fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Desperate Attempt at Coolness

Hands up, everyone! I'm passing out imaginary high fives to all of you in the wake of my most recent "cool" accomplishment. Pardon my lack of modesty, but I still have what it takes at 43 years old to make it to the top of a 55 foot vertical ascent. Don't let the fact that it was a fabricated rock wall fool you. It was a difficult climb. There were several children, whose ages I won't disclose here, who simply didn't make it.

As I reached the bottom, I noticed I had my 13-year-old son's rapt attention. I imagine it was probably pretty special for him to see his dear old dad tackling such an insurmountable task. I gave him my most charming smile, trying hard not to gasp and wheeze.

"What'd you think of that, buddy," I said, seeing the admiration, adoration and wonderment in my child's eyes.

"Umm," he said. "Good job, Dad. You just barely managed to beat that seven-year-old to the top of the wall. How much of a head start did you have on her, anyway?"

I turned to one of my son's best friends, Ann. Surely I would get some encouragement and positive feedback from her. I suspect she admires me and looks up to me as a role model.

"Really, Mr. Phillip," she said. "I'm impressed you made it to the top. But if you're just trying to be cool again, you kinda fell short when you landed on your butt instead of your feet. Yes, I did see that!"

Wow, these kids are tough. Maybe I'll have to get back into shape and tackle a real rock climb that exceeds 55 feet like I did when I was a teenager. Certainly I could reclaim my original air of "coolness" that way. I'll start a strict dieting and training regimen tomorrow. Now if I can just find a sticky note to help me remember that...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Growing Old Is Mandatory, Growing Up Is Optional

Generally speaking, one just doesn't reach the age of 43 without learning a few tricks along the way. During the first 43 year journey of my life, I have collected a few sayings of my own. You know, my own original pearls of wisdom, or tidbits of knowledge of which I will pass along to my 13 year old son to make growing up a little easier for him.

Here's a (very) small sampling of what I've come up with so far:

Never lick a flaming marshmalllow unless you want a burnt tongue.

Life is like a cow pasture. You never know what you're going to step in.

Life is like a box of chocolates... I know. You've heard this one. I said it before Forrest Gump did. I think.

The worms of life are merely bait for tomorrow's fish.

A trout in the stream is inevitable. A trout on the hook is divine. A trout in a picture with you is proof.

If life gives you a cold, wet nose and slobbery tongue, then wake your owner in time for work.

And two of my favorites:

The early nerd gets the virus.

Happiness is a fuzzy dog.

I could put my whole list into a book. It could be a best seller. Or I could just do myself a favor and follow my 13 year old son around and write down everything he says. Don't let his age fool you. He comes up with sayings that nearly equal my own -- and sometimes exceed them!

"Growing old is mandatory," he said, during dinner conversation tonight. "Growing up is optional."

I particularly liked it, though I'm still pondering what or who inspired it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

With Perfect Direction Sense, a GPS Is Just an Extra

My GPS gave me quite a scare today. I glanced at it and saw the words "GPS is lost." Granted, I was only in Greensboro and I had only made one incorrect turn, but that is NOT what I want to see on my little windshield mounted lifeline.

Don't get me wrong. I have an excellent sense of direction. Once, when I was about 19 years old, I got to Myrtle Beach, SC, simply by heading east and utilizing my memory. And, yes, I was by myself. I still enjoy reminiscing over that trip. I love long car rides!

I even drove to North Carolina Outward Bound base camp in the mountains by memory. I did that approximately five years after my own Outward Bound excursion that I participated in. To this day, I'm still not sure what inspired that trip, but, man was I glad when I finally discovered the entrance to that place.

Now when I leave the house, my wife and my teenager will ask, "Did you get the GPS?" Even my mother and father-in-law, who both understand me too well, will ask if I've got the little device.

"We don't want another mishap like that job interview you went on, do we," Ginga said. No, we don't!

Regardless, the little screen sent my gizzards swimming through my lungs as my brain nose-dived into my stomach. I pulled over into a parking lot and re-read it.

"... GPS has lost the signal currently. Please wait a moment..." is what it really said. And then, poof, my little cartoon car popped back up with the little red line telling me to turn around the next chance I got. Like I said, I wasn't really that worried. It's not like I couldn't have wandered my way home from Greensboro. Eventually.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's the Sweet Things...

Some people say it's the simple things in life that matter most. What they really mean is that it's the sweet things in life that matter the most

My wife tested me this weekend. At least, I think it was a test. As we drove through Lexington, NC, she asked me to stop at The Candy Factory on North Main Street. Having never been there before, and having the word "candy" in the name, I was already intrigued.

"Just get me some popcorn to munch on," she said. "And get a little something for yourself, if you'd like."

Now, of course, since I have a kid, I've been to quite a few candy stores. Some, in fact, have been large and impressive. As I got out of the car, I was certain this would be pleasant, but not comparable to some of the candy stores I have visited.

At the time, I thought I walked into the front door of the business. Hindsight showed me, however, that I had walked through a portal into another realm. The scent of sweets assaulted my nose. Elated chatter and creaking wood boards harmonized and swam around the room. Colors and shapes popped from every direction as a happy, warmth enveloped and welcomed me. Soft, smooth chocolate tantalized my tongue without my having to eat anything.

I floated through The Candy Factory, taking a sampling of this and a little bit of that. I pondered getting a second basket or just rearranging the one I had to make room for more. At 43 years old, I was the proverbial kid. You know, the kid in the candy store. Except I was the kid in the candy store with a credit card and full license to use it. And, luckily, I did remember to get my wife's popcorn.

I'm not sure, but I think I failed the test. Her eyes bugged out as I approached the car with a bag bulging with all sorts of goodies. I disarmed her with my most charming smile.

"Look honey," I said, getting in the car some time later. "I found your popcorn!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

News Flash: Fuzzy Dogs Have Exceeded Humans

It's official. The fuzzy dog count has officially exceeded the human count in my little household. And not only has it been exceeded, but the fuzzy dog count has doubled the number of humans. Now, having said that, I suppose I can't really call this household little! However, please notice I didn't say fuzzy, black dog count. And, secondly, the dogs being double the number of humans is simply a technicality. And thirdly (and lastly!), but not least, the current situation is only a temporary measure!

We have now taken on a pomeranian puppy. Those of you who know much about dogs probably know that pomeranians typically aren't black, and this one is no exception. Any sane person reading this may probably be asking, "why in the world would you want to torture yourself by taking on another dog?" The simple answer -- we traded.

My mother-in-law actually owns the dog. So my wife and I decided that our son might be an even trade for the dog. Grandparents take the grandkids to the beach for a week and I take a newly minted pomeranian for a week. I'm beginning to suspect she got the better end of the trade. I think my son may actually be better trained than the pup. The trade also explains the doubling situation since I lost a kid and gained a pup. Let's see, that makes the dog to human ratio four to two.

When Ginga (as the grandkids call her) comes back, voila, we simply trade back. The dog count drops back to three and the human count increases to three. Life goes back to normal, or what we consider normal in our happy little home.

Interestingly enough, Ginga asked me to try to train the pom. What a deal -- I train her dog while she trains the grandkids to fan her and fetch pina coladas while she relaxes on the beach. But I digress. We had a breakthrough when the dog peed on my foot today! Yep, I think she's definitely warming up to me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kite-Surfing Is Fun, but Hard on the Back

I woke up yesterday in pain. Severe pain, in fact. It seemed to start right between my shoulder blades and shot straight down to the small of my back. Throughout the day, I made enough noise about it to elicit comments of concern from my son. He was very sweet, saying things like "Don't worry, Dad, I'll take care of your camera when you're gone," and "Mom and I will sure miss your cooking."

Before I even got out of bed, though, I had to figure out what happened. My first thought was that I had overslept. Sometimes when I sleep more than eight hours, my back will get extremely stiff. But that usually only affects my lower back and not the upper part. Then I remembered my dream.

I had the most amazing dream that I was kite-surfing! The wind filled my kite-sail and sent me skimming over the surface of an indoor ocean (I know, go figure on that one). Normally my back can't handle strain like that and I remember, in my dream, thinking, "wow, this isn't hurting my back at all!" Each time I stopped or fell, I laughed it off. My back was strong as ever! I could do this! I told my wife all about my amazing dream. Then I told her of my aching back. So realistic!

Thank God I married a smart woman and have an extremely smart child. They tend to keep me grounded. My wonderful wife woke up and looked at me for a few moments. No doubt she was weighing my words carefully, mulling over the meaning of them. After a bit, she spoke.

"Your back hurts because you've been painting the graveyard fence with your mother," she told me. "You've probably been stooped over painting the bottom section and now your back is hurting. Take some ibuprofen and call me in the morning. Tomorrow morning."

Somehow, I had forgotten all about that. I thought about it for a few moments. I balked at her silliness and vowed to try not to dream of kite-surfing again in the future. It sure hurts.