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PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 09.05.2014
for those wondering about the back story with the last gallery posting, it is this.

it was the day of bella's annual save the children carnival, her third. she did her recruiting. she completed her planning. she hung her flyers. on the morning of, when we pulled into the lot where the carnival happens, there were three large construction dumpsters on the blacktop of her space, consuming more than a third of the lot and blocking the spaces reserved for half of her booths. upon seeing this i turned to her. her unblinking face was frozen in disbelief at what she was seeing. then, her face began to soften. it continued to sag until tears were seconds away. i put my hand on her knee and said it would be ok. we still had lots of space and would adjust. predictably, she said space or not it was still ruined with these giant, ugly things right in the space. her sound logic continued as she quickly adding strong observations like "who wants their children playing on a construction site" or "they're taking all the shady spots".

after stopping the car, we walked to the dumpsters to see what was in them. after climbing up and peering over the edge we were greeted by this (see photo). the carnival was on the day before father's day and that cardboard box was front and center. i nudged bella with my elbow, pointed at the box and said, "you're all good. grandma nyla has your back."

i could see bella, still rather flummoxed at the luck, dismissed my comment. as we hopped down from the dumpsters i stopped her and said:
bella. what? really? you don't believe me. you don't believe that sign as a marker that you're going to be ok? there are three giant construction dumpsters here for a school renovation. you're telling me that when we climb up there to look in them, amid all construction rubble is a box that says "happy father's day -- nyla" is not a sign. how many people in your life have you met named nyla? how in the world does that box get there when it's not even fathers day? of all the places that box could have landed, it is right in front of where we climb up, sitting between you and i, not to mention situated in a way where we could see it perfectly. if you think all those things just happened in your most trying moment of the year, you go right on and think that, but i'd suggest you take it as the thing it most appears to be—a sign that everything is going to go just fine?"
i don't know if she ever believed me or not but things did go just fine.

you may not believe me either. if so, how many people have you met in your life named nyla?

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.23.2014
is this thing on (tap, tap)
my employer recently began a toastmasters group. the second i saw the opiton, i enrolled. one week ago today was our club's first meeting. and at this meeting i had the honor of being our club's first speaker. the first talk you are asked to do as a toastmaster is a six-minute ice-breaker. below is the transcript of my ice-breaker speech.
the name of my talk is who i am and why i'm here.

for a man of my mature years, defining oneself can be a little tricky.

so, i'm going to solve this by starting with my birth and ending at this very moment right here.

that may seem an ambitious goal to achieve in six minutes but i'd guess that for many in the room, standing in front of an audience and told to entertain them for six minutes will feel like a lifetime, so it's actually rather fitting.

to begin.

my name is troy lane dearmitt.

i was born and adopted in lancaster pa.

when i was six, my parents poured their combined wealth on a twin bed in a one room space they occupied. the family fortune on this day came to 23 dollars and some change.

a few months later, my family left the state of pennsylvania in the dark of the night, my father, after fitting as many of the family possessions in the car as he could, rolled it down the hill past the landlord's house to escape detection.

we drove west along the canadian border until hitting the rocky mountains where he turned left.

the money ran out in fort collins colorado. this is where we'd spend the next twelve years. (the story goes, if gas was cheaper in cheynne wy, that is where i would have grown up, but my dad, ever the stickler for a good price at the pump, even to this day, didn't like what he was seeing in cheyenne and thought he could pull another sixty miles from the tank).

aside from puberty wreaking havoc with my hair, the twelve years i spent in colorado were quiet and uneventful which worked well for my demeanor.

when i was 18 my mother started a second career as an std woman for the cdc. translated this means a sexually transmitted diseases woman for the centers for disease control. and yes, your assumption is right, there is not an 18 year old boy on this planet that wants his mom working, publicly at least, in venereal disease, but i'd need another six minutes to get into the neurosis this brought on, but to give you a taste, i'll add the picture that i was usually the only boy in my college class who when pulling his book out of his bookbag would have five condoms spill into the aisle.

six months after arriving in st. louis i was thunder bolted by a st. louis girl. for those that might not know what getting thunder-bolted means, it means after seeing a person, the next thought to come from your mind's printer contain the words 'that is the girl i am going to marry'. and yes, this is like the greatest, most important, most valuable piece of knowledge a young man can ever receive. there is only one exception to this informational windfall and that is when the girl you were thunderbolted by did not get the same message, which was the case here. thus, i got to spend the next eight years convincing here i was the man she should marry (she had many suitors) which in time she did.

as our relationship solidified i assumed between st. louis and colorado we'd be living in colorado. but it is very true what they say about st. louis girls white-knuckling their zip codes because here we are some twenty years later.

and that is how i came to be in st louis.

next, as promised, let me share how i've come to be specifically in this room.

everyone i've mentioned this toastmasters affiliation with, who knows me, has expressed surprise.

the reason for this is for the past twenty years, every job i've had has included or been solely about public speaking.

so people who have seen me talk or work wonder why i'd join such an organization.

the reason is i have a secret.

the secret is before every speaking engagement i've ever done, a war has been waged in my mind.

a war full of shouting and intimidation.

this war was waged before i gave my first talk twenty years ago.

this war was waged last week when i guest lectured in a class of graduate students.

this war will be waged again this friday when i give an hour long talk to 100 law students.

and yes, this war was waged before this talk today.

the good news is in the last twenty years i have never lost this war. i've never avoided a speaking opportunity and every time i said i'd speak, i spoke.

but the smartest among us say that the true victory is not in winning the battle—the true victory is avoiding the war.

that is my personal goal—to not have the war.

and that is why i have come to be in this room today.

and that is who i am and that is why i'm here.

FAMILY, PERSONAL (permalink) 12.12.2013
now closer to 90 than to my birth, as e-love would say.
i turned 45 last sunday. i took the friday before off work, not so much for my birthday but mostly to prepare for my everyman wrap party happening saturday night, although i snuck some troy-centric things in along the way, namely burnt butter pasta at the old spaghetti factory for lunch. because of the early prep, the saturday party went off anxiety and issue free. sunday offered more leisure-time and some visiting of friends (some who had a new labrapoodle puppy--i'm now deciding between getting one or two for our home). we then went out for my ritual birthday dinner at cafe natasha and their mystically good beef kabobs. because we had leftover mama nat ice cream pie from the party, we returned home for desert (instead of the usual stop at ted drewes). at the dinner table, my family sang happy birthday and marty and boys gifted me a new bike pump to replace the broken one i've been cussing at for over a year. my twelve-year old daughter then handed me a three sheets of type-filled paper and instructed me to read aloud.
Bella will now read the rest of your birthday present to you (please hand this back to Bella).


You're officially 45 (when I first made this list I thought that it was 43!). It's either that or 99 or 100.

This is my birthday present to you. I started making this March 25th (knowing that it would take this long to come up with 100 thankfuls for you). I thought of it the day that you listed off 40 things you were thankful for about our utah ski trip. It was also a day or two before the VOICE VOTED OUT EXACTLY ALL OF THE GOOD SINGERS!, but you'll hear more about that later.

Before I say anything else I must make you promise that if we are fighting or throwing insults at each other, you promise that you will not refer back to this. Promise?

Below is a list of 100 thankfuls I have about you:
while tempted i will not bore you will all 100 items. here are a few from the start and end, with a few from the middle sprinkled about.
  1. I'm thankful that you were able to see right from the first time you met mom that she was the woman you had to marry.
  2. I'm thankful that you didn't give up when mom didn't instantly fall in love with you, or soon, or later, or really later (but she did eventually fall in love with you, it's a miracle).
  3. I'm thankful that your mother picked you to be the child she adopted, otherwise none of this would have happened... wait, no, if your mother's mother never gave birth to her then she wouldn't be alive to adopt you, no wait, if you're mother's mother's mother never gave birth to your mother's mother ... never mind, the butterfly effect ;)
  4. I'm thankful that you thought up the "$15 credit" thing. As I've heard your friend say, it was the best investment and phone call you ever made.
  5. I'm thankful you and mom got married, when she eventually realized that you can't judge a book by its cover.
  1. I'm thankful for all the potty jokes you and the boys share. Mostly I'm thankful for that because then my brothers don't come to me with their potty jokes.
  1. I'm thankful that you would go from one edge of the world to the other for me.
  1. I'm thankful that you're my someone who I get to joke around with and make crude and mean comments to. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives.
  1. I'm thankful that you have the Troyscripts. I know that I have my moments when I probably make you hate that you made them in the first place (like, when I come home and tell you that the kids at my school found them).
  1. I'm thankful that you've helped me develop into the amazing writer I am today ... maybe I'm not amazing, but I'm thankful that you've helped me become interested in writing.
  1. I'm thankful that you gave me tons and tons and tons of advice about boys, maybe a little too much.
  2. I'm thankful you let me get a bikini.
  3. I'm thankful that you're able to look past all my flaws (not that I'm admitting I have any).
  4. I'm thankful that you lived another year, and that you chose to spend it with us.
  5. I'm thankful that you're the man you are today.
  6. I'm thankful that you love me.
if you'll please excuse me a moment. i'll be off crying (again) for a bit.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.13.2013
some call them flaws, others call them character.
to the person who expressed surprise that there is enough of a slope in my garage to cause a car to roll out, my garage (house too) is 89 years old and there is nary an even, flat, or straight surface to be found on the entire lot. and should you luck into a proper plane, give it five months and you'll find it is not what it was. that is one of the exciting charms of owning an old home.

the other selling point of an old home is it will never change its status on you-you start with an old home and you'll end with an old home. buy a new one you have to deal with modern constructions schizophrenia of saying:

it's a new home.
it was new when we bought it.
it's about ten years old now.
it was built in the 90's.

before you get to say the magically constant, "yeah, we live in an old home". those who know know my struggle with transitions know what a boon this claim is for me. and i'm not saying it's healthier, i'm just saying it's easier.

LIFE, PERSONAL (permalink) 12.04.2012
makin' and bakin'
last week (friday, saturday, sunday respectively) i hit three meaningful milestones i've been working towards; one professional, one personal, and one family related.

professionally, a project i've been giving effort to for the past year (not exclusively) went live for our collaborators. for those who create you know what sharing something you've invested that heavily in means. for those who aren't in a creating-sort of occupation, you could liken it to taking a naked picture of yourself standing in front of a full length mirror, posting it on the internet, and asking what folks think.

personally, the everyman matured once again. this year proved particularly poignant as over the past few years i lost my focus to the professional version of the contest. while i funneled my energies that way things slipped a bit with the original jewel. when i stopped the ride long enough to look around i became truly dour. the low point was last year's competition with barely 500 entries. then i had to cancel the wrap party days before because of a lice scare. such dumb luck would usually sadden me but given the nose dive the contest took, it proved to be the most merciful action through the long, embarrassing, public decline. but that reflection brought me to mothball the pro contest, swing all the guns back to the original everyman. this year saw more than 1800 entries from over seventy countries roll in. and they were wonderfully varied and rich—what i love most about the everyman. in reviewing the winners, i can say i'm predominately thrilled with the results (i'm especially smitten with the winners of the spirit award).

and lastly, the family success, we have broken bones on our home's floor plan once again and have everyone shuffled into their new rooms. since before the birth of my first child i had visions of building each of my children a loft bed slash desk. not from a store. not from a plan. just from a bunch of thought and observation. barring a custom cut piece of glass for the desktop, the final deck screw got seated, flush might i add, on bella's desk last weekend and she began settling into her new space. more on these room transitions soon.

part of my process involves a fallow mental and productivity period after large bursts of creativity or making. while i've earned and need a brief respite, my problem is i'm just as excited at my next endeavors (on all fronts) so fear my mental lull is already under fire by vibrating neurons and fanciful visions of what can be. the classic "good problem" to have.

PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 10.10.2012
my band-aid against that relentless foe: time.
the latest installment of my weekly regiment. the fall 2012 schedule has more change than any update in the past. the factors inducing this include:
  • marty's return to work
  • bella's starting middle school
  • my commitment to addressing some long-tabled house work.
  • because i have to get up earlier, i had to move the lion-share of my workouts to earlier in the day.
  • my enjoyment of swimming has grown to where i'm now doing it twice a week.
  • a new friend recently turned me on to a high intensity strength program called tabata.
another factor not entirely evident on the schedule is my new commitment to sleep. i've hit some point in my adult life where proper sleep has a profound impact on my productivity and effectiveness. of course it's possible this has always held true but i'm just now paying attention enough to realize its effects. either way, i ravenously protect my seven hour sleep window, giving it priority over virtually all else.

or view the five year evolution...

click to enlarge

PERSONAL, FAMILY (permalink) 10.09.2012
the only thing that makes light speed look pokey: time.
do you remember when i posted my family countdown back in july?.

well, today the countdown reads 100 days less than the day i posted it, even though it seems like i posted it seven minutes ago.

25 more stretches like that--from when i posted it in july until this moment in early october--and my daughter no longer lives in my home.

twenty five.

that's it.

twenty five more blocks of time like this recent block and she's gone.

100 days from now it will be twenty four.

i want to say a string of really bad words.

but, instead i'm going to go read shel silverstien with my six year old ...

then play monopoly with my nine year old ...

and then watch some music videos with my eleven year old.



PERSONAL, QUOTES (permalink) 10.01.2012
two years.
Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people. In our age of increasing distractions, it's more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective and remember that life is brief and tender. Death is something that we're often discouraged to talk about or even think about, but I've realized that preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.
excerpt from candy chang's "before i die i want to ..." ted talk (link)

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.20.2012
blissfully bored
i failed to detail a facet of last weekend's bookguy-troy trip. given the amount of distance we had to cover, we weren't quite sure exactly when we'd arrive in albuquerque. we knew it would be sometime sunday but couldn't know precisely when. to be safe, we booked the return ticket for monday (a direct flight departing at noon). saturday's drive had a few bumps in the form of a late start (i had to run anthony to the doctor before we could leave) and car drama (the check engine light came on due to a loose gas cap) and some highway shutdowns (which led to a detour through some picturesque farm country). hoping to hedge for further mishaps, we set out early on day three. this pro-activeness delivered us to our destination in the early afternoon, allowing bookguy to drop me off at the airport and finish the last few hours of his drive in a sane hour.

after getting lunch (an extraoridnary lunch), we drove to the airport and looked for a nice/new looking hotel for me to spend the day and night in before my monday flight. after passing a few we pulled into a holiday inn express. unlike the standard holiday inns, these are reliably clean. given the early hour and sun-cooking day, i asked the counter girl if there were any outdoor pools nearby. she said there were not any in walking distance. i said i'd make do and took the $100 room she had offered. after paying and getting my key, bookguy and i exchanged a back-clapping hug and he continued on.

i went to the room which proved nice as expected. i took a twenty minute nap on the king sized bed. upon waking, i grabbed my bag and set out to find a spot in the shade with a view of the mountains to read my book from. as i climbed the hill away from hotel the two o'clock sun already had me sweating. i stopped to survey the land looking which way to go. in my scan a large blue umbrella caught my eye. i walked towards it and found the hotel just next to the one i checked into had a beautiful small outdoor pool that was totally unoccupied. i glowered at the holiday inn, miffed the clerk i just spoke with wasn't conscientious enough to tell me that if i wanted a pool, the place next door had one. i decided it wasn't in the cards and continued my walk up the hill. as i looked about i saw nothing but dry, brown desert. then two drops of sweat rolled down my cheek. i wiped my forehead. it was drenched.

i turned around, walked into the lobby of the pool hotel and asked how much for a room. $100. i slid my id and credit card across the counter and said i'd take it. after getting my key, i walked back to the holiday inn, grabbed the few items i left there. i opened the door of my new room (a three room suite!!! with a kitchen!!! and an outdoor pool!!!—for the same price!!!), changed into my trunks, grabbed my swim goggles (preparedness!) and book, and happily made for the pool. i enjoyed being the sole patron of this oasis for the next four hours. being a recreational pool, it could not shoulder any lap swimming, but it had a perfect design for me to practice flip turns. so for the next four hours, i enjoyed the feel of royalty under a deep blue, western sky dappled with the occasional extra-white, billowy cloud. my routine? i'd read a chapter of my book - the girl who played with fire - and then slip into the cool water and practice executing flip-turns for ten minutes or so. chapter. flip-turns. chapter. flip-turns. chapter. flip-turns. in this whole time i saw three people pass by the pool. none entered. adam levine may not have it this good.

then at seven i checked in with my family, had a green salsa sushi roll in downtown albequerque (the hotel would even shuttle me to and from town if needed!!!) followed by a movie (prometheus which was disappointingly disappointing). i then returned to my room, sacked out. i woke early, more reading, then a short shuttle ride to the small airport for a quick pass through security, allowing for more reading, and capped by an on-time, direct flight home, which yes, allowed for more reading. the final page count for the twenty four hours bested three hundred pages. it's been awhile since i've made that kind of milage in a book in a single day—granted, bella would not be impressed.

i'm not sure if i've ever said it on this site, but many who know me well know that one of my persistent life goals is to experience guilt-free boredom every now and again. for me, it is part of the human experience and one we don't get to taste nearly enough given our self-inflicted lifestyles. i can say that the twenty-four hours i spent in albequerque new mexico following a two day drive with an immensely great friend stood as one of the most blissfully boring stretches i can remember experiencing in the last twenty years. recuperative, therapeutic, and lovely beyond description.

oh, and name of the uber hotel which provided services and comfort beyond all expectation: homewood suites. it's astonishing that those two rooms, sitting side by side cost the same. the homewood people need to kick their PR people in the ass because what they have to offer stomps the heck out of their neighbor but there's no way for a passer-by to discern this great disparity.

FRIEND, PERSONAL (permalink) 06.19.2012
bookguy passed through town on his way from north carolina to new mexico. he called a week before the trip to ask if i'd like to keep him company on the trek's second and third days. those that have been hangin' around here for awhile may remember the time bookguy had to drive from cleveland to st. louis and i flew to cleveland the morning he left, he picked me up at the airport, and we pulled onto the highway and drove straight back to saint louis. in that i still had strong and fond memories of the cleveland excursion, and with marty's blessing, i quickly signed on the dotted line.

bookguy arrived friday night. he and marty caught up some (while i snuck off to bed). we woke saturday morn, hopped in his just purchased Subaru outback and headed west. in that we missed our last two ski trips, one due to a biking accident he had and the next due to my re-injuring my knee playing tennis, we were down some focused quality time. additionally, we've each had some heavy life events in the last few years so the need to talk went beyond simple guy time goofiness. the two day drive, free of email and phones and chores (and wives and children) proved magical. then, similar to the last outing, one leg of the trip involved an airport. this time i got dropped at the airport in albuquerque, new mexico (after an extraordinary meal at the frontier inn) to catch my return flight home.

after i got back home i had an email waiting for me. bookguy reported the last few hours of his trip ran smoothly and the kids (and surely the wife) were thankful to have him back. lastly he thanked me for sacrificing a weekend to keep him company. i replied that the time was both enjoyable and memorable and it's hard to ask more than that from a couple of days.

p.s. the cleveland trip happened almost ten years ago to the day. life is awesome.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.01.2012
mean-muggin' starts in the morning with your wardrobe selections.
many years back i had a failed standoff with a guy whose dog took a dump in my yard while i read on the porch. that tale of woe may be revisited here. last weekend the universe presented me with the chance to redeem that day's poor showing. i was sitting on the front porch eating breakfast. a tall fella came down the walk with a large black lab. when they got to my yard the dog pulled up and started excitedly sniffing the grass (perhaps it is time to stop anthony from whizzing in the yard, or at least limit him to the backyard). i scanned the guy's hand and pocket for a plastic bag. i saw none. i began steeling myself for the moment and what i would say should the cur suddenly back up, clench his haunches and begin the deed.

i sized the fellow up further. as i said he was tall. he was also unshaven, wearing jeans, a dark shirt and a baseball cap that had a camouflage pattern on its front. i glanced down at myself. i was wearing a pair of express jeans that had been cut-off to capri length. i had a purple shirt on that read u-city unicorns 1. the shirt also had a silhouette of a unicorn. i studied the horned horse hoping it was at least lunging at a foe in a menacing manner. no matter how i turned or squinted the unicorn couldn't be described as doing anything but prancing, and exuberantly so. i looked back at the guy. he was looking at me. i slightly raised my small bowl of yogurt, granola and strawberries in the form of a morning greeting. he nodded very slightly, tugged on the dog's leash and they proceeded on their walk before the dog could test these two men. thus, i'm putting this standoff under the WIN column—even if it is a caliber of win like the other team didn't have enough kids to play or reported to the wrong field.

1 bella's softball team is called the u-city unicorns. i am the coach. we had a game the morning the above story took place. when bella saw me before the first game wearing the shirt, she stopped me in the hallway and asked, with all the vinegar you might detect in a junior high hallway, what i was doing ...

what? what do you mean?

the shirt.

yeah. what about it?

why are you wearing it?

because we have a game.

but you're not playing.

yeah. but i am the coach.

i don't know dad. i'm not feeling it.

granted, had i not been wearing a child's shirt with a gay horse on it, i would have been wearing light blue lacoste polo. in the end, i'm not sure how much ground this would have gained me with a guy wearing a hat purchased at Bass Pro.

LIFE, PERSONAL, HEALTH (permalink) 02.20.2012
on the good side, this one is totally in my hands.
there was a time i coveted and envied people's girlfriends and relationships, then i met marty.

there was a time i coveted and envied people's jobs/careers, then i landed my current position.

my current covet and envy is fitness and health. it is my present white whale but unlike most whales, mine is slender and toned and plays with its kids easily and ably.

i hope in ten years time i'm listing that covet/envy in the past tense and pining for something new (and sexy and cool and fun and, most of all, something worth chasing).

PERSONAL, ART (permalink) 01.19.2012
gettin' my draw on
this year's annual learn is drawing. while i'd be quick to say the ability to sketch/draw is my most coveted skill of them all, if given five moments, i surely could rattle off a string of others i intensely wish i could do in addition. but drawing is certainly way, way, super, way up there. to this day i succinctly remember the kid from my elementary school who could draw anything effortlessly (usually space battle scenes in his case). and i can still perfectly picture the shaded and realistic face of the old man chewing on a cob pipe (most impossible to replicate in my tourist mind!!!) a kid in my high school art class created with the same ease as i'd pen my name to the top of my embarrassing version of that same assignment. and then, quite recently, i randomly stumbled upon an interview with an artist, sarah melling, who eloquently put to words my sentiments and respect for the craft:
"I love the simplicity of using pencils and colored pencils; they're not messy and they're perfectly portable. Pencils are a humble instrument, to be sure, but they have such a long history and are capable of so much. Some of my favorite works of any artist, even the Great Masters, are their pencil sketches."
those three sentences closed the deal for where i'd put my time and attention in 2012. i'm in such rabid agreement with those words i'm peeved i didn't think to say them first. and if envy is truly a sin, i'm in a heap of trouble because i desperately envy anyone who can transform an empty page of paper into to a vivid, living spectacle with something as low-tech as a child's pencil. i've been contemplating the simplicity of this craft so much, the other day i subjected my kids to a fifteen minute treatise on how/why beyonce's single ladies video is so close to perfect, it's hard to imagine a single way to improve upon it. so basic. a fully white room (the blank slate), an artist, two dancers flanking her, thumping song, creative lighting, astonishing choreography, and even more astonishing execution. most importantly, no cgi-like antics. just beautiful, trained, human bodies doing beautiful, trained, human feats. the sophistication of this three minute product, which for sure comes after thousands of hours of training and effort on the parts of all the players, proves so humanly exquisite that, again, seriously contemplating how to improve upon it stands as a near futile exercise.

while i know my drawing skills will never reach the precision and expertise of those i fawn over and daydream about, i do know that one year from now they will be better than they are today. and given enough minutes stolen here and there over the next thirty years, one day i may have a tattered sketchbook containing my own two-dimensional, graphite interpretations of the world around me.

WIFE, PERSONAL (permalink) 01.18.2012
convention recommends ivory or gold. i suggest cooking pancakes for strangers.
how i spent our fourteenth wedding anniversary:
  • went to work.
  • came home for lunch picking up cheap chinese on the way. ate with marty while alex (home sick) and anthony (done with school) watched the original scooby doo series on a computer in the next room.
  • back to work.
  • after work, walked straight to the kids school for a night event.
  • participated in pancakes with pops. this was an event organized by one of the dads to get a group of dads to make a breakfast dinner for the entire school and their families. in this i readied sausages to be cooked, cut fruit and handed out pancakes to tittering, smiling kids and their folks.
  • came home and read to anfer putting him to sleep (while marty put alex and bella down)
  • at 9pm walked up to get dinner (i didn't get a chance to eat) from qDoba (please note, my usual diet isn't this rife with take-out).
  • met up with marty around 9:30 where we shared the day's events over a steak nacho.
  • after eating and chatting, we each checked/responded to email for a bit and then met in bed for some reading and sleep.

the next morning i woke and moved straight to the shower. hearing the water running, anthony joined me. in our talks i asked him if he had fun at the pancakes by pops night. he said he did. i asked him how i looked in my chefs hat. he said, "you looked fancy, like in the picture where you married with mommy." this could be a smart and valuable bit of insight at my next required black tie event.

in reflecting on anthony's comment through the rest of my shower, i gotta say, i do feel fancy in the life marty and i have constructed thus far. and on ruminating on it a bit more found i couldn't come up with a more poignant way of expressing it than the little naked blonde kid who was huddled beneath me trying to get more of the hot water did.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.11.2012
dreams are such an under-appreciated gift
another thing of note that that occurred over the break was i dreamt about my mother for the first time since her passing fifteen months ago.

in the dream we were in a college lecture hall. my boss was giving a talk. my mother was sitting with marty and kids towards the center of the room. i was off to the side, situated closer to the lectern my boss occupied. i had the sense my mom was there helping marty with the children. in some sporting event-like antic, my boss started shooting shirts into the audience. i watched the first one fly. it landed a few rows behind my mother. the first grasping hands fumbled it and the cloth orb rolled and ricocheted downward into my mother's outstretched arms. she victoriously raised the soft ball in her hand. as the crowd turned their attention back to the thrower, my mom started walking towards the stage (i guess per instruction, i wasn't paying attention) and was looking around as people congratulated her. i caught her face through the standing crowd in one of her turns and her smile was enormous. the biggest i can ever recall seeing. and she looked as bright and healthy as i can ever remember. lost in my reverie, she suddenly appeared in a chair across from me. we wordlessly sat face to face at what was more like a diner table for two. i studied her face as she happily looked about, taking in the shirt-throwing chaos that continued around us. after about a minute of me just staring i said, "your smile looks radiant." she looked directly at me and said thank you with the most warm and genuine expression imaginable. she then quietly stood and walked up the stairs disappearing into the throng of people.

upon waking, this is the only blip of that night's dreaming i remembered.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.21.2011
to be filed in the more than you ever wanted to know about troy bin
i've worn boxers since the ninth grade. i was recently persuaded to try boxer briefs. the arguments for boxer-briefs by people wearing boxer-briefs were so confident, so effusive, so persuasive, i dove headlong into the pool conducting a full switchover.

bella was the first to confess she didn't know what to make of the more form-fitting undergarments. alex thought i should wear spiderman briefs. and every time anthony saw me he'd just laughingly yell that he could see where my wieners was at.

after a month or two i switched back. the first time bella saw me back in boxers she paused just long enough to say, i'm glad you decided to get rid of those other things. i didn't like them.

rarely is it that a daughter would hold such influence over a father's wardrobe choice but it was a factor. making my butt crack sweat profusely was the other.

it recently occurred to me that i haven't made anyone say "too much information" or its playful counterpart "TMI" in a while and didn't want to disappoint my regulars.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.28.2011
my 2nd favorite thing: the face of a student who gets/sees something they didn't a moment earlier
yesterday was the last day of my class. this was the third year i taught this particular course. someone recently asked me what my favorite part of teaching was. after a moment's pause, i said my favorite part of teaching was not teaching.

to elaborate, i really, really, really like teaching but it is an all-consuming and way-taxing and ever-relentless duty and the minute that duty ends, wether for the day or the semester, and you don't have to prepare for class in a week or a month, the air around you just feels lighter and the minutes more relaxing. so saying the best part of teaching is not teaching is just an awkward way of saying teaching makes you appreciate your time in a way you otherwise wouldn't if you didn't know the pressure of preparing, performing, and assessing a semester or year long class curriculum.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.09.2011
wonder what a dream analyst would do with this one
i just had a dream. it was less than ten minutes long as it occurred between snooze alarms. bookguy and i were standing in the middle of a serengeti-like plain. bookguy was putting his shoes on and i was wordless standing over him. a small plane erratically flew overhead, sharply banking and turning as if evading something. as it passed closely over us, we could see a man standing in the lowered freight door opening at the plane's rear. he was holding onto cargo netting on either side of him and swaying to the plane's dips and dodges. i commented on what he was doing and how crazy it looked. bookguy said the crazy part was how much those rides cost, adding that the man probably paid upwards of $60,000 for that ride. i gasped at the amount and asked why it was so much. as bookguy finished tying his shoes and stood up, he casually said they were probably taking him to the indian ocean. i asked what he'd do when they got there. i was told he would jump in. i asked if that was dangerous? bookguy confirmed it was because of the sharks and said that excitement is what made it so expensive.

just then on the other side of a tuft of trees about hundred feet away, two giraffes came charging by us. they were so close you could see the strain in their faces and the muscles in their neck contorting and working from their body's mad dash. i pointed and yelled, "whoa! look at those things. oh, how cool is that. they're truckin'. ohh, they're so big, i feel like i'm seeing real-life dinosaurs." bookguy wordlessly took in the scene as his eyes tracked their passing. as they moved into the distance i asked him what he thought they were running from so fast. in turning back to bookguy my eye caught two flashes in a bunching of trees. in squinting harder i noticed three lions crouched in the underbrush. i pointed in their direction and said "those lions might have something to do with it." before my sentence was complete, one of the lions sprang from hiding. she charged toward us in gigantic, darting, bounds. matt and i took a few thoughtless steps backward and just had time to mutter, "what do we do now?" before the lion was on us. i turned to move out of her path but before i took a single step, i felt her teeth sink through my right thigh's muscle like it was soft butter.

with that my eyes mercifully opened to the quickened beating in my chest.

PERSONAL, QUOTES, LIFE (permalink) 02.15.2011
happy birthday momma
after my mom died, i found the below card among her things. i don't remember how old i was when i wrote it. more truthfully, i don't even remember writing it. that said, i can tell you that seeing i wrote it, and that she kept it, has spared me untold agonies. i would suggest, if you have things to say you haven't said to people you deem dear, get them said. and after you do that, keep doing it. because even though i felt infinite relief at this discovery, i still carry the regret that i needed it to remind me i said it in the first place.

click to enlarge


dear mom,
i hope this got to you in time, sorry if it didn't. i hope you are having a good day (or had). lately i have been hearing a lot about adoption and i hear girls talk of insecurities they would have in adopting children. they think that the kids would want to find their biological mom. and i hear adopted kids say they want to find their mom. i hope you don't have any such insecurities regarding me, because i assure you, you don't need to. to me i have only one mother and she it the greatest mother in the world. i love you very much and feel very fortunate to have been blessed with you. thank you for everything and never forget that i love you very much. thank you for everything mom - i love you.

your son,


PERSONAL, WEB (permalink) 11.08.2010
for those who keep looking in to see when i might resume my important journalistic task of recording the mundanities of my family life, i fear i'm not up to it just yet.

honestly, i can't give you any sort of real or fair estimate on when i will be ready but am going to choose now to step away for at least the rest of the year.

thanks for all the thoughts and sentiments that were sent. they were appreciated and proved helpful.

i thank you in advance for your understanding.



PERSONAL (permalink) 10.25.2010
slow going
people have been asking how i've been doing. well, mostly, they've been asking marty how i've been doing, but some do ask me. the short answer is, all things considered, i'm holding it together surprisingly well.

i'm someone who believes what we do with our time and our lives is a choice, a choice we are able to control to significant degrees. i'm also someone who believes the thoughts possible through our minds have immense potential and something we have quite a bit of control to nurture and train. given these two beliefs, i recognize i have the power to drive myself to complete dysfunction or to embrace the fortunes that came from my time with my mother. the choice of how i direct my mind's energy is mine, and right now, days are a balancing act between those two possible extremes.

the notion i'm most struggling with is that i can't pick up a telephone, punch a series of buttons, and hear my mother's brightened hello at the sound of my voice. that there is not a phone on this planet that can make that call happen leaves me, at moments, feeling panicked, desperate and more alone than i've ever thought possible.

but when i step back and employ an ounce of empathy, my thoughts are more sorrowful for others. i feel sorrow for my mother whose life was cut far shorter than it should have been. i feel sorrow for the many children, adopted, fostered, and natural, who had bad to horrible childhood experiences in the homes they landed in. i feel sorrow for the children with ailing parents caught up in long, drawn-out scenarios that are draining and full of sadness. and i feel sorrow for my father who still after waking from a nap in his living room chair, will start talking to his wife before looking over to find her rocker empty and still.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 10.11.2010
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
October 2010

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.04.2010
not prepared
my mom died on friday.

those of you who know me well have a sense for what this means for me. for all others, you may imagine what an infinitely dedicated mother might possibly mean to an only, adopted child who, in youth, had a distant and strained relationship with his father.

she passed away in the hospital of the town i grew up in. she and my father were passing through on a vacation. i arrived at the hospital an hour after she died. the last time i was in that building i was seventeen and my mom made me visit the quarterback of my high school's football team who broke his leg in a game the night before. i asked why we had to go. she said it's what friends did. when i told her this boy and i were no longer friends and hadn't been since the sixth grade, she scoffed, called it ridiculous, and never broke stride. i vividly remember how dull and vulnerable that winsome, popular boy looked in the dim hospital room, alone and unkempt, his leg unnaturally raised beneath the sheets. i don't know which of us looked more surprised to find me next to his bed with a bundle of supermarket-flowers in my damp fist. but, that was the last time i was in this building. this time i was there to say goodbye to the woman who on that day stood in the darkened wings urging her boy to do the right and proper thing.

in our last moments with my mom before the hospital staff took her away, my father, his face hovering over hers, his hands holding her cheeks, sobbingly uttered, "she only thought of others. she only thought of others." these were the last words he said to his wife of forty-five years and a truer thing has never been said of this woman who i was undeservedly fortunate to call my mom.

PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 09.22.2010
new troy, quite unlike old troy OR troy 41.5

or view the side by side comparison to see what's changed in eight months

click to enlarge

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.14.2010
please step to the back of the line sir and wait your turn.
last week was high on troy week. at every turn it seemed i was being lavished with a body of compliments and kudos and appreciation for a variety of things, unrelated, from a variety of folks, also unrelated. some of the people i see weekly and some of the people i hadn't heard from in many months and in one case many years. the many years person rounded the week out, coming in on saturday evening. it came as such a surprise and carried such an unexpected remark, it is the only specific item from the week i'm going to share:
The pager website where you wrote the front-end and I wrote the caching back-end, is still in full operation. That's nine years. The fact that it's still alive doesn't astound me; the fact that it still looks modern and classy does. I never realized how amazingly gifted you were back then, and that in present day you apparently break the adage of "those who can't do, teach."
the "pager site" mentioned would be the third website i ever made in my life, which justifies my friend's astonishment that it could have possibly withstood any test of time. regardless, if that isn't a puff of wind up a fella's skirt, i don't know what would be. thanks j. and thanks not for having the thought, but for having the consideration and going to the effort of letting me know you had the thought. i appreciate this doesn't always happen, or doesn't happen enough in today's frenzy-filled days at least.

and then monday morning as i walked anthony to school i took in my scene. my four year was energetically charging on his bike towards school, which he is still thankfully crazily excited about. i was appreciative of the early fall weather. i had a solid night of sleep. i had a good swim the day before. i thought of the previous week and how dear and giving my world had been to me. as i studied the blue sky i thought that perhaps this life of adulation may be my new standard and i could now routinely expect such generous feedback from the folks in my life. perhaps this was the universe making good on all of the karmic rewards surely due a soul as kind and gentle and needy as mine. then at work, before i had logged the first hour at my desk, a young co-worker told me that some of my behaviors were indicative of a high-functioning autistic and she wondered, aloud to me, and believe it or not, innocently, if i'd ever been tested. before her sentence was complete, i heard the magic bubble that had been following me around for the last seven days implode with a wispy simper behind me. and that quickly the universe i thought may have so recently changed in my favor, appeared to have righted itself.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE, SWIM (permalink) 09.03.2010
swimming update
one month ago i talked about how after three years of working at it i finally swam my first official 50m pool length. three weeks later, august 22, i swam that same 50m freestyle length but this time when i reached the wall, i did a flip-turn and swam a return 50m length back. had you seen me after i completed this circuit you would have thought i was just accepted into the space program.

last weekend i swam fifteen full laps with flip turns in each (resting after each lap), and this weekend, the last weekend the outdoor pools are open, i hope to swim twenty laps, still with a rest after each, which would represent my new distance goal of a nautical pool mile (2,000 meters). the last step is to remove the need to rest after each lap. the only sad part to this story is i'm going to have to do this in shorter (25m), indoor pools during the winter months.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, KIDS, LIFE (permalink) 08.25.2010
PART 3 : a powerful alchemy
if you haven't read PART 1 or PART 2, you should do so before reading this.

there is a reason i thought to share my personal values at this time. two fridays ago bella and i were to spend the day together. this father-daughter event was to celebrate her successful completion of another year of school. in the past, this ritual took place on the last day of classes but now that she and alex attend the same school i couldn't take them both out individually. bella was kind enough to give the day to alex as it was his first full school year.

before i knew it there were just a few weeks left of summer and bella and i hadn't gone out for her day. marty and i scrambled to find a date. we squeaked it out on the last weekday of summer. bella requested to go to six flags (again) followed by a steak dinner. knowing it was going to be a long day, i went to bed early the night before. when i awoke, i checked the day's weather. 96 degrees. and i was to be out in it all day. add to this i was to spend the day with bella who for the prior week hadn't exactly been a model citizen. marty chalked her vinegar up to the fast approaching school year. i pointed at the late-summer weeks of going to bed after 10pm. whatever the source, times with the girl had been unpredictable and tumultuous, and i was about to navigate those erratic waters on my own, all day long, and in an inhumane heat.

after groaning at weather dot com i pulled up my values document and began my daily review. personal growth - check. value my time - check. care for myself - on it. care for my marriage - check. enjoy my children - uhhh, yeah, sure. equip my children for life - trying as always. professional excellence - got a pass today. be grateful - uhhhm, yes, gratitude, could use more effort here.

i then drifted down to the images, glancing at them in order. i take in the visual. depending on my troubles and/or the day ahead the various images wash over me differently. as i move through them, the first one to give me pause is the bride and her father. this picture always emotes something from me but especially when bella is on my mind and as noted, bella was on my mind today. every time i take this picture in i project to a day in the future when i will be in this man's position. and i'm sure it will seem like just yesterday when i was doing things like dreading taking my nine year old daughter to six flags. and i know whether i show it outwardly or not, i know, i know already, that this is how i will feel on the inside the day bella dedicates her life to someone else, someone else our family doesn't even know at the moment.

i then moved forward. my eyes next paused on the image of randy pausch. if you don't recall, randy pausch was the last lecture guy. the forty-something year old who went to his doctor with flu-like symptoms and was told he had six months to live. and he had three children all under the age of six. he died last year as his doctors predicted. so this is the image i find myself studying in the pre-dawn hours while thinking i don't want to go out for a dedicated day with my daughter because of the heat and because she hasn't been as pleasant as she's capable of in her last week of summer break. i stared at this image, this simple, low-res image of a smiling father holding his three children ... this father holding his three children shortly before he passed away with a cruelly inadequate warning. as i took this image in, i wondered what randy pausch would do to spend another day, a single day, with his daughter. i then wondered what randy pausch's daughter would do to spend one more day with her father.

bella and i went on to have an amazing, friction-free day that included hand-holding and smiling and stories and laughing and closeness and very little worry about the heat.

and this is why i chose, at this time, to share my private ritual with you.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 08.24.2010
PART 2 : yesterday i left my socks on. today i'm going full monty
if you haven't read PART 1 yet, i'd consider doing so before continuing as this will seem incomplete without it.

yesterday i shared my personal values. something i didn't share was that in addition to the written definition of my values, i also have a set of images that go with them. i'm a visual guy and somewhere along the way i learned that these images had a power to reach me in a different way and added a depth my written words alone lacked which is how the addition of photos to my simple written values came to be.

again, before the share, a few things about the pictures:
  • i use one image per value.
  • like the words, these sometimes change. but i've been pretty happy with the current set for awhile.
  • how it works is these images reside just under the written portion, so every morning i first read through the text posted yesterday and then i take a moment to glance at these photos, reflecting on each as i move through them.
  • aside from two of the images, the actual people in the photos are not the significant part of the story. it is the emotion the image elicits that makes them powerful for me.
  • i don't know who sgt joe hall is. it just seemed like a quintessential photo all family scrapbooks might have. oddly, it is the name in its elderly scrawl across the top that makes this picture not so pedestrian for me, or perhaps it is that it makes it perfectly pedestrian.
  • i reckon some folks might like an explanation for my selection for the professional value. i'm not going to explain. it's not important. it's the picture i have chosen and i have my reasons. were you to do something similar, you'd pick a picture that speaks to you.
  • the equip my children for life one could also possibly use some explanation too. that is one i might one day speak to but i'm not going to today.

unbuttons shirt ... again ...

personal growth
value my time
care for myself
care for my marriage
enjoy my children
equip my children for life
professional excellence
be grateful

now i'm naked, really.

Goto PART 3

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 08.23.2010
PART 1 : please allow me to undress before you
for the last few years, i've been posting my daily and weekly regiment. this is the schedule i created to help me meet my personal goals. to be truthful, there have only been a handful of times where i've come close to a perfect week. but to be truthful again, hitting my marks or not, my weeks prove far more fruitful trying to adhere to this plan than if i entered life's fray without it.

it occurred to me very recently that i have never shared the counterpart to that schedule. this would be a list of the things that i, in long periods of contemplation, have come to know are important to me. some folks would call them my values. without this list also in hand, the schedule would be rather pointless and the same would be true the other way around.

before i share, a few things about my list:
  • i've been working on this document for about thirteen years. that would be three years longer than i've spent producing all of the content for this website.
  • there is no other block of text that i have ever spent anything near this amount of time and effort on.
  • the list does see edits but changes at this late point are usually fairly minor and have more of a nuanced effect rather than massive shifts in thought.
  • without this list, it is very possible my life would be in a complete shambles.
  • i read this document just about every morning.
  • i sometimes read this document twice in a day.
  • the most i've ever looked at this document in one day is five times. and it wasn't the day that was trying, it was me trying not to wreck something i'd later regret.
  • the red text is what i read if i only have a minute or two for my morning review.
  • i would liken this text to a daily chiropractic adjustment for my mind and soul.
unbuttons shirt ... the list:

personal growth
employ the collegiate spirit of continued growth, expansion, and improvement. live introspectively but do not compare myself to others. only compare myself to how i was last week, last month, last year. recognize and eliminate the bad. recognize and nurture the positive.

value my time
there are limited minutes in our lives. the clock is ticking. use each day to achieve things that matter. ritualize the things deemed vital. leave a mark. avoid the typical and unnecessary regrets.

care for myself
do not deprive myself of life experiences through poor, selfish and gluttonous behaviors. stay healthy. stay fit. stay away from doctors and hospitals through wise living. do not go down behind something i can control.

care for my marriage
always remember my luck in finding marty. she is the one. cherish her. make her feel special. work to make her dreams come true.

this relationship is the only up-close, intimate partnership my children will see first-hand so marty and i are teaching them, the primary ones teaching them, how to be part of a loving, respectful and healthy relationship built from friendship, adoration, and love.

marty is who i will be eating breakfast with and sharing porch-time with long after the children have moved on. it is vital i never stop nurturing and caring for the relationship thus keeping the friendship not only in tact but vibrant.

enjoy my children
this experience is tragically temporary. they will be gone soon. too soon. do not take my time with my children for granted. when i spend time with my children, actively BE WITH my children. do not squander these moments, i can never get them back and will forever regret not doing more with the relationships.

create an environment my children want to be part of so they cherish the memories of their father, family, home, and childhood.

equip my children for life
treat my children as i would treat another adult i respect. be even-tempered. be consistent. be patient. be just. don't spoil them to the point of ill-preparing them for the world they will one day enter. remember, you're raising adults, not children.

professional excellence
make my professional contributions be thoughtful and of consequence. never let my role be questioned or compromised. control my experience. remember my fortune in being employed and show my employers and clients this respect and gratitude daily. be consistent. be timely. be reliable. be conscientious.

be grateful
be grateful for the quiet fortunes in my life that i did nothing to create, earn or attain but benefit from daily (e.g. birth, health, family, locale).

pants dropped...

Goto PART 2

KIDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 01.21.2010
i think you took a wrong turn pal
the kids were getting ready for bed. marty and i were in bella and alex's room. i fell into bella's lower bunk bed. marty wanting to tell me something grabbed a stool and sat on the side of the bed. she began filling me in on some school-related matters for alex. she paused waiting for me to say something.

i think i would have loved having a bunk bed when i was a kid

would you have wanted the top or bottom bunk.

bottom. then i would have hung curtains so it was like a fort. i would have put a shelf up on the wall to hold my books. and had a light, like bella's, so i could read. it would have been awesome.

my brother matt had a shelf next to his bed. he was on the top. i remember when he was gone i'd climb up there and look at the stuff on his shelf. he had an small engine he built that you could turn on and it would make lights flash. and he had a little silver radio with a circle dial. that was the first portable radio i ever saw. on sundays matt would sit up in his bed and listen to some guys top 100 countdown. i remember i'd hear the pop songs from the hall and think how i liked this one or that one.

you didn't go up in the bed and listen with him?

oh god no. you only went into the boys room when the boys were away.

shortly thereafter the kids walked in. as soon as bella saw me lazing in her bed she walked to the side, made a hitchhiker thumb and said, "out mister". however much the world changes, there are certain immutable facets that always remain the same.

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 01.19.2010
you can hold my nipple all you want
marty learned something new about anthony last week. before falling asleep at night, anthony had a habit of reaching up and under marty's shirt. when this happened she would push him away telling him he already nummed (e.g. nursed) and they were done for the night. he would grunt and continue with his wandering hand and the grudge match persisted until he would finally fall asleep. what she has just recently discovered, somehow, is he wasn't looking to nurse, he just wanted to fall asleep while holding her nipple in his fingers.

marty told me the story while making breakfast the morning after she figured this all out. she concluded her revelation by muttering a sarcastic "freak" at the end. after a pregnant pause, i said. "yeah freakshow. how weird" to which marty quickly replied, "nice try. don't think i don't know where he gets this little proclivity from."

hey, at least he got to experience the tap directly. i was bottle-fed.

HOW-TO, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 01.14.2010
still regimented

click to enlarge

or view the side by side comparison to see what's changed in three years

click to enlarge

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 12.10.2009
Bella's birthday voice mail
there's something about voicemail from kids that is so way better than voicemail from grownups.

click to play
128kb / 31 seconds
hello. this is bella dearmitt at the troy dearmitt's house. happy birthday again. lots of people at school are saying happy birthday also. uhm. i was wondering where you wanted to go to work, or i mean, to dinner. we are all voting for sushi. i am voting for steak if you would like to. so give us a call. bye.

in the end i trumped them all and returned to the natasha's kabob international for the second year in a row.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.09.2009
redefining the all-day celebration
i was awoken with one kiss on the cheek and then a second. the first came from bella. the second from alex. then i heard, come on dad, wake up. it's someone's birthday. i blearily opened my eyes. through squinty slits i saw bella and alex standing before me. smiling broadly. as soon as they saw whites in my eyes they broke into a bright and spirited version of happy birthday, which seemed extra bright and spirited given the pre eight o'clock hour.

they told me to get up because i had to find 'things'. i groggily asked what things i had to find. alex asked if i remembered how mom hid numbers for the kids on their birthday? well this year they hid little numbers for me to find. i asked how many. he asked how old i was. i asked if i could go to the bathroom before i started. bella held her hands up, instructed me to wait saying that she would get the bathroom ready for me. by the time i staggered through the doorway, she had lifted the seat and had the father wipes sitting open next to the toilet (not that they were needed). as i approached she was standing before the toilet fanning her hands towards it like a price is right model introducing a shiny, deluxe motor-home. when i entered she shooed alex out saying i should get privacy.

i walked out of the bathroom towards my office for a drink of tea. after taking a long draw from last night's glass, i turned to begin my search. alex stopped me in the doorway and said i stank and should get a new pair of underwear. i told him that if he could smell me from where he was, i probably needed more than new underwear and should take a shower. he said it was definitely my underwear. there was a laundry basket nearby and i leaned down to get a fresh pair of boxers but alex said the ones there wouldn't work and i had to get them from my dresser drawer. he was practically dancing in place as he said it and then i understood, one of my numbers was there. one down. only forty to go.

in my defense the kids numbers are way bigger than my numbers. this seems backwards to me and the geriatric factor should trump the small hands and short attention factor. in evidence, there's just a few more hours left of my birthday day and i'm still missing three of my forty-one numbers. since the kids helped hide them i'm thinking i'll be lucky to find the those last three before i'm forty-two.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.24.2009
our neighbors moved into their home in 1962. this was six full years before i was born. or 47 years ago if you rather. last night was the last night they will sleep under its roof because at 10am today they are getting into a car and driving north to chicago to live in a retirement community near three of their daughters.

the couple, both widowers of previous marriages, have been together for many years and are well into their 80's. medicine-wise, the most either of them ever take is an occasional aspirin. they walk to church. they walk to the nearby university to hear lectures. they walk to our local business district to listen to concerts. they are both in great health but are just being pro-active.

norma, the lady of the duo, is more ready. she is the one driving the move. she said she knew she was done after having the gutters replaced. after the work she looked up at them said to herself she hoped to never do another repair to this aging home. additionally, her thinking is that if something happens to one of them, unexpectedly, she doesn't want the burden of a five bedroom home with fifty years of possessions to fall onto just one of them. while it is a fair point, wally, the male of the team, isn't done yet. he's still living and enjoying being in the zip code he's spent the lion-share of his life in, having grown up just blocks away where his father owned a corner pharmacy as well as his own career teaching german at the local high school.

watching the dismantling of a home over the last few months has been sobering. i can't help but think how that will one day be me. that one day i will be expected to step aside and let a younger version of myself step into my place, sleep in my bedroom and eat meals in my dining room. that my children will one day return, knock on the door and tell the current residents that they grew up here, and can they come in and look. all of this wrecks me.

yesterday after the moving truck had left, wally pulled marty and i to the side and said that bella had come over to their house, knocked on the door and said to them in a very heartfelt and official manner that they were the two best neighbors anyone could ask for and she was very sorry they were leaving. marty and i were both surprised at bella's initiative. and it was easy to see that wally was touched if not even moved by bella's gesture. i sincerely share bella's sentiment and will miss the couple who generously and kindly helped marty and i settle into our first home and teach us some of the history and ropes of the community we are now part of. farewell. your village will miss your presence.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.11.2009
giddy with perspective
recently, walking home from work i passed a neighbor trying to remove a 50 year old retaining wall in his backyard with a rented jackhammer. i stopped and wordlessly watched him for several minutes. he paused from his work, wiped sweat from his brow with a sleeve and jokingly asked if i wanted a turn. my face lit up and i exclaimed, "really!". yes really. i ran home, flew up the stairs calling to marty as i passed by. i quickly changed my clothes and bounded back down the stairs and shot out the front door yelling a garbled goodbye to marty on my way out.

i could not recommend the use of a jackhammer more. both so you can say it's something you have done and so you can say it's something you don't have to do for a living.

KIDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 09.02.2009
who sends the parents to their room for time-out

click for larger version

bella and i have been struggling. i would say we have been for several weeks. it used to go in spurts with moments of good followed by moments of bad but since school began it's mostly been on the tense side. this picture shows us in happier times at the beginning of summer break.

things came to a head on sunday when she and i had a battle over her going to a neighborhood baby shower our family had been invited to. while walking to the shower, bella went into full shrill mode, and i, predictable as crappy service at borders books, bit. the hook didn't just pierce my lip. i swallowed it whole and only the longest pair of needle nosed pliers operated by someone skilled in removing hooks this buried could have saved the confrontation. it culminated with me marching bella home (prior to us reaching the shower) and sending her to her room for the remainder of the day. this was at noon.

that night when i went to exercise, my bike computer was missing from my desk. i asked bella if she knew where it was, she said she didn't. the next day, with marty's help, we learned that she did know because she had taken it from my desk and hidden it. with this multi-tiered offense, bella graduated to a new level of childhood crime.

i couldn't even begin to fathom the appropriate punishment. i told marty to be prepared for something extreme. two days later i was still thinking what it should be. while walking to work and playing the pending conversation in my head i imagined myself saying to bella that no one in my life, professionally or personally, treated me with as much disrespect as she showed me on sunday. before my brain had time to move to my next line, my head responded for bella telling me that the same was true for her, that i treated her with more disrespect than anyone else she dealt with from day to day. this froze my thought. after our fighting and boisterous stand-offs bella could say the same thing of me that i was thinking towards her. this realization made me sick to my stomach. this was not the father i wanted to be.

i pulled a book off my bookshelf. it was a parenting book i read a few years back called parenting from the heart. obviously i needed a refresher. i started reading its pages which still held my markings and notes from the first time i took it in. the basic gist of the book is this. children are born inherently guileless and happy. parents and society pour notions of insecurity and distrust into these innocent creatures, in time making them skittish and less certain. it was most likely done to us and unless we become aware of it, we will do it to our children. another way of thinking about it is that inside all of us is a happy and centered person, we just have a bunch of crap (work, fatigue, worry, doubt, debt, apathy) piled on top of it suppressing that original person from making more appearances. it's like the notion that everyone has a six-pack (you wouldn't be able to get out of a chair if you didn't) it's just no one can see it because there's three to nine inches of fat sitting on top of the well-formed and toned muscles.

i came home from work. marty was making dinner. i asked where bella was. she said she was next door. i told marty i'd take care of her punishment and that i'd had a change of heart. marty's head turned to me looking surprised. i told her the offense was made upon me and i felt that i had done things to warrant it and would like to handle bella's punishment my own way. with a touch of uncertainty marty relented the fight.

when bella came home i asked her to follow me onto the porch. she immediately started asking what and why. i marched ahead not acknowledging her inquiries. once on the porch i sat down and told her to come to me pointing at the spot directly at my feet. she did so apprehensively. she stood there looking pensive. i told her i needed her to give me a hug. she asked why. i told her it was because i needed one. hesitantly, she complied. it lacked heart, feeling. i told her it wasn't big enough. it wasn't good enough. she hugged me tighter. and then i hugged her. i hugged her BIG. and then we hugged each other. i looked at her and apologized for not being more supportive or understanding towards her as of late. she reciprocated. more hugs. this full exchange was less than three minutes long and by the end we were smiling and giggling and tickling. for the days and weeks prior to this we had predominately been nothing but scowls and scorn. for the first time in many weeks bella and i shared a completely tension-free evening full of respect and more importantly full of adoration.

i'm learning, more slowly than i should, there is no cruise control for parenting. you always have to keep your eye on the road and your foot on the gas. otherwise, you are destined for the ditch. or worse.

please know, this record is more for me than it is for you.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.28.2009
cosmically realigned
i felt a step behind all day yesterday. it started when bella got up at 6:15 to go to the bathroom and the wind from the open window blew the door shut and woke me up. and then while walking to work i just missed crossing a busy street before the eternal light turned green and released an endless throng of traffic. and then there was the painfully slow-moving elevator i arrived to just in time to see the doors pinch shut. then there was the person who called me a second time moments before i returned their first call. like i said, one step slow all day.

then last night i was slated to go for a bike ride. for these rides, i try to leave by 10pm but was still sitting at my desk at 10:30. i didn't actually push off until 11pm. i ride for 30 miles and it takes me two hours. thirty minutes into the ride lightning started flashing in the distance. at the midway point i take a ten minute break. the lightning was intensifying and i smelled rain so i jumped back on the bike after just a few minutes and started back. about ten minutes later i was coming up on one of my favorite stretches of this particular route. it is a long, winding section of blacktop that is slightly downhill and is flanked on either side by stately homes with deep lawns and the occasional hanger-on farm. the road is wide and smooth and on a good day i can maintain a clip of just under 30 miles an hour for a mile or two. i had one street to cross before starting this alpha-stretch and was approaching a green light which meant i could hit it on a run. moments before i would have pulled through the intersection the light went yellow. i pulled up and stopped.

after taking a dejected pull from my water bottle, my mind immediately began replaying all the near misses the day had dealt me. the quiet around me was interrupted by a muscle car coming down the street that currently had the green. they turned onto my road heading in the direction i was waiting to go. after negotiating the turn, the car accelerated with a groan and sped forward. after straightening out the driver didn't notice, see, mind or care about a slight bend in the road and ran his/her car straight into the curb. the raised edge caused the front tire to jump in the air and sent the car crazily veering off to the left. the driver effortfully worked to regain control and once he did he continued down the road like nothing had happened. as i watched the taillights diminish in the distance it occurred to me that had i made it through that light, i would have been in just about the very spot that car hit the curb when it hit the curb. for the first time that day i didn't feel a step behind. in fact, i felt in perfect sync. my light clicked green as did every other light i approached for the next ten miles.

i also beat the rain home.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.04.2009
life's excerpts
i believe i can summarize alex's birthday weekend with three snippets of conversation:

and what's the other hermit crab's name?


why sleepy?

because he hasn't woke up since we got him.

hi luke. what's up dude?

i punch myself in the face whenever someone says dude. (he does so here)

really dude?

yes. (another punch to his face)

dude. dude. dude. dude. dude. dude.

(good to his word, luke delivered repeated punches to his own face, one for every uttered dude)

i think luke peed his pants.

no. i thought so too and asked him but he said he was just sweating.

and you believed him?

if he really peed, there'd be a lot more than that.

ME (after a long pause and repeated looks at luke)
that has to be one of the most unfortunate male-sweat patterns i've ever seen.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.15.2009
please allow me to elaborate
for the person who commented on my easter day silence while dealing with anthony as well as for any others who may have lacked the testicular or ovarian fortitude to comment on my easter day silence, allow me to address why i didn't take a moment during anthony's trespasses to share a teaching moment with him, kneeling down by his side, putting an arm around his shoulder and chatting with him in soft, loving tones while my hands floated through the air accenting my message. as children we're taught if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything. the parental version of this tenet states if you can't say what's on your mind without bouncing your child off a plaster wall, it's probably best to keep your notions to yourself, however illuminated or educational or necessary they may prove in the end. but now that we have some ticks of the clock between then and now, let's revisit the points one at a time.

the first incident where anthony presented himself to me looking like a medical doctor about to perform an invasive exploratory procedure or like some deviant about to engage in a sexual act illegal in thirty nine states. this item falls into an area of human interaction i call the too late-too soon bucket. that is, if i have to say it or comment upon a certain obvious behavior, the person is beyond assistance, either because someone already missed the boat with them, or in this case, because they are not yet ready to be helped. and we all well know what they say about helping people before they are ready.

as for the laundry chute. i had just sorted laundry and more than half of what was in the basement receptacle did not qualify as clothing or things that should have been transported to the basement via the laundry chute. additionally, the last thing i threw down the chute before the bike bottle was deposited were my five brooks brothers work shirts. i throw them down separately from the rest of the family clothes given they are wrinkle free variety and reasonably expensive. as such, having random things and liquids thrown on top of them does not really fit into my plan of preservation.

and the kitchen. yes, my kitchen. my kitchen which looked more like a crime scene that a room where a two year tried his damnedest to make some show-pop for the movie his family was watching upstairs. there were just a few missteps in his process, like, for instance, i typically pour the popcorn kernels into a pot and not onto the floor. relatedly, i usually don't empty the whole bottle out at once, into the pan or onto the floor. and the same goes for the oil, meaning the whole container was not necessary, and it's not the olive oil i use but instead the vegetable oil. but if there is a good side to what went down in the kitchen it is that he did use the olive oil because that container was only about a fourth of the size of the vegetable oil thus making that the only positive thing that happened down there.

so this might give a little more insight into my lack of verbosity when dealing with anthony during this twenty minute span on easter sunday. i assure you if i did choose to speak, and you lived within three zip codes of me, you would have known i had chosen to speak.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.03.2009
doing more before 8am than the army, navy AND marines
1:30 i stood up from my desk to go to bed. marty was sleeping diagonally on the ping pong room futon. anthony was sleeping diagonally in my bed. i chose my bed. anthony is easier to push around than marty.

2:22 i woke up to anthony lifting my head with great effort and saying, "no you! ma-ma. no you! ma-ma." squinting my eyes, i lifted my head and had the following conversation with my blonde-headed 2 year old.

anthony, what are you doing?

no you. mama.

no me? no you. i'm sleeping here. mom is in the ping-pong room. if you want to sleep with her, go there. (with this i laid my head back down)

(anthony starts wailing and continues trying to push my head out of the bed) no! mama. mama! MaMa! MAMA!

i get up, carry him like a sack of potatoes under my arm to his crib and leave there wailing. i return to my bed, collapse in and am back asleep within 20 seconds.

2:50 alex whispers in my ear. he says he scared in his bed. wordlessly i lift the covers inviting him into my bed. he crawls in and snuggles into me.

3:43 alex wakes me again and says he really wants to sleep in his bed. i tell him to go sleep in his bed then.

3:47 alex wakes me again and says he still really wants to sleep in his bed but he's scared to alone and wants me to sleep in his bed with him. i tell him i can't because i'm already sleeping in this bed.

3:53 i'm climbing a bunkbed ladder with a sheet and comforter draped over my back like a deranged batman.

7:40 i stir to the sound of bella asking why she doesn't have any shorts in her drawer. as i open my eyes i realize i'm not lieing flat on my back. alex's head is under my right shoulder blade causing a large void beneath me and leaving me propped at an angle and pinned to the side safety railing of the bunk bed.

7:47 i gingerly rise to a sitting position and feel bones i never knew i had in my back rub together abrasively. a new day is underway.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.16.2009
well no, i don't model professionally but ...
one day last year for a reason i can't remember, i was walking around the house in a pair of shorts and a fleece ski vest. that's it. no socks. no shoes. no shirt! just me, a pair of shorts, and this dark blue fuzzy vest. when i rounded a corner and came into marty's view for the first time in this dashing ensemble, she about birthed a fourth kid from the laughing i induced. i guess my wispy guns, concave chest, and protruding gut can't pull off the fleece vest, no shirt combo. before running into marty i was thinking it was a good look for me. and even after running into marty, i wasn't totally convinced i should abandon it just yet. the only thing i did know is marty and i wouldn't be doing any role playing sporting me as the buff ski patrol guy there to save marty the damsel from the perils of mother nature. i may be more confident than all reason says i should be, but a breaking point does exist. not many people can reach it, but marty is one who can.

this is all to say, decision time has come. i'm going skiing this week and i'll have to decide wether or not to unleash my new look on all the rich folks strolling the park city boutiques. if nothing else, it should add fine fuel to peoples' curiosity wondering if bookguy and i are guy chums or gay lovers.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.29.2009
the art of choice
i've recently completed my annual hyrum review. this would be the process i spoke of on my reading page in january of last year (at the bottom of this page). a core facet of a hyrum-review (what the process has come to be called in my home) is to create a list of your core values or priorities. the importance of this, in addition to simply knowing what your core values are, is to help you structure your days. for example, lets say a college buddy calls you up and invites you to play golf on saturday. when you look at your calendar you were scheduled to take your son to the park and work on his baseball skills. after a long week of work, a smack-talking golf outing seems more appealing than a tee-ball lesson for a five year old and is what a parent, a father, a man is inclined to choose given the option. but, odds are, deep down, your relationship with your son is of more importance to you than your relationship with old college pals and your golf handicap. so knowing your core values plays a role in making decisions throughout the year when 'conflicts' in time management arise.

to set your values you are to lock yourself away for a long weekend and smoke peyote or sleep in a pilates pose and reach deep inside yourself to discover what is truly most important to you. the reason this is a bit of a thing is you are meant to remove all the noise, static and distractions of daily life so you can get serious about the matter. once your values are set it is recommended you look at them every day to keep yourself pointed in the right direction. additionally, you should revisit the list every year or so to tune it to life's changes. in the last several years the one thing i seem to routinely change deals with my expectations for myself as a father. the rest of the items remain pretty static. this year, i changed the father blurb to:

this experience is tragically temporary. do not take my time with my children for granted. they will be gone soon. too soon. create an environment they want to be part of so they may cherish their memories of their father, family and home.

after seven years, i think i'm finally getting to the meat of that one. the credit for this progress goes to marty. in the last few years marty has on a few occasions described people she has met as people who don't seem to enjoy their children. every time i've heard her say that it's made me disproportionately sad. i reckon there's a root for that but i'm less interested in that than i am in making sure it doesn't happen to me.

if you're interested in what a list of values might look like, mine are shared below. some folks consider these quite private but that's not exactly how i roll. so if you'd like to enjoy learning about what makes troy tick read on. if you could care less, click through my brother.

do not deprive myself of my life experience through poor, selfish and gluttonous behaviors. stay healthy. stay fit. stay away from doctors and hospitals through wise living.

always remember my luck in finding marty. she is the one. cherish her. make her feel special. work to make her dreams come true.

this experience is tragically temporary. they will be gone soon. too soon. do not take my time with my children for granted. create an environment they want to be part of so they may cherish their memories of their father, family and home.

treat my children with respect. treat them as i would treat another adult i respect. be consistent. be patient. be kind. be just. don't spoil them to the point of ill-preparing them for the world they will one day enter.

there are limited minutes in our lives. the clock is ticking. use each day to achieve things that matter. leave a mark.

make my professional contributions be of consequence and import. never let my role be questioned or compromised. control my experience through excellence.

expand and exercise my mind. read every day. be curious.

i have those values printed out and taped onto the back of my PDA. i read them everyday on my way home from work. i find that this forty second review helps me get my head straight before i move from my serene and orderly office to my chaotic and bursting home. if hyrum has taught me anything, it is that often the little things that make the biggest difference. the key is to know what you're looking for.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.06.2009
working too hard
the passing of marty's father represents the closest person to our children to have died since they've been old enough to absorb things. fact of the matter, ken is the closest person to me that i have known to die. for this reason there was a lot of processing going on in our house over the last few days.

minutes after breaking the news, i sent marty to be with her mother and siblings as this unexpected event fell on their family. this for the most part made me a single, stay at home dad. in between the gatherings and ceremonies i've talked to both bella and alex about what is happening and their thoughts on it all. alex asked about how we would see grandpa again. he asked if grandpa was in heaven. he asked if grandpa was sad. he asked why people were crying. essentially, he asked a bunch of normal and legitimate questions, many of which we talked through together because i didn't know the answers any better than he did.

as for bella, she didn't ask a thing. to a direct question asking her about her questions, she said she had none. while at the wake i asked her if she wanted to go up and say goodbye to grandpa. she said she didn't. when marty later asked her about it, bella said she already did say goodbye. i wasn't really sure how to interpret bella's reticence to talk about it but i gave her space because she didn't seem upset or withdrawn and just kept telling her that if she had questions she could come talk to me. she said she knew this but never asked a single one. the morning of the burial, bella drew this picture while eating breakfast.

after looking at it, i asked her about the third item in the legend. she said that she would have used that mark next to grandpa if he had been murdered but since he wasn't she didn't have to. still curious, i stood for a moment studying the picture in my hand feeling there was a follow-up question i was missing. my eyes focused on her perception of grandpa's face and i saw that he was smiling. i thanked bella for making the picture, told her i thought it was special and walked away. how bella portrayed her grandfather in her drawing tells me she has, like her mother, a healthy understanding of what transpired in this last week. in fact, i think she reached this point far sooner than i had. i would typically say i'm pretty good at not over-thinking a problem but perhaps i'm not as good at it as i like to think i am.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.05.2009
papa ken

marty's father passed away on new year's eve.

when the phone rang, marty was at the store with alex. after answering the phone, i couldn't understand the caller. i couldn't even tell who the caller was. this was because the caller was sobbing uncontrollably. after placing the voice, it took effort to understand what they were trying to say. twenty minutes later i was the sobbing individual trying to tell my wife her father had just died.

at the hospital, marty's mother described the morning. she said they slept in late. when they woke they sniggled. her word. i don't know if sniggled is a pet name for snuggled or a euphemism for something else. either way it sounded warm and special. they went downstairs for breakfast. she was sitting at the table reading the paper and eating. ken put a cup of coffee in the microwave and came to join her. in her peripheral vision she noticed that the hand he placed on the table when sitting down began to slide across the table top. she looked up already saying, "ken, what are you doing? are you alright?" he collapsed. it was that quick. that immediate.

when we told our children alex was the first to speak, "grandpa? not grandpa. we need grandpa. he's the only one who can fix the trains in the basement when they stop working."

for me, ken was a man who took me into his family without an outward ounce of angst or judgement. and at the time i came to him, i wasn't a young man exactly brimming with potential (i assure you, i was no stranger to overt demonstrations of displeasure from young women's fathers regarding their daughters' taste in men). when i asked ken and nat for their blessing to marry marty, ken explained to me that he was catholic. that he raised his children as catholics. that he educated them in catholic institutions. and that obviously he would prefer that they marry catholics. after a measured pause in which his wife watched him with curiosity, he went on to say that i seemed like a good man who loved his daughter, treated her with respect and made her happy and that he supposed he couldn't really ask for more than that in a husband for her. i learned that he later confided in someone that he thought it was also a plus that marty could 'take me' in a scrap if she ever had to.

papa ken's support for me did not waver in time and he was never anything but a kind, interested and supportive father-in-law to me. in that he was all i ever knew i didn't realize how special his role in my life was until after receiving that mid-morning phone call on the last day of the year, twenty years to the month after i first met him. this is something i will forever be sad i did not tell him.


PERSONAL (permalink) 12.19.2008
given that it's the holidays i guess it's only fair to make the following disclaimer should you find yourself celebrating at my home.

not only might you be asked to drink out of a plastic cup you had to write your name on with a sharpie, you might also be asked to do so after scratching out the name of the last guest that used that plastic cup at a previous party. if you're good with that, we're good with you. marty is at least.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.09.2008
i began my first day of forty sick. i'm not in tune enough with my body to know if it was rebelling against leaving my thirties or being pissy about entering my forties. either way, the coughing and hacking kept me home. i wasn't about to go in public on my first day in a new decade sounding like a feeble old man.

marty spent much of her day out and about giving me an unusually quite house to recuperate in. i puttered about trying to catch up on my chores which piled up given my on-the-couch state the day before. intermittently i sat down at the piano. i'm learning to play jingle bells so i can support alex while he sings 'jingle bells, batman smells' on christmas day.

my folks were coming down for dinner. when they arrived marty and the children were still out. we sat and caught up for a bit. when marty and kids did arrive my dad told bella that it was thirty-nine years a some months ago that they went to the pound to get me. i added it was good they were ok with taking home a mutt. bella gave the two of us a practiced eye roll.

we went to my favorite eatery at the moment. it's a persian place on south grand called kabob international and their food is ridiculous. the maternal owner seems smitten with our children and dotes on us like we were kin. anthony was drawn to a ramp connecting two rooms that had beads hanging in the doorway. he kept animatedly running through them with his arms waving until he lost his balance and face-planted into the bar. also eating there was a neighbor with his two sons (a week earlier i saw his wife eating there as well). we exchanged pleasantries and our adoration for the food. when i said i was here for my birthday he said he was here a month earlier (nov 7th) when he turned forty. crazy little world.

for dessert we went to ted drewes. drewes sells custard year round and custard and christmas trees during the holidays. the place is a scene straight out of christmas story with old-school traditionalist on the hunt for that perfect christmas tree. they have everything but the barrel-fire to keep the workers warm. no matter how cold or late it is our kids always fight to eat their various concrete mixtures in the parking lot, lazing about on the car. this night we went home.

when we walked in the door the house was richly decorated with helium balloons. there were scores of them throughout each room. they weren't there when we left. marty and the kids had spent much of their day down the street at a friend's house. they were drawing my cards and readying these balloons which the mom agreed to decorate our house with while we were at dinner. these are the touches in life that let you know you are part of something.

after eating dessert and sending grandparents home and getting children to bed, i called my friend snake in colorado. he had sent me an email earlier in the day and i was months overdue in returning a call to him. we caught up and compared our thoughts on the boons and bites of aging. i ended the call by saying "see ya dave" which is probably the first time i haven't called him by his snake moniker since our friendship began some thirty years ago. this could be one of the bites of forty.

marty and i then sat in front of the fire, each looking minutes from bed. instead we held our comfy spots and talked for over two hours about when we were young and re-visiting how we met and the nuances and fortunate twists that surrounded our coming together. this more than any other component of my life makes being forty not only ok but actually better than being thirty-something or twenty-something. i think i'm going to be ok with this leg of the marathon.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.12.2008
equal to caffeine
i work on a university campus. it's an old one and has tree lined sidewalks flanked by classic, gothic-stone architecture. it's on the edge of the city border and is fully land-locked by its urban surroundings. yesterday morning while walking to work i saw something quite unexpected. on the school's main quadrangle, amidst fast-walking backpacked students was a young, delicate female deer. the sight stopped my feet.

i watched this deer hesitantly try to pick a path through these unusual environs. it cautiously edged along grassy patches until encountering a walkway. here it would pause looking each way for students and stepping back sheepishly when some would pass. when a break in the traffic would come she would quickly step over the walkway to another large swath of grass on the other side moving to the next walkway.

now the oddest part about this moment for me was that i was the only one to stop and gawk at this deer. others walked briskly by not giving it as much as a glance of acknowledgment. that no one else looked at it, i thought i was hallucinating. when it continued, i thought i may have died in my sleep and this was what the other side of things looked like. regular world just with unexpected shit all around. kind of like a dali painting. after about sixty seconds (and about ten seconds before i screamed, "doesn't anyone else see the deer!") one girl glanced up, did a double take and then effortlessly pulled her phone from her bag, snapped a photo and then kept on walking. after this trend-setter, more students did the same.

i was just glad i wasn't dead.


photo was taken later in the day by a colleague.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.15.2008
dirk digler at your service
last summer i visited a close friend of mine who lives out of state. his brother had recently got engaged and during my stay i was invited to meet the woman about to enter the family. the four of us went out and had a fine evening together. the brother and his fiance seemed well suited for one another and the evening contained lots of laughter and stories from our younger years.

a month after my visit the brother and his fiance were eating dinner. she asked him about that guy who came to their place. he asked what guy. she said that movie guy. he thought on this and replied that he didn't know who she was referring to. she said the movie guy who makes gay movies. he said, 'huh?'. she said 'you know, that movie guy who makes gay movies that your brother brought over'. he said 'troy?'. and she said 'yes, troy'.

now ... the people involved in that evening, aside from her, the culprit, have talked about this and why my friend's brother's fiance would think, based on our short time together, that i am an actor in gay pornographic films. truthfully, not one of us could raise a certain story or comment or utterance which may have directed someone to this conclusion. and let's be clear, this does not seem like a detail that would escape three guys who would revel in holding such a nugget over the other. when the brother asked his fiance why she thought troy made gay movies she said she didn't recall exactly why but just walked away from the night thinking that's what troy did.

it has since been alluded to that i may get an invitation to this wedding. if anyone thinks i'm showing up in something other than daisy dukes, a spaghetti-strap tank top that says 'i promise i'm a virgin' and some knee high jack boots, they would be tragically mistaken.

update: to clarify, i don't own any of that clothing yet. i would have to buy it.

except for ... maybe ... the daisy dukes. but that is a story for another day.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.14.2008
come to mamma
i felt very uninspired last week. which is sad and the opposite of what i wanted to feel and was supposed to feel after taking a five week break. in the past after my sabbatical i've been eager to return and usually had a few choice morsels in the hopper. not this time. and this was surprising because in those five weeks my family had taken two vacations, one to the beach and one to a lake resort. we had the outside of our house painted by two drunk guys. we renovated a bedroom. and both kids were on summer vacation. in short, we'd been busy and spent a lot of time together. yet, when i sat down to post last week i drew repeated blanks on what to say. towards the end of the week the dry well got me thinking this project has perhaps run its course and it may be time to shutter the windows and focus my attention on more pertinent matters. seriously.

then, saturday morning marty was organizing the kids in the front yard for a bike ride. i went out to help get the adventure underway. while i was strapping anthony into the rickshaw marty said behind me ...

alex, i want to hold your meat.

alex, in a ziplock baggie, was carrying some summer sausages i had just cut up for him to take along as a snack. the second marty finished her line, my head drooped and i started chuckling at her comment. marty instantly turned my way and chastised me saying that she already had three kids and didn't need a fourth. she then turned back to alex and said ...

alex, give me your meat.

and with that the log blocking my chi break through with a flood of commentary trailing behind. so, you can thank (or vex) marty for saving the day and

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.14.2008
the separating factor
one of the few downsides of loving your family, work, home and life is that it is extra-hard to do things you don't like doing on the rare occasions such things sneak into your world.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.06.2008
even tarzan wore a loin-cloth
on the way home from having dinner out on saturday night walt and i dropped in on friend we haven't seen in awhile. in fact we hadn't seen him in so long we learned not only was he moving out of his house the next day (they were doing their last minute packing when we arrived) but he and his new girlfriend were expecting their first child in a few weeks. during the few hours we sat with them amidst a bunch of cardboard boxes and stacked art the guy mentioned to me that a mutual friend of ours recently bitched to him about my website, this website, saying that i should try writing about something other than my kids. while i have gotten my share of complaints and requests for different sorts of content (i.e. too long, too short, more pictures, more stories) i must say this was a first. no one had ever told me to stop talking about my kids and talk about myself more. if there ever was a common thread among readers of this site it is an agreement that my parental observations are the life-blood if not the only content of merit on this site.

of the rare instances i've meandered through my archives to the the pre-bella days, i'm embarrassed by what i find. truly. it is some really horrific and boorish stuff. so much so, every time i see it i consider culling the first few years out of the database en masse. what keeps me from doing so is the documented genesis in my life and written voice. for me personally it is noteworthy. most of all though when i look at that early stuff i wonder what kept my seven visitors coming back. i guess i have better friends than i thought. or more deluded perhaps. but ... to show i can be a good listener, this one time, for this one guy, i'm going to do something i've never done and deliver some on-demand, by request content and share something of myself instead of my kids or my wife.

as any routine reader of this site knows, i sleep naked. fact is anyone who speaks to me, lives near me or even drives by my house knows this. as for the people who live directly south of me, they really, really know this given their window's vantage points to my stairwell and kitchen (sorry about that one morning ann). the other day i overheard marty on the porch telling a neighbor-lady that since my surgery i was no longer sleeping nude. i heard both women express surprise. marty almost sounded concerned for my well being. not so much so that she addressed it with me though. curious, i drifted onto the porch and both women uncomfortably looked at me. the neighbor lady, who is charmingly forward broke down and asked. i took a seat and began to explain. first, i said that right after my operation there were a bunch of different people in and out of my bedroom where i was permanently laid up. at one point, even one of my female college students dropped by. obviously i felt quite vulnerable and helpless in this state so always made sure i was presentable to any audience. as i started to heal and could get around a little bit, i continued to always have something on. when the ladies asked if this would be a continuing trend i confessed that only as long as i remained on crutches. when they asked why the crutches mattered, i explained that i had already tried returning to my ways but the first time i crutched to the bathroom with nothing on i was struck, intensely, by how unseemly my swinging and hanging and slapping business was. it was so striking, i actually turned around before ever making it to the restroom and put on shorts before resuming my trek.

what i've learned is this. it is one thing to stand or walk cooly about your home with all your business out there, it is totally another to thrust it through the air in confident and sweeping arcs of your body forcing a daunting 3D experience onto any who have the misfortune of being between you and your destination. i wouldn't wish that on you, my children or the one woman in the world generous enough to sleep with me.

so there you go, a troy-story or as close to a troy-only-story as i'm able to give you. hope that slakes your unique need.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.05.2008
i woulda paid twenty bucks to see june cleaver doing that ... thirty with the apron
people do different things when they're stressed. i bite my nails and yell at small children. marty scrubs the kitchen floor with a metal spatula, hand sponge and bucket of water, in nothing but her underwear.

on paper, i would not have thought such a thing would stir me. turns out we can't always rely on paper theories.

PERSONAL, SCIENCE (permalink) 02.01.2008
sleep hard!
i fell asleep last night at 8:53pm (with if not slightly before alex) and just now woke up at 7:35am and only then because marty came and tussled my hair.

i once read a book that claimed one day a week you should just go to bed. they say that on this selected evening you should not plan or attempt to do anything. you just go to bed. if you're not tired, read or do something else you find to be sleep-inducing.

if there is a down-side to this recommendation it is that your back can protest eleven hours of downtime, as mine is doing as i type this quick note. this negative is compensated by the state of your mind which is in a state between frenetic fluttering and stumbling drunkenness, just like back in high school, the only other time we routinely slept in 11-hour blocks.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.11.2007
tag it and bag it
in planning for our last class of the semester, i told my co-teacher, a very seasoned pro, that i wanted to take a group photo of the class. he looked at me a little sideways and said, kindly, "that's cute". in virtually all matters of planning and decision-making i deferred to this mentor but this was one i had to have. as the final minutes of the class approached i gained the room's attention and said:

i don't know how many of you knew and we didn't really advertise the fact, although it may have been painfully apparent, that this was the first college-level course i have ever taught. i don't mind saying that coming into it, i initially found it quite harrowing but it has gone on to be an extraordinary experience and one which will hold a special place with me and serve as a personal highlight of my professional career. i wanted to thank you and say it has been a pleasure getting to know all of you and i appreciate all the patience and energy you've shown me. it's been wonderful.

so that may not be exactly how it came out but it is what i was shooting for. truthfully, i found myself slightly emotional looking at the collection of young and bright faces before me. this collection which would never come together again as they have. this sentimentality surely stems from the only child in me, that plus an extra heavy dash of androgyny which makes for good and routine awkwardness. as requested we did shoot a picture and good to the end, they were champs, exquisitely smiling and hamming for the camera.

after the last student left and the door closed one more time for that particular fall07 course i walked home in the rain thinking about how and why i needed that photograph. by the time i reached my door i didn't have an exact answer, but did know this image, freshly made, would warm me for years to come.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.29.2007
it was so personal, we didn't even wear name-badges
yesterday i went to a fabulous luncheon. it was the first meeting of an advisory board i have been asked to be part of. the lunch took place in this stately manor that has been converted to a formal dining hall. i was the first to arrive. the others slowly and uncertainly entered the private room, as i had done moments before. a point came where there were five of us standing around the table. none of us knew one another and we were all from very different industries. a local entrepreneur. a retired newspaper editor. an ivy-league university representative. and an old-school college professor. and me. in the quiet, i commented that this felt like the beginning of an agatha christie novel. the professor plum looking guy ominously added, "you all had reason to want the victim dead, but which of you enough so to do something about it." i loved it.

for my meal i ordered a bacon-wrapped fillet. when the plate arrived it had the small fillet, a square potato casserole thingy and three long asparagus stalks. i don't eat asparagus. i don't have the enzyme. if you don't know what it means to not have the asparagus enzyme, ask around. only i seem to be doubly afflicted. even so, yesterday i ate the asparagus. i can't fully explain why and i'm not sure i did it for the right reasons but i did and since then have been suffering from my enzyme deficiency.

as for the advisory board, it's nice to have your opinions sought in ways out of the norm. i mean we're all subject matter experts in what we know. it's just nice to not have those questions always be should i use a top or side navigation for this site, or "why can't i wipe my bottom with my shirt? it's soft enough. and you can wash it."

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.14.2007
impulsiveness, family-style
it was a little bit after nine and all the kids were asleep. heading downstairs for a drink, i found marty at her desk lazily browsing the web. i stepped behind her, leaned down and softly kissed her neck. her body softened at the touch, her shoulders falling in relaxation. i kept on. after a few minutes she spoke in a slow and soft way, "i have to put the beef stew away." my mind twisted wondering what this bizarre quip meant. it sounded new. it sounded kinky. then i remembered we had beef stew for dinner. i stopped and stood up. she immediately turned to me, apologizing but said she really needed to put the stew away or it would go bad. she told me to go to the bedroom and she'd be just a minute.

i laid in the dark room remembering the scene in american beauty where lester got scolded for almost spilling beer on the couch. with me still grinning from the similarities, marty appeared in the doorway, backlit by light from down the hall. she began a sultry striptease and lester burnham quickly left my mind. she slid her hand down her leg to remove her shoe. i heard the loud rip of velcro tear through the otherwise silent house. i listened for a child to stir. none did. other shoe, more velcro. still lucky with the kids. her shirt came off next and while i waited for her to cast it to the side the hand holding it reached to her left behind the wall. i thought she was getting some hidden surprise but then realized she was just looking for and then fumbling with the small door of the laundry chute.

lester burnham was back.

but not for long.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.02.2007
the wedding
i've recently talked a few times about the day we went to a wedding a few weeks back. i was just sent a link to a bunch of the images from the event and found some share-worthy. first, here is a picture of bella doing her thing after the ceremony.


here's walt and i at the reception before the music started.


and here's walt thirty seconds after the first song of the night.


and here she is sixty seconds after the first song of the night, and up two dance partners.


and here's a lucky picture of the first drunk guy i've ever enjoyed in my life.


he was spectacular.


and the later it got, the more entertaining he became.


at one point in the evening i commented to marty that had she married the dancing, drunk guy instead of me, she might actually have problems adjusting to someone who could outdance her at a wedding reception. this guy never once left the dance floor (wether it was empty or not). marty shot me a look that told me this was the most daft thing i've ever said to her. i stand corrected. and if i were the hot pants dancing guy, i'd stand on my head corrected.

BIO, PERSONAL (permalink) 09.28.2007
embarrassing pictures are easily worth 2,000 words
for about three years now i have had a line-item on my to-do list that read:

redesign 'what i'm remembering'

i'm finally checking that off and i invite you to visit the new and even more revealing version of what i'm remembering.

PERSONAL, HEALTH (permalink) 09.21.2007
the sweetest sort of debauchery
i fell asleep while putting alex down. that was about 8:20pm. i woke up three minutes ago. that was about 7:16am. so the only thing i have to offer you on this friday morning is an assurance that i am a better rested soul than usual.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.29.2007
it's good they waited until the us news rankings were released
there's a special chalkboard in my mind. what makes it special is in the upper right hand corner in neat print, neater than my own, are written the words SAVE THIS. there's a balloon-like bubble drawn around these words using the side of a piece of chalk, so the border is thicker than the print. the things noted on this full-size board i consider special in life and have hope, however meager, to one day achieve them. an example of one is 'bike coast to coast'. another is 'live it italy'. like i said, meager.

if you asked me about one of the special chalkboard items two years ago, i would have easily placed it ten years out. if you asked me about the same item one year ago, i would have put it five years out. if you asked me about it yesterday, i would have said it was less than twenty-four hours away. that line item is 'teach at a university'.

given this wasn't realistically on my radar a year ago, its development has been quite sudden. and since the moment it firmed up, i've been in a wake of emotion. my current mood is quiet confidence. i'm quiet, which is not entirely like me, because of the uncertainty of it all. i'm confident because of the months of obsessive planning i've done.

so that i may stay quiet and so that i may keep a tentative grip on this delicate confidence, i'm not going to go on further. if you're sitting around at 2:30 CST with nothing to do, send me some karmic love and good thoughts. only if you got some you're not doing anything with that is. now sit up straight. and eyes forward.

PERSONAL, SPORTS (permalink) 07.31.2007
oh marty, can i see you for a moment?
bella spent the last two weeks at a circus camp. bella has been pretty keen on circusy stuff since seeing a trapeze artist perform at a shakespeare festival a few years back (when the girl we were watching finished bella was the first to rise and exuberantly applaud). at the conclusion of this camp bella informed us that she would be conducting her own camp at home for us, her family. marty and i nodded in support saying that was a fine idea and then dismissed it. moments after getting out of bed the next morning bella came up to me, handed me a sheet of name badges and told me to get ready because class was about to begin.


bella set her school up in our living room. she placed every pillow in the house in the center of the floor. marty somehow got a pass which left me, alex and anthony as bella's only pupils. she began by running us through a series of tuck and roll drills. next bella and i worked on a move where she stands on my shoulders, her arms stretched wide in the air (we're getting pretty good at this maneuver if you ever see us and would like a viewing). next i had to work on a headstand. bella demonstrated how to start out which is this precarious upside-down tripod like pose which i can't even begin to describe. once you're in it though and have your balance you are to raise your legs vertically in the air. i couldn't believe how hard it was to straighten my legs perfectly upright without haphazardly tipping over. seeing me struggle bella came to spot me and started trying to push and hold my legs up. watching, from my inverted view, her laborious attempt to get me into position made me start laughing, much to the chagrin of my six year old spotter. she let go and i fell flat still laughing. i was chastised for not being serious and having such heavy legs. fortunately this impasse concluded our first day of tutelage.

as we wrapped up bella informed me that for our real production to the neighborhood folks a few weeks out i would have to wear appropriate attire which is a leotard. when i confessed to not having one she said i'd have to make one. when i said i didn't know how to sew she said aunt cheri did and i should get her help. since aunt cheri lives in chicago i told bella i thought i could maybe fashion one out of a t-shirt. embarrassingly, this wasn't a lie. a friend of mine told me how her ten year old son got this notion of making a wrestlers bib. to do so, while naked he put on a t-shirt and then stretched it down into his groin and clipped the front and back together with a safety-pin. he was quite proud of his creation and ran around the house playing for a bit. when it came time to take it off, he hit some trouble. he found he was unable to get a good enough handle on the safety pin to undo it. he obviously became vexed by this and went to his mother somewhat distressed. she studied the situation and concluded there was only one way to approach the predicament; roll her sleeves up and go in. i'm convinced it is these unique moments that happen behind the closed doors of people's homes that create the special bonds that make families close and forever connected. because there is little doubt that if i performed a similar service for someone we're either related or seriously dating. the only question remaining is who is the lucky soul living in my house getting tapped when papa troy needs to make tinkle in the potty between acts.

KIDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.25.2007
a series of threes
three things that put baby anthony immediately to sleep:
  1. the car
  2. the bike carrier
  3. the television

three things that make alexander weep:
  1. bleeding wounds
  2. people leaving the house without letting him push them on the buttocks
  3. bella touching him with an index finger

three things isabella does to agitate people:
  1. poking them with an index finger
  2. hiding their belongings
  3. pinching them in the groin

three things that make marty sleep deprived:
  1. her children
  2. the neighbors wind chimes
  3. season three of LOST

three things my kids do to wake me up:
  1. whispering
  2. tickling
  3. suffocation

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.20.2007
why are the lights dimmed? and who put clean sheets on the bed?
a kind soul sent me a very thoughtful piece of correspondence yesterday. it read:

Become the most powerful lover in your sexual partner's life with these products!
We offer best prices on the most qualitative brand-name goods for men!
We don't offer fake - all our brand-name goods are 100% generic!

while i'm touched by this individual's concern for my intimate well-being, they must realize that by being my partner's only lover, i'm already the most powerful man-cake in her stable. i'm also her most passionate, caring, skilled, hunky, ravenous and capable. granted this math also makes me her most fetid, vile, obese, abject, fumbling and inept paramour as well.

either way you cut it, i wasn't really in need of their aids but in the end proved unable to resist the persuasive claim that all of their BRAND NAME products were 100% GENERIC and ended up buying two of everything. except that one thing which i had to get three of. i mean i do want to be her most prepared lover as well.

SOCIETY, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.18.2007
may i fetch your slippers and paper miss marty?
some of the neighborhood ladies have been convening about a smooth-talking salesman that's been trolling our streets. since he works during the day, he mostly catches the stay-at-home moms. when he approaches one he quickly opens with some insightful and relevant compliment and then seamlessly rolls into a friendly course of banter. by the time he begins pitching his wares the ladies are engaged enough that they feel unable to snub or refuse him outright as if he were some perfect stranger trying to wrangle money from their home equity lines. in one of their sidewalk pow-wows about the topic one of the ladies suggested what they often suggest when uncertain of an answer to an everyday and possibly awkward situation, "we should ask marty. marty will know what to do." marty is the no-frills, cut-to-the-chase, nip-it-in-the-bud mom on the block.

an example. a few years back we were at a bbq at a neighbors house. there were about six families there and kids were running and screaming inside and out. a small group of parents were standing in the kitchen talking when a kid came running in from the backyard. the child's father stopped him and told him to go back outside because his feet were dirty and he was going to track mud on the floor. the five year old looked at him, turned and ran on, ignoring the instruction. the man looked back to the group passing a hand in the air towards the now gone child and said:

what am supposed to do with that? the kid listens to nothing.

at least he stopped when you addressed him. mine don't even do that.

THE HOSTESS (while mixing a salad)
you should ask marty. marty knows what to do.

THE FATHER (turning to marty who was quietly standing in the room)
so marty. what should i do?

are you really asking me this?

yes i am.

you go get him, you sit his ass in a chair and you tell him he's on time out for five minutes for not listening.

sit him on a chair huh? like he'd stay.

you make him stay. you're a grown man john. are you telling me you can't hold a forty pound child on a chair for five minutes. i've held two down while making brownies and talking on the phone.

so you see. marty is viewed as a bit of a problem-solver in our neck of the woods. her advice might not always be in agreement with all folks, but the girl always has a position and in these hectic, break-neck days that seems to count for something. so when the neighborhood women were stymied by the pearly-toothed home security salesmen they came to marty. they explained the scenario and marty quietly listened. quietly that is until they got to the part of the episode where if the lady starts leaning towards the husband-card, the man quickly says "oh, if i'm talking to wrong person here, i can come back when the decision-maker of the home is in." when marty heard this she guffawed, like one of those great full-belly guffaws. when done she told the ladies that if he appeared on our stoop and made that implication she would say: "oh the man of the house? yeah, he's tied to tree in the backyard for sassin' me. you should go talk to him. he'd probably enjoy the company."

hearing marty so confidently regale the now-laughing ladies in front of our house gives me a sense of pride in being paired with a woman of such conviction. that said, when the laughter dies and the everyone is back in the homes, the strong words resonate in my head leaving a slight chill because of the bravado and confidence in which they were stated. it's almost as if this thing has already happened. or in the least could happen. at any rate, on days i don't update the site, you now may have an inkling as to why.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.10.2007
mad, sad and glad ... in that order
it was twenty years ago today that i left colorado. i had just graduated high school and was headed to saint louis to attend college. it was not my choice. i had forfeited my option to stay in the state by not taking control of a situation earlier. this was one of my first severe lessons in life. as i pulled off I-25 and onto I-70 east i recall repeatedly looking into the rear-view mirror, watching the mountains dissipate in the distance. i couldn't cry outright because my home-town pal snake was cheerily riding shotgun next to me. his jovial spirit was certainly a by-product of his golden two-way ticket.

time has shown, leaving fort collins and colorado was one of the best doses of medicine i ever ingested. staying there would have stunted my emotional growth more than a pack a day habit would have stymied my physical maturity. leaving the serene shelter of fort collins granted me not one but two re-inventions of myself (the first of which lacked some of the potential i thought possible). it allowed me to shake off my adolescent conditioning and live a life governed by natural instincts rather than societal expectations. i'm unable to quantify how this change in approach improved my life and ultimate fulfillment other than to say it was immense.

another unanticipated boon of the change was oddly enough my theatre-going. before moving away, i had never gone to movies alone. after the move, i went solo quite frequently (having no one to go with) and found it to be wonderfully liberating. i've actually tested this theory against real-life folks and find it to be mostly predictable. that is, people who live in their hometown seldom or never go to movies alone and those who have had some major change in geography will sit alone without compunction if not by preference. i know it's sad to to insert this sophomoric discovery in with such a heartfelt reveal but i'm disproportionately proud of this observation.

i do have great adoration and warmth towards colorado and love saying i am from the state. a pre-boom, pre-california colorado where kids rode bikes into the mountains without helmets, routinely ice-skated on wild lakes and always knew on which horizon the sun would set. i may return one day but will do so as a different person and with different expectations. and thanks to in-town family i love and a job i greatly enjoy in saint louis, i will patiently do so many, many years from now.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.01.2007
i'm on the charging station
it's that time of year again. that time when i shut things down for a month and join the blogless masses in evenings free of FTP uploads and self-important blather. in typical OCD fashion, i'm dotting the I's by bulk updating the date-sensitive areas of the site:

may gallery photo
sassafras photo
may menu
reading update

and, to help distract you in my absence i'll share a few url's which have been greatly soiling my productivity as of late and will certainly garner some attention from me over the next 30 days.

desktop tower defense

see you monday, june 4

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.11.2007
another long-range goal gets a check
on the first day of my second year at the new job my boss called me into his office. he congratulated me on the anniversary and presented me with a few gifts, totally insightful and peachy gifts. he then told me he was approving a request made for me to teach a class in the fall. year two seems to be off and running like the bulls and will be the year i teach my first university level course. so much for ditching this ridiculous smile.

PERSONAL, SOCIETY (permalink) 04.10.2007
the bathroom's are clean too.
today marks my one year anniversary at the new job. that means it was one year ago today that i walked to my new office with a broad, idiotic, unremovable grin across my face. you see, i'd set this goal approximately six years prior and now here i was cresting the hill. as the year progressed the sheen didn't fade. i'd find myself walking the hallways or sitting in my office just grinning, still idiotically. and while i remain enamored with the employer and the work and the colleagues, it is the little things no one would expect that really keep the situation special.

if you need something you ask for it and assuming it is not a prostate massager or the like, you get it. after one of the several mergers at my last place, our new ceo instituted a policy that this company, his company, would no longer supply pens and pencils to the staff. i mean sure, it's not like a financial institution would need something superfluous like writing instruments to function so i found the move quite insightful if not inspired. when asked what employees were meant to do should a need arise the response claimed there wasn't a person on staff who didn't have a junk drawer full of pens in their home. and i reckon his $37 million year-end bonus could swing at least two such drawers.

parties and celebrations are held at people's homes. sometimes catered, sometimes not. either way, the personality of these affairs warm me. i recall back in corporate-world such celebrations entailed a boss flying in from another city for the day and the staff assembling in a conference room with too few chairs where we'd stand around awkwardly and eat a grocery store hoagie off paper plates.

there is a switch on the wall that allows me to turn the light in my office on and off. back in the day i remember standing on my desk to unscrew the broad fluorescent tubes over my workspace, disabling them. at some point in the week an elf would come in the night and reverse my adjustment. the next morning, up i'd climb and thus went our dance of persistence. i'll let you guess where the switch on my new wall most often resides.

windows. glorious, tall, world-framing windows. and as if just having them wasn't enough, they open. there are few professional perks sweeter than plying your indoor trade in the natural light of the day and feeling a soft morning breeze usher a co-workers acerbic flatulence away from your nose.

here's to what is hopefully another year of bliss and appreciation.

HOW-TO, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 04.03.2007

click to enlarge

PERSONAL, SCIENCE (permalink) 01.24.2007
dispensing inordinate quantities of unused advice
at a housewarming party last weekend, a fellow adoptee pulled me to the side to talk about an opportunity he was presented with to find his biological parents, the mother at least. he asked what i felt about the practice of adopted children finding their birth parents.

i told him about a guy i met through work several years earlier. this fellow was about my age, well educated and impressively accomplished in his field. i liked him quite a bit and would lunch with him when he was in town. on one of these outings he told me about his search for his birth mother. after revealing the mechanics of the quest, he went quiet and stared off for a long moment. i asked him if he ever found her and he said he had. i asked him if he got to meet her and he said he had. i asked him what it was like and while still looking away he sedately said 'you can never take it back'.

here's the deal, in youth adopted children assimilate what it means to be adopted (obviously, i'm talking about children who know they're adopted). part of this process inevitably has them create some mental representation of a biological parent. in my fanciful vision, my birth mother was young, empathetic, kind and the victim of dumb luck. my introspective lunch date had far more grandiose notions regarding his lineage. he had a quick mind, athletic physique, winsome charm, basically a lot of positive and innate qualities were handed to him and he, quite logically, transferred larger versions of these inherited traits onto his mind's version of his parents. when he finally came to meet his birth mother he learned she was a truck stop waitress, living in a broken-down trailer, dealing with numerous health issues and had him after a short-term, abusive fling with a guy who didn't shower a lot. many decorative vases lining glass shelves in his mind toppled on this day. and as he continues to reflect on what he has come to learn and compares it to what he long believed, as he appeared to be doing even while simply talking to me about it, these fancy pieces of brain-crystal continue to unsteadily wobble.

after telling this story to the house-warming guy, i watched him as he considered my friend's journey. during these seconds, i recalled that this same house-warming guy came to me years earlier about wether or not he should circumcise the son he was about to have. let's just say i think a certain head-hunter is about to be asked to name and locate the uterus my contemplative friend once slid out of. oh well, this is just another reason it's fortunate i like the sound of my own voice.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.15.2006
even i'll drink to that
last night i went to a christmas party at my boss's house. monday night i go to one at his boss's house. i can't tell you how much i adore being out of multi-state, mega-corporation hell.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.12.2006
as it turns out, i don't think i'm going to have time to mess with the daily pics. sorry for the psyche. see you next week.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.11.2006
technology nirvana is 46 inches long
i have a large project deadline next week. given this i won't have a whole lot of time to squander with you all.

that said, i 've had some folks ask about my office at the new job (which is not so new anymore). admittedly these inquiries come on the heels of me bragging on it in one way or another. so since i'll be spending the majority of my days there and i've promised a few of you a glimpse into that part of my life, it seems fitting to use this week to settle that score.

i'll post a different picture each day of the week. enjoy the next seven days a little bit for me.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.29.2006
the friday evening forecast ... talk about some lame-ass luck

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.10.2006
is my tie straight?
i start my new job today. you should have seen me last night. it was like the night before the first day of school. picking out my clothes. getting all my desk supplies organized in my book-bag. double-checking my alarm clock, which is to say i asked marty twice if she had set her alarm. she had.

and check this out. here is the sort of stuff my new boss does.

and, for reference sake this has been the nature of my work to date.

i ask, how could two fellas with such disparate, yet brilliant, subjects of expertise create anything short of breathtaking and wondrous? i agree, we just can't miss. this is going to be a super-fun and rollicking experience.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.03.2006
enjoying the short-timer lifestyle
in preparation for my new job, and more significantly, my exodus from my previous one, i'm going to take the week off. i'll be back on the 10th.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.24.2006
troy out
i've been with my current employer weeks shy of fourteen years. it is the only company i've worked for in my adult life and i started in their lowest non-janitorial position.

yesterday morning in a windowless conference room i said to my boss the words "i'm cooked" and slid a resignation letter across the table towards him. he looked at the document and softly said "son of a bitch".

two days earlier i penned my signature at the base of a written job offer. to that, if someone handed me a blank piece of paper and asked me to describe my dream gig, my notes would not have been as appealing as the position outlined in what i put my name to here.

bookguy, who offered me sage and consistent counsel through my job quest, said i should have quit long ago not because it was the right thing to do professionally but because i seemed to be a natural at writing resignation letters. in thinking back to crafting the brief message, the words did flow with great ease from my keyboard which i guess says about all there is to say.

PERSONAL, FILM, QUOTES (permalink) 03.23.2006
keep that eye on the ball
several folks asked about the subject line of yesterday's post:

michael, why are the drapes open?

the (i guess obscure) reference is from The Godfather, second installment specifically. this is what kay said to michael corleone moments before bullets rained through their bedroom window in an attempt on his life. the phrase has come to be synonymous with the importance of noticing the little things and how subtle shifts in these seemingly innocuous details can portend matters of great and grave consequence.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.22.2006
michael, why are the drapes open?
you are either better, worse or the same as you were 24 hours earlier. today is a 'better than' day.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.06.2006
how can something so inevitable, be so unfathomable?

emma idessia hoffman-rutman
09.01.1921 - 02.25.2006

in late february my mother and her brother drove halfway across the nation to walk into a country-side nursing home in the evening hours of a sunday night to tell their father that his wife of 66 years, and their mother, had died in her sleep the day before. upon tearfully presenting him with the news he sat quietly in his chair before softly saying 'that is the saddest thing i've ever heard'. and then he wept.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.11.2006
tit for tat
last night marty and i sat at the table in the breakfast room, soiled plates from the evening dinner strewn before us. both kids had excused themselves to play in the living room. it was mid-day before we realized it was our eight year wedding anniversary (which is the same as our sixteen year together-anniversary). as i looked at my exhausted wife i couldn't help but note the delta between the dinner we shared sixteen years ago and the one tonight. she looked exhausted. i felt spent.

i asked her what she thought we'd be doing in another sixteen years, once the kids were all up and away. she wistfully referred to a retired couple down the street who still walk along the sidewalk arm in arm headed to one of the neighborhood eateries. they seem so youthful. so still in love. she commented on how weekend nights they go to formal halls to ballroom dance. i considered this as the sentiment came from her dreamy face and gently replied that every time she made me dress up to waltz around a high-ceilinged room, i'd make her go to a network-gaming party in some never-married geek's finished basement.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.03.2006
we have a big chief notepad on our bedside table
for our christmas meal, i made the best pie of my pie-making career. it looked leagues better than it tasted and therefore, for someone as vain as me, represented a culinary slam dunk.

and while i was still reveling in my success a full five days later, the good handwriting girl brought this modest effort to our new year's party. if you, like everyone who looked at it, are wondering about the dark chocolate leaves, they were individually poured and molded against ficus leaves from her backyard. i think it's safe to say this upstart won't have to worry about being invited to next year's affair.

and as for this damsel's moniker, i'm a bit of a handwriting fetishist. marty's printing has on numerous occasions been mistaken for printed text with people asking about the cool font. so, in the end, it was marty's high precision penmanship that made me covet her so and not, as many suspect, her charm, beauty or candor. as for how i came to admire the new contender, i was doing dishes after the party and washing the solo plastic cups (remember ... ) when i ran into this one with her daughter's name interestingly printed on its rim and became smitten in front of my sudsy sink and open dishwasher.

although, if she emails me saying this is her engineer husband's handiwork, i may be in a bit of a pickle, literally.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.23.2005
the boardwalk AND park place of my home
so, i've been a little bit out of commission as of late. i have a few weeks off work and within four hours of clocking out, i began deconstructing my office. my office occupies the smallest part of the smallest room of our house. fact is, my office is in a closet. granted it's a double door closet, but it's still a closet.

i've learned over the last few days that this miniscule space is the most coveted real estate in my home. once i had it emptied, marty stood in the room eyeing the double wide clothes receptacle. i didn't like the look. i asked her if something was wrong. she simply commented that a girl could spread a wardrobe out quite nicely in such a large closet. i told her not to even think about it, it was mine, i called it fair and square when we moved in. when bella saw the vast expanse she told me not to put my desk back in it because she and the defecator could play house in it. and by told, i mean instructed, harshly. when alex saw it, he just looked around and said NUNNEL which is how he says the word tunnel which is how he sought to claim my space because his favorite architectural structures are nunnels.

after making the modifications i planned (paint, more shelves, lighting) i had to reclaim the nook in the wee-est hours of the night. my plan would have been foiled had a single person been awake to obstruct my maneuver.

additionally, i'm not sure how connected i'll be next week either. so many engagements, so little bandwidth.

PERSONAL, KIDS, MUSIC (permalink) 12.14.2005
rain, sleet nor vomit could keep me from an e-love affair
last night e-love's acapella group had its first concert of the season. the whole family was slated to attend until alex puked, or as bella would say, choked-up, all over the arm of his coat an hour after waking up. later, while walking bella home from school, i explained that alex was sick and i would stay home with him so she and mom could go to the concert. she turned to me and pleadingly exclaimed ...

but father, e-love is your best friend! you MUST go to his concert!

she's a smart girl and alex is a fake choke-upper because we collectively got green-lit for the show by our medical staff. a few songs into the performance bella got my attention and over the applauding audience screamed in my direction ...

father! thank you for inviting us to your show. i'm having so much fun i'm about to fall asleep!

and, that was not facetious. bella doesn't yet know how to be facetious. it was a four year old girl's unadulterated and delirious gratitude towards a father who snuck her into a concert under the hem of his coat.

and, wondering how one climbs the ranks of troy-peeps to hold the number one slot? a sure-fire way is to not only get a gaggle of guys to sing my all-time favorite christmas song but also to dedicate it to me every time you sing it at your christmas concerts. and i imagine e-love wouldn't mind my sharing it with you all. i hope you enjoy it, but not to bella-like levels because that would mean seventeen otherwise productive people would be sprawled back in their padded work chairs in blissful, flatulent slumber on the clock and how could the world's economy possibly hope to ever again right itself?

carol of the bells
performed by amen

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 12.09.2005
the snow was a result of a closed-eyes wish ... which we all know has extra potency
about a month back marty told the kids that they had to start thinking about my birthday present. marty no more than finished the sentence when bella said she knew what to get me. marty, playing along, asked what was that and bella replied, "well, when we were at aunt peggy's father really, really liked the homemade ice cream they made, so we could get him his very own ice cream maker!"

absolutely stupefying. no garfield ties for this dad cuz my little humans rawk! first serving will be ready for tonight's movie night. i also got a $50 credit with iTunes (thanks momz and popz) and a killer campfire popcorn maker which we're already two batches into via the fireplace which was at a four-log state all day thanks to the three inches of snow that was accumulating outside. which meant 5:00 sledding and 6:00 big V burgers. and because of those events, it wasn't until 9:00 that i noticed a card on the kitchen counter which contained the following ...

i do recall, vaguely, that trip peg, but not nearly as vividly as my big boy bank does. the card is already tacked to the wall of wonder.

i thank everyone who added to what amounted to a really spectacular day. i gotta tell ya, i'm floating.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 11.04.2005
just an update
i'm still recovering from what has been a very rollicking month. hope to be back up to par next week.

with life on the web your efforts rarely seem to generate appropriate affection. it's a one-way forum and those that play, or keep playing at least, know this. so to receive multiple rewards/kudos in a short span of time is pretty unprecedented, especially for a one-trick hack like myself. this week felt like troy-appreciation week. i don't want to get into the nature of the various puffs of wind sent up my skirt but just know puffs of air were billowing all around my catholic school girl plaid (and not the kind of puffs that make alex snap his head up and say inquisitively, 'GAS?').

one thing i will share with you though. on the day before the everyman's photos were released, the site received 7,000 requests. on the day the photos were released it satisfied, quite admirably might i add, 200,000 requests. i think the everyman should have no problem besting its 1,000,000 request month record.

going to bed now. g'night.

p.s. if walt and i have another child, a son, i'm going to fight hard to name him Marcher.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.26.2005
enormity paralysis kiss my numb-from-my-chair ass
i owe a personal customer a major site addition by wednesday. i owe work two site mockups by friday. and then of course there's that modest time-drain called the everyman which will be available to the public (and judges) on tuesday of next week. the above is to say i will most certainly be out to lunch the remainder of the week.

and any who see me during this run do not be alarmed by my disheveled appearance, unshaven chin whiskers or maniacal grin. i'm a closet masochist. reminds me of college. marty hates me when i self-abuse. but, marty didn't like college too much either. and for those that warn me of the pending crash given my elevated levels of sugar and caffeine, you can't come down if you never stop the intravenous delivery of said sugar and caffeine. it's children's math really.

and when i get in these jags i totally feel like ray liota at the end goodfellas. unfortunately i look a bit like him too. do you know what it takes to look like a guy strung out on cocaine when you're not, yourself, using cocaine? it's no minor achievement, i gotta tell ya.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.21.2005
check. check. check.
three things i try to do everyday:
  1. walk on grass
  2. make my children laugh (giggling and/or tittering counts)
  3. not die

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.25.2005
i'll see your raise and raise you again
there is a game of sorts marty and i have engaged in since the early days of our relationship. we refer to it as THE CHIP. i don't recall who started it or even if it was an original invention. i just know it showed up one day and has been used 3-5 times a year since its inception.

how it works; each of us began the game with an equally scant few chips. chips are given when one of us performs an act of personal sacrifice at the request of the other. for instance, if marty were going out with her girlfriends and asked me to go i could, and oftentimes would, decline. if for some reason my attendance was important to marty on a particular outing, she could simply say my going was worth a chip. with the offer of a chip, it told me that this was, for some personal reason that did not need to be explained, an important matter to marty.

another thing about our chips; the offering of a chip has never been refused.

back in the day chips weren't traded immediately. one person may burn through three chips before ever getting presented one in return. this is not so much the case these days because these days you always got a chip or two you could toss on the counter. and while chips used to mostly involve family functions or events requiring shirts with buttons, they now take a much more pedestrian form. an example of a chip exchange today looks more like this:

MARTY (walking into kitchen where i'm doing dishes)
you got something?

TROY (laughing)
do i have something? sure. go.

stop leaving your wet towels on the bed in the morning.

hang the broom up in the pantry after using it.



and, people say kids complicate life. pre-kid chips were never this simple and painless. for us, kids have simplified our days down to the lowest common denominator of life; survival. and i'm not talking about driving a leased-suv and having the summer place in the outer banks kind of survival, i'm talking about the crouching scared in the back of a dank cave kind of survival.

clarifying points: the chips aren't real, like poker chips or something. they are figurative. no official scorecard has ever been kept because no one has ever thought to abuse the chip system. and this is not out of fear of getting caught (which you would get caught) but out of respect for the good deed it has done for our time together.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.16.2005
making up for lost time
some things i couldn't do in the house i grew up in:

take the lords name in vain
say darn *
say jeez *
say gosh *
or take showers during thunderstorms

* disallowed for their derivative nature to damn, jesus and god respectively.

PHOTO, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.20.2005
my from the attic contribution
tonight marty confided in me that she was concerned i may have run out of embarrassing things to say about myself and have moved onto her, since the last few posts have been greatly marty-centric (her breasts specifically, but her all the same).

she of all people should know that i haven't even gotten to the embarrassing parts of my life yet.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.19.2005
talk of circumcision and masturbation just don't run them off like it used to
i currently have a few too many friends. and gobs more acquaintances than i'd ever know what to do with. so it's time to thin the herd a bit.

ok. what to share? i just want to run a few of you off. not too many, certainly not everyone. ok. i got it. hows about this:

i liked the film legally blonde a lot. and, not as in, i liked it for what it was. i liked it a whole lot, period.

i reckon that should take a few of you out at the knees. it's been real. best of luck. have a super summer. xoxoxo.

ok. carry on. that will be all for today.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.17.2005
a bran muffin and yogurt with a crispy creme chaser
given one half of my diet i should look like calista flockhart and given the other half i should look like ralphie may.

so i guess when you balance it all out, it explains why people think i look like this.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.10.2005
hey! this stuff really works great! (hold bottle to camera. smile.)
as a younger man i had certain fanciful visions of what my future might hold for me. now that i'm a few mile markers into the journey, i can attest, with great certainty, that i didn't expect things to more resemble a zout commercial than anything else given the vast array of possibilities.

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 05.03.2005
for the record
in regard to yesterday's post about our four year old's blue language, i'd like to add i never use the phrase 'stupid-ass' but do have a certain lady-friend i'm married to who will on occasion drop the 'stupid-ass' bomb.

for those keeping score of who is responsible for bad words uttered by our kids, the tally currently stands at marty, two and troy, zero. although it's a rather empty victory because when bella finally does get around to floating a true troyism out there for our relatives or her classmates and either gets the family ostracized or herself expelled, i think marty's going to argue for a greater point value. but worry not, i'll negotiate it down ... to a double digit offense at least.

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 05.02.2005
you should hear what she calls her stuffed cat
at alex's 2-year birthday party, all four grandparents were very impressed when bella said something was 'despicable' although it sounded more like 'spicable'.

the same could not be said this same evening when she later called one of her teddy bears a 'stupid-ass' which pretty much came out sounding like 'stupid-ass'.

WEB, PERSONAL, MUSIC (permalink) 04.01.2005
bella has put me on a 30 day time-out
it's that time of year again, that time when your host checks out for a month. actually i'm a month early but this is one of the beautiful things about being your own boss.

i'll be back monday, may 2nd.

meanwhile enjoy this and this and this and this.

and this.

UPDATE : check back on monday. i may have something to keep you entertained throughout the month. well, occupied for 3 minutes a day at least.

AND ... lucky for you, michaelcosm is stepping up and coming out of hibernation for a month to regale us with five new michaelpellas.

tune in every friday.

we all know the boy does not dissapoint.

p.s. michael ... i love your rap month logo! too awesome!

KIDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 03.31.2005
the falcon has landed, i repeat, the falcon has landed
the experiment is over. marty has returned to the flock. a synopsis:

day 0 or preflight or the last day marty was with us : height of the roman empire
day 1 : rome is crumbling
day 2 : rome has fallen (detail)
day 3 : the new world is discovered (detail)
day 4 : still the new world, but with a lot of crappy neighbors.

yesterday (day 4) had multiple peaks and valleys, a meltdown or two and some good laughs interspersed throughout. my guess would be this is the most representative of what Walt experiences from one day to the next. as for earlier, i think the goodness of day 3 was just as aberrant as the badness of day 2.

to all you current and future fathers. this experience is a must, especially if your partner is a full-time caregiver. and, i'm not talking about a four hour stretch or even an overnighter, i'm talking about a multi-day escapade of a you-against-them kind of scenario. this is some exhausting shit. without doubt. and what seems to make it so taxing is the sheer unpredictability of it all. you can only ever reliably see five minutes into the future. any premonitions beyond that is wild speculation and about as accurate as the 10 o'clock weather.

empathy is your friend. understanding is your currency. appreciation your lifeblood.

now, if we could only experience menstruation.

QUOTES, KIDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 03.30.2005
holding the line and staying the course
marty abandonment update:
day three went swimmingly, one might even say spectacularly.

i attribute this success to the single-best piece of parenting advice i've ever received:

'you just have to be smarter than your kids.'

the source of this sage insight, my father-in-law, who by my estimation did a pretty bang-up job.

thanks for the bail-out papa ken.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.02.2005
last week we paid $4,000 to replace our home's furnace which had been acting flaky. after the installation and seeing that our new furnace was equally flaky we surmised that it was instead our $100 thermostat that was having issues.

this is called putting one in the L column of home ownership.

PERSONAL, GEEK (permalink) 01.28.2005
it's just poorly applied rouge
i had a meeting with some potential web customers last night. wanting to appear deceptively alert, i took a quick power nap before rushing out the door to meet them. upon getting home marty asked me why i had marker all over the side of my face. further inspection found that alex scrawled his first red-permanent marker mural on the right half of my head while i was dozing. on the good side, the kid shows promise. on the better side, even with my face all marked up, i got the gig. i'm thankful to be in an industry where the talent is expected to be more on the bent side than not.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.18.2005
all new players, exact same scenarios
marty walks around the house with a kitchen timer clipped to her shirt. this means there is either some bread product cooking in the oven or a child on time-out.

it's the best when you see her stopped somewhere with a flour-coated palm to her forehead saying, 'now where did i put that damn timer'. without raising my eyes from my book or paper, i mutter, 'left hip'. she rips the thing off her sweater and glares at me only long enough to state 'don't look at me as though i'm losing my mind. i'm NOT losing my mind!'. i non-verbally respond with my 'i would never dream of suggesting anything of the like honey' face.

and, so goes our daily waltz.

PERSONAL, TELEVISION, SOCIETY (permalink) 01.14.2005
she doesn't look at me the same anymore
marty and i have been enjoying the terribly underrated freaks and geeks series together. i can't tell you how interesting it is to be watching this with someone who was neither a freak, a geek or, as with her spouse, somehow both.

although i will say i feel like a celebrity. she's so full of questions, questions i know the answers to. and she asks them excitedly, sitting on the couch with her knees pulled up to her chest, smiling widely as she works to get them out.

were there really girls who would/could push guys around? did guys really freak out about having to shower in gym? do people really dance in front of and converse with their mirror?

the answers:
  1. my mom made me put the dollar bill she gave me for lunch in that funny little pocket above the regular right pocket on levis. three people knew this. myself, my mother and a girl named audrey who simply held her hand out every day she saw me before lunch.
  2. at my high school, we only had to shower during swim week. me and a terribly overweight kid were the only ones with doctors notes excusing us from the program for three straight years. you see, not only did i not know how to swim, i didn't get a chest hair until i was 19, started shaving a year after that (and then only once a week until i was 25). you do the math. i was about twelve leg hairs away from being diagnosed with alopecia and advertising my pubeless groin to all of my rowdy and hirsute colleagues was simply not in the plan.
  3. dammit

but don't get me wrong, i'm also learning stuff. like that the average person could feather their hair if they so desired?

although, for me, it raises another question; who wouldn't desire to feather their hair?

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.07.2005
we don't even own a dog
i think it was dennis miller who once discussed how strange the moments immediately following sex seem. you're looking around wondering who put a dog collar on you. you can't believe your wife allowed one of you to pour molasses all over her newest linens. you contemplate how you ever stretched her 'bad kitty' thong over your thighs and equally significant, how you expect to remove them. you know, all the usual suspects of a post-coital tryst.

this stupor aptly describes my sentiments regarding christmas. now that it is in the books, i look around my home wondering what idiot vomited this vast collection of red and green baubles everywhere and more importantly, why am i the schmuck expected to put it all away?

PERSONAL, HYGIENE (permalink) 01.03.2005
a seldom used metric for measuring happiness
i wore the same pair of pants 12 days in a row.

that's just another way of saying, the break was good.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.17.2004
out to lunch, brunch and whatever else i can find in the kitchen
as of 5pm today i am off work for two weeks, or 16 days really. given this rare opportunity to avoid computers totally, i think i'm going to act on it and step out for a short while.

i'll be back on january 3rd.

in parting, allow me to leave you with this christmas sentiment.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.08.2004
life without larry kinda sucks
last week i received the worst haircut i've had in over 10 years.

this was my second haircut PL (post-Larry).

and, this was my first.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.24.2004
i'd spend that much before leaving the airport
guess how much loot miss frugal spent during her four day jag in the worlds greatest and most inflated city...




no. try thirty bucks.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.22.2004
these faucets don't work the way you think they should little man
if you recall, marty and bella were in nyc last weekend. marty went there for two reasons:
  1. so bella could see her long time friend, grace, who moved there earlier this year and,
  2. to get the hell away from alex.
marty had been commenting on how clingy he'd been since she started the weaning process. i didn't notice it, but then again i'm at work for 3 hours a day so i'm not the fixture in the house walt is. with marty gone and me on little man duty, allow me summarize the weekend as such:

alex's attention requirements make the needs of my third girlfriend look like care instructions for a pet rock.

on a positive note, at least i didn't wake up to find him attempting to draw milk from my itty-bitty, one-haired, man-nipple, as i did with his sister.

WEB, PHOTO, PERSONAL, STORYTIME (permalink) 11.19.2004
breaking the silence

special note to peggy walter: click on these words

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.18.2004
this must be what makes them special
this weekend bella is going to have her first sleep over at a friend's house. the friend is grace and the place is manhattan. this puts little man and i on our own this weekend. very exciting.

on the morning they were to leave, i was up early (4:30am) addressing work issues. at one point i walked into the bedroom and found bella had snuck into my spot in bed and was snuggled in close to marty. i took a moment to stand and watch my two girls looking so perfect. suddenly, marty bolted upright, looked next to her and pushed bella two feet further away and then re-collapsed into her previous pose.

this was not a gentle persuasion, one fearful of waking a resting child. it most reminded me of how i used to push fifty pound burlap sacks of idaho russets around the cellar of a restaurant i worked at.

you have to take time for the sentimental moments in this house because when they do happen they don't happen for long.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.04.2004
would you like delivery confirmation on that?
bella places a pen and sealed envelope on my desk and says she needs me to address it to someone for her. i pick up the pen and tell her to shoot. she dictates the following:

your face is in this envelope.
open envelope.
we love you.

if i were sarah, i'm not sure if i'd be really pleased or terribly pissed.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.26.2004
a modern day minotaur
i've been waffling on whether or not to address a question i get every six months or so. it deals with what most refer to as my bifurcated chest.

to a newcomer, it appears my nipple lives below my pectoral muscle. those posing this question admit they find the nipple's placement odd. i'm not squeamish about fielding such queries because it is akin to asking jeffrey dahmer if he knows he doesn't fit in well at dinner parties. and to address this and many other questions asked or even thought, let me put it all on the table for you to digest and come to terms with.

i have ...
the hair of a 70's era diana ross,
the face of many people,
the upper body of E.T.,
an ass more voluminous (and voluptuous) than jennifer lopez,
the thighs of larry csonka,
the calves of stephen hawking,
and the feet of one fred flintstone.

all of this and i still found some girl to walk down the aisle with me.

granted her navel resides about two and a half inches above her pubic bone.

and to answer your next question, yes, we are selling tickets but sadly you can't afford one.

PERSONAL, WEB, HYGIENE, FRIENDS (permalink) 10.05.2004
purposefully narcoleptic
to say i have a few things on my plate this month would be like saying my high school chum big dog was just kinda mean to people he dealt with at drive-through windows.

if you don't know big dog you'll just have to take my word for it when i tell you he has, without question, consumed more human dna through fast food products than any other person ever has or ever will. while the thought of this may horrify you, it should not. what should wake you in the night though is the comfort-level he had in knowing he was consuming just about anything the 16 year-old working that night could eject, pull or scrape from his body and then conceal within big dog's order. forever stamped in my brain is a vision of big dog in the driver's seat of a car working on a too-large bite of burger while shrugging his shoulders at me.

but, back to me. in october, i'm trying to build two complete web sites AS WELL AS preparing for the everyman unveiling. now this is not to say i won't post, it's just to say what i do post my be less coherent than usual. and for the dozen or so people who don't think my writing is understandable to begin with, sadly, you're just extra-screwed this month.

but before giving up on me completely, let me share an odd detail about myself. did you ever see the episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where dr fever and venus had to drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol for a state trooper? the police official was attempting to demonstrate the ill effects liquor had on the human mind and more importantly, human response time. in the show, the more johnny fever drank, the quicker he'd become, leaving the trooper quite dour. this is how i am with sleep. the less i get the better i perform which leaves my wife quite dour because she is very much not like this. although i guess my deal is the opposite of the johnny fever example because the more he had the better he got so it's kind of backwards because for me it's the less i get the better i become, but you get the meaning.

ok. i just reread this post and i may be wrong about this whole improving while fatigued thing.

but, as i always tell my children, lucidity is overrated.

PERSONAL, FRIENDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 10.01.2004
i'm telling you, you HAVE to use garden shears, it's the only way
larry evilsizor's barbershop : march, 1991 - september, 2004

he will be greatly missed.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 09.24.2004
see you on the couch
regarding the new troyscript, SMELL MY FINGER, here are few more details about marty's finger sucking ritual:

she sucked on her ring finger, just up to the first knuckle. she did this so much she thought that finger was flatter than the rest.

she only sucked on this finger when upset. the story goes that after a bad day, she'd come home, curl up on the couch, suck on her left ring finger while woobying with her right hand (woobying deserves a week of explanation on its own and will NOT be tackled in the near future).

her three older brothers mocked her, quite mercilessly. the more i hear about childhood in a large family the more it sounds like being at school all the time. and on a semi-related side-note, it recently came to light that marty's second oldest brother once held her out of a second story window ... by the foot. marty does not remember this event.

marty sucked on this poor-ass finger till she was somewhere between eight and ten. when i tell people this story in person i usually add that she really didn't stop until her third year of college.

marty would prefer i didn't share this story on the site. i guess we'll get to see if she really kicked her ring-finger habit for good or not.

PERSONAL, STORYTIME (permalink) 09.10.2004
making older ladies smile uncomfortably from the start
a week before bella was to begin preschool she said she wanted to make valentines for her teachers. for those who don't live with this girl, valentines are the common world equivalent of a homemade hallmark card.

bella valentines typically involve of a complex formula only fully understood by her. they are diverse in style but do have certain common threads. for instance, rarely are people drawn without a browneye. allow me to swing your attention to exhibit a which i will call the 'grandparent anal valentines debacle' which fostered several silent dinners at my parent's house. given her past record, walt and i were a touch concerned of what might be in store for her new teachers.

you can obviously imagine our anxiety when bella announced her creations were complete. we hesitantly took them from her outstretched hand and eyed them carefully. no anuses, check. no penises, check. no ginas, check. (gina is pronounced like china only with a G and is how bella says the word, yes you guessed it, vagina). relief poured over us. it was important that the teachers' first impression of our child was not a jaded, or real, perception. we felt this was a pivotal component of our eldest girl's success in the classroom.

on the morning of the first day, bella was super adamant that her valentines not be left behind. we assured her multiple times we had them, clapping my hand on the three sheets of paper in my back pocket. once at school it was her single and immediate mission to distribute them to her teachers. i only saw the first of these transactions. she gave it to the smiling educator who leaned down to thank her.

teacher: oh my, isn't this a beautiful picture.

bella: yes it is. it is a person being chased by a shooter.

teacher: oh. well, isn't that ... interesting.

yes it is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the parallel story of how marty and i became the newest names on missouri's department of family services watch-list fifteen minutes after that exchange took place.

i'm confident we just witnessed the beginning of what is certain to be a rollicking academic career.

PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 09.09.2004
i can see you
in case you missed it yesterday, a new troyscript was posted.

in case you were wondering, after reading the above troyscript, what it looked like to have your bedroom across the way from bella's, wonder no more. photo compliments of the previous tenant.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.07.2004
don't let the pigtails, dress and coy smile fool you
we got us a school-age child. she starts today.

if you run into me and think i'm crying, i am.

regarding any thoughts of strength, peace and love you were going to wish my way, please direct them to her teachers instead for they need the help far more than me.

those poor and unsuspecting bastards.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.06.2004
our fact-checkers were flogged and then fired
2 days ago i said that marty gets $40 a month in allowance. she asked me to correct that statement in that she really only gets $30.

either way, she doesn't spend it which makes me think she's still getting too much jack.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.05.2004
with bella around, you need to know this
is it butt-naked, buck-naked or are both acceptable?

you wouldn't believe how much i haven't got done for thinking about that damn question.

and if you read that previous sentence out loud in my house you would have bella tell you that DAMN is one of the two words on the CAN'T SAY list.

the other word is STUPID.

and, everytime i hear the 'stupid'-word-rule i can't help but think of the uphill battle we're going to have in front of us if we're drawing the line in the sand at the word STUPID. if i were expected to live by this standard there are people in my world who'd think i'd turned mime or gone mute.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.04.2004
i need a raise
at the beginning of the month marty and i each get an allowance. mine is $140. hers is $40. this money goes towards any impulse and/or frivilous spending like eating out, going to the movies, buying candy or coffees, etc.

somewhere between the second and third weeks, i'm broke, always, and hitting the atm to pull funds out of my savings to supplement my monthly expenses.

if at the end of the month marty doesn't have $40, she has $35, always.

i don't even get that. what she does should not even be possible. the girl is a serious freak.

COMPUTER, MUSIC, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.27.2004
cough, hack, phlegm, fart and moan
i'm sick. i'm certain it's because i haven't been able to buy my new ipod yet. i told marty that my health will continue to slide until this need has been sated. you know what she said?

"you've got thirty two dollars in your savings account. if that's how much a shiny new ipod cost, then knock yourself out." (she said the words 'shiny new ipod' while flitting her hands around in the air mockingly)

you know what i said...
"why do YOU know how much money I have in MY checking account?"

you see this is what i call getting to the point while confusing the subject. but she's good, as can be seen in her response...
"cuz i'm smart"

i wasn't expecting that. now reeling, i have no choice but to revel in the suck that is my financial situation...
"thirty two dollars. that ain't very much!"

while having my loving wife rub my nose in the sad state of things...
"no it ain't."

looks like we may be seeing a new ipod fund on the horizon. and i got that one without selling blood or semen which means this time around should be a snap because if this latest illness has taught me anything, it's taught me that i'm all about the bodily fluid. just ask marty.

WEB, PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 07.23.2004
don't leave home without it

click here

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.16.2004
boy, that was quick ... and quiet
i'm already the number one hit on google for 'silent tampon'.

and in my defense, this is not something i search through google for on a daily basis, i saw multiple hits for that string in my logs.

although i might be good for a biannual search on silent tampons or some such derivative.

SOCIETY, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.14.2004
you're talking to the jenifer aniston of D-block
a guy and i were talking at work about what it would be like to go to jail, like for-real jail.

he was all 'man if i went to jail the guys would seriously have their way with me'.

this guy is a pretty normal looking dude. normal height, normal weight, has to shave everyday, beginning to lose his hair. you know normal dude. additionally, he doesn't have a feminine thread in him. given all of this, i had to set the boy straight.

'no offense man, but who the hell do you think you're talking to. look at me. i'm five foot eight, all creamy smooth cuz i've got no body hair, full head of hair. to those guys i might as well be alyssa milano. hell, throw in my big cyclist ass and you got j-lo herself bunking over you.'

now oddly enough, after defending my standing as the more appealing prison bitch, i swear this guy didn't look at me the same the rest of the day. is there such a thing as a corporate cube bitch? if so, i'm afraid i may already be spoken for.

PERSONAL, STORYTIME (permalink) 07.09.2004
ask not what your office can do for you ...
remember the story i told a week or two ago about the 4-yr old kid in my neighborhood who peed funny and how i thought i would become a legend if i urinated like him in my office commode . i've had more than one person tell me to stone-up and just go ahead and whiz funny in the john, becoming said legend. something about how i'm always preaching memorable moments and all.

my response to them is that i would but when the legend was retold by the guys i work with it would begin like this:

"hey do you remember that mo-fo we kicked the shit out of for pissin' wierd in the bathroom?"

the up-side is they would remember me, perhaps not by name, but they would remember me, and hence the legendary status.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.08.2004
don't make me choose hon
sorry i haven't been with you the last few days. we've been sitting in the dark after a huge storm knocked much of our city's power out for a day and a half. many are still waiting to have it restored and are going on day three. while i want to say suck i think some folks over in iraq went six plus weeks which makes 36 hours seem a little on the paltry side.

fact is, if you put aside the food rotting in our fridge, my house kind of enjoyed living like the ingles for a couple of days. marty actually said we should forego electricity for one 24 hour period every month. i'm not sure if that will happen but this latest round of darkness and lack of air conditioning surely proved effective in drawing the neighborhood out of their tv rooms.

sadly, the only thing keeping me from being 100% on board with marty's day of darkness is humor like rock, paper, saddam!.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.02.2004
i know it's not polite to stare, but ...
speaking of baby having, i just learned that the woman across the street had her second kid in a wheelchair at the entrance of the hospital. below are random snippets from our conversation.

me: so you didn't make it to the room. were you in the lobby, the parking lot or what?
her: yes. i was sitting in a wheelchair but could reach out and touch the door of our car.

me: was anyone around?
her: it was noon at the main entrance of a large city hospital on a workday. yes, there were people around.

me: did anyone just kind of stop to watch?
her: twenty people applauded when the kid fell out of me.

me: what was the first thing you said afterward?
her: can i please have a robe.

me: after having a kid on the front steps of a hospital would you give an ounce of shit about a totally silent tampon wrapper?
her: a what?
me: yeah, that's what i thought.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.30.2004
see it wiggle, watch it jiggle
you know how those dancers, some dancers, can make their butt shake and bounce crazy fast. you know, the ones in the music videos where they turn around and hold their arms in the air, which somehow signals the cameraman to zoom onto their ass because it's about to do some magical stuff. and then it shakes like Jell-O on the train. you wouldn't know it to look at me, but i can do this, just like the girls in the video.

well, let me amend that. i can do this while face-down in bed and about to go to sleep. since i don't dance or often raise my arms over my head this is the obvious place for me to discover this talent. i'm not sure if i can do it while standing, i haven't tried it, am actually a little scared to try it, but while sprawled across the bed i look like j-lo herself.

PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 06.15.2004
he really likes corn
so yesterday's post showed alex in one of his calmer moments with the corn. the below image gives a more accurate sense of what that meal really looked like.

if you think he looks quite possessed, consider this ... i never took the below picture. it was just on the flash card when i uploaded the images.

PERSONAL, QUOTES (permalink) 06.02.2004
what did you just say to me?!?
after watching sleeping beauty for the first time, the following conversation took place between bella and marty in front of grandma nat ...

lay down on the bed mom and i will put a prick in you.

excuse me.

i said, lay down on the bed and i will put a prick in you.

and, that would be what i thought you said.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.03.2004
we'll be back in two and two
on sabbatical ... see you june 1.

in the meantime, enjoy this and this and this and this and then of course there is always this.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.30.2004
little man : a retrospective
can i get a hoo-wah for little man alexander who turns 1 year old today.

mostly, this celebration is not as much about him simply being 1 as it is about homaging how he successfully navigated the perils that come with being kid number two ... especially when kid number one is bella.

and somehow, someway he always gives smiles because that just seems to be what this little man is all about.

click for full size page

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.20.2004
riddle me this ingles
a few things i don't get...
  1. people who think eating lots of food is funny.
  2. my compulsion to roll the sleeves of my workshirts up like charles ingles did in little house (past the elbow).

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.09.2004
i'm going to look away, when i turn back please be gone
bella went from absolutely loving baths to finding them acceptable to loathing them to the point that if water touches her skin she will shriek in a mad terror that brings the neighbors to our windows, hands cupped to the glass.

most recently she went on a three day jag of refusing to bathe. to put her in forcibly, while an option, was to put yourself in harms way. three days is a long time for an american to not bathe, especially when they live in my home. and especially when they pass the time playing games called DIRT and WORMS.

before having children marty vowed to not have one of those soiled and buger encrusted toddlers that other people were afraid to touch or be touched by. 86 hours into the water fast i asked marty about this missive. she half raised a hand in dismissal. upon seeing this gesture my mind placed this parental ideal in the junk drawer, next to 'will not throw food in restaurants' and on top of 'will not play in own feces' (that's one of my own).

hours later marty was sleeping in some part of the house. i in another with alex on my chest. i was stirred from sleep by someone poking me in the arm and talking to me. i began nodding in agreement and handing the remote over and promising to handle it, whatever it was, later if i could just snooze for five more minutes. bella continued to speak and i continued to lie there with closed eyes:

dad, i don't need to take a bath tonight.

bella, you haven't had a bath in three days

but ...

skipping tonight would make it four, so no deal.

but, i put special scasoli on so i don't need to.

you put what on?

i put special scasolee on so i don't need to.

what is scasolee?

no dad. vascolee?

bella, i don't know what you're saying.

vascoleen dad. vascoleen!

what? Vaseline?

yes. dad. i put Vaseline on.



(i squint my eyes open to see bella naked and every visible shred of skin shiny, slick. and i'm talking from hairline to the tops of her feet.)

ok bella, go tell your mother.

ok dad.

(as she turned to leave i could see that even her backside had sludgy streaks of petroleum coating it.)

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.19.2004
a 7-minute mile
the following events happened to me in a seven minute span on an otherwise picture-perfect day.
  1. i sat down to watch some queued up college basketball when alex changed the channel on the remote. for those who don't have tivo, just accept that this is not something you want to happen.
  2. after taking the remote away from alex and turning back to the tv to turn the channel back, he reached up and pushed my Vietnamese iced coffee over onto our white futon. for those who haven't experienced Vietnamese iced coffee, it is the approximate color and viscosity of 10w30 motor oil.
  3. after removing the futon cover i went to the basement and started the washer only to find i just doused a load of laundry that had been washed but hadn't yet been moved to the dryer.
  4. after emptying the washer and waiting for the water to fill, i was spraying a stain treatment onto the futon. it took my brain a few moments to realize i was bathing the nine open cuts on my hands with Zout. and these were not your average scrapes or abrasions, they were the mementos from my latest window project which means they were slices from glass which makes a paper cut feel like butterfly kisses from your high school sweetheart.
and, i'm not entirely convinced this isn't further retribution for yesterday's post.

and, i'm sure i'm not going to have to suck the pipe for this either.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.16.2004
damn, she is listening
after a mishap in the basement, bella informed me that 'this is not a house where we say dammit'.

she's right. fact is dammit is possibly the cleanest expression of disgust ever uttered, shouted, screamed or just plainly said in our house. fact is, dammit only came into existence about a year after bella came into existence. fact is, dammit is what i reserved for when in the company of a relative or a person of the cloth. fact is, i feel i can now say dammit with the conviction and intonation to make one feel i just said something much, much more severe. fact is, it's really to damn bad ours is not a house where we say dammit.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 03.12.2004
i remember a time when ...
here's another way having a three year old around differs from a two year old.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.09.2004
glory holes, gonorrheal chancre sores and my mom
my mom rules rules the universe that contains all moms. why? because she knows more about the underbelly of this country's sex life than me and all of my peeps combined. how many of you can say the same about your tired old mom. if you recall, she works for the centers for disease control, sexually transmitted diseases division in particular.

she recently called and asked if she could talk to a variety of my friends about what they may know about trends and commercial practices within the young gay community for an information campaign they are planning. i gave her a few names of people i thought might be helpful and then called them myself to ask if they would mind helping my mother out with a project she was working on. they all agreed.

the night before one of the couples who were to meet with her called the house and got marty. the guy on the phone said that his partner asked/made him call to see if troy's mom had some kind of ulterior and/or deceptive motivation in speaking to them. specifically were they going to come home the next day to find a gaggle of baptists picketing their home. marty assured them they were fine and no such thing would happen.

i called the night after they met with my mother asking for directions to their house from the baptist church down the way just so the bus didn't get lost en route.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.18.2004
just work dammit! WORK!
my garage door is broke. since having a garage we've had the clicker, openy thing. when it stopped working, i just stood there, in front of it repeatedly pushing the button on the wall, with no results. after about ten minutes of this, i did what any cold-blooded american male would do, i went and asked my wife what i should do.

m: pull the red ripcord to disengage the door.

t: then what?

m: then open it.

t: how?

m: with your hand.

t: no button?

m: no button.

suffice it to say, she may has well told me to reach shoulder deep into a water buffalo's birth canal to look for the television's remote control. if it were the 20,000 pyramid the answer to this scenario would be 'things troy just doesn't do'. when i asked marty about replacing it, she said we don't have the money, right now, for a new garage door. i assured her the new opener would be way cheaper than the small child i was prepared pay to stand at the door all day long waiting for me to pull up so he can raise and lower the door for me. marty told me to find a cheaper child.

PERSONAL, FILM (permalink) 02.13.2004
you can't touch this
bella spent last weekend at the betty ford clinic, the grandparents house for any newcomers. with only one kid in our care this meant marty and i were free to light it up, get it on, tear it apart. if you're wondering what such an unbridled weekend looks like for such an unbridled guy, let me give you a glimpse into my full-throttle life:

friday night after work i ...
watched the italian job
and then walked up to the local cine to take in monster

saturday i ...
watched episodes 1-6 of curb your enthusiasm
helped to host a marty dinner party
watched episodes 1-3 of the west wing

and sunday i ...
watched episodes 4-8 of the west wing
read 20 pages of my 600 page book

i know, i know. crazy. and had i not had to participate in the previously scheduled dinner party i certainly would have gotten the star wars trilogy in, had i not watched it the weekend before which means i could have and would have watched the godfather trilogy.

without the dinner party i may also have read 30 pages of my book instead of 20.

and did you know that they are finally releasing freaks and geeks on dvd? as if it's not bad enough they had to cancel the show in the first place, they have to torture us with this embarrassingly latent release.

PERSONAL, SCIENCE (permalink) 02.05.2004
anatomically correct pollock
when we asked bella to draw pictures of her great grandparents to be mailed to them, she said no problem. later, when she handed her sketches to us we were pleasantly surprised at her eye for detail and said as much. she then instructed us to turn the pictures over. when we asked what was on the backside she explained and we were pleasantly appalled (see exhibits 2 & 4 below).

after bella returned to the breakfast room to draw more, marty and i had a brief discussion about who was to blame bella's overly thorough renditions. marty's firm belief in the scientific facts hurt her. my conviction to the pedestrian nature of our bodily functions didn't do me any favors. in the end we agreed to consider the other at fault realizing we were equally unswayable.

sorry grandma and grandpa but i'm not one to interfere with another's artistic expression or its public display no matter how personal ... to people who are not me.

exhib 1. great grandma | front

exhib 2. great grandma | back

exhib 3. great grandpa | front

exhib 4. great grandpa | back

FRIENDS, PERSONAL (permalink) 01.23.2004
you know who you are
five or six years ago i walked into a j crew store. during the visit, a certain sweater caught my eye and i tried it on. it was super soft lambs wool and had a thick, heavy feel. being a little pricey i only picked up two, a dark blue and a hunter green. at the time i didn't realize the relationship about to be forged between me and these two wintertime garments. you see, since that day, these would be the only two articles of clothing i would wear whenever the temperature dipped below 45 degrees, except for the occasional college sweatshirt i may don on less formal situations. one day i would wear the green, the next the blue, then the green, then back to blue, green, blue, green. it was a whole thing. tragically though, another thing i didn't know the day i purchased these two items is that i would never again see them on a j crew shelf.

somewhere between years four and five my bony arm joint punched through one of the elbows. shortly thereafter another, and then another until only one of the four elbows was still in tact. what was i to do? i checked back with the crew religiously only to find tube-sockish, wafer-thin or fuzzy wannabe sweaters lining their walls. marty told me my alpha wear was out of style, has been for years, she'd add hesitantly. but, my hands were tied. i had no other contenders and therefore no other options so i continued to wear them, gaping holes in the back of the sleeves and all.

a day could not pass where i wouldn't be stopped by someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying "it appears your elbow gave away" or "i think your sweater has about had it". i would convincingly reply "oh suck, that must have just happened, well i guess this one goes to the back of the closet". but in my mind i spat on them in disgust for their petty pickiness about the completeness of garments and their irrational need for structurally sound apparel. every new day would renew this dance between the public at large and myself with no end in sight.

and then she entered. a heavenly spirit who did not look at my injured lambswool with abjectness but instead pity. her eyes sympathetic to its hurt, her hand gently touching the wound. i can fix this she said. it is here i don't feel capable of putting my inner thoughts out there to be read. they are too singsongy, too personal. suffice it to say the maimed fellows were delivered to her in the spring and returned to me before the next season's first frost. mended and healed with gray (for blue) and black (for green) gauze (elbow patches), ready to drape my awkward frame again. she has delivered me from despair and for this i'm forever thankful.

sadly, i've discovered a whole new world of patch haters living among us.

fricken wretches.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.07.2004
hansel and gretel and troy
on the very rare occasions when marty and i wake up before both children, we drift to the center of the bed and unconsciously wrap ourselves in one another. i can't exactly describe the embrace. a leg is wrapped here. an arm will get tucked over there. etc. just take my word for it that it works quite well and proves to be one of the most serene blips in our lives these days.

recently marty mustered the energy during one such session to whisper in my ear that i smelled like sauerkraut. i gave her the obligatory and frequently used, "whatever". twenty minutes after she left the bed i wondered what she was cooking downstairs, surprised that she would have something in the oven at this early hour. it only took a few minutes to realize the culinary treat i was smelling was me.

but it still wasn't sauerkraut.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.06.2004
he was the best of men, he was the worst of men
i've recently noticed a trend with me and weddings; i'm either sitting at the head table delivering a speech or i'm at the table furthest from the main table. you know, the one that backs up into the bathrooms.

this wedding was a back of the room one.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.02.2004
at least it wasn't five
i'm coming off two weeks of being off. going into it i had large visions of all the stuff i would accomplish. while i started out strong i petered out about 79 hours into the sabbatical.

as for what i do have to show for my vacation; one partially painted dining room. unless you would like to include pulling four inch-plus hairs from my neck.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.01.2004
there's always room for improvement
this man's new year's resolution:

be less uptight about discussing personal matters in public forums.

so we all know i'm pretty fricken good at this already. for me, life is a game and happiness is nothing more than knowing how to play it.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.26.2003
sure, we can fit one more, maybe even two.
the highlight from this year's christmas happened the night before. aunt peggy came over to help make sugar cookies for santa. bella complemented the snack with a refreshing single-cup combination of milk & orange juice for him to wash it down.

we were to then drive around and look at christmas lights before putting the kids down. bella had a long day and it was apparent she didn't have the juice for a nighttime car adventure. marty suggested she and her go take a shower and then go to bed. bella quickly upgraded the plan to a family shower. and, being the awesome hostess she is, she even invited aunt peggy to join in our four-person bathtub fun. aunt peggy gracefully declined.

at one point during the family shower, i looked down to find bella catching the water dripping from my penis in a plastic cup while loudly singing happy birthday to jesus. if i had a nickel for every time that very thing has happened to me...

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.16.2003
1 quarter equals 1 hour
at last friday night's bachelor party (congrats mikey d) one of our stops included a video arcade place. for the most part i hate the modern day video house, what with all these newfangled hi-fi games. like many i'm a classic vids man. today's fare is nothing more than a bunch of space ace's lining the wall. big frills, no skills.

and as a purist in an unappreciative world i was relegated to the back corner of the room, as too often happens, where they had a stand up game capable of playing all the lost jewels from yesteryear; galaga, joust, robotron. sadly there was no excite bike. or marble madness now that i think about it. but i did get to momentarily return to my adolescent years as well as smugly inform some square 40-something how missile command was truly supposed to be played. tourist.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.03.2003
a fort-knox equivilant security system
i sympathize with the burglar who selects my home to rob in the wee hours of the night.

i've lived here 5 years, know the floor plan and have yet to nocturnally navigate it, post bella, without:
  1. kicking over a bucket of marbles in the 2am silence
  2. running my scantily clad groin into the handle of a fisher price vacuum cleaner
  3. stepping barefoot on a two day old, half-eaten and fully husked banana
sadly, we no longer have any valuables that have not been bellafied (aka broken) so they will be doubly pissed at their misfortune.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.26.2003
open wide and say ahhhh. better yet, bend over and cough.
i've been feeling rather poked and prodded at as of late. all over. and by that i mean all physical, mental and emotional orifices.

couldn't be better timing what with the holidays not around the corner but upon us. if my friends and relatives used to think i sat in the corner too much playing with the frayed hem of my kahkis, they're going to be uber impressed this season.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.31.2003
i'm usually not this naked
thursday morning i woke up, took my shower and then went downstairs to the kitchen wearing a towel around my waist as i'm like to do. bella was already down there sitting at the counter eating her breakfast.

b: good morning daddy.
d: good morning sweetheart.
b: there's another daddy in the basement.
d: oh is there? that's nice.

one quickly adjusts to the rocketing imagination of a young child and learns to nod and 'uhm-hum' with great frequency. so i got my breakfast together and sat next to bella at the counter eating. then the 'other daddy' emerged from the basement appearing in the kitchen doorway.

o: good morning.
d: oh, good morning.
b: there's the other daddy, daddy.
d: yes, i see the other daddy.

turns out the other daddy in the basement was the exterminator marty had let in while i was showering. marty entered the kitchen and started rapping with the guy. i decided to quickly finish my breakfast and head back upstairs to get ready for work. but, the conversation he and marty were having proved interesting enough to draw me in. it's not often that i stand in front of strange men in nothing but a towel and jaw for 20 or so minutes but (1) i didn't know he was here and (2) it is my house and this is what i do. one may ask what can be learned in such a short span between a man holding a can of bug spray and another wearing a plush green towel. here's a sample of what i now know about this other daddy.

our exterminator ...
  1. was one of eight children. four boys. four girls.
  2. had a nun ram a pencil into the palm of his hand when he was in first grade. the lead tip is still there.
  3. is a book-writing, painter.
  4. grew up on a farmhouse built where a lake used to be. in addition to several feet of water they would routinely find salamanders swimming around their flooded basement.
  5. went through a horrible divorce where he sold his bar in attempt to get his two sons. he lost the petition and was instructed to give them up and pay child support. when he and his wife exited the courtroom, she pushed the two boys to him and said you take them, but i still want the checks.
  6. cried when he dropped his oldest boy off at college. he almost made it out of there but as he was driving away his son looked back and waved. it was here he lost it.
  7. almost died from internal bleeding after having colon cancer surgury.
  8. wished he had learned to play the piano in his youth, but feared for his safety given his three brothers.
  9. tried to domesticate a flying squirrel, mole and just about anything else he could catch in the woods.
  10. knows a guy who looks a lot like me.
i had no choice. i told the guy i had to go to work but he would absolutely have to come over for dinner in the very near future. once at work i had the following conversation:

g: hey troy. so what's up?
t: not much. although, i just met the most interesting guy this morning.
g: who was it?
t: my exterminator.

this modest piece of banter culminated with the following life-lessons being passed down to me by a half-circle of the hunting, scratching, full-time-uber-males i work with ...
  1. the man of the house should always know, and i mean always know, when another man is in his home.
  2. men do not walk around their home in a towel.
  3. men do not talk to strangers while in nothing but a towel.
  4. men do not invite perfect strangers to their home for dinner.
  5. men do not wear boxers. (one guy)
  6. men do not wear briefs. (another guy)
  7. men switch between boxers and briefs. (and yet another guy)
  8. men shower before going to bed and not in the morning.
  9. men do not run outside in their underwear to grab the paper.
  10. sleeping naked is left to hippies and perverts.
i fear these guys are three minutes away from dragging me to the bathroom to prove to them that i'm actually a member of their gender club.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.20.2003
you won't like her when she's mad
marty left last thursday for a long weekend at her sisters in chicago. she called me that night saying she forgot to put the diapers out to be picked up. i said i'd take care of it. she followed by saying "i usually put the bin in the hall, so i don't forget it." in my best indignant voice i reminded her that i had said i would take care of it, and wouldn't need any advice on how to perform the act. i was in fact an adult who holds a job and is considered by many to be a responsible individual and have long thought i left the days of being treated like a chore-hating adolescent behind me.

so friday morning at work, when i realized i forgot to put the diapers out that morning, i dashed home only to find i was too late and our new bundle of cotton swaths were already sitting on the porch. i'm sure there are those out there thinking the right thing to do would be to own up to the oversight and admit my failing. the people saying that have obviously never made marty's acquaintance. those that do know her understand the only viable option is/was to throw last weeks soiled diapers into the dumpster behind our house and when marty asks about it, snap the newspaper down long enough to say "i said i'd do it didn't i, so i did it".


i wish i could say i did this, but i didn't. because the only thing worse than lying to marty is not recycling things used in her home. the term 'divorcable offense' comes to mind. for instance, i reckon most of you think ziploc baggies are used once and then discarded. to marty, ziploc products may as well have a tupperware logo on them. we got a box the year we got married, haven't purchased a box since and still possess and use as many as we had on day one. this is called dedication and i suggest you don't stand in the way of such grim determination to an ideal. i know i don't which is why i'm able to sit her and type this with two functioning arms.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.25.2003
well, we just saved $75 on the mensa application fee
all parents and potential parents have fears. will my child be healthy? will my child be happy? will my child succeed in what they want to do? while we all have them not everyone is forced to face them head-on. not everyone is actually dealt one of these blows to cope with, adjust to and move on from. while maybe not a foreseeable item for me, one of my greatest fears regarding a child of mine was realized last week.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.05.2003
unwilling show and tell
i have one chest hair. i've had it for about 15 years. this hair is three inches long. and it grows right out of the dark border of my nipple, not next to it like you'd expect. and, it's squirrley, shooting out all hurly-burly, not straight or ordinary at all. every few months it falls out but regenerates in just days if not just hours.

this somehow came up in conversation at work and the guy i was talking to was saying things like "what in the hell are you talking about?" and "stop talking. just stop talking."

then, thinking he wasn't getting it or wasn't believing me, i stuck two fingers into the gap between the buttons on my shirt and started fishing around for it.

him: what are you doing?

me: i'm going to show it to you?

him: i don't want to see it.

me: no, it's ok. i can pull it out between the buttons.

him: stop doing that.

me: it'll just take a second.

him: don't do that.

me: wait. i almost go it.

him: no. stop. i don't want to see that thing.

me: (i stop) oh i'm sorry. but, it's really quite a thing.

him: don't ever do that again. i'm serious man. don't ever do that again.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.29.2003
for those missing the confrontational or negotiating gene
wednesday night i drove a shiny new honda odyssey home. it started out with 5 miles on the odometer and ended up with 30 by the time i backed it into the garage. i know that the car is for marty and most would think that she would have been jonsin' to drive it but she was afraid of wrecking it pulling onto the busy road in front of the dealership and how sucky would that be. so i got the honors of driving my/marty's/our first brand new automobile off the lot.

now, how marty got this car is an interesting story. she researches everything to death and in her studies she learned of this technique of purchasing a car over the internet. she sent an email to every honda dealer within 100 miles and basically said, i'm buying a car, this car, this week and am looking for who will give me the best deal. she was worried that no one would respond for a number of unforeseen reasons. well she worried for naught because they not only responded but they were climbing over one another to get her in their showroom. one guy offered this. the next guy offered this plus this. they ratted one another out on available deals going on this month until one guy ultimately said, i'll beat any offer you get. well all right then.

now unfortunately our good fortune hit a wall. and that wall was we were looking to purchase the most sought after car of this type on the market. additionally it is year end so the deals were there. our ultimate challenge was finding someone who could keep a 2003 odyssey on their lot for more than three hours let alone finding a salesman who will come down on their price. so in the end we got partially screwed and had to buy one that was on a tractor trailer en route. when cars are selling in this manner, it's hard to get dealers to budge. why the hell would they. but this scenario aside, the internet deal has legs, as the motley fool claims, and if you're in the market, i'd recommend considering such a strategy in your process.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.22.2003
you can always get the spoiler
they officially totaled marty's car last week (bitch). we are both quite sad. it was a beautiful and beautifully preserved 92 bmw touring wagon that had a very particular single owner.

in discussing what to do next, we had multiple things to consider. when we bought the last car, we were a one baby family. marty was moving from a sporty two door and needed something, emotionally, not too far off the mark there.

but, in looking at both our present and future it's time we embrace some facts. we may not live in typical suburbia but we are a couple of thirty somethings with 2 kids, 2 kids from a woman who says she enjoyed both of her pregnancies. so with functionality in mind, it's time to suck the pipe and get the mini-van (gasp from audience and friends). we're eyeing a honda odyssey. if you gotta do the mini-van-thing there's no reason not to get the sexiest, most feature-filled and SAFEST one on the road.

marty's struggling. function over form. function over form. function over form is the phrase i keep repeating to her since the topic arose. that said, if you think there's any chance i won't present her with one of those six inch soccer ball decals for the back window, you don't know me very well.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.18.2003
she's so damn smart
marty has a rule that if i'm ever going to cheat on her it's totally ok, under one condition; i must call her beforehand.

while this seems like a pretty keen deal, i can't help but wonder what effect speaking to my wife moments before would do to the mood. i'm guessing not heighten it.

but, just in case, anyone have a cellphone i can borrow?

how about a dime?

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.15.2003
did you see that elephant run under the pew?
was at a wedding last weekend and something happened.

what would you say the act of a guest passing very audible gas during the bride reciting her vows portends?

yeah, i don't know either.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.01.2003
back to the drawing board
i'm quite different from most of the guys i work with. this is typical. but usually not as pronounced as my current situation. in the eyes of my colleagues i'm prissy, snobbish, delicate and several other decidedly negative terms, by their estimation at least. the only thing i could say about them is they are men, real, un-concentrated men.

the other day one of the uber-men informed me that if i mentioned UNIX one more time (they are a microsoft shop) a certain three of them were going to drag me out back and kick my ass. they don't know UNIX and aren't entirely comfortable with what such a change may hold for their future employment in this firm. i confidently told him i could defend such an attack. curious, he asked what 160 pounds of me was going to do against the combined 2,000 pounds of their three-man gorilla-squad. i would simply act like your pummeling aroused me, sexually. his countenance changed quite visibly. he admitted that this just may work.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.25.2003
show a little respect
marty was passing through an intersection yesterday when an suv running a red light t-boned her. the point of impact centered on the passenger side rear door and the collision sent marty's car into the neighboring lane where the car came to a slow stop.

no one was hurt. i can't even begin to tell you what kind of ziggurat needs to be erected to the germans for their automotive prowess. the center point of this collision was 15 inches away from 2 month old alex's head. he was pulled from his car seat unscathed, screaming his tiny, diapered ass off, but unscathed. it's friggen amazing. especially when you look at the car. the entire passenger side is a complete disaster with both doors having been pushed in about six inches.

when marty called me at work, and after confirming everyone was ok, i was ravenous for details. how fast were you going? 40mph. who was at fault? the other person. how's the car? bad shape. was it a man or a woman? woman. was she talking on a cellphone? uncertain but the car behind her said she was messing around with something. what did she say to you? nothing.

NOTHING?!? this was the response i wasn't prepared for. i asked marty for clarification.

t: do you mean she didn't say anything important or she really didn't say anything?

m: she didn't say anything. i never spoke to her. what did you want her to say?

t: how about i'm sorry. i'm sorry for being such a complete idiot and endangering you and your childrens' lives. i'm just sorry.

m: well maybe she was shook up too. i mean she probably recognizes what she did.

t: you see, by not apologizing i'd say she doesn't. i'd say she doesn't appreciate that she just made us a one car family for the next month. or that if they total the car, we're out the 1000 bucks we just put into it last week. that she just cost us 20 - 40 plus hours of our life in trying to get all of this squared away. i'd say that she doesn't appreciate that she could have killed your child. i mean i'm not asking for a lot here but a simple apology seems quite in order.

i can't exactly explain why i'm so enraged by this minor detail. my best guess is fear. the thought of what could have happened on this day terrifies me to the marrow and i want the person responsible to simply own that. and i know how that sounds and i can already hear mike mumbling something about me being a petty fool and the rational side of me knows all of this. all that truly matters is i've got three healthy family members sleeping in this house right now and we're not at the hospital or worse. i do know all of this.

but the other thing i know is how much i hate shopping for cars so just say your sorry dammit if for nothing else, for making me have to go shopping for cars!

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.23.2003
i make purty things
this is one of the seven reasons i haven't been around a whole lot lately.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.15.2003
a dozen is a single serving, right?
marty and the kids left saturday morning for a weeklong visit to the sister in chicago.

sunday i woke up at 1pm, had breakfast at 2pm and showered. what i mean to say is i then showered monday morning before work. that was just the next significant thing i did after eating krispy kreme donuts for breakfast all sunday afternoon.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 06.09.2003
michael jackson, j.d. salinger and now captain
so the somewhat asked about gallery for captain is finally baked. i've not yet settled on a frequency for updating this yet. i posted to rockefeller center weekly for several months but that was primarily for my mom's benefit who was pining in distant pittsburgh, pa. now that she's here in town and gets regular smother of spoil stops she doesn't require the cyber fixes she previously thirsted for.

but, for equity sake and to not start that second-child slide so soon, i'll probably post every monday for the next few weeks as to let everyone, everyone that cares to that is, catch up on the little man since he's been living a rather reclusive life since his debut.

and as with rockefeller center, updates to this section will be noted on the front page and the photos are accessible from there or at the base of the gallery section.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.02.2003
a pawn to the man
well hello there. it's been a little while hasn't it? hope you all have been doing well and good.

i had visions of coming out strong with some great and personal blitzkrieg to your mind, but last week i worked between 70 and 80 hours and the week before that 60-70. i lost my ability to perform simple arithmetic during the first hell week. this little bout with the job has also voided the surprise i was going to give you today, perhaps later. i'd tell you what it was but that would negate the surprise factor whenever i do get around to it so i'll need y'all to sit in the dark for a bit more.

since, i'm falling short, if you want something interesting to read, go here.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 05.05.2003
he's stepped away from his desk
allow me to introduce you to some troy math:

end of may work deadline +
a side project +
another side project +
a spanking new baby =

me taking the month off

the timing seems right in that i took last may off as well. i'll see you on june 1. and, make sure to check in because i have a surprise for you.

you'll notice i got the house ready before leaving by updating the eating section, the gallery section and of course it is the first monday of the month so i couldn't deprive you of the number one visited area of this site, rockefeller center.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.02.2003
i knew that's what you said, i was just playing
man am i going to make my boy proud of me.

and, we still haven't settled on a name for him.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.01.2003
we had gobs of girl names but not a single boy name
i was holding off on making an april entry in the gallery section thinking that captain might make an appearance before month's end. while he didn't let me down he did wait until there were only three hours left in april. so please say hello to captain who joined our family at 9:15 last night.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.29.2003
allow me to introduce ...

so i'm about to meet what will be only the second blood relative i've ever known. for those bad at riddles, i'm adopted. so baby two, called captain around here, is pretty well cooked and we're playing the any minute game. captain isn't technically due for a few more weeks but it only takes one look at marty's painfully taut stomach skin to know just how long two weeks truly seems.

this second time around is a little different than the first. then we were just wide-eyed scared, this time we're droopy, tired-eyed scared. and more than once marty and i have sat quietly on the couch pretending to be watching tv, but not watching tv and then one of us will say something like "so are you freakin' out yet" and the other will say no, but not very convincingly.

and, no we don't know the sex. but, some would say that the jury's still out on me so it seems kinda fitting.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.07.2003
walkin' that walk
i figure i ask everyone to make themselves vulnerable and submit to and compete in the everyman, yet i've never put any of my stuff up for like judgment. so i decided to enter my first photo contest. the maiden test, my community's 35th annual amateur competition.

the awards ceremony happened saturday and in my category (local city theme) i won second place. oh, and i also won first place. my reaction, blown away. my prizes, a couple a hundred bucks in loot and the possibility of one (or more) of my photos appearing in next year's city calendar, which is somewhat cooler than the jack itself.

as for my confidence level, you can possibly intuit something since i didn't mention this before the judging took place. but, the real question is, would i have said anything had i not placed.

if you're curious about the pictures, this is what took first and this is what took second. i know i kinda cheated by using bella in the second place photo. the judges stood no kinda chance denying that little beauty anything. the only shock is that it didn't place higher than the other one.

and, not that i went there looking for this, but i did hear a few grumblings in the room about the selected photos. while i'm sure they weren't talking about my entries, it was an odd relief to see that the everyman is not the only contest that gets beat up when all is said and done.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.10.2003
in case you were wondering about me
i've realized, only recently, that i have been abducted by aliens. i'm not sure how long it has been going on, only that is has been awhile. the signs were numerous but the course of events began so rapidly and mildly i was impotent to put it all together. but, this is how they want it.

the epiphany began after waking up from a dream where i was being escorted around by someone who knocked on doors after passing through them. i was then suddenly sitting in a diner, eating alone with my father. for those of you who know my father and i, know the plausibility of this, but you see, the aliens don't. they just know that this should be a viable combination. but we're unique like that. then a waitress moved to the middle of the serving floor raised one foot and passed some very audible gas. all the patrons in the restaurant looked up from the plates or conversations to stare at her and her looking back at them standing with one foot square on the ground and the other slightly raised, bent at the toe. has flatulence woke up bella. not in the dream but in real life, which woke me.

when i went to get up to get her i could not bend my arms. it was as though the joints were soldered and hence swollen and since rusted. but the elbow joint wouldn't give. i laid there for a moment, bella crying and me looking at my arms as they were magically held in invisible plaster paris, up and away from my body. i kept working them until the hold broke and i was able to begin slowly moving them. they were ginger all that day but getting better by the next.

after this, things started becoming more apparent to me.

first, this journal, for the last several months has primarily focused on aspects of the body. while this has long been a pastime of mine, it has been a little unbalanced as of late.

next, i bought an electric toothbrush. you see, this pulsating device of insertion had unknowningly become comforting to me, because of the experiments plied to my body by the guys who welded my elbows.

then there was the startling change in my behavior where i started getting up at 6:30. yes in the morning. to say this is unprecedented would be an insult to every instructor and employer who ever talked to me alone in their office about my loose definition of punctuality. (what is punctuality, really, if we think about it, is it real or is it simply imagined, and in the big and evolutionary picture, i'm really way early, all things considered?)

there's more, but i fear if i delve much deeper into my symptoms you may actually begin to believe me but i will mention one other aspect of this all just so you know the serious nature of my situation. i am actually doing work at work.

scared yet?

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.06.2003
bella wants the car.

today is bella's birthday. she's two. two! i woke up this morning and i have a two year old child. you start gettin' the vibe of what older parents are talking about when they're all like "it seems just like yesterday we brought you home" or "they grow up so fast, right in front of your eyes". my response to them was always the same ... pah-leez. well, here i am wishing my eldest child happy two-year birthday and her saying "thank you. bella birthday. bella two. bella birthday'. why do i have a feeling i'll be at a high school graduation in about 12 minutes.

and for the goods, marty got her play-doh and i got her a silver ringer-bell for her bike. for those thinking what paltry gifts, last year we didn't get her anything. we actually bought ourselves presents for making in through the first year of parenthood.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.05.2003
it's like a primate's pubic region, but not
it has come to my attention that when marty describes my hair to people she tells them it could be likened to that of a terrier dog, coarse and dry. she unfortunately had to reconsider this position after actually petting a terrier dog the other night and realizing that the canine's pelt was much softer than her husband's.

on sharing this with me she went on to wonder aloud if a bald man (specifically e-love) would rather be bald or be saddled with my heavy head of hair.

i cannot convey how touching it is to be the subject of such inquisitive and flattering points of rumination by, of all people, my wife and/or people who have never had the unique experience my hair has to offer.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.27.2003
but, i just brushed last week
a bad day is having your breath mistaken for gas by your wife upon first waking up.

a worse day is having your your breath mistaken for gas by your two year old daughter who won't stop chanting "gas. gas. gas. daddy gas. gas. gas. daddy gas. gas. gas. gas. daddy gas." and, all this while patting me on the shoulder just in case anyone in the store was uncertain of who exactly daddy was.

that spike in the altoids' stock was me. and me alone.

FRIENDS, PERSONAL, TRAVEL (permalink) 02.26.2003
you should see my bikini lines
i plucked my eyebrows for the first time ever last thursday, the day before the taos ski bonanza. it began after i spotted a single rogue hair a bit above the rest. so i found marty's tweezers, leaned in close and yanked it. do you realize how much chaos you can see on your face when you lean in two inches from a well lit mirror. i didn't either. so twenty minutes later i'm done with the razing. nothing extreme. just addressing 34 years of unfettered growth.

when i was finished it occurred to me that i was seeing bookguy the next day. now he didn't cross my mind during the maintenance but primping and preening to such dire levels before meeting an old friend makes one take pause.

admittedly, there's something you got to know about bookguy. he's a little on the observant and opinion-friendly side. i mean until he started shaving his head he had this thin fang of hair charging over the top of his scalp. i called it hair's last stand. since eliminating that he's been a little harder to ding physically and he seems to harbor a keen memory for this distant poke at his fading coif.

in regard to my ablutions, he didn't say anything one way or another. and, i don't want to say i'm hurt, but it would have been nice for him to have noticed. that's all.

on a side thought, if i ever started a band i'd name it Marty's Tweezers. additionally i'd make certain we'd open for buddy james' band Amy's Flank Steak. a certain one-two punch for all ages.

WEB, PERSONAL, MUSIC (permalink) 02.21.2003
he won't be doing that again
our mailman smokes or rather chews a cigar while walking his route. he is a very affable guy and when we moved in he made it a point to come up and introduce himself. we religiously receive a christmas card from him, chat regularly, basically we're friendly.

sometimes if we have more stuff than will fit through the door's mail slot and the door is unlocked he will come in, go to the kitchen and set our mail on the counter and then leave as discreetly as he entered. i like this. it's a little bit of mayberry right here in the big city.

the other day he was bringing one such bundle in when he caught me home from work, heating a plate of leftovers in the oven and singing michaelpella-style to the stevie nicks melody Edge of Seventeen. ok, so getting caught doing the whole singing thing, pretty bad, but it was what i was doing while singing that proved the real burn. i have this condition where hearing stevie nicks makes me want to move and groove as she did in those long 70's flowing, tasseled dresses. unfortunately, in my homage, something doesn't properly translate. perhaps it's the undersized khakis, my awkward grinding motions or even the contorted faces i make when singing. bottom-line is it may look a tad off.

steve the mailman got a little more than he bargained for on this day.

on the positive side, at least it lessens the embarrassment of all the brown wrapper magazine and vhs sized parcels he delivers to my address.

note: it didn't occur to me until writing this up that i always thought the lyrics of this song said just like a one-winged dove instead of the more accurate and flight-worthy white-winged dove.

and for my lackadaisical postings this week, i'm givin' love with the above and this and this.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.30.2003
in albania, it's quite the thing
a recent behavior being questioned, frowned upon and ridiculed by marty is how i've been wearing my sweaters as of late. first, we're all painfully aware by now that i have a tragically misshapen body. it is modeled, sadly, after my feet. my size 6 EEE feet. for those lacking visual aides, this would be square in proportion. given this, sweaters manufactured for the average human fit me more like an oversized and striped tube sock rather than a comfortably hanging and stylish winter garment. for this reason i must buy them bigger than my height might suggest. the shortcoming in this compromise is they are also much longer. to adjust for this i have taken to cuffing the waist band much like i do the wrist bands.

marty says this looks stupid. i contend that it also looks stupid to have one's sweater hang to some point between their groin and kneecaps, possibly more stupid in fact. i mean if you were to throw some ankle warmers on me i'm suddenly and very concisely transformed into every side-ponytailed aerobics instructor from the 80's. i gotta say i'm not budging on this one. partially because if i were to move too suddenly all the various pieces of debris that have collected in the cuffed hem of my sweater would be certain to spill onto my lap and about my feet. wanna talk about looking stupid.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.28.2003
daddy gone bad
there is this popular video tape for babies that we have. i'm not going to say which one, no point. at the end of the tape the video's creator comes on to say something or another about the merits of the program and why you should buy more of them. i've come into the habit of uttering a particular phrase whenever she graces the screen. what i say each and every time is "stripper gone good."

the reason is quite simple. this woman simply looks the part. she looks as though she once may have felt comfortable walking around on tables in skimpy garments until marrying a wealthy patron where she's now doing that whole mom in the burbs thing, only with an entrepreneurial bent.

marty typically just rolls her eyes, employing her often used troy-annoyance-defense-mechanism. bella typically just looks at me momentarily and then returns to her task of beating her blocks against some valuable. the other day after saying my little quip, bella quite unmistakably uttered the phonetics of the same phrase. marty did not roll her eyes this time. they did something else, the description of which i will spare you.

my defense; "well, at least they weren't her first words".

and for the record "oh suck" which i say every time the wood bin is empty weren't her first words either. close to the first, but not her first.

PERSONAL, WEB (permalink) 01.27.2003
and they breathed a collective sigh of relief
this is what could have happened and this is what did happen.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.23.2003
always a groom, never a groomsman
not only am i baltimore-bound to serve as best man to the doctor of diss, but earlier this week i was asked to do the same for bookpimp in his upcoming knot-tieing-fest later this decade.

question: how many people think they could dress me up, stand me on a perch in front of hundreds of people, hand me a microphone and hope for the best? if you answered two, you would be correct.

another question: should these guys be concerned of what might get said on their behalf? only if the terms severed foreskin, private place, first time and drifting methane swill cause you, your family and/or closest friends any sort of discomfiture.

i'm sure all will go swimmingly.

i'm sure all will go memorably at the least.

UPDATE 3: we may have 2 more slots filled on the taos ski bonanza.

UPDATE 4: now i know this will be the second time i've talked about it after saying i would no longer talk about it, but the everyman made usa today's top sites.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.16.2003
yes, it does hurt to be this innovative.
one difference between this year and last is that last year i didn't eat breakfast in the shower.

getting older is all about getting better and here it is just a few days into the new year and i've already satisfied my 2003 improvement.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.07.2003
captain on deck
marty has entered the second half of her pregnancy with captain*. she started showing about a month ago and her clothes stopped fitting a few weeks ago. frustrated for apparel she started ripping stuff out of the closet which slowly started to pile up on the bed in an unbuttonable fury. solution: raid the hubby's side of the walk-in.

do you have any concept how frustrating it is that after two years of religious gym-going you discover that your new svelte frame is the same girth as a half-pregnant woman.

and she's got room to swim in even my most hip-hugging khakis.

there's two years down the crapper.

* captain is baby number two's in utero name, rockefeller having been bella's pre vaginal chute-ride moniker. i had suggested Copernicus but walt nixed it for complexity reasons and somehow captain emerged as its elementary counterpart. and, you can keep your capt stubing jokes to yourself. i ain't in the mood and i don't have the time. there's a jazzercize class across town i need to sign up for.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.06.2003
what time is is? how long have i been sleeping?
in case you haven't noticed, i've been out to lunch. i've also been out for brunch, tea and a late night snack. actually i believe someone secretly exercised some technology-aversion conditioning on me because during my holiday sabbatical, every time i walked into my study i would look at my desk, turn around and walk out.

instead, i slept. i had bella ask what that was on my chin. it was a zit. i made two homemade pies. i observed that more people that come to my house prefer pumpkin over apple pie. i burned a cord of wood in the fireplace. i ran the side of my thumb through a cheese grater, twice, while talking to the intentionally-disshevled guy. i finished one book about someone who wanted to have more sex and started another about someone who wanted to have less sex (can you guess which one is fiction). i did some other stuff but suddenly find myself sidetracked trying to gauge where i fall on the sex issue.

i'd like to say that my mind was ready to heave and vomit two weeks worth of quality thoughts but in reviewing my notes, and if the above serves as any indication, it appears the best i'm able to divine would be a wispy, odorless fart. you know the saying "i know people who can shit better stuff than that"? well, do you know people who can let a wispy, odorless fart better than that? you can now check yes to that box. so it may take a little bit for me to get my sea legs back but back they will get. and meantime, i can hopefully spend the next few days collecting and organizing all of your everyman photos which are certain to begin pouring in given the deadline is this friday @ midnight.



be there or be the sex-hungry guy in my previous book and not the sex-laden guy in my current book. yes, the everyman equals sex and loads of it. maybe not for you and maybe not for me, but if i recall my younger years with any kind of vividness, maybe was all it took to get any still-breathing man off the couch and in the car.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.25.2002
behind my house 12:05 am, christmas day.

HYGIENE, PERSONAL (permalink) 12.04.2002
at least it wasn't the floss
bella's new favorite saying is 'my toy'. everything she can see, touch or conceive is her toy. when we were taking a shower the other day she pointed at my penis and said 'my toy'. i explained that i was very confident that that was not her toy, mostly because it was my toy, my favorite toy in fact. she thought on this for a moment before smacking my toy with a toothbrush, another of her toys and reclaiming it as her toy.

the best parenting advice i ever received came from my father-in-law; "you just gotta be smarter than your kids". i try to live this and thought quickly at this moment and decided to remove the curiousity, so i turned around before continuing my ablutions. i then heard another softer 'my toy' seconds before feeling the toothbrush attempt to pierce my rear crevice. let's just say my surprise could have snapped that brittle plastic in half.

when recounting this drama to marty she asked which toothbrush she had. all i could say with confidence is that she didn't have mine.

now oddly, my whole family brushes their teeth with the same toothbrush, mine.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.29.2002
well, there was that one time.
i don't like most holidays. i like getting the day off but many times i don't even know what the day of the hour is. thanksgiving is different though. it is one of my more serious holidays. i mean once you get past the fact that it represents the beginning of the end for those pesky indians (*) the base tenet of thanksgiving is pretty cool, and highly needed. as a practice i take some time to think on what i have to be thankful for through the past year. typically the list is short and probably, if compared to someone else's list, a little backwards. i tend to keep it pretty lean, not because there isn't a lot for me to pay homage to but because one statement can usually wrap up the kind of year i had.

for instance this year's item of note is that i'm thankful that the worst experience so far has been the batteries in my gameboy running out twice in the same week. they usually last longer but bella likes the noises the games make and sometimes walks around with the gameboy like it was a portable boom box doing little flutter dances here and there. one such time she left it on and drained the rechargeables. this is bad because i have sadly become addicted to playing gameboy on the john and if i don't have this digital heroin, well let's just say that things don't go as swimmingly as one may like. enough said? hope so. if not, drop me a line and we'll talk, probably for much longer than you you will be comfortable with.

another positive indicator of my life is that when a colleague asked me on wednesday if i would be in on friday i was able to say, "Oh. Friday? I wasn't aware Friday was even a workday."

life is good.

* don't hate me for being facetious, hate me if you don't know what facetious means, but don't hate me for being it.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.27.2002
from my people to your people this holiday season ... people i like at least


PERSONAL (permalink) 11.22.2002
i tried. i tried really hard.
so Thin When Tan Girl came over for dinner last night with her new special friend whom marty casually refers to, when speaking to me, as big boob-ed brian. it's not that brian himself has a significant rack or anything. it's just that i consistently couldn't remember if his name was ryan or brian. since marty volunteered this easy memory tool, i shockingly am not so confounded.

given Thin When Tan Girl's apprehension about the meeting, i agreed to not talk about circumcision, masturbation or defecation with the big boob-ed one given the maiden meeting, something about first impressions or the like.

i failed miserably.

somewhat on the sly i asked if he was born in america. yes. so you're cut. uhhm, yes. yeah, me too.

then upon learning that he went to an essentially all-male college i intuited, correctly might i add, that he's about a once a day guy.

and we commiserated about the fact that we each had a bowel-challenged coworker in our office who defiled just about every aspect of the clean air act. and each of our guys had fans, conveniently blowing their Pigpen like swill out of their cube into the common areas we are all forced to share. what's with these guys and those damn under the desk oscillating fans. i can't wear a halter top to work but the guy on the pure taco bell diet can install an exhaust fan the size of an boeing plane engine beneath his desk? it just ain't right.

but, it was nice meeting you mammary man and i can assure you that our discourse will become more stimulating once i get to know you better.

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 11.21.2002
hey santa, wake up, on your feet! this ain't no rest home!
so bookpimp was asking me if the new what i'm coveting section of the site was a one-time deal or something i looked to maintain and keep updated. after laughing hysterically i assured him that not only will it be routinely updated but it very well may receive more attention than any other part of i mean here it has only been a week and i've already added two new items to the list. i don't want to exclude any exuberant gift givers this holiday season because every recession needs a good shot in the arm to get that economy going again. and no one, and i mean no one, is going to say troy dearmitt didn't do his part to ease any consumeristic angst my fellow citizens may be experiencing.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.14.2002
women are from venus, men are from pittsburgh
so yesterday i shared my wishlist with you all. in asking marty about what she wanted for christmas, i found we may be a little bit different. you know what she said? she wants to buy a donkey or goat for a family living in a third world country. a goat!

how can two people with so much in common, have so little in common?

WEB, PERSONAL (permalink) 11.13.2002
your money's certainly good here
in anticipation of the coming holiday season, i've created a new section of as to not leave too many of you scratching your heads on what to get your humble but gadget hungry host this year. so i invite you to please visit my personal life registry also know as what i'm coveting.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.28.2002
coming soon
so i'm working on a new section for the web site. i'm not entirely certain what to call it just yet. leading candidates are Rockefeller Center II, the Return of Rockefeller or maybe even Carnegie Hall.

for those bad at reading between the lines, yes, we are expecting number two.

and for those really bad at reading between the lines, that is not a reference to the feces-based number two but the kind of number two that a census bureau would be interested in.

and for those who are just butt stupid. marty and i are expecting our second child. you can expect to be deluged with photos and silly captions come early may.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.25.2002
gleefully punching the clock
so i've been getting dinged quite heavily about the new job and i'm sorry i haven't followed up with, well any of you, but as i alluded earlier, time is a little lean at the moment. in short, the new job is quite awesome. it takes me 10 minutes to get there and 8 to get home. i think the time difference has something to do with the number of left versus right turns in each direction. given that it is so close, i've been coming home for lunch each day. i think i've already lost weight and i certainly have more money in my pocket than i'm accustomed to at this late date in the month.

the people in the office seem talented and loaded with personality, although i haven't gotten to delve too deep into any of them just yet. yesterday, i was talking to darkman on the phone when a guy came by my desk who built my new computer and i told him thanks and how he did a beautiful job and that i was aroused, physically aroused, to finally have a working machine. darkman asked if i knew this guy previously or just met him. oh darkman, i have so much to teach you about making a first and lasting impression, especially with the IT guys who support you.

but, in that vein, i do, surprisingly, know quite a few people at this location, which is an add. and since it's the same company, i know much of the routine, which also helps. they've initially been leaving me quite open to explore their environment and get acclimated to the needs, which is a phenomenally nice courtesy. last weekend, i actually caught myself on a few different occasions anxious for monday to arrive so i could return to a couple of things i was working on. while i'm a firm believer that a job is primarily something that interrupts an otherwise personal life, it's a very nice situation to have that interruption be challenging and meaningful.

have a good weekend, i'll be sitting here waiting for the next workday to roll around.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.16.2002
it's all good
as my wife and partner of almost 13 years knows and as all routine readers of this site know, it has been a long time since i've tried to impress anyone. ok so i try, but i don't succeed. it should count. today is a new day though. today, i start a new job. in many respects it has been awhile since i've had a job, but today i do, again. and, i am going to need to take my big gulp of air and try to swim to the other side of the pool without coming up in attempt to wow and astound my new colleagues and associates. point being, i need you to bear with me over the next few weeks, possibly months while i figure it all out. it is for the best, i assure you. once i learn the ropes and feel that i am properly contributing, i'll be back to my old flatutory and self-adulatory ways. until then things may be a little on the lean side. we'll see.

and, if any are interested about this new job, it is a web design and development gig for the mortgage division of the same bank i previously worked for. so i'm actually back to doing what i love, geeking on the web. it's actually a great opportunity, which is why i accepted it, and i'm bristling with the potential it holds. so, wish me well, say a prayer, kiss a penny, save me a dance, essentially do whatever it is people do when well-wishing other people.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.04.2002
i needed that
yesterday was a good day. i won't boast the degree by iterating through the various boons, just accept that it was exceptional. even getting gigged put a smile on my face, that's how good of a day it was.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.27.2002
no, i didn't mean it like that
ok, first off. thanks for the support everyone sent on the interview deal. it made a rather harrowing day a little less harrowing. given your interest, i guess i shouldn't leave you hanging.

the first interview didn't go as hoped. somewhere in the selection process there was a disconnect. essentially, i said i'm a web designer/developer and they said "oh you're a gutter repairman? Perfect! that's exactly what we need." so that one didn't really pan out so well.

the second position holds greater promise. they are actually looking for a web designer/developer. i feel as though that interview came off pretty well. although i think at one point i may have given the questioner the impression that i get aroused by coding web pages. and yeah, i do mean that kind of aroused. so i may need to turn the excitement level down a notch as to not terrify any potential employers. i go back there tomorrow (1pm cst) for the technical interview and should know something early next week. i'll keep you posted, assuming i don't succumb to the pleasure surrounding updating my web site.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.26.2002
sit up straight and comb your hair
ok, i've got some bad news for you all. well actually it's bad news for me, but in my mildly egotistic world, that extends to you as well. i was recently told my job was toast. that isn't exactly right. i was told my job was moving. to portland. now don't get me wrong. i love portland. i think it's the most centered city i've seen. but let me tell you something about my life (for a change).

after bella was born a year and a half ago, my mom came out to visit and help. she then returned home and promptly quit her very posh job in pittsburgh to take a very evil job in saint louis just so she could be closer to this tiny non-speaking, non-sleeping bundle of late nights. this was one of the many examples of living by your priorities i've witnessed in my mother.

when my boss was discussing the relocation package i explained that it would have to cover 7 homes and 26 humans. when asked to expound on this need, i countered that that is what it would take to move 4 grandparents, 5 of 7 siblings and a whole gob of screaming cousins to portland because i wasn't going without them, cool city or not. the boss blinked.

so i have two interviews today. i have a couple more in the hopper as well should these not pan out. wish me well at 10 and 2 (cst). otherwise, i'll see you in the unemployment line with an unwashed bella and shoeless marty.

and, by the way, when my parents came over for dinner last night and bella went running to the door with flailing arms and indecipherable greetings, i knew my choice was the right one, regardless of today's outcome.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.25.2002
it's what works for me
someone recently asked me about the key to my success. for those saying "what success?" i hear you, i really do. but it's all relative and this person was seven years old and well, cut me some slack. after thoughtfully rubbing my chin, ruminating on it and acting successful all the while, i proffered the following sage words to this young lad.

my success is a product of a whole lot of sitting very still and being very quiet in the corner of whatever room i occupy and making interspersed quips about circumcision, digestive disfunctions and revealing very intimate details of my life with total strangers.

ok, so it's a borderline homeless/psychotic strategy but when plied properly it provides stupendous results.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.16.2002
what in the world is this?
i know i just did one of these but i?ve gotta tell the stories as they come. isabella recently learned how to throw clothes down the laundry chute. last night as i was emptying the bin in the basement i found the following items in addition to our soiled clothing.

a toothbrush
the cover from a magazine
a credit card
a floppy disk
a cup (which i think was half-full when deposited)
and a pair of my boxers that i?d only worn twice last week.

i have so much to teach little bella. everyone knows underwear doesn?t get thrown down until the third wearing. sheesh.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.12.2002
17 reasons to stay in therapy
in reading this month?s issue of seventeen, it dawned on me that i have way more in common with the thirteen year old girls who live by this mag than i should be comfortable with.

it?s a good thing i have my josh hartnett pillow to console me at night.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.10.2002
where'd that come from
take 9 bran muffins sitting in a basket on the counter.

take 1 isabella playing on the counter.

take 2 newish parents occupied in other matters.

do you know what you get?

10 partially eaten bran muffins. don't ask me where the extra one came from. i was hoping you'd know.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.30.2002
is he wearing a welders helmet?
i wear glasses. my glasses cost more that every sock, pant, shirt and short that i own. some may think i'm using these overblown descriptors to simply add import thus emphasizing the point, but i'm not. if this were barker's showcase showdown my specs would be valued higher than my entire wardrobe. although, this info is for those who have never met me, because those that have, know this, tell me this and sadly shake their heads at this routinely.

let me tell you a story. my mother has one hobby: collecting pictures and then finding and placing them in frilly frames all valued under 7.99. for my wedding, she made two photo assortments of marty and i crammed with grainy shots of us growing up. at the reception while walking past some people hunched over these curiosities i overheard the following hushed conversation in reference to my seventh grade school picture:

man: why is he wearing shop glasses.
woman: those aren't shop glasses, those are his regular glasses.
man: oh, damn.

oh damn is right. and as i was saying, my current glasses cost more than all of my clothes combined. but it wasn't just this experience that moved me so. childhood trauma aside, i've simply never understood (some) people's logic in regard to their face hardware versus their wardrobe. assuming you are one who requires eye wear, you are wearing them daily. daily! as in everyday! and unless you are me, that super-rad sweater-vest you got from old navy or the gap or af or the other place where everyone seems to buy their clothes, it may get worn once, maybe twice and on a good day thrice a month and that's of course only seasonal wear. so in summary, many people, perhaps not you, will spend more money on five sweaters which they may, may collectively wear 30 times in a year than they would on something hanging off their face, something people actually look at, each and every day of the year. sometimes i just don't get folks. i love the differences in 'em, don't try corn-holing me here, i just don't get 'em.

and no, i will not be posting the picture in question anytime soon. i'm not that hard-up for readers just yet.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.28.2002
x's and o's for the more voracious of the bunch
this site is know as many things to few people. my favorite moniker-maker is ?he-who is-not-afraid-to-use-naughty-words-in-his-blog-ed?. in addition to his current descriptor of ?the whole life catalog?, he previously referred to my site as ?troy has his whole dang life online?. thanks for the kind and apt descriptors f-bomb ed.

in addition i?ve recently gotten the impression, from another blogger, that i?ve been neglecting my viewing audience. to this, i agree. i have been taking you for granted and depriving you of the details you have become accustomed and addicted to. so in attempt to live up to big ed?s nomenclature and to push the plunger for buddy james? awaiting needle, allow me to share some details from my recent life to get everyone up to speed.

more recently than i?d like to admit i wore the same pair of pants 23 days in a row. and, if you?re asking the same question marty did (have you washed those this month?), the answer is a confident no.

when not wearing the 23-day pants, i wore the same pair of shorts, which i will call, for simplicity sake, the 23-day shorts. and again the answer to you and marty?s question would be a second confident no.

i kicked a bella-discarded pickle part under the stove instead of throwing it in the garbage.

crouching near the ground in my work clothes i saved 8 earthworms from a post rain sun and droves of killer ants, despite many concerned looks by passerby's.

i recently watched the complete first season of OZ in two days. that would be 13 hours worth of humor for the uninitiated.

after the neighbor?s dog licked my hand, i wiped the slobber off on the back of bella's shirt. (for those gasping at my lack of respect, allow me to report that she didn?t seem to mind).

so as you can see, all?s well and going as expected in troy-ville. thanks for your patience and continued intrigue and i promise (meaning i will try as long as it is not inconveniencing to me) to keep you better apprised of my happenings.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.31.2002
is that what i think it is?
in a roll of film marty recently had taken, she took two pictures of bella and i sleeping. in both of them you can see my goods. yeah, those goods.

my mom asked why i wasn?t wearing underwear. that is my underwear i explained. she then asked why i wasn?t wearing shorts. i had no defense.

when thin when tan girl looked through the photos she was kind enough to laughingly remark that the mouse needed to go back in the house. not the lion to the den or even the pig to the pen, but the mouse to the house. i just can?t catch a break.

and, no i will not be sharing these intimate shots in rockefeller center anytime soon. i have the kids and my reader?s sanity to consider.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.15.2002
it isn't polite
my barber has been on vacation for the last two weeks, so will everyone please, please, stop staring at my hair.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.05.2002
and this proud father beamed

twice a year the people in my neighborhood have a parade and picnic. the two anointed dates are fourth of july and halloween. the parade caters to the kids and the picnic to the adults. now the parade isn't exactly what one typically thinks of when they think parade. ours is unique in the sense that everyone, yes everyone, participates in the parade. participation entails walking with all the others through the streets of our neighborhood, starting and ending at the same point. the main oddity is that since everyone involved is actually walking in the parade, there isn't really anyone left to watch the spectacle. of course a few people, a scant few merciful people, sit in front of their homes in lawn chairs, drinking lemonade and cheering us on as we go by. but, truth told the wavers are outnumbered about fifty to one.

the parade troop is comprised of a comprehensive mix. first a fire engine rolls slowly occasionally blasting its horn and swirling the sirens. directly behind this red engine which has the words "let's roll" emblazoned on the side comes our own local marching band where one instrument is a garden hose with a funnel on the end, painted silver. this ambitious group gathers at eight in the morning and practice yankee doodle dandy until show time. the kids ride in or on decorated bikes, scooters and strollers. everyone else walks. and talks. and points and laughs as they see how sophie is dressed or how much alex is sweating. a police car trails the collective crawling at the pace of the slowest tricycle attempting to keep an appropriate and unobtrusive distance behind. i'm not sure if this is to keep us in control or to protect us from outsiders who may see the crazed ritual and take action against us given our obvious imbalance. either way there is a cop car at the rear.

marty and i have lived in the neighborhood almost three years but this is the first year we have been in town for the july parade. we've already deemed all future outings as mandatory. my favorite moment of the day happened as marty and bella approached where i was sitting taking pictures of the scene, bella spotted me and yelled as loud as her tiny vocal cords could stretch "my mommy! MY mommie! MY MOMMIE" and elatedly stretched her arm towards me.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.24.2002
no, i'll be alright. thanks for asking.
i have a relatively gnarly bruise on the top of my left hand. it's over my index and middle finger, starts at the knuckle and oblongs its way to the top of my thumb. i like having this bruise just as i like having scabs. it is a sign that something has occurred and therefore something has been done.

while talking to people or riding in the elevator i like to show my bruise to them. not in an obvious and stupid kind of way where i hold up my hand and say "did you see that i have a bruise on my hand," but instead where i bid someone good day while testing my shave by rubbing my crippled hand along my cheek, soiled part facing the audience of course. it then occurs to me that it has probably occurred to them that i not only do not have any facial hair but also look like i couldn't even produce any facial hair which leaves me wondering if they are wondering why the guy standing next to them seems to be making love to his face with his own amorous and apparently broken hand.

i've concluded that this is not the exact impression i'm looking for so i'm back to just holding my hand out and polling the group if they noticed my bruise. most have not, until i hold it up for display at least.

even though these encounters are not my first choice, i'm still oddly stated in the end.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.15.2002
well, maybe just one
07:00-07:30 eat breakfast
07:30-08:00 install compost bin and mulch surrounding ground
08:00-11:30 install upstairs quarter round
11:30-12:00 pick up house and shower
12:00-01:30 go to darkman?s 30th birthday party
01:30-03:30 tennis with e-love
03:30-04:00 shower and snack
04:00-07:00 hang out with bella, marty & peggy (returned from chicago)
07:00-09:00 go to a ron jeremy lecture w/ man who screams like woman (MWSLW)
09:00-11:00 watch the ron jeremy documentary P*rn Star
11:30-11:31 fall asleep

08:00-08:15 wake up an hour and fifteen minutes late
08:15-08:20 eat granola bar & drink thai coffee (#1)
08:20-09:00 install compost bin and mulch surrounding area
09:00-09:50 install upstairs quarter round
09:50-09:51 brake a pane of glass from a french door on my lap
09:51-09:52 step on drill bit with bare foot while backing away from broken glass
09:52-09:55 turn vacuum on so i can scream and cuss very, very audibly
09:55-10:15 clean up glass and apply band-aids to legs and feet
10:15-12:00 finish installing upstairs quarter round
12:00-12:45 pick up house and shower. oh yeah, and thai coffee (#2)
12:45-01:35 go to darkman?s party
01:35-01:40 kindly request that conner the chimp be removed from my lap so i can depart
01:40-04:00 tennis with e-love
04:00-05:00 hang out with bella, marty and peggy until they leave for some family thing
05:00-06:00 sleep. thank god for sleep.
06:00-06:03 read sign stating the ron jeremy appearance has been canceled.
06:04-06:20 resist pummeling the ticket whelp who hung the evil sign.
06:20-06:30 win debate with MWSLW regarding best possible question to ask the hedgehog
06:30-08:00 eat at lemon grass - have thai coffee (#3)
08:00-09:00 go to ted drewes for custard - suck-up to marty via an oreo concrete
09:00-11:00 geek with MWSLW
11:00-11:45 repeatedly listen to the freshly downloaded beasty boys? song GIRLS
11:45-12:00 lay in bed unable to sleep, thinking how good a thai coffee (#4) would be

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.22.2002
i wouldn't chew on that if i were you
things found in bella?s diaper this weekend during changes: urine, feces, a jenga block and one domino.

so if you ever play dominos at my house, handle the double-six at your own risk.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.15.2002
martha stewart sleeps on the floor
marty and i have been married just over four years and i have finally, just now, convinced her to do away with the metal undercarriage to our bed. now the box spring is right on the floor and the mattress, obviously, sits on top of that. some people think it?s silly, stupid and without point. those people are wrong. and simple. and waste their hatred of things on really, really dumb stuff. if you are going to hate, you should hate something of consequence, something that merits your venom, like walgreens or people who say that titanic was really an ok movie.

reasons we are better off without the metalworks beneath our bed.
  1. bella can climb in and out of the bed without the aid of a stepstool or boost from marty given her little baby legs.
  2. troy can climb in and out of the bed without the aid of a stepstool or boost from marty given his malformed stub legs.
  3. not tempted or able to store meaningless stuff under the bed.
  4. more room in our room for my bursting ego.
  5. summer is coming and we live in st louis and heat rises.
  6. when in bed, the room looks super big and you can play the ?i?m a little munchkin living in a mushroom house and it all looks wildly out of proportion but that?s because i?m a munchkin guy and i am also wildly out of proportion? game.
  7. the metal framework holding your box spring does not do anything. the fact that you think it serves a need is the result of a capitalist conspiracy.
  8. after peeing the bed in the middle of the night and getting angrily thrown out by marty i don?t have as far to plummet.
now i just have to convince marty to let me hang up my black felt iron maiden posters and my vision will be complete.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.02.2002
do you have any of these in stock?
i want what can't be copied.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.20.2002
with all the amenities
i forgot to mention that, at the betty ford clinic, they have 'the cable'.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.19.2002
where'd you come from?
in the event that you are ever speaking with me and i say that i just returned from the betty ford clinic, i?m not referring to the institution proper, but instead my parents? new home. in answer to your next question, i call it this for two reasons.

first, their new home sits out in the middle of nowhere on a gob of acres and the only thing you can see all around are woods and trees and foresty looking horizons which makes one feel like they are in some secluded drug rehab center for the privileged, not that i?ve ever been in drug rehab or mistaken for the privileged, but if i were either, i reckon this is what i?d expect it to look like.

the second reason i call my parents place the betty ford clinic is that the only other place it reminds me of is the evil killing guy?s house from the 80?s film manhunter (some may know it as the original silence of the lambs). this guy lived outside of st louis, just like my parents, in the middle of nowhere, just like my parents, and his house made funny noises in the middle of the night, just like my parents. in fact, i?m not totally unconvinced that my parents aren?t living in this guy?s place. i know it?s vacant cuz william peterson waxed the evil guy at the end of manhunter so i know it was available for purchase and killing guys houses outside the metropolitan st louis area aren't the biggest in demand so chances of it being available were more than reasonable.

and, that is why i call my parents house the betty ford clinic. ultimately is just sounds better than saying i just got back from evil killing guys house. people might look at me oddly then and that just won?t due.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.12.2002
things obviously not meant for me:
  1. team sports
  2. any and all bruce willis films, and yes including die hard
  3. the fraternity lifestyle
  4. the french fry you just ate
  5. the employee handbook
  6. signs that read ?please leave underwear on when trying on swimwear?
  7. chest hair removal systems

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.08.2002
it's protected by doctor-patient confidentiality
i?m told that when my doctor asks why i?ve been going to the gym more i should not say ?so i can have a stomach like brittney?s?.

PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 02.07.2002
working through the night, so you don't have to


PERSONAL (permalink) 01.25.2002
you're not using that as directed
after bella was born a lot of people asked if i felt like parent. while you may think that the birthing event would slap one into the mood, it doesn't, or at least it didn't for me. the best way i can think to describe it is a sort of blissful stupor. i can be up at 3am cradling my screaming child, standing in my underwear and blinking clumsily in a dark room in attempt to stay upright and if someone asked me at that moment if i felt like a parent, i would cleanly answer No. i have caught myself wiping feces from the back of my hand onto my favorite college sweatshirt while bracing the phone in my neck as i talk to a nurse about the consistency of said brown matter and the color/hue of the phlegm that's adorning my other sleeve and if you were to ask me how parenthood was i'd suggest you locate someone who looks like they'd have experience in the subject.

recently I was brought out of a saturday slumber by a sensation i have never before encountered. upon opening my eyes and localizing the touch i found that my daughter was smashing her tiny face into my chest in attempt to breast feed off my miniscule man nipple.

i sat bolt upright holding her in my arms and looked straight ahead. at this moment, on this day if you, if anyone, asked me if i felt like a parent i would have responded "what the hell do you think, i got a little human trying to suck fluid out of my left nipple?"

and for the record, i had a little human trying to suck milk out of my left nipple on the following wednesday as well.

PERSONAL (permalink) 01.03.2002
a stronger man would shoot it where it lives
tivo?s latest recommendation of what i?m not watching that i should be...Moesha. and as if that wasn?t offensive enough, my little friend also nabbed the latest rendition of Sister, Sister for good measure.

if one were suspect, one may get the impression that this thing's out to run me off a cliff.

and, in doing the sister sister search, google returned this page as well as this one and, just in case you had a week to burn on random links, they also supplied this one.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.31.2001
just think if i had been naughty?
so in closing, i did not get an ipod for christmas, but i did get one of these.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.28.2001
what now little brother.
my boy bookpimp turns the big three-oh today. as e-love would say, you are now closer to 60 than you are to your birth. pretty evil, eh?

sorry i will not only miss your gathering tonight, but also sorry my gift is late. i assure you, or am confident, that it will be worth the wait. mail order women are in high demand during the holidays, mail order women with all their limbs at least.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.27.2001
well, thanks for noticing
having this holiday week off, i?ve been able to enjoy having all of my showers policed by the ever diligent bathroom inspector, isabella. she does not let the minor detail of getting drenched deter her from pulling the curtain to the side so she can heckle and jeer your every move while blinking and shaking her head through the falling water. and whether she?s standing at the rear of the shower getting a solid PG-13 rating or at the head by the knobs for the full frontal NC-17 vantage point, she?s banging a toothbrush against the side of the tub before launching it into the porcelain chasm. she then politely waits for a bare foot to slide it up the side for her to grab onto so she can resume her bang and chuck routine.

i?ve been told that this shower humor is finite. when i asked one person why, i was given an account of my personality-ridden niece emma and how her aquatic privileges came to be revoked after a few modest observations. the first strike occurred when she commented to her mother on her ?furry bagina?, the mom?s that is. strike two came after she, emma, complimented her father on his ?very handsome penis?. there was no third strike. it seems the second one carried enough import for her to be called out swinging. game. set. and match.

personally, i think i can admit that i am not one to chase off flattery and/or compliments, no matter the source or intent.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.26.2001
our first noel

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.24.2001
dear mrs. claus
all i want for christmas is a woman with a foot fetish, a fred flinstone like foot-foot fetish.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.21.2001
you better step up santa
for any who will be away from their net connection or boycotting technology on the holiday week, may you make the most of family and friends.

speaking of those we know, i was rapping with a guy at a christmas gathering and he said, "yeah, that was about three years ago and both of my parents were alive then," and it occurred to me that i, you and others will someday be saying that about people walking around at this very moment. it never hurts to recall that there is what matters and then there's all the shit we are sweating everyday. holiday up with someone you know.

also remember, it's not about what you get, nor is it about what you give, it's about whether or not you get an ipod or are giving me one.

and lastly, remember those affected by 09.11 as well as those overseas right now hating life so we don't have to.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.20.2001
not in my house
i have oftentimes claimed to be un-offendable. i must slightly modify that statement to say that humans cannot offend me, but my tivo on the other hand can. you see the tivo has this feature that bird-dogs the tv schedule and on occasion will automatically record shows it thinks you may enjoy given your regular viewing patterns. the other day i found, in this list, an episode of Change of Heart. Now, if you are not familiar with this meager late night atrocity don?t expect me to explain. and, might i suggest that if someone makes attempt to acquaint you with it, run like hell.

truth be told, i also recently spied an episode of Judge Mathis in there.

Anyone want a tivo?

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.05.2001
what's on tonight dear
it has recently occurred to me that i was much happier when we didn't have a tv. i do not have the strength to turn it off or throw it out. this is a cry for help. will someone please come to my home and break or abscond with this digital time whore once and for all.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.28.2001
i blame it on the dolphin
sunday morning, marty and i awoke and groggily exchanged our dreams from that night's slumber.

while doing some last-minute cramming for my class final right before the test, i looked up and realized that we all had lockers next to our seats in the room. sidetracked, i opened mine to find a disaster. i immediately set out to cleaning up a semester?s worth of garbage, totally ignoring the professor?s announcement that we were changing rooms to take our exam. later looking up and seeing everyone was gone, i panicked since i didn?t know where they went. i raced to the department office for help only to find bookguy running things, unsurprisingly. marilyn monroe was sleeping in a chair in the corner of the office. i found this equally unsurprising. so i went over and started talking to her and five minutes later, we?re making out and yes you guessed it, also not surprising. as is often the case in my dreams, i suddenly and desperately needed to go to the bathroom. so i fled marilyn and dashed to the toilet only to find it stopped up, no doubt the skilled work of one bookguy. given my urgency i was not dissuaded and began to relieve myself. as many have probably experienced this phenomenon, albeit not nearly as frequently as myself, you know the drill and how it typically pans out. fortunately for the guest bed in my mother?s home i awoke in the nick of time and drowsily stumbled to the real toilet down the hall and was consequently spared an awkward lecture from my mother in front of my wife come morning.

meanwhile, on marty?s pillow, she was studying for a statistics test, a class which she is not taking. someone told her she could say her baby was sick and get excused from the deadline. she did this. now that she had gobs of time, she was kicking around and passed the school gymnasium. she saw that they were holding basketball tryouts and thought she?d give it a whirl. in her initial discussions with the coach she learned that they only had varsity shorts left and those were therefore the only positions they were looking to fill. she knew her skills would only earn her a spot on the jv team and since she was a senior could not entertain such a thought knowing full-well that e-love would make fun of her in this role. so she instead opted to go out and train her pet dolphin.

i swear, marty?s dreams go from being overly pedestrian to wildly fantastic in such a blip. i mean, i was at least making out with marilyn monroe before almost making wee in the bed.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.20.2001
just say what you mean
I've received multiple inquiries about yesterday's post. I guess my allusion to our getting the car (me playing with the sunroof) was not telling enough. People were also curious what we bought. So, allow me to elaborate. We did buy the car. For Marty, or more applicably for Bella and it is a 1992 BMW Touring Wagon. It's black with beige leather interior (and that's leather, not pleather), has a full-size spare, heated seats, and looks shiny-brand new.

This car replaces Marty's non-infant friendly acura integra, which is now on the open market. So, if anyone, who is not going to have kids in the near future, is interested in this sporty little 2-door, let me know. We'll give you the family rate of 1% cash back. And, oh yeah, all sales are final.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.19.2001
does that go up and down?
wednesday night, walt handed me the paper and asked me to call about a car being advertised in the classifieds. twenty minutes later we were in the home of the seller looking at a beautifully preserved european auto. marty kicked the tires, drove it around and listened to the motor. i confirmed that the rear windows went all the way down, played with the dual sunroof and gauged what the instrument panel would look like at night.

thursday morning, marty and i stopped by our local garage to talk about the car with our mechanic, gleb. gleb asked a few questions about it (i.e. make, miles, year) which marty readily answered. he then looked at me and wanting to contribute to the conversation, i added that the sunroof was very cool and had this button which made it go this way and that. he looked at marty who hung her head in a disapproving manner and they resumed their discussion as if i wasn?t there.

regardless of their ill-appreciation for the finer points of a classic car, i spent thirty minutes opening and closing the fore-mentioned sunroof on saturday.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.16.2001
that's why they have a prophylactic covering hon
The other day Marty asked me to watch Bella while she attended to some household matters. She popped in this video called Baby Mozart which she said Bella liked to watch. This tape is nothing but a bunch of close-ups of moving images, like clocks and electric trains, to Mozart music. So Bella and I sprawled out on the floor in front of the tube and started watching the colorful antics. About thirty minutes later I hear my name barked in a fairly authoritative tone and turned to see Marty standing by her desk in the next room. When I looked at her she motioned down towards her feet where I saw Bella sitting under marty's desk gnawing on one of the computer power cords which were now in a tangle about bellas legs and waist.

So what I'm saying is Baby Mozart is a pretty good view and Bella's attention span doesn't yet seem to match her father's.

PERSONAL (permalink) 11.09.2001
i'm sorry, i was still sleeping
i stopped drinking caffeine a few days ago ... again.

yesterday morning i wrote an email to my boss and a few peers disparaging the choices being made by a fellow development group. on this not flattering correspondence, i inadvertently included the manager of the department in question on the sending.

my phone started ringing within 30 seconds.

i'm back on the caffeine ... again.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.24.2001
card carrying member
Doctor Stevie stopped in town last night on his way to San Francisco. He claims to be going to a medical conference on infectious diseases, but he looks rather suspicious about it all.

In a conversation between he, Marty and I, the term PDA came up in reference to a young couple. I admitted to not understanding the meaning of this inference. They looked at each other in that 'are you kidding me kind of way' and explained that it stood for "Public Display of Affection." Thinking they were joking I asked what it really meant and after exchanging sideways looks again, the mocking began. What do you think it means, personal digital assistant, they asked. Well yes, I replied. They then informed me that I shouldn't wear my dork badge so loudly on my sleeve. A lot they know, we carry them in our wallet.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.23.2001
it just wasn't meant to be
Below you will find the girls from my childhood tv days I thought about most listed in their order of lustability. Well, not exactly lust, in that this does not speak to the psychological or special bond any of these ladies and myself would have shared if only given the opportunity. I understood them in a way those fools they were forced to interact with could not. But, in each of these cases, the distance would prove too great, since I couldn't drive, and as we all know, long distance relationship are just hard.
  1. Allison from Double Trouble
  2. Samantha from Gimme a Break
  3. Mallory from Family ties
  4. Samantha from Who?s the Boss
  5. Denise from The Cosby Show

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.16.2001
could you please not do that in front of me
Marty made the observation that dating is better when you don't live with the person you're going out with. When I asked why she felt this way, she responded:

"Because, I then wouldn't have to watch my date walk into the bathroom and pull the boxers he's going to wear out of the dirty clothes hamper."

I must admit I don't get her point.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.15.2001
Look at us out on the town

Walt and I went on our first dinner and show combination since Bella arrived seven months ago. The dinner was reminiscent of an earlier time in our life. And, I learned that I'm not yet very astute in my new mission to eat healthier. We went to this sloppy burger place, Blueberry Hill, that is known for it's sloppy burgers. I ordered blackened red snapper, a new item on their menu and am confident that it will be a newly removed item before long. Marty advised me that ordering gourmet food from sloppy burger place is ill-advised. Point and indigestion taken.

For the entertainment portion of the evening we strolled down the way to the Pageant to see Margaret Cho, of All-American Girl fame. It would seem that Cho has fallen off my radar for too long, or that I was pretty thick when I first discovered her many years back. I was not aware that she is now more publicly championing the gay rights cause. This translates to Marty's observation at the concert that we may be the only straight couple in the house. I contemplated the impact this may have on her material but soon felt that she crafted the show especially for me. Her first bit dealt with colon hydra-therapy which she reports to be all the rage in california. I've always said you can't go wrong with rectum or rectum related humor given its universal applicability. She next launched into a 15 minute routine dealing with menstruation, specifically the implications that could be assumed if men experienced the monthly visitor. As I said, a show specially catered for me.

In the end, I don't know that I would send many people to this show. She definitely pulled some guffaws from Walt and I, particularly from her various personas, but there is a toll. For one, the opening act was this huge black cross-dresser who's whole bit revolved around some guy he yanked from the audience, garnished his feet with cherries, syrup and whip cream and then licked it from between the poor lads toes. Then he ... walked off the stage ... meaning, that was it. One might say he is the antithesis of carlin, miller, seinfeld and most other humans.

So Cho at your own risk but it was nice to meet my wife again.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.12.2001
can you pass the nude guy
I shower naked. I also sleep naked and I'm naked when first getting dressed. I talked with a guy recently who is never naked (except in the shower which really doesn't count). I mean this guy is single, lives alone and he gets dressed in the bathroom after bathing. Now perhaps it's just that my body has never acclimated to the St Louis humidity or that I'm in constant denial about our clothes conscious society, but I like to air the parts out every now and again, you know walk around and pick up the house, watch a sitcom, read a book, everything but fry bacon. It's liberating. Therapeutic if you will.

In fact, in my old third story apartment I felt immune to gazing passerby's and was nude as much as not. The only people who had any kind of view into my place was the third story apartment across the way. And, as I recall the only time this was an issue was one night when I was standing in the dining room reading an entertainment weekly, naked, and looked up and discovered my neighbor, his girlfriend and two dinner guest all turned in their seats or craning their heads around and looking at me from their dining room. Now one would think that either they or I would break the gaze to diffuse the oddish moment, but no one did. We all held each others eye, or at least I think eye, for about 30 seconds until I finally turned the page of my magazine and slowly walked into the living room to finish my article while lazing on the futon. Being a fan of memorable moments, I like to think that they, as I, remember that unique isntance still today.

PERSONAL (permalink) 10.03.2001
hallmark may not have this covered
In a conversation with my mother recently Marty learned that if my mother's family was starving she very well may sleep with another man for a ride to the supermarket. Not even for food. Just a ride to the market.

My mom rules.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.07.2001
you should see the bathroom
I have been seeing how many foul things I can put into my wastebasket at work before they give me a new plastic liner. To date my month old liner has housed the likes of:

1. A half eaten custard filled long john
2. A cupful of sunflower seed husks
3. 7 pieces of spent bazooka joe gum
4. 1 full helping of left over mashed potatoes
5. 1 broken and leaking bic pen
6. A half empty thai iced coffee, which busted open when thrown in there
7. One sock from the gym that had a hole in it, post work-out.
8. And, 1 chewed up cud of a snickers bar that made a funny noise while chewing on it.

Another week and I?m going to take a black light to the container and see how many different organisms and funks have set up shop in the space. My company doesn?t occupy a slot in the fortune 500 because they distribute trash bags all hurly burly for no apparent reason. No sir-ree-bob.

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.06.2001
you say it's your birthday
Happy six-month birthday to Bella. Happy six month parenting badge for Marty and I. For any of you who predominately get advice and opinion from the omni-present nay-sayers club of America, I'm here to tell you little human watching equals big human fun. But, in accordance with my nature, allow me to be hypocritcal for a moment and share a retrospective on my five most evil moments in this first half year behind the wheel of the daddy-mobile.

[non-parents and non-kid people: commit time to this at your own risk.]

PERSONAL (permalink) 09.03.2001
it was serene while it lasted
I think Walt and I have a legitimate three months without tv under our belt. But, all missives and declarations must come to a close and so has this come to pass. This holiday weekend, we replaced our faltering picture box with a shiny new one. I lugged all 27 inches of its glory up the stairs and it is now resting comfortably atop its perch in the near-forgotten tv room. So I guess I can kiss my house, web and personal production goodbye as I again immerse myself in my tivo?s offerings. The first thing I watched after setting it up; Saturday morning?s X-Men evolution. I question how I ever got by without this valuable information in the last quarter.

The fallen television has been completely gutted and its shell returned upstairs to serve as a technologically advanced puppet house for bella. And, from my quick perusal of the tv listings, these productions will easily best ABC?s entire proposed lineup. But, in their defense, it?s not easy to suck that much that long.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.30.2001
let me count the ways
I saw a borders bookstore while out tonight and was thrown into another ill-will fest over those destructive book whores, which is negating my ability to think of anything jovial or perky. Sorry. Hate is all consuming.

PERSONAL, PHOTO (permalink) 08.29.2001
Conference Call
The New York Times magazine has this section called "What were they thinking" and it is comprised of a picture and below there are brief statements from the people shown in the photo telling about what was going through their mind when the photo was taken. This is always one of my first stops every Sunday after cracking the seal on the blue wrapped paper. Given this and the number of photos I take in a month, week and day, I realized that I could craft a similar feature. There will be three differences between the times' journalistic practice and mine though. First, I will not interview the other people in the photos because I intuit that I will not always be greatly interested in what they were thinking. Secondly, I will interview myself because another facilitator may not ask the question I want to answer. And lastly, my photos will be of a higher caliber, technically and compositionally, than those of the paper. With that said, I offer the first installment which I simply term "Conference Call".

Well, at first I was dubious if I could pull off the white crew socks with khakis and black loafers but then thought that it was a smart look that many people just didn't appreciate properly. Maybe I missed it already or perhaps I'm on the front end of a trend, either way I should be covered though. People occasionally comment on my white socks and I don't know that it is always in the kindest of manners, but I just think back to something my mother used to tell me when other kids picked on me, "Oh you just don't worry about those kids, they're just jealous cuz you look nicer than them." So, whenever people at work start heckling me or my boss tells me to review the employee dress code I just think back to what my mom used to say and know that they are all simply jealous of my dapper and stylish white socks.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.27.2001
another check in the mail
The best bookseller in all of St. Louis for many years has been a place called Library Ltd. They sported a comprehensive and diverse collection, greatly knowledgeable staff, comfortable environs and premium location. A few years ago the owner sold the place to Borders. The new regime promised the community that not a thing would change through this transaction, right down to the name. One month later, hard to find and unique books began being replaced with more commonplace selections. Six months after that the Library Ltd sign came down and the shiny white Borders insignia went up. Today I swung by to pick up a few magazines and a novel only to be greeted by an empty building with a hand scrawled sign that read, ?To serve you better we?ve moved! Please visit our new location in strip mall hell three miles away.?

So to recap, in moving into my neighborhood and in attempt to service me better Borders gutted a respectable book collection, turned a comfortable walk and easier bike ride into a car trip and evolved the best book retailer in the metro area into nothing more than another hyper-mall boutique. Borders, you can go to hell.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.23.2001
Arthur Fonzerelli has nothing on Ponch
During one of my 11 hour sleeping stints last week on vacation, I had a dream. In this dream I was the personal assistant to the beer baron August Busch?s wife. We were at a day spa and she sent me to find a tampon post-haste while she was getting a pedicure. While bumbling around the antiseptic building, in that I was not and am not keen on matter of feminine hygiene acquisition, I bumped into a chum from high school. We engaged in a brief conversation and the next thing I know I?m being whisked away on an undercover sting operation for Poncherello of CHIPs fame. We were trying to debunk an anti-cult group who was in the process of sneaking into a Branch Davidian compound in Highland, Illinois where they wanted to hang a series of charcoal sketches on the walls in hope to confound the sneaker-wearing purists.

In the eleventh hour, my mother rocked me out of sleep with her standard, ?Get up! You?re sleeping your life away? missive so I?m unable to divine how the mystery unfolded or how un-fresh Mrs. Busch felt after I did not return with her medicinal parcel.

sidebar: an inherent problem with a dream journal comes in trying to decipher your early morning scratches and scrawls. This is what I read, days later when I consulted my palm pilot for a reminder of this dreams? details.

i was a nard fcr poncherello. The criminals at hand where areligious fanatics whg were tryinv to sneak into a bvicdinin highuand illinoij to hang some of their charcoal drawings on tye wall

i got mixed up in aul this aftr bumpfng into a hioh school chum at a women's health spa. Ihad somzhow been drafted as thE personal assistant for augvst bushes wife and was retUrning from my emand Of locating a tampon for her when i ran into this h1gh school chur.

second sidebar: and, did you know that ponch?s full character name was Officer Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello? I now know where all of the creative efforts for that show were expended.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.13.2001
and the victim becomes the assailant
Today Bella takes her first plane flight and I?m extremely nervous. Nervous because I?m hyper-aware of the effects a screaming child has on non-parents in that I was one a mere six months ago. One of the first traits you acquire as the keeper of a tiny human is an auditory numbness towards shrill screaming. It kind of becomes simple white noise. But, that is not to say that I don?t remember being seated next to a wailing kid in my pre-parent days on the way back from a business trip and debating whether my ears or their vocal chords should be removed. So, in the event the trip does not go well, I apologize in advance to any people sitting near seat 13A on the 11:15 to Cleveland. I know your pain and feel for your misery.

PERSONAL (permalink) 08.08.2001
doesn't a marshmallow treat sound good
Marty and I have been forced to move to a zero tolerance policy when it comes to food in bed. In that I eat bread, french fries and watermelon with a fork, one can surmise that I?m not the one munching Trisquits or M&M?s immediately before my slumber without the aid of a plate or utensils. So, the rule truly goes that Marty may no longer snack in bed while flitting through a magazine or grading papers. Now many will think this is just some sleeping with the enemy kind of antic on my part, but I assure you it is not. This missive was born in the pre-dawn hours many seasons ago after I was rocketed from a deep sleep due to rolling over a Snyder?s pretzel shard that about sheared off what makes Troy a boy. (and, for all of my 'friends' thinking of the psuedo witticisms you would place here if this were a conversation, allow me to refer you of the medium being used and remind you that I can't hear you. so there.)

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.24.2001
we are experiencing technical difficulties
Last night a greatly impressive storm descended upon our city. Down the street from us a tree got splintered which made our garage fiasco look like Charlie Brown?s Christmas. We have been without a phone or dsl line for over 15 hours now which is inhibiting my posting something more impressive than an excuse (from work). When back in business, I will make up for it in short order.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.18.2001
And, what am I supposed to do with this?
Paying for things with damp money equals huge fun. After an energetic bout of tennis or an afternoon at the pool, nothing rivals reaching deep into a front pocket and placing this dark and heavy paper into the upturned hand of a cashier. The facial contortions made while studying the soiled bills and contemplating the source of the money?s funk are unrivaled.

Unrivaled at least until the tables are turned and a cashier deposits moist bills in my hand at the conclusion of some transaction. The look of compounded disgust on my face is absolute while I consider the amount and whether or not to put them in my pocket, wallet or garbage can. Heathens.

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.10.2001
When trees attack!
Bad karma equals fallen trees, broken roof tiles and felled power lines. Case in point:

Troy wake up.


Troy wake up, a tree fell on our garage.

I said I'd get up in ten minutes, just give me ten more minutes.

Troy, I'm not kidding. A tree really fell on our garage.

Of all of the lies Marty has used to get me out of bed in the morning, I can only pretend today's was a fabrication. Because five minutes after this discourse I spent my post holiday Monday morning dealing with this.

In thinking about it over the day, I have concluded that this serves as a friendly warning from the environment for my front yard landscaping project where I've devastated this tree's long undisturbed brethren. How many times do I have to argue that we are not alone here guys.

And, man do we under-appreciate garage door openers or what? I spent five minutes scratching my head trying to figure out what you do when the clicker-thing doesn't set the massive door to motion? Can you believe that you actually have to touch the door to make it go up and open. Don't even get me started on the host of organisms and contaminants that are now permanently married to my epidermis from this transaction. Ughhh!

PERSONAL (permalink) 07.06.2001
officer, could i get some salve for my blisters
In doing a landscaping project over the past few days, I have learned that if I ever needed to bury a body to prevent incarceration, I?d just turn myself in.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.15.2001
you really shouldn't like that
While I once thought the human body was built this way, I now believe we are conditioned to dislike ejecting things in unnatural directions. I?ve seen bella pour a pint of milk out a single nostril smiling the whole way. I once choked on a good and plenty, shot it out my mouth six feet before it hit the wall and Marty had to buy me an ice cream to get me to stop philosophizing on my near death experience.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.12.2001
the uni-stache
One time while showering I had a persistent hair tickling my upper lip. I would push it out of the way only to have it return moments later. While attending to my post-shower ablutions the nuisance returned. I leaned into the mirror to locate it and saw the pest sneaking into my mouth (This wasn?t greatly unusual in that I?ve always been shaving challenged and have missed many a chin or cheek hair for weeks at a time). I trapped the nuisance between a forefinger and thumb and gave it a tug. To my bewilderment the result did not register on my lip though, but in my nose. I leaned closer and pulled the hair directly away from my face and sure enough after the visible inch it snuck up into my right nostril.

Being in college at the time, I considered leaving this unique strand in place to astound and impress my classmates with but after a moment of lucidity gave it a hearty tug and dropped the surprisingly stout root into the sink. Later in class I momentarily panicked at the thought that this coarse black hair had been hanging out of my nostril for weeks. I rapidly deduced this was impossible because even if people did not possess the social experience to address such a fix there certainly would have been gasps of horror and fleeing children in my presence. So it obviously must have been around for some time, like since age twelve, growing in an upward direction only to be dislodged by an allergy based sneeze or a healthy blow of the nose. I don?t know this to be fact but it is the explanation I?m running with still today. Furthermore, I?ve yet to purchase one of those silver claw contraptions used for internal hair removal but have also not ruled it out of my bathroom arsenal just yet.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.08.2001
commercial-free entertainment
We just turned the three-week mark without television. The other night we partook in a dickens? like evening instead of sitting Indian style on the futon living vicariously through chandler, joey, will, Benton and carter. We made a fire, had some guests over, read the times, drank thai-iced coffees, played with bella, I finished one book and started another, tended to my house plants and marty was in bed by 8:30. We, she and all concerned were in digital-free bliss.

PERSONAL (permalink) 06.07.2001
watch where you point that thing
My only, or greatest, problem with other people's flatulence is that if I detect something, which emanated from your person, one could surmise that an unpleasant and ejected element, even if only a molecule, that was just in your rectum is now setting up shop in me. And, in an OCD guy's mind, you might as well pick me up and insert me, head first in an ally mcbeal like antic, into these vaporous confines that jettisoned this waste product in my direction.

PERSONAL, WEB, FILM, MUSIC (permalink) 06.01.2001
Godspeed 2001
Tonight Marty and I will be attending the graduation ceremony at the high school she teaches at. Each year at this time we watch as a fresh crop of students jet off for the exciting and frightening unknown that is independence, responsibility and free form decisions. While I am hopeful of the experiences they will enjoy, the selfish lobe in my mind desires them to remain, For me, the therapeutic benefits of my interactions with many of them is marked.

David Lienemann possesses a quiet and refined maturity rarely seen in a person of his age. I regularly marvel at his view and interpretation of the society around us. With gifts in the form of photography, music, business, and human nature, it's more than hard to remember he cannot legally drink. One of my first conversations with him involved this website and he told me it seemed pretty good but that it needed more pictures. I asked if he was suggesting I put up more of my pictures or publish some of his. "Yes", he replied and days later supplied me with a block of photos from a recent trip he had taken. That was many months ago and I have just recently completed the feature and invite you to visit California in Reason to see the work of a future photo great.

Jessica Campbell, known by many as the gay sister in Election and/or the hermaphrodite in Freaks and Geeks, will be departing to hone her skills on the big screen. I don't really know Jessica but regularly saw her at various school functions and events. These encounters always weirded me out given how much I enjoyed and remembered election and freaks. I have spoken with Jessica a few times (Stalker! Stalker!) and she is an intelligent, lovely and spookily centered young woman who is traveling in the first class section of the success concord. She has already filmed her next picture, The Safety of Objects, starring Glenn Close, which should be coming out this summer.

The Amen boys, the departing ones at least, represent my most selfish loss. These gifted acapella entertainers have provided me with more hours of enjoyment than they can conceive. Whether tapping a toe to Elliot's remarkable rendition of the Streets of Philadelphia (philidelphia.mp3 - 4,387kb), slapping a thigh during Roundy's energetic Basketcase (basketcase.mp3 - 4,100kb) or getting dizzy watching the Pennington twins lead the always randy Instanbul (instanbul.mp3 - 3,154kb), these guys will be sorely missed and prove to me that life is in fact not fair given the unreasonable amounts of natural charisma and talent dealt out to each one of these young men.

My social microcosm will certainly feel the loss of these and other students but humans across the country will have the benefits of making their acquaintance. Treat them honestly and well because they make me smile. And for those of you who do not have access to our exceptional youth allow me to confirm that while the bad ones are getting worse (ala columbine), rest assured that the good ones are absolutely getting better.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.25.2001
this toothbrush is hardly used
It?s kind of lonely around my neighborhood now that Washington University has let out for the summer. We live on a major student thoroughfare and typically see a steady stream of kids traveling to and from the campus, but have the place all to ourselves in the steamy months ahead while the student body returns home to summer jobs and hometown friends.

A curious sideshow to this annual rite can be found in the local dumpster divers who use this changing of the guard as an opportunity to furnish and modernize their own homes with the remnants of these transient residents. These not-too-proud opportunists range from the lowly homeless guy who routinely visits these receptacles to the gaggle of Asian cooperatives who descend upon these unmanned garage sales like the Sand People of Star Wars. This latter operation proves a greater spectacle given the orchestrated nature of their process. They move in bands and make quick work of a bounty but unfortunately, like copulating squirrels, these projects are a not often witnessed given their skilled and organized methodology.

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.08.2001
The next fugative
One time while getting my car fixed a guy sat down next to me in the waiting room and started talking to/at me. While this is not a noteworthy event, what made this exchange odd was that this gentleman thought I was dating his daughter and asked me about an outing that apparently took place a few nights previous. He was working on his second question before realizing that I was not his progeny?s suitor (I?m real certain the dumbfounded look on my face clued him in). Now, while this fellow represents the guy who most thought I was someone else, he is definitely not alone in that I am often confused or likened to people who are not me.

Given the frequency of these sightings and a comment from a guy last week at lunch, I have compiled a list of the people that I have most commonly been compared to.

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.19.2001
I'd like to report
A few days back my car was broken into and stereo stolen. In speaking to the insurance adjuster today he said that the car may possibly have to be considered totaled because of a mar made on the dashboard in that it would be too costly to replace the dash on a ten year old car. Now this has not been confirmed as of yet, but I simply find it amazing that it is even a possibility due to a single and smallish imperfection. Anyone want to buy an almost perfect automobile?

PERSONAL (permalink) 03.10.2001
You knew it had to happen
Between having a constant in-house photo-op and an out-of-state mother, you hopefully knew that it was just a matter of time before a special section was devoted to the newest member of, miss isabella. well that time is here and going forward if you are so inclined you may check on bella's progress and kodak moments at the recently erected Rockefeller Center.

PERSONAL, KIDS (permalink) 02.01.2001
Allow me to introduce
Rockefeller. Finally after 8 months in the cooker we can now answer everyone's question of "What is it?" It definitely appears to be human. Furthermore, after several embarrassing instances of commenting on a certain body part only to have the sonogram tech correct us by pointing out that the alleged item is in fact the placenta we can now confidently discern this from that. Please have a look for yourself.

PERSONAL (permalink) 12.04.2000
"Can sleep through the night but still the dreams come..."
i met a guy the other day who when we shook hands i discovered that he was wearing a rubber glove. now, not a medical glove (snap!) nor a yellow toilet scrubbing one but a loose clear plastic one like the people at subway subs wear. this was at a gym so i figured perhaps they have to wear them for some hygeine based reason, but upon further observation, i found that he was only wearing the one on his right hand.

now admittedly, this is something that should be able to happen and you furrow your brow but then move on. problem is i cannot shake this image. i'm suddenly obsessed with the why's and how's of this moment in my life and the events that led up to it. and given this experience, i'm considering a zany antic of my own so that i may stimulate comparable thought in others that cross my path. second problem is, i cannot think of anything as uniquely cool as the uni-crazy-glove. AHHHHH!

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