Thought I’d check in with a prompt from the good folks at the Daily Post.
Tonight it’s a single word:
So here goes…
Thought I’d check in with a prompt from the good folks at the Daily Post.
Tonight it’s a single word:
So here goes…
After years of lamenting not having a decent male friend with which to bond, I have found myself with not one but two “bro’s” to hang out with.
There was a time, in fairness, when I used to hang with my brother who’s ten years older. We were living in the same general area of the country and we had a lot of fun seeing movies or meeting up for dinner. But then we both moved and we don’t get to catch up so much anymore.
Tonight I got to do something I haven’t done in years.
I played darts.
Unlike my last foray into the world of hurling sharp-tipped mini-spears at a wall (which I believe ended in a lawsuit) this time I fared a bit better.
Either way, I greatly enjoyed the time and hope my friendships with these two continue strong.
Tonight I had an opportunity to spend some time with a friend of mine.
Truth be told, he’s not an “old” friend. In fact he’s younger than me and we haven’t known each other more than a year and a half.
But tonight we had a chance to get together. And I’m so thankful we did. We hung out and enjoyed a few cocktails while catching each other up on the bizarre goings-on in our lives.
At the end of the night we joked that this is how men say they love each other.
“Hey, you wanna’ drink tonight?”
“Um, yeah, I guess. I was gonna’ get online and game with my brother but I guess I could have a drink or two.”
And that’s it. We took advantage of the goodness in God’s creation (i. e., distilled spirits) to cut loose and chat. That’s how we do it. No penned-in date on a calendar, no agenda. No, just two guys and some alcohol on a patio talking about our lives.
Since I know he’s reading this, thanks for the conversation and thanks for the booze! If you’re wondering whether I enjoyed my time, don’t think twice about it. We should definitely do this more often.
And today — TODAY, my friends — begins yet another road trip!
This time we set out for a week at the beach. Since this is Texas that means our choices were limited to three. As Padre and Corpus Christi are a bit too far, we packed the car and headed out on our drive to Galveston! Faithful readers will both remember that we took this journey almost exactly five years ago. This time, though, my mother-in-law Wilma and I decided to throw a wrench into my wife’s plans. “Honey, why have we never been to Houston? We always drive through it but we never stop there,” I asked. “Damn Houston,” came her response. I was puzzled. Surely the largest city in our fair state (fourth largest in the nation) must have something to offer the casual wayfarer. I relayed my conversation with my wife to her mother. “That’s so funny! Jim [her late husband] used to always say the same thing! I don’t get it. We’ve been to Houston and I know there must be something to do there.” She (Wilma) and I decided that if my wife could get a decent rate on a hotel room for Sunday night we should drive down to Galveston a day early and explore the Bayou City. Lucky for us, Priceline came through and we were Houston-bound!
Wilma and I were sooooo super excited! My wife, not so much, but she played along nicely. The kittens were excited to be going anywhere. They have inherited a sense of adventure and a love of travel from both of their parents. Actually, from my wife they inherited a sense of adventure and a love of travel. From their dad, they inherited a fear of thrill rides, a love of silliness, and milky fair skin.
I’m still not sure why we had to leave at 6AM but off we were. The drive down I-45 from Dallas to Houston is about four hours but it didn’t seem to take quite that long. We do have a knack for making a ton of pitstops but they usually lead to fun stuff — off the path historic sites and weird museums. This morning they led to a few gas stations for coffee refills. We made it to Houston just a little too late for mass at the beautiful Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. That’s the 11AM mass we missed. No matter, we quickly shifted gears and headed to Aquarium. I hate fish. Nonetheless, this was fun. Baltimore has the best aquarium I know of, but this was a decent rival. The fish were absolutely disgusting to behold. My daughter, in particular, hated the “exhibits” though, like her old man, she seemed to enjoy just being there with the people we love. And when it was over, we headed upstairs to lunch at the Landry’s Seafood Restaurant at the Aquarium! Again, I hate fish so I had a burger. But my mother-in-law and I realized once again why we get along so well. LIQUOR! Holy cow, they were good drinks. They were so good that when we finished and ventured out into the plaza and I boldly proclaimed to my son “Hell yeah, I’ll go on that bigass ferris wheel with you! I ain’t ‘fraid of nothin'” And I almost believed it.
Twenty minutes later I was atop the city of Houston wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Ironically, the booze only started to wear off on the last go-round so I was fine up until that point. Then I stepped off, realized why so many people hate the weather in this town. It was just like back home in Newark growing up — mid-90’s, humid as all get out. So it was back in the car and on to check in at the hotel. Then we headed back out to drive past the old (dilapidated) Houston Astrodome! Why, you ask, would we drive past such a thing? Well, it’s a Modern Marvel site and I love Modern Marvels. Finally, it was off back to the cathedral for evening mass. Beautiful place. It’s only about six years old but considering the other modern crap that passes for Catholic architecture these days, this place was quite nice — inside and out. On our way out, I pointed out the Cardinal’s gallero. The gallero is a broad-brimmed, red hat with many rows of ornate tassels. Cardinals used to wear them but today they’re only ceremonial. Houston only recently got their very first cardinal (Daniel Dinardo). In fact, he’s the first cardinal ever from the American south. A seminarian walked past us and he and I tried to explain the significance of this hat to my son. However, my son thought we were talking about a sombrero. “I know, Daddy, it’s like those Mexican hats they sell at Six Flags.” Exactly, son.
Let’s get some rest, kittens. Tomorrow comes early and we’ve got a huge day ahead of us.
Tonight, my wife and I hosted several of her friends from grade school for a dinner party at our house. It was a beautiful evening. We told them to bring their kids, too, since our kids would, naturally, be there and they would all be able to play together. The fact that one of my wife’s friends’s husband is a doctor was also reassuring to me. If any of the kids went too crazy and, say, jumped headlong off the tall dresser in the general direction of the bed but missed and went through the wall; I figured we’d be covered. The fact that he was a pulmonologist (and not pediatric at that) only meant he’d have to work harder to save them.
The plan was simple. The adults would enjoy a leisurely dinner in the dining room while the kids (nine in number and averaging between 3 and 6 in age) would play in our kids’ room. After all there were tons of new Christmas toys and games to enjoy! Who wouldn’t enjoy banging the heck out of that drum set that Granny bought my son? I know I certainly haven’t thought about it… But basically, the plan worked as we thought it would. With the adults (including Dr. Lungman) checking in on the kiddos every few minutes and the fact that they were within earshot the whole time, it seemed that they had a grand old time. Fortunately, so did the adults.
Unfortunately, this is all that’s left of my Trivial Pursuit game…
PS: No harm done. I like my game but I love my kids and I enjoy seeing them have a good time with their new friends.
“What keeps you up at night?”
Currently? It’s a lovely little drug called tramadol. It’s also working to keep my pain in check. It’s the weirdest thing because I’ll sometimes wake up after midnight and just not be able to go back to sleep for hours. And it’s not even like I’m tired here, just awake.
Also tonight what’s keeping me up is… my wife! Now now, get your minds out of the gutter. For Valentine’s Day (a holiday she does not like to celebrate) I gave her a weekend with her girl friends — a so-called “girls’ weekend”. Somehow this got shortened to a “girls’ evening”. Apparently my loving spouse wanted to take advantage of the time away from me and the kids to get tore up because she instructed me to drop her off and pick her up. I’m expecting a call whenever the bars close. Hey, if I had to live with a crazy blogger/teacher I’d probably want to get tore up once in a while too.
When am I gonna’ get tits!?
Driving north on US 15 through farmland just to the east of Gettysburg, PA I looked around the car to notice that, as is customary, I was the sole waking occupant of the car. Me. The frieking driver. Noooooo, that’s not cliche. And so I turned on the radio. Nothing here, nothing there… In fact, all of my pre-sets were boring me. “Wait… There’s a Broadway channel” I thought to myself. At the precise moment I hit the button at the end of the fifth row of pre-sets the aforementioned line from one of my favorite shows, A Chorus Line, spewed forth from the speakers like it was nobody’s business. For the record, the song — titled “Hello 12, Hello 13, Hello Love ” — arrives at a moment in the show when the dancers in the chorus line are all recalling their teenage years. I looked at my surroundings and thought: “How providential that a half-million men gave their lives on this spot or we’d never get the chance to express ourselves as a people in quite such terms. Oh, and about my knowledge of musical theater… I’m convinced Sean — who is of late filling the role of foil with ease (certainly better than his efforts for Keith Fimian paid out) will have something to say of a snide nature. Let’s just say it’s all in keeping it well-rounded. That last line was definitely not a play on the first line of this story.
Man, I wish I had more time to write.
Last evening (two nights ago as I write this) Karla and I attended a gala to benefit a charity we like to support. Could I be more vague? We took full advantage of the fact that both Bridget and Karla’s mom, Wilma, were at home to watch the kids. We also got into the VIP reception before the main event. No real VIP’s here unless you count the Virginia Attorney General. OK, so the whole thing was to benefit a clinic that provides neonatal care to women who cannot afford it. However, if the “uninitiated” had wandered upon the ballroom of the Dulles Hilton it would have looked quite strange, what with the myriad of priests and pregnant women present. Whatever. We drank and had a good time. We even ran into our old parochial vicar. Karla told him: “Oh my God! We totally miss you at the parish! We loved your homilies!” At this point the thought flashed across my mind: “No, we didn’t. They were obscenely long.” Karla, knowing my thoughts, slapped our priest on the shoulder with a loud thud and said: “But for real, Father? They were WAYYYY too long.” His reaction startled me more than anything. He laughed very heartily. We’ve invited him for dinner. Let’s see if he remembers any of it.
Does anyone know what’s at the other end of US 15 from us? If you answered Harrisburg then you get a gold star! But since I do not have any star stickers you’ll have to settle for a framed needlepoint of two kittens in Puritan garb stitching a recreation of the Bayeaux Tapestry on the head of a pin. Wow. That was strange. Anyway, it was time to bring Bridget home for a while. Wilma, hasn’t been to Hershey in a while. Wouldn’t you know that on the ride up (all the way in the back of our Accadia, God bless her) she had her prayer book out and was just consumed, at least to my reckoning in the rear view mirror, with contemplating God’s beauty in creation and communing with her Lord in prayer. Then she dozed off for a bit. Then she woke up to “Tits!” I do believe her head went right back into that prayer book for the next forty-five minutes. We visited with Mary Ann and family. Then we went to Hershey’s Chocolate World. I love this place more each time I visit. This time we took Ben on the mock up of the factory tour. He’s been on it before but he really seemed to appreciate it this time. “Cows!” he shouted as the car took off down the motorized track. “Yes, Ben, cows.” It was so cool to see his eyes get wider and to hear his expression of joy and wonder. I am so glad we took him on this ride. A few minutes later we were in the car and I posed the following question: “Why can I not lose weight these days? It used to be so easy. No, I’m actually gaining week over week now. What’s up with that?” “Um, honey?” my wife interjected. “Yes, dear?” “You just dropped a piece of that Heath Bar fudge you’re eating.” “Oh, thanks. Don’t want that to go to waste.”
On our ride home (after a lovely dinner, thank you Mary Ann) Wilma attempted to ask me a question from the back. “Uh, Tom, honey, how much longer do you think until we’re home?” “Not long.” Long pause. “Did you just call me ‘Tom’?” “I think I did.” “OK, Velma…” I have a feeling this will become a new “thing” for us.
What a day!