Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15th 1999

For many of my facebook friends, this note will look familiar. But I feel the need to repost this in honor of my father. I wanted to share this with my new blog friends as well.

Today brings back a combination of fond and sad memories. I think back to the evening of August 13th of 1999. It was Friday the 13th. I was living in Park City KS. and my girlfriend at the time, Lisa, lived about 3 miles away from my parents who lived in Mulvane KS.

That night, Lisa and I had my parents over to her house for grilled steak, baked potatoes, salad, homemade pie etc. We all had a wonderful time and my pop stuffed himself so full that he could hardly move. He ate one big steak and half of another one. Now these weren't little steaks. These things weighed in at about 22 oz. so to put away one and a half of them was a feat in itself. We all sat around and talked for a couple of hours and then mom and pop went home. After they left, Lisa and I cleaned up the dishes and put the food away. While we were putting the food away we ran out of aluminm foil. With no foil we just kept the leftover steak on the plate and covered it with saran wrap, put it in the fridge and went to bed.

I don't really remember much about Saturday. It's funny that I can remember every detail about that dinner Friday night. I remember the look on my pops face and just how funny he was because he had stuffed himself so much. He was joking around, commenting on how great the dinner was, telling funny stories about his childhood and grumbleing that he had to undo his pants just to be comfortable.

But Saturday doesn't hold any solid memories at all. It was pretty much like most Saturdays; Breakfast, watching cartoons with the kids, some shopping, mowing the yard and lounging around but nothing jumps out at me like Friday and Sunday.

The next day, Sunday, August 15th, Lisa and I got up early, got the kids around and decided to take the kids swimming in Derby. Her sister had an apartment with a pool  so we spent most of the day there playing in the water. We packed a picnic basket and ate lunch by the pool. We finally left around 3:30pm. It was one of the hottest days of the year. It topped out at about 100 degrees but with the humidity the heat index was about 110.

We went by Lisa's house first so that she could get some clothes to take over to my house. While we were there, I called my parents house to talk to my pop. Mom answered and I asked if dad was there. She mentioned that he had just come in from mowing. They lived out in the country and had about 2 acres that needed mowed. They had a riding mower but with the heat index so high it was not the best time to mow. Mom called for him and I could here him in the background say "tell him I'll call him after I get out of the shower". She replied "you tell him. Here". Pop got on the phone and said "let me call you back. I'm hot, sweaty and dirty". I told him that we were going to my house and to call me there or I would give him a call when we got home and hung up.

We packed up and headed home. When we got there Lisa hopped in the shower and I started to get the bath ready for Chance. We were there for maybe 5 minutes when the phone rang. I noticed on caller I.D. that it was my parents. I answered the phone and said "well pop, did you get all the dirt off?" But it wasn't him. It was my mom and she was crying. I said "mom, whats wrong?. She said "Roy, You need to come down here right now".  She told me that my dad had fallen and that I needed to get there right away. I asked if he was o.k. and she said she didn't know. I asked if he could talk and she said no. She said he was unconscience. I asked if he was breathing and she said "not on his own". She informed me that the paramedics were working on him but that there wasn't any response. By this time I was in a panic and questions flooded my mind. She then told me that he didn't fall  but had collapsed in the bathroom. I ran through the house yelling for Lisa and told her what happened and that we needed to go now. I called my ex (who lived a couple blocks away) and told her what happened and that I needed to drop Chance off. I know that we had her kids but for the life of me I can't remember how they got to her ex. I think he met us on the way. I know that we made a 30 min. trip in about 15 minutes.

When we got to my parents house the driveway was filled with rescue vehicles so I came up through the back acre. Everyone was outside. My sister, niece, nephews, neighbors, etc. I looked throught the front window and they were still working on my dad. They were getting him loaded onto the gurney to take him to the hospital. They were still trying but I could tell that he was gone.

We all followed the ambulance to the hospital. On the way I was calling everyone else to let them know what was going on and that we were on the way to the hospital.  We got to the hospital and after a short wait the ER doctor came in and at about 6:30pm we were informed that my pop had died. He was 75. They said that they didn't know for sure what happened but they think he either had a heart attack or an aneurysm. Whatever it was, he died instantly.

We all went back to my parents house and as I walked in I realized that this was no longer their house but my mom's house. His pipe smoke still lingered in the air, his slippers by the chair. Everything around me suggested that he should walk in the door, that he was still there, but the stark reality was that he was dead. Just a few short hours ago, he walked in the door from mowing the lawn. Now he was gone. I went into the bathroom and there on the wall was a hole that was created when he fell. Sitting down and talking to my mother I realized that I had talked to my pop about a minute before he died. He told me that he would call me back, went into the bathroom and died.

Still numb from the nights events and still trying to wrap my mind around what had happened we left and went to Lisa's house. On the drive I just operated on auto pilot. I was in shock. It still didn't seem real. I couldn't cry. Even when they told us that he was gone tears didn't come. I felt bad because I hadn't cried yet but for some reason they didn't come.

When we got to Lisa's house we just sat and talked for a while. Mostly just talking about what had happened over and over again trying to make sense of it all. I was angry that he had died, wondering why him, etc. I wasn't mad at him...just mad that it was him. Was there anything that I could have done? I was 3 miles away from him when I talked to him. Was there anything in his voice that I should have noticed? As we were backing out of the driveway, my dad was dying. Even as I sit typing this it still seems unreal.

Anyway, I got up and went to the kitchen to get me a drink. When I opened the refrigerator I grabbed the pitcher of iced tea. I scanned the fridge and as I did it hit me. There, on the bottome shelf, was his leftover steak. Just two short days ago he was sitting with me in this room eating dinner, laughing, joking, and groaning from over-eating. That steak was the straw. I picked it up off the shelf, collapsed to the ground and cried. I cried for the loss of the man who taught me to be a man.

Three days later we laid my pop to rest. I sat beside his casket at the funeral home, and even though it may not be the manliest thing, I held his hand and cried. For about an hour I sat beside him and through tears I let my pop know that he was the best father that a person could ever have. At the cemetary, before lowering him into the ground, I kissed the top of his casket, kissing by pop goodbye.

It has been 12 years since my pop died and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. I wish that he was able to live long enough to meet Julie and the girls. Through pictures and stories my wife and daughters have learned who their father-in-law and grandpa was.

He was a great husband, father, grandfather and most of all....mentor and friend.

I love you pop and I miss you very much.

Dedicated to my father
Loren R. Wilkinson
Born 9-29-23
Died 8-15-99

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Breaking the mold.

I was reading a blog by one of my fellow bloggers,Cmom, who has decided to re-enter the dating scene after being widowed about 10 years ago. She, like many other people in in our 40's and even older generations, has realized that our perceptions of what we look for in a partner has drastically changed from the time that we started dating. In high school all the guys wanted the beautiful, trim, petite, small butted, big breasted cheerleader and all the girls wanted the handsome, tall, muscular, football player with the tight ass and nice car. It didn't matter that they were treated like shit or cheated on by their choices. What mattered was the status that being with someone like  that gave you in school. What everyone else thought. And in most cases the ordinary boys and girls that were left in the wings never seemed to end up together because dating someone like that always ended up causing you to be harassed and deemed social misfit's by the "cool kids".

What is even more unfortunate is that these characteristics and perceptions follow us into adult life. And sometimes, in women more so then men., these perceptions become so habit forming that they become dangerous. Girls that tend to be abused when they are younger tend to seek that behavior in the men they date. I compare this behavior to that of someone who has been in prison for several years. They hate being there. They long to be free. But when they are finally released and able to do what they want they realize that they are afraid of the freedom that they have so longed for. It is not comfortable to them. They aren't sure of what is going to happen next. So, out of fear of the unknown, they commit a crime and go straight back to prison. They may not like it but it is familiar to them. They know what they can and cannot do and what will happen if they screw up.

Same thing in an abusive relationship. The women want to be out of the relationship but when they find someone that treats them right it is virgin territory to them. Someone treats them nice and they aren't used to it. Even though they like it, they don't know where the lines are. Where is the line in the sand? What can they or can't they do to get abused. The fear of being abused is always there so they walk around on eggshells. In a lot of cases they finally go back because even though they don't like the abuse, it is more familiar to them and easier to predict.

After being out of the dating scene, trying to find that right person can be very scary and intimidating. As we get older we are like cars that have been setting for awhile. Our tires are kind of sunk into the ground, our luster starts to fade and getting out of the rut can be hard. Being intimidated or just naive makes people go  back to old habits. You start looking for what you think you want not realizing that your doing it. Sometimes you just don't see the forest for the trees. My story of my wife and I, A love story, is a pretty typical example of that. Mine wasn't so much of me looking for a specific type of person, well maybe it was, but I, like so many others, kept dating the people that shit on us the most and when I finally found the diamond in the rough I was to blinded by my own mis-perceptions that I almost missed out on the best thing to ever happen to me. But it is pretty funny how our preferences and outlook on things change when we get older. Things like stability, loyalty, honesty and integrity far outweigh looks, height, weight, boob size and bravado. We start looking for Mr. or Mrs. right and not Mr. or Mrs. right now. Who are we going to grow old with. Suddenly the thought of growing old alone becomes all to real.

I do feel that one of the biggest mistakes that many married people make is thinking that relationships are 50/50 propositions. You hear it all the time. Advice at weddings. "Remember kids, marriage is a 50/50 proposition". To me this is the worse advice that can be given at weddings. Each person must be willing to do their part, but the saying that marriages are 50/50 is just not true. Marriages are 100% propositions and there are going to be times when your partner can't give their 50%. In fact, there are very few times that it is 50/50. In that case, the other partners must be willing to go that extra step and pick up the slack without holding it against the other person. There are times when it is going to be 40/60, 20/80 or hell even 5/95. That holds true in our case. When Julie and I were married, I was healthy. I was able to do more around the home, help take care of things better. When my health changed and I became disabled, our "50/50" relationship changed. It is more 30/70. What happened to me, in 90% of the cases, ends marriages. Most spouses don't stick around. It even amazed the Dr's. and nurses. They said they see it all the time when there is a prolonged hospital stay. The spouse is there every day, then a couple of times a week, then once a week and eventually, they just fade away. Next thing they know, there is a process server serving divorce papers because the spouse can't handle it. I feel that when couples go into a marriage thinking that it is a 50/50 proposition that they set themselves up for failure. You always hear it in a divorce. The other partner didn't do THEIR half.

I am glad that I was finally able to break away from the mold that I had created. The mold that I thought my perfect woman had to fit into. By breaking away from it I was able to find the perfect woman for me. The woman that I didn't even know was the one right for me until she showed me. It reminds me of the scene from the movie "Weird Science". At the end, Gary tells Deb, that Lisa was the girl of his dreams, what he wanted, before he realized what he wanted. I love my wife more than anything in the world. She has given me two beautiful girls, loves me like there is no tomorrow and has stood beside me in my highest and lowest points in my life, including a year long hospital stay.

She tells me that she finally got her tall, handsome, muscular football player with the tight ass and I tell her that I finally got my beautiful, petite, big breasted cheerleader. It doesn't matter anymore what anyone else sees or thinks. I have found the love of my life and if she doesn't fit into the mold of what other people think than I feel sorry for them.

And even though it is somewhat strange to think that she was in kindergarten while I was graduating from high school, I lay in bed at night and think to myself; SELF your a 47 yr old man with a smoking hot 35 year old wife. Even if she does need glasses LOL.

Good luck Lisa. I hope you find someone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I feel honored and humbled

I received a notice today from a fellow blogger that really made my day and was very humbling. I big thank you goes out to Heather who is the author of the blog She gave me an award today for my blog. Now I wasn't alone in her recognition but I was very surprised and extremely honored to be recognized.

Check out Heathers site and the others recipients of the blogger awards. You won't be disappointed.

So, Heather, thank you so much for the award. I will work diligently trying to live up to everyones expectations LOL.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finally....Some Answers

In 2006 I was diagnosed with acute degenerative peripheral neuropathy. The collective response muttered under most peoples breath is; What the hell is acute degenerative peripheral neuropathy? Good question.

Neuropathy is a condition that affects over 20 million Americans and is typically associated with diabetes. It is nerve damage. Basically the nerve endings die due to lack of circulation. It primarily affects the feet and legs and causes numbness and severe pain in the affected area. And it really goes beyond that. The numbness and pain are hard to describe. One of the comparisons that I often use is the that it's almost like the pain and burning sensation that you get when you put your frozen feet in hot water after playing out in the snow. Except it's a constant pain. I can step on glass or a sticker and not feel a thing. But if I step on a rock it feels like someone is sticking a knife through my foot. I can't feel someone touching my feet but rubbing my feet is extremely painful. What really sucks? I can feel the itch but I can't feel the scratch to get rid of it.

The biggest danger that people with neuropathy face is sores. Since there is little or no feeling in the affected area, it is easy for a minor sore to turn into a serious issue. A shoe doesn't fit right and it rubs a sore on the foot; you step on something and don't realize that it cut your foot, etc. Poor circulation to the area doesn't allow it to heal as quickly as it normally would. If the sore isn't noticed it can get infected easily and left too long it can eventually lead to amputation.

Neuropathy is very debilitating and often leads to permanent disability. I my case, I am unable to stand for very long and I have difficulty walking for any distance. My posture is reminiscent of a swan in heat. My arms stick out a little and the pain in my feet tends to make me bend forward a little. My balance is affected and my bad knees don't add into the mix well.

My neuropothy has puzzled my doctors since day one. I am not diabetic and I haven't had other issues that typically cause neuropathy. They have even told me that they think my height may be the cause. I have had several nerve conductivity tests performed on me, part of which includes a needle test. Basically they take a needle and start poking you in several different spots to see if you can feel it. The Dr. asked me to close my eyes and before I knew it she was done. I didn't even realize that she had done the test. I felt about 3 pokes out of about 50-60. My legs were covered with little red blood spots from all of the sticks. 

In February I had a CT Mylogram done. That's where they inject dye and then take a series of x-rays. They did this to see whether there was an issue with a pinched nerve in my back. Then in May I had a nerve block (epidural) done in my back to block the nerve to my right leg. It worked almost immediately. It didn't help with the numbness but the pain was almost completely gone. I felt fantastic...For about 3 weeks. Not near long enough. After the shot wore off I went back to my "swan in heat" posture.

Today I had an appointment with a neurologist to see if they could shed some light on my problem. I found out a couple of interesting tidbits.

The neurologist informed me that the CT Mylogram wasn't done correctly. They didn't inject the dye into the the correct area and because of that they didn't put the nerve block in the right area either. Like I said, it worked temporarily, but they think that if it would have gone in the right area then it might actually work the way it's supposed to.

After running some more test and taking x-rays that required me to bend every way possible and assume positions just shy of sticking my head up my ass they came back with a possible cause. Since the CT Mylogram wasn't done correctly they didn't get a clear picture, but he was able to see enough to think that I may have Spinal Stenosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic;

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine — most often in your neck or lower back. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves at the level of compression.
Depending on which nerves are affected, spinal stenosis can cause pain or numbness in your legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms; limb weakness and incoordination; loss of sensation in your extremities; and problems with bladder or bowel function. Pain is not always present, particularly if you have spinal stenosis in your neck.

Spinal stenosis is commonly caused by age-related changes in the spine. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.

I had back surgery in 1995 and 1997 and had a fusion done. I have hardware in my back and right above the hardware there appears to be a narrowing of the spinal cavity which the Dr. believes is pinching the nerves running down my legs. That may not be causing the numbness but it is public enemy #1 in the pain area.

When the Dr. told me this I felt a huge weight lifted off of me. I have lived with this pain for so long, not knowing what the cause is and to hear that I may have a way to alleviate the pain was fantastic news. I have always felt that there was something going on but no one could pinpoint it. Hopefully this is it.

The neurologist wants me to get another nerve block done. This time in the correct area. He said that I will need to get another CT Mylogram done but he wants to get the nerve block done as soon as possible to help with the pain then go from there.

Hopefully it will work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 1st

I meant to get to this blog on the 1st but one thing let to another so it is a couple of days late.

It used to be that the 1st of July was just another day. Well. I'll take that back. It was kind of a special day because it is the day that they start selling fireworks around our area. It meant that July 4th was right around the corner. The sounds of firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and other pyrotechnics reverberate through the still night air into the wee hours of the morning. The ritual lighting of BBQ grills, the smells of charcoal, grilled food and gunpowder wafting though the air; the sounds of children playing in the pools, the gathering of friends and family for the holiday.

However, July 1st, 2008 will be a date that sticks with me forever. It is one of those days that when it happens, you know that you will always remember where you were.

It had started as an ordinary day. My son, my best friend Alvin and myself had some running that we needed to take care of that day. We did our running at Walmart, etc. then decided to drop by World Buffet in Wichita and take advantage of their all you can eat happy hour lunch buffet. Between the 3 of us we could put a serious hurt on a Chinese buffet. We were all sitting around the table laughing and eating when I received the call from my wife, Julie. What she said in that 30 second phone call changed our life, and many others, forever. I told Alvin that we needed to get home as soon as possible. Trying to keep my emotions in check, I paid our bill and we left.

When we got home, I took my son Chance back into my bedroom and told him that his best friend, Cameron, had committed suicide early that morning. It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. I could tell at first that the words didn't register. It sounded to insane too even believe. I noticed the change in him as the words sank in and when they went from disbelief to reality. It hurt my heart to see my son in so much pain.
His often asked question of why? was answered with the only thing that I could say; I don't know. I held my son closer than I had since he was a baby and together we cried on each others shoulders. Him, for the loss of his best friend. I, for the loss of a young man that I considered a son myself. I cried for the loss and pain that I knew his family had to be going through.

Cameron was a one of a kind boy. I know that this description is used all the time but it's true. He always had a smile, loved to joke around and was loved by everyone. He was outgoing, funny and smart. He loved to make people laugh and he was always up for a dare. He was one of the first kids that Chance met when we moved here and they became fast friends. Cameron was the big brother that he never had. Cameron never had to knock when he came over. He knew where all of the junk food was stashed and he knew that the kitchen was open to him. He would often come over, walk in, grab to pop, say hi on the way to Chances room and hang out with Chance for hours on end.

When Julie told me the news, I have to admit, we were scared for Chance. He was going through some very stressful times himself and we were afraid that this was going to be too much for him to handle. We were afraid that Cameron's death would cause a depression for Chance that would make him want to suicide as well. It is not uncommon or unheard of. I wanted to stay up 24/7 and just hold him. Watch over him and protect him. We knew that the only thing that we could really do was try to talk to him about it and let him know that we were there for him. He had to grieve in his own way.

The funeral was a couple of days later. On our way to the funeral we noticed a group of girls, his classmates, walking together, holding hands and candles, making their way to the church. As I said, Cameron was liked and loved by everyone and the turnout at the church showed. It was standing room only. Different colored markers placed on Cameron's casket gave everyone the opportunity to write their final farewell to this incredible young man. From the church, we went out to the cemetery and said goodbye to our friend.

This last Friday, July 1st, marked the 3rd anniversary of Cameron's death. That night we took the girls and gathered with his family, friends and classmates at the cemetery. We shot roman candles and lit sparklers, said a prayer, laughed, cried and told stories of Cameron. After a while we left and let his classmates and friends gather around his grave to celebrate the 4th of July with their lost friend.

There is a hole in my heart where Cameron used to reside and I will forever hold him in my memory.

Cameron Thomas Crowl was 16 years old when he died. He touched many lives while he was here. I wonder if he realized just how many people loved him.

Rest in Peace Cameron. We love you and miss you very much.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stuck on you

Some recent facebook postings by a friend and fellow blogger, Non-stop mom, has brought back some memories. She has been having some issues with mice lately and her troubles trapping some of these little critters reminded me of a little story.

Several years ago, my son and I moved in with a friend of mine, Elvin. We have known each other for 40+ years. We grew up together and there are several stories that I will be sharing about our escapades.

When we decided to move in together, I was going through my divorce and he was going through a breakup from a long term relationship. My lease was coming up and he had just bought a home on several acres of land outside of Mulvane Ks. In order for both of us to save money we became roomies. It was a 3 bedroom home so there was enough room for all of us.

We didn't really have many neighbors. It was a new developement of 5 acre tracks and he was the 2nd of 3 families that moved out there. We had neighbors across the street but the only other neighbor was a couple of hundred yards away.

The neighbor across the street though had several cats. One of which was a big old fluff ball who thought that going through our trash cans and sleeping on Elvin's porsche was his God given right. Elvin would come outside and find this cat perched on his car and the war was on. He made the mistake of leaving the sunroof open one night and when he came out the next morning he opened up the door and that cat shot out the door like a jack-in-the-box. I don't know if the little package he left inside was from being scared or what but either way Elvin was out for blood.

So anyway we started noticing an issue with mice. It seemed like the problem went from nothing to a lot of something within a couple of weeks. We noticed a dropping here and there and the next thing we know we see them running along the baseboard. We even had a couple of brave ones come out and watch T.V. with us. We were sitting there one night and one come out, sat down in the middle of floor and started watching T.V. It was actually pretty cute, then another one came out. That wasn't so cute. When they demanded that we change the channel we decided it was time to get some traps.

I got several snap traps and the hunt began. It didn't take long to figure out where they ran and the routes that they took around the furniture, so it only took a couple of days for me to catch almost all of the mice. Most of them were pretty easy to catch but there was one that avoided all of the traps and figured out ways around them. I would move the traps around and no matter where I put them he would avoid or figure out how to get the bait off the traps. I watched this mouse jump over certain traps and work his way around others to get back and forth. Micky was really starting to piss me off.

So back to the drawing board.

I went back to the store to see what other options I had. I didn't want poison. Chance was only about 3 years old and I didn't want him getting into it. The snap traps were going no where. Among the other selections were sticky traps. I don't how long sticky traps had been out but I had never seen them before. I had never really had a problem with mice before so this was a new thing for me. At first they looked pretty cool. The mouse runs onto the sticky pad, gets stuck and you throw it away. Sounds easy enough.

I bought the sticky traps and got to work. I set up an elaborate setup of sticky traps and snap traps around the furniture, behind the couch, etc. I set up traps on opposite side of table legs so that when he jumped over the leg he would land on the trap. I was all set.

The next day we were watching T.V. when we heard a squeaking noise. I went and looked behind the table and lo and behold, there sat my mouse. Right in the middle of the sticky trap. So I picked him up, did my little happy dance and took him out to the trash.

About 30 minutes later we heard a hell of a commotion out front. Something knocked over the trash can and was banging into the house. We ran outside to see what was going on and there was the cat next door running blindly around the yard, banging into the house, the cars, jumping around doing flips in the air, rolling around the yard, growling as loud as it could, with the sticky trap stuck to it's face. Evidently it heard the mouse squeaking, came to investigate and found dinner served on a platter. Unfortunately for him the plattter was a sticky trap. When he tried to eat the mouse he got the trap stuck to his face. As I said earlier he was a huge fluff ball so this thing was stuck. It covered his entire face. He was running around blind trying to get the trap off. It was funnier than hell. We didn't even try to catch it but the neighbor was out so we called him over and when he saw what had happened he just busted up laughing. He was finally able to catch it when the cat laid on it's back and tried to pry the trap off it's face with his back feet and got them stuck too. He got the cat but he walked away bloody and beat up because that cat was nothing but fur and claws. He was one pissed off cat.

The next day I came home and noticed the cat sitting by the road. Shaved. From head to toe. We never had any more problems of it sleeping on any cars or going through trash cans. As a matter of fact, I don't think it ever came across the street again.


I posted a comment on my facebook the other day that got many people up in arms. Maybe I over-reaceted a little but I don't think so. My post was in reaction to the hollow apology the NBC made over their commercial at the beginning of the US Open. The commercial was a montage of the Pledge of Allegiance. During the montage they included the entire pledge but omitted "Under God" and "Indivisable".

Now I am far from being a bible thumper or religious fanatic. But I refuse to believe that the incident was accidental and I refuse to believe that their apology was sincere.

You know when I was growing up every classroom in school had an American flag and every morning the school day started out with the Pledge of Allegience. We started our sporting events with the Pledge of Allegience and the National anthem was played loud and proud. We saluted our flag and said prayers in school. We celebrated Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We played dodgeball and tackle football, had snowball fights, wrestled in the snow and had the occassional fist fight after school. If you had a dispute in school, the P.E. teacher gave you the opportunity to settle things in the ring with gloves. A buck knife was as much of an accessory for boys as make-up and hairspray was for the girls. Not only could you carry it, but it was often used in school for cutting wires in auto mechanics, carving in wood class and used to cut the grey blob that the cooks tried to pass off as meatloaf.

I grew up in a small country town and it wasn't unusual to see a .22, a shotgun or a deer rifle in the back window of the pickup trucks in the parking lot. Now I realize that times have changed. Back then the occassional scuffle after school never involved weapons. The knives on our belts and the rifles in the window were never thought of as a self defense mechanism and I realize that violence in schools has become a major problem. Before people start getting up in arms, I don't have an issue with the schools banning the carrying of knives or weapons in school. Again, times have changed and I think that weapons pose a serious threat.

My rant isn't about weapons in school. It is however about the fact that our society is being controlled more and more by the minority rule. America has gotten away from the core values that made America great. Most of the items listed above have been thrown to the wayside and banned from our schols. It doesn't matter that a majority of people are for it,  it has been banned because a minority of people find these things offensive. Majority vote or opinion is no longer the rule.

Why is it that more and more decisions today are based on the few people that oppose something versus the many people who approve of it. Our lawmakers, business owners, courts, etc. ban, restrict or censor things because a few people are opposed and might find it offensive. Yeah, elections are still determined by majority vote and peoples fates are determined by a juries majority votes in court cases. But our society, our country, has started to be ruled more by minority rules then majority.

I am a big man. Only 1/4 of 1% of the population is as big as I am. Trying to find clothes, shoes, cars, furniture, basically anything that fits me is difficult. Hell it's a dowright quest. Indiana Jones has nothing on me. The Holy Grail? Thats nothing. Try finding a pair of jeans with a 41 inch inseam and a 54 inch waist. The 54 part is not a problem but the jeans manufacturers think that the bigger your waist is the shorter your legs. Where the hell do they get that? How many 500lb midgets do you see running around.? 

How about a size 17EEEE shoe? I love the new Reeboks that are out. According to the stores, the largest that they made was a 13. So I called Reebok. They make them in sizes into the 20's for the professional athletes, so why can't I get a pair? Reasonable question right? But no, I am a lowly common person. They don't make the shoes for the general public. Only athletes can get them. But do I sue the clothing manufactures? No. I find what I can and go from there.

Our country has become so concerned with offending a certain class, religion, ethnicity or group of people that common sense has been thrown out the window. And along with that is our principles and our values that has made the U.S. the greatest country in the world.

The ACLU is one of the biggest threats that we have now. It seems that they have decided that it is their personal mission to take a stand against everything that made the United States the United States.

You come over to our country illegally, demand rights, enroll your kids in school who can't or won't speak english? Heaven forbid we make them learn to speak english and put it back on them. Make the parents pay for english classes so that the teachers can teach them without having to take time away from the other students. Sound logical right?  But no. We will inconvenience EVERYONE else, spend billions of dollars on interpreters, and because the budget is blown by trying to accomodate all of these people, we will just cut programs, teachers jobs, and security. Lets make it so much harder for everyone else just to accomodate these bastards.

I'm tired of the United States taking a mamby pamby stance towards illegal immigratrion. After 9/11 it was learned that some of the pilots used for the attacks on 9/11 were known terrorist and were on a watch list. But they came up through Mexico and basically just walked across the border. I think that we should put up signs that warn of barbed wire, land mines, attack dogs, gun turrents, border patrol agents etc. Secure the border. The Unites States should accept no responsability if someone wants to take the chance and cross the border and gets killed. You were warned. Too bad. Oh but then the bleeding hearts will bitch that if an illegal alien gets killed trying to cross the border illegally that we've violated their rights. What rights? Your not a citizen. We owe you nothing except a bill for cleanup. It is time for us to start taking our border issues seriously. Drugs flow into this country easier than shit through a goose on Ex-Lax. The safety and security of our country is in danger because the southern border has been nothing more than a line in the sand.

Instead of taking steps to deport illegal aliens and secure our border, the United States spends over $350 billion dollars a year on services for illegal aliens or their dependents. Social services, schools, translators, court fees, deportation services, etc. And what happens if by chance one of them gets deported? They're back in 3 weeks.

I'm not against immigrants coming into the United States and gaining citizenship. But if you want to be here, do it legally. If you can't do that and choose to come over illegally, then suffer the consequences.

It pisses me off that we are being overrun and no-one seems to care. Out country is in a financial crisis and yet instead of helping our own citizens, our homeless, our starving children, the United States is taking money that we don't have and shipping it off to other courties because they had a natural disaster. I feel for them, but really, there comes a time when enough is enough.

What about the services that are being taken away from natural born citizens? Why should medicare, unemployment, medicaid, social security, disability, and other services that citizens of the United States have earned and deserve be supplied to non-residents? Kind of like stray dogs. If you don't feed them they won't come around.

You come from a country that we are at war with? A country that is known for terrorist activity? A country that is responsable for the largest terroristic attack against the United States since Pearl Harbor? Heaven forbid we look at the natural suspects and single them out when you try to board a plane. So, instead of offending the natural suspects, we strip search little old ladies and look down the diapers of babies. Because we all know thats it was little old ladies that hijacked the planes that crashed into the world trade centers and it was bomb ridden baby diapers that were used to bomb the USS Cole. Now I'll admit, I have changed some diapers that could be considered lethal weapons but still.

If I am a screener at the airport and I see someone who fits into the profile of a terrorist or someone who is from a country that is known for terrorist activity, then they need to be looked at harder then a person who is U.S. citizen thats on a business trip. Police officers patrolling neighborhoods that are known for prostitution, drug dealing and gangs tend to look for the sign's, the usual suspects or a particular behavior. To stop someone that is a likely suspect is good police work. In the same aspect, police officers stopping someone suspicious while patrolling a neighborhhod that is NOT known for prostitution, drug dealing and gangs is not racial profiling either. If there is a certain race or nationality that is common for that activity then you look for that element when investigating.

We are getting the freedom of religion aspect of our Constitution used against us. Do I think it should be ommited? Of course not. But when terrorist use this freedom to build mosques in the United States as training grounds for more terrorist then it's time to look at what our founding fathers were trying to accomplish with this right. They want to build mosque over here then let us build churches over there.

A second year college student from France goes out one night and gets drunk. It is raining and cold outside and at about 3am and extremely intoxicated, he goes home. He is so drunk that he goes to the wrong apartment, his was 2 doors away. He was so drunk that he couldn't get his key to fit so he starts beating on the door trying to break in. The homeowner and his family get woken up, and call the police. The police get there and find this guy on the doorstep shadowed by a small overhang. He is beating on the door, yelling and screaming. The police tell him to come out to them, and to take his hands out of his pockets.  He's yelling incohenerently at the police and refuses numerous demands to take his hands out of his pockets. He pulls something out of his pocket and points it at the police, who, fearing it was a gun, shoot and kill him. It turned out to be a cell phone. Heres the kicker. Even though he had been here for 2 years, he still hasn't taken the time to learn the language. Had dropped out of the language course in college. His family sued the Miami Dade Sherriffs Dept. and won. Thats bullshit.

Several muslim women sue the state of California because they are denied a drivers licenses because they refuse to show their face for the picture because it's against their religion. Luckily they lost. Athiest sue and say that we can't say the Pledge of Allegiance or pray in school or public because since they don't believe in God thats it's offensive to them.

I think most people will agree that the United States was just fine the way it was. If you come here and you don't like our laws, our rules, the way we operate then get the hell out of here and go home. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Late Night Stroll

Since I have gotten stuck on the topic of practical jokes I thought I would share another one. I am bringing back an earlier victim from one of my pranks. I didn't mention a name in my earlier blog, but I am referring to him as "Bob". He is that star of my blog "On A Long Lonely Highway". This incident took place before the other prank, and little did I know that it was going to set a precedent.

We worked together for a while at a store in Towne East Square in Wichita and eventually moved on to different jobs. That didn't stop or slow the friendship any, we still hung out all the time, double dating etc. 

Back when we were hanging out, Tom Cruise was just starting to make it big in the movies. The Outsiders and Risky Business were making their cinematic rounds at the theaters. Girls of all ages were swooning and screaming and vowing their undying love for him. Luckily for me, well luckier for Bob, but being best friend and all I got residual action, Bob was a DEAD RINGER for Tom Cruise. He had the hair, the smile, the walk and the attitude. Even my mother called him her silver tongued son because this boy had more game than Michael Jordan and could sweet talk a nun out of her habit. He was such a look alike that he would get mobbed at the malls by girls asking for autographs. Especially when he had his RayBan's on.

I don't know know why but I love cemeteries. I used to drive by and get out and just walk around different cemeteries. I love to walk around and look at the headstones, seeing what is written on them and curious about the history of the people.
I was driving home from work one Friday evening. I was on eastbound on Kellogg in Wichita. Kellogg, or highway 54, is the main highway that runs east/west through Wichita. They have done construction on this highway every day of every year for the past 40 years (and maybe even before then). But back in the 80's it was a 4-lane highway (using the term lightly) and had a grass median. It had a flimsy fence that didn't do anything to keep people from crossing the highway.

As you go east from downtown Wichita, at about Hillside, there is an old cemetery. It is on the south side of the highway and there is a frontage road that runs between it and the highway and there is an access road on the west side of it. They still use the cemetery but some of the headstones date back to the early 1800's. I had walked around it several times because it has some interesting old headstones in it.

It was a nice day and I had some time to waste so I decided to do a drive through. As I drove in I noticed that there was a backhoe digging a new grave. I was kind of surprised to see it out there that late. It was after 4pm and I always thought that they usually took care of digging the graves earlier in the day. I saw the backhoe driver get out of the cab and so I pulled over and talked to him for a minute. He confirmed what I thought. They were having a service Saturday morning and they weren't going to be able to do it in the morning so they were digging it today.

A plan started to formulate.

Bob and I had a double date scheduled for that night. The girls that we were dating were best friends and I was good friends with Bob's girlfriend as well. My girlfriend, her best friend, was usually at the her house and so I would call her and the three of us would make plans for the weekends.

We were each matched up rather well. My girlfriend and I liked the same things and the same for Bob and his girlfriend. One of the few areas that we were opposite on though was cemeteries. I liked them, Bob didn't. His girlfriend liked them but mine didn't.

I called over to Bob's girlfriend and both of the girls were there. I hoped that they were so that I could explain to both of them what my idea was. I wanted to put this plan together with them so that I could prank Bob. I went over everything with them, ironing out all of the details and by the time I got done they were both totally on board.

Bob and I had planned to take the girls out to eat and then go to the movies. After the movies we were going to go out to the clubs for a while. On the way home we were going to drive past the cemetery and the girls were going to suggest going in and doing a late night stroll. We had to drive past the cemetery on our way to take the girls home anyway so going by there wasn't a red flag.

So here we were. It was about 3am and we were pulling into the cemetery. I was designated driver and Bob was well toasted. The girls had had a few drinks but weren't real drunk.

I had told the girls where the new grave was. I had drawn a crude map and went over it with them at dinner when Bob went to the bathroom and any other time that he was away from us. When we got into the cemetery, I drove by it. It was a couple of rows back from the road but by using a few keywords I was able to show them where it was at. I knew from talking to the backhoe operator that there was not going to be a tent up over it. They had done that before and people kept stealing the tents so they just left it open.

The idea was for us to all to start out walking together. The girls were then going to walk ahead of us and I suggest to Bob that we split up and scare the girls. He was a little hesitant at first but the more I went on about scaring the girls and so on the more he got into it. He went one way and I went the other. The moon is almost full but we had a couple of flashlights. The girls had one and I had the other one.

Little did he know what was in store.

We ran around for a bit scaring the girls, playing tag, horsing around, etc. then we would split up again. After about 10 minutes of this I gave the girls the signal. I ran over to the area of the open grave and when Bob wasn't looking I jumped in and started waiting.

I was hiding in the grave and I could hear Bob and girls screaming and laughing. I heard them running all around and after a minute or so I took a peak up over the edge of the grave and saw them running my way. I stooped down in the grave a little bit and waited for them to run past. Just then I heard the girls run past, one on each side of the grave. I hear this noise above me and Bob falls right in the grave. Right beside me.

I stood up, turned my flashlight on and held it under my chin. With my face shadowed by the flashlight, I reached out and grabbed a hold of his shoulder and let out real loud bellowing RRRAAAAWWWWRRRRRR BWAAHAHAHAHAHAA.

He started screaming at the top of his lungs and peed his pants. His eyes literally bugged out of his head and his hair stood on end. He reminded me of Shaggy on Scooby Doo.

I have never seen anyone jump so high in my life. He jumped flat footed all the way out of the grave. His feet were running before he even landed on the ground. Kind of like holding a dog above bathwater.  He landed at the edge of the grave and took off running across the cemetery. He was hurdling headstones and anything else that got in his way. He cleared both of the fences separating the highway from the cemetery, ran all the way across the highway and cleared the fence on the other side.

He was clear on the other side of the highway before I could even got out of the grave. Course I was laughing so hard I could hardly climb out. He was over there for about 5 minutes and we were yelling back and forth before he would finally come back over.

He finally came back and was standing beside the car before he realized that he peed his pants. Now if you have read my other blog, you will remember that this is the same reaction he had in the other one. I don't know if my pranks were that scary or if he just had a weak bladder. I think it may have been a combination of both. Course him being drunk both times probably didn't help much. But either way he was not happy.

We finally got our dates home and he woke his dad up with the shower when we got over to his house. I thought his dad was going to have a stroke when we told him what happened.

He would even re-tell the story but always denied the peeing of the pants.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lights Out

We all have friends that are affectionately know to us by nicknames. These terms of endearment are usually cute or funny and there is always a reason behind the name. My son's nickname is Boo, because he loved Yogi Bear as a baby. Our oldest daughter is Chickie, our youngest daughter is Mouse because when she was a baby she would squeak like a mouse. Because I was so big as a baby mine was Hoss. From the T.V. show Bonanza.

I have a very dear friend of mine, Greg, whom I affectionately call "Bitch". I even have him listed as "Bitch" in my cell phone contact list and I have voice dial so I will say "Call Bitch, and there he is".

As I have stated before I am a huge fan of practical jokes. When a situation presents itself I have to take advantage of it. Greg has been on the receiving end of some of my better ones. This is one of them. Before I get into it though let me start off with a little background.

Greg and I met in 2000. I had been in sales for several years but I didn't have any experience in home loans or mortgages. I had talked to several people who were in the business and I really wanted to make the transition to mortgage lending.  I found a company that was looking for people with sales experience but with limited or little mortgage experience. They wanted to train them their way. This seemed perfect for me, so I went and applied. Now at the time I had real long hair. It was down to the middle of my back. I always kept it pony tailed and neat but it was real long. I met with the owner of the company and I had a great interview, but I didn't hear anything back.

About a month later I decided to cut my hair and donate it to the Locks of Love charity. I had let my hair grow for about 10 years but there was a little 5 yr. old girl at the salon where I was getting my hair cut that was going through chemo. She was the cutest little girl. She had lost all of her hair and she kept commenting on how pretty my hair was. Her mother was in the chair right next to mine and this little girl would "pet" my hair and talk about how pretty it was. She just tore at my heart.

I went into the back and asked the manager if I cut my hair and donated it, if I could donate it to a specific person?  She called their Locks of Love contact and they told her what needed to be done to make sure that the little girl got my hair. The look on her and her mothers faces when I told them that she was going to get a wig made out of my hair was priceless. I came home with all my hair cut off. It made Julie cry but after I told her what happened she understood.

Shortly after that I I went to work for Beneficial Finance. It wasn't the best job in the world but it introduced me to the financial world and gave me the opportunity to get some experience.

About 9 months later, I heard a commercial on the radio from the original company that I had applied for. They were hiring again. I was right down the road so I called and asked if I could come in for an interview. They said sure. That's how I met my "Bitch".

Greg had been hired by the owner to take over the day to day operations of the business and office. He had been hired to come in, weed out the people who were just taking up space, hire and train new people, and basically re-vamp the whole operation.

From the second that Greg and I met there was an instant friendship. We hit it off right away. I later learned that the owner had originally wanted to hire me the first time I came in but didn't because my hair was to long.

My office was right next to Greg's and we had a connecting door. Greg started my training and started teaching me everything about the mortgage business. I took all of the training courses that I could and after about 4 months I became the assistant manager and started doing some training on my own.

From practically day one though, the pranks started. We would go back and forth pranking each other. I would steal his name plate and tape fake names over it; Haywood Jabloughme (hey would ya blow me was one of my favorites). It was funny to see the peoples response when they sat at his desk. He would prank me back but I would usually come out on top.

No matter what the prank, how much it burned the other person, we would always have friendly banter. We never said anything angry back and forth, would laugh and take friendly jabs at each other, but it was always friends joking around.

The building that we worked at is an 8 story building out by Kellogg and Rock Rd. here in Wichita. It has restrooms on each floor but they are very small and anyone that is any bigger than an extra from The Wizard of Oz has a hard time fitting into the stalls. Now Greg is a bigger guy. He is not as tall as me by no means but he has some girth to him. He Carry's it rather well but even so. The only bathroom in the entire building that had any room in it is on the ground floor so whenever either of us had to go it was usually downstairs. 

One day a situation presented itself that I couldn't pass up.

So here I am sitting in my office and Greg stops by the door and tells me that he has to go drop some kids off at the pool and that he'll be right back.

A plan starts to formulate.

The bathroom downstairs has a single stall and a urinal against the right hand wall. You go inside and about 8 feet from the door is the entrance to the stall. It is a handicap stall so it's pretty decent sized and on the other side of the stall is the urinal. On the other side, to the left is a couple of sinks. The light switch is right inside the door.

I waited a couple of minutes and run downstairs. I open the door to the bathroom and I can see Greg's feet under the stall wall. I notice that no one else is in there except for Greg so I turned off the light and, to the screams of Greg, ran back upstairs. Greg immediately starts yelling for someone to turn the light back on. I get back up to my office and go back to work. This whole thing takes me about 2 minutes. No one even noticed that I was gone.

About 15 minutes later Greg comes into my office red faced and ranting. He comes in and the first thing he says in "thanks for turning out the light asshole".  He immediately starts accusing me of turning the light off. He's all over the place, not making much sense. He wasn't yelling at me but he was a little pissed about what had happened. I finally got him to calm down enough to tell me what happened. All the time denying that I had anything to do with it.

He said he was just setting there when someone turned the lights off on him. He was totally indisposed. He started calling for help and after a couple of minutes, when no one came in, he realized that he is going to have to turn the light on himself. So he gathers his pants around his knees and starts duck walking to the door. He said that just as he got to the door, it opened up and this guy walks in. He turns the lights on and of course the first thing he sees is Greg standing there with his pants bunched around his knees bent over doing the poopy duck walk. He said they looked at each other speechless both with the "deer caught in the headlights" look. This guy is staring at Greg with his pants down and Greg is embarrassed all to hell duck walking back to the stall trying to explain why he's running around a dark bathroom with his pants around his ankles.

He's telling me all of this and I'm just dying. I am laughing so hard that I am crying. This joke went WAY beyond what I was expecting. I thought that he would be in there for a minute or so then someone would turn the light on and that would be it. Little did I know it was going to turn out like this.

I had him convinced that it wasn't me and he's plotting the death of the person that did it if he should ever find him. After about fifteen minuets I couldn't take it anymore. This prank turned out to good for me not to claim it so I finally came clean. I took full responsibility and after going over it again several times, we were both laughing. Of course by this time the story was making it's way around the entire office and you could hear the laughter spreading as it made it's way around.

He vowed revenge.

Over the next several weeks he watched me like a hawk. It was always in the back of my mind that he was waiting for the chance to get me. I let the anticipation for him build to the point that he was lurking around the corners and trying to turn every little thing into an opportunity to get me.

I finally decided one day that I was going to "let him" get me. I told him that I needed to go the bathroom. I saw the glint in his eyes as I turned and walked away.

I came back about 15 minutes later and he was kicked back in his chair with his feet up on the desk and as soon as he saw me he started laughing as hard as he could.
I said "whats so funny"?
He looked at me and said "I FINALLY GOT YOU!!!!. YOU THOUGHT I FORGOT DIDN'T YOU? 
I said "what the hell are you talking about"?
He said "The lights. I am the one who turned the lights out on you."
I said "No one turned the lights out on me."
He said "You were downstairs in the stall and I turned the lights out on you."
I said "NO. I went upstairs. I knew you were going to do something so I went up instead of down."
Now he was really confused and kept going on because he thought he had gotten me. He said "I got you. I know it was you." I saw your feet under the stall. I kept telling him that it wasn't me but he kept insisting that he got me.

We were "arguing" back and forth when the receptionist called back and said that Greg's next appointment was there. He told her to bring him back.

This guys walks into Greg's office with an obvious attitude and sits down in one of the guest chairs.
Greg introduces himself, introduces me and ask the guy how he was doing.

I had to run out of the office to keep from busting up laughing in front of this guy. One of my best practical jokes turned out to be done by someone else to a total stranger.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On A Long Lonely Highway

There are few things in this world that I love more than practical jokes. There are times when I will plan a practical joke but most of them aren't planned. Situation's just present themselves and I just can't resist taking full advantage of that situation. I will share some of my other pranks in the future, but here is one of my favorites.

About 2 years after I graduated high school I decided to move to Kansas City with a friend of mine. He was originally from KC but had moved down here right after high school to live with his dad and go to college. We met at work about 6 months after he moved here and became fast friends. He went to college for about a year and decided that he liked the party aspect of college more than the school part.

He would go back to KC to visit his mom and friends and after awhile he decided that he wanted to move back and asked me if I wanted to go. I had gone back with him several times and had even been offered a job there at one of the malls as a security guard. I had never lived anywhere else but Kansas. Strike that. I had never lived anywhere but Mulvane KS. A little town of about 2000 people. AND we lived out in the country, so the idea of moving to a big city sounded exciting and interesting. Being young and full of piss and vinegar I decided "what the hell".

Our plan was to get jobs, live with his mom for a few months, then get an apartment. I got the job at the mall during the day and then at a club at night. The idea was going good until it came time for the apartment. He decided that he wanted to stay with his mom. I couldn't really afford an apartment on my own and since I was still new to the area and didn't really know anyone else, I moved back to Wichita.

Before I moved back though we would come back home every couple of weeks or so, me to see my parents, him, his dad. We would get in late Friday and leave late Sunday getting in around 1am-2am. I was the one with the better car so I was the one to drive.

It was on one of these late night returns home that a situation arose that I couldn't resist.

It had been a long weekend. I had come home and visited my parents and ended up doing a lot of chores around the home to help my dad. Saturday night was, of course, reserved for going out to the bars and hanging out with our friends. Sunday was more chores and by the time it was time to leave I was beat. He was supposed to help with the driving but he had spent the day watching football and drinking beer with his dad so by the time I picked him up he was in no shape to drive.

I was a little ticked about having to do all of the driving. It's not that far, about 3 hours, but being that late and me being exhausted, it would have been nice to have the relief driver.

We were booking down the turnpike and he was asleep with his head resting against the passenger window. He looked like a bobble head doll. I would swerve and jerk the wheel back and it would make him hit his head against the window. I know it was mean but it was funny and it kept me from falling asleep. He would start snoring and I would swerve. His head would thump and he would wake up and curse. I'd laugh. So for several miles *swerve* *thump* *shit*, *swerve* *thump* *damn*, and on and on. He finally shifted his head to the left thus ending my amusement.

We were about 20 miles west of Emporia KS when the situation presented itself. We were going along and I noticed a semi ahead of us. As we got closer I noticed that it was a semi tow truck and he was towing a semi. An idea quickly formed in my devious mind.

He was about half asleep. More of a heavy dose and had just start to snore again. I pulled up behind the semi truck so that we were about a car length away. Since the semi being towed was facing backwards it looked like it was coming right at us. I waited for a few seconds then let out a blood curtling scream followed by "OH MY GOD WE'RE GONNA DIE".

He shot up, saw the semi "coming" straight at us, started screaming at the top of his lungs and immediately peed his pants. I kept screaming with him and it took about 30 seconds before he realized that we were still alive and that, for some reason, the semi in front of us never got any closer. It took a couple more minutes for him to get his heart straightened out. He sobered up real quick and after a few seconds finally realized what he was seeing. I was laughing so hard that I was crying and had to pull over to the side of the road. I was still laughing my butt off when he realized that he'd peed his pants.

We still had about 20 miles to go and, for obvious reasons, all he could do was complain about having to sit in a wet seat. He was beyond the shock stage and was converting to the madder than hell stage. By the time we got to Emporia though he was starting to calm down. He was still ranting about the pants but he was starting to see the humor of it all.

We had our suitcases so I stopped at the truck stop in Emporia so that he could go in and change. Luckily they had some towels for sale so I bought one to throw in the seat. They had a car wash there so I hit the seat with the vacuum and threw a towel in the seat. It cost me a few bucks the next day at the regular car wash to get the seat shampooed but it was well worth it.

For some reason, he never fell asleep in the car with me again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sneak Attacks

Last Friday was the start of the annual River Festival in Wichita. It always starts out with the Sundowner Parade and then later that evening, fireworks.

This years festival is no different. It goes on for about 10 days and is usually a pretty cool event.

One other thing that accompanies the Festival kickoff is the patio party at Julies work. They have a big BBQ, beer, pop, etc. There is a live band and everyone mingles around, eats, drinks, talks and just have an all around good time. . There is usually about 200-300 people that come in and out during the night. The party usually starts around 4pm and goes until the beer is gone. The parade usually starts about 6:30 so by that time everyone is well fed, effectively libated and in a very jovial mood.

It is a lot of fun. Julie has to work late (until the thing is over) but it's a casual working thing. She is allowed to drink, eat sit and talk and then every now and then she has to re-fill the coolers if needed, keep the meat rolling for the cook, etc. But by the end of the day she is pretty worn out.

At the end of the evening, we were getting ready to leave and I had to go to the bathroom. Now this is an older building, built in the 30's-40's, 3 stories and it never fails to amaze me at just how small the bathroom is. The ceiling in the bathroom is about 7 1/2 feet tall. Fine for the average bear but I am not the average bear. I only have a couple of inches of clearance and the ceiling over the sink is only about 6 ft. tall, so I have to wiggle in there to wash my hands. There is a small stall for the urinal and fastened to the wall on the left, at face level, for me anyway, is one of those squirt air fresheners. Everytime I go in there I have flashbacks to an incident that happened about 20 years ago. Subsequently, if I am alone in there, I stand back about 3 feet and aim for the trenches.

For those of you that don't know me, I have had a very interesting career history. I was in law enforcement as a police officer and later a sheriff's officer. I have been a bounty hunter, a professional body guard and professional wrestler. I was a mortgage broker and until I became disabled, I owned my own commercial lending company. And many years ago, I was a photographer and salesman for a glamour portrait studio. Like Glamour Shots. We traveled all over the U.S., working out of hotels or hair salons. It was actually pretty awesome. I got to see parts of the county that, unless you live there, most people don't see. We went from Indiana west to Washington and from Canada to Mexico.

On one of our trips we were out at a restaurant/bar one night eating, drinking and being merry. We had been there for quite a while listening to the band play and getting more toasted by the minute.

After a while the beer took over and I found myself staggering to the john. There were two other guys ahead of me and as we went in there were three urinals against the wall. Subsequently, I got stuck in the third urinal all the way to the right. I got settled, assumed the position which, for drunk male, is aiming with one hand and leaning against the wall with the other. Just as I get settled in and gravity took hold, I heard a click followed by a quiet buzzing noise. I looked over to my right and saw this automatic air freshener. For the average person it would be about a foot and a half over their head but again, I am far from average. These things are worse than the perfume snipers at the mall. This thing was eye level and at the same time that I looked over, this little ninja bastard squirts me right in the eyes. Straight on, both eyes. It was like someone shot me in the eyes with mace.

Now I have to admit, I felt a little sorry for the guys standing to my left because as soon as that thing shot me in the face all decorum and urinal etiquette flew RIGHT out the window. I started screaming, jumping up and down, spinning around, blinded by the spray. The aiming hand now had a new purpose; rubbing my eyes. I basically turned into a human sprinkler. I proceeded to hose everything down within 5 feet of me, including those guys beside me. The guys, the walls, the floor, hell I would be surprised if the ceiling was spared. I soaked everything and everyone.

I was finally able to make it to the sink and start rinsing my eyes out. Those guys were PISSED. Off and on LOL. Luckily there were a couple of other guys that we had been partying with who came in and where waiting their turn. They saw what happened and after they stopped laughing, or at least got their laughing somewhat under control, stepped in. They took my back and were able to calm the guys down, from a distance, and explain what happened. They still weren't real happy about the incident, but they walked away peacefully.

So, there I was last Friday, standing within mere inches of my nemesis. Just as I got done and stepped back I heard this click, a quiet buzzing noise followed by the sudden burst of air freshener. I walked away triumphantly.

Not this time you sneaky bastard. NOT THIS TIME.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Never stand behind the tall man

There are not many things in this world that embarrass me. Most of the times that it has happened have usually been at my own hands. This just happened to have been one of those times.

Several years ago we went to Oklahoma City to visit and stay with some friends of ours, Mike and Ramie. It was around Halloween and we hadn't seen them for a couple of years. We wanted to spend the weekend with them, hit some haunted houses, go out to eat, go to Frontier City and just hang out. For those of you unfamiliar with Frontier City it is an amusement park.

Now I like Halloween. I am not afraid to dress up and I have more than one story of Halloween that I will have to share. Maybe around Halloween itself.

We got there Friday afternoon and went out to eat. After that we went downtown and hit some of the bigger haunted houses. I used to love going out to haunted houses. I still do but they have gotten so expensive and they have gotten so cheesy that it's just not worth the money.

We went downtown to some of the old abandoned warehouses. They set up some serious haunted houses down there. Some of them were as much as 6 stories tall. That's where we went.

Now, being as tall as I am, not many of the actors in the house were expecting someone like me. Mike
 and I were not a safe couple to be around. Neither of us embarrassed easily, we loved to play pranks, jokes and we were very good at embarrassing other people. We would hold hands, skip through Toys -R-Us singing the Toys-R-Us song.  Yeah those kinda things. I dared Mike once to lay on the ground in a crowded restaurant and cry like a baby. He threw himself on the ground, grabbed his legs behind his knees and cried  for the lady at the next table to change him. Needless to say, I owed him lunch.

Anyway, we were walking through the haunted house and I saw Michael Meyers trying to sneak up on Mike. So I decided to sneak up behind him. Right before he could scare Mike I screamed as loud as I could. I about made him crap his pants. He was so mad he grabbed his mask off and turned around and came face to chest. He stormed away mad as everyone laughed.

Anyway, on to the embarrassing moment.

The next day (Saturday) we went out to Frontier City. We hit a bunch of the rides and decided to go through the haunted house that they had set up. We got in line, which was about a 1/2 mile long, and proceeded to wait our turn. We stood and talked, scooted forward and waited some more.

I ended up striking up a conversation with the couple in front of us. They had a couple of kids that were running around playing tag with each other. We talked for a while and would move. Talk and move. We were getting closer but man it was hot and muggy. We had gotten about halfway to the front of the line when all of a sudden.....WURP....My stomach did a flip flop and all of a sudden I had some serious gas pains. Here I was, standing in the middle of this long line, and I had to fart!!

I was holding things back, trying to keep from killing anyone and talking to Mike and Ramie. I turned back  around and noticed that the line had moved forward about 25-30 feet. This is my chance. I move forward about 20 feet or so and I look back and noticed that Mike and Ramie were still talking to the people behind them and hadn't moved up yet. I did a quick check over both shoulders to make sure the coast was clear and let it go. The crowd was just noisy enough to cover my tracks but it wasn't noisy enough to cover up the yell from below.


I had checked over both shoulders but I forgot to look down. YEAH. Right behind me. At ass level. In my blind spot, was this little girl about 5 years old. She was RIGHT THERE. Ass to nose. And she was yelling and crying DAADDDYY, HE FARTED RIGHT IN MY FACE. IT STINKS DADDY.

Daddy just so happened to be the guy that I had been talking too in front of us. Evidently the line moved and she didn't see it until I moved. She is yelling at the top of her lungs that I had just dropped wolf bait right in her face.

Of course, everyone in line was staring back and you could hear the murmur roll through the crowd. HEY, THAT BIG GUY JUST FARTED IN THAT LITTLE GIRLS FACE. And it wasn't just in line, it was everyone within about a 100 ft. radius. And news was spreading fast. Word of my farting in this little girls face was spreading like a wildfire. And the worse part was, I couldn't hide. I stick out like a turd in the punch bowl. It's not like there was another 7'3" tall guy that I could point to and blame it on. "Hey it was HIM, not ME". Doesn't quite work that way. They don't even have the giant cartoon characters running around so I couldn't even blame it on Goofy. Hell, there wasn't even an old man that I could pawn it off on. So yeah, all eyes were on ME.

Her dad lost it. He busted up laughing. He was laughing so hard that he was crying. I'm trying to apologize to her, him, her mom but, I mean really, what can you say. "Gee mister, I'm sorry I farted on your kid". She is still going on about me farting on her and he finally looks at her and said  "Honey, don't ever stand behind a tall man. If you hadn't had your nose in his butt you wouldn't have gotten farted on."
We finally made it up to the front of the line and when we got there the guys running the house said "Hey, you must be that guy that farted in that little girl's face.


The rest of the day was spent going from ride to ride, listening to people point and whisper; "Hey, there's that guy that farted in that little girls face".


We decided to go camping with some friends this weekend. This was a monumental step for me. I (we) haven't been camping since 2007, the summer before I got sick. It's hard for me to get up off the floor so sleeping on the ground in a tent was a bit worrisome for me. It's also hard for me to maintain my balance, so putting a tent up and taking down a tent isn't something that I can do anymore either.

We kinda decided at the last minute to stay overnight so we spent Friday afternoon going to the store and getting stuff together. Julie had to stop on the way home and hit the store and when we both got home, everything got packed. Chance had a friend of his, Devin, go out with us and they took care of the heavy stuff. After all of the running around that we had done that day, my legs and feet were hurting so bad I could hardly stand. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do a lot. We finally got on the road at about 8:30pm.

By the time we got to the lake it was almost dark and I was in a lot of pain. Chance and Devin took over the unloading of the truck and putting up the tents. They really went above and beyond. We wouldn't have been able to go if it hadn't been for them. By the time everything got taken care of and dinner finished, we had very little time to visit with our friends. We were all exhausted.

We got up the next morning. I slept okay. Julie slept like a baby; Up every two hours having to pee. Both of our backs were hurting and I was still in a lot of pain. I had gotten a nerve block about 3-4 weeks ago to help with the pain in my right foot and I don't know if it is starting to wear off or if it was that I was so active on Friday but I was still hurting. It was pretty hard to walk.

Saturday was cool and cloudy. It was supposed to get up to about 85 but it didn't even break 70. We spent most of the day hanging  around with our friends and the girls played until they couldn't play anymore. We ate some dinner and and after a lot of laughing and fun decided to get to bed. We were both exhausted.

We had to do some arranging in the tent and in the midst, knocked over my jug of water, which in turn of course got our blanket wet. On top of that the people camping next to us decided to get into a huge argument. Nothing like a little domestic violence to end the day.

We got up Sunday morning and it was looking to be a hot, windy day. We were both sore and tired, I still wasn't walking real well, so we decided to get everything packed and head home. I was still feeling the affects from Friday. I tried to do what I could but it was again up to Chance and Devin to get everything packed up.

We go home safely, got everything unloaded and took a nap. After getting up long enough to feed the kids and eat a little bit of dinner we went back to bed and collapsed.

I spent most of Monday in bed trying to get the swelling out of my feet and legs.

It was fun getting out with the kids and our friends but I felt pretty useless. I was really hoping to be able to do more than I was able to. Next time, I won't run so much the day we leave.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Love Story

 Some of my friends have already seen this and some were even there. But I wanted to share this with my 
Julie and Roy

new blog family so that you know how Julie and I started our lives together.

So without further ado....


Thursday February 14th, 2002 started out as a normal Valentines Day. Or so my girlfriend thought. You see, we were getting married that day and she knew absolutley nothing about it. But before we get into that, lets back up a bit.

I had been divorced for about 3 1/2 yrs. I had an active social life, never really wanting for a date. I had been in a few relationships that usually ended with me being cheated on. I finally had had it up to here and decided to give up on dating. I was done. I was tired of the games, tired of the bars and tired of being used. I was a little more than gun shy. Hell I was shell shocked, I had post tramatic stress disorder; Dating style.

I decided to concentrate my energies on being a dad and finding myself again. Since my divorce, I had never really took the time to find me. I went from one person, to the next, to the next. I realized that I had so much baggage with me that I had completely lost who I was. So my weekends consisted of my son and I sitting around in our underwear eating popcorn, drinking beer (of the root variety) and watching cartoons. Usually Scooby Doo or Bugs Bunny. It was great to find myself and I am so thankful that I did. I don't think, actually I know, my marriage would not be what it is now without my taking time off to find ME.

Now you know a little background.

Julie and I had met in January of 2000. Now if she was writing this she could tell you the day, hour, minute, what position the stars were in, what moon was where, what song was playing on the radio, what we were wearing, etc. But me being male....We met in January of 2000. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Dusty. The moment I laid eyes on her I was done. Julie was and is one of the most beautiful women that I have ever met. She is also one of the sweetest and kindest women that God ever made.

We dated for a couple of monthes and then she moved in and we lived together for about 1 1/2 yrs. During this time she made it very clear that she wanted to get married. Not in a pushy way mind you. She just put her heart on her sleeve and let it be shown to all. Every holiday that came along that involved any type of gift giving, she was anxiously awaiting a ring. She never asked for one, but I could see the disappointment when she didn't get one. I was still very leary about committing to such a huge step. I always told myself that if I did it again, then it would be the last time. I didn't want to go through another divorce and I didn't want to put someone else through it either. I am ashamed to admit that I put her throught hell. We even ended up breaking up for a couple of months because I couldn't see the forest through all the trees. There were some things that happened that made me realize that yeah, I was a dumbass. Thankfully, I pulled my head out, she took me back, and the rest is history.

So, I finally decided that I wanted to pop the question. But I wanted it to be very unusual. I asked her parents permission and set everything in motion. My plan was to put the entire wedding together without her knowing it. I wanted to propose and get married on Valentines Day.

I had 8 days.

Julie worked for the City of Wichita as a Docket Clerk in the courts. I asked her Judge to marry us and he was all for it. With that done, I had to get all of our friends, family and co-workers on board and they all readily conspired to make this happen. I had the assurance from everyone that this would be kept a secret. I told them that if she found out about it that I wouldn't do it and they could explain to her why it didn't happen. Hey it worked LOL. Now all I needed was the marriage license, dress, shoes, tuxedos, rings, music, flowers, etc. and so on.

I immediatley went down and got the marriage license and was assured by the lady that it wouldn't hit the paper until after we were already married.

License Done

Julie already had a dress that she had bought a couple of years before at one of the wedding expo's at Century II. She found the one she loved and found it for a great price. This was the dress she always wanted to be married in. It was in a big rubber maid box at my mom's house. I had to get it over to my house, get her in it, get it measured, get it out of the house and to the alterations place without her getting suspicious.

Impossible you say? 

I had a plan.

I called my mom and told her than she needed to call Julie and tell her that she had a roof leak and that her dress was getting wet and that she was afraid that it would get ruined. My mom made the call and Julie told her that "it didn't matter. She was never going to wear it anyway". My mom told her that she didn't want to be responsable for it getting ruined and that she wanted us to get it. So, Julie and I talked about it and I told her that I would pick it up the next day at my mom's work and bring it home. Of course it added just a little bit of the "inconvenience attitude" to keep her from getting suspicious about anything.

Dress in the house.

I had Dusty on board and told her that I had the dress at the house. She came by that night. Now, everyone knows that you cannot have a wedding dress around women without someone trying it on right? And since it was Julies, guess who tried on the dress? Now Julie had gotten a little bigger or should I say bustier since she bought the dress. Actually a lot busiter. Like from a C to a DD. Her and Dusty went back to the bedroom and Julie tried the dress on. She called me back to the bedroom to help zip it up. I used this little opportunity to measure with my hand just how far up the zipper went and how narrow across the back it was. After the appropriate amount of OOH's and AHH's and the right amount of non-interest on my part, she took the dress off and re-packed it back in the box.

Dress on, measured and off.

I told her that there was no place for us to keep it. Dusty told her that she'd keep it over at her house and for me to bring it over the next day. So, I put it back in my truck and the next day instead of going to Dusty's, I took it to the alterations place, where I tried to explain to the lady that spoke very little english, exactly what I needed done and that I needed it by next Wednesday. Which was 6 days away.

Dress Delivered.

Now during this time I was also getting my suit done, I bought a suit for Chance, got the music put together etc. I even got Julie a new pair of shoes to wear for the wedding.

The next task was the ring. I was still worried about mine but I knew that I would have to special order it so I figured I would just have to wait. One night I was at Wal-mart, yes Wal-mart, and out of curiosity, I thought I would check out their jewelry deparment and look at their wedding sets. After talking to the girl at the counter, she told me what I pretty much knew; There was no way that they could get a ring big enough to fit me. But the set that I really liked didn't have a mens ring to it anyway. Someone had sold on accident, misplaced or stole the mens ring. It was a beautiful engagement and wedding ring. I started asking about it and discovered that as a trio it was over $1400.00. But as a two ring set, they were pretty much stuck with it. They couldn't send it back because it was incomplete and they obviously couldn't sell it as a trio. I asked to speak to the manager and after about an hours worth of haggeling with the jewelry manager and the store managers, I was able to buy the set for $75.00. Yeah, $75.00.

Ring Done.

Time was getting short and Julie was starting to get a little suspicious. She just said that I was acting a little strange. Gee I wonder why.

Wednesday.  I picked up the dress. It looked great. They had actually added little hooks (like bra clasp)beside the zipper where it got to small around the bust. They added a diamond shaped lace panel that could be removed and this made it so that the dress could be easily altered back to original. She put a new stop in the zipper so that it would stop under the lace panel. The neck of the dress was like a choker so the lace panel just tied everything in from where the zipper ended up to the neck. Looking at it you could never tell that the panel wasn't part of the original dress. I dropped it off at her parents house for them to bring to the wedding. I couldn't be seen with it now.

Dress Done.

They don't make tuxes in my size (that are fashionable) so I ended up buying a new suit. I knew that Julies parents were going to throw a a reception about a month after the wedding and I knew that we were going to have wedding pictures taken which meant that we were going to be dressing up twice. Instead of renting a tux for Chance twice, I just bought him a suit too. We bought tuxexo shoes, vests and bow ties. We ended up saving about $400.00  by buying everything instead of trying to rent tuxes twice. And you'd never know by looking at them that they weren't tuxes.

Tuxedos Done.

I found some real pretty ceramic roses that were actually ring holders. The top half of the flower opens up to reveal a ring holder. I thought these were really cool and would be awesome for the bridesmaids to carry. It also seconded as their bridesmaids gifts. I then ordered some flowers for Julie to carry for a small bouquet.

Flowers Done

I went through my checklist and had everything in order.

Thursday rolled around and I had everything all packed up and ready to go. The plan was for everyone to meet at the courthouse at about 3 o'clock and start getting everything ready. I had her dress, shoes, makeup, hot rollers, curling irons, tuxes, rings, everything else under the sun that I thought she would need, I stopped by the florist, picked up the flowers and went to the courthouse. A couple of my co-workers contacted the media so we also had channel 3, 10, 12 and a Wichita Eagle reporter there as well.
Me and Chance

Chance and I got dressed and then we waited with all of our family and friends for 5 o'clock to roll around. We did a few interviews with the reporters and at about 4:45 pm, we all headed towards the courtroom to hide out.

At about 5 till, just as Julie was getting off work, we had one of her co-workers call her and tell her that she needed to come to courtroom Z and pick up some paperwork for the Judge. She tried to get out of it by stating that she really wanted to get home for Valentines Day and asked if she could get it in the morning. The co-worker told her "No, that the Judge demanded the paperwork and that he wanted it NOW".

The Proposal

We were all in the room waiting for her to show. The news stations had just gone live at 5 with the announcement of a surprise engagement and wedding. We had a lookout peeking out of the door so that we would know when she was about to come in when all of a sudden, BOOM..There she was. She had came from the other direction. She opened up the door from the blind side and the lookout fell right at her feet. She looked down at him, he looked up at her, and I don't know which of them was more suprised. Julie walked in, looked around and saw a room full people staring at her. She instantly had the "deer caught in the headlights" look.

Chance and I were in our tuxes and all of our family and friends were gathered around. The cameras were rolling, the lights were shining and I got down on one knee and said "Julie, I love you more than anything in the world. Will you marry me? About 75 of our closeest friends and family as well as an entire viewing audience on three seperate TV stations were waiting for an answer. Talk about intense.

Julie was still in a dazed and confused state. Everyone got silent, waiting to hear the answer. She finally looked and me and said "UM O.K". Not exactly a tearful response that I had expected but she told me later that she was so surprised and shocked that she couldn't say anything else. Inside she was jumping up and down but outside she was paralized.

Even though I knew the answer, my heart skipped a beat. I said "O.K. Your dress, make-up and everything that you need is in the interrogation room. Dusty and Diane will help you get ready. You have about 58 minutes. I love you". She was still in shock and really didn't know what to do. Dusty came up and took her by the arm. Julie turned around and still in a stupor was led out by her best friend to get ready for her wedding.

We all sat around and talked. The kids ran around and played and we all waited for Julie to come back in. Since my hand and finger were the only things used to measure her dress I was really anxious to see what her dress looked like. I was worried that I hadn't measured it right. I was really afraid that it wouldn't fit and she would be married in a really ill fitting dress. I had worked so hard to make this day special for her and it all came down to my half-assed measurements.
Waiting at the alter
Chance stood up with me as my best man. I always told myself that if I ever got married again that I wanted him beside me. It was important to me that he be the one by my side. He looked so cute in his little tux and even though it got a little boring for him he hung in there until the end.

I proposed live at 5 and about hour later, live at 6, with the cameras going and thousands of anonomous people watching, she came walking into the room, led by her dad and looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her. Her dad handed her off to me and after taking Julies hand I vowed to love her for the rest of my life.

Daddy and Daughter

Saying I do

Sealed with a kiss

On that day I married my soul mate. She is my one true love and my best friend. 

That night she told me that she had read Thursdays paper. Back then they had the marriage license applications listed in the paper on Thursday. The lady at the marriage license bureau was wrong. It was in Thursdays paper that I had applied for a marriage license.  She didn't realize that she was going to get married, she just thought that I might propose because of the way that I had been acting. That was why she was trying to get home so fast. Before she could ask me about it, we were married.

Unfortunaely, she had to work the next day.

On Friday, I got a call from some friends and family out of state. They told me that they saw Julie and I on Good Morning America. I guess they picked it up off of an affiliate station and they showed a tape of the proposal and part of the wedding on the show that morning. It was kinda cool.

We had a weekend honeymoon in Wichita. It wasn't anything extremely fancy. We spent the weekend at the Hyatt, ate out at a couple of nice restaurants and took a carriage ride around downtown. It was chilly and just shy of snowing. We just cuddled under a blanket and enjoyed the ride.

What was really cool though was that no matter where we went everyone knew Roy and Julie. Everyone recognized us. We had strangers coming up to us and congratulating us. It was pretty awesome. For one weekend I was able to make Julie feel like a star.

That was 9 years ago and they have been the best years of my life. She has given me two beautiful daughters and there is not a day that goes by that she doesn't show her love for me. There is no one that I would rather spend the rest of my life with. I love Julie more today than I did yesterday, but not near as much as I will tomorrow. She is my heart and soul. There is no one that could ever take her place. There are just no words than can adequately describe how I feel about her. Sometimes even the word "love" just doesn't quite cut it. She is my wife, my heart, my soul, my life, my love, my best freind, my confidant, my lover and the mother of my children. She is beautiful, caring and has a true, kind heart.

She is my everything,

I love you Julie