A time for reflection, resolutions, and calcium supplements

September 4, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

And so, as we reach the zenith of another year, we pause to reflect on the year that was, of lessons learned, and the promise of a new year.  Such as it is with the close of another year, I come to the realization that in my life, time begets wisdom, experience begets patience, and perhaps most importantly, I am one step closer to needing soluble fiber supplements in my daily diet.  I wonder where I can get a bulk discount on Metamucil?

If at all else, I’ve learned that time creeps up on you.  For example, a few weeks ago, I hurt my leg and was walking with a noticeable limp.  This, in and of it self was not remarkable.  Rarely does a year in my life go by that I don’t cause significant injury to myself by doing something needlessly dangerous.  Try to fly off the roof with homemade “Bat-wings?”  Check.  Run and jump off a trampoline to dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan?  Check.  Try to leap over a four-foot hedge to impress my wife?  Check.

No, what set this injury apart from all the rest was that it occurred while I was walking around, looking around.  I didn’t trip.  I didn’t walk into a potted azalea.  I caused significant injury to my leg from the simple act of walking.

I believe that life has a purpose.  Every aspect of life is an opportunity to grow and learn.  Still, what practical purpose would an “age-inflicted” injury serve my life and those around me?  It took a while for me to discover the answer, and the meaning was revealed the moment someone asked me how I injured my leg.

It dawned on me that the answer I would give to that seemingly innocuous question would reveal the level of maturity I’ve attained over my life.  Would I own up to the fact that I had caused myself a nearly debilitating injury from the simple act of walking from my front door to the mailbox a half block away?  Or would I revel in my own state of denial by coming up with a more impressive and non-age related explanation?

In the end, I provided my questioner a very logical and reasonable explanation for my injury.  If I recall, the explanation included the presence of an oak tree, a beehive, a ladder and a rottweiler.

My own issues of denial notwithstanding, I did learn some things this year.

For several months now, my seven-year-old son has been writing ever more persuasive letters to Santa, beseeching him to get him an electronic toy called a “Roboraptor.”  This robot, which is basically a roboticized dinosaur that moves and makes monster sounds via a remote control, costs $120.00.

I mention the price of this toy primarily as a point of reference, for if I recall correctly, it was only a few years ago that this same son, when he was three years old, would have been perfectly happy if I had given him a box of bubble wrap for Christmas.

Still, my son isn’t normally a very materialistic person, and the years of bubble wrap for presents certainly served their purpose.  Besides, he had indeed earned a present with his grades and good behavior at school.  So, I figured, I’d splurge a little and Santa would have to lug around an extra “Roboraptor” for this year’s deliveries.

Christmas morning.  Excitement was in the air.  You could almost see “Roboraptor” straining against his box to escape and fulfill a boy’s wildest dreams.

When it came to his turn to open his presents, my son ripped open the package, and he immediately squealed with a shriek of delight.  “Roboraptor” was at last his, and he proceeded to act out all his prehistoric fantasies with his new robo pal in tow.

He played ecstatically with his new toy with joyous abandon and rapturous attention…for about 20 minutes.  He promptly spent the next half hour popping the bubble wrap that was packed around the “Roboraptor” box.

By my calculations, each minute my son played with “Roboraptor” cost me about six dollars.  As always, the bubble wrap was free.

Next year, he says, he wants a lava lamp.  I wonder what type of packing material they use for that?

Anniversary – Part III

September 1, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

Anniversary – Part III

I recently celebrated my thirteenth wedding anniversary.  I can confidently proclaim that after thirteen years, our union is an unqualified success.  We have seven-year-old triplets, a dog, a number of cars including a well-used minivan, a nice healthy mortgage, and a bank account with a balance that in the early years would fluctuate between comfortable and “Can we really live on this?”.

Through any number of trials and tribulations, through problems big and small, we’ve managed to celebrate the good times and pick each other up when times were tough.  As much as it is about being in love, the one thing I’ve learned about marriage is that it’s also about the solidarity that comes from two people who share a life together, and it’s that strength that has held us together as problems arise, as they inevitably will.  Well, we’ve weathered a lot – and after all of it, I know we are meant to last.

That’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of problems.  That’s a part of married life too.  As anyone who has a successful marriage can tell you, the first few years of married life are spent just trying to sort out the major issues – money, privacy, and the big kahuna – the other person’s feelings.

We’ve had honest disagreements over money.  We’ve had conflicts on how best to raise our kids.  We’ve had to face deaths in the family.  Most recently, we had to deal with a driver who lost control and drove into our backyard.

The funny thing is, after the ground rules are set, you spend less time arguing about really important issues, but just as much time on issues that don’t warrant any attention at all.  Case in point, a recent conversation I had with my wife Maya in the kitchen.

Maya: You didn’t replace the bottled water in the fridge.
Wayne: There’s still some water in the bottle.
Maya:  No, I saw what you did – there was hardly anything in it already, and you only drank a little just so you wouldn’t have to get a new bottle.
Wayne: I only drank a little because I was taking my vitamins, and I only needed a little.
Maya: Well, if you go get a glass of water for any reason, and you only leave that little for the next person, you’re forcing that next person to go get a new water bottle just to get enough water.
Wayne: What if the next person only needs a little water like me, just so he could swallow some pills?  In that case, I’ve left just the right amount.
Maya: That doesn’t make any sense!
Wayne:  I’ll tell you what doesn’t make any sense – since you must have been the one to get some water right before me, why did you leave so little instead of just drinking a little more so you could leave a full bottle of water for the next person?
Maya: Obviously, I didn’t need to do that because look how little you needed to swallow your pills!

The ironic thing is, after a long, drawn out discussion like this, a nice refreshing glass of cold water would have been nice.  But both of us would rather face the early stages of dehydration rather than give the other the satisfaction of seeing the other get another bottle of water.

So instead, I search the refrigerator for something else to drink besides the disputed water, until I finally come across a can of prune juice that has been sitting at the very back of the fridge for heaven knows how long.

I pull the lone beverage out from cold storage, trying to avoid seeing any kind of expiration date before I drink it, when, out of the blue, Maya says, “Wait a minute.  I was saving that for me!”

And don’t even get me started on the “Toilet seat up or down” discussion.