Thursday, June 30, 2011

Burial Tomb: For Sale By Owner

While in New Orleans, I decided I wanted to go visit La Fayette Cemetery. You know, cause nothing says relaxing vacation like melting in the sweltering heat with corpses beneath your feet. Then again, in a city where a funeral parade is the norm, you gotta check out what the what is! So we jump on a street car and go grab a bite for lunch. We discovered long before now that New Orleans food service is a marathon event and not a sprint, but still we were hopeful to be surprised with a normal dining speed at some point.  We were wrong.

By the time lunch was through and we'd made it to the cemetery it was closed.  Cemeteries close? Not that I expected them to keep a famous spot open to the public through the wee hours of the night, but 2pm is hardly hooligan hour.

So we ventured to La Fayette number 2.  It didn't look like that much of a hike up the same street so we took to the road.  Now, I've gotten down on people who work in my company and ask me to pick up a vehicle 200 miles away like it's nothing only to hear them say, "oh, well it doesn't look that far on the map." I have to remind them that this is Texas and eight of their states can fit inside of it! Shame on me for neglecting to account that this venture was ON FOOT with two children in 100* weather with gallons of moisture per inch floating in the air. 

At last we made it through the ghetto to one of three cemeteries.  The first was the only one not closed as well. I soon realized why.  Apparently Katrina or Time or some other devastating event had not been kind to this plot of land.  Nearly every crypt was broken in some way.  Many were entirely destroyed which kind of breaks your heart when you consider the effort that was once put into the enshrinement of loved ones.  There were quite a few larger structures that held multiple remains that were ripped apart and various members of the undead relocated/missing/homeless?/obliterated. 

But even in the most sacred of places.  A place where I should hold more reverence knowing the destruction it's withstood, I still found a some humor. 

So this is one of those multi-person tomb structures.  One whole side of it is gone meaning some Cajun zombies were wreaking havoc on a city in peril a few years ago.  The face was gone as well as the body.  Inside were several of those catholic prayer candles you see in the most random places in your grocery store. But if you look to the right a few candles back you see some straight voodoo shit!

That's a can of Planter's Peanuts and a bundle of herbs atop.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to die a slow painful death just for photographing it, let alone posting it on the interwebs.

But this one by far was the most disturbing.  So who owns your final resting place? You or your "loved ones"?

Guess they forgot the number one rule of real estate. Location, Location, Location. 

Eventually I'd like to go back to New's only an 8 hour drive after all.  They do ghost tours of the cemeteries on the other side of town.  There are also tons of restaurants that called my name but the lack of time and burden of sleepy/cranky children didn't permit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When Two-Year-Olds Step Up To The Podium

My daughter's hit that point where she's trying to rationalize back to me when she doesn't like what I tell her.  That's not to say she's successfully communicating the argument, it's just something other than "NO, NO, NO," is coming out of her mouth.

"Daddy, you don't tell me no," and "Daddy, you don't talk to me about it," are her go to phrases right now. 

The tantrums are there, but really just get out her frustration and I think she's figured it out.  If she throws a big tantrum, not only is she not getting what she wants, she's getting a spanking on top of it.  It only took a month of torture to get to this point.  Probably a record somewhere, but it's been hell so speed of her learning curve isn't really something I'm bragging about.

Last week was probably my favorite attempt at rationalizing the situation in her favor.  Keep in mind we'd traveled 1800 miles over the course of a week on vacation so car's aren't the kid's favorite concept right now. I had meetings to attend in Houston a couple days after vacation was over.  The Gold Cup soccer semifinals was held at Reliant Stadium between USA & Panama and Mexico & Honduras and my wife's family had picked us up tickets.  This meant the kids were coming along on my business trip and would get to see my parents (Nana & Papa).  Over dinner on Sunday night she announces that we cannot go see Nana and Papa.  "The car is too small and we are too big. We can't go see Nana and Papa. I sorry, car too small, we're to big."

We were dying. It was the single best argument she's come up with.  Sadly, for her it wasn't good enough to float the boat.  GO USA & MEXICO! But I'll give it to her, I can tell I'm in for a rough 16 years ahead. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home!

Vacations are breaks from life that seem to take two forms.  You come back refreshed and longing to be back on that ski slope on the beach.  Or what seems to be more prevalent, you feel like I did today.  Worn out and grateful for my normal life.

We bought tickets to the Houston Beer Festival through Groupon several months back.  The plan was to go with some friends who told me about it and have my wife and some of her cousins come along.  So when 20,000 Grouponers descend upon Tranquility Park in downtown Houston along with the 5,000 others who paid full price, disaster struck.  The lines to get in were hours long.  It was unbelievably disorganized and damn if it wasn't blisteringly hot.  I saw several people faint and a couple had heat stroke seizures.  (one girl was second in line for her Groupon when she pissed herself, started choking on her tongue and passed out...paramedics eventually showed...she's all good now). 

Once in, we had a blast.  Just a minor blip.  We went to eat afterward which was pushing it with grandparents as babysitters.  My 11-month-old apparently cried the last 15 minutes straight right before we got home.  I came in and my dad was pacing the house.  Should've skipped dinner, but beer saturated people gotta eat son!

The next day we headed to Biloxi, MS.  My brother-in-law ships out to Afghanistan in a couple weeks and had four days of leave.  He could travel within a small radius around Hattiesburg, MS.  He chose the beach.  The family from Tulsa came down as did some from Houston and us.  His 8-month-pregnant wife and 5-year-old daughter got to spend some quality time with him too.  I'll probably have more to post about Biloxi later, but aside from the family stress that is my in-laws, it was fun...hell on Earth sweltering, but fun.  Oh and if you've never been, this is a gambling town in a poor state with white sandy beaches.  So for a redhead who doesn't gamble, it was not exactly my cup of tea...the fresh oysters on the half shell on the other hand....Slap Yo Mamma Good!

We spent the rest of the week in New Orleans, LA.  I've never been to NOLA before.  This was an experience worth a couple of blog posts.  I'd like to note on the topic of vacation hells though, this city tops most of them.  Hot, sticky, stinky, slow as molasses food service, (friendly people though) hell! All the fabulous Cajun food and gallon sized hurricanes in the world weren't enough to keep the heat and humidity at bay. 

Needless to say, 1,800 miles later, I'm dog tired and happy to be back home and working.  Granted, we're heading back to Houston tomorrow so I can attend some trainings and we're fitting in a couple of international soccer games at Reliant Stadium in the middle!

Here's to being home and vacations that make us truly appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Temper Trap

I have a temper. It's fairly short with my family but patient with most of my employees and coworkers.  Distant family or folks I only see once in a blue moon get the softer side too.  The closer you are though, the rougher I become. 

I'm not the physically abusive type or anything, I yell and slam stuff.  My wife puts up with a lot of this crap from me. I'm quickly realizing that it's extremely unhealthy around my children.  My daughter is in the middle of the most difficult time for children. She's two and a half and is truly testing her boundaries and walking that fine line between being a toddler and little girl who comprehends and can communicate thoroughly.  The tantrums she throws though are like a slightly more psychotic version of mine.  This scares me more than anything. 

I'm already in trouble as a parent for her recent fill in the blank moment involving me saying "Mother," and cutting myself off.  Yep, like she was just helping me out for the missing word, she enunciated it to perfection.  Not my finest hour.

The gym has been helpful in loosening up some work anxiety and frustration. So I'm thinking I need to come up with some new ideas for managing the anger and the cursing.  The cussing is a problem that I need to just tap that subconscious level of my brain that keeps those words at bay when in the presence of strangers, customers and the elderly.  I know it's there. As for the temper, what do you do for on the spot rage suppression?

I'd love to hear your advice on either topic. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Air Was Escaping From His Body In The Way Air Usually Does

Jim Carrey might be the closest thing to a live action cartoon I've ever seen.  But a news story from last week just might top him now. Here's the BBC link.  A New Zealand truck driver fell of his rig and impaled his butt cheek on a pipe fitting.  This fitting was to an air compressor.  The man began filling up with air like a balloon, or as he put it, a football (soccer ball for us Yanks!).

He was pinned and said he just had to lie there and take it. If he wasn't alright, I'd feel bad about the bouts of laughter I had from that comment. He said he felt like his foot was going to explode! Doctors said they were amazed his skin didn't burst. I'm picturing something straight out of Looney Tunes!

 To the Juicer!

So a BBC Radio 1 DJ I listen to on satellite radio had this little bit to go along with the story.  A couple of radio folks from a town called Kent couldn't keep it together reading this story...which serendipitously was followed by the weather on a particularly windy day!

I couldn't stop laughing in the car.  Yes, I'm a bad, bad person.  Like I said though, because he's recovering, I think it's fair game for a chuckle!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Have a Penis, What Do You have?


My wife and I have a continuing discussion the past few days.  Our daughter is two and a half and we're being forced to decide what to call her private parts.  Currently she calls them her butt.  I'm not sure where it came from, but it is what it is.

She knows that my son and I have penises and calls them that.  I have no issue with it even though the horror that ran through my mother-in-law's mind at first was priceless.  Since she could walk, she's barged right in while we're using the bathroom.  Can't really hide the fact that daddy stands up to pee and has extra accessories to go along with the act.  Then when my son came along, let's just say privacy is moot at this point.  She is also aware thanks to my breastfeeding wife, that she will someday too have boobs. 

OK, so all of that was to point out that while initially, we might seem WAY too open with our toddler, some things just happen and if you're able to hide anatomy and life from your kids, kudos, you're a more diligent person than I am. 

Speaking of anatomy, that's what this is.  I'm not having the sex talk with her or anything crazy.  I don't recall what we called it as kids, my wife grew up with a bunch of Tally Wackers but can't recall what hers was called.  According to her mom it was a Hoo Hoo.  See, I'm not ok with that at all.

My sister's was called her bottom and her rear was called her butt.  That seemed simple enough but teachers and stick up their ass churchies might have a problem with the word butt.  Then again, they will probably have a problem with PENIS! Pretty sure somewhere in the New International Version, Jesus declares the penis null and void along with the century's old ruling on banning of dirty lady parts.

So, what's the problem, you're probably asking?  Why can't she just say VAGINA? Why am I making a big deal out of it?  Well frankly, she's never spoken of my penis in public, so that's one.  She has said she hurts or itches in public before.  Thank you UTIs for those awkward moments!  Hell on Memorial Day she decided to dig in the dirt, no biggy, we've got baby wipes.  But while I was working the grill and battling mosquitoes, she decided her panties were dirty from sitting in the dirt and needed to be taken off.  Because being naked in the dirt makes much more sense.  Yeah, she hurt later that night too.

My wife slept on the topic a few nights and decided if my son and I have penises, than her and my daughter have vaginas (side note, when I spell checked this post, vaginas apparently isn't a word, the plural seems to be vaginae. Who knew, guess I've never discussed multiple vaginae before!).  WHEW! Glad that's cleared up.  But seriously, I'm kinda in agreement with her.  So why bother with this post?  Cause I'd like to hear your stance.  And for the record a two year old saying vagina just werids me out, but it's kinda funny now since she can't actually say it.  So for now her "Gina" (long i) is AOK. 

I predict that sometime in Kindergarten I'm going get called into the teacher's conference to discuss the vagina issue. I told my wife that if I could keep a straight face, when asked why we allow her to say it, I'd tell the teacher that "Cunt, Twat and Pussy just seemed somehow inappropriate."  Probably never happen. 

So, what was your thingy called when you were growing up?  What have you taught your kids?

Craig Ferguson had a wonderful little story about the Shame Stick and the Magic Baby Door.  Pretty sure both are out for us.  But in response one of my old professors declared he prefers the Bald Avenger.  Thanks Dr. Sisk.

Oh and the Internet is not the best place to research this topic so I've found.  Thousands of names for each part, none of them would I ever want to hear my daughter legitimately refer to hers or a boy's units as such.  Then there's the porn, but I won't get into that right now...unless, nah gotta get back to work!