You need to stop checking here and go to:

Really. Check it out. Joe Bob (remember him?) gives it three breasts and two kung-fus (or something like that, I'm too lazy to check out how he used to do it).


OK, I'm done blogging at A World of Blue. I'm not quitting, really. It's just that formatting on this blog has gotten very unwieldy and cumbersome. That's the intellectual way of saying it's a pain in the ass!

You want to see the latest, you need to go here now. I was here but I'm over here now.*

I promise everything will back to normal and who knows . . . if I like the Tumblr format, I might just get off my lazy duff and post things more often. It's possible.

*This is an old inside Opie & Anthony joke between me and Beth. You weren't meant to get it. Don't even try.


Q. Beth and I took Lance and his cousin, Trent, to Zoombezi Bay on Saturday. For the uninitiated or non-Columbusites among you, it's a water park connected to the Columbus Zoo. I guess it used to be Wyandotte Park and then it eventually became Zoomebezi Bay. We got there a little bit after it opened on what was to be a hot, hot day (over 90 degrees, which is why I thought it would be a good day to be at a water park, in the water!). We saved a ton of money on admission because Beth's youngest sister (Trent's mother) has season passes for one adult and several kids. I only had to pay for myself. The kids ran off to innertube the lazy river or the rough rapids or whatever they call it while Beth and I spread the towels on beach chairs, lotioned up, and took a shared-tube ride on two rides in our immediate area. We got back with the kids and spent several hours checking out various things in the park and spent way too long in one line before the kids agreed to bail. It was hot but the water was cool and Beth and I did a good job of keeping everybody good and suntan-lotioned up so nobody got badly sunburnt or anything like that. It was very crowded but I read reviews later online and discovered it is always like that. Once again, the mass of humanity never fails to disappoint: too many people wearing swimsuits they shouldn't be wearing, ha ha. I was surprised that what Beth might call the "flapper" style of bikini was super-popular among the young women/girls this year. That does not strike me as a style I would have ever thought would become popular. Let me see if I can find a picture to give you an idea of what I'm talking about because it was definitely a "thing."

Ah, here we go. Thanks, Amazon. I tried "fringe" but that wasn't right and "ruffles" got me kind of close but I guess "flounce" is really the idea. THIS is what a large number of girls seemed to be sporting, which struck me as kind of odd.

Oh well, that's the trend, I guess. Shows what I know. I wouldn't have thought this style would be very popular.

3. Got a lot of weird things done around the house. Some of them weren't that weird, I guess. Did laundry. Beth did a lot of dishes whilst I did other things. Yes, you read that correctly. I was "whilsting!" I finally got out some drywall screws and bolted my trimmer to the wall in the garage. That's something I never even did at our last house but I don't have a lot of room in this garage and got tired of it just sort of being there with the lawnmower. It's an electric trimmer that gets charged and has a holder that you can bolt to the wall. Trimmed and mowed the lawn Sunday evening after supper. Looking good, the yard is. Our "crops," such as they are, be growing. The tomato plants look fantastic but some little bug is eating Beth's sole broccoli plant. She better find out what kind of bug and take care of it before her plant gets eaten up.

7(b). Finished watching Season Two of "Grace & Frankie" on Netflix. Enjoyed it. Not the greatest show ever put to film or to digital or whatever you want to call it these days but it had a few good laughs in it and it was good to be reminded that Lily Tomlin is one funny lady.

X. We took Lance shopping for a desk for his bedroom. He's been using our kitchen table and our computer desk for all his drawing. He got on a big drawing kick this week and keeps drawing Five Nights at Freddy's characters (if you don't know, don't lose any sleep over it, it's not worth it). This leads to a bunch of paper and pens and markers and whatnot all over the place. We went to a few stores Sunday morning and apparently, finding a regular kind of desk for a kid isn't that easy. OfficeMax has the monopoly on having more than a couple of crappy desks and we did find a reasonably nice desk for Lance's room and he's happy with it. Naturally, it has to be delivered. We'll get a chair from Amazon. That's right, the same company responsible for the bikini picture above. What can't Amazon do?

J(2)(a): Obama just plain sucks. There's no two ways about it. He's a fucking idiot. If you voted for him and you haven't seen that by now, I'm afraid you might be as stupid as he is. (By the way, it's funny how people get worked up when you say that a President is stupid. They act as if it is not possible, that you have to be some kind of intellectual heavyweight to be a President in this country. Let me tell you something: Obama ain't that smart. He just isn't. I'm smarter than he is. I have no doubt of it. I'd blow him away in any kind of trivia game and I feel reasonably confident that I'd even beat him on a standardized IQ test. But he went to Harvard or Yale or wherever he went, Rob and you didn't. Boo-fucking-hoo. Plenty of idiots have come out of those institutions, people. Plenty.) Look, it's one thing to argue that Americans have more to fear from car accidents and other daily problems but to sit there after what happened down in Florida over the weekend and suggest, nay STATE that it's somehow our fault is beyond asinine. It's not just terrorism, you stupid fuck. It's a particular brand of terrorism and just because you don't want to rile up some nasty folks doesn't mean they're not already riled up and ready to kill. It certainly isn't your average American's fault. It's not the gun's fault. It's not some law's fault. It's not even two men kissing in public's fault, nor should it be. It's a certain religion (if you can call it that) deciding that it has the right to kill people when one of its believers (if you can call them that) sees something he doesn't like. But sure, Obama: it's our fault somehow. Let us blame the guns. Let us blame Trump, he surely has something to do with it. He's said some stuff. Yep, must be his fault. Oh well. I won't have to put up with that imbecile much longer. Pretty soon, we'll have a new imbecile for me to pick upon. In a way, I hope it's Mrs. Clinton. I can have a field day with that woman. (Note to self: look up the etymology of "field day" because, frankly, when I think about it, it seems very odd that a "field day" should be some kind of good thing. Pre-internet search guess: a field day is a day when the working hands did NOT have to go into the fields and work all day.) Mrs. C., I'm waiting for you and I'm feeling frisky.*

*Gratuitous sitcom reference. Sorry, folks.

Coda: seems kind of wrong to put this here after all the word-vomit above but it needs mentioning. Homer Gorman is dead. Beth has a father. Her father had a much older sister. Homer Gorman was that sister's husband. I saw him a various family functions and he was a kindly old gent to me. I never got to know him nor did he ever get to know me. Not well, anyway. That's the way it goes with extended family. But he was the very picture of a nice old man who appeared to have been born, lived, and died in small-town America, specifically what I eventually learned was "Grape Grove." It's basically a little northeast of Xenia, OH and if you like small farm towns, it's one of those. I haven't met many people from Grape Grove but the ones I have met have all been really nice people. Anyway, for those who knew Homer Gorman in a way that I did not, I wish I could do him justice but I lack the information and I never made much of an effort to get to know the man. That's not just my own fault, it's my own mistake. All I know is that he seemed quite content with his life and his wife was happy and his kids were happy. If you can do any better than that, good luck to you. I'm sorry I didn't get to know you better, Homer. I appreciate you inviting me to your home and I enjoyed the meals and company I shared there with you and your family. My condolences to those who loved you and will miss you every day.


So far, this has just been an odd year for our family. The car accident and various other things just have me thinking this is going to be a strange year, chock full 'o weird events.

The latest example: I got home and was getting the mail when I noticed a strange backpack on the front porch. I figured Lance had a friend over, which is no big deal because Beth was already home. When I got in the house and discovered there were no Lance friends 'a visitin' I still didn't think much of it. Eventually, Lance gave me an incoherent story about the origin of the backpack. He found it near the retention pond, it was wet, yadda-yadda-yadda. Stories from Lance typically don't make a lot of sense but one gets the gist.

After dinner, I went outside to take a look at it. I realized it wasn't an empty backpack but had a bunch of notebooks and other things in it that somebody might want. I started rifling through it (it was really wet) and discovered a wallet. Now things were getting interesting. The wallet appeared half-empty but eventually I came across a driver's license for a young woman and I thought I could use my legal researchin' skills (if you haven't gotten the theme 'o this post, your apostrophe noticin' skills ain't what they used to be) the following day to track down the owner of the backpack. Upon closer inspection, it was a Missouri driver's license. I went inside to tell Lance about it and that's when it occurred to me: what if this young woman had been taken from her home or neighborhood and sold into sex slavery and the culprits ditched her backpack in an Ohio retention pond?

I called the Hilliard police. They told me that I live in a Columbus service area (I do, indeed) and they told me to call the Columbus police. So I did that. They will send somebody out to pick up the backpack. Lance was quite keen on the possibility that this backpack was suddenly more interesting than it had been. I told him a variety of possibilities so that he wouldn't focus on the worst one. Maybe somebody stole her backpack and took the money from her wallet and ditched the backpack here. Maybe she moved from out of town and so on and so forth. Lance went out to take pictures of it using my camera. He then told one of the other kids down the street about it and came back and informed me that the kids said this pack has been by the retention pond for several weeks.

Well, who knows what will come of it (Columbus police called back an hour later to let me know that "they haven't forgotten my call" and somebody will be out eventually. Good to know, Columbus!)

Meanwhile, Beth is off at some travel agency with her mother/sisters because her parents are thinking of treating the entire family to a trip to Hawaii next year to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. In case you're thinking it must be nice to be wealthy you're right. It's one thing to be wealthy, which my in-laws are but it's another thing to be generous, which my in-laws most certainly are. Wealthy and generous makes for a good combination, people. I asked Lance what he would like to see in Hawaii and he mentioned Pearl Harbor only because he heard us talking about it once. I told him Hawaii has active volcanoes on it and he and I are both pretty interested in seeing some hot magma spew out of the ground.

I started my new job at work today. I didn't really do any of my new work (which, frankly, isn't easy to explain to the uninitiated) but mostly spent the day doing what I normally do and arranging for other people to divvy up my workload. It will be weird not doing all of that stuff anymore and doing something else entirely. Lest you wonder, it's just a promotion in the same office. I'm not going anywhere and I even intend to sit in the same cubicle. That's my cubicle. I'll be there until the day they tell me your cubicle is now over there so beat it, bub.

I work with good people. Except that Sechler woman. Good grief, don't get me started on her.

In case you've already forgotten, my blog-partner in crime is still writing about her vagina and other bodily functions here:
You ought to check it out. Very few writers can start out writing about one thing and somehow always manage to involve their vagina. She's got the knack. She could start out writing about the weather and next thing you know, somehow her vagina's involved. Go figure. If you're not getting enough Vitamin Vagina in your life, it's worth a read.

Apropos of her latest post, I offer this up to Trixie Bang Bang: it's not enough to eat less . . . you have to MOVE MORE:


While Lance was inside "resting" from his sickness. I decided to mow the lawn since the weekend weather forecast did not look good at all and the grass grows pretty fast this time of year. I decided I hadn't taken any pictures of anything in a while so here are some pictures of the lovely lawn after I finished mowing it.

Yep, looking pretty good there.

A closer shot of the front flower bed.

 The Murdoch garden. Some broccoli and various tomatoes. Doesn't look like much now but wait until they get going.
 The big basket that Beth creates from scratch every year.
The hanging baskets Beth made. Look small now but will be going crazy in a month or two.

Now, I know the picture of the entire house doesn't look that great but it's the "before" picture. I haven't finished edging and there's no fresh mulch yet. I'm working (very slowly, I might add) on these things so just remember that the picture you're looking at is not the "after" picture, only the "before" picture. 

Here, I'll give you some examples.

OK, that's just not right. No amount of mulch is going to turn Hillary into Erica Campbell. (Yes, I know her name. Men know her name. We just do.) Let's try this again . . . 

You might not think that's fair, depending upon your political persuasion. I'm sure the more liberal amongst you are saying "Hey, one of those guys is a rich idiot who treats women like objects and the other is--wait a minute--the other is . . . Damn." And finally,



Does anybody remember when Reader's Digest took a novel or a long piece of writing and did a condensed version of it? Well, here's the Reader's Digest condensed version of the story of the past week. It could be titled "Lance: A Short Story."

Lance: I don't feel good, I can't go to school. My tummy hurts.
Me: You're going to school.
[Lance proceeds to call me early in the morning from school and annoy me]

Lance: I don't feel good, I can't go to school. My tummy hurts.
Me: You're not sick. You're not running a temperature. You just hate school. You're going to school. And don't call me from school.
[Lance proceeds to call Beth in the afternoon from the school nurse's office; she goes to get him and take him home.]

Friday Morning
School Nurse: Lance is here and he says he doesn't feel good.
Me: Please put him on. Lance: you're not sick. You're not running a temperature. You just hate school. You need to stay in school.
Principal: Mr. Murdoch, Lance said he was sick the previous day and when we're told a child is sick, he has to go home.
Me: He's just saying that to get out of school. He wasn't sick and he doesn't have a temperature. We're making a pediatrician's appointment to make sure it really isn't anything but when he's home, he's fine. I'll come get him today and we'll let you know if the doctor says anything.
Principal: OK.

Friday Afternoon
Doctor: So, what seems to be the matter, Lance? I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling well.
Lance: [looking hard at Daddy] I don't feel well, my tummy hurts and I've had these headaches during the week.
Me: He's not running a temperature and I think he's trying to get out school. He keeps saying his tummy hurts but he eats fine and when he's home, he seems fine.
Doctor: Let's run a few tests. [swabs Lance's throat]
Doctor: He has strep throat.
Lance: See?
Me: Crap.*

*You'll be forgiven if you fail to see the connection between strep throat and a sore tummy. Nobody else has seen it, either. Let me know if you find it.


In an effort to spur my flagging interest in writing on this site, I have sent the link to my two favorite work-buddies: Brittany and Nicole. Welcome, work-buddies! I could worry about sending this link to people I work with but frankly, I don't really post about my work. Teachers doing bad things isn't that interesting. (Ha! It's super-interesting but there's no way I can share these stories with you, readers! Sorry.)

This site used to be a lot more interesting than it looks right now. Pictures of funny stuff, links to funny stuff, amusing anecdotes. Just plain goddamned funny is what it was. Honest injun. (Can you still say "injun?" Can you still type "injun?" I guess you can because I just did it and so far, the PC Police haven't beaten down my door yet. Hey, what's Sulley barking at? Let me get the door . . . uh-oh. I've just been informed that "injun" is a bad, bad word. Sorry, injuns!) By the way, if you don't know what an "injun" is, well, Christ. I can't help you.

So, I promise to blog more and try to make visiting this site worth your while. Long-time readers are no doubt just laughing their sides off now. "Sure, he will. He promises, promises and then he doesn't write anything for weeks and when he does, it's not nearly as funny as he thinks it is."

Well, how's this: I'll try.

This one's for Brittany. I swear I heard her humming this song the other day. She must pay the price . . . because the word is the bird.*

*I did that because whoever posted this version somehow got the display reversed! Look at the background, what the hell?


You can imagine my surprise when, a little over a week or so after recovering from that particularly nasty bout of flu, I was driving home from work on a rather nice sunny day and when the light at the intersection where I was stopped turned green, I pulled forward and heard a screech of tires and then felt a huge WHAM as another car slammed into my car. I was wearing my seat belt but I was still tossed a bit to the side and both cars ended up in the middle of the intersection.

Let's make this long story short: 17-year old girl blows through red light and nails my minivan. Quite fortunate she managed to turn a wee bit before impact because otherwise she'd have hit me dead on the driver's side door and I might not be typing these funny little posts for you, who knows? As it was, she hit the front quarter panel, practically snapping off my front left tire. The rest was just frantic phone calls, a police report, towing. You know how it goes, post-accident. You know how they used to say about snakes or other deadly creatures "that snake is more afraid of you than you are of it." Well, it was like that with this girl. I think she was way, way more shaken up by the whole thing than I was. Her airbag did deploy so that must have been quite the experience. If you're feeling bad for the girl (everybody seems to feel bad for the girl, which is a little odd given that I was nearly flattened in my car), she called her father and he showed up pretty quickly and helped her deal with everything. She was cited and will probably have to go to court because of her age.

The insurance companies will now battle it out, my car is in the shop being repaired (estimate is over 3 grand), and I'm driving a rental around. I took it in stride, these things happen.

However, I have not been in an accident in a long, long, long time and I was unaware that the whole "try to get you to sue somebody" business had gotten all high-tech. The police report must have gone online this morning because my phone started ringing around 7:45AM and didn't let up until 8PM or so. Easily 35-40 calls from either companies trying to get me to visit their doctor or body shops trying to get my business. Eventually, I gave up answering the phone but have been informed by people who experienced the same thing that they will just keep calling until I tell them I'm not interested.

There you have it. I'm alive. The world keeps trying to take me out. I made it through the flu. I walked away from the car wreckage. It's going to take more than that world. Really. You might as well give up. You tried. I'll give you that.


Good lord, what a bad bout of the flu will do to you . . . had to take Wednesday off work (which is extremely rare: I almost never call off sick). Then, Thursday came and my body just shut down. Could barely walk or move. Finally stopped vomiting every hour on the hour around noon and then the lingering cough moved in to take up residence with the never-ending headache and the river of stuffy mucus pounding around my head (pretty as a picture, eh?). Oh well, you've been sick, you get the idea. This was pretty nasty, though. Here's my food intake the past few days, which has Lance quite surprised because "he didn't know you could live on so little food."
Wednesday: nothing
Thursday: a small glass of water and a wee bit of orange Gatorade
Friday: 2 pieces of toast and a bottle or so of orange Gatorade
Saturday: two small bowls of Froot Loops, a piece of toast, and a bottle or so of orange Gatorade
Sunday: a small bowl of Froot Loops, a little tin of applesauce, 10-20 Ritz crackers and more orange Gatorade.
Frankly, it is sort of amazing that I'm even ambulatory. Oh, the "best" part of this story is that when I emailed one of my bosses to let her know that I probably wouldn't be in on Friday, either, she responded that it was OK. Turns out eleven people in my office were also out sick. Good grief. It's going to be a real live Walking Dead tomorrow, I think.
Oh, I may have to finally join Facebook or find a private host for this blog or something. Because Blogger is really fucking up stuff these days and it's not like I have a lot patience for blogging as it is. I'll let you know.


OK, I've been a lazy [insert expletive of your choice here]. I keep thinking that I need to do something different with this blog but, frankly, there's only so much you can do with words and extremely cute pictures of myself. (You read that right.) So, I officially give up. I'm just going to post like I did back in the olden tymes. Back when your modem made a noise like no other (these are 14 baud olden tymes!) and pornography took so long to load you had to watch images of naked women knit on the screen (yes, yes, that's enough face, get to the boobs already!). Not that I would know anything about internet porn. Not me. (Toyed with the idea of giving you a link here that would send you to some site that would kind of scare the shit out of you but thought better of it.)

Let's do a weekend rundown of people/pets/status/whatever. 

Beth: Looking cute in her Easter dress today. No bonnet. No, as the English call them, fascinator. Can it be Easter if you don't have a bonnet? She made some yummy au gratin potatoes (per my request) for the Easter meal. She cooked up a storm last week while my parents were in town watching Lance during his spring break. (Thanks, parental units #1 and #2, you sort amongst yourselves which one is #1 and which one is #2.) Beth got her various veggie seedling started today, some broccoli, tomatoes, etc. She still spends too much time on her iPhone engaged in pointless text conversations with people who have nothing so nearly as interesting to say as I would if I were a Texter but who doesn't these days?

Lance: rough week during his spring break as he was suffering from a pretty bad head cold/cough combo that had him near death. Or so he acted. That and he doesn't have any friends to play with these days, other than cousins. He and Logan are definitely "on the outs." He still hates school. Still loves YouTube and Bob's Burgers and Family Guy and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's starting to feel better but is still a pretty whiny, crabby kid from time to time. In other words, he's ten years old.

Sulley: needs a bath, needs his nails trimmed. Still goes on little mini-fasts every so often, which is weird. He'll stop eating for 24-36 hours. Nothing tempts him. Then, he'll start eating and it's like it never happened. He's enjoying springtime in Ohio: windows are cracked and he can scare the hell out of everybody with that ferocious bark of his.

Gatsby: exactly like you think Gatsby would be. Nothing phases that cat. He's trying to get suspiciously close to Sulley when Sulley is sleeping, perhaps thinking that Sulley would make a nice warm furry pillow. Sulley almost tolerates this. Almost. 

House: the house, what can you say? It had its share of minor repairs recently. Some leaking issues with toilet connections (cheap water shut-off valves will do that do you). We (mostly me) have been working on removing the wallpaper in Lance's room. There was wallpaper under a chair rail and a wallpaper border at the ceiling. Some of it was easy to remove and some of it was hard. Either way, it has made me hate wallpaper with the white hot passion of a thousand Trumps. You get the idea. The grass is growing, daisies have bloomed, tulips are getting ready to make their appearance. I have a duck who has nested in some bushes behind the house and looks like we'll be having baby ducklings this spring, provided the feral pack of cats (about 3-4 of them, they survived this very mild winter and they make their way around the neighborhood, eating out of trashcans and making a general Trumpance of themselves). My mower has been tuned up in the shop and if the weather holds, I'll be mowing for the first time this week. I'll start taping/spackling Lance's room throughout the week and maybe start painting next weekend. 

Me: I was involved in all that crap you just read! Work is amazingly busy. I do the work of roughly two people. No kidding. Keeps me hopping just like Peter Trumptontail on the bunny trail. During my off hours, I've been watching all of "Cheers" again on Netflix (still a good show, holds up well) and reading a variety of books. The kind of books you would never read. Well, not all of them. I did read the first three or four Game of Thrones books and maybe that's something you would read. They were fun. 

OK, I can't resist. Here you go. Be careful here. It's not a bad link or anything like that. It just goes to a listing, that's all. Maybe you can find something here that suits you, ha ha. From there, you're on your own. Go where you want. I won't judge you. Maybe you've got a secret underboob fetish. That's fine. Maybe you wish to test the limits of cartoon hentai (are there limits? I think not) even though I'm not sure why you would. If the internet has taught us anything, it is that if you can think of it, there is porn of it. [Insert joke here about early caveman porn. Good luck. I'm working on a joke involving unrealistic caveman standards that your average cavewoman couldn't meet, like a non-sloping forehead or something. That was probably the very definition of eros back in ye olden tymes: check out the non-sloping forehead on that one! Admittedly, I haven't worked very hard on this joke. I'm sure you have a better one, right?]


I do not have a Facebook page. I've considered it; it might be an easier way to blog/post. And it's not like I've managed to escape the Facebook/Google/Apple/Microsoft quest for internet domination: Blogger is owned by Google. I just don't like making it easier for the Zuckerbergs of the world to get my information by using that platform. (That, and I've seen how it works and I don't cotton to the idea of MY posts being interspersed with posts chosen by their algorithms: "Woman sees homeless man on street and you won't believe what happens next" why do you people keep clicking on that shit?).

Plus, dare I suggest it to you, you Facebook user/consumer you, that the intelligence on display in your average Facebook post/repost is nothing short of depressing? Take the definition of "democratic socialism" being bandied about by supporters of doomed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (He is doomed, the fun part of that is the people who refuse to see it. How can you NOT see it?)

Such stupidity in the defining of political terms is easily dealt with. Here you go:


Something I really like: when the overnight snow warms just enough for the bottom layer next to the concrete or asphalt to form a very thin crust so that when you shovel it, even boot impressions and paw prints break apart into sheets when you aggressively push the blade of the shovel under them.

Something I really dislike (or "mislike" if you're in a Game of Thrones reading binge): when I'm not consulted about a situation where the effect directly impacts me in a significant way. E.g., boy has day off school, I have day off work. Wife receives text from mother of friend of boy about friend possibly coming to play. Wife calls and boy answers phone while I'm out enjoying shoveling crystalline shards all over the place. They discuss arrangement for friend of boy to come over and play with boy. I finish shoveling, come in, call wife, to learn that I (there's a Latin word or phrase that would apply here -- there's always a Latin word or phrase that would apply here but I don't know any of them) have unknowingly "agreed" for friend of boy to come over and play. I inform wife that it is just tedious how my thoughts and wishes never get considered and basically command her to straighten it out because, no, the friend of boy is  not coming over here to play. I am tired of boy never going anywhere else to play. Give boy the option: play at friend's house or sit home alone. Boy chooses to sit home alone (shows you how much he wanted to play or how wimpy he is when it comes to playing elsewhere, which is his problem and he needs to start dealing with it) and I inform boy that he'd better not whine about it because he chose to sit home alone when he could have been playing . . . elsewhere. But yes, the most irritating thing is the complete lack of consultation or thought given to any of my wishes or desires when, really, in any given day, I -- despite how it might appear -- given an incredible amount of thought to how things I might do or want done affect those around me.

Kind of interesting how many more words it takes to express something I dislike, isn't it? Maybe I should just go shovel more shards . . . 


I apologize for the infrequency of my postings. I keep thinking there has to be a better way to do this. I haven't thought of it yet. It's a combination of things. Mostly, I'm just trying to avoid falling into the same trap I did a few years ago: getting tired of posting the same daily minutiae that tends to make up these kinds of posts. It's not you, it's me! I'm working on possible solutions. Meanwhile, you can enjoy this photograph of the Terminator cake the boy had for his tenth birthday party.


You would not be surprised to learn that I probably spend more effort coming up with cute blog post titles than I do actually writing the post. I know you're not surprised. This title isn't very good. Sorry!

How do you like your stories? With milk? Cream? Flashbacks? Disrupted timelines? Straightforward? Ponderously written? Funny? I don't think you'll find any of that here. Let's just go with a standard narrative of some sort, shall we?

Lance woke me up Friday morning and said "Daddy, Mommy's sick." Hmmmm. On weekday mornings, Beth takes Sulley out for his morning constitution before I get up or as I'm getting up. This didn't bode well. It made me think I was going to have to take the dog out, get all that done, and get Lance ready for school, never a fun job. I'd have to hurry.

I looked downstairs and saw Beth on the couch. She was still wearing all her winter gear and she even had her boots ON THE COUCH. What? Heathen! I just assumed she wasn't feeling well and I asked her if she was OK? She was holding her head a bit and she said she was not OK. I said "oh" and got ready to shower, etc. She said "I took Sulley out and slipped near the bottom of the driveway and hit my head."

Ouch. I asked if it was a bad fall and she said it was. Her feet went completely out from under her, she dropped Sulley's leash, and she hit the top of her back on the driveway and conked the back of her head on the driveway, too. I now noticed she had the ice pack from the freezer behind her head. I said "OK, I'll handle everything." We established that she had not blacked out but her head hurt a lot. She really wasn't making a move to do anything and I asked her again if she was really OK. She was just holding her head and grimacing. Eventually, she lifted her head off the icepack and when I saw blood on it, I knew we had other plans this morning. I said "the back of your head is bleeding, we need to get to an urgent care place or an emergency room. Let me get ready." I threw on some clothes, straightened my messy hair, and told Lance to get on some clothes.

Lance was concerned and I explained that we were going to a hospital because Mommy had a cut on her head. He got very nervous but got dressed and fussed around the way he does so I yelled at him to get in the car and settle down. Beth changed and looked up the nearest facility on her phone. All the urgent care places didn't open until later so we looked up a nearby hospital (Dublin) and drove up there. It took twenty minutes or so to get there. We found the emergency room entrance and parked.

The emergency room staff checked us in, took my insurance card, did the usual emergency room stuff and a nurse came out to get us right away. The emergency room was empty (probably about 6:30-6:40AM or so) so we didn't have to wait. We went back to a room, Beth got on the bed, told her story and the doctor came by shortly after that.

The doctor did his checkup and they looked at the back of her head. It was an abrasion on the back of her head, not a deep cut or anything like that. They cleaned it up, put some Neosporin on it and we chatted about whether or not we wanted any kind of CT scan. The doctor didn't push it and felt like she had a mild concussion but he also said we could have it if we wanted it: it would just be some radiation and more money. I told him we weren't overly nervous people but our major concern was that this not turn into a Sonny Bono or Liam Neeson's wife situation. He looked at me and I said "we're avid skiers, we don't want to find out later in the day that her brain is swelling, etc." He was a skier, too, so he then knew what I was talking about and assured us that she would be fine. She would get some sore muscles and have a bad headache for a day or two but she should take Motrin for that and just rest. We agreed to skip the scan.

Beth called off work and I called off work. Lance was putting up a fuss (he HATES-HATES-HATES school) and there had been some chatter about a completely free day off school. I realized he was going to drive us bonkers but was prepared to take him to school and drop him off. I told him he had a choice: he could have his random day off school but that would be it, it would be over and he couldn't ask for another one. Furthermore, he couldn't use any devices: no games, no iPad, no screens. Just books, etc. He fought with me about that but he hates school so much that he took the deal. We called him off school.

We drove home and Beth rested and played around on her phone. Lance read and whined. A few hours went by and I checked on Beth regularly but realized she was going to be OK so I decided to go in to work for a half-day. There's always work to be done and while my co-workers promised me they'd take care of anything important, that doesn't mean things wouldn't stack up on me and if you know me (do you know me? Welcome to me, have we met?) you know how I hate things stacking up on me. I pride myself on no stacks.

Good thing I went in: it was a busy afternoon. I called Beth a few times and Lance also "checked" on her during the afternoon. She rested all day but you could tell her back/shoulder muscles were sore and her head hurt. We had planned, oddly enough, to go skiing on Sunday but that was definitely out.

There. That's the concussion story. She's doing fine (it's Sunday evening) and she'll be back to work tomorrow. I wish I was concussed: I have to stay home with Lance. We both have the day off for the holiday. Yippeee.

I think I left out one of the most interesting parts of that story: Sulley. Recall that Beth let go of the leash. She thought Sulley would run off but nope, Sulley stayed right by her and when she was able to get to her feet, he followed her right into the house. Way to go, Sulley! You know we've set the bar really low when we're proud that our dog didn't tear off down the street to enjoy his momentary freedom. I told Beth the only reason he stayed was because he didn't have a better offer. If there had been another dog out there when she fell, probably a different story altogether.

Random Nonsense:
1. I finished watching Making a Murderer on Netflix and was as intrigued as everybody else. Unlike everybody else, I know how to go legal research so I found a few answers to questions I had but which the show did not address very well. I won't go so far as to say Steven Avery is innocent but I'll be interested to see if Brendan Dassey manages to establish a federal case and get his conviction overturned for that unbelievable interrogation.
2. I'm reading the Game of Thrones books. I've read worse. I finished a David Foster Wallace book. I won't bother telling you which one because you've never heard of it and you're certainly not going to read it. It was pretty good but definitely no Infinite Jest.
3. I just did a bad Ahnuld imitation whining about how nobody but me around here can manage to close the first level bathroom door (I think of the house in levels because there are levels). The second I was done chastising the little girly-men who cannot seem to close a wimpy bathroom door, I realized how bad it was and Lance was staring at me wondering "who" I was doing and I said "that was a bad Jamaican Arnold Schwarzenegger." Which is sort of was. I perfect it: Close de do-ah!
4. I'm stripping the wallpaper below the chair rail in Lance's room. I swear in the name of everything that can be sworn upon there has to be a better way to do it. I hate wallpaper. There, I said it.
5. I have become a MarioKart 8 master . . . . but only at level 50cc. Lance and I tried to play at 200cc speed and laughed ourselves silly. It was pretty bad.


Humph. It's kind of hard to post during the week, you know? I typically get up around 5:50AM and get ready for work (my hours are 7:30AM to 4:00PM) and I probably go to bed most weekday nights around 11:15PM. So I'm pretty tired in the evenings and after work, I don't do a whole lot, just a few chores here and there.

This was a good week. Work was fine and I can't say anything really irritated me there. It's the little stuff that gets me, you know that. No complaints, really. After work, I'd pick up Lance from his after-school care, we'd come home and feed the pets. Lance has taken to feeding Gatsby and enjoys the increased responsibility . . . when he remembers to do it, ha ha. Which is funny, if you know Gatsby: Gatsby is NOT going to let you forget that he's HUNGRY. Lance and I then would spend an hour or two gaming. He loves his new Xbox One but the game he loved this week was Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. He's pretty good at it (he plays everything a lot more than I do) and I felt like I was dragging him down early on but I got a little better as the week went on. We won't even go into any great detail about our pathetic attempt to play NBA2015 or whatever it is called: Lance and I could barely shoot the ball without being called for traveling. It was insane. Lots of strange things we have to learn how to do in that game just to move around and shoot the ball.

Beth had an interview mid-week with a company that's a lot closer to our house than where she currently works. She's seriously undervalued at her current place of employment and even when people seem to realize that's she vastly overqualified for what she does, they don't take any steps to move her to where she could make a difference. It's a decent-enough company but you can only take so much when you have that much experience and education and your skills aren't being utilized. We'll see if she gets an offer from this other company.

I seldom play the lottery but, like every other red-blooded American (I don't know what color your blood is: have you checked lately? Are you even AMERICAN?), I decided it would be fun to play the PowerBall this week, despite the insanely ridiculous odds. I mentioned it at work and a small pool of us (six people) decided to go in for $10 each. We increased our odds infinitesimally and should we win, we'll have to split the pool six ways. We can live with that.

Lance went to a birthday party for one of his friends this Saturday afternoon: he had a blast. Beth is out getting some groceries and she has a wine-type get together with some old high school chums later this evening. Lance and I will probably have some leftovers and play some more games, maybe watch a movie together.

I tried to explain the lottery to Lance and told him people enjoy trying to figure out what they would do if they were super-rich.

Me: What would you do if you had all that money?
Lance: I'd buy Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Me: I don't think you can buy him.
Lance: I'd buy the house next door to him.
Me: That wouldn't be as much fun as you think. He's probably off making movies most of the time and even when he's home, he has a big fence around his yard or isn't outside very much so you're not going to see him every day.
Lance: I'd buy an Arnold Schwarzenegger GPS so I could know where he is all the time.
Me: You have some weird problems, little boy.


Lest you think I'm all whine and no dine (whatever that means!), had a rather normal day on Saturday. Lance did his thing (watched TV, played XBox, complained, etc.), Beth did her thing (not entirely certain what that is most days, to tell you the truth: there are various things involved, such as texting, Facebooking, Netflix watching, etc.) and I did my thing (watched TV, played XBox, complained, etc. ha ha, just kidding! Took down some Christmas decorations, did a little shopping).

In the evening, since we had one of Lance's cousins with us, we met up with the rest of his family at Rooster's for dinner. Rooster's is just your generic chain kind of restaurant: decent enough service, so-so food, nothing to blog about, you know? I have noticed lately that many places are not cooking the french fries long enough because they're in such a hurry to get food on the table. Stop it, restaurants! Nobody wants poorly cooked french fries. We chatted it up with the other family, they reunited the kid with his siblings and went home, as did we.

Random things I've been doing that will be of little interest to you: been reading The Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace. Focuses on some weird people in Shaker Heights/Cleveland in the 1990s. Not your bag, baby. In the middle of Sense8 on Netflix. Has some mildly interesting moments but hey, writer/directors: we get that it is taking forever for the eight members of the group to realize that each of them can experience/see what another of the group is feeling at odd times. You don't need to make it feel like forever! (This from a man who wrote an entire book of which it could be said the final chapter may have been the only plot-advancing chapter in the entire thing.)

Tomorrow, it's back to school, back to work, resumption of "ordinary" life. Like Lance, I have some resolutions that I'll probably ignore. Beth doesn't even bother.

How about a random picture of the day, a blast from some randomly selected year? Here you go:

Here is Beth and her nephew, Carter. The year? 2003.


6:30AM: Lance wakes me up, it's time for Christmas! He actually waited until the time we told him to wait. Undoubtedly, he was up earlier than that, discovering that Santa Claus had eaten a few of the cookies left for him and yes, Mr. Kringle did leave him an autograph signed in his inimitable style.

Gifts are opened. Lance is getting everything he wants and then, lo and behold, there is the XBox One he has been dreaming about for months. Just what a certain father needs: another gaming system to hook up. Lance opens everything, is quite satisfied, and he and his mother start installing the XBox downstairs. Beth and I exchange gifts; we keep it very small between us (under $100) since we'll get each other what we need throughout the year. For us, Christmas is watching Lance have the time of his life. Which he does.

9:30AM: We pack up the minivan with our gifts to Beth's family. There has been much discussion throughout the week but no satisfying resolution the timing of this Christmas. Everything is sort of up in the air because of her father's cancer. Treatment is done, prognosis looks good, but he is very tired and generally out and about the house only for short stretches of time. Nevertheless, the last conversation between Beth and Sister #2 (she is one of three) and/or Sister #2's husband seemed to suggest that the rest of us were going to exchange gifts at 10AM.

10:00AM: Arrival at the Ary Manse. Greetings all around. Sister #3 and her family have been living at the Ary Manse for a few months. They are in the process of building a new house in a development not very far from ours. The timing worked out such that they needed to vacate their sold house and wait for new house to get finished. Meantime, they've been able to help Nancy take care of things, freeing her up to care for Dick as best she can. No sign of Sister #2. I'm a bit annoyed because, frankly, I've never been very keen on the drawn-out Ary Christmases. I don't like having to watch everybody else open up gifts one by one by one. Think about this for a minute. When everybody is present, there are eight adults and four kids. If we do it one by one, it is an all-day affair just to open presents. What the hell do I care what everybody else got, right? It was all I could do over the years to suggest/insist that the kids be allowed to tear into their presents because making a kid wait to open a present until eleven other people have opened something is flat out ridiculous.

Since there's no sign of Sister #2 and I'm not in the best of moods (anticipating a looooonnnnnnngggg day of this), I suggest that those present get our gifts to each other out of the way. Beth and I give our gifts to Sister #3 and her family and they return the favor. Not as bad as I thought. Some gifts are given to Ma and Pa Ary. Still no sign of Sister #2. An old-enough child is deputized to text Sister #2 and find out what the dealio is. Said child decides to call Sister #2 and informs her that opening has already begun. Sister #2 not happy but they are on the way. (By the way: it's a running joke that Sister #2 is NEVER on time. You could tell Sister #2 that the time for an activity is 2PM and she/husband/child would show up at 3:30PM and complain about the fact that they have to drive across town to be there. It was getting to the point where we'd tell Sister #2 to be somewhere hours in advance knowing she'd actually arrive sort of on time.)

Between the cookie snacking and general chatter, I notice that Beth and Sister #3 are being cautioned by Ma Ary to let Sister #2 be, don't say anything, that sort of thing. You can imagine my reaction to that sort of nonsense. I'm aghast. But whatever.

12:00PM: Sister #2 walks angrily into the house carrying a bag of packages with child/husband right behind. A bunch of us are in the kitchen. Sister #2 says, in the snottiest tone you can imagine and since you have a good imagination, it's pretty snotty: "It was incredibly rude!" Now, something you need to know: I don't mind Sister #2 but I'm also not a fan, either (as Lance would say, he likes to say he's "not a fan" of things). I've actually generally bit my tongue when it comes to Sister #2 and her nonsense for the past 24 years even though most of you who know me must realize this has been a major effort on my part for nearly two and a half decades! Rob? Shutting his mouth? Really? That's unpossible!

12:01PM: Me, deciding I'm not like the rest of these schmoes, hell I'm not even related to these schmoes and I don't give a shit anymore, so I look straight at Sister #2, stare her down and I say "You want to know what's rude? Coming in here and insulting us after making the kids wait for hours on Christmas Day. That is rude." Meanwhile, Beth is giving me the "don't say anything" nudge and I stare down Beth and I say "enough is enough. I won't sit here year after year and I certainly won't stay here and be insulted. If the rest of you want to put up with her crap, that's fine, but I'm done with it." 

12:04PM: One cousin had gotten a Nerf gun of some sort. Immediately manages to shoot it into the face of the girl cousin who has just arrived with her angry mother. Let the hysterics ensure. Shooting cousin is most definitely sorry and did not mean it. But when you have a drama queen raising a little drama queen, getting shot with a Nerf bullet is akin to well, I don't know what the hell it is akin to but it is akin to something! Mother/Daughter go off into laundry room to hystericize together or something. Me? I see where this is going. A long day of placating Sister #2, who is in no mood to be placated.

12:05PM: I inform Beth that I'm not sitting around for this nonsense. Does she want to leave with me? Nope. She still thinks this Christmas is salvageable. Bully for her. Lance is unclear what is happening. I tell him "Daddy is going home. Daddy is tired of this nonsense. If you want to leave, you can leave with me but you won't get to open the rest of these presents. If you want to open these presents, you can sit around here for the next four hours." Lance thinks it over, Beth wonders how she'll get home since we came in one car. I say "just call me and I'll come back and get you but I'm done with this." Lance informs me that he wants to stay and open presents. I say "that's fine, I'll see you later." I thank the husband of Sister #3 on my way out the door, load those gifts I had already unwrapped into the minivan and drive home.

12:30-2:30PM: It's very nice and quiet at home. Do some dishes. Take dog for a short walk. Cuddle with kitty. Christmas at home! Even if it's by myself, I don't care. Imagine that I have finally done it, I've singlehandedly ruined the Ary Christmas. Whatever. I'm forty-seven freakin' years old! When will I get to have Christmas the way I want it and not be subject to the whims of my wife's family? Starting now, that's when. Enough really is enough. I've been a good husband, I've done a lot of crap I didn't want to do and I've attended a lot of events I could have cared less about, all in the name of love. But there comes a time when you realize that your life is getting shorter and frankly, you're not living it on YOUR terms. Yes, marriage is compromise but when the "compromise" consists of you doing what the other person wants to probably ninety percent of the time, that's not much of a compromise. (The best part of a compromise? The other person thinks you are getting what you want ninety percent of the time. Hilarious!)

Sometime before 3PM: get the call. Beth wants picked up. I say "OK, I'll be there in twenty minutes but I don't want any nonsense. I'll call you from the driveway and I don't want any family members coming out and trying to talk 'sense' into me or anything like that. I'm not in the mood." Still fairly certain that the Evil One (that's me!) has really ruined the Ary Christmas. Such is life.

Pick them up, we load the car with gifts and few unwrapped big gifts for me (I was perfectly happy to leave them behind but if folks want to give me stuff, happy to take it, too. Just don't need to spend ALL DAY opening it, you hear?) Quick digression for those who don't believe me . . . one year, having been through the all-day opening extravaganza, I suggested that we try to get started Christmas Eve and get it all done before Christmas Day. We were probably living in Cleveland at the time and I wanted to get back or something. There was probably a dog involved, who knows. We started right after the church service on Christmas Even, so this is probably about 8:30PM or so. At midnight, we had to call it quits and agree that we'd finish up the next day. That's how long it takes to open gifts with this family. It's not a Christmas morning sprint. It's a marathon.

Lance starts to spill the beans when we get in the car and yammers conspiratorially/accusatorily about something but Beth shuts him down and say "Mommy will tell Daddy all about it when we get home, he doesn't need to hear it from you."

We get home, Lance goes off to play XBox or something and Beth fills me in on what happened after I left. Seems Sister #2 never got over her hysterics and claimed she felt ill. Daughter eventually got over being shot in the face with foam bullet. A full recovery was made but Drama Mama still in fine fettle. Eventually, they get around to opening gifts for the kiddies while Sister #2 hides out in the bathroom, claiming she doesn't feel well, this and that. If you ever dated a high school girl and something didn't go her way, you know how this little scenario plays out. Sister #2 is able to hang on until her child gets her gifts but then Sister #2 announces she has had enough and is leaving. Ma Ary has not handed out the big check (there's always a big check because Ma and Pa Ary are the most generous people I have ever met; it doesn't matter how many gifts you get, there's a big check for each family, too) and she goes running off after Sister #2 to get her to come back and finish the gifts. Hands her the envelope/card with the check, I guess. Sister #2 stomps back into the house, throws the check on the floor, says "you can take this and give it all to Beth and Sister #3, I don't want it." Or something like this. Beth could give you the exact details but she's not typing this blog, I am. She'll probably correct some detail when she reads it.

So, that ended Christmas. Our gifts to Sister #2 and her family sat at the Ary Manse for a week or so, waiting to be opened (eventually opened on New Year's Day). There were a few nasty 2:30AM kind of texts from Sister #2 to the family, blaming everybody but herself and informing the world that she's all about GIVING and loves to watch everybody open one-by-one. Let me tell you, I've been around Sister #2 for a long time now, this is the first I've ever heard about her loving this particular thing. What Sister #2 loves to do is wait for you to open her gift and then inform you how much time she spent shopping for it (it was on the list you had to give her, how much time could it have taken?) and even better, Sister #2 will inform you of the great deal she got on said item. That's what Sister #2 loves. She wants you to know the great effort she put into SHOPPING and the DEAL she got. Until Beth told me, I had managed to remain completely unaware for over 24 years how much Sister #2 loved the day-long family gift exchange.

As for Sister #2's gifts to us? Well, they were taken back to Sister #2's house and then returned to the stores from whence they came, apparently. That's fine. We have plenty of stuff, we don't need more. Come New Year's Day, Sister #2 and family visited the Ary Manse (practically begging everybody else to stay away: not a problem, the love for Sister #2 was at an all-time low ebb in the remainder of the family, you can bet your bippy on that!) and Sister #2 was eventually persuaded to open our gifts to her child but when it came to gifts to her, Sister #2 tried to put up the same fuss until Pa Ary apparently put a stop to it and made her open them. (Note to Pa Ary: I'm not winning any Father of the Year awards any time soon but methinks you're a few decades late on putting Sister #2 in her place. That said, you got it done so there's that.)

Thus is told the tale of the Great Chaotic Christmas of 2015. In the first part of the story, you were ready to brand me a major asshole, weren't you? That's fine. When I was informed of what took place after my departure, I simply looked at Beth and said "Jesus. It's a good thing I left. Imagine what I might have said if I had been there when she pitched her fit."

Now, this has been rather hard on Ma Ary, who is of the "everybody should love each other equally at all times" persuasion and has managed to hold on to the lofty dream all these years. Live and learn, Ma Ary. You just had what amounts to a "regular" Christmas for most folks.

Oh, the Murdoch Christmas? Celebrated a few days later. Brother #2 unable to attend but Brother #1 and his girlfriend did and the gifts (fewer of them but no less meaningful, I assure you!) were exchanged without incident. Murdoch Christmases are a rather calm affair because there are fewer girls around, perhaps. That and it's pretty rare to have all three boys in the same place at the same time. I can tell you that if I had to spend, say, a week, with my brother, I would say something pretty nasty sooner or later, ha ha. One of them would say something stupid and I would say "that's the stupidest thing I ever heard." Because you know . . . it WOULD be!

For the Murdochs, Beth cooked this. My lord, it was delicious. The entire meal was another Beth masterpiece. I honestly feel sorry for you poor schlubs, not getting meals cooked like this on a semi-regular basis. She even baked the bread and Beth's baguettes? Rapidly approaching "could sell them in Paris" territory. Not making that up. Go ahead, feast your eyes on this:


Happy 2016 to ya! I have a feeling 2016 is going to be better for Beth and I than 2015 was. No particular reason and 2015 really wasn't that bad. Could have been better, could have been worse.

One of the things I have decided (and Beth may not like this in all of its applications, ha ha) is that I'm definitely -- as Kevin Hart likes to say -- a grown-ass man and therefore, I can do some of the things I've always wanted to do and I can stop doing some of the things I've been doing just to make other people happy. Realistically, I've got about thirty years (I'm predicting that once you hit eighty years old, you cease to be interested in any of this shit) to enjoy as much of the remainder of my life as I can. I've been doing a pretty good job of enjoying it up to now but there have been elements that have lessened that enjoyment from time to time.

Take blogging, for example. Take it! Take it! Where are you going with it? Anyhow . . . not only did I get really bored of saying the same things over and over again (I don't live a very exciting life, 'tis true), but I got tired of the artificial limits Beth and I had put on my blogging over the years. We discovered early on in my blogging days that friends and family aren't as keen on hearing my version of reality as I was about writing it, ha ha. Lost some friends, irritated some family members from time to time. You know, that old story.

Since virtually nobody is reading this blog (I told maybe three people about it) I don't have to worry about it as much. Granted, I'm using the same URL and if anybody checked it, they'd see I'm blogging again but so what? I've decided that only two topics are off limits on this blog. One is sex. You see, sex around here typically involves two people (I see what you typed there! You bad!) and since I'm the only blogger, I'll just keep that to myself. The other topic is work. After seeing what happened to Gut Rumbles way, way, way back in the early Internet days of yore, I have always stayed away from that topic. Too bad, I deal with some pretty wacky crap these days and it would make for great blogging but I'd be unemployed if my superiors ever saw it. So, I don't write about work.

Family? No longer off limits as far as I'm concerned. I used to take it easy on family members but who gives a crap? Not me. Not you. If you do, too bad. If you're family, suck it up. I've always been as harsh on myself as I have ever been on anybody else. I just like me more than I like you! I've gotten pretty fond of myself over the years. Go figure.

That said, let's get to it because there have been some unusual family items of note lately. There was the Christmas card I got that had a dead baby on it. Pretty interesting, no? Beth has a cousin. She had a stillborn child earlier this year. Very sad. Really. She had somebody (her? her husband? people in the hospital room?) take a bunch of pictures of the dead baby and she posted over a hundred of them to Facebook. (She's crazy for the Facebook, this cousin.) I thought it was odd but I'm not crazy for the Facebook so I just said "humph" to myself and went on about my business. Didn't really give it much thought. Then, I got a Christmas card from this family. What a lovely gesture. I looked at the card, which was one of those photographic montages you get from people, three or four pictures, some greetings of the season, you've seen them. But lo and behold, unto the corner of the card was a picture and I knew immediately it was the dead baby. I showed it to Beth and said "I'm not putting this on our Photo Christmas Tree as I really don't want to stare at a dead baby for the remainder of the Christmas season." Into the trash it went. People grieve differently, I suppose, but that really didn't feel right to me. Has me worried about a possible Valentine's Day card from this family, I'll tell you that.

And I've got a humdinger of a second-hand story about Christmas Day but I'll save that for another day.

Let me see, do I have any pictures for you?

Just a quick snap of my in-laws from Christmas Day. Good to see Dick looking better and Nancy enjoying herself.

This is just a typical Lance-opening-present kind of picture. He got everything he wanted. Everything. What a lucky kid.

December 24, 2015: Goodbye, Lance.

Oh, Lance. I know I didn't hide in a sneaky or clever spot. You see, it is December 24 and that means it's time for me to go again. I just wanted to sit by you and spend as much time near you as I could while you are still this magical age of nine years old. I can tell you're getting older and you're thinking about things differently than you used to and soon, you probably won't even think that much of an elf like me.

But it has been another fantastic month for me. I got to see you again and see how you've grown up and how much fun you're having. I hope you had fun looking for me and you don't have to worry: I'm giving one last report to Santa Claus that says "Lance was a very good boy this year."

I hope that some time, in the middle of the year, on a night when there's absolutely no reason to think of me, you remember how much fun we had: me hiding, you searching. Being good around Christmas time is easy, the hard part is being good when you don't even really have to be good. Just think of me every so often and keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart as long as you can. 

On Christmas Eve, you're going to be with your Mom and Dad and your Mom's family and everybody will be smiling and laughing and having a good time and everybody will be a bit worn out because waiting for Christmas is hard, ha ha. And then you'll finally go to sleep and I'll use my magic to zip back to the North Pole. I'll be tired, too, but as I pull up the covers, I'm going to chuckle to myself and say "I have the best boy in all the world. Lance is my boy. Nobody else has a boy like Lance."

Before you get to feeling sad, wait until you see what Opie has in store for 2016. When you get older, some of that childhood innocence is gone but it gets replaced by other fun things. That's just the way life is. Things come and go. Things change. The trick is to enjoy life as much as you can and to keep that Christmas spirit in your heart all year long.

This is Opie the Elf, signing off for another year. I'll be back before you know it, Lance. You just wait.

December 22, 2015: Pre-Christmas Photos

Here are some fun pre-Christmas photos for you . . . 

Great Nana is in town for a funeral so Lance got to see her and open an early Christmas gift from his great grandparents. It's a Christmas Lego set that he really, really wanted.
This is just Lance, Trent, and Molly being silly with Great Nana. I was always a bit scared of my great grandmother so this is nice to see.
Now this is "multi-tasking" (which some folks say can't be done but they haven't met Lance). Putting together a Lego set, watching Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch on Amazon Prime, and he's got an R2D2 toy in his hand that you cannot see.
Nuts. Lance found me right away. Not to mention, this tie-fighter is missing its plastic dome. Oh yeah, a cat or dog chewed it up. Way to go, cat or dog.