I’ve Learned (or what happens at 46)

Upon the occasion of my 46th birthday I am in a reflective mood. There is no extra significance to the 46th. It’s not a milestone like 30 or 40, or even 45, but I’m here and thinking about where I am today and felt like sharing. Perhaps this is the midpoint for me. Based on a selective family history, I might well expect to reach my 90’s, but then I could point out quite a few examples that would indicate a much shorter expectancy. I’d rather not turn maudlin, so I’ll just carry on with what I’ve learned, not so much over 46 years, but more in the last few.

I’ve learned to be comfortable with who I am. I’ve learned to be happy where I am and not depend on someone or something else for my happiness. No job, possession, or even person should ultimately determine my happiness. As my friend Elijah recently told me, “Maybe you have to find your own Zen.” Or, as scripture tells me, “I have learned to be content where I am.”

I’ve learned that a few close friends and a family that love me are better than big crowds that don’t even know me. My circle is smaller these days, but it’s stronger. The value of intimate friendship cannot be overstated and should be treasured when you find it. If you have a friend for a season and they walk away, remember the good times fondly and move on.

I’ve learned the love of a good woman will sustain me through pretty much anything. More than 26 years into this marriage I continue to learn that more on an almost daily basis.

I’ve learned that hard work doesn’t hurt and is good for your soul. Even if you work in an office, working with your hands is a good way to connect with a part of you that can go missing and working in the dirt is a reward unto itself.

I’ve learned to value time alone but not to get lost there. I love the spotlight but I realize it gets hot and I need to step aside sometimes and let others take a turn.

I’ve learned to value my parents more. The sacrifices they made for me and the way they loved me become more evident each day. I realize they aren’t as young as I always thought they were and having watched them say goodbye to their parents means I will likely do the same to them one day. I treasure my weekly talks with them and cherish the time we spend together. I’ve learned to think of them more and make sure they know I value them.

I’ve learned parenting doesn’t end when the child moves out, or even moves on to an adult life with a wife of his own. In fact, the ache in your heart is stronger the older they get and the more they become their own person. I am learning to accept a new role but that’s taking some work.

I’ve learned that it is more important to spend your money on experiences and people than things, especially creating experiences with people you love.

I’ve learned just how much it hurts to carry one of your closest friends to his final resting place and how hard it is to walk through the grief with his family, but I’ve also learned how much joy comes from remembering the little bit of time you had together and knowing a buddy went ahead of you to scout a place to rest.

I’ve learned a lot about grace and second second chances but I’ve also learned that there are toxic people that you have to distance yourself from to protect your family.

I’ve learned that the rest of the world isn’t like me and learning about and from other cultures is a revelation. I regret it took me as long as it did to leave my own hemisphere but I intend to leave it a lot more in the future. I realize relating to people who aren’t like me, don’t look like me, don’t think like me, and don’t believe what I believe is good. I’ve learned from them and I hope they can learn from me.

I’ve learned to try not to be a stereotype and to fit no mold. I enjoy that part.

I’ve learned that learning can be fun, uncomfortable, and even painful, but ultimately it is worth it when I learn and grow.

I’ve learned people will let me down, even those close to me. I let them down too. When they do I should forgive them and love them anyway, hoping they will do the same for me.

I’ve learned that my faith is my own. It’s personal because it should be and that doesn’t mean it is customized for my specific beliefs to make me feel better. I’ve learned a personal faith is one that has been tested and accepted by me, not handed down or assumed. It involves a personal relationship with my creator and while I would like you to believe what I believe (because I think it is good) I won’t push it on you, beat you up with it, or get mad at you if you don’t. Your faith has to be personal to you too.

I’ve learned that a friendly debate is difficult because there is a belief that to disagree with someone is to not like them, but I’ve learned that is far from true. I learn more from those with whom I disagree and I appreciate their willingness to challenge me. I hope they feel the same.

I’ve learned honesty is in short supply and finding a person of integrity is like finding gold.

I’ve learned to express my love more, not be ashamed of tears, enjoy the moment, laugh more, tell my family and friends how I feel about them, let my passions show, and find peace in the moment.

Finally, If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I appreciate you


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It’s All in the Name (hello Mr. Clipper)

I’ve been asked more than once how I determine the names of the people mentioned on this blog. In truth, I don’t decide the names as much as they name themselves, although they may not know it when they do. I thought today would be a good time to tell you the story behind a few of these names and, in the process, tell you the story behind my favorite one so far. The list that follows will show you names of friends and family mentioned on this blog and a brief explanation of their name.

The Queen – my wife and the Queen of our household.

Rock Star – my son, who is a rock star.

Bean – my sister. It’s a play on her middle name and if you grew up with us, you would know.

The Sarge – my brother and a military man.

Fertile Julie and her husband, the Baby Maker – friends of mine and the Queen and they have 5 kids.

The Not Tom Pettys – more friends of ours who are not named Tom Petty.

Polite Beau – This is my second favorite name on my blog. He is a friend and co-worker who happens to be a polite man, but that isn’t where the name comes from. One afternoon Polite Beau’s wife called his cell phone to ask if he were ok. He was and asked why she wanted to know, to which she replied, “The radio just reported a polite male in his mid-thirties was threatening to jump from a bridge near your office so I wanted to be sure you were ok.”

I don’t know if she heard incorrectly. I tend to think so. If not, I would love to know how the reporter determined the man on the bridge was polite. Did he ask forgiveness from the people stuck in traffic before bringing it to a standstill? Maybe he held up a sign that said “I’m sorry” as he stood on the bridge. I don’t know, but she was confident the radio station was reporting a polite male in his mid-thirties on the bridge and Beau definitely fit the description.

There are more names but I don’t think it’s necessary to explain them all, but I do want to share the story behind my favorite name of all I’ve mentioned on this blog.

A while back I mentioned a friend named Mr. Clipper. I’ve considered telling this story for some time, but I was unsure how to present it without exceeding the bounds of my self-imposed decorum. It has required considerable thought to frame this story in those terms without losing the important details and I think I have finally accomplished that.

Mr. Clipper and his wife were invited to my house for a small party last January with 4 or 5 other couples. The Queen and I were leaving on a cruise with Fertile Julie and the Baby Maker and the Not Tom Pettys in a couple of weeks and we were having a Bon Voyage party of sorts with some friends. The Clippers are friends of all these couples and were planning to come, but the afternoon of the party I got a call from Mr. Clipper telling me they wouldn’t be able to make it.

He didn’t mention it at the time, but he later let me know he had actually gotten a better offer. You may think I should have been offended by that revelation, but in truth, he told me Mrs. Clipper told him she was tired (they had a 3-month old baby at the time) and he had a choice. They could go to our house OR they could stay home and partake of the marital fruit, but she was too tired to do both.

I totally understood. In fact, had he told me that at the time I would have threatened to send him right back home had he chosen my house. Obviously, my friend wisely chose to stay home. You may remember my mention of the 3-month old baby at their house? With a new baby in the house, I am pretty sure there was not a lot of fruit going around their house, so given the opportunity; he did not pass it up.

Nice story so far, but you still don’t see where the name originated. Hang on…

As I mentioned, the opportunities to pick fruit had been rare lately at the Clipper house. I may be mistaken, but memory tells me this may have been the first trip to the orchard in over 3 months.

(At this point, you are probably thinking “Boy, he knows way too much detail about the intimate details of his friend’s life.” However, I should mention the Queen and I are the teachers of a young married couples Sunday school class and the Clippers are in our class, so it’s ok. Plus we are really good friends.)

Back to the orchard… My friend was looking forward to his special evening and he decided to engage in some personal grooming in advance of his trip to the orchard. Some of my other friends were unfamiliar with this manscaping practice and questioned me about it when I related this story. I suggested 1 of 2 reasons. Perhaps it was just for aesthetics. I wouldn’t go on a job interview without showering and brushing my teeth, so maybe the same principle applies. The other possibility involves perception. I don’t want to explain it in detail, but let me share this principle with you. If you plant a tree in your yard and then surround it with bushes, occasionally trimming the bushes back makes the tree appear taller.


My friend apparently uses electric clippers for personal grooming. These are normally safer than a razor but do have some risk. I say this because my friend found that out on the very evening in question. Unfortunately, if you get those clippers too close to loose skin and hold them at the wrong angle, you WILL get cut. On this night, the clippers got a little too close to an area of loose skin and my friend got cut. That is not a good thing. One of my earliest posts on this blog detailed a major surgical procedure I underwent that involved getting cut in an area of loose skin just like this, but at least I had local anesthesia. My friend had only shock and fear to get him through this horrific injury. He told me that he was almost afraid to look for fear of seeing things on the outside that were supposed to be on the inside.

I will admit I laughed when I heard this story. I couldn’t help it. Don’t judge me, you are laughing about it too – right now. He laughed when he told it, but he was far enough removed from the nearly life-changing accident that he was able to laugh.

After realizing he was ok, he said his next fear was that he would have to be benched for a while so he could heal, but being the tough solider that he is, Mr. Clipper was able to carry out his mission for the evening without further injury, but with a new nickname.

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Say What?

As someone who enjoys writing, I enjoy the English language. Polite Beau and I have enjoyed several conversations about specific words and their origin. He has a degree in English or something like that, so he’s a good resource. One thing that entertains me about our language is when people use words they think have one meaning, but actually means something completely different. I have a few examples, including what may be the best example of word misuse that I will share with you shortly, but other than mentioning Polite Beau at the beginning of this post, I am leaving all names out of this one.

One harmless example is a friend of mine who described a recent album by his favorite artist as his eponymous album. My friend was referring to this album as the best album this artist had ever produced, but in his haste to sound educated he threw out what might be called a $5.00 word when it wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, my friend misunderstood the meaning of eponymous. While many artists have an eponymous album, which indicates the artist and album share the same name, this wasn’t the case.

So, situation #1 for the misuse of words occurs when a person uses a $5.00 word, often to sound intelligent, when they don’t know the meaning of the word. This is the least forgivable of word misuse offenses. If you don’t know the meaning of a word, don’t use it. It won’t make you sound smarter to use a big word if you misuse it.

A different situation occurs when words are simply mispronounced. We all do this occasionally, but some do it on a regular basis. We once had a lady working in our office who did this constantly. Examples include her aunt who was on oskygen; her mom who had glucomia and her sore toe that thobbed all the time. I’m not sure how to classify this one, but she did it all the time and it wasn’t an intentional mispronunciation.

Situation #2 is just mispronunciation of a word whose meaning is clearly understood by the speaker. It happens.

The third situation is when a word is used innocently enough, but the speaker clearly misunderstands the meaning, often to their embarrassment.

This is my favorite story of word misuse and the reason I’m not including names in these stories. A friend of mine, who will very likely read this, relayed this story and I HAD to retell it at some point. My friend was spending time with her boyfriend, who is now her husband, and some other friends in college. Apparently they decided to light a large amount of candles and listen to music. I make no judgments on what else may have been happening, but we will assume everyone was of sound mind.

At some point the conversation turned to the overabundance of candles in the room and my friend, expressing her enjoyment of all the flames in the room, made the comment, “Ya’ll I think I might be a nymphomaniac.”

Friends, what I would give to have been in the room at that moment.

I mentioned her boyfriend at the time eventually became her husband. This may have been the day he decided to marry her. In fact, that statement alone may have led him to immediately purchase an engagement ring. I can’t say that for sure, but I can speculate. I can tell you that I would have lost it right then and there, possibly laughing to the point of exhaustion or incontinence. I know this friend well enough that I have no doubt this was a clear misunderstanding of the word. I am certain she meant to claim she was a pyromaniac, which I am sure you know has a completely different meaning, but it would not have been nearly as funny. I can only hope I am there next time this happens.


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I’ve Been Thinking…

I have been missing from the blog for a while. I haven’t been on strike but I have been busy and maybe a little lazy too. I apologize. Ironically, my last blog mentioned an attempt to post more regularly and then I disappear. Sorry. With that mea culpa out of the way, I have a few ideas for new topics, so MAYBE I’ll post several in rapid succession – or maybe not.

In keeping with the title of this blog (which I normally don’t do), I have been thinking about something. This isn’t a new thought, but I brought it up earlier this week at a meeting of the Institute of Hmm and I thought I would share it with you.

I know your immediate thought, “What is the Institute of Hmm?” It’s a think tank of sorts dedicated to thoughtful discussion of things that make its members think “Hmm.” Currently the institute consists of two members, me and Polite Beau. We drink coffee and discuss any of a wide variety of topics including our utter disagreement with the Dunkin Donuts ad campaign that claimed coffee drinkers chose their coffee over Starbucks. We agreed that no real coffee drinker would ever choose their watery excuse for coffee over the quality product brewed by Starbucks. Membership is full at this time but if we open it up to new members I will let you know here. Topics have to meet stringent criteria to be topics for discussion at the Institute. I list the criteria here for you now:

1. Must make at least 50% of the membership think “Hmm.”
2. Must not have an immediate and clear answer known by any member.
Recently I introduced a topic that has been on my mind for some time and Polite Beau felt it was a good topic for discussion so I share it now with you.

If someone has been blind since birth, what do they dream at night?

Good question, huh?

When I sleep, which is any chance I get but not often enough, my dreams are the same as most of yours. They usually involve werewolves… or my ability to fly… or showing up for school in my underwear… you know, normal dream stuff. Sometimes my dreams combine topics and I get chased by a werewolf while in my underwear and I evade him only through discovering I have the ability to fly. I’m sure you have similar dreams, but back to the topic.

If a person has been blind from birth, what do their dreams consist of? I dream with images I have seen, yet a person blind from birth has not seen anything. I would assume a dream like this would consist of sounds and maybe light and dark, if they have the ability to distinguish that. I thought perhaps their mind may create images, but what would be their point of reference to even know what those images were? As you can see, I could think about this for a while.

I know the Institute could probably hop on the internet for some quick research but that would defeat the purpose of talking about it over coffee. If you are close to anyone who has been blind since birth, feel free to ask them and let me know.

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I Should Have Been Embarassed (but I was beyond it)

Since the last time I was here I wrote about puking and my “stealth” puke skills, I thought it only fair to share with you a time when I was anything but stealthy. While painful to remember, I find this a lesson in humility, even if I didn’t see it that way back then.

It was Fall of 1984. I was 15 years old and as cocky and full of myself as you would expect from a 15 year old boy. I was “dating” a girl named Michelle. I normally make a habit of not sharing names here, but she married a classmate of mine and when I saw her at our 20 year reunion Michelle joined the Queen and me as we were discussing this story and she had no recollection of it. I have no idea how she could forget the story I am about to share with you and in a moment I am sure you will agree. Since she forgot, I see no reason to keep her name out of it.

Michelle’s parents had decided to take a day trip to the Georgia coast to take in a timeshare presentation. She was tagging along and invited me to keep her company while they spent 90 minutes with the timeshare salesman. I saw it as a day at the beach with my girlfriend and readily accepted.

Michelle’s Dad, or Cowboy as I liked to call him (behind his back) was not the gentlest fellow a young man could meet. He wore jeans and a cowboy hat most of the time. He took a dim view of the boys that might come calling on his daughter, which I completely understand now, and I was just one more suitor he didn’t seem particularly enamored with. It seemed every time I came around he would spit to the side a wad of his ever-present chewing tobacco and shake his head. I often wore parachute pants and sleeveless shirts that showed off my guns so I don’t see what he could find to dislike so quickly.

Despite the fact that Cowboy didn’t seem to like me much, he allowed me to accompany them on this trip. It was close to a three hour drive to the beach and I guess he thought he could tolerate me for that long.

One other thing about my friend I must mention is he was a bit on the frugal side. I am certain the timeshare salesman didn’t realize this, but I could have given him an iron-clad guarantee that he was not making a sale this day. I have to imagine there was some sort of freebie involved that convinced Cowboy to endure this sales pitch knowing full well he was not buying a thing. I only mention this frugality because it determined our lunch stop, which, as you will see, is important to this story.

As you drive across the state highways of South Georgia, there is not necessarily an overabundance of fast food options. There are a few, but we weren’t stopping at one of those expensive places anyway. No, for our lunch we stopped at what could be loosely described as a country store. In truth, I remember it as more of an old house at some empty intersection. The owners had converted the main area of the house into a store of sorts and sold your typical, although out of date, convenience store items. In addition to these items, they had a food counter. I can’t remember everything they had available for purchase, but I do seem to recall a hot display with fried chicken and burgers. I think the burgers must have been 2 for $1 or something similar. I may be off on the price a bit, but that’s immaterial. Suffice it to say that we stopped here for a takeout lunch and wound up with a sack full of burgers that had been sitting under a hot lamp soaking in a pool of grease for at least a day and likely much longer than that.

We ate our burgers; I may have eaten two, as we made our way to the coast. Michelle and I headed to the beach while her parents went to their sales pitch. We hung out on the beach and wandered the shops along the boardwalk. We stopped for ice cream and may have fed some seagulls and before you know it, the unsuccessful sales pitch was over and we loaded back into the king cab pickup truck for the drive home.

Up until now, the trip had been pretty uneventful.

That was about to change.

As we started our drive, things seemed pretty normal. We drove through a mostly rural stretch of Georgia highway, passing through a few small towns and some swampy areas that soon morphed into pine woods as we got further inland. Unfortunately, about an hour into our trip those greasy burgers started a minor revolt in my tummy. Michelle and I sat in the back seat holding hands like teenagers do. The windows were opened slightly creating a breeze (it cost more to run the AC) and we were relaxing and enjoying the ride home when I started to feel the slightest bit of discomfort.

It wasn’t long before my slight discomfort turned into a sharp gas pain. This was one of those situations where I wasn’t sure what to do. On one hand, I had a nasty gas bubble that was growing in my abdomen, demanding to get out. On the other hand, I was snuggled next to my teen-aged girlfriend in the back seat of her parent’s truck while they sat directly in front of me. This is the definition of a dilemma.

As I mulled my options, the pain in my lower region let me know that I was quickly running out of options. This was not going to wait 2 hours for me to get home. It might not wait 2 more minutes. What to do?!?

I felt like I might be able to ease the pressure a bit in a slow, subtle manner without making a sound. The fact that the windows were down slightly would be in my favor, masking any slight sound as well as moving the air quickly through the cabin. If I were careful and lucky I could slip a little “pressure” out without anyone hearing and any smell would be swept away quickly and/or disguised as an outside smell.

I was careful. I was not lucky.

Apparently the burgers had mixed with chocolate ice cream to create some type of noxious odor that could not be disguised. I soundlessly eased a bit of pressure and any relief I felt was quickly dashed by the horrible smell that engulfed the cab of that truck. When I tell you it smelled, I mean to say that I thought Cowboy might be bleaching the seats when we got home. It was horrendous and Michelle immediately looked directly at me with a quizzical/sickened/disgusted look on her face. Of course I did the right thing and just shrugged and glanced toward the front seat indicating it didn’t come from me but apparently from one of her parents. Neither of them said a word, but both windows in the front immediately rolled all the way down.

We traveled on as everyone tried to ignore the incident, no one acknowledging a thing. I can only speak for myself, but I am certain we all just assumed/hoped:

  1. That was a one time occurrence, and
  2. Whoever was responsible would feel better.

It wasn’t and I didn’t.

Within minutes of the first incident, I began to feel pressure again. In addition to the pressure, the faintest wave of nausea began to tickle in the pit of my stomach. I still held out hope that I could hold this in until we got home, or at least until we could stop for a drink and/or a bathroom break. Unfortunately, my hope quickly began to fade.

The pressure began building again and my only hope was to carefully release this pressure and hope for a better result, but even at 15, I knew better. Still in a state of denial I released the pressure and, you guessed it, the smell returned. By now I had started to feel the barely damp perspiration that comes when you realize something you ate is not happy and it is looking for a way out; any way out.

Again, my girlfriend looked at me and I didn’t even look back. I was busted and I knew it. The sympathy card was my only hope and I frankly was close to not caring. Apparently Cowboy noticed because I heard a barely audible curse under his breath. I won’t repeat it but it sounded like “ram”.

I was now at the point that I didn’t much care what happened. I was more focused on keeping those greasy, poisonous burgers right where they were. I didn’t want them coming up and I definitely didn’t want them leaving in the other direction. Nothing else mattered. By now the gas was back and I had no choice but to share with the crowd again. This time I got a pat on my hand from my girlfriend, who was now a bit further away from me, and a longer version of the same curse word from her Dad.

I probably should have been embarrassed, but I was quite beyond that by now. I had moved into self-preservation and all my focus was on my stomach. The rest of the world did not matter. The subsequent gas bubble, which was really more of a cloud by now, meant nothing to me. However, Cowboy felt differently. After my latest release and his subsequent repeat commentary we pulled into a store parking lot. Ironically, it was the same “country store” from earlier in the day. As he got out of the truck Cowboy announced he was going inside to get us all a drink. Looking at me, he asked, “Don’t you think you need to go inside too, boy?”

I agreed and got out of the truck, intending to follow him inside, but as soon as I rounded the back of the truck my burgers realized they were back home and made a sudden reappearance – all over the rear bumper of his truck. I was beyond caring, but, in his normal reaction to me, Cowboy spit, shook his head and kept walking.

I managed to make my way inside and clean up a bit. I spent a few moments in the bathroom being sure I was ok before making my way back to the truck that had somehow been hosed down already.

I drank a ginger ale and slumped into the backseat as alone as you can be in a truck with 3 other people. The rest of the ride was uneventful and as they dropped me off at home I remember Cowboy telling me, “Don’t go dying on us boy, I can’t afford flowers.”

Looking back, I think I see why my old girlfriend forgot this one.


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Bringing It Up Again (it’s not what you think)

I believe all the people in the world can be divided into two categories – those who are good at puking and those who are not. Some of us are able to handle our business with minimal fuss and minimal noise, while others seem to have a need to let anyone within 200 yards know they are sending their most recent meal on a reverse trip at high speed. The Queen and I fall on opposite sides of this division.

I can count on one hand the number of times the Queen has puked in our 20+ years of marriage. She is one of those people who is vehemently opposed to vomit (that’s just a gross word to read – I’ll stick with puke). On top of her opposition, she apparently has a very strong stomach. Unfortunately, the few times she has puked she has come close to waking the dead. I can specifically recall one night around the Rock Star’s graduation that some type of stomach virus swept through our home and affected at least 5 different family members, excluding yours truly. We had gone out for dinner with one of her aunts and a cousin when the Queen began to feel a bit queasy. She tends to get VERY anxious about stomach issues and was concerned that the virus that had already struck our new high school graduate had set its sights on her.

She was right.

Some time in the middle of the night, maybe 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, I was suddenly ripped from a deep sleep by this awful roar from our bathroom. It was approximately as loud as a jet engine and sounded like someone was yelling “bwwwaaauuuugggghuuucccckk!!!!!!” I felt like the Dad from “The Night Before Christmas” as I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. I wasn’t sure if a fight was occurring in my bathroom or possibly a bear had decided he needed a quick shower and had slipped into our house to bathe. Thankfully, it was only my lovely wife and her country fried steak dinner.

I got her a bucket to put by the bed and a glass of water and then lay back down and tried to slow my heart rate enough that I could fall back to sleep.

I, on the other hand, could be referred to as a stealth puker. I think this is a skill I picked up over time. I don’t think anyone is born with this ability, but it has come in handy at least once. In my teen years, specifically around 13 or 14, I went through a period that saw me puke most mornings before school, usually before leaving on a trip and then at random other times, although usually in the morning. I think it had a lot to do with post nasal drip and a stomach that was quick to reject. I don’t know for sure, but it’s something that I haven’t dealt with in decades, other than my freshman year of college, but the practice I picked up then apparently sticks with me to this day.

There was a day last year while at work that I began to feel a little abdominal unease. It was nothing severe, just a bit unsettled. I think I grabbed a ginger ale, hoping it would help, and went about my day. Unfortunately, as the day progressed, so did this feeling. It never got to the stage of imminent spew, but enough to make me wonder if that was coming. To complicate matters, I teach at a local college in the evenings and I had to leave work to teach very shortly. You may recall that I ride the luxury bus with no bathrooms to and from work each day and I began to think about how my ride home might become problematic should this nausea continue.

As the time to leave drew near my uneasiness had more or less settled in to the same level for the past hour, and while it gave no indication that it would pass, it also showed no sign of escalating. The bus would soon arrive so I made the decision to head for the bus stop and hope for the best. Not to leave myself totally unprepared, I did grab a plastic garbage bag from the trash can under my desk to go along with the white plastic bag with tie strings attached that happened to be in my briefcase. These will come in handy momentarily.

As I waited on the bus I called the Queen. We are people of faith and we both believe in the power of prayer. I asked her if she would pray for my stomach to at least hold it together until I could finish my bus ride. Knowing she was praying for me helped ease my concern somewhat, but while I absolutely believe in prayer and the fact that God answers the prayers of His children and the fact that He tells us to pray for all things, I also believe – like any good parent – His answer is sometimes “no.”

Today was one of those days when the bus was near capacity, maybe not completely full, but enough so that one gentleman chose to sit next to me. I had the foresight to choose an aisle seat and within minutes of sitting down, he was leaning against the window asleep. I normally nap on my trip home, but today riding with my eyes closed seemed like a very bad idea. Instead, I kept my eyes open and focused on keeping my lunch exactly where it sat.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. About 20 minutes into my 35 minute trip, the flop sweat began. That kind of cool, clammy feeling that breaks out suddenly in a thin line of sweat across your brow and your upper lip. Soon the saliva glands kicked in and I knew today was not my day. Lunch was on its way for a return visit and I was stuck on a bus with no where to go. Most of my bus mates were asleep or at least lost in the mass transit coma that occurs on interstate bus rides and thankfully the fellow next to me and the one across the aisle were both deep into the snoring stage.

At this point I realized God’s answer was “No” so I calmly unzipped my briefcase and retrieved my plastic garbage bag that I had already place inside the white bag with tie strings attached. As I felt the urge to purge approach its crescendo I leaned slightly forward to the briefcase in my lap and pulled the open end of the bag over my mouth as if I were breathing into it. In one silent motion I opened my mouth and let every last bit of my lunch flow soundlessly into the bag with not so much as a gurgle, grunt or burp. The perfect stealth puke.

As soon as I was sure I was done I lifted my head, wiped my mouth with a napkin I just happened to have in my shirt pocket, quickly tied the bag shut and zipped my briefcase closed. Looking around I noticed my seat mate was still sleeping soundly and the gentleman across the aisle snored on. Casually glancing at the seats around I saw everyone else either zoned out or engaged in conversation and not one of them gave me as much as a passing glance.

Obviously I disposed of my bag of bile as soon as I disembarked from the bus, but that’s not the point. The point is, I was able to puke on a bus loaded with 50+ people and no one noticed. You may call this a skill or you may call it a talent. That’s not for me to say. For those that do not have it, I can only pity you. Just remember this, when it comes to puking, if you can’t keep it in, keep it to yourself.


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I May Have Been Tricked

Just a quick thought for you today. I don’t have time for much more.
The Queen asked me earlier this week if I thought might be able to work from home this Friday. We have some friends from church coming over for dinner and she thought it would be helpful if I were here during the day. So I worked my schedule to make it happen and here I am.

The first sign of trouble came last night when she told me, “I forgot I’m supposed to meet Jodi for lunch tomorrow, but I’ll still be able to help you clean.”

Whoa, timeout. I knew there would be some cleaning involved but I didn’t think it would be all me. I assumed I would help some in between calls and emails but this appears to be turning into much more.


So today dawns and it has gone something like this…

We got up and the Queen emptied the dishwasher while I went to pick up bagels.
We ate.
She continued with the dishes and a load of laundry while I worked some emails.
She showered and got ready for lunch while I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen.
She left for lunch.
I will be dusting and sweeping and keeping laundry going and she will stop by the grocery store on the way home.
We will cook together.
I will still work emails and phone calls in between.


I don’t write this to whine (even if it sounds that way) and I honestly don’t mind helping with the cleaning. I just thought it was a little funny how the situation changed so suddenly and smoothly. I don’t think it was on purpose either, but funny nonetheless.

I need to stop so I can get back to work, but I know you are wondering, “if you have so much to do how do you have time to write this?”

Your answer… Multi-tasking. I am writing it in the bathroom. I know, some of you are officially grossed out, but I wrote it on my phone and I type fast. Get over it. You do it too.


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