The Best Laid Plans

Sometime back in the summer, when everyone in my family (but me) and everyone in my wife’s family (but me) were all at a house on the North Carolina coast (all 40-something of them), my two boys (MLI and MLE) conspirated with their two similarly-aged girl cousins from Texas, to get together before Thanksgiving.

Wanting to foster this “cuz-luv,” my wife tried to schedule a “meet in the middle” trip to Memphis, but her brother (father of the girl cousins) wasn’t going for it.

So, my wife, bowing to peer pressure from the boys, scheduled a trip to Dallas, leaving today and returning next Tuesday evening. I would stay home with the recovering dog, and generally enjoy some quiet time.

Seeing as how we also have a daughter who is a good bit younger than the rest of them, we kept trying to convince her NOT to go since “5” is always an odd-person-out, but she had major FOMO and was insistent on going.

So, you remember that part, back when I wrote, “Best Laid Plans”?

This morning, my daughter woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat and, fearing she’d get sicker on the trip, away from the comforts of home, decided to stay home and NOT go on the trip that was scheduled to leave in less than an hour.

OK then. Needless to say, I was mentally ready (OH SO READY) for several quiet days at home, doing catch-up projects, NOT having to cook for anyone, or generally tell anyone I was leaving the house and having to worry whether or not they were safe. There was probably going to be an adult beverage or two. But not now. When you’re home alone with a kid, you can’t ever really let yourself go. You have to always be in physical and mental shape to tackle any emergency–real or imagined.

I also had a massage scheduled (the gift card I’ve been sitting on since Father’s day) and a very large, DIY project. None of that is happening now and in fact, I’m reconsidering the days I took off from work next week to accomplish these things.

I was FINALLY going to tackle this disaster area. How I HATE metal wire shelving!


I love my daughter y’all like nothing before, but I still haven’t mentally adjusted to weeks of planning to the contrary.

Waiting to Exhale (or: “Things Always Happen in Threes and I was Waiting on the Third”)

As was reported in my previous blog about dog cruciate surgery and the chimney fire, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. These things usually come in 3’s, so I’ve been waiting on the other shoe to drop.

I thought it might be my oldest son’s “potentially” sprained tendons (or ligaments, I can never remember) in his hand from holding the ball for his younger brother who was practicing kicking field goals. Yeah, the younger brother kicked more “hand” than “ball” and we feared the worst. But, after a few days in a brace, he’s going to survive apparently.

I’m now thinking that Tragedy #3 was my beloved #AlabamaCrimsonTide losing its starting QB (again, and again) for good this time. Our boy @Tuaamann took, what appeared to be, a garden-variety sack in his game against Miss St. this weekend and dislocated his hip. It’s worse than it sounds and it’s taking him out of the game for likely a year. It’s the same injury that ended Bo Jackson’s career.

I thought it would be pretty cool if Bo (an Auburn alum) reached out to Tua. For those not from the south, there are fewer heated rivalries than Alabama and Auburn. For Bo to reach out, would go a long way to building some respect.

But eh…who needs respect between football rivalries! That’s what makes it fun.

Still though, it’s extremely unlikely our 3-Star QB is going to get us through the CFB playoffs and even TO the NC, even IF the stars aligned and we somehow got in with one loss.

But, it was a lot of fun watching Tua play. My oldest son (MLI) and I got to see him play this year in Tuscaloosa and that’s something neither of us will ever forget. Mostly because it was 115 degrees in the stadium at kickoff, but still.


Roll Tide Tua. You’ll always be part of the Crimson Nation!

Just an Update. Nothing to See Here.

Days pass and time moves on. Life has a way of flowing through you, whether you take note of its passing or not. We are but insignificant moments in the cosmic BIG.

This week I managed to mostly iron out the insurance details from our chimney fire. What I thought would be a simple inspection and a “chimney sweep,” turned into a full-scale rip-n-replace to the tune of “More Than I Want To Pay Out Of Pocket.”

The inspection showed some pretty major damage inside the chimney. This was undoubtedly complicated by the advanced age and deterioration already present. But, work should start in December and shouldn’t take more than a day or two. They will have to pull off the side of the house to get to the fireplace and replace everything; lock, stock, and barrel.

It’s a major pain, but I will sleep better knowing all of that “fire infrastructure” is new and sound.

Our newest pup, Misty Rose, blew out her ACL (cruciate) and meniscus and had them both corrected a week and a half ago. “Corrected” is code for “spent a lot of money on surgery to fix.”

20191114_090813Since then, it’s been the “Sombrero of Shame” to keep her from yanking out her stitches, which she gets removed this coming Friday (Thank the Lord!). This will make caring for her so much easier since all I’ll have to worry about is just keeping her still rather than keeping her both still AND not eating her leg.

Once her stitches come out, it’ll be 4 more weeks of taking it easy and home-rehab.



AidenBut wouldn’t you know it…our other puppers (Shiner) developed a nasty urinary tract infection so now I’ve got two bum dogs to take care of and figure out how to adequately disguise foul-tasting medications.

On a sidenote; I raise all my dogs to stay in our yard (generally) and so I can let them out the door; they’ll go do their business and come back when they are done. That pretty much only works for me. Still though, with a gimpy dog, that means her “poop area” is much smaller than normal and it’s really starting to add up. Looks like I’ll be out with the shovel this weekend cleaning up.

In the meantime, CareerMom is away on business for a couple of days. But, God Bless her; she organized the kids’ lunches and figured out how to get kids to all the places they need to get to after school. I basically just have to “move” the pieces. And her family is great about helping out when we need them to, so it’s all good.

Just another day livin’ the dream!

Kicking the Holiday Season Off with a Bang!

It has been…a week, to say the least.

1. It being Halloween, my daughter and her friends decided to be Scooby Doo characters and they wanted to turn my beloved golf cart into “The Mystery Machine.” I love my daughter more than life itself, so I pulled all the materials together, my wife organized a painting party, and I did the rest. They had a heckuva time. That’s mine on the right:
Marissa and Friends Halloween 2019

2. Our 84-lb Doberman tore her Cruciate (that’s an ACL in humans) while also destroying her meniscus. The result was an appallingly expensive surgery, now followed by 6 weeks of intensive eyes-on, full-time cones of shame, and hot and cold compresses followed by leg massages.

3. I built a fire Saturday night (my 4th this season) and the chimney caught on fire (inside the pipe). I was able to put it out with the fire extinguisher, but not before three (count em “3”) fire districts showed up, along with two Bam-buh-lances. I’m grateful, but it felt like overkill considering I told 911 I already had put it out. But now, I have to get everything inspected and cleaned. The interesting thing is that, while I haven’t had it actually “cleaned” in years, annually I burn one or two anti-creosote logs, and had just done one the night before. New brand. Coincidence?

4. And lastly (so far), approximately one month ago, I received a Jury Summons; something that happens about every 4 or 5 years in my county. The issue is that I live in the very tip-top end of the dominant county in Atlanta. Which means that satisfying a jury summons in my county is quite the ordeal. See, look:

Note that these drives are indicative of when I would have to drive down to arrive by 8am:

Courthouse map

I drove downtown yesterday, arriving around 7:30 at the parking lot. Caught the bus over to the courthouse, and then stood outside in the cold for 15 minutes waiting for security to open up. Another 30 minutes later and I was inside. Per the desk clerk, “We have an unprecedented number of judges wanting jurors.” Of the 8 “groups” of potential jurors selected to “potentially report for duty” (usually only about 4-6 of the 8 have to actually show up) all 8 had to report. It was packed!

That also meant that any hopes of a quick, “We don’t need you; you are free to go” was dashed. An hour later, me and 39 other potential jurors were assigned a courtroom and down we went.

Once ushered into the court room, the judge proceeded to tell us the facts as she could:

  •  This trial is expected to last 9 days (9 DAYS!)
  •  It was a medical device failure lawsuit, resulting in the death of a teen
  •  I understand everyone has issues with being away from home daily for 9 days, but we will only accept hardship requests under the following circumstances (disabilities, over 75, etc.)
  • If selected, expect to start court daily between 7:30 and 8 am and finish at 6pm.

We spent the entire morning first hearing the plaintiff’s and defense’s attorneys give a “lite” version of the case and then being questioned en-masse, raising our little paddles whenever we agree with something the lawyers on each side asked. Then, the remainder of the day was spent on individual questions. I was panelist #40, so I was dead-last.

It was a nail-biter of a day, and if you ask me, the opening attorney for the plaintiff (from the “Johnny Cochran” law firm) did a horrible job of biasing potential jurors with his opening remarks, and a very smart young lady to my left in the jury pool–whose dad was a lawyer as were several others in her family–called him out on it. When it was my turn to respond to questions, I was only too happy to join her chorus when asked, “Do you believe that starting out, the plaintiff and defense are on equal footing?”

My answer: “I do not. Based on the facts laid out by the plaintiff’s attorney, I already have some idea of how I might view the case even before it starts. I also believe it takes an extraordinary person to be able to completely set aside their personal beliefs and bias and judge something solely on its newly-presented merit. If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that most of us are not extraordinary in that regard.”

Neither I, nor that young lady, were selected! What a week indeed…