Monday, January 26, 2009

Bittersweet Weeks

Lots of stuff going on since my last post. I think the kids have already grown up and moved onto college these last few weeks. Seriously though we've been beset enough car troubles to last us the rest of the year, although considering how old they are, I don't think the odds favor us there. That being said, we've gotten great value out of them, the Vibe alone has almost 150k on it and our van has about 96k, so we are lucky to be here with them. We'll keep babying them and hopefully get another 100k out of each. Well, maybe not the van, it has other problems we are ignoring because they cost more to fix than it's worth. At least we've got a hobby though!

Last week was pretty bittersweet for me. My mother's birthday was Saturday, and it was the first one since she passed away. I'm still not sure I would consider myself as having completely gotten through her dying the day before Thanksgiving on the terms we were on (I wasn't speaking to her) and despite my misgivings I do miss her, if for nothing else than I rooted for her to turn things around and enjoy her life.

The weekend before was also the first birthday for my step dad Lou since he passed away last year too. I miss him a lot and I don't mind saying that my life is just a little less brighter without his cackling laugh and horribly fantastic sense of humor. He shaped so much of my outlook and personality in my teen years that I can't imagine myself without him. I love him and I miss him.

Relations with my real father have been distant and tenuous over the last ten years, and I could probably count the number of times we talked on two hands. It took me years to really appreciate how important it is not to burn bridges in life, and despite whatever feelings of anger or hurt I had, I always stopped short of doing that with him. Well on Wednesday he called me out of the blue and we talked for over 3 hours!

It was a great conversation and he said he didn't like how things were between us and that he wanted to work with me to be a part of my life. It was simply wonderful to hear. You don't get calls like that very often in your life, so it made my day. With everything else, that really helped me get through the two birthdays and I don't think I would have handled myself nearly as well without that phone call and turn of events.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Even I am Cold

I am honestly cold. People who know me have rarely ever heard me say that, especially when I'm not sick. Yet I am writing this at almost 4am and the temperature is sitting at a glacial -21 degrees outside. This is easily one of the coldest days I've ever experienced. Not since the early and mid 1980's have I seen the temperature like this; almost 24 years ago to the date (Jan 19th & 20th) we had official temperatures of -23 and -27 respectfully back in 1985.

Despite the cold outside, we're holding our own inside and staying warm. Meva didn't go to work on Thursday because either the starter and/or the battery died on her car. The van started, but it was stuck behind Meva's car and with the snowy, icy, and uneven gravel driveway we have I was unable to push her car out to the street. We had her car towed to the mechanic so that he can hopefully get it up and running tomorrow, but the van (which once again has a buster heater) is running (with the "Service Engine Soon" indicator on).

Last night I braved the gelid evening and took the van to the grocery store more for the purpose of just getting it started and warmed more than anything. It only takes about 10 minutes to get to the store, but after stopping to make sure I filled the gas tank and put in some gas line anti-freeze, my hands were frozen, stiff, and prickly painful. I had myself wrapped up and covered, but I guess my gloves aren't very effective (so I will be getting new ones) against this type of extreme cold.

And after having to take Thursday off, Meva wants to drive this ice box on wheels 45 minutes to work in the morning. Even as I write this I can't honestly say if I am even going to let her go. Depsite my frequent joking about keeping her in her place and making her obey me dutifully, I do not give her ultimatums unless I am convinced her life is at risk. I already told her last night that if I felt it was too dangerous I don't know how she's going to be able to convince me otherwise. I think the last time I took a stance like this was the day the triplets were born and I told her she wasn't going into work that day because of how badly she was feeling (and the Dr. obviously sided with me since he decided to deliver the babies that day!).

I spent over two hours outside on Wednesday shoveling our driveways, sidewalks, and parking spots here at the house. In some spots I had over 14 inches of snow due to drifting and not having cleared away some previous accumulation. I hurt my back very badly and even had my eyelashes freeze together more than once. Meva has teased me because I actually had to shovel snow off of our evergreen bushes because it was falling on the sidewalk as I shoveled next to it, burying the spot I had just cleared. I'll try to get some pictures of this tomorrow and post them up here.

The van has now been running and warming up for about an hour now, so I need to check on it and get back to bed to rest up for a potential confrontation with Meva should the things be too cold in the van. I'll leave you with an updated weather joke that was inspired by the late Henny Youngmen:

"How cold was it?" someone asked. "It was so cold I saw Rod Blagojevich with his hands in his own pockets."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let it Snow!!

Living in Chicago you get used to snow and cold, and if you're in the small minority like myself, you absolutely enjoy and love this weather. I admit to being excited today when the weather forecasts began to include warning for a Blizzard, frigid temps, and whiteout conditions. So yes, I am a bit of a Winter junkie and even among those who are battle-tested from living out here I am looked at skeptically. I'd love to denounce my naysayers and critics for being unfair or unwilling to embrace the beautiful diversity of nature that we get to enjoy, but I know they are not too far off (My wife will vouch for this).

I mention all of the above because it's 4am and I just came inside after shoveling snow for just over an hour (The picture above is my street, double click it for a better view). I am old, out of shape, and I have back problems, so shoveling snow in the middle of the night during blizzard conditions really does prove my detractors points.

But my strange hours and questionable cold weather habits aside, I'm up because the triplets decided to rebel tonight. Usually they are very well mannered and go to sleep without much incident, but last night they were just wound up and full of energy. Ryan was the last one to go to sleep at about 12:30am tonight, pushing my end of evening plans back more than a few hours. Due to the weather I needed to do some last-minute grocery shopping and I wanted to get the driveways shoveled before the temperature dipped and turned everything on the ground into ice. I'd love the extra couple hours of sleep I'd have gotten by just going to bed, but everything would be twice as difficult and take three times as long in the morning.

So, I'm just waiting for myself to settle down and then I'll be off to bed. It's hard to believe that one of the things I am waiting on is to dry off from sweating so much outside, even though the temperature was probably close to Zero with the wind chill. Man, how boring am I?? I sure yammered away about nothing but the weather.

There hasn't been too much excitement around here, but:

The triplets are no longer the youngest grandchildren anymore. Meva's sister Kelly and her husband Andy welcomed their first child this past weekend, a beautiful girl named Avery Puffer. It was a stressful pregnancy for them that was high risk, but both Kelly and Avery have pulled through it without any problems that I know of. I only got to see Kelly once, at Christmas, while she was carrying Avery, but I thought she looked beautiful and glowing! Hey, say what you want to about me, but I think pregnant women are radiant and I enjoyed the extra radiance that Meva had while the triplets were inside.

My other sister-in-law, the always adorable Pooh Weaver, is now engaged!! Her boyfriend Corey proposed to here at midnight on New Year's Eve. As the ball was dropping in Times Square, Corey of the Elephants was dropping to his knees and asking for the Pooh's hand in marriage. I am excited for Pooh, because she is a wonderful woman and deserves nothing but happiness. I truly believe that Corey will give that to her. I've told him that he has to take care of her and just like his favorite animal, the elephant, I know he will never forget.

There are a few more things, but it is now time to sleep, so I will sleep. I will add more later, hopefully in the late morning or afternoon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Can't Wait

I have a feeling this state will once again be embarrassed because of our Governor on a national stage. It's not too often I am excited about the swearing in ceremonies of incoming Senators or Representatives, but the fiasco that has become of Barack Obama's vacant is making everything a bit more interesting. While I would love to see this slapped down in Blago's face and further humiliate him, I'd rather out state have two Senators right now.

I have been reading a ton of comics and graphic novels lately since I discovered my library has a nice collection. One of the stories that I was looking forward to read was about Spiderman getting a reboot due to making a deal with the Devil to save his aunt's life, but at the cost of his marriage and love for his wife MJ. Yes, is was a bit weak, sappy, and a tad drown out, but overall I really liked it. Even more, I liked the new direction better that I started reading in Brand New Day. I thought it was a great updating of the concept and it allows people to experience everything that they may have missed when they couldn't buy books in the 60's and 70's. I will pick up the next trade or too as soon as I can so I can get a final feeling for the entire run.

With all my adventures in the land of endodontics and dentistry I really think I pulled a jaw muscle! My left side is very tight and painful and it will often argue with me before opening wide. It loses the argument, but of course it throws a fit and send some discomfort my way. So I have this to keep me company for the near future. It's definitely better the less I talk, but I'll bet anyone who knows me can name three reasons why that plan has yet to work. I'm going to be happy when this final round of tooth work comes to an end so can get a break.

My wife and I are terrible slackers. We haven't updated the triplets blog in probably over a month. Meva never has time (or so she says!! I can tell you I don't see her rubbing my back or my feet or making me sandwiches, so who knows what she's REALLY doing?) and lately I have not wanted to post when I've had a chance. We can all blame me and say I am evil, and selfish, and you could even call me a socialist if you'd like, I can take it, so bring it!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I woke up this morning exhausted and with a very sore back. It's stiff and will probably take a few hours to loosen up, so it's not big deal. But even though I slept for over eight hours, I feel like I could sleep another four or five. For some reason on Thursday night, I was unable to sleep at all, despite taking something to help, so at about 4am I gave up and decided to call it a day.

We've got family coming over for a final holiday get together today. It's my brother Louie and his wife, granddaughter (yeah, the young kid is already an old fart!) and his mom, my step mother. Potentially my other brother Brian will be coming too, but he is a little sore and may not make it.

Yesterday his wife took him out and told him he was going to the park, but when they passed the park he realized things were wrong and she instead took him to the doctor and got him fixed. The poor guy has a weekend ahead of him that includes cuddling with a bag of frozen veggies! But, since he had the same procedure and doctor I had for my vasectomy, he very well may be up to coming over. I was fine for mine and regretted taking the weekend of of work at the time as I felt fine for light, normal activity. So, we'll see what happens.

Many people know I keep another blog, semi-private, that I use to deal with my depression and stresses from the more volatile relationships in my life. As I've gotten older I've learned more about myself and I know that depression is unfortunately something, probably chemical, that is a part of me and I will have to always fight it (until I am really old and then it's the nurses problem! Hahahahaha nurses, you're in for trouble).

I think I have mentioned it here before, but I decided to stop treating it with medication and have instead chosen to focus on fighting on my own. For those who don't know, or don't understand this type of behavior and choice, what it means is that I've decided to just be strong willed and vigilant about my behaviors, and when I notice that I am starting to slip into depression-type behavior, or even thinking, I follow a mental checklist of exercises that are both mental and physical, to combat this.

The reason I bring this up here is that one, I think I have been VERY successful with this decision, although I have been far from perfect during this learning stage. Despite the deaths of my step father and mother, I think I have pulled through very well. But, as I am moving through this last round of fighting off the depression, something has sparked my interest and I fully intend to investigate it and probably embrace it. I hope that it doesn't change me too much, but I know that change will happen and others may notice it in me and begin to wonder, so I am taking the time now to explain it.

I have decided to heed to call of Jehovah and become one of his Witnesses so that I can spread the word of his teachings and importance in all our lives.

Ok, I'm kidding! That will NEVER happen. I hate knocking on strangers doors and I am not passing out that stupid pamphlet of theirs called "Watchtower."

What I am talking about is Zen philosophy. I think that it may help me to keep a handle on my emotions and keep myself at peace. I don't think I am going to be wearing monk's robes (although they do look comfortable and are like sexy pajamas for big guys) or anything, but I want to treat this seriously and that will mean changing much of how I look at life. That is bound to change me, but I'm more interested in integrating it into my life of triplets, sports, and comic books and not the other way around. So, we'll see how this goes.

Anyways, that's a heads up for you all. Enjoy the first weekend of the year and get some sleep.