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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Birthday Surprise

The surprise was supposed to be when my two year old came downstairs and saw more pictures and dangly items featuring Elmo from Sesame Street than you would see at a Toys 'r' Us.

The real surprise is how this tiny human who still cannot put more than three words together (and a lot of times we guess at what one of the words is) inspires me to be the best person I can be.  I mean at this point she already believes I am the most impressive being in her tiny corner of the world. In her eyes, I could get away with being a jerk to other people as long as I still make wacky faces and noises.

The odd part is that, unlike most of my life,  I will not settle for being likable enough to make everyone think I am pretty pleasant.  She has forced me to become a better person.

Parker Ella Pearson just passed the 24-pound mark so I probably could take her in a fight. So, I figure her power does not come from power.

Plus, I do run into people with whom I have more interesting conversations than "Swing.  Outside. Yayy."  (That is her part.)  My part usually involves, "Yayyy.  Good girl.  Love you."

The fact that she exists makes me actually pay attention to the world.  (Did you know there are other channels besides ESPN and Comedy Central?)  I have learned that because I need to know the kind of world Parker in which Parker is growing up.

The weird part in all of this is that she really is pretty easy to fool.  All it takes to make her love me is being willing to chase her around in a circle and be able to read the same book about a teddy bear four or five times in a row.  I could get away with being the shallow guy that people seemed to prefer when I was single.  She would still go crazy when I walk in a room if all I had to offer was running to her and making a tuba-type sound on her belly.

For some reason I look into those blue eyes and I want to earn that giddiness.  The more unconditional the love she gives me the more I need to be worthy of it.  At this point, as long as I am willing to push her on a swing for twenty or thirty minutes I could definitely be the pretty thoughtless and careless guy who just floated through life and she would still light up and say "DADDY!" every time I am around.

Yet, even with that lack of a challenge I challenge myself.  This little girl is forcing me to stop being a GUY.  She is making me be a MAN.

 I can tell the difference because people who expect me to give them grief and bring a non-stop barrage of "Seinfeld" and "Saturday Night Live" quotes now get commentary on the quality of schools and how we need to do something so our kids do not have to pay for the national debt.

Who is this guy?!

I can say that the ME from my time as a very popular GUY would probably not want to spend a lot of time with this MAN.   I definitely have not reached who I want to be--nowhere close yet!  It's this little girl, who in just two years of life has made me want to get there.  

I just want to know that when she actually does have thoughtful opinions she will be thinking of someone who did everything to make her proud and point at me and say, "Yep, that's my Dad."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dog vs. Girl

He scratches his face and that act must ALWAYS be combined with licking his nether regions.  This is not a relative we must put up with.  This is Oscar. Oscar is our dog.

If a relative performed some of the acts this dog does you probably would swear off family reunions.  Instead this guy brings nothing but joy with every act.

The ultimate phenomenon is how this ninety pounds of lazy slob can make me feel lucky to have such love  in my world.   The sad statement about me is how I react when this amazing human being who lives with us constantly shows me what real emotion and warmth are and I sit there like a fat man next to a treadmill.

The human being is my wife Amy.  Never has anyone worked so hard to create happiness for me.  Yet here I am a blithering idiot for every accomplishment for the dog while the most I seem to muster for Amy is a half-hearted 'That's-great-honey" as I head to the bathroom.

I am moved to baby talk as I express my amazement and awe at how brilliant Oscar is because he peed outside.  I have checked...I can do that!

Meanwhile, my wife surprises me and paints our guest room by herself and I am able to muster a "Nice job, Baby," (please notice the comma rather than the exclamation point to show my lack of emotional investment) and then I turn on the television.

There is nothing wrong with loving your dog.  He is great and seems to actually have a real personality in everything he does but why do I think he is a genius when he pokes the ball we are using to play fetch away from a bush while this human who is the embodiment of love makes my existence actually have meaning gets a sideways hug more often than not.

Amy will take an entire night to organize everything in our house while still taking time to write a card expressing her innermost love and support for me.  I never ignore it but I do not put nearly as much energy into thanking her as I do every time I say, "That's a good boy, Oscar!   Yes, yes you are a good boy!"  I believe I may be a moron.

Please do understand.  I love the woman more than the dog.  I do not know if the lower standard we have for dogs is what brings such glee when he will shake hands at my request or why I giggle like a school girl as the dog actually responds when I say "Other foot" by lifting his other foot and shaking hands.  Again, it is adorable but hardly what should bring out almost heart-pounding joy.

On the other hand, Amy will pick me up from work and listen to me drone on and on about my boss (let's call her the anti-Christ) has the goal of eliminating my department and that I am not getting any respect.  Here I am not showing my wife the respect she deserves for all she does and I whine about it.  Irony, John Pearson be thy name.

Mrs. Pearson points out how I am too good at what I do to let someone make me feel down on myself.  She points to all of my accomplishments and how my talent is obvious and that no one should have any power to disturb my happiness.  She has pulled me from the depths of despair.  I am going to let her know...oh wait, the dog is licking my hand. I say, "Thanks Oscar!  That is just what I needed.  What an incredible dog!"

Doing that implies that the next thing out of my mouth would be, "Oh and Amy, that whole keeping-me-sane thing, that was nice, too."  I am an idiot.

I don't know if Amy notices that I don't notice what she does.   I would be nowhere as a human being without her.

I will never belittle the therapy that comes from rubbing the dog's belly and it is adorable that he sneezes whenever I am done doing so.   He is a great dog but she is the reason that I have stopped having the outlook and attention span of a chihuahua after eating a bag of sugar.

One more irony is that the dog was actually hers before I met Amy.   I have checked with her and she will not lick my face first thing in the morning in order to compete.  I just need to realize that while I accept and love the dog he is with me because I am part of the package that comes with her.

She actually picked me for some reason and I need to do everything to make sure she knows that I am aware of my luck.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hostage Situation

I sit in my darkened room yearning for the outside world but wonder, "What if they come back?!"  "What will I do?"

I stare at the clock wondering "Dare I try to breathe in the freedom that momentary escape can bring?"  Just a few seconds outside this house could give hope that all is not lost.

NO!  I must not try.  I must stay put.  If they return and I am not here waiting there is no telling how long this ordeal will go on.

The captors I speak of are not terrorists.  They are not even criminals.  They are the most ruthless and sadly the most clueless of hostage-takers. They are REPAIR MEN.

The words, "We'll be there first thing in the morning" apparently works on some offshoot of the metric system in their world.  The words resonate in my brain like a Michael Bolton song meaning even though you hate it there it is inside your head.

I even asked what 'first thing in the morning' means and the answer was 9:30.  Assuming since they said 'in the morning' I take it to mean a.m.  Around 10:15 I call my captors.

"Oh, they're running a little behind.  I can't imagine it would be more than an hour."

In the time-space continuum these life-nappers seem to exist going up on a down escalator.

Thank goodness I have the digital clock because if there was any ticking or tocking parts of my brain would start oozing out of my head.  It is a depressing notion that my world can have the feel of a fat man in quicksand because my refrigerator is on the blink.  Or is it "the fritz"?  I'll go with "the blink."

Twenty more minutes pass and I call this man who controls the destiny of my day.

"We had to get parts and the place we go doesn't open until eleven so we had to wait."  What kind of place opens at eleven?

Then, I make the classic mistake.  I dare to ask, "Shouldn't you have had the part already if you were supposed to be here 'first thing in-the-morning'?"  That question will cost me at least another hour.

I think to myself, "At least Patty Hearst's captors gave her some chores, like armed robbery.  I am just here."

Ten minutes later Buford or Jimmy or whatever his name is calls and says that they have gotten the part so "We should be headed your way soon."

"Soon" is never good.  At least if they give a specific amount of time you can use the classic Repairman Quotient:  TxCxB+OxPxS=A

That is Time they tell you times Complaint Calls they receive times Breaks for cigarettes plus Orbits they make around the neighborhood despite having directions plus Phone Call asking for those same directions times Stalling because he did not like the tone of your last call equals Actual time of arrival.  (Give or take 43 minutes).

It works out to 3.376 hours to every hour they tell you.

Now it's about passing the time.  Do I dare get on the treadmill? Wait the treadmill could be too loud so I would not hear the doorbell.  So, I can do nothing that makes noise of any kind.

I return to the couch and start to see smoke rise from the remote as I explore all of the options of daytime television.  I begin to envy the view that a hamster on a wheel has.

NOON comes and goes. I begin realize that possibly these people do believe there are people on this planet who have jobs that do not entail driving around listening to the latest from Toby Keith.  I have nothing against Mr. Keith but well over seventy percent of repair men in my life have been listening to him when they drove up.

Our original conversation did feature a specific mention that I had to be at work by 1:30.  Of course that means they will arrive at 1:15 and take a look at what needs to be fixed and I then have to go into another equation where I figure out the last possible second I can leave and still be only a couple of minutes late for work.  

To be fair, I was wrong. They got there at 1:13.  Sadly in my state of despair and desperation I actually decided that meant they were early!  It is they hypnotic power they have.  I could not act mad because, "I don't want the repair guy to think I am a jerk."

As I ponder my impending lateness for my own job I finally ask, "How long will it be?"

The response, as always, "Prally 'baht an hahr."  Translation:  Pro-bab-ly a-bout an hour.

I tell them that I really have to leave.  The two men look at each other with an expression that says, "Mission Accomplished: Another person's day in the crapper."

As one guy picks up the tools and puts them in the truck the other says they can be back in two days.

You know of course when they will arrive.  "First thing in the morning."