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HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 07.30.2010
got nothin' on my manscape

PHOTO (permalink) 07.29.2010
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
July 2010

HEALTH, SCIENCE (permalink) 07.28.2010
let's get crackin' folks.
yesterday i had a dental cleaning at 9am and my annual physical at 11am. i was for sure poked and prodded enough for two tuesday mornings.

for those wondering if the one-way sign staked by my rectum is still standing, it is. the streak survives, assuredly thanks to an uber-low psa count in my last blood work. although, my doc hinted that i should prepare myself because the sign's days are numbered. he even had the audacity to say the c-word ... colonoscopy ... which definitely makes a gloved pointer finger seem quite innocuous. and once you get into colonoscopy country i think the DO NOT ENTER sign gets replaced with a VISITORS WELCOME sign and tour bus parking lines painted around the entrance.

so ... rectal researchers (e.g. invaders, divers, sightseers, medical enthusiasts) of the world, i implore you to get your collective act together because it looks like you've got two, maybe three years to improve your diagnostic weapons to achieve my dream of you being able to tell me the state of my prostrate and rectal cavity (nice!) from the other side of the room ... and while i still have my pants on. as for the colonoscopy, well they use big drugs for that. they might just need to tackle me at work and start the drip there.

i'd be willing to pay extra for that.

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 07.27.2010
people never knew the fountain of youth was actually just a pond, and in their own back yard
saturday bella ambled down for breakfast around 10:20 in the morning. she took her spot at the breakfast bar and professed to me, "i like sleeping late, reading for an hour and then eating breakfast five minutes before its lunchtime."

after she finished her proclamation, i stopped what i was doing to look at her. she could have passed for a preacher, prophet, philosopher, and truck driver, or all of them wrapped up into one which obviously looked peculiar coming from a well-rested, and mid-summer sated nine year old girl wearing pink pajamas with prancing horses on them.

FAMILY, TRAVEL, PHOTO (permalink) 07.23.2010
summer 2010 vacation - photo vomit


FAMILY, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.22.2010
summer 2010 vacation - most enlightening
yesterday i talked about the what i found most surprising about my trip, today i wanted to share what i found most enlightening. the moment came in the last hour of the 208 hour vacation experience. we were almost home. the kids were playing in the back as they had the whole way there and the whole way back. marty, in the seat to me, had her head back on the seat rest, her eyes closed, feet on the dashboard and a pillow wrapped up in her arms as if it were a stack of books and she were walking to class. after glancing at her for a moment i broke the silence by saying that when i was younger i was always hyper excited for vacations and uber depressed to return from them. but now, while i still love and anticipate vacations, i no longer experience the extreme elation and even more extreme letdown i used to. i view this in a very positive way as a mark of my daily life and routines and i'm immensely appreciative to have reached a place as satisfying as this.

without opening her eyes, marty responded that the thing she disliked most about returning from vacation these days was the solitude of her life. confused, i commented that it seemed she got out a lot, through arranged, weekly events with other stay at home moms and friends and such. she elaborated saying she didn't mean solitude as in simply being alone but rather solitude as in not getting enough adult interaction and that spending the lion-share of your time with someone whose conversational repertoire predominately consists of the question 'why?' takes a dramatic toll on an educated and previously mentally challenged individual. she went on to say how she totally understood how not all moms (or dads) could manage staying at home with kids because the reality and rigors of just you and a child or two at home are serious. the occasional bouts of disbelief at the state of your life, rational or not, could be defeating. i thought of a new neighbor, fresh from philadelphia and at home all day with a thirteen month old while her husband is at work and her with no local network yet. then i thought of our friend e-love who teaches school full-time and then changes gears, dramatically, to care for their children full-time in the summer months. even though e-love has the advantage of nine months of diversity, i imagine his scenario has to be an even harder lifestyle than a straight full-time parent who has at least the consistency-crutch to lean upon. after marty expressed her sentiment she slid into her quiet reverie again. i let her be and drove on wordlessly.

for some time now, i've been doing an exercise on monday mornings. it is from the happier book i read last year. in the exercise you are to imagine you are at the end of your life and mere moments from death. you have the sudden ability to travel, via a time machine, to your present day self. you are asked to contemplate and answer the question, 'what is the one piece of advice your expiring self would give your present-day self?'. last monday, my first day back from vacation and the day after i had the above conversation with marty, my answer to that question was, "be more empathetic about how challenging my wife's job of raising our children is — and how extraordinary she is at this job."

FAMILY, PHOTO, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.21.2010
summer 2010 vacation - most surprising
after a long family road trip and a week in a space that is not our home, the thing i found most surprising from this year's trip is how well our kids travel. they fare far better than i did as at their age(s) and i can't help but think they're better passengers than the seven kids packed into marty's family's wood-paneled station wagon, cage-match style. marty and i tried to dissect what it was that made our ilk so amenable to repeated twelve hour stretches in the car. i suggested that it was because they didn't routinely watch tv so their stimulus requirements haven't been unfairly "adjusted" thus making the notion of sitting in car for hours and hours untenable (we don't have a tv in our home so we obviously don't have one in our car, portable or otherwise).

but then there is also all the preliminary work marty does up front with their bins. here she goes out and buys a lot of dime store trinkets and activity books and travel games before the trip. she then sets each kid up with a bin or backpack of stuff they can do and throughout the trip sneaks new things into their stashes. although the older kids are now wise to her game and ask before we even leave if they can have a new thing now and if not when. also, with each new thing they get, alex is quick to ask if there are more new things or if the new thing supply has been depleted. hearing there might be another bauble or two in the wings creates a christmas eve like jittery anticipation.

this year i did something new and bought one thing to be worked into each kid's rotation. the one that got the most play was a license plate tracker game. it was a sturdy wooden plaque with the map of the us. on top of each state was a small block of wood that could be flipped. to start, you flip all the states to a text description of the state and its capital (after the kids learn the states, there is also a blank side option so you have to pick/find the state as well). when you see a car with a plate from that state, you call it out and whoever has the board will find the state, quiz the car on the capital and then flip it over, revealing a graphical representation of the state's license plate. the state capitals is something i never knew and would like to so i thought this would be a good way for me (and inadvertently my children) to learn them. it proved to be a great distraction and added a sporting element to our car time.

the other game i got for the trip and liked was a hangman game by the same company who made the license plate game, melissa and doug. although we only played a few actual games of hangman on it, it was mostly used by anthony to practice writing letters in the dry-erase part. what he would do is flip all the letters and body parts face down and then randomly turn the letters over one at a time. after flipping a letter he would draw it with the pen, and then erase it with his finger and go onto the next. i never quite figured out what criteria he used for flipping the body parts but there was some sort of logic at play in his head. in testament of how effective this was, before the trip anthony couldn't write a single letter, aside from the occasional, incidental capital i, and now the dude has written the entire alphabet many times, and with startling improvement.

another thing marty added this year, which i think started last year, was the kids get to pick one thing out at every gas stop. while the initial downside is it adds a small expense to the bottom line, the great upside is that they no longer clamor for mcdonalds which we only would ever eat at on vacation but have learned that they just want the toys and never eat more than six bites of the food and wind up starving again within the hour. and i've come to a point in my life where i can no longer stomach mcdonalds at all. and back in my work-traveling days, because of routine twenty minute lunches, there would be times i'd eat mcdonalds every day of the week, multiple weeks in a row ... and even liked it fine. but the best thing about the gas station allowance is watching the sorts of things the kids pick, the regrets they have about lesser picks, and how their choices fluctuate, sometimes wildly, seeing everything from bubble gum tape to a bottle of gatorade. the child's mind is a fascinating thing to watch, especially when it is confronted with selecting a single item in a labyrinth of florescent-lit of shiny, shrink-wrapped treats and eats.

FAMILY, PHOTO, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.20.2010
summer vacation 2010 - personas
on last year's vacation, you may recall, we issued vacation moniker's to the kids based on a prominent behavior we observed given all the time we spent in and around each other. this year we did the same. this is the result:
  • isabella 'bella daddy say whhaatttt??' walter dearmitt because of the mannerism she picked up from her hannah montana/miley cyrus marathon on one of the five televisions at our house rental. this is apparently something miley/hannah says at least once in every show using a funny, sing-songy affect which bella seemed to have perfectly captured.

  • alexander 'nuts and weiners' walter dearmitt because of how silly he got running around with a friend close to his age that stayed with us in the house. these games rapidly devolved into the boys (via alex's tutelage) constantly referring to, singing songs about, or threatening to karate chop everyone's nuts and weiners in the house. i couldn't be prouder that my boy was the one to teach their boy this lovely and becoming mannerism.

  • anthony 'pee-face' walter dearmitt because this is how he tries to keep up with his nuts and weiners older brother by calling everyone a pee-face. in mulling this over i've come to consider this an impressively effective and entirely under-used phraseology and one i will be introducing to my corner of society in the near future. which i guess ultimately means that in this cycle alex influences anthony and anthony influences me and this would be just about where i've always fallen on the trend-setting train my entire life.

and i reckon if we can brand the kids with personality-illuminating nicknames, there is no reason the courtesy shouldn't be extended to the parental units that allow the obnoxious behavior noted above to happen.
  • marty 'twin bed' jean walter because even though our room had a spacious and inviting king sized bed with an expansive ocean view, marty slept on a twin mattress on the floor (with an obstructed view of the window) because she couldn't deal with sleeping with more than one person in the bed (anthony and i) regardless of its size. by the end of the week, marty was blissfully alone on her twin mattress on the floor while i slept with not one, not two, but all three of our children in what proved to be a veritable tangle of humanity and limbs.

  • and i think i would have been branded troy "georges" lane dearmitt in honor of the book i was obsessively reading every free moment i could steal. the severity of my condition was fully exposed when i was caught reading in the corner of the toilet nook in our master suite's bathroom. i could see how an outsider might call it a bit off but this stool sitting beneath a skylight even if smack between the comode and the two-head, walk-in shower was made for a private moment and a good book, which georges by dumas so completely was!

KIDS, PHOTO, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.19.2010
summer vacation 2010
you hopefully didn't notice but i was away last week. as for where i was, i was at the beach. as for which beach, it was one south carolina way, just south of myrtle.

as for the week ... simply put ... it was great. it was eight days shorter than our 2009 outing but in the end proved more relaxing. i only left the beach house, for non-beach business, once. i never pulled my laptop out of its bag. i only had to respond to three emails (via an iphone). and, i read an entire book with days to spare. for a guy who enjoys time at home with family and who predominately sits in front of a computer and never gets as much time in his books as he'd like, i'd say the week was everything an over-committed, into-his-kids, introvert could ask for.

oh, and marty and i got some ok minutes together as well.

COMEDY, VIDEO (permalink) 07.16.2010
one of my favorite ever stand up shows ever

FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 07.15.2010
it's my "that's what she said"
i was talking with neighbor on the sidewalk in front of my house. she was walking her dog. a woman approached on the other side of the street. she was also walking a dog. when the dogs saw one another they started whimpering and making lunges against their leashes towards the other dog. the other-side-of-the-street woman seeing the dog near me, crossed the street directly for us. when she arrived the dogs began twisting and sniffing and jumbling up together mixing and crossing the two leashes crazily. no one said anything. then the woman extricated her leash from the mix, said good day, and continued on her walk.

the woman i was talking to me looked at me and asked if i knew the woman. i said i did not and that i assumed she must have. the woman scrunched her face, turned to look at the departing woman, turned back to me and derisively said, "who does that?"

the phrase "who does that?" and the intonation it was delivered with at that moment became my favorite quip and i've used in no less than five times since hearing it.

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 07.14.2010
move you ass!!!
"A textbook case. Trust you me, young man. Go after your girl. Life flies by, especially the bit that's worth living. You heard what the priest said. Like a flash."
"She's not my girl."
"Well, then, make her yours before someone else takes her, especially the litle tin soldier."
"You talk as if Bea were a trophy."
"No, as if she were a blessing," Fermin corrected. "Look, Daniel. Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it."

excerpt from the shadow of the wind by carlos ruiz zafon

FAMILY (permalink) 07.13.2010
taking bella's notion of togetherness to an all new height.
last week i talked about our time dog-sitting. there was an oscar detail i forgot to share.

in our current games of musical beds in the night, most days puts me and alex waking up together on a futon in the ping-pong room (anthony having made my usual and expected spot his place of choice). one morning when i woke up alex was staring at me with bright eyes. this was my first conversation of the day:

good morning dad.

good morning alex.



one time oscar was licking his nuts and then i saw a red thing come out of his privates and it was shiny and it was soooo gross ... and he was licking it.

people often comment on how calm and passive i come off at work. when your day begins with colorful, and wide-eyed descriptions of aroused, self-stimulated male organs, there ain't a lot life can throw at you that will sound alarming or disturbing.

WIFE (permalink) 07.12.2010
modern day archie and edith
once a year marty and i pick a show to watch together. we start at the beginning or wherever we left off and watch one episode a night until we are all the way through or caught up as much as is available. we watch at my desk, each in an office chair pushed up side by side in front of the laptop.

many of the nights i'll pop some corn. one night i noticed we each had a way of selecting our next piece of popcorn from the bowl. i watched her pick a piece or two and then sedately asked her how she selected her pieces. flatly, she said it was based on size. she then asked me how i picked mine (i guess i wasn't the only one that noticed our technique). i told her based on butter-coverage. then without further commentary, we returned to watching our show. this is marriage. knowing how and why your partner selects the pieces of popcorn they do from a bowl full of corn.

the show we are watching right now is lost. in a recent episode there was a scene where a woman had to leave her child, never to see him again. as the moment concluded i commented that i could never do that, walk away from my child knowing it was possible i'd never see them again. without looking away from the screen and between bites of popcorn marty replied that she could walk away at three in the afternoon. still without looking at me, she added it would be harder at night when they were sleeping and still and cute.

i was only momentarily shocked by this answer because i've heard people comment to marty how cute her kids were and they wish they could take one home. marty would tell them to come by tomorrow afternoon after two and before six because odds were fair that they could take one, two, and possibly all three home. this is another facet of marriage. knowing what time of day your spouse is most likely to give your children away in a fit of exhausted rage.

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 07.09.2010
if this doesn't incent you to buy this book, i fear nothing will

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 07.07.2010
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
pint-sized pi

FAMILY (permalink) 07.06.2010
somebody shut the front door!!!!!
we've been dog sitting for the last five weeks. he is a small, light-shedding, black and white terrier of some sort named oscar. he was obtained from a shelter by the family of a friend of marty's. he is very mellow and easy going which can be mostly seen in how he shoulders the unpredictable life of sharing living quarters with anthony.

the first week oscar was with us alex kept a small supply of dog food in an R2-D2 toy clipped to his belt-loop. every time alex would pass oscar he'd stop the dog, hunch himself over, pat the dog on the head, and ask if he wanted a treat. the first few times oscar would sit there jittery with excitement, his tail swishing erratically behind him. alex would then fight to open the small toy given it's awkward position at his waist. once open, alex would pluck a few pieces of dog food out and lovingly say, "here you go oscar-boy" holding his palm out to oscar who would nudge and push the small bits around with his nose before tentatively pulling them into his mouth with a lapping tongue. after oscar discovered these seemingly sacred and hard to get to treats were no different than the dry food he was already neglecting downstairs, oscar's body language emanated an "are you kidding me" affect and the impromptu R2-D2 snack breaks waned.

a few weeks in, the dog's owner, marty's friend, called to check on things. alex was the one to answer the phone. before marty became aware the call was for her, alex had told the lady that oscar threw up on a rug and pooped in the basement and that these things made his mom yell. by the time marty intervened, alex had the poor woman on the brink of packing up her family and returning home early in attempt to salvage this maimed relationship. marty, using all of her skills and grace, demoted alex's apocalyptic descriptions as mere transition pains and said everything was good and fine.

because i nickname everyone and everything, i took to calling the dog osky. one morning when i passed through the kitchen for breakfast and bid osky a good day, anthony told me not to do that and that osky was a bad word. before i could defend myself, bella jumped in, telling anthony that osky wasn't a bad word. after a pause and a reflective grunt from anthony bella added, "that is unless you change the 'aaww' to an 'aahh', and remove the 'skee'. then you had a bad word. and if you added the word 'hole' on the end of that word, then you would have an especially bad word." there is something to be said for getting what you know will be your most terrifying and surprising moment of the day out of the way before you have even have pants on.

two days before oscar was to leave, i asked bella what she thought the best thing about having oscar was. she thought for a moment, just a moment, and said the best thing about having a dog was it brought our family closer together. i asked her to explain why. she went on to say that since oscar needed lots of walks it caused people in the family to go out together; she and mom, she and i, anthony and i, she and alex. and also, there were several times where we'd gather around to see how someone was playing with oscar because it was cute or funny. i will give it to the girl, she can make a solid on-the-fly argument that is more cogent than i've seen grown men make in the heat of debate. in thinking about her observation, i would say that in the last five weeks just about the only one on one time i shared with anthony was while he and i were out walking oscar. although i guess i should also count the numerous times when i was explaining to anthony, one-on-one, that a dog's anus is not its GO button even if it looks like one and pushing it does, without fail, make the dog go.

in the end, we've learned the kids are closer to being ready for a dog than they were a year ago. we've also learned the same could be said of their father even if my progress hasn't been as significant. and we've learned that when all is going well, marty could possibly be caught petting and loving on the dog. that said, we've also learned that when marty's not feeling the life with a dog, the dog and whoever is responsible for bringing the cur into marty's home better sleep lightly until marty's funk passes.

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