Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Your Average Gang

           It never fails.  As I’m writing one piece a rabbit trail leads to another idea which leads to another essay or story.  It happened again as I was working on the essay, Hell’s Hawks, for my collection, Hey, Four Eyes!  Hell’s Hawks is about my failed attempt at being in a gang in ninth grade and as I started writing I began to wonder about the reasons why people join gangs in the first place.  I mean, it’s not as if they have the greatest public relations team promoting them as, say, the Lion’s Club or the Knights of Columbus.  Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that a gang member’s life expectancy drastically diminishes the moment they sign on the bloody line.  So, why not forsake being gunned down or possibly arrested and leave the gang membership behind?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Art of Behavior

          My mom has always believed that if God intended for her to cook he would not have invented restaurants, and therefore, when we were little we would go out to eat quite often.  Actually, our parents took us everywhere.  I don’t recall my mom and dad going too many places without us even though I know they did because I remember a couple of babysitters I used to fantasize about.  However, the fact that we were small children did not prevent my parents from allowing us to join them for a night out.  Furthermore, they took us to some nice places in those days such as the English Pub, Peg Legs and the Sea Room, which may not have required ties in order to eat there, but neither did they have Play Places or televisions.  Even though we were given crayons and coloring pages to keep us entertained, no meal ever came with a toy.  I know because I asked.
          You see, my parents could take us to those places because they had taught us how to behave.  And we did behave because there were consequences to our backsides if we didn’t.  Furthermore, we know the difference between good behavior and bad behavior.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some Assembly Required

          When the boys were younger it seemed that every gift they asked for had to be put together.  They weren’t satisfied with action figures or toy cars; they needed forts and race tracks and complicated gizmos.  Now, anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that when it comes to constructing something or fixing things I am all thumbs and toes.  Just the other day I was telling a friend about a deck I was going to build in our backyard for the grill and bar.
          “You’re going to build it or have someone come in and do it?”
          “I’m going to do it,” I answered.  “It shouldn’t be hard.  It’s just flat and square.”
          Garth gave me an unbelieving look.  “Okay, well, I’m close by if you need me to show you what a hammer is.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The House Bitch

          The exodus has begun.  Well, actually, it began three years ago, but then it sputtered out and even went backward.  Heather was the first to go.  She turned eighteen and was ready to shake the shackles of parental control and ventured out on her own.  Chris wanted to fly the coop as well at that point, but without a paying job or a license he realized home wasn’t so bad after all.
          A year down the road, when we were leaving our home on the beach for one on the mainland with a pool, Nathan decided it was his turn to escape the confines of sharing our roof.  He had already had a brief taste of freedom during his two years at Indian River Community College as he shared a dorm room with three other students.  He returned home after graduation and reclaimed his room and stuck it out for a little over a year.  However, once you get that taste of being free from prison you want to avoid going back and he saw his chance to break out with the move.
          I didn’t blame him; I’d want out as well if I was him.  While our home is a peaceful haven, it is far from quiet.  Furthermore, while I love being surrounded by our children, I really wanted his room for an office.  And I got it - for one year.  Then he moved back in, my office went in the garage and I was writing on the couch.  Heather then moved back in for two months before going off to Santa Fe College and I lost the couch. 
          It was then that I started thinking of renting an apartment just for me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

We’re Hotel Experienced

           The girls and I love to travel, whether it’s a short day excursion, a brief overnight trip, or getting away for a few days to discover new vistas. We love that feeling we get as we experience new adventures or visit old memories. It’s what keeps our tires spinning on most weekends. However, due to the frequency of our little escapes and the size of our family, those $325.89 a night “suites” are definitely not within our budget. We lean more toward those hotels that remain under the arm-and-a leg price range.
          Now, that’s not to say that the places we stay at don’t have all the extra perks that the luxury hotels offer. We always go for a place that provides those little extras. I mean, we do have standards, after all. It’s just that they aren’t always as extravagant or large as their costly counterparts.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Achievers of Dreams

I had to admit; when he told me that he had been in a competition for stand up comics I just couldn’t see it.  I mean, he just didn’t look funny; strange, yes, but not funny.  Furthermore, I had never heard him say anything funny.  He never even cracked a joke.  Yet, he had won the first round and made it to the finals where he could win a chance to perform in Tennessee.  To say I was impressed was an understatement.  Shocked was more like it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

After “I Do”

          The ceremony is finally a collection of overpriced pictures in a pristine photo album.  The cake has been cut, the birdseed thrown at the running couple (because rice kills birds, I’m told) and the happy couple has driven off in a car covered with condoms and white hearts dragging a bunch of cans announcing to the world that their parents now approve of them having sex.  It’s the happiest day of their lives, at least until Avengers 2 comes out, and their excited about their future together.  And they should be.  Sharing your life with someone is an exhilarating feeling.  You are deeply in love with that person, when you’re not wanting to wring their neck, that is.  At times the union is blissfully easy, but it also requires a lot of work.
          Having already discussed five don’ts that you want to avoid in a new marriage, I thought it would be good to follow up with five do’s, positive steps to help reduce the friction that sometimes crops up after the honeymoon.  There’s no guarantee that these suggestions will keep the home fires burning, but they are steps in the right direction to keep those embers glowing brightly.