Daddy Keeps His Promise

Well, folks, I was true to my word. Took the kittens to Chuck E. Cheese, or as I like to call it, Chuck E. Bola. Had lots of fun. But what made it all worth it was hearing my son say as we left:

“Daddy, I’m glad I took my medicine. Thank you taking me!”

Love these kids.



How to Get Your Smart(Alec) Son to Take His Medicine

My lovely wife needed some time to recharge.  She’s been very busy over the past few months working on a project.  So she went on a trip with some of her friends.  Lucky for me my two best (read: only) friends decided to hang out with me.

She's content to watch TV and sleep in my bed.  Clearly she takes after me.

She’s content to watch TV and sleep in my bed. Clearly she takes after me.

That’s right, I’m hangin with my kittens this weekend.  It’s not like I don’t hang with them every weekend; it’s just a special Daddy-Kids time this weekend.  The really fortunate thing for me is that there are no two people in this world who adore yours truly like they do.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be a dad? It’s like having a built-in fan club!  Plus, this means I get to do some fun things like let them stay up late (it’s a weekend anyway) and bust out the box of Cosmic Brownies!

Although I will say this.  It was funny last night.  Whenever my wife is out of town I prefer to have the kids sleep in my bed with me.  They’re little.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to sleep in a comfortable king sized bed with cable TV?  Well, Baby Girl presented no issues and was out like a light.  Sonny Boy, on the other hand…  It seems that someone really likes his kid sized bunk bed because he’s been hanging a comforter off the side and pretending it’s his “fort”.

This wouldn’t be a problem if he wasn’t also super-excited about something we’re doing tonight.  You see, about ten days ago he had to start an antibiotic for a slight ear infection.  Typical for him, he didn’t want to take the medicine because it was “gross”.  So Daddy, being the ingenious man he is, made a chart.

“Son, for every day you take your medicine, I’ll put a star on the chart,” I said.

“But Daddy,” he said, “Could it be something different like a lizard?”

“Son, Daddy doesn’t know how to – oh never mind.  I’ll figure it out.  Does it matter what I draw?”

“But Daddy,” he said, “I learned about lizards in school.  Or maybe you could draw a crested falcon?  They look like bald eagles which are the national bird.  Did you know that?”  Crap, apparently when I was conceiving him I was actually making a copy of myself.  Good to know.


So he got stars in the morning (when Mommy filled in the chart).  At night, when the man of the house took over he got a picture of the two of us, some kind of Mesozoic sea creature, and our Jack Russell Terrier.

So he got stars in the morning (when Mommy filled in the chart). At night, when the man of the house took over he got a picture of the two of us, some kind of Mesozoic sea creature, and our Jack Russell Terrier.

“Yes, pal, I did know that.”  Now my options were to either move on and get to my point or to counter him with more knowledge and thus prove that I am superior.

“So, son, did you know that Thomas Jefferson actually wanted the turkey to be the national bird and not the eagle?”  Take that, little man.

My son looked up at me and sighed.  “Of course, Daddy.  I thought everyone knew that.  Do you remember that time you made me watch 1776 with you?”

“Son, that was like two years ago.”

“But I remembered it.”

You sure did.  OK, let’s move on.  “So, as I was saying, if you finish all ten doses then – what is it now?”

“Do you mean I have to finish all ten over the ten days or how about if I took two on Sunday and then none on Monday because I don’t think I will want to take any medicine on Monday.”

Believe it or not I let him finish as he explained commutative math to me and how he was going to take ten doses over ten days by doubling up and skipping days; until 30 minutes later…

“…And that is how I would like to take my medicine, Daddy.”

I simply stared at him, exasperated.

“Look, kid, you gotta take the medicine the way the doctor told you to.  Don’t  ask why.  It’s because ultimately he spent lots of money to go to med school and Daddy didn’t.  Understand?”

Where a kid can be a kid.  And a dad can be confused.

Where a kid can be a kid. And a dad can be confused.

“Where was I?  Yes, take the medicine, I draw a picture of something, and then I’ll take you to Chuck E. Cheese since the one part of my DNA you seem not to have gotten was good taste.”

I can’t honestly recall what happened next since I was driven to drink pretty soon afterward.  I think I drew a picture of Jane Wyman from Falcon Crest, called it a bald eagle, and put him to bed without the medicine (thus requiring him to take two doses the next day).

Bottom line, we’re going to Chuck E. Cheese.

What Happened to My Hair!?

I shaved my head again!

I had more hair than I realized.

I had more hair than I realized.

The both of you might remember that almost one year ago I shaved my head in solidarity with my mother-in-law, Wilma, who was going through chemo treatments for breast cancer.  Well we’re still kicking cancer’s bony ass but it seems we have to do it one breast at a time.  No, Wilma’s doing great.  This time it’s my sister Mary Ann.  She’s now my second sister to face down this evil, hateful bitch.  One can never be too harsh in reference to cancer.

So this morning, after going to mass, my wife asked me to drive us over to the site of the big fundraiser we had been a part of yesterday.  It’s for my kids’ school.  It was an Oktoberfest and it was a complete success and then some.  I got to emcee.  It was a blast.  But, being the organizers means that we had to clean up the day after.  Hundreds of folding chairs and tables, pumpkins and potted mums had to go somewhere.

“Honey,” I said, “How about I drop you off and while you get started I’ll run back home and start some laundry?”  She was fine with this because we were, as a family, on the verge of running out of… underwear!

That's how we do it.

That’s how we do it.

I went home, started the laundry, and then decided that since I had time I’d also FaceTime my sister and we’d shave our scalps together.  It was actually a fun moment.  At one point, clippers in hand, I started singing Carwash.  “You might not ever get rich… But lemme tell you it’s a-better than diggin’ a ditch…”  Classic.  And my dance to it was even better.

I returned to the festival clean-up, freshly shorn and excited.  And as I was walking across the lawn another one of the dad’s from the school who was carrying some hay bails passed me.

“Hey, heard you’re all cleaned up down below.  You’re wife spilled the beans.”

I nervously laughed and then said “No, I just did the scalp.  Trust me, I’m good.  And, my wife said that?!”

Turns out my precious wife had jokingly related that I was cleaning our laundry so I wouldn’t be without a clean pair of boxers tomorrow but NOT that I was also shaving my head.

Thank God this little girl still loves me (shaved or not).

Thank God this little girl still loves me (shaved or not).

And it only got better folks.  Lots of good natured fun at my expense.  I don’t mind.  I enjoy at least being the center of attention.  There’s no such thing as bad publicity.  But the best line goes to my son.  He spent the day with Wilma on the last day of the State Fair.  Very late this evening they both walked into my kitchen while I was working on a column for another site.  He looked straight at me, paused, and then said:

“Daddy, did you get a haircut?”

If I were feeling like my old man I would have responded:

“No, son, I got ‘em all cut.”


On a special note, please keep Mary Ann (my sister) in your prayers.  More than anything, the spiritual weapons we possess from God are the real instruments of destruction in this battle (and all our battles).  I greatly appreciate it.  She does too.

Guess I Passed?

How is this for and apnea test?

Remember my recent sleep study? Guess who fell asleep today in the waiting room of the otolaryngologist?

That’s justice.

A Storm’s A-comin’…

It’s Texas.

It’s October.

It’s…  Time to batten down the hatches.  Lawdy, there’s a twister a-comin’!

When did I become Scarlet O’Hara?  In all seriousness, folks, wherever you are tonight I pray that you are safe, happy, thankful, and secure in the knowledge of God’s love for you.  I also pray that you are sharing that love.  Hey, you clicked on this post.  That says something.  Now about that storm…  Well, according to the weather service we here in Big D are expecting a whopper overnight.  Say a prayer we’ll muddle through.  Updates tomorrow.

Ominous Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (PD)

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (PD)

My Constants

Had another fun evening  with the kids.  Actually, I had a magnificent day all around.  And the brilliance of this day is that it helped solidify a few thoughts that have been bouncing around my head for a few weeks.  To quote the late Joan Rivers “Can we talk?”

A few things in the past couple of weeks have threatened my psyche.  Having learned from past mistakes I know that the thing to do is NOT to get down.  Rather, the thing to do in these situations is to take time out and not do anything at first, save to pray over what I’m going through.  I have had, in the past, moments when, out of frustration, I have thrown my hands up and allowed myself to get into a mood, an air of discontent.  What I’ve been able to learn is that I am in control of how I feel.  No one should have that power over another.  If something is not going right I need to just let it go and then find a way to rectify not the problem but my role in it, and then move forward.  What I have discovered is something I ought to have been able to recognize from the beginning; but too often the beautiful things around us are obscured by the pain we let grip us.

Recently I have dealt with the realization that sometimes our “friends” are not the people we thought they were.  This one’s tough because the energy I put into relationships is over-the-top.  So I step back and think about it.  Maybe I go too much into a friendship and that’s not always what someone else is looking for.  What kills me is that I know that I cannot mask my emotions.  Never been able to.  Others have told me they admire that inherent honesty in me.  I, on the other hand, hate that I can’t simply be alone with my hurt pride until it’s gone.  I’ve come face-to-face with the ugly reality that my judgment is not always so reliable.  And this is OK.  We’re not perfect and maybe that’s what bothers me in these moments.  I strive too much for perfection.  I want to be that best friend, the master teacher (at work), the confidant or awesome brother or whatever.  In prayer and especially with the Gospel I take comfort knowing that I don’t have to be anything more than what I’ve been called to be where I’ve been called to be it.

However, this time, instead of finding myself with a jumbled ball of anger, hurt, and confusion in my hands not knowing what to do with it, I have been blessed to recognize who the constants in my life truly are — the ones who are always with me in spirit and who will always love me and look to me with kindness simply because I am me.

If you read yesterday’s post you know that I was given an opportunity at work today to take over the school’s social media.  I started out the day a bit nervous but quickly realized I was having way too much fun.  In stepping into this role I kept feeling this sense of comforting reassurance that these incredible young men and women who all look up to me are some of the folks who love me and who value my presence in their lives.  I love them right back and can’t imagine my life without them.  Today was a wonderful chance to see that and experience it in a beautiful and fun way.

Coming home I picked up my kids from my mother-in-law.  She had been watching them while my wife ran some errands.  There was just something about our crazy, hectic evening tonight.  We laughed, we put down some squabbles, I cooked dinner and we ate together.  These two, even more so, reminded me how special I am to them.  Again, the feeling’s more than mutual.  At work we watched a documentary that featured a young man of 20 who was being reunited with his dad.  The dad had walked out for ten years.  I turned to my students and, pausing the video, got angry for a moment.  “I could not even begin to imagine not seeing my children for ten years!”  But I need them as much as they seem to need me.  Their love for me shown in the simple gesture of a kiss at the door when I walk in or an excited description of what was learned at school today. This is everything I need to remember God’s love for me.  So they’re my constants.  They’re always here for me.

I hate sounding selfish.  Who does this guy think he is?  But the truth is that I think we all need to feel that special love and yes, sense of being needed from others every now and then.  At least I do.  And that’s why these past few weeks have been such a blessing.  Thanks be to God for helping me see it differently this time and thanks be to my constants for being so constant.

Pondering the Big What-If’s

truthandcharityPosted another column over at Truth & Charity this week.  I invite you all to take a look.  I’m particularly fond of this one since it’s very personal and since it involves one of my old friends, Dan.

Sometimes, due to our perversely fallen human nature, we weak men tend to misuse a great capacity that we’ve been given precisely as human beings.  That is, God has crafted our humanity with the ability to reflect.  To my knowledge no other creature on the planet can do this.  I’m not talking about self-recognition when staring in a mirror.  Apparently my Jack Russell Terrier might be able to spot himself in the looking glass, although the jury’s still out on that one since he also licks his nether regions after meals.  No, I mean that we have the ability to think back upon things that were and, in conjunction with the gift of reason, analyze past events.  This is a wonderful gift as it means that our memory is not just to be used in the service of our instinct.  I remember eating tomatoes once as a child and hating them.

In related news, I’ve started using these articles as fodder for my students to teach them particular spiritual lessons.  “Get into BlackBoard and check out the article I posted, kids.  You’ll love it and I hear the author’s a real stud.”  Hey, it’s not as if I didn’t write them.  Today, some of the boys in one of my classes looked at the two I’ve posted so far and said “Hey Mr. H, you seem to have a lot of women commenting on these.”  “Well, boys, Mr. H. is popular with the ladies,” I replied.  I didn’t tell them that the two comment-givers are my sister and a faithful blog reader from this page.