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Morning-Shower Phobia

Arachnophobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia. There are phobias for just about everything. I, thankfully, suffer from none of them. Well I’m not big on heights and you don’t want to see me around ketchup and iced tea. But other than that, I am just short of normal.

I took a self-imposed break from blogging though I continued commenting on other people’s blogs. Anyway, the break from blogging coincided with my break at school. Movies, Chuck E. Cheese, a visit to mom, editing of my novella, a staycation with my wife only, and sleeping in till 8:00 (yes, that is a big thing in my house) were just some of the highlights from my break. Of course, I found some time for self-loathing and questioning of my direction. However, the best part was not setting the alarm and moving at a different pace.
On Tuesday night, I had my clothes out, lunch made, lesson plans prepared, etc. I had psyched myself up and was ready to return to work. Then, I made a terrible mistake. I checked weather.com. The site said it would feel like 9 degrees at 6 a.m. That is the time at which I am standing on a street corner praying for the bus to come. My heart sank as my resolve froze. Uggh. I added a pair of long johns to my pile of clothes.
Wednesday morning came, and I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom for my shower. You see, there are two types of people in this world: “shower-before-bed” people and “shower-in-the-morning” people. I happen to be the latter. Thus my shower serves a dual purpose: a clean start and a wake-up call.
I looked at the shower and had reservations. Let me tell you about our shower, and you will understand. It takes a couple of minutes for the water to warm up. Once it does warm up, it can be scalding. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, why don’t you just balance the hot and cold knobs so the water will come out at a temperature you are happy with. Sounds logical. However, my shower is not logical. The knobs are inconsistent, so I never know where to turn them to in order to get a comfortable temperature.
As I have mentioned many times, I often lack patience. So, sometimes in my rush to warm up the water, I turn the hot up too far. It will be a comfortable temperature when I get in and suddenly the water will be scalding. Then, I will turn the hot water down and pump up the cold water and a minute later, the water is freezing.

I have little tolerance for extreme temperatures. So, I spend half the shower jumping away from the water. I jump so often in the shower that it could be a new kind of exercise. You have zumba, pilates, and shower dance (sounds like it should be way more erotic than it actually is). This drastic change in temperature makes washing my private parts an act of faith. So, one minute, I’m burnt like a beach bum and the next minute, I’m frozen ala Walt Disney.

Then, you have water pressure. Well, you may have water pressure, but my shower sure doesn’t. Give my two cups of water and an hour, and I can generate more pressure than my shower.

So now, I have made a change. I am no longer a daytime shower person. It is too scary in that shower on cold winter mornings. In fact, you could say that I have a fear or phobia of my shower. There’s got to be a name for morning-shower phobia.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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No Digression

The Eagles suck. Really, really suck. The Sixers have gotten off to a mediocre start with their star centered injured and out for who knows how long. The NHL is on strike and therefore no Flyers games. The Phillies are coming off a mediocre season and are in the quiet part of the offseason.

So, sports is out.

The election is over. There are no more polls, advertisements, or speeches. Barack Obama, for better or worse, has been reelected. The Senate and House of Representatives remain nearly unchanged.

So, the political races are over.

What am I to do?

I am on the computer. Maybe, I’m creating an assignment for students, writing a blog entry, creating a story. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Or maybe, I’m just stalling. Semantics I suppose, but I digress. The point is I am leaving the productive mode and entering wandering mode. I click a button and am suddenly surfing the world wide web (by the way, I always wanted to learn how to surf. I think I’ll put it on my bucket list under learn to play the harmonica. There I go digressing again).  I’d like to think this digression is actually part of the creative process. Research if you will. It keeps my mind active.

Who am I kidding?

For every time that I am doing true research there are 15 times where I am feeding my overactive mind with useless information. Do you know how often I pop on WordPress? Way. Too. Often.

So, what else should I do? I don’t have a ton of interests. I hop on Yahoo and see the ‘big’ stories. By the way, the latest headlines are Theron’s shocking haircut and small room’s big surprises.  Despite my wanderlust, I think I can stay away from those ‘big’ stories.

Ahh, self-control feels good.

If something doesn’t come along soon, I might stay focused. I might find myself cranking out work quicker than I could skim through another useless article. I think I might become Super Productive. Maybe, I could get a cape and a theme song.  This could be good.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Narcissistic

I was going to write about my SJ turning 6 this past weekend.

I was going to mention how proud I am that he learned to read  on his own.

I was going to convey how he cracks me up when I am washing him with his instructions as though he is getting a massage, “A little to the left. Ahh.”

I was going to tell you about how he is still obsessed with Thomas.

I was going to relate to you that he is a bit of a klutz.

I was going to note to you that he is a great hugger and loves to fall into your arms.

I was going to speak of his discovery of the deliciousness of chocolate.

I was going to reveal to you that he is always loud whether he means to be or not.

But then yesterday, I was roaming around WordPress. I was looking to read some parenting blogs as I am wont to do on an increasingly regular basis.  I was on for just a few minutes when I lost track of how many bloggers were writing about their children’s birthdays. Was another one needed? Last night my writing group friend mentioned that bloggers, and much of our society, are narcissistic. Of course, he said, “Present company excluded.”

I had been thinking the same thing. After all, does anyone outside of family and friends really care about SJ and the habits noted above? Does this information have one iota of impact upon anyone in the blogosphere?  After all, how many people had birthdays on Saturday, November 10th? Does 100 million sound reasonable? Hell, even in my family we had another birthday. Had my father been alive, he would have turned 80.  So, do I really need to share this information?

After all, I’m the kind of friend that has 20-minute conversations where I spend the first 18 minutes asking about the other person. Unless, I really have something to say, I’m quite content with that breakdown. Isn’t that the antithesis of narcissistic? In addition, I have neither time nor interest in reality shows (Okay, I often watch pieces of Project Runway with my wife. Yes, I did the same when she used to watch America’s Next Top Model. That was just because I was trying to be a good husband and take an interest in her interests. Really. Promise).

No, I am not narcissistic (well, I may have some of those traits but this is not one of them). I can’t accept that label. Am I hiding behind a blog due to my shyness? Maybe I do, a little. I look at my blog and the blogosphere as a way to form community. I look it as a way of shrinking the world and bonding over common concerns. I look at it as a way to learn/grow my writing skills while doing the same for others.

Maybe there is a bit of narcissism and hiding involved in blogging. I don’t care. So, what was I saying about SJ?
 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Please Come Back

It’s enough.

But it’s still on my mind.

Don’t bore your readers.  They’re tired of hearing you talk about this.

But aren’t you supposed to write what is on your mind? Isn’t that how the best blog posts get written?

I guess so. But consider your audience.

I do consider them, but I need one more entry, and I think it will be out of my system.

I’m sorry. Did you hear that? It was a conversation I was having with my writer self. I recently read about someone else conversing with their muse over at a blog – authenticlifejourneys.com I follow (and recommend by the way).

Anyway, the storm and its affects are still on my mind. You see my family and I are still without power. I know, I know – so many people are really suffering while we are just inconvenienced.  I understand and feel bad for complaining.  However, last night the temperature got below 50 in my house while the darkness descended by 5. It was a long cold night and I am sick of this! I want my life back.

This weekend was a tease. We spent the weekend at my mother’s condominium. Heat, light – ahh the comforts of modern life.  It was beautiful and so appreciated.  It was hard to leave. I prayed that when we got home, and the electric would be back on.

No such luck. The electric company (PSEG) said we would be back by Sunday at midnight, then Monday at midnight, and then Tuesday at midnight. The have a PDF with each county and when the power will come on at each place. If they can predict it with such accuracy, why can’t they just make it faster? I’m sure they are doing their best but that does not take away the frustration.

I have been moving slowly since the storm has hit. This is not like me – I’m a doer. I make lists. I accomplish.  And now Sandy has struck, and everything has changed. Life has taken on a Ms. Havisham like pace.

I woke up last night somewhere in the early a.m. after dreaming of warmth.  I popped my head out from under my covers hoping that the heat had come on. The chill that hit my nose put reality in my face. I readjusted my hat and snuggled against the flannel sheets.

In the meantime, I am back at work and the children are back at school. We will return home as if it was a normal day. Then the darkness will descend, and we will be left sitting and hoping that tonight will be the night when normality truly returns.  I am tired of this!

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Missing Youth

“We’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore,” Twisted Sister.

Eurorail train schedules, Let’s Go Europe, and maps surrounded the unemployed 23 year old. He was planning out his backpacking through Europe summer. Responsibility and reality be damned. The epitome of freedom and youth.

“Larry,” my father shouted as he came into my room undetected.

I jumped, “Oh, hi dad.’

“Does the music have to be so loud?”

“Sorry.” I turned down the music.

“What is all the stuff,” he motioned at the paraphernalia that decorated my floor.

“Planning my summer trip.”

“Oh.” He shook his head, half smiled, and walked away after reminding me to keep the music lower.

I looked at the information around me, contemplated my looming weeks long trip, and considered my unemployed status. I felt guilty. Then, I got over it.

Yesterday, I was assisting a girl with her college application essay. During the tutoring session, she started talking to her mother. “Mommy,” she said “I am going create an empire.” She was certain that the business she had recently begun was bound for big things. I raised my eyebrows but said nothing. Her mother smiled a yes dear smile. The girl bubbled on so proud of her declaration that she wrote it down.

Another college recruiter visited my senior class. He talked about his school and how attending there will enable the students to achieve their academic goals. This of course will enable them to fulfill their dreams. Never mind the 70 average.

“I’m happy she is getting a chance to go away,” she explained. “But when I dropped her off, I felt a little jealous.”  So my fellow writer said at a recent writer’s group meeting. She clearly felt a little guilty. There was no need to apologize as the rest of us – parents with children in various stages – shook our heads feeling the same such feelings.

It’s not youth we want. It’s the unbound enthusiasm. It’s the certainty that everything is not only possible but a mere question of when.

I wish good things for my tutee, my students, and my co-writer’s daughter. I hope they achieve big and great things. They are in an amazing and exciting stage in their lives.

By the time you reach a certain age, there is some level of stuckness (I know it’s not a word, but it so fits). Whatever you’re level of contentment – nice family, decent job, comfortable home – choices have been made, life is being lived, and dreams come in size small.

The world is not our oyster. It’s not free for the taking. As adults, we know this. Lumps can and will be doled out. I, for one, am okay with that. I will cope and be happy for the dreams of the kids around me, hopeful about fulfilling my goals, and content with the wisdom I have gained.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Reject Me!!!

Sometimes in life we face rejection. I know positive-thinking types might say something like, “Well, you learn as much as or more from your failures as you do from your successes.” They may have a point. However, rejection still sucks. Yet, I crave rejection.

A few years ago, I initiated the YOC. YOC stands for year of communication. I was tired of the irony that–despite the incredible ease and multiple outlets for communication–people seem worse at communicating. One of my very few type A personality traits is returning calls/emails/texts etc. expediently. I don’t accept someone saying I was too busy to get back to you. Do you know anyone who is not busy these days? Okay, there may be a couple, but you know what I mean. There is always time for a two-line email or an 8-word text. “Crazy busy over here. Talk to you soon.” I am perfectly content with that type of rejection. So, go ahead friends/family – reject me.

There was a point that I was considering switching schools. Fortunately, I was able to get some interviews. Unfortunately, none of the interviews materialized into jobs. It’s okay. That’s life. I can move on. Really, I can. But something about the process pissed me off. I took time out of my schedule to prepare myself, come to you, answer your questions, and send you a thank you. Is it too much to expect a rejection letter? Tell me no thanks, good luck, and see you never. Yeah, I can easily get over the lack of communication, but it’s not cool dude. Not cool. Just reject me.

One of my goals this summer was to send off some of my work in the hopes of getting it published. I did have a touch of success and a couple of misses (including one where the publication simply publishes the winners without letting the rest of us know we were not chosen). The rest of my submissions – to quote the band Genesis – “No Reply at All.” Now, some (hopefully all) will be contacting me shortly to let me know that they received my submission. The editors will tell me my work blew them way. Ok, maybe not. I can handle it. A writer with thick skin (well, at least not reed thin) – can you believe it? Anyway, reject me.

I feel better now that I have gotten this off of my chest. In fact, I am ready to scream reject me. Just don’t ignore me.

 
24 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Political Junk

The presidential race is finally nearing the finish line. Really, it is. I am not running for office or involved in the least (well, I did make contributions to some candidates I support, but that’s different), and yet, I am exhausted. This political junkie is ready for the election and a break. I can’t imagine how the presidential candidates feel, particularly the incumbent, who has to balance a somewhat stressful day job – leader of the free world – while he strives to secure a second term. He probably has the time management thing down. Either way, it’s hard to always look good.

Mitt Romney declared his candidacy for presidency way back in June of 2011 while other Republican contenders declared up to two months prior.  So, even if you discount the fact that many speculated he would run for president  the day after he suspended his campaign in 2008, he will be officially running for president for nearly a year and a half upon election day in early November. That is a great deal of time to be in the glare of the media.

In fact, it is so much time that things have gotten a bit silly. Yes, silly I say. With this excessive amount of time, 24/7 news cycle, and billions of dollars spent (I can’t believe that there are not better ways to spend the money), the information being disseminated is overkill. This political junkie believes that the election is critically important. The electorate should strive to be knowledgeable about each candidate’s positions and make an educated decision.

Every Saturday evening as we enjoy the final meal of the Sabbath, my friends and I debate over which candidate deserves to be elected. This week someone noted that a story about dresses worn by Michelle Obama and Ann Romney was placed prominently in the newspaper. Are you kidding me? Exactly how is that relevant? Now, if that was featured on “Kelly and Mike,” I could understand.  Unfortunately, this is not the first ‘story’ I have heard which is being passed off as hard news but is actually utterly unimportant.

Here are the headlines:

OBAMA PICKED HIS NOSE – In first grade, the man who would become president pulled out a bugger.  This disgusting act of poor hygiene proves he is incapable of running a clean campaign.

ROMNEY CHANGED LANES WITHOUT SIGNALING – While heading to work, Mr. Romney recklessly maneuvered his luxury car in front of a Hyundai. He must not care about the little guy.

OBAMA HICCUPED DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM – While attending his high school football team’s homecoming game during his senior year, the president hiccupped noticeably. He clearly had no pride in the anthem and is not a believer in American Exceptionalism.

ROMNEY DIDN’T LAUGH AT A JOKE – Doesn’t everybody think that comedians are hilarious? Well, Mitt Romney only smiled and didn’t laugh. He clearly is a stiff.

Am I joking? I think so. Just Google them and confirm…

Let’s get a grip everybody. Study the issues, the candidates’ positions, and vote for who you think will best serve our country. That’s what this political junkie is more than ready to do.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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