"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shaken or Slurred?

I thought a funny idea for a blog post would be a list of potential cocktail names. Much to my surprise, many of the ones I "invented" are already out there. Can you tell which of the following are real and which are mere figments of my imagination (which, obviously, was influenced by the Belvedere and diet tonic I had once I got home from work)?

NOTE: I'm not a mixologist so don't claim to know what would go in any of the made-up ones, but feel free to comment with your list of ingredients if so inspired.
  1. Horny Bastard
  2. Social Media
  3. Sacrifice (just so a non-drinker could order a "Virgin Sacrifice")
  4. Gay Wedding
  5. Filibuster
  6. Kardashian
  7. Fiscal Cliff
  8. Presidential Veto
  9. Joe Biden
  10. Gerrymander
  11. Abortion
  12. Sub-Prime Mortgage (made with the bar brand; a "Prime Mortgage" would be top shelf, no?)
  13. Handgun
Scroll down for answers:

All the odd-numbered drinks are real; the even-numbered drinks are from my imagination which is currently two of three sheets to the wind. Yes, there really is a drink called an "Abortion", and I gave credit to Handgun because my research came up with 3 related drinks - "Hot Pink Handgun", "Smoking Gun" and "Revolver". No "Semi-Automatic" or "Background Check" - yet!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Parenting Mistakes I *May* Have Made With Our Son

  • I should have told him that our potty-training activity to "point and shoot" at the Cheerios floating in the bowl was limited to just the bathroom.
  • There was probably a better answer when he asked, "Where did I come from?" than showing him the video his mom and I made on our wedding night.
  • Taking him at his word that "baby teeth can grow back" may have cost me an extra $480 in visits from the tooth fairy.
  • Like many young boys, he went through a phase where he wanted to "marry" his mother. Staging a "ceremony" with the two of them was a harmless way to work through that temporary infatuation, but I wish I hadn't agreed to the alimony and child support payments.
  • Just because he said all his friends were doing it, I really shouldn't have let him drive himself to school during second grade.
  • Telling him he was getting old enough to be responsible for cleaning up after himself was the right thing to do. However, giving approval to grab "whatever tools you need" was poor direction, which I realized after he used the pressure washer to tidy up his room.
  • I should have not relied on his say-so that being allowed to skip a grade meant he could stay home for the entire school year.
  • Telling him he was the "man of the house" when I went on a business trip was an effort to impart feelings of maturity and responsibility. However, I wish I'd spoken up when I came home and found a "For Sale By Owner" sign on the front lawn.
  • Giving him sparklers to celebrate the 4th of July and a bunny rabbit at Easter weren't all that risky -- but letting him fly to Cabo for Cinco de Mayo during 7th grade wasn't prudent.
  • I really should have insisted he change the parental control password on the TV remote back to the default setting. I missed an entire season of "The Sopranos" because of that.
  • Looking back on it now, he may have been trying to pull a fast one when he said it made perfect sense to let him download his essay on "The History of Plagiarism" directly from the Internet.
  • Just because he said all his friends were doing it, I really shouldn't have let him take his date to the prom in a helicopter.
  • I think he was being less than truthful when he said all the after-school jobs he sought required application fees and could I front him the cash?
  • I am also suspicious that travel for his senior class trip to Daytona Beach was not via "the space shuttle" and question what my $40,000 ended up really being used for.
  • Has anyone else heard of an online university program that requires enrollees to live in a dorm and be on a meal plan?
  • Just because he said all his friends were doing it, I really shouldn't have let him take out a million-dollar AD&D policy on me, since I could barely afford the premiums. Although I was flattered when, just this week, he expressed his thanks by servicing the brakes on my car.
One mistake I did not make was to collaborate with his mother on producing a loving, bright, funny and generous child. Upon reflection, it might have been poor judgment giving that kid up for adoption...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some People Spasm, Some People Don't

Just back from a relaxing and restful few days away and I'm once again experiencing back spasms. While there is generally a physical trigger behind an attack -- I think wrestling Carol's ginormous and over-stuffed suitcase up the stairs one-handed is the likely cause of this latest episode -- I've come to realize there's often an emotional component intertwined that exacerbates the muscular misalignment. It's the difference between a lift, "Ouch!", and on with the next task at hand versus a lift, "Ouch!... OW-WOW-WOWCH!" and being laid up for a day/days or the occasional week.

Many years ago Carol and I visited her parents for the weekend. It was a long weekend, made even longer by unsolicited offers of advice/lifestyle disapproval (them) and clipped responses/petulant displays (us). Long story short -- we stayed a day longer than we shoulda. We were loading the car while in escape-mode; jamming everything in as quickly as possible so we could get the hell outta there. I went to put a suitcase in a tight spot in the backseat and gave it a solid push with both hands. I felt a twinge in my lower back that radiated along both sides. I stopped and stood up straight; the pain subsided and so I returned to the suitcase and gave it one more substantive jab to get it wedged in and SPROING! my first memorable back spasm. I couldn't stand up straight, couldn't catch my breath, felt a mixture of physical pain and mental confusion over what was happening -- and then burst into tears. Carol came running through the garage out to the car and asked what was wrong. I could barely speak through my sobs and gasps for air. To her ever-lasting credit she took me by the arm and gently guided me into her parents' living room, where she applied ice and utilized some gentle massage and manipulation (for those of you who don't know Carol, she's a PT) in an effort to get the spasm to settle down. As I hobbled past my mother-in-law, she looked at me with scorn and asked, "What's wrong with HIM?" The tension and distress over the sour visit, I am quite sure, transformed what should have been an "oops!" moment into an "OMG!" trauma.

[Brief diversion in the name of harmony/evolving maturity: I had a wonderful relationship with my in-laws, loved them dearly, thought of them as second parents and miss them both. But that one visit...]

I quickly (within a day) recovered from that first notable spasm, but over the years found myself experiencing them on a regular, if not frequent, basis. And often, when I had the presence of mind to be reflective, I'd realize the spasm settled in after some kind of upheaval: an argument with my wife; stress at work; financial pressures; other personal issues. We all have our crises and deal with them as best we can, but sometimes our best is insufficient based on the tools or techniques then at our disposal. We learn, we grow, and I think I'm now quoting the lyrics to an Alanis Morissette song. I'd like to believe over the years I've learned how to be a better-functioning person, acquiring improved coping mechanisms and able to express my feelings openly and constructively and all that crap... but still those moments come where I let anger or disappointment get the better of me, and if those moments coincide with some poor musculo-skeletal posturing (often flagged by hearing me exclaim, "No, I don't need any help with it!"), then I risk tumbling yet again into the Chasm of Spasm.

This current discomfort was "caused" by springing out of the car after sitting for 2.5 hours and then clutching Carol's steamer trunk overnight bag and carrying it into the apartment. However, the underlying issue was unquestionably the feelings I'd been wrestling with since last week about a career set-back; nothing earth-shattering but some news regarding an opportunity that was not what I'd been hoping to hear after waiting for several months, and thoughts about which I couldn't completely resolve even while being away on vacation.

So, today I'll be taking it easy -- ibuprofen, an ice pack, repeating my mantra ("Those people are IDIOTS..."). And next time we go on vacation, I'm looking into FedEx'ing our luggage back home.