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To Be Loved Or To Be Lusted?

Thanksgiving in my native Chicago was a time for reconnecting with Family. And like many family gatherings there were plenty of non-relatives who were along for the festivities. A "play cousin" of the family (that I can't say I honestly know) stopped by and managed to catch my eye as she took off her coat. I may have even gasped the way one might if they saw an angel. Thankfully for me, my wife wasn't there to witness my mouth fall open agog. Instead sitting beside me was one of my closest cousins who I consider a little sister. She caught me in the act and had plenty to say.

"She has a nice body, huh?" she asked me with her arms folded. Her voice, dripping with condescension.

I looked at her, nodded and made no attempt to deny the obvious. She shook her head.

"See, you men... (always a great way to begin a discussion) "...girls like that always get guys at the club."

First of all, the only girl in the room was my new third cousin who happily drooled as she bounced around on her grandmother's lap. I looked at my thirty-three year old, burgeoning entrepreneur, Master's degree in Engineering cousin and asked her if she seriously wanted a man from the club. Her eyes widened, having realized what she said. She quickly threw the ball back in my court by telling me men go after women like her (the play-cousin I won't claim) before they consider a woman such as herself.

"I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say," I responded. "But you're beautiful so don't even go there. There's a difference between lust and love and you're talking about being lusted after. That's what you want?"

My cousin, in true little sister fashion, told me to shut-up and stop being over-intellectual.

I definitely understand the pressures of those trying to get into the dating game. But with nearly twenty years of dating escapades and three years of marriage under my belt, I'll pass on being lusted after and take love any and every day of the week. Lust burns hot, bright, fast and out. Love endures.

How about you? Love or lust? Or a little of both?

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Shoelessnes - A Father's Shame

This post was originally published on MakesMeWannaHoller.com on October 27, 2009.

In my growing quest to remain calm, no matter what, when dealing with my teenage son he seems to have ramped up his efforts to make me dropkick him in his chest...

Last Tuesday or Wednesday (I've done my best to block the day out of my mind) I pick this kid up from football practice. He moseys over to the car as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. After receiving my normal blah greeting from him I run down the handful of errands we have to do before we go home. He looks straight ahead through the windshield as I'm speaking when he suddenly seems to process what I said.

"Can we go home?" he asked with alarm.

Figuring he had a date with the toilet I told him he can use the bathroom at our next stop.

"No, I need shoes."

I asked why. We weren't going anywhere special.

"No...I need to put on shoes," was his reply.

My face twists up and I swerved a little on the road as I try to make sense of what he's saying to me. My logical mind fought against the insanity of what my son was suggesting until finally I gave in.

"You don't have shoes on?!"

"No, cuz you told me to leave my running shoes in my football locker. And I wore them today."

"Huh? (half-second pause) What?! Lemme see."

He lifted up his leg a bit and he truly wasn't wearing shoes.

"Yeah, and I thought I had my shower shoes but I didn't."

"So you left the school without shoes?! Yes, I told you to leave your running shoes at school, but not if you were wearing them! You actually left the damn school without shoes?! Are you out of your mind?! Un-(oh, how I wanted to curse, but didn't)-believable!"

At this point I have one hand on the wheel and I'm no longer looking at the road at all. I thin my gaze on him and said, "Not even your country cousins would do something this country."

He began to laugh, completely tickled by his buffoonery.

I took a deep breath, collected myself and returned my focus to driving. "I'm going to need you to not speak to me until we get home," I told him. He continued trying to explain but with every attempt I yelled gibberish over his words until he finally gave up.

When we arrived home I should've done the right thing by going upstairs to bring down a pair of shoes and continuing on with the errands we needed to run.

Nope. I told him his mother and I spend too much money on him for him to be walking around without common sense and looking homeless in our presence. But he was welcome to do so on his own. I sent him on his way and waited in the car until he returned with his shoes. And he was astonishingly okay with that. I called the wife and let her know how her son left school.

I do remember being a teen...but not like this.

When my wife arrived home, she kissed our daughter, gave me a kiss, calmly walked up to our son and smacked him in the back of the head.

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Sports Authority Check-In to Cash In

This Black Friday, November 26, Sports Authority is giving away a total of $10,000 to Foursquare users who Check-In to Cash In.

On Friday, 11/26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST, Sports Authority will give away 20 $500 Gift Cards to lucky shoppers nationwide. To enter to win, shoppers simply check-in on Foursquare to any Sports Authority store nationwide and publish that check-in to Twitter. Winners will be randomly selected and notified over the in-store PA system while they are shopping, after which they will have 10 minutes to claim their prize.

To learn more about the Check-In to Cash In promotion, click on the Sports Authority promotion at the top of the right-hand column of this blog.

This Press Post is sponsored by Sports Authority.

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Turkey Time!

Besides traveling, dreading the sight of "that cousin" or "Aunt So & So" and going hog wild in the kitchen, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on everything that you are thankful and grateful for.

...and everything that you are not. Sometimes it's good to be thankful for things you don't have, like that woman/man who turned out to be a psychopath, that house you couldn't afford last year that is only worth half it's value now, or a sickness/disease that you've overcome.

Many of us walk around thinking how bad we have it. But best believe someone might just be a little worse off than you. Some people aren't even here to celebrate the season.

From the House of Payne to your house, be well, be blessed, be thankful whatever your circumstances may be and be easy on the pies.

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It's The Holidays...Do You Know What Your Kids Are Thankful For?

As I was putting my daughter to sleep last night I asked her what she was thankful for.

"My family!" she answered, almost as if I had asked a stupid question.

It's the little things...

The holidays, particularly during this era of economic uncertainty and hardship can be a source of great anxiety if not dread. But before you go too far down the rabbit hole of hopelessness ask your child (avoid teens at all costs) what he or she is thankful for. If you don't have one then they can be easily found at the homes of friends and relatives. You'll be
surprised how their simple, innocent answers can put things into perspective for you.

I want to challenge you to take this one step further. Write down everything you have. Not your needs or wants but exactly what you have. More than likely there'll be at least one thing on your list that will give you cause to be thankful.

Pass it on...

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The (Emergency) Shirt Off My Back

Happy Friday before Black Friday!

Last night I decided to make a stop at a coffee shop while on my way to pick up my son from his high school where he was attending a talent show. While walking back to my car I heard a noise to my left. My mind quickly processed the sound as: "Bruh."

I turned toward the sound and saw a man wearing a dirty white jacket huddled in the dark sitting on a staircase beside the building. I flinched and instinctively pivoted a bit, turning my left shoulder forward and clenching my fists (hearkening back to my training). In this economy I don't trust anyone, especially with the holidays right around the corner, especially in a city in which I'm not yet at home. And especially someone hanging in the shadows at night.

"Can you spare some change, bruh?" he asked once he had my full attention.

Relieved, I reached into my pocket and handed him all the change in it. It's what I normally do when approached by someone who is obviously homeless.

I told him, "You can't be sittin' in the dark scarin' people, man."

He looked at me and chuckled but not because what I said was funny but because it must've sounded ridiculous from his perspective. "Man, I am homeless, hungry and cold!"

Big baller that I am, when I heard this, I decided to empty my pockets of everything and give him whatever money I found. I produced one crumpled dollar bill...big baller that I am.

"God bless, you," he told me.

I went to my car and didn't look back until I reached the driver's door. The guy was still sitting there, blowing into his hands, rocking back and forth. Without thinking I went to the back of my truck in search of a flannel shirt that I've held onto since college days. Back in the day it was something I rocked proudly. Over the years it's become a layer I wear on extremely cold days. In the past couple of years it's become my "Emergency Shirt", that extra piece of clothing I keep in the back of my vehicle just in case I get stranded somewhere and need to change a flat or walk along the side of the road in inclement weather. Despite the tremendous purpose it serves in my life my wife hates it and has been trying to burn it since we met.

After a few moments of moving around all the football game blankets, I found it sitting crumpled beneath them. Dried white paint was splattered on one cuff. It smelled like manly worn fabric --- an aroma with hints of tools, motor oil, and dirt --- and it was as nubbly as it wanted to be from just being old and thrown around everywhere. I shook it out then held it out in front of me hoping it would fit the guy.

I returned to the homeless man and asked him if he'd take my shirt even though it wasn't in the best condition. He happily obliged me. I expressed to him my hope that it might help to get him through the night. He assured me it would and again said, "God bless you." As I walked back to my car for the second time he began unbuttoning his jacket to make my old layer, that I've owned since the age of nineteen, his new layer.

Had I not found that shirt I definitely would've given him the sweater I was wearing. That's just where I was in that particular impromptu moment, feeling more generous than I ever have in my life. All I had on beneath the sweater was a t-shirt. It was 47 degrees outside. But I have a scarf in my truck, a truck with a heater and a garage attached to a home full of heat. This man I just encountered has nothing.

Whatever the reasons for his predicament, it is not my place to judge. Giving this broken man my emergency shirt was the least I could do.

This weekend I'll be feeding the homeless with my family. With this holiday season set to kick off in a matter of days please consider doing some good for someone who really needs it. We all need each other more than ever now. I know this may sound a bit mushy/corny. But it's the truth. If you don't know where to go or what to do find your local free press (usually at the grocery store or neighborhood diner) and check out how you can help in your community. Otherwise, there's always Google.

Please see the following short-list of organizations who have accurate, up-to-date statistics on poverty and hunger and relying on everyday people to help end hunger in our great U.S. of A.:

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Are You Scared of Black Boys?

I recently paid a visit to Nerd Girl. It is one of the many blogs that I follow quietly as a lurker. A few days ago the author of this site wrote quite honestly of her fear of packs of African American (male) teens as an African American woman living in her city in a post entitled Some of My Best Friends Are Black. The comments were heavy and full of thought-provoking points of view. I'm not much of a commenter although I am a blogger, believe it or not. But with the recent and senseless death of Bobby Tillman at the hands of teens and the daily reports of wanton violence perpetrated by those who are not yet men, I did add my two cents:

"...any microcosm speaks to the state of the macrocosm and I feel that there are no differentiating lines between kids(teens) and adults. There is nothing to aspire to, nothing to mature into when you think you’re grown at 16 and then have no one cutting you down to size [or guide you] as my father did…fathers…when it comes to boys…all boys - the presence of a father (worth his salt) is a stabilizing and sometimes terrifying notion in a boy’s life. But fatherless homes are at epic highs right now particularly in African American communities so these kids, the thugs, the clowns, the jokers are running around unchecked, unsupervised, untrained and sadly unloved so they do what they do. Many times these boys think they are the man of the house because when they were little they were mom’s “lil” man and that never really changed. It’s only after they are apprehended, shot dead, or whatever that the consequences sink in, but why would they in the mind of a child? We hold our black boys in society to the same standard as a rationale thinking adult and we should when the crime fits, but at the crux of it they are kids, completely running off the rails with little to no guidance. Fixing this problem is the real problem. I do my best with my teen who at fifteen is 6’2″ and 3 inches taller than me. Some days he doesn’t like me and many days I wonder if I like him at all, but when he’s grown and has a fully working brain in his head and a sense of his place in this world, we can come together as friends, just like I am with my father…now."

How about you? Are you scared of black boys, white boys, teens in general? If you are a parent of a teen, how do you manage?

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WIVES: In Your Own Words - Part 2

Last week, I asked Fans of the MMWH Facebook Page, who are wives, to complete the following statement:

"A husband is a man who _____________."

Like our last post, singling out the wives...these are some of the responses that came in:

"...loves me MORE after everything about me is known to him! Everything!!!"

"...is a covering for his family faults & all! He is a HusbandMan."

"...puts up with the DAMSEL IN DISTRESS SYNDROME!"

"...leads by example for everyone that falls under his covering as well as those that cross his path. Not perfect, but understanding & embracing his call."

"...is strong as steel...and as smooth as velvet."

"...is your best friend."

"...is a great father to our children. Whose love is Forever. His actions match his words. He is a provider, protector, lover, and best friend. "

According to Meriam-Webster.com a husband (noun) is:

  1. a male partner in a marriage
  2. British : manager, steward
  3. a frugal manager

a husbandman (noun) is:

one that plows and cultivates land.

What would you add to this list?

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Hot Holiday Gifts from Jawbone: Fashion Meets Function On-The-Go

With the holiday season right around the corner Jawbone has two new tech toys that will make for a fashionable and functional holiday gift for you and your loved ones' increasingly mobile lives:

Jawbone ICON EarWear Collection: Sleek, Smart Headset

The new ICON EarWear headsets (SRP $99.99) allow people to remain hands-free and connected while they’re on-the-go. They’re now available in four brand new looks (see below) - Cashmere, Denim, Mesh and Suede - created by famed designer Yves Behar. The ICON helps anyone look great while offering them an extra hand whether they’re driving around town, packing for a weekend getaway or shopping. The ICON boasts features such as:

  • Listen to music, podcasts, Pandora and YouTube, or even turn-by-turn GPS directions all from your headset
  • Talk to text and tweet, or send emails and post to Facebook– just by using your voice
  • Military-grade NoiseAssassin technology blocks out background noises, so ICON users never have to strain to hear or be heard

JAMBOX by Jawbone: Stylish, Portable Wireless Speaker

The brand new JAMBOX (SRP $199) syncs with people’s favorite Bluetooth-enabled devices to wirelessly deliver rich, jaw-dropping sound, making it the perfect companion to phones, iPods, laptops and iPads. JAMBOX’s wireless portability and surprisingly small size give people the freedom to play and share their music, movies, games, apps and phone calls in the places they can enjoy them most - whether they’re hosting a house party, at the office, or on a weekend getaway. Designed by the renowned Yves Behar, JAMBOX comes in four brilliant colors and compact designs (see below). JAMBOX also gets better with time, as its built-in intelligence allows people to quickly and easily download the latest apps, features and software via Jawbone’s MyTALK online platform.

This is a Press Post that was provided by Jawbone.

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For The Love Of Dad


Fellow Black And Married With Kids staff writer, Tara Pringle Jefferson, recently wrote a wonderful, short and sweet shout out to fathers. It's called Dads Need More Love:

I’ve written previously about how much my dad means to me and I always write about how my husband is also the World’s Greatest Dad and how he can handle things just fine.

But so often when we look at the parenthood, it focuses so much on Mom. Just look at the magazine industry: Parents, Parenting, American Baby. None of that says “Dads not welcome” but if Dad is mentioned it’s usually in an article giving Moms advice on how to “deal” with him and his ways.

Eh, forget all that. I’m not ashamed to say that I think my husband is the better parent. He’s more patient and more fun. He tickles the kids until they’re all out of breath and he comes home with treats “just because.”

He knows when we’re low on diapers and more miraclously appear before I can even fix my mouth to ask him to run to the store.

...to read the rest, check out the original article, Dads Need More Love.

Photo Courtesy: E.Payne

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Love Is...Interrupted Sleep

My quest to fend off aging and stay healthy is never-ending. Part of this is getting a good night's rest. I have been trying for nearly two years to get in a routine of going to bed at a reasonable time so I can get my 6 - 8 hours of sleep in.

I haven't been very successful.

I pick up the effort every few months, most recently, this month. I've set my knockout for the night time at 11pm (ish) give or take a few minutes to make sure my teen isn't goofing off in his room instead of sleeping.

Lately there's been a new threat to getting a solid night's sleep and it isn't either of the kids. It is the wife.

On Tuesday morning
after staying up until 2 am to study, my wife bursts into our bedroom and addresses me with a military man's sternness:

"Eric! I don't know where my phone is."

I don't know who I am or where I am. I look at her like she's a loaf of bread.

She repeats herself, louder this time and I recognize where I am, who I am and who this is that's speaking to me. Now that I'm awake, why is the biggest question on my mind.

"Your phone?" I ask, incredulously.

She explains to me that she doesn't know where I put it and she needs to set her alarm to get up in the morning. I remind her that I gave it to her just in case she needed it while she was studying. She claims no recollection of this. I stare out into the darkness, jump out of bed, march down our new set of stairs, stomp through the living room to the exact spot where she was sitting and find the phone sitting right next to the laptop she was using to study. I retrace the path I took, stomping the entire way, knowing I wasn't going to get anything close to an apology, grumbling loudly to myself and hand her the phone. She could have used my phone (which was right next to my sleeping body) or the house phone to call the phone to locate it.

"It was right next to your laptop on the couch!"

"Why are you yelling?!" she asks, yelling back at me. "I didn't know it was there!"

What I didn't know was why she didn't look. Now the issue was no longer that I had been awakened for no reason at all. I wasn't awakened for late night kisses or an "I love you," I couldn't refuse. It was for a phone that had been beside her. The issue now was that I was yelling in the middle of the night and have a bad attitude when I wake up.

But I didn't wake up. I was snatched from sleep. And I stayed awake for another 2 hours trying to go back there.

On Wednesday morning
, (the very next day, Wednesday) at 4 am, my wife bursts into our bedroom having spent most of the night asleep in our daughter's room. It happens when we read her bedtime stories. I hope we're not the only ones.

"Eric, why are all the lights on in the house?!"

"Uhhhh...." is all I can manage.

Slowly as I came to myself and realized once again, who I was, where I was, and when I was, the question again arose, why in the hamfat am I being awakened for no reason at all?

Immediately, I was interrogated as to why all the lights were left on downstairs. When it comes to wasting anything in our house there's only one culprit --- my son.

"You know I didn't do that," I say. "I don't understand, if you saw the lights on, then why didn't you just turn them off?"

"I did but it was jarring to see lights on downstairs with all the lights off upstairs."

"The alarm is on," I interject.

"I didn't know that. I mean did you go to sleep before him [our son] and just leave him up to his own devices?"

Yes, he had a party with the bottle of Patron and Mount Gay in the cabinet,
is what I wanted to say. "Uhm, no..." I said too tired to be angry, "I was the last one asleep but he went back downstairs to get some water. I don't believe our electric bill is going to hit the roof over four extra hours of lighting in two rooms. Seriously."

Whatever else was said didn't matter. Again there was no apology. The comforter was snatched off of me as she got comfortable. Then the pillow I was lying on was yanked out from underneath my head.

"Are you kidding me?" I asked, stupified beyond stupification.

"Oh, you were using that?" she asked back. "Sorry." She pushed the pillow into my face, turned over and went to sleep. And men are the bad guys, I said in my head.

By the time I got comfortable again my daughter began to sneeze in her sleep until she was awake. I got up, checked on her and eventually managed to get some shut eye forty-five minutes before my alarm went off.

Love is...

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How To Retake The Day

  • On Sunday, a boy who might as well have been my own son, Bobby Tillman, was beaten to death for no reason.
  • Yesterday, I had the honor of being filmed as a part of a documentary covering the subject of "real" manhood. I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.
  • Since the release of the movie For Colored Girls, the perpetual and almost pointless men vs. women debate has recycled itself yet again. The dissonance continues with no resolution in sight.
  • Personally, I'm fighting to keep it together as the holiday season approaches, relatives are passing away and taking ill and a huge chunk of money I'm owed has yet to show up in my mailbox.
  • And so much more, but I'm a guy and guys don't share, right?
In a nutshell, I don't have the head for blogging. It happens from time to time. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow. But in the meantime, I can offer up an old cup of advice from a post I wrote during the Spring of 2008. It's advice on how to take control of your day in the midst of life appearing to be completely out of control:

This morning, I had an orthodontist’s appointment in Queens, coincidentally located in the shopping district of my old neighborhood --- where I settled down after settling down in New York from Chicago. Since becoming an acolyte of Invisalign, I’ve gone to each of my check-up appointments expecting the worst, only to be in and out (less a couple hundred bucks) in twenty minutes or so.

Before hopping back on the train to go into the beast that is Manhattan, I remembered I was starving. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat so I settled on a nice hot cup of coffee from an Asian deli off 71st & Continental Avenue. I was getting ready to go underground onto the subway platform when I saw a nice little stretch of park off Queens Boulevard (the Boulevard of Death). I abandoned my thought, found a bench and sat down to enjoy my coffee. I didn’t put on my iPod, I didn’t start texting everyone I know. I just sat down and enjoyed the cool breeze, the sounds of the city and the sun overhead.

It may sound corny, I don’t know, but it was a nice fifteen minute reprieve from being underutilized at work, playing project manager/manservant/dad to the kids, and never-enough husband (I’m joking, sort of). For fifteen minutes I just got to be me, without distraction or interruption. And I basked in it.

Even if it’s only five minutes, a walk during lunch, some reflective time spent staring out a window, everyone should take a moment to themselves in each day. It makes the daily grind a bit more manageable.

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WIVES: In Your Own Words

Yesterday, I asked Fans of the MMWH Facebook Page, who are wives, to complete the following statement:

"A wife is a woman who _____________."

These are some of the responses I received so far:

"...has to be strong enough to deal with her husband's foolishness and still allow him to be a man."

"...is always there no matter their faults, trusting in him, makes him feel safe and secure, being his strength when he's weak. just loving him for better or worst..."

"...loves the Lord and shows it through her actions toward her husband."

"...knows who she is, what shes worth and why she means so much to her husband. loves God and reflects that love in her interactions and words...and absence of words... respects that they're equally human and is able to gracefully handle imperfect circumstances and situations for the sake of the team (marriage)."

"...has many roles. Chef, Maid, Nurse, Mommy, Handyman, Personal Shopper --- the list goes on an on..."

"...holds it down no matter what even when he is wrong or right."

"...is her husband's everything. They have become one in God's eyes. She completes him and he has no complaints (well, sometimes, lol)."

"...means the world to her husband , when he is in her world there is no place he would rather be."
It is interesting to watch the dynamic. Some of the statements here are directly related to husbands, suggesting the condition of "wifedom" has everything to do with what a husband does or doesn't do. Some statements speak to teamwork and the nuances of marriage. Some are deeply spiritual. Mixed in with many of the above are assertions of wife should be, period, independent of a husband or what kind of day they might be having. Personally, I like these the most because the focus is on the self which ultimately makes the whole better. But that's just my opinion. What's yours?

What would you add to this growing list? What thoughts do you have on what you've just read?

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Threesomes (Revisited)


Originally posted on MakesMeWannaHoller.com on April 28, 2008.

There are only a few men who don't think ménage à trois when they hear the word "threesome." God forgive me for even desiring such a thing, but I never got the chance to indulge in this debauchery prior to being married and unless my wife completely loses her mind, I don't expect to have the opportunity now that I am. The literal meaning in French is "a household of three" --- a married couple and some other chick.

As it turns out, however, I've recently realized I've been involved in a ménage à trois for the past year or so, indulging at times at least three times a week. When my daughter decides she's done with the austere comforts of her crib, she makes her presence known in the middle of the night with a wail or a scream and joins our bed. Sometimes she never even makes it to her crib, as she begins her nightly slumber in our bed between us. Depending on how tired mom and dad are, we might not get up the energy to move her once she falls asleep. "We" means my wife because I am damn near dead when I'm asleep.

In any case, what I gleefully envisioned as a sinful, wonderfully lustful experience no less than two years ago has in actuality materialized into an experience where I am headbutted, poked in the eyes, slapped, kicked in the mouth and stomach, slept on, farted on, pushed off the bed, and deprived of sheets and covers. Sometimes only a few of these things happen (in varied combinations), and on other days, like last night, my daughter is capable of all of this. Once the sun rises, I greet the day beat up and ready to go back to bed. And who's out cold, sleeping like a lamb? My daughter of course. God has an awful sense of humor.

Photo Credit: Serch On Flickr

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How To Do Your Job Today, 11/2/2010

Don't know where to go?

Check out the following 2 online Applications:

Facebook's Polling Place Locator, or

Google Maps's Poll Locator

You can also get your polling location by texting "where" t0 30644 from your mobile phone.

Sound off in the comments below (if you like) that you voted. It doesn't matter which way you vote. What matter is that you do vote.

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Food Calms The Crazies

For those of you who don't know, before the year’s long wave of somber-serious-inspiration, this blog had comic relief at its foundation. In the early days I used to crack wise about my experiences, mostly new – with the wife and kids. But as the experiences have become routine and I have matured, I’ve grown less interested in showcasing my family’s routine activities. And I’ve completely lost interest in poking fun at their expense or my own.

That doesn’t mean the craziness has ceased to exist. Take last week for example:

I wanted to take the family out to see a photo exhibit a friend had on display in downtown Atlanta. Maybe at some point when I get my act together I’ll be able to afford one of the pieces. I've eyeballed two that would roughly set me back about $5K. I’ve already seen it [the exhibit] two times before and figured it would be an opportunity for my wife and I to dream big, and a chance to show the kids something they don’t always get to see. The plan was simple: the wife was going to pick the kids up at school and I’d meet them there.

No problemo.

Muchas problemas, actually.

  • Before my wife could even park she was calling me asking why the parking lot I told her to park in didn’t list the name of the gallery/store? I didn’t know or care and besides, what difference did it make? I was there waiting for them so there was no way she could get lost.
  • After she parked, she absolutely refused to wave her hand to let me know where she was in the parking lot because she saw me walk past her car looking for her.
  • My son stumbled out of the car, shoes untied and as disheveled as he wanted to be from a hard day spent breathing at school.
  • My daughter, ever the chipper one was the only one who appeared to be ready an open for a Thursday night on the town.
Or so I thought.

Once we were inside we said hello to the photographer and his wife and because we know them the two wives scurried off together to talk about whatever it is women talk about when they haven’t seen each other in a month. My son literally sat down in front of the table with the hors d’oeuvres and began to eat as if he were at our dinner table and my daughter refused to say hello to anyone, but made herself at home right next to her brother, grabbing cheese cubes with her bare hands. I couldn't believe it. It's not like we've never been outside before. At this point I was thinking that maybe we should’ve eaten dinner before attending. I spent the rest of my time there extinguishing one major, four-year-old’s temper tantrum, threatening the life of her freshly carved pumpkin to keep her from jumping and running everywhere and begging my teenage son to cease and desist from cleaning out the table of hors d’oeuvres. All the while I watched my wife out the corner of my eye, mulling about the showcase as if she were attending by herself. As I swirled about in dysfunction I did what any grown man would do: I poured myself a glass of wine. And then another.

So much for dreaming big... My friend took time from greetings guests to tell me we were a walking sitcom. I agreed...reluctantly.

Sometimes as a parent, you forget the basics of parenting, such as food being the ultimate cure of the crazies. The next time, dinner first, outing second, even if the outing only lasts for thirty minutes as this one did.

How have you managed an unexpected/awkward situation involving family?

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