Independence Day

I always say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but Independence Day has a lot going for it every year…might be a strong # 2.

Dave and Col always host a BBQ. In addition to it being July 4th, the 3rd is Moms birthday and the 4th is Marie’s. This year the BBQ was actually on the 3rd, but close enough. We always have a fun time with the family.

The morning of July 4 is the Annual Marlton Mayor’s Cup 5k run. This year I set a new personal best at 23:36. I was very excited. I had hopes that I would finish in the top 3 for my age group but there were a lot of good runners this year.marltonmayorscup2016_web Last year my time would’ve been good enough, but this year it wasn’t. I was still very happy with the time though. It’s funny, I don’t know what anybody else is thinking, but I definitively know that I take this as a serious competition. I was nervous at the beginning. And near the end when I was passed by an older looking guy I was sizing him up trying to determine if he was in my age group. Not wanting to take any chances I sprinted to the finish line. The last thing I want is to finish fourth by 1 second and miss out on a dollar store medal. It’s so stupid, but for some reason it matters in my head.

Nathans Hot Dog Eating ContestAt noon I watched the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest with Julia. Pam and Susie are disgusted by it. But we love it. It has become our little 4th of July tradition. It is such a spectacle and so ridiculous that we can’t help but being entertained. I had two favorite moments:

Then because of the holiday there was afternoon Yankees game. I love baseball, especially weekday afternoons. I listened to the game while I cleaned up the basement – something I have been trying to get to for a couple months. I don’t necessarily like organizing the basement, but when a project like that is complete I always feel such a sense of accomplishment. It’s a meaningless task, but I’m so satisfied that I got to delete it off my To Do List. The Yanks lost, but it was still a great day.

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Wite-Out

I think pretty highly of myself when it comes to little mistakes and errors that plague most people. In fact, I think I’m nearly perfect unless someone else negatively impacts me or I am the victim of some unavoidable circumstance. I think my organization skills, planning, cleanliness, and foresight make me this way.

As I was cooking dinner, Julia was looking for something in one of the kitchen junk drawers.

Julia: “Uh oh. Whoever put the Wite-Out away last didn’t put the cap on right and it spilled in the drawer.”

Me: “Well I know it wasn’t me. I’m perfect. I never make mistakes so I have never even used Wite-Out.” (For the record, that is pretty close to true. Wite-Out just makes mistakes look worse, so if I do need a correction I always figure out another solution.)

Julia (not believing me): “Oh yeah…you’ve never made a mistake?”

Me: “Yeah you’re right. I’ve made two.” I motion to Susie and then to her. Julia pretends to get upset.

Julia spent a lot of the night trying to point out some kind of mistake to pin on me. At dinner, a piece of penne dropped off of my fork.

Julia (finally thinking she got me): “Ah ha! You made a mistake!!!”

Me (not even acknowledging her): “Did you see that?!? I dropped that penne perfectly where I wanted to on the toe of my shoe. Nobody could have done that as accurately as I did.”

Heels


I needed to ask Julia something tonight. She was locked in her bedroom. I knocked.

Julia: “Who is it?”
Me: “Daddy.”
Julia (as if I’m bothering her): “What do you want?”
Me (yelling because this has already taken longer than I expected): “I need to ask you something?”

Door unlocks and pops ajar. I hear Julia scamper as I walk in. She is sitting on her bed trying to act as if she wasn’t doing anything wrong. I notice she is wearing the dress for her upcoming recital.

Me (perplexed): “What are you doing in here?”
Julia (sheepishly): “I was practicing walking in heels for my recital.”
Me (now completely baffled): “And you needed to wear the dress for that too?!? Oh, never mind.”

Leviticus 15:19-24

Yeah, that’s the Bible.

We were invited to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. During the service I started flipping through looking for a decent story. I did this a couple years ago too. Yom Kippur fell on a weekend so Pam asked if I would go with them. That was the first time I ever really tried to read the Bible. It was pretty eye opening. I don’t recall the specifics but I remember reading a number of passages in which God required people to do some crazy shit to prove their faith in him. I think somebody had to kill their son or wife. And somebody else had to sit on a hill for a long period of time. As someone reading this for the first time, it didn’t make me feel like God is omnipotent. Instead the character was an insecure, narcissistic ass hole.

Anyway, I figured I’d give it another shot today. I didn’t find God being an ass hole, but I did find more stuff that makes it difficult for me to believe that anybody follows this stuff. Today I read the rules in Leviticus. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense or was inconsistent, but the topper was Leviticus 15:19-24.

The commentary on the version I read said that the touch from a woman on her period can kill crops, rust iron, and make a mirror stop reflecting. Now that’s power! It also required her at the end to bring 2 turtledoves to her priest as an offering because of her uncleanliness. I wonder if this has anything to do with the “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. I always found cumulative songs and stories to be annoying, but maybe I have to pay attention.


Also during the services, there was a moment when we were all standing. The rabbi finished a prayer. She then directed us to remain standing while we pray silently to ourselves. When done, we should sit.

I immediately sat down. In fairness, I was immediately done. I don’t pray. I don’t even know how to pray. And if I did know how, I still don’t think I would do it. I think this tweet sums it up pretty well:


Final thing. Julia’s stomach was super growly during the services. Probably the loudest, longest rumbles I’ve ever heard. That kid is like me…always needs to eat. It reminded me of Ron’s funeral when she wanted to go up for communion. Maybe religious services make her hungry.

Fog / Snow

While I was getting ready for work this morning, Susie came in my room. She looked out the window and could see a lot of white. It was really foggy.

Susie: “Is it snowing out???”
Me (sarcastically): “Yeah, it’s snowing in the middle of August.”

Julia walked by in the hallway at the exact right time to chime in. “It’s September” she said in a sing-song voice without missing a beat as she continued on her way.

Me: “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!”

OCNJ – Julia’s shirt deal


I took Julia and Madi down to the boardwalk tonight. (Susie and Trini didn’t want to walk that far.) The girls were popping into a lot of the shirt stores. Eventually Julia found the type of shirt she wanted. She asked the guy at the counter how much for a particular iron-on. He said $15.

Julia: “Oh, I only have $10.”
Guy: “Sorry, it’s $15.”
Julia: “How about for that smaller iron-on?”
Me (quietly to Julia): “I can buy it and you can pay me back later.”
Julia shoots me a look.
Guy: “Still $15.”
Julia: “I might have $12.”
Guy (looking around so nobody hears): “OK”

The guy takes the shirt goes to the other side of the counter where the iron-on machine is. Julia takes out her wallet to prepare to pay. She proceeds to pull out a massive wad of bills. I am shocked! Now I know what the look was for…she was negotiating!

Me and Madi run interference by jumping in front of her in case the guy comes back so he won’t see that he’s been scammed. In fact, it takes her so long to peel through all of the $20’s just to find a $10 and two $1’s that I spin her back to the counter as well.

Guy comes back. Julia pays him $12. We leave the store. Madi and I bust out laughing. I’m bringing her next time I go to buy a car.

Julia’s hamburger

I grilled 1/2 lb burgers for dinner tonight. They were so big that apparently Julia had some difficultly managing it. Not really the eating part as much as the handling of it. You see this more with little kids who can’t properly keep a burger or hot dog centered in the bun…like this:

I looked over at Julia’s plate near the end of the meal and saw a big lump of meat leftover. The burger must have been slipping out the back while she was eating. I loved her phrasing when I asked her what happened:

“I ran out of bun.”


This reminded me of another Julia-ism…

We have a sunken family room. It’s one 6″ step up into the kitchen. Julia was little – maybe about 4 years old. So she was short and still able to make missteps when walking. Running from the family room to the kitchen she whacked her leg against the step. She sat and started rubbing her shin.

Me: “Are you OK?”

Julia: “Yeah, but I hurt my pants.”

Blackout

We had a nasty storm pass through. The girls were freaked a little at first, but saw me continuing to eat dinner as if it was no big deal, so they calmed down. They actually wound up having fun the rest of the night when we lost power for a few hours. No electricity! Candles! This is different!!! Sometimes it doesn’t take much for them to get excited.

We made out OK. Some branches, leaves and small plants blown around, but no serious damage. Also, some people in Evesham – and my parents in Cherry Hill – lost electricity for days.

Ron Connors

Colleen’s dad died on Sunday. He was a good dude. I would see him 4 or 5 times a year at Dave’s house. He seemed like he should be gruff, but I always found him affable.

He had been sick for awhile. I think like 6 years. He had “one of everything”…heart attacks, cancer, COPD, emphysema, etc. Honestly, being a step removed, I couldn’t keep track. I do know that if he was a cat, he well out lived his 9 lives. He had a lot of reasons for his health issues. It was a combination of smoking, exposure to Agent Orange while fighting in Vietnam, and even possibly working in a commercial bakery (fine flour in the air all the time).

A couple weeks ago he had a stroke. We found out the night we went to Moms & Pops for Pam’s birthday dinner. Col wasn’t there. She was shooting us text message updates throughout the evening. In the middle of all that she managed to apologize to Pam for missing her birthday. She is too considerate.

He made it out of the hospital, but never fully recovered. He was weak and fell and wound up back in the hospital. He was then diagnosed with kidney failure, sepsis, and probably some more stuff. He only lasted a couple days more.

The funeral was on Wednesday. This was the first time that the girls were going to a funeral. They wanted to go to support their cousins. Pam and I were fine with it. We felt like they were old enough to handle it. At no point through his up’s and down’s over the last few years did we ever hide any info from them. We’re generally pretty honest with them about everything. I think kids are more capable of dealing than most people give them credit for. Plus, they know when something is going on anyway. We figured this would be a relatively good funeral to expose them to for their first one.

In preparation for Wednesday, I gave them a rundown of what to expect. The main thing I wanted to make sure they were ready for was the open coffin. I tucked in Julia first Tuesday night. Before I left the room – unrelated to anything – she asked me how many seconds there were in a day. I told her we would look it up tomorrow. “Go to bed!”

Next up was Susie. We talked for a while. We came back to a discussion of the open coffin. Good thing we did. She said she was envisioning something out of Indiana Jones. I’m not sure if she meant one of the mummified bodies or the guys whose faces melt off. Either way, I’m glad we got it straightened out before I left her because she probably would’ve been up all night.

After I left her room I figured I better go back to Jul just in case she had the same misconception. I popped open her door and she is sitting up in bed, reading light on and pan and paper in hand. “What are you doing?!?” “I’m calculating how many seconds there are in a day.” Little wacko!!! She asked why I came back. I explained Susie’s confusion. Julia, confused by Susie’s confusion, “He’s just going to look like he’s sleeping, right?”

I’m usually not really bothered by funerals. I don’t know if it’s because I never lost anyone I really cared for or if it’s just because my black heart inhibits me from having any feelings about anything. I remember being a little weepy at Grandmom Girgenti’s funeral. I was 14. It wasn’t because I personally felt a great loss – she wasn’t a warm person (as evident by the generic name “Grandmom Girgenti”). I think it was because I was envisioning my other grandmom dying.

Of course when my other grandmom did die 11 years later, I don’t recall being broken up about it. I knew that I would miss her – she was a great lady…I have lots of special memories with her – but I don’t remember crying at all. Maybe because she was very realistic about life and death. (I’m realistic too, but dammit, I want to live forever!) Maybe because my mom wasn’t outwardly upset. For the record, if emotions can be passed through hereditary, this is the family line that I can blame for me not having any. My mom has been nicknamed The Rock because she doesn’t break for anything. I know it’s a stereotype, but there might be something to the thought that Germans lack feelings.

Ron’s funeral pretty much played out the way I expected. Susie cried a lot, Julia didn’t cry at all (Rock v3.0), and I just took everything in a practical manner. But then Colleen got up to give the eulogy. It was awesome! She really did a great job highlighting interactions from his life. And it was…moving? I guess. What were these feelings I was having? I really got choked up, especially when she talked about moments her dad had with his grandchildren. I can’t believe I got upset. I was shocked, confused…and excited! Yay, I do have empathy!

The last highlight of the funeral was communion. It was getting close to lunch time at this point. Julia saw they were handing out food at the front of the line. She looked at me like “heyyyyyy, can I go get a cracker?” I should have let her go just to see how quickly Pam could pull her out of that line. I’m sure it would’ve been less than a second.

Here is Ron’s obituary:
http://obituaries.expressionstributes.com/?of=fb46357843

Super Bowl XLIX

Some random thoughts, then a longer story.

Scoring at the end of halfs. (Is it “halfs” or “halves” when you refer to it like this?) Same as NFC Championship game. When games are close, teams seem as if they are able to march down field at will every time using hurry up offense. Watching this happen in every game is the thing that frustrates me the most in football. (Actually about the game. I have documented my hatred of the NFL for all of the off field issues – Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell, deflate-gate, concussions, Aaron Hernandez, Washington franchise racist name, Richie Incognito, replacement refs, Saints bounty scandal, etc., etc., etc.) Any coach who doesn’t utilize this strategy (basically all of them) for the entire game should be fired. I am confident that I would be a dominating football coach based on this alone.

That said, great job by Pete Carroll going for the TD with 6 seconds left in the first half instead of settling for the FG. I believe most coaches call plays so that they don’t get second guessed or fired. Few actually play to win. It’s amazing…football culture is supposed to be manly men but the coaches really are a bunch of pussies. It was great to see Carroll play to win. I didn’t really have a rooting interest until I saw that and then decided to pull for Seattle.

Jermaine Kearse’s catch. Unbelievably acrobatic. Unbelievable concentration. And the part that everyone is overlooking, in the midst of all of that, to have the wherewithal to recognize he wasn’t tackled, get up and try to get more yards. This should be compared to Willie Mays catch in the 1954 World Series. He makes the catch and spins to try to get the tagging runner.

I don’t have much to say about Idina Menzel’s national anthem (it seemed too slowly paced), or Katy Perry’s halftime show (they billed it with Lenny Kravitz…but he was only on stage for 10 seconds and not even for his songs???), but I will highlight a commercial I really liked:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26hl9YWLyn4
Good all around, but love that anxious, sombrero-wearing polar bear gasping when it was Mexico’s turn to draft.

OK, now for the most important part of the game – the gambling. Though I love to gamble, I am usually anti- box pool. Look at these odds! Plus it is seriously just random luck. I like to participate in things where I feel like I have some effect on whether I whether I win or not. However Pops has been running a box pool for a couple years now and he always asks if I want to get in. For anyone other than Pops I would say no. It’s only $20/box. Plus he pays for every scoring change so more numbers are in play.

I got a copy of the pool about a week ago. On the side where all the rules are listed Pops writes “GLAH”. Julia saw that and asked, “What’s GLAH?”
Me: “Good luck”
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[ignoring her]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[Tries to change the subject]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[Tries to distract her with something on TV.]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
Pam snaps: “Just tell her already!”
“ASS HOLES! Good luck, Ass Holes!!!”
Pam shoots me a look. There is dead silence for half a second. Julia busts out laughing.

This year I drew New England 8, Seattle 4. Pretty shitty #’s. I chalked it up as a loss and forgot about them. I am not a person who obsesses “maybe NE will get 4 safeties and Seattle will get 2 safeties”. I hate those people who strategize the whole game hoping for their numbers to come out. So like I said, I forgot about exactly what I had until it was Seattle 24, NE 21 and Pops says if NE scores a TD I’ll win. NE scored and I got $50 for the score change. And with only 2:02 left, there was a good chance that I would get the end of game remaining pot of $850. BTW, I am no longer rooting for Seattle. Winning money clearly trumps the fact that Pete Carroll went for the First Half TD.

So basically there are 2 possible outcomes left. NE wins 28-24 and I get the money. Or Seattle scores a game winning TD to win 31-28. So who has 1, 8…Tommy! With 2 minutes left the money is basically mine to lose, so I figure that I’ll hedge my bet. I offer Tommy $200 for his box. He declines. Seattle starts moving down field. I offer $300. He declines again. Then the Kearse catch. Pops jumps in before I can say anything and offers $500! And Tommy declines again!!! Oh well. At this point it looks like I’m getting the $50 and that’s it. And then the inexplicable call on 2nd & goal from the 1 that resulted in the Malcolm Butler interception to essentially end the game! I hold on and win! Went home with $800 (I threw $100 to Pops for running the pool.) And poor Tommy went home with nothing. Poor guy should’ve taken the offer.