Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My oldest daughter completed her last day of high school today. Graduation is this Saturday. I know a lot of parents out there who are feeling anxiety over the fact that their babies are graduating high school. I, for one, don't really share that sentiment.

You see, my kid is bright, but she's not that motivated. Maybe that's the wrong way to phrase it... because she's willing to work on something if she is interested, or if she sees a payoff. But if something fails to capture her imagination, or if she's not really interested, then she's not prepared to put much effort into it. As a result, her grades in math and science tended to really suck. I can't remember a single semester where she didn't bring home at least one D.

My kid and I really butted heads over her grades. I tried yelling, grounding, tutoring... nothing worked. Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that my kid was going to have less-than-stellar high school grades... and the possibility that she might even have to stay in school for an extra semester.

But it looks like she's actually made it. I wish that she could have done better, but I'm happy for her... and I'm relieved.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Ocean of Peace

Every once in a blue moon... I mean REALLY rarely, I will be be doing (whatever) and out of nowhere my subconscious mind tells me to stop. I'm still aware of what's going on, but I am kind of disconnected from life for the briefest of moments, and drowned in a wave of peace. While life continues whizzing by me for that microsecond, I am removed just long enough to appreciate what I have, and to be thankful for my life.

I just had one of those moments, and they're part of why I am convinced that God exists.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Well, it took me two trips to the hardware store and several hours, but I have once again demonstrated my handy man repair abilities. The pipe for my outdoor faucet burst over the winter, so I fixed it. Since it was a non-critical pipe, and I was able to do it at my leisure, I figured what the hell. I may be slow at it, but I have to admit that I'm getting reasonably adept at repairing copper plumbing. And of all the jobs I've done in the past, this one didn't suck too bad.

By the way, this is the second year in a row that this pipe has burst, so I replaced the internal shutoff valve and insulated the pipe while I was at it. Hopefully I'll be done plumbing for a while.

Just for shits and grins, here are a couple of pictures...

Here's a before shot. Notice that the pipe burst at the elbow...

Here's the after shot. During my work, I noticed that the pipe going through the wall had also burst, so I replaced that as well. It was actually easier to cut out the old valve and replace it too, which I did, but when I installed the new one, I installed the valve so it was pointing toward me instead of facing away.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Long Post I've Been Avoiding

Today's post has been rolling around in my mind for quite a while, but I've avoided actually writing it. In fact, I've avoided the topic so much that I still don't know exactly what I'm going to say.

Regular readers know that I am pretty open and plain-spoken. I am willing to write freely and honestly about a lot of things. That said though, I have a couple of guidelines that I try to follow... I try to avoid writing stuff that I know will be absolutely hurtful, and if I am going to cover something uncomfortable, I try to wait until the actual event has passed to write about it. But this just won't wait anymore...

My older daughter, the one who's over 18 and graduating high school in a couple of short weeks, has been dating a man boy who doesn't meet my standards. This is a tough topic for me, because I've kind of prided myself on my ability to roll with the punches. Furthermore, I've generally been satisfied with my daughter's judgment. And to top it all off, I've BEEN the not-good-enough boyfriend on more than one occasion.

Bakin has been dating Derek for somewhere between six months and a year. My first impression of him reminded me of Eddie Haskell. He knew the right things to say to the adults, but he was kind of mischievous, in a harmless sort of way. I had a bit of Eddie in me as a kid, so it was easy to recognize and difficult to condemn.

After a few months, he got into a major tiff with his mom, who booted him out of his house. A friend took him in, and within a week he and the friend got into a fist fight, and the friend's parents booted him out of the house. A second friend took him in, and within a week he and the second friend got into a fist fight, and the friend's parents booted him out of the house. He was forced to sleep in his vehicle for a couple of nights, and then started sleeping in cheap motels.

A couple of times he butt-dialed me from his cell phone. One time, he was talking about how high he was... the other time he was talking about how he was drunk and stuck. I don't have a problem with consuming mind-altering substances per se, but both butt dials kind of showed a general lack of judgment on his part.

In addition to this, he's had difficulty maintaining steady employment. Are you seeing a pattern emerging here?? Difficulty maintaining friendships, difficulty maintaining a stable home environment, and difficulty maintaining a job.

Now, with that said, the guy is kind of charming. In fact, I could see my 20-year-old self hanging out with him and having a good old time. But I am no longer my 20-year-old self, and the people I hung around with at 20 weren't good enough to be dating my daughter (with a couple of exceptions). So it's not that I started hating the guy, it's just that I decided that my kid deserves better.

But there's another complication... About a month ago, I was pulled over by the cops. The OFFICIAL reason I was stopped was because my license plate lights were out. The REAL reason I was stopped was because the cops were looking for Derek.

To shorten a VERY long story, I let them come to my house and talk to Bakin about the investigation they were conducting on Derek... he ended up showing up at my house during this questioning. They didn't have enough evidence to arrest him. But this DEFINITELY made my opinion of the boy go south.

Another month went by, and it seemed that the investigation was going nowhere. But then again, maybe not. The cops showed up at my house AGAIN last night and arrested Derek, who was in my driveway, dropping Bakin off. (Ever since the first time he's pretty much not been around the house, other than to pick my kid up, or drop her off.) And when the cops were arresting him, Bakin was ragging on the cops.

Eventually, I had enough and sent her inside, except that she didn't listen. I had to physically restrain her and drag her into the house. She was STILL going off on the cops, and me as well. The cops finally threatened to arrest her for disturbing the peace and domestic disturbance, at which point she finally shut up.

I'm really at the end of my wits over this. I know that I can't make her break up with him. In fact, she's been talking about getting an apartment with him after graduation -- this is despite the fact that I actually broke down a couple of months ago and told her that she deserves better. But even more than I know I can't will them to separate, there is no doubt in my mind that he's done SOMETHING to warrant the cops' attention... that my little girl deserves better... that the longer she stays with him, the worst things will end...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Too Long

I had a thought stuck in my little head last night, which prompted me to write this morning. Before I start with the real topic though, I've got to admit that I'm a bit chagrined over how long it's been since my last entry... it's been far too long. With that said, let's get on with the topic for today.

Those of you who know me realize that I'm hooked on nicotine. I've smoked cigarettes or cigars, or chewed tobacco off and on (mostly on) for about 25 years. I've quit too many times to count. I can easily make it for a week to a month, but after that I've relapsed.

Well, about a week ago, I bought a pack of cheap cigars and smoked them all in just a few hours. Later in the evening, I got a raging migraine headache, complete with nausea so bad that simply rolling over in bed caused me to vomit. That was enough. I've quit (again).

Having gone without any tobacco for almost a week (today is day six), has given my lungs a chance to clear out. As I was laying in bed last night, a thought kept running through my mind. Those of you who have gone from long hair to short will understand...

After a major haircut, I always noticed the breeze on my neck and ears for the first couple of weeks. While laying in bed last night, I very acutely noticed the "breeze" in my esophagus and lungs. It's kind of nice letting my lungs clear out again. They've been clogged with crap for too long.