Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

My wife maintains an extremely clean household. Some, not me of course, might use the word Anal to describe  her cleaning habits. 

I must admit, that it is always nice to come home to a neat and organized house.  Opposites definitely attract, and I need someone who can make up for my messy husband tendencies.

On the negative side, my wife has problems dealing with children being messy children;  and a dog who has a total disregard for the towel she leaves at the back door for him to wipe his feet with (If she can teach our dog to wipe his feet when he comes in from the great outdoors, I will truly be impressed).

Over the years I have learned, that cleaning the house while your kids are growing up is like shoveling the driveway before it stops snowing.  You put a lot of hard work into it, but in the end it makes little difference.

No sooner is my wife done cleaning the upstairs of our home,when Kelly the hurricane comes in through  the front door.  It’s amazing how quickly a 7-year-old can totally trash a bedroom or play room without giving it a second thought.  This, of course, gives my wife conniption fits. 

She also does not care for me watching collage football while she is picking up around the house.  I’m sure many married guys know what I mean————you get that uneasy feeling while watching  a game, that your wife is growing more and more unhappy with you.  You sense it, but can’t bear to tear yourself away from the game.

Many an evening is spent listening to her frustrations about keeping the house clean, and our (kids and myself) disregard for how hard she works to maintain it. 

This usually results me trying to help out a little more.  I tend to stick to my favorite chores when helping her.  For example: my second favorite chore is folding the laundry. My favorite is banging my head against my sons top bunk bed until I pass out.

 At some point we will have to decide if we want to live in a cold museum, or a fun & somewhat messier home.  I’m just not sure how to get my wife to let go of the excessive cleaning.  I am fairly sure, that the other members of the home will not meet her high standards in the near future.  Therefore, we have a future melt down coming in the household.  Something will have to give.

I just hope it’s not my TV time, during the collage bowl season.



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On Monday morning we took our 8 month old dog, Buck to the vet.  He was very excited to see everyone there.  He even decided to leave his mark (i.e. pee) on the reception desk.

Little did our little guy know, that he would never be the same.  Buck was their to get snipped.

About 7 hours later, my wife returned to the veterinarian to pick up our dog.  Drugged, confused and a little pissed – he got into the car.

He wasn’t upset about getting snipped, I think he was to druged to notice.  The real reason for his attitude……..


was the cone on his head.

If you have ever had a pet that had minor surgery, you know that glazed look in there eyes.  They really aren’t totally clear headed for a good day.  Poor Buck, was simply pathetic.  He kept bumping into things with the cone on his head, and couldn’t find anyway to lay down and get comfortable.

Upon my arrival home, I saw him frantically shaking his head trying to the get the cone off.  I looked at our poor little guy, and decided something had to be done.  I reached down and touched the cone on his head……….and got bit. 

I swear, he has never so much as even nipped at me.  It’s really not in his nature.

Turns out, he was not happy with anyone touching his head since he got the cone put on. It would of been nice to be forewarned by my wife, but I wasn’t so lucky. 

After several unsuccessful tries during the course of an hour, I finally pinned down our glassy eyed dog and got the cone off his head.  Despite my wife’s objections, I felt Buck needed a break and the opportunity to eat without the cone.

Buck quickly eat, and then proceeded to throw up on our family room rug.  Turns out the drugs in his body didn’t agree with his dinner.

As my wife was cleaning up the throw up, she informed me that I MUST put the cone back on his head so that he didn’t chew on his stitches.  Mind you….the only thing Buck wanted was a quite corner to sleep in.

After an hour or two of lively “discussion” on the subject, I relented and put the cone back on his head.  As I explained to my wife, there was no way that the dog could sleep with this cone on his head.  My wife insisted, that he could not only sleep; but he was going to sleep in his kennel like he does every evening.  By this time it was 11:00pm and way past my bedtime (before you call me a wimp, please keep in mind that I get up for work at 5am.  I need my beauty sleep).

So I stood back and watched, as my wife tried to put Buck to bed.  Soon she realized, that he had to be “Backed” into his kennel due to the cone.  Sure enough, she backed him up and got him in……..and he immediately got stuck.  The cone on his head was wedged into the walls of his kennel.

Our dog frantically tried to get unstuck, and eventually gave up and started to cry.  For me, I was at the point where my temper was about to take over.  After all, it was past my bedtime, I have a bandage on my hand from being bit, my wife and I are not getting along due to the course of the evening, and now I have a drugged up dog with a cone on his head – stuck in his kennel.

I therefore did the only thing a tired and ticked-off man would do. I went to the garage and got my work gloves on.  NOT the wimpy cloth gloves that you garden with .  No, these are the type of gloves that men named Bart and Butch wear when pouring cement or building a deck.

I returned to the kennel and bent the cone until I could pull it off his head.  After a moment of stunned silence, Buck slowly walked out of his kennel – looked at me, and let out a huge pee on the carpet.

He then calmly turned around and went into his kennel for bed. I did the same, getting up from the floor and heading to my bedroom; leaving my gloves on top of the kennel and my wife with another wet carpet to clean.

I swear, getting him sniped wasn’t worth it.

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The Big Purchase

Before Peggy and I got married, we starting camping together.  At that time, my wife insisted that only TENT camping was REAL camping.  You see, her family is a group of hikers.  For them, if you don’t get blisters on your feet from a long hike – you really haven’t been camping. 

For me, camping gave me an excuse to be in the great outdoors and drink beer by the camp fire.  There really was nothing more to it than that for me.

My wife grew up feeling that those of us who used campers or travel trailers, weren’t really camping .  So for 12+ years we have been sleeping on the ground in our 6 man tent  (mind you, there was only 2 of us when we purchased this behemoth tent). As our family started to grow with children, the amount of dirt and additional items in our tent started to multiply.  Until last summer, that is.  Finally, my wife had had enough.  In fact, Peggy had an epiphany —that camping would be much more fun for our family with a camper! 

You have to understand, this was a breakthough equivalent to the invention of disposable diapers.  Who would ever go back, after purchasing them for the first time? Same thing with tents and campers.  Right? 

Of course, I immediatly agreed with my wife’s brilliant idea.   

As a result, my wife has been gently pushing for a camper or tent trailer since this magical idea was birthed last September.  It wasn’t until the last month or so, that I started looking in earnst for our first family camper.  We went to an RV show a few weekends ago, and quickly discovered that my Toyota 4Runner wasn’t going to easily pull the 25 foot campers I had in mind. 

Thus, we went to my parents mode of camping when I was a kid – the Tent Trailer (also known as “pop-up” trailers or Tent Campers). I grew up using the old Starcraft tent trailers.  They weren’t fancy, but they were light, easy to travel with, had plenty of sleeping space, and basically got you off the ground during your camping adventure. 

 This worked just fine for my brother, Dad, Mom and myself.  We werent the cross country camper types, but always enjoyed a few long weekends during the summer with our tent camper.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that today’s tent trailers have really evolved.  A 16 foot trailer expands to 28 feet with the sides (i.e. sleeping area) pulled out,. In addition, a side dining area slides out, giving you more room inside.  Hot water heater, air conditioner and a front storage trunk are all fairly standard with these now.

The best part is probably that we started shopping when the dealers are trying to unload the 2008 models.  The combination of the bad economy, and the dealer trying to dump his last two Fleetwood-Utah models, we ended up getting a great deal.   We pick up the trailer next weekend – needless to say we can’t wait.

So, while I’m patting myself on the back for getting such a great deal — I thought I would share with you our big purchase.  At the very least, it should give me some great material for this blog during the summer.

– Al

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On my blog last week, I whined about my wife’s current interest in “Couple’s Classes” (see the entry: Seven Things I Think  – Vol 3).  On Friday evening, we went to a movie event targeted at couples. 

All I can say is……..When I’m wrong, I’m really wrong.  This was really worth the time spent.


 Along with approximately 30 other couples, we watched a movie called “Fireproof”.  It’s the story of a firefighter who lives by the old fire-fighter’s adage: Never leave your partner behind.  Unfortunately, this strong held belief does not pertain to his marriage.




In addition to the “Backdraft” type movie action; the story outlines the failing marriage of the fire chief and his wife.  Neither one understands the pressures the other faces.  Much like myself a number of years ago, he believes that his wife is too sensitive and doesn’t show him the respect he deserves.


The wife claims that he is insensitive and that he “doesn’t listen” to her.  Sound familiar???  It hit home with me.


The path he takes to save his marriage is at the heart of the movie.  I can’t recommend it enough.  My wife and I have been talking about this movie all week. 


If you want to do something special for your wife for Valentines day, rent this movie and watch it with her.  I guarantee that it will change the way you think of your relationship with your wife. 

 Happy Valentine’s Day – Al




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I have a secret. 
One which I have kept from my closet friends for almost 2 years now.  But it’s time to admit it………

I belong to a ….. Gourmet Dinner Club (gasp!). 

The reason my wife and I joined a dinner club, had something to do with the welfare of my marriage or my general safety — I can’t remember exactly what she said to me a the time.

All that I CAN remember was that we apparently weren’t spending enough time with other couples.  We needed to “get out” more. 

So “get out” we did.

There is apparently some joy to meeting new people over a course of Oyster & Brie soup, that I was unaware of.  After all, I’m happy with Red Hook Beer and a steak with my family.  I never realized that I was missing anything.

So with a deep desire to be a good husband, and a personal fear of what I was going to be forced to eat, my wife and I joined a Gourmet Dinner Club.  After 2 years of meeting every other month for dinner with our group, I have made a few observations.  In no particular order, my observations about Gourment Dinner Clubs are:

1) Each dinner seems to include drinking 3-4 bottles of wine, which makes almost anything taste OK to me (exceptions include Escargot and squid).

2) You get to learn new terms, such as:
            a) FARCE: A French expression for stuffing, as in “honey, don’t farce your face at the table”. 
            b) DRIVEL:  The inedible secretions of snails.
            c) PEMMICAN: A Cree Indian word, which roughly translated means “the least food with the greatest nourishment”.  I refer to it as Trail Mix.
            d) FIASCO: A round bottomed Italian bottle
                                   (or as I refer to it………….. my Mother in Law)
            e) RECIPE: A series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you forgot to buy, in utensils you don’t own, to make a dish the dog won’t eat
             f) TONGUE: A variety of meat, rarely served because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of dead cow.

3) Third, there seems to be a requirement for bragging about the successes of your children in sports and school.  No Gourmet Dinner Parent I have ever met has: (a) ever had a child struggle in school, and (b) never had a child that didn’t lead his/her youth soccer/baseball/volleyball/football team in scoring.  

4) Interestingly, 60% of all Gourmet Dinner parents claim to have at least one (1) “Gifted” child.

5) No one will admit that anything prepared for the dinner is unfit for eating. It doesn’t matter how burnt or bizarre the course is, it is always “wonderful”.

6)  The amount of dishes left for you to wash after a Gourmet Dinner Club event in your home, surpasses even Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Since the husband rarely cooks anything for the Gourmet Dinner, the dishes are delegated to him by his better half.   

In summary, the only thing that stops me from shooting myself in order to avoid participating in another Gourmet Dinner, is my wife.   She doesn’t know exactly how silly I think this whole gastronomic misadventure is; but she clearly knows that its not my favorite thing to do on a Saturday night. 

For that reason, I don’t fuss or complain.  I get extra brownie points for being a good husband and doing something that is not my thing.  Instead, I just asked for another glass of wine, and pretend that the Oyster floating in the middle of my soup is really an over-sized Buffalo Wing.

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I received a lot of support, and visits to my post regarding my daughter and her disappearing eyelashes. I felt a brief update was needed as a result.

Since I posted that column, we have met with the pediatrician about Kelley’s eyelash pulling problem.  Although she is extroverted and appears very happy, we agreed that a visit to a phychologist was a prudent next step. 

We are doing this to make sure that we aren’t missing something that is upseting her, or leading to stress she doesn’t know how to manage at her young age.

We have a number of child-phychologist references which my wife is researching, in order to  set up an appointment in the near future.

I’ll update you with the findings.

Thanks again for all your kind emails, and comments. I appreciate all the advice.

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Since Kelly turned six, something very odd has started to occur.  My wife and I noticed that her eye-lashes were thinning out.  When we asked her what was happening, we orignally got the typical “I don’t know”.

We are now at the point that she has little or no eye lashes left on the bottom of her eyes.

 My little girl


This, as you can see, makes her look very pale.  We finally discovered, that the reason for this is NOT do to a rare disease or a dysfunctional gene that she may have inheritied from me.

  She just started pulling them out on her own – out of curosity.  The problem is, they started to itch and burn; therefore, she naturally started pulling out more of them.

This has been going of for several weeks.  No matter what we say to her, she ends up plucking more eyelashes out at some point during the week.  My girl looks more and more pale as a result…………..Albino “like”, if you will.

Out of frustration, Peggy called me at work today.  She insisted that we take Kelley to a Phychologist! She doesn’t believe that a doctor could be of  any help at this point. And, that it must be some mental or stress issue.

I need some help on this one!  Advice, suggestion and opinions would be appreciated. Please leave a comment with your thoughts………and thanks.

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