Monday, March 24, 2008

And on the first day God created NICK

Nick, what can I say about Nick. I chose his name from a fun piece of dialogue in a John Cusak movie called "The Sure Thing." Never pick your kids' names from a comedy. A drama maybe or a documentary if you're really playing it safe, but never a comedy. Nick was a sure thing alright. He came right on his due date - April 1st. It's been April Fool's Day for me ever since.

A brief run down on Nick and his personal educational quest:

Age 2 - learns that if you soak a sock in the cat's water bowl and suck on it you can get your own drink

Age 3 - Learns that an oscillating fan + baby powder makes a great indoor ski hill for your Power Rangers

Age 4 - December - finds switch on furnace in basement and learns that flipping it will make house very cool - again creating a nice ski hill effect for whole family

Age 5 - Decides to heat things up by spinning the fun dial in refrigerator just before Thanksgiving - turkey thaws early that year

Age 6 - Goes back to fascination with winter and creates neat and very fragrant indoor snow storm by emptying a whole shaker of Parmesan cheese around the kitchen (I am assuming this fixation with winter comes from living in Minnesota)

Now we come to age 7. This morning Nick discovers a new way to delight and entertain me.
It is a school day and I get him up for breakfast. He sits down to a bowl of cocoa puffs when I notice he isn't eating and his face is all flushed. I look at him more closely and see a red rash across both cheeks and some sort of red goo coming out of his right ear.
"Nick what happened? Are you okay?"
"I don't know." (This is never a good response coming from Nick).
"Do yo have a fever?"
"I don't know."
I reach for his forehead to check his temperature in the traditional "mom way" when my hand gets stuck to his hair. "What is this!?"
"Nothing?" I try to remove my hand but it takes some effort.
"Alex made me eat Airheads in bed!"
Two quick explanations here. Alex is his bigger brother who is still sleeping like a log so he makes a great scapegoat. Airheads are little slabs of sugary taffy in super bright colors.
My eyes quickly scan over to the remains of yesterday's Easter baskets. Feeling like a real air head myself, I remember that I didn't put the candy away before going to bed last night. I jog into the boy's room to find Nick's pillow hermetically sealed to his sheets and mattress by melted globs of red Airheads the exact same color as the feverish rash-like thing currently on Nick's face.
After scraping the goo from his face and hair I get both boys off to school. Once I'm at work I look at the calendar, take some Excedrin and lay my head on my desk. It is a little over a week until Nick's 8th birthday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive"

I can feel it, can't you? All the symptoms are there. The lack of sleep. The sweaty palms. The days looking brighter than usual. A faster pace to the world around me. Yes, it is definitely here.
Time to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert.
This will be my 8th tour with the Boss. Now I know there will be tons of folks out there who have never missed a show and who saved the wrapper from the gum they chewed at the Born in the USA tour along with the Kleenex they blew into during a song on Bruce's solo tour. I'm sorry, I am not one of those fans. I understand the adoration - believe me I do. But I am a fan of the heart of Bruce's music. I don't need the inside tube from the toilet paper roll in the bathroom at the stadium in Dallas to remind me what his songs mean to me.

Every time I go to see Bruce I make it a mission to take someone who has never been. It is our own personal pilgrimage to Rock Mecca and I am the guide. When I feel the life slipping out of me and I need to be reminded to breathe, I go to see Springsteen and a bring a fellow invalid to be renewed and reborn. It never fails.

Okay, okay, I have to admit that I did take a side trip to the Jersey shore on one of my acting tours. I also got a very straight-laced southern girl to pose with me in Miami Steve headgear next to a sign for Sun City. But all I took away was some photos and some great memories. I left the crumpled pop can outside the Stone Pony right where I found it.

Badlands has remained my favorite Bruce song. It's a survivor's song. After all I have been through in my life as an SB I can relate. If you are a follower, please email your favorite song and why. Hope to see you at the concert.

Star Ledger Photo

Sunday, March 2, 2008

We'll just keep on running

Today is the posting for the 8th Mystery Topic Challenge (I missed number 7 due to my son's illness but I'm back at the keyboard and raring to go). The topic is:

"Last Thursday I received a call from the fraud department at Visa. It seems someone created a duplicate of my debit/ATM/credit card and used it at truck stops in Alberta, Canada and again several days later at an amusement park in Baltimore, Maryland. I suspect I'll never know how they got the number, what they bought with my money or why they needed those things. Write a story with the above elements and shed some light on the mystery for me."

February 2, 2008: It was too easy. I could just look at the registration cards - pick one at random and get the name and number. A card would be no problem to duplicate. If the name was a woman's, she could assume the identity; a man's , I'd do the dirty work. It had to be done if we were ever going to be together. Let's see, ...damn, the name is Gwen. That means she's going to have to do it. It's okay, she's a strong woman and she's been in worse relationships than this.

Our spouses need never know. It's well known we both travel a lot. No one would suspect. I just couldn't wait to see her. But where? No where close to home. Too risky. I know! CANADA! No one will recognize us in Canada. No one recognizes anyone in Canada.

February 9, 2008: It took a week but we finally consummated our love. Sure, it was in a truck stop bathroom in Alberta but whose complaining when you have all that power in one room. Except for the few minutes she got that luscious blond hair caught in the hand dryer, it was pure magic. She said she used the card to get the condoms. No one would track us here. It made it all a little kinky. Knowing her history, I'll bet she' used to that. Well, we decided to meet in 9 days when our crazy schedules miraculously both had a break.

February 18, 2008: This truck stop bathroom gave new meaning to the tourist books claim that Alberta is Canada's leading producer of natural gas. Decided to have a quickie and get a bite to eat afterward. "Gwen" and I laughed nervously as we shared a tuna on white bread (her choice, not mine). How long could we keep this up? Thank goodness the truckers were all half asleep from their hauls. We felt just like them. Tired of the travel and the cheap sex but unable to give it up.

February 22, 2008: No time to get all the way back to Canada. I got an email from "Gwen" saying she bought something for me and could I meet her as I swung through Baltimore today. Always the thrill seeker she picked an amusement park as our rendez-vous site. Her instructions were, "the Midway - just before midnight. I'll be wearing a blue dress with nothing underneath."

When I found her she whispered in my ear her pet name for me "dark stallion." That always turns me on. "I bought something for you," she teased. I thought it would be dark glasses to disguise myself but when I looked in the bag she handed me it contained thong with little pineapples designs all over it. "I thought you might be homesick," she teased." She knows me so well.

I wanted to get her something to remember our special night. I knew things were just going to get more hectic in the months to come and I didn't want her to think I was so important and she didn't matter anymore. I saw the water race with the little squirt guns that made your car rise faster than the rest. That was the game for us. I'd make sure she won something tonight. We both decided to compete against each other and it was no contest. None of the others in the race even came close to us. She looked good at the start and I was a little shaky - but in the end my car pulled ahead of the others 11 races in a row.

I won many prizes for my lady that night but her favorites were the two small, matching pink elephants. She held one tenderly as we began kissing next to the mini doughnut booth. Then her cell phone rang. She had to go.

February 24, 2008: Damn, damn, damn! Life can be so cruel. The real Gwen is onto us. The account for the card has been frozen. It was over. I reached into my travel bag underneath the airplane seat and pulled out one of the stuffed elephants I won in the Midway. With a tear in my eye I turned it over and looked at the rear end where we had both written our initials.

H. C. and B. O. 4-Ever

Here's looking at you kid. We'll always have Baltimore.

POST SCRIPT: The BlogNinjas are raring to go with more Mystery Topic Challenge goodness. You don’t have to be a Blog Ninja to take part but if you want to read and then vote for your favorite, come by here.