickly dialed the number of my father in his hospital room. As per the norm, he answered by saying his first and last name. Very typical for him…I just did not expect that from his hospital room. We spoke for a few minutes and went through the procedure and what led up to it. He seemed in good spirits, informed me that this would in no way transform him into a “vegan” and that my mother’s plans of implementing a strict diet were far fetched. I only agreed with him. I wanted to make him feel as comfortable as possible. I could sense that he was nervous and that he was scared about the procedure. After letting him know that I loved him and that we were thinking of him I asked if there was anything that I could do or if he needed anything. He just replied with, “ no….everything will be fine and we’ll call you after the surgery.

I have to say that I feel like a complete asshole. I don’t know that I ever, sincerely told him that I loved him or how much he really meant to an adult. I have been beating myself up all day because of that and that fact that I have not been closer to him over the past few years. We have kind of drifted apart. He is one of those people who appears to be very opinionated and through all of the shit that I have been through over the years…I felt scared and uncomfortable opening up to.

I then called and talked to his son (my step brother) who was doing a horrible job disguising his anxiety…actually, he was completely flipping out. I did not know what to say to him other that my lame attempts at reassuring him that everything was going to be fine and that dad was a strong guy and he would be ok.

This whole thing has really taken its toll on me as I was completely unprepared for it and I am here, on vacation, with IM’s family…trying to laugh, play, and have fun on the lake for the week. While everyone is running around playing and having a good time, I have been trying to hide the shut down that I feel coming on. My stomach is in knots, my head is back to spinning and I seem to be just going through the motions with the rest of the gang here. I will find out today what happens. He goes into surgery in about an hour.

I think that I will “check out” for the next few hours as to not think about it. It seems to be my only option right now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Snapshot of a Typical Night

Typical night…Insane Mama and I have lunches made, kids tucked, lights off and doors locked…Time to head upstairs to watch some TV and enjoy a “wind down drink.”

So this night…I thought that we’d watch one of the movies that I had recorded (since all of the GOOD SHOWS are on breaks.)

Anyways, the movie that I turned on was Species.
Now I thought that she would like this movie because she loves Forrest Whittaker…and little miss Natasha is ..kind of hot.

So we get into the movie a bit…chatting along the way

I will pause here for a second to explain a bit. I LOVE movies and like to jab at IM about movie and actor facts because I know that she is basically brain dead when it comes to knowing who is who and what they’ve been in. The following is a perfect example.

So as Forrest enters the screen
IM – “oh…I love him!”
(this is where it starts) I pause the TV
ME – “who is that?”
IM – “uummm…you know…what is his name? oh yeah…Denzel Washington!” (all proud of herself)
ME – “WHAT?! That is no where near Denzel!”
IM – “I mean Samuel Jackson.”
ME – “Are you kidding me? I thought you loved this guy?”
IM – I do! He’s cute! In a Chandler (from Friends) kind of way.”
ME – “WHAT?! First of all, he looks nothing like Chandler….and ….you think Chandler is cute?”
IM – “Um..No, well I do think he is cute…his character is. Not HOT…but a cute character.”
ME – “OK..even so…they look nothing alike and …act nothing alike. How are they the same?”
IM – “Wait …I know…That is My MAN!!!!!!....Morgan Freeman!”
ME – “Oh for F%#@ sake! NO! It is Forrest Whittaker!”
IM – “Yeah…that’s what I meant. I love him!”
ME – “Oh Yeah? … What else has he been in?”
IM – “I know that! He was in The Green Mile.”
ME – “NO.”
IM – “Yes he was.”
ME – “That was Michael Clark Duncan. NOT Forrest Whittaker….dumb ass”
IM – “Oh is that the same guy from that football movie with Tom Cruise?”
ME – “You mean Jerry Maguire?...NO, that is Cuba Gooding Jr.”
IM – “Oh…Whatever…can we just watch the freakin show?”
ME – “Sure…right after you tell me who that black guy that you think is so HOT is.”
IM – “It is the guy from House!...wait…no…ER…or Criminal Minds….Yeah! Criminal minds.”
ME – So you like him better than …Chandler?”
IM – “WAY BETTER. The Criminal Minds guy is HOT, HOT HOT!!!!”
ME – “And yet he looks nothing like me.. (with a sad face)
IM – “Yes he does.”
ME – “How? He is 6’2”, 220 pounds of muscle. I am 5’ 10”, 175 pounds of beer belly.”
IM – “Well….I love your belly and I love you…so SHUT THE HELL UP AND PUSH PLAY!”

I think this is why we never get to watch a full movie at night. OH…The joys of our “alone time.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Moments In Time

The other morning I got up and headed off to my 4 year old son’s pre-school graduation. Things were great and it was so nice to be there and see them (regardless of how brief it was.)

Sitting in the auditorium, with my 4 year old on my lap and 6 year old in the seat next to me, we watched as the slide show/movie was played. Now I know that the room was full of young kids and did not expect that it would be all that quiet, but little Mr. Mini Me (6 year old) offered up a fairly constant stream of chit chat to me. I adored it and hoped that it was because he missed seeing me. I put my arm around him and gave him a squeeze. This continued well into the presentation.

Then he turned to me, looked me in the eyes, and –
Son 1 – “Daddy?!, Daddy?!, Daddy?!” (in a sort of wisper)
Me – “Yeah?”
Son 1 - “I’m not quite sure why, Daddy, but …
Son 1 – “ummm….Well…”
Me – “Yes?”
Son 1 – OK…I don’t really know why, but my mouth has been kind of hyper ….for the last few weeks now.” (said very matter-of-factly…and with a questioning tone that you’d hear from a therapist)
Me – “What?”
Son 1 – “My mou…” (then cut off by Son 2)
Son 2 – (looking over his shoulder at me - with a very straight face) “Daddy…He said that he talks a lot…I think he talks too much sometimes too.”
I could hardly hold in the laughter.
Me- “That’s ok buddy.. sometimes people just have a lot to say.”
Then he just looked up at me, smiled and told me that he loves me (with a little hug.)

I just LOVE those little guys!!!!


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