Monthly Archives: November 2012

Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Bigfoot.

It was getting dark, so we had to go to the woods, and it sounded like Bigfoot knocking on the door,
but it was just the ocean.”
—My son’s recap of our Sunday afternoon hike at I.S. and Gertrude Sahli Nature Park

On the trail of the Bigfoot, aka, the ocean.

His hiking/Bigfoot hunting supplies.

Wait…is that Bigfoot? Nah. Just Big Sis.

My little tree-hugger.

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Burt Reynolds, I Am Not.

What my mustache feels like

What my mustache looks like

It attracts stares and arouses suspicion. Kids snicker and point at it. Mothers clutch their children and run when they see it coming.

It’s my mustache. And it’s not a pretty sight.

It started out as an office challenge for “Movember“—a charitable movement promoting prostate and testicular cancer awareness. The other guys in the office were on board, so I figured, what the heck.

At first I didn’t understand why mustaches were chosen as a way to promote awareness of a disease that affects the opposite end of one’s person. But I think I’ve figured it out:

A mustache makes you look like an A-hole. (At least in my case.)

Me on November 30

There have been many famous mustaches over the years, from the iconic (Ambrose Burnside, Groucho Marx, Rollie Fingers) to the sexy (Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Lando Calrissian) to the infamous (Stalin, Hitler, Geraldo Rivera). My own grandfather and father even had mustaches at one time. Pap-pap really looked good with a ‘stache. It gave him an air of sophistication, and people said he looked like Clark Gable. Dad, on the other hand…not so much. With his curly, salt-and-pepper perm (not joking), he looked like Alex Trebek, circa 1987.

That’s not to say mine’s any better. If my projections are correct, by the end of the month I’ll be a dead ringer for Ron Burgundy.

It’s sad, really. Mustaches used to be so cool. They symbolized masculinity, virility. Raw manliness. Not anymore. Nowadays they just make you look creepy.
(Sorry, Dr. Phil.)

What’s funny is I used to be envious of guys with mustaches. Back when I was 12, I was the “singer” in a heavy metal “band” known as Prisoner, and our bassist, my good friend Jay, had that particular swarthy gene that enabled him to grow a thick, full ‘stache before he was even permitted to see a PG-13 movie. It really made him look like an authentic rocker. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to grow facial hair until college. And by then mustaches had pretty much lost their mystique.

Exhibit A: My pilgrim phase

So far the only person who actually thinks my mustache looks good is my mom, which is not surprising, since she also liked my long hair.
(See Exhibit A)

My wife’s certainly not crazy about it. She says it makes me look like a 1970s adult film star, “or so [she’s] heard.”

As for my children, they haven’t said much about it. My daughter has been acting a little strange around me lately, though. Maybe she’s trying to tell me something. (See Exhibit B)

Outside of my house, I haven’t heard too many comments other than the occasional jab from a fellow female employee. But I know people are talking. I can sense them judging me as I walk past. It’s palpable. I’ve actually considered wearing a sign around to explain what I’m doing.

Exhibit B: Trying to tell me something?

But then I’d just look stupid.

For those of you who sport a mustache as part of your normal, everyday look, either because you like it or because it’s a part of your culture, please don’t take any of this the wrong way. To each his own, as they say. If you want to rock the Robert Goulet look…hey, who am I to judge you?

I’ll let everyone else do that.

As for me, I can’t wait to shave this ridiculous, itchy, unflattering thing from my face so that I can once again go back to being my normal, unremarkable self. Then again, if it gets just one person to be proactive about cancer prevention, I guess one month of looking like this isn’t all that bad.

(Yes it is.)


Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Surviving Family Time

The Demolition Crew

Back in the old days, extended families would live together under the same roof. Grandparents, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins would all shack up in one house, sharing resources and, more important, the adventures and blessings of everyday life.

Which explains why the average life expectancy was so much shorter back then.

Over the past two weeks, we shared our home with my younger sister, her husband, and their three adorable daughters – ages 3, 18 months, and 6 months – while they were in town for a visit. Add in my two little ones, and that makes five little munchkins who were running rampant throughout my home from dusk to dawn.

I don’t know how I made it out alive.

My house is large, square-footage-wise, but the extra space is mostly vertical, thanks to the high ceilings. This would be helpful if we were housing, say…an NBA team. It is of no benefit, however, when your roomers are less than 3 feet tall.

Words can’t describe the amount of devastation five young children can inflict on one’s home. Imagine coating every surface on the inside of your house with a layer of honey – your furniture, your walls, your television, etc. – and then inviting a family of ravenous black bear in to have at it. When it’s all said and done, everything is sticky, broken, and in complete disarray.

It’s sorta like that.

Oh, com’on, you say. They’re just children! And little ones at that. How destructive could they be? Believe me, they can do some damage. Don’t let their size fool you. Have you ever seen what a colony of army ants can do when they get organized? I rest my case.

I have to be fair to my 6-month-old niece, though. The sweet little angel’s not even crawling yet and, therefore, didn’t really contribute much to the craziness. Then again, she didn’t help much, either.

My dining room table is under there. Somewhere.

Dinnertime and bedtime, of course, were the most challenging. I’ve documented in the past just how difficult it can be to get just my two children to eat dinner. Throw another three into the mix and it’s absolute mayhem. Every evening I inhaled my meal as fast as possible, just to get out of the way of the flying food and spilt milk. My poor wife and sister, on the other hand, would go days without eating. They were too busy cooking, cutting, spooning, cleaning, wiping, and refilling.

Nighttime was a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Fortunately my children have reached the age where bedtime is reasonably routine. My sister’s kids, however, are still at that age where bedtime can be a precarious situation.

Each night while my sister fed the baby, my brother-in-law focused on getting the other two girls to bed. Taking one of his daughters, he’d ascend the stairs to the bedroom, only to return an hour or so later, frustrated and visibly spent. Then he’d take the other one up for round two. Some nights he’d come back; others he’d mysteriously disappear, only to resurface the next morning.

This chaotic atmosphere left little time for cleaning, as you can imagine. Not that we didn’t try. In the past two weeks we did 30 loads of dishes, 18 loads of laundry, swept the dining room floor 47 times, cleaned up 23 spills, and picked up the same toys over and over again continuously for 252 hours straight, just to keep from being buried alive.

O.K., maybe I’m being a little melodramatic. I have to admit that, despite the mess and the madness, it was really wonderful to spend so much time with family. After all, the mess is temporary, but the memories will last forever. I guess I just need to learn to relax and to enjoy it.

Only next time they come for a visit, I think we’ll all enjoy it together over in their suite at the Holiday Inn.

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


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