Special Operations Dad---The Double-Take Maneuver!

The Double-Take Maneuver! In the list of tools for the Special Operations Dad this tool is indispensable!

"What the heck...???!!"


"Hey... come back here!"

You're walking down the hall with an arm load of dirty socks and underwear when you suddenly stop...look up at some imaginary instant replay screen in front of your mind... take three steps back... "UMMMM...Hey guys... Maybe that's NOT such a good idea to be (you fill in the blank here).

You say that doesn't happen to you EVERY DAY! Yeah... you don't have kids. But that's okay (All of us with kids are rolling our eyes at you because you have NO idea what we're talking about here, but we will act like you do so that you will keep talking to us and thinking that we are cool.)

Here's another one...

You're sitting at the dinner table and it's the 5 minutes of clinking, cutting and eating in silence that happens after the first feeding frenzy and loading of the plates. It's nice! It's relatively quiet, except for the fact that 3 of the kids still haven't learned to chew with their mouths closed.( It's annoying! I mean, I have tried to teach th... anyway... I digress.. they aren't yelling and it's quiet.)

So you glance up from your near-gourmet prepared dinner at the table full of younglings and you smile to yourself as you realize that maybe they aren't so bad and that... WAIT... "Calvin? What did you do to your face? Did you...(you fill in the blank here)"

All of you parents out there are nodding in an involuntary sympathetic way. I can see you doing it! It's the involuntary nodding of..."yeah, I know... it sucks!"

We are, after all, the Cosby Show generation! We watched Newhart as he calmly dealt with the slow witted Larry and Brothers Darryl. We laughed along as the Keatons tried their best to raise Alex and his flighty sister Mallory, but we took mental notes. Not to mention WE tried to get away with the same stupid stuff when we were kids!

Do our kids really think we're idiots?? With our training and hands-on experience we are like the freaking "Navy Seals" of "Idiot Stuff that Kids Try". (...As I take a break to check on my 7 yo twins who have become a little TOO quiet. I  had to confiscate two permanent markers and some scissors. The naked Barbie Doll collection can thank me later.)

Its as if the kids think we won't see them walking stiffly out of the kitchen staring intently straight ahead with one hand hidden on the other side of their body. (Insert a double take action as I am vacuuming up the shavings from the guinea pig cage that have somehow made their way to the couch) "Put the cookies back! Dinner is almost ready!" (Seriously! I'm old but I'm not blind and dumb!)

Except for the small insurgency attacks of my 7 yo, Calvin, I've got it under control! Calvin has decided that my life isn't exciting enough so he takes appliances apart and then tries to put it back together... and then doesn't warn me!

All he would have to say is, "Hey Dad, you may want to be careful plugging the iron in this morning..."  I'm just sayin'... a heads-up would be nice!

Instead I plugged the iron in at 5 am to iron my sweatshirt before I go running (What?!!! Stop giving me that look! The shirt was wrinkly... yes I know I have issues.) anyway, I plugged the iron in and the iron exploded on the ironing board above my head and the plug (which is still in my hand) sent sparks and smoke shooting right at me like an RPG! I instinctively did my Jason Bourne "roll to safety" in a very non-clutzy way. ( I actually hit my toes on the bed post and my head on the ironing board as I jumped clear from the explosion.)

I had to sit there on the floor and gain my composure. I figured with my heart rate already being adequately stimulated I could forgo the morning run and maybe just sit on the floor for a while... HEY! It scared the POO out of me!

Fast forward to 6 am, Calvin is walking around in his normal zombie-esque state trying to decide how he can forget to wear socks. I see him do his own version of a double-take at the scorched iron and the big brown spot on the wall. He leans over and looks at the wall and looks genuinely impressed at the scope of the damage. I clear my throat at him from across the room.

Cue the innocent face, "What??? What's wrong dad?"

I point to the iron and the wall that he is trying to hide by standing in front of them, as if I will somehow lose my mind and forget. "Oh! Yeah... I think I tried to fix the iron yesterday. The little water sprayer part wasn't working." He reaches over to the iron and extends it toward me and pushes the button a few times and brown water squirts onto my white bed sheets. "OH! Sorry. But see, it works now!"

"Go get some socks on, Son.... (Cue double take) WAIT! Are you wearing your big brothers underwear???" (A bulging mass of Calvin Klein underwear was hanging out of the back of his jeans in a big bunched up pile) Calvin smiles his best "Oh Yeah" smile. "Go change into YOUR underwear and THEN put on some socks.  I just saved your life! You know your Big Brother would have committed a level 3 act of violence if he caught you wearing his underwear!" (I will explain the Injury Classification Levels tomorrow)

"Thanks, Dad!" (I could tell he was genuinely grateful for me saving him from a good wallop from his big brother.)

"Just doing my job, Son." Special Operations Parenting in action, Baby!!! Even in the throes of a post-explosion PTSD... Nothing gets past my double-take!


The Manly Art of... Carrying On!

I'm supposed to give a presentation to a large group on "Gaining Strength... Through Experience." Funny... I don't think you necessarily gain strength through all experiences. Sometimes I believe you lose part of yourself that you can never get back. Not really the "motivation" I think they are expecting from me.

But if you truly give yourself to a cause or an effort can you honestly say that it has always been worth it? That the time and the sweat and the tears and the blood were given toward a worthy cause? Sometimes you just need to have the strength and experience to do something that needs to be done and because no one else is stepping forward and doing it.

Don't you feel it to be a little immature to have the notion that you MUST gain something from everything? Sometimes you just have to give that extra effort and sacrifice that time and spill that blood and sweat for no other reason than you KNOW it's what you should do.

Some may call it soldiering on... trudging forward... putting one foot in front of the other... or, you know... Carrying ON!

There is a notion to classify any mistakes we make as "experience" and any successes we run into as "education".  If I were to show you a copy of my life's resume you would see that I am very HEAVY on experience. Lots and lots of experience!! I've got the scars to prove it.

I know scars... deep scars that will never go away. We all have scars of some sort. My Chief Master Sgt was my mentor in the military and went to dive school with me early in my career so that we could re-certify. When he came out to the pool for the first day I saw a constellation of scars across his chest and shoulders. I was only 23 and just beginning my career.

My buddy, who has no qualms about saying whatever pops into his head, mouthed off... "DAMN! It looks like you've had your ass kicked a few times!" He laughed at himself.

The old Warrior sat down next to the young warrior and smiled at him and said, "I probably have had my ass kicked a few times, but all of my scars are in the front..." then he gave the young pup a pat on his shoulder and trudged off to the pool.

Think about it... you know what he was trying to explain to us! He never ran... never backed down... never took his face from the wind... never stopped carrying on!

So I may have a lot of marks and scars... but I've tried to make sure they are all in the front. You can't carry on if you're running away! You can't!

And sometimes, it stops being about the flag on your shoulder or the "cause" and more about that person standing there in the breach with you. The one who is standing back-to-back with you through the the longest nights. You won't run, because you know they won't.

I didn't realize it but my Chief left a trail for me to follow and now I find myself passing this information on to my children. Last summer when I took my kids to a swim party at the YMCA I took my shirt off and carried my twins into the pool to help them become more comfortable with the crowded pool.

Standing in the pool with a kid hanging on each arm my son Calvin starts poking his fingers on the spots where there are scars... "Dad, what are these spots and lines?"

"Those are just scars, son."

"You have a lot of them."

"Only on the front, son."

Enjoy these two clips. They come the closest I have found to the way things really are and should be.
I will post a copy of my presentation here on Monday. I still have to "wrestle out" a few of the details.
Go do something MANLY!

My Teacher Needed Her HIND LICKED!!!

Calvin, the 7 yo boy genius with a curious streak the size of the Mason Dixon, started giggling over his "dad sized" taco last night. You know the snicker... starts in the nose like the sound of a small pony clearing his sinuses then became giggling. He was obviously very tickled about something.

"Time to share or get back to the taco devastation, son." I have to admit I was rather curious as to this sudden outburst of laughter. He usually doesn't get this tickled about things that don't involve the destruction of small electrical appliances or Spongebob.

"My teacher told us she needed her hind licked at O'Charley's last night... and I...PPPPP-ppp-waaaa-hhaaa-ha!" We all sat in stunned smiles for a few moments... hind licked?

Josh, the Genius of All Things, snorted and laughed first and even had to put his head down on the table because he was snorting spanish rice down his throat. I could tell he was trying to give me a clue but he was also giving my the sign that he was choking and I was a little concerned... wait! Choking... hind lick...

"BWAH HA HA HA! The Heimlich!!! She had to have the Heimlich!" I could barely choke the words out past my own mouthful-o-taco. Everyone started laughing... even the overly serious and now a man 18 year old Tanner!

I quickly explained the difference between getting the Heimlich and getting your Hind Licked. It was quite the "joke killer" explanation, but I couldn't have my overly verbose son going back to school and spreading the rumor that his teacher was somehow involved in strange sexual acts at the local family eating restaurant. That would certainly garner some disfavor from his 2nd Grade Teacher.

Still, I felt like I had become quite the "Buzz Killer" for the kids in the second grade who had already mostly come to terms with their teachers strange proclivity for licking parts of her body in public. But isn't that life??

Things are never quite as funny as you thought, or as serious as they seem. And nearly always when you hear a rumor about someone that deals with licking and butts... it's probably just a misunderstanding. Except that rumor about me at the swim meet... yeah that one is true. Earned me the nickname "Crack"!

And no, I am not going to tell you the story! Just giggle and know that something really funny happened... REALLY FUNNY!

Making the Case for Facebook... The Case for Getting It OUT of My Life!

I am now 30 days clean! You may ask what vile drug or substance I am referring to and I would have to correct you... quickly! Nope! I am free of the pernicious menace called Facebook! Done! FINISHED! And I must tell you... I feel wonderful for it!  

To be fair, I was never quite the Facebook aficianado that many are. I just couldn't seem to bring myself to accept "Friend Requests" from people I didn't want to be friends with when I knew them in person. Granted, I realize I may not be the most affable of characters and this may have impeded my ability to place a higher course of pretense to the matter, but the "Friend Requests" weren't the worst part, by far!  

Besides the fact that Facebook was opening my daily life to people whom I had purposefully relegated to "Christmas Card List Only", these people were proving that they were on this list for very good reasons. It was as if I were dealing with the pressures of High School all over again, but in a virtual way that never allowed me to "go home" for the night! Yes... it's true. In High School I suffered from my own self-styled cool. But after all, I was sentenced to spend my High School Days in MISSISSIPPI. The land where style and creativity go to fall prey to tradition and conformity. I quickly realized that it was not my destiny to "peak" in High School.  

Opening the lines of communication with the old "Alum" from "the Day" was fun, at first. But after a few months I would get the strangest messages...  

Friend: "You never comment on my FB posts..."  

Spud: "How am I supposed to comment on 'I love Jesus!'? I gave you the 'thumbs up'! Are you wanting dissertation and critical commentary on your statement of affection for the Lord Almighty?"  

Friend: "What do you mean?"  

Spud: "Nevermind. I will post a comment."  

Friend: "Thanks Spud! I feel like it means a lot when you can just comment on my FB wall with comments sometimes... you know... you being a real writer and all." Spud: "Yes... I can see how it would give your wall more gravitas."  

Thirty Minutes Later  

Friend: "Why did you put that comment on my FB wall? I don't understand. Were you trying to be funny?"  

Spud: "I was trying to reinforce your comment! You said 'I love Jesus!' so I said 'Yes, He is delicious!'"  

Friend: "That doesn't make any sense!! Why would that reinforce my love for Jesus?"  

Spud: "I thought you were Catholic. You know... communion?"  

Friend: "You're still weird"  

Spud: "Yes, well I am a writer..."  

I ask you, dear Spuddies, do I need this pressure in my life?? I left High School with a firm resolve to never be one of those "glory days" people. You know the type! The people who catalog the high school years with albums of photos and tell stories of the years of popularity and carefree abandon to anyone who is unlucky enough to be stuck in the room with them for more than a few minutes.  
No, I couldn't be more removed from any desire to relive, revisit, recount, or re-union with anything regarding the old High School days. So, for me, the Facebook account has been closed with a re-sounding click of the mouse.  

I am giving myself a "thumbs up" for this post!

Carry On!!!

One of my favorite men to quote from and find inspiration from died some 30 years ago. He was a man of profound discipline and intellect, but a man who knew that the ways of manhood could not be complete without giving proper attention to the Matters of Deep Import from the heart.

In short order his disciplined mind could read, edit and correct a manuscript that would take the a writer, such as myself, a day or two to complete. And yet his heart was just as finely tuned as his eye. He had the keen ability to feel the suffering of another and to offer support and courage as he could.

His entire adult life was spent doing for and serving the needs of others in the academic and religious worlds. He never seemed to grow tired of the work. His example led me to work as a missionary and medic in the military.  On the most difficult of days I would read his words and try to imagine what he would do in the same situation or circumstance. And then, with some assurances I was going in the right direction, I would "carry on".

As he lay dying of a terminal illness his life-long sweetheart, wife and companion held his hand. She asked if he wanted to say anything... a message... "Carry on!" were his final words.  Those who heard him speak those final words told of the firm power of his voice and the strength that carried them over all who were in the room... "Carry on!"

Times are hard and not getting easier. The hearts of many are growing tired and lonely. I can see it in the eyes of those I see during the day. Hopeless feelings... loneliness... despair...

 Are we reaching out to those who are in the deep water with us? People are slowly sliding below the surface... unnoticed and unheard. Don't be ashamed to be the one who reaches out to those who you see sliding. Sometimes, more often than not, a listening ear can be the curative ointment for a broken spirit and broken heart. Knowing that their suffering is not unheard and their feelings unimportant can bring clarity and resolve to those faltering.

Carrying on is important. Carrying on signifies moving forward, despite the path ahead. Carrying on means shouldering that load for one more day... one more hour. Carrying on means living the legacy left for us by those who have shown the proper way.

It's time for all of those altruistic feelings and charitable urges you may have had in the past to find their way into action. One action at a time... one listening ear at at time... one hand reaching out to another who is slowly sliding into the deep water... we can all carry on!

One a day! Be a hero once per day! It doesn't have to be big! And you probably won't have to look very hard for your moment. But be a hero for someone who is struggling!

The Stay at Home Dad (SAHD): An Elucidation

"You know this isn't as easy at it looks!"

"You've only been doing this for the past YEAR! I've been doing it for the past SIX years!"

"You only make it look so much easier because you do things differently!"

"It's not whining! We are just talking about the different pressures of the day. If we were whining then there would be crying.... SHE always cries, so that doesn't count!"

Yup! Those are CLASSIC "Car-Rider-Line-Mom" comments that I get as I line up for the afternoon kid pick up! I can't help it if my mini-van is clean and vacuumed and has ample snacks individually portioned into baggies for easier handling! And that the bottles of water are sitting in the cooler between the front seats, ready to hand out to the hungry troops!

It makes sense to me!! Why would I waste the 15 minute drive home listening to the crying of hungry kids only to have them destroy the kitchen when they get home? I ask the other SAHM's (Stay at home Moms), "Doesn't this make more sense? They get to eat... not cry... and be ready to hit the homework right after they do the normal bathroom breaks and hang up their jackets."

I don't understand the petty, if not jealous, comments from some of these moms! Although, it was rather cool when the 1st Grader from one of the more vocal whining moms asked if I could drive her home from school from now on (as I handed out snacks and waters to the arriving pygmies). I got the classic scowl from the mom... you know... lips clenched. I would say she gave me angry eyes but she had "SAHM Standard Issue Giant Sunglasses" covering half her face. (It's not like we can't tell you aren't wearing make up... or a clean shirt... or matching shoes. Sunglasses don't make you invisible.)

And if the SAHM's feel the need to make comments about me cooking three or four different "versions" of dinner of every night I'm going to start getting the impression that they want to come over for dinner! Which... NO! I don't need that type of negative vibe at my dinner table!

Yes, carrying a coach's whistle and clipboard with me as I transport my pygmies from location-to-location seems silly and it may not be as fashionable as the SAHM Standard Issue stretchy jeans and oversize shirt which they feel the need to constantly tugging at, but my system works!! (Another note on the constant tugging of the back of the shirts and sweaters... I am NOT going to be suddenly circling you in order to perform a "booty inspection"! I can tell from the frontal view that further research into the "behind area" will not be necessary. Not being rude... just sayin' you should relax! We're all professionals here!)

Ladies, there is plenty of room for all of us in the Car Rider Line! And simply because I happen to do the same job that you do, only better, is no reason to start getting all "bitchy"! It's not like it's a contest, even though I would be winning. And in then end, we do it all for the kids... right?

Maybe some of us just love our kids more... (GRINNING! I knew that would get to you!)

See ya' on Monday Ladies!!!

Feeding the Angry Pygmies!!!

Again, thanks to all of you who have taken the time to email me your comments and questions. Funny as it may seem, this public forum has become quite the private club of readers and followers. It feels good to help pass on the "Jedi-esque" skills of the true Superhero Dad to all of you young "Spuddies"!

This question really hit home because I read this letter right before I donned my "Bat Belt" and made my way to the kitchen for the evening feeding of the Angry Pygmies.  Take it away, Robert from San Antonio...

"HOW?! How do you find the time to help with homework, do dinner and then get them in bed before midnight??? I have two children, 7 and 10, and on the nights I am in charge I end up tripping over myself the whole evening! HOW, oh Spuds, do you handle the evening dinner schedule?"

Roberto!!! (I am giving you the Spanish version of your name because you live in San Antonio. It's what I do... I give my readers new nicknames as your initiation as a "Spuddy"... deal with it!)

The afternoon rush hour... without leaving the house!!! It's a hard time of the day! But with these simple pointers and tips you can handle it without looking like a "soggy eyed Betty Crocker" and even come across with some "Manly" points as well.

Dinner time will kick your ass and throw the whole night off schedule and out of sorts.  Dinners take planning, So for the sake of time I will cover the BIG issue of dinner in this blog and cover some of the lesser chores in tomorrow's blog.

I came into the kitchen with the "Mess Line" mentality! I had NO idea what the kids ate so I spent some time working out the "kinks" of their strange eating habits. I tried to make allowances in some cases and accommodations in others, but sometimes you just have to look the child in their tear-filled eyes and say, "Ya' git what ya' git and ya' don't throw a fit!" BUT the "Mess Line Mentality" has not only made dinner time easier for me, it has also given the kids a little more "control" over their meal.

So how do you adopt a "Mess Line Mentality"? You give two (sometimes three) options for the main dish and two or three options for the side dishes. A lot of the "Car Line Moms" laughed when I said I gave the kids options on what they eat for dinner. I heard comments like, "You will never have any time to do anything but COOK and clean dishes!" or "My kids better eat what I fix or they are going to bed hungry!" or "I have far too many other things to worry about than making two or three dinners per night!" (Wimps and Whiner... ALL of them!)

1. Equipment- Your equipment is KEY to your success! You should have AT LEAST one large cooking griddle but preferably two of them. REAL knives! Do not let your kids see you trying to cut onions and tomatoes with those damned pressed steel knives your wives or girlfriends bought in the 3 for $10 set at Target! Get at least ONE good chopping knife and a sharpening steel to keep it sharp. There is nothing more manly than a good sharp Henckel knife on your counter. Handmixers are AWESOME! You know the white mixer/blenders you hold with one hand? These will save your life! To hell with food processors! These hand mixers have the blender blades, whisk attachment and even a food processing attachment... if you MUST!

2. Options- I don't know if it's the fact that women feel it is "expected" that they cook or that they just lose interest in cooking, but I can only name two or three women who actually like cooking after the third child is born and eating solid food. And if you don't like doing it, you are going to want to be DONE with it... not make it into something enjoyable. Options are easy!!!

You take ONE meat and three sauces... teryaki chicken, chicken alfredo and lemon pepper chicken. You pre-boil the meat and cut it up into a bowl. Then you put the "extras stuff" like veggies into other bowls and you keep your sauces in three bowls as well. Each kid comes to the counter points at the meat, the sauce and the veggie and you put a "kid sized portion" on the griddle and let it start heating up with the chosen sauce and move to the next child! By the time you have the order taken from the third child the first order is done!!  You pasta it, plate it and send it off with the kid who is smiling because he didn't have to eat tomatoes but just got broccoli.  (Yes I am awesome!)

3. Clean up- Leftovers go into ziploc bags for those times when the child says, "...but Dad I can't sleep! I'm STAAAAARVING!" Don't bother with Tupperware, gladware, or even glass dishes. Ziploc bags are your friend!  And use paper plates three or four times per week on the busier nights! Cuts down on the clean-up time EXPONENTIALLY!

4. "Lather, Rinse, Repeat" Each kid has his or her own cup! If they want a drink they make sure their cup is clean, or at least clean enough for their needs. Then just dump a cup of hot water down the griddle and scrape it into the grease collector on the griddle and BINGO-BANGO your dinner is DONE!

Me and the kids can be in and out of the kitchen with everyone fed and the kitchen clean in just BARELY over an hour. But that's mostly because we play the "High vs Low" game every night. You know! Tell me what the "high" point of your day was... now tell me the "low" point of your day.

It's a great game in large families because the kids will use the opportunity to "rat each other out" and it gets everyone focussed on eachother.

So there you go Senor Roberto!!! Now, you can go protect the smaller of us here!

Excuse Me Sir... Are You Saved?

There must be something about my face or my "rapscallion" persona that attracts the "true believers" and causes them to feel an overwhelming desire to pull me from the flames of hell. I would say thank you, but I won't.

I was minding my own business, not making trouble with anyone... Seriously! I was being good! And this "large-ish" woman with a bright sweater came to sit on the chair facing me in the crowded Doctors Office Waiting Room. I was reading an old copy of ESPN Magazine, trying to find some relevance in such an old issue when, Out of the Blue, "Excuse me, young man... Are you saved?"

Whoa! Is she talking to me? I look up and she is holding her New Inspired Translation of the New Testament and staring at me intently... along with everyone else in the waiting room.

Belief, Faith, the Nature of God, and the Savior...those are, for me anyway, very personal and private matters. Which is why I am taking my time on this blog post. I don't want to attack this woman's faith or enthusiasm. But I do have some very serious qualms about her propriety and self-assembled superiority.

First of all, it has come to my attention that some of my "acquaintances" and religious-type readers are under the impression that I am certainly going to hell... which is fine! I wasn't aware of a "Hell Bound List" being passed around among them. BUT! If there is one, and I'm on it then I am certain, merely by the character of the people who have made the list, I am in very good company.


Just because I don't wear "Jesus Attire" or have the appropriate number of "Jesus Flair" on my car doesn't mean I'm any less "motivated". I mean I'm at least as motivated as the lady smoking a cigarrette with her kids in the car and a "Jesus Is My Co-Pilot" sticker on her back window. I just express my devotion in other, non-carcinogenic and less tacky ways!

The problem with Born Again or Fanatical Christians is that they seem to mistake emotion and enthusiasm for knowledge and testimony. A good drum solo seems to be more important than a 10 minute introduction into the historical perspectives of the writings of Paul, who may or may not have authored all of the writings. And passion may cover up a lot of theological ignorance, but it's the ignorance that is manifest when you step out of the church into the real world, because honestly, we don't care how excited you are if you don't sound like you know what you're talking about.

And I don't mean to imply that passion, emotion and enthusiasm are wrong. But if you are asking yourself "What Would Jesus Do?" you would see in the Bible, that from the age of 12 he was STUDYING at the Temple. "Hmmmm. Read a book or watch NASCAR?" What Would Jesus Do? (I can read what Jesus did and I can correctly surmise what 95% of you did, too.)

And stop trying to pull an "OBAMA"! Just because a group of men decided you have earned your "Heaven Bound Medal" based simply on things you've felt strongly about and voiced a belief in, doesn't mean you don't still have to help. There's still a lot of good you could be doing before you go!

Just don't be too surprised if you end up living next door to me in the next life for wasting all of your time polishing your medal. I will try to keep the loud music from bothering you too much.

Imagine! All of these thoughts and responses rushing through my head as I tried to find an appropriate response to the "Have You Been Saved?" question. I didn't want to be as rude as she was being in asking the question in the closed-in and crowded front lobby of a Doctors office. It's like asking how much money you make, but worse!! Worse, because belief and faith are the two things a person holds in their heart as more valuable than monetary accomplishment. Money is good, but its our faith in God that allows us to move forward after the tragic loss of a loved one or immeasurable suffering due to sickness or disease.

You can't assume that a person is any less "faithful" than you simply because he is reading a two year old copy of ESPN magazine rather than a "dumbed down" version of the New Testament with lots of pretty pictures and inspirational music CD. Perhaps my studies were a bit more "inclusive" by actually reading the Bible and studying the Historical and Eschatological perspectives. And by looking at and studying different religions, I may have developed a broad and deep resevoir of knowledge to turn to when my heart was troubled so that I wouldn't have to lean so hard on passion and trite little euphemisms like "God will never give you more than you can handle."

I appreciate the womans enthusiasm... as long as she stays enthusiastic... OVER THERE!

So how did I respond? Did I unload this diatribe and sarcasm on her?


I simply responded,


And then ignored her. She quickly got the point. Just as it wasn't the proper venue to discuss Theology and Personal Belief; it wasn't the venue to lamblast rude behavior.

I may be an Ass, but I'm not a Jerk!

Being Bigger is ALWAYS Better... But There Are Responsibilities!

I learned an important lesson about being "bigger" than everyone else from my Training Instructor at the age of 18.

"Always take care of those who are smaller than you."

Be careful you don't just do the casual reading of that Life Rule! It's like an Ogre, to steal a line from  the movie Shrek, its "got layers".

There are many ways to be bigger and there are many ways a person can be smaller. Pausing a moment, I'm sure you can see the deeper side of this Life Rule; and thus the burden of living the Rule as I agreed.

It's easy to forget that burden and the many different sides of being bigger. Sometimes the "smaller" people need to remind me.

My 7 yo daughter is kind of small... she's my little runt! She stays right in my hip pocket whenever she's home from school and will tell me the unabridged version of her day and sing the extended dance version of any songs she may have learned in class. I had no idea first grade had so much drama!

On Sunday she came out of her Sunday School class and pulled on my suit jacket so I would kneel down for a minute. She had her other little hand balled up tight around something...

In an excited, breathless whisper she said, "Look what I got in class... a wing (ring)!"

"Why, Ramona! That is the prettiest ring!"

"It means to "Choose The Wight (Right)"..."

I was familiar with the message but nodded my seemingly uninformed approval to the fine and appropriate message.

"I need you to keep it for me... for just a little while. I don't want to lose it!"

"Well, sweetie don't you need to wear it so that you will remember to "Choose The Right"?"

She pushed the ring into my hand and laughed and hugged me,

"That's why I have YOU, Dad!"

Thursday G-Rated Jams! Definitely Safe for Work Stuff!

Potty Training PTSD... The Horror!

I have a friend who is trying to potty train her young son. Apparently the child will put the urinations in the toilet, but not the defecations. And apparently this child gets a LOT of fiber because I get 5 or 6 messages in an afternoon that "he's done it again... This is Crazy!"

As a Dad, there would come a point where I would seriously consider maybe... rubbing the little kids nose in it and saying... "no no! bad!!!", but if it doesn't even work for dogs how is it supposed to work for a Human child. Heck, a human child isn't even smart enough to open the door of a hot van when they get left in there on a hot Summer day by some Memphis-Mother-type person. (They really do cook a lot of kids in Memphis. It's like living next door to your half-witted cousin)

And rubbing a child's nose in feces would just be wrong.... wrong, wrong, wrong... right Guys??? Wrong! Especially if you may have been about to try it and you get caught, "Wha... Wait! What? NOOOO! I wasn't going to rub his nose in ... are you crazy?!.... What? The rolled up newspaper? Um.. I was just going to let him... um ... read the... (quickly unrolling it to read which section) Lifestyle section! Yeah! You know, the comics and all... heh heh!"

I have another friend who recently posted about a little girl pooping in the bathtub... she had to touch it. That happened to me once... I don't mean I pooped in the tub! I mean, one of my kids pooped in the tub. (I may or may not have pooped in the tub in the early years of my first decade of life, but that's irrelevant to the story at hand... at hand... poop... at hand...touching poop- dang I'm a sly word smith)

The difference in my story is that I went to grab the child out of the tub (after coming to the conclusion that NO MATTER how much soap I used it would all be for naught if I left him in the poo-poo water) and the child didn't want to get out! So, when I lifted the child UP the child reared back like a bow and head butted me to the nose with the back of his head and kicked me with both heels in the family jewels (the groin-al area).

"Holy Mo.... Oh Fu... dge!"

So I put the child on the potty... which he promptly slipped down INTO because he was wet and well, had lots of soap on him from actually trying to find out... not important! The child is, at this point, screaming like bloody hell and has half his body stuck in the toilet and he is covered in soap and poo poo water. I'm thinking that's probably the safest place for the child because I was in no condition to chase the child down the hall.

THIS is where having a keen sense of being able to work under pressure comes in handy! I remember that the kitchen sink has a sprayer! (Stop groaning... I sprayed it with some lysol after!) So, without thinking, I hit the water release button on the tub and pull the slippery child out of the toilet and with a dirty towel carry him down the hall and down the stairs and across the living room to the kitchen."DAMN! I forgot to wash the pots after I made the kid his mac and cheese!" No worries, there's still room for him next to the cheesy pot.

So I stand the 2 year old child in the sink and have him lean over and hold onto the side of the sink. He does and looks down and says "Cheezy" and begins to reach for the errant noodle or two left in the pot.... "Yucky, gross! NO!" and he bides his time til I'm not looking.

Now, I'm not a kitchen sink shower sprayer expert! So I had no idea the kitchen sprayer would be like the bathroom shower and have that moment or two of frigid water before the warm water began to flow. And in my defense I wasn't trying to be mean to the kid when I aimed it at the... "spot". But, boy oh boy, that 2 year old kid nearly jumped out of the sink when that first frigid stream made contact. And... I felt bad! I would have cried, too! So I didn't make as much of a fuss when he reached down for a noodle or two out of the pot in the sink. Hey! He stopped crying!

Two minutes later a freshly rinsed and clean little kid emerged from the kitchen sink and we were able to get on with our day... except for the matter of the poop still in the bathtub...

It would surprise you, but poop isn't as "firm" as it looks! And when it hits the hair trap on a bathtub it doesn't just "maintain" on top of the grate... it integrates! Which means... I have another GENIUS idea at this point...Men, help me here! It will DISINTEGRATE! With the sly smile of a veritable domestic genius I grabbed the removable shower head from the holder up high, put the hot water on full volume, and with a flick of my thumb I hit the water release button!!!

You know that saying... "The poop hit the fan!"? Yup... like that! But with frigid cold then sizzling hot water as the transport device. It went EVERYWHERE!

It was a very long afternoon....

Three AM... Old Demons, Broken Noses and... Redemption

It's 3 am and I 'm awake again. It's ok! Three AM and I are old friends. You can blame it on the broken nose, old "demons" or it could be that this is just after the time when I get the strange feelings that I am no longer a "solo" act in bed but have become part of a small congregation. My youngest three children seem to arrive at my bed between the one and two in the morning so waking up at three seems a little logical... right. Who cares!

Want to listen in to my music with me? It seems to soothe the "spirits" of 3 am. Hold on...

The oboe seems to me to be the "outsider" instrument. Kind of nasally, out of the ordinary tone, but it speaks to me. Out of the ordinary... yeah, unique!! This song speaks to me because of the movie, as well. The movie is called The Mission, circa 1986. If you haven't seen it, I guess you could youtube some clips, but it won't do the movie justice.

When I was 17 my dad stood me next to a flag and swore me into the military. SEVENTEEN! Geez! I've had 3 lifetimes since then... at least!!! One of those lifetimes was when I turned 19. I went on a religioius mission to Honduras and Belize for two years. TWO YEARS!! My father, correctly, taught me that I will always go through life with a big space left in my heart if I didn't take the chance that the mission offered to serve others. Apparently some parts of the human heart can only be filled by learning to help others.

Because I had some medical training from the military the mission leadership chose to send me to some remote areas with just some rudimentary medical supplies. It was, without any doubt at all, the best and most difficult time in my life all rolled in together.

No matter which small town I happened to be visiting the word would spread quickly that a big American was in town and I became the town attraction. The kids were the BEST! The little girls would always be scrubbed and have tight little pony tails and they would all try to hold my hands as I walked through town... so CUTE!! Even more funny was the fact that they all wore the plastic "flip flops" or sandals while they tried to keep up with my walking so the slapping of the sandals always made it sound like I had my own applause soundtrack following me around town. I certainly never was able to sneak around town... not with my "midget applauding posse".

(Making "Kid Soup"... Delicious!)

Many times people ask me how I could stand to see such poverty and desperation every day as I walked around. I honestly never saw poverty or desperation. I saw quiet dignity and a spirit of solid faith in God, that I had rarely seen in the states. There's a HUGE difference between being humble and being poverty stricken.

For better or worse, my life is different now. But I know my heart is better for having given part of it to those humble and noble people.

Why am I telling you this? At three am??? Is it because you're heart will be missing a piece until you decide to share it it? I don't know... Maybe it's because there may be times when you will wake up at three am and have your own demons to deal with. Maybe you will be looking for reasons to say you have done something for someone else that is worthy of redemption. Maybe redemption can be found in the strangest of places... and with the sounds of applause from 50 little midget kids!

WHATEVER... It's 3 am and you will obviously have to deal with your own 3 am struggles in your own best way. But, for me, I know what helps. It's a bit chilly here in the "Country Music Capital" Nash-Vegas and I have to go running now.

By the way, on an aside... today is the birthday of Pepe Le Pew, the amorous skunk from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. The anthropomorphic symbol of love in the after school cartoons! I was always a little jealous of his "bold" romanticism. Anyway, just thought you might want to know that little piece of "history" today.

Pepe Le Pew.... (chuckling to myself)

Here's another song that gets me through til the sun breaks... whatever it takes right?

Listen to the words...

Finally! Time to Let it Go!!!

For all of you "doubters" and "idealogues" I think you should know...I'm smarter than I appear. That's not a difficult notion to prove because, quite honestly... I appear to be a large, beefy dufus. So exceeding expectations is certainly not a "ground breaking" experience for me.

I also tend to be a little naive as far as trusting people. I tend to WANT to believe that the average person does not wake up and say to themselves, "It's Tuesday! I'm going to go F - - - someone up! Just for the hell of it!" (Although I am finding this to be the case more and more often, which I find rather disturbing.)

But this "self-sponsored naivety" has a tendency to put me into difficult spots... I look like a pushover... a dupe... a wussy... (you get the picture). In my excitement to rush in on my "white horse" I tend to over-extend my limited emotional reserves and I can feel the pressure mount (and mount). And no, I'm not talking about YOU!

I feel like I'm drifting off course a little here...

That's an understatement! That could be the defining statement for the WHOLE damn country... we've drifted off course... a little here... a little there... not so much over there.... but a lot up there! So it's time to leave a 2009 behind, all of it! Yes even that part!

Time to realize that we may not like where we stand but that we are all still standing. Time to consider how doing what "feels" right is not as important as what "IS" right and take that next step in the RIGHT direction... not only individually, but as communities and a country.

Defining moments happen every day! We define them! It's all one giant "linked system"! One small adjustment here, can make a big adjustment there... and so on.

For me! I'm done with all of 2009 (spit). Finished with it...

Take me home, Mr. Goss (Cover your eyes if you are at BYU)...

Falling In Love Sounds a LOT Like Getting Your Butt Kicked

I am on a basketball team. Yup! Professional...

(Grinning Really BIG) I tried to keep a straight face saying that! I do play with a regular group and we ARE all professionals, just not professional basketball players. (Smiling ) Let's see we have two professional singers, a writer, a lawyer and ME!

My lawyer friend told us just yesterday that he is in love, again. (I'm immediately underwhelmed) I ask him how he knows he's in love and he begins to expound the "signs and symptoms" of being in love.He is a lawyer so he has an oral and aural fixation with words, whereas, I am a writer, and I have a visual and written fixation with words. So he begins to expound and pontificate and we all begin to look for a place to sit down... because this is going to take some time!

As I listen to my lawyer friend, I begin to realize that if I didn't already know what he was talking about I would swear he had some woman kicking his butt! Seriously!

"She makes me feel kind of light headed and when she talks to me its like her words sink in deep. I can't seem to escape her gaze and I always feel like I'm helpless against her wit and charm."

The token female on the team is now rolling her eyes.

He continues, "I tried to not let myself fall in love with her but I she pulls me back with her loving kisses and smiles. I just feel helpless against her."

I am getting rather "disgusted" by these oral soliloquies at this point and throw the basketball at the side of his head when he's not looking.

"Sounds dangerous to me..." I mutter, as I dodge the basketball that has been poorly thrown back at me. "If I didn't know any better it sounds to me like you got your butt kicked by a girl!" I wander towards the locker room.

"Token" (the female player) is laughing so hard she is snorting at this point. "Yooou got your butt kicked! Yoooouuu got your butt kicked!" (She's obviously one of the two singers)

Wait! Is That Poop?... Ummmm...

Yes I realize that I implied that this post would be about poop...

OK, I didn't just imply it, I said it would be. (Cringing)

But it isn't about poop, or potties as I said. I just thought it made a rather... intriguing title. I apologize for the misleading introduction and title, but I was having a horrible time devising a cunning title for the actual message of this post.

Not to mention, you would not BELIEVE the grief I have received in emails regarding my posting about sneezing into my sleeve. Apparently mucous is not a subject matter very conducive to easy reading. I must assume that talk of poop and potties would garner the same response.

No, actually, I'm writing this post for all of you burgeoning bride-grooms and expectant boyfriends out there. I need for you to stop with your "everything is glorious" smiles and the "kissy kissy" faces for a few minutes while I answer some of your questions. I need to give you a little shot of "reality". Then you can go back to being "whipped".

All of you girlfriends/ fiances/ wives out there should stop reading...but you won't. Especially now that I've said that you should! ("You're not the boss of me!")

So you ladies can keep reading but... well... I guess you're going to have to hear it from someone, so it may as well be me. I spend my life with half the women I know angry at me, anyway, so why should you be special?

I'm going to answer some questions for the men. Not questions they have asked me but, rather, questions that I KNOW they have been thinking or contemplating or at least considered in a passing thought. I'm answering these questions for the rising generation of men so that they will have a little bit of "warning" and be prepared to respond accordingly.

But I'm going to REALLY piss the women off here and not write the questions to the answers. I will merely be giving the men the answers. Why? because the men...they all already know the questions! You women may THINK you know what I'm talking about but you won't. But the guys will know what I'm talking about! And even though they may SAY they tell you the whole "question" you seek... they won't. It's a guy thing!

Answer Number One.
About 3 Months! Then, not so much... for both of you a little.. but more so on her part. Not because your not still sexy and "all that", but because...hmmm...well...how do I say this?...You're already "checked off". Not in a bad way! Given the right situation, being "checked off" is comforting and fun! It's just that there are other things that she is going to start feeling the need to "check off". And, YES, that's one of them, but she won't start dropping those "hints" until at least month 6.

Answer Number Two.

Answer Number Three.
Do not answer the question! Simply ask her..."Do these pants make me look STUPID?"

Answer Number 4.
Because its not about "WHERE" its about "HOW"! It's never about the "answer" or the "outcome" it's always about the "journey" and the "process"! Make the journey together, and the answer will always be correct!

Answer Number 5.
Wait until she's asleep and then sleep on the floor next to the bed. You may THINK you want to sleep on the couch, but waking up alone will make the situation worse. Your job is to protect her... to watch over her... sleep on the stinkin' floor! Trust me!

Answer Number 6.
Because even though you are past the first three months, she will not forget you, if you don't forget her. Quiet consistency! Firm resolve! Unwaivering patience! A smile instead of a lecture! A touch instead of a grope. She will remember you... and it will be worth it!

Answer Number 7
YES! The answer is Still Six!!!

Answer Number 8.
Not until SHE tells you! But she will!

Answer Number 9.
Every single time! Even if you don't think she will remember... because she will. And you can never get enough of them!

Answer Number 10.
I'm 97% sure you will! Just as long as you remember the first nine answers!!

So there you men go!! The answers to the 10 biggest questions running through your mind!

Go be the MAN!

Adam Shaved the Dog's Butt! Yup!

I was up way too late with the kids. Got up way too early because of the kids. Now I'm getting to bed WAY to late again because someone gave me the Jericho TV Series for Christmas. Kind of a cool series! I've only worked my way through Season One though. The angry pygmies were rebelling and needed to go to bed, but I must say that I am pretty impressed with the series!

I sensed the beginning of the chaos when I saw Calvin, my 7 yo son, quietly come into the TV room and sit on the chair and look nervously in my direction out of the corner of his eye. Calvin, for you new readers, NEVER sits quietly... EVER! He doesn't even SLEEP quietly!

"What did you do?" I paused the show. "Calvin, what happened?"

I noticed his hair was wet and I could tell that he had taken a shower like I asked him to, which worried me a little more. "Did you break the shower???!" (Don't laugh! He has!)

Admiral Jackson came into the TV room at this point. Admiral Jackson is a miniature Black Poodle. In order to help "Jackson" maintain some sense of masculinity we allow him to grow his hair out into sort of a dreadlock look. We keep it trimmed around his eyes and he seems to like it much better than the girlie cuts most poodles receive.

It wasn't hard to figure out why Calvin was being so nervous. When Jackson came into the room Calvin actually covered his eyes with his hand. Jackson sat down in front of me and stared at Calvin with quite the "serious" gaze.

Apparently, not ONLY did Calvin decide that Jackson needed a shower, he also decided he needed a SHAVE! Calvin used my hair clippers to cut Jackson's Dreadlocked hair on his head... without ANY sized guard on the clippers at all... Leaving Jackson with a what appeared to be a reverse crew cut. Jackson's head was BALD... shiny bald... pale-white-doggy-skin-showing BALD. And he wasn't any happier than I was about it.

Tanner and Josh, my two oldest boys, coughed hard as they tried to disguise their laughter as they nearly ran from the room. I really had to bite my cheek HARD not to smile.Jackson looked SO RIDICULOUS! I never realized how small his head is under all that fur! And I could tell that Jackson was really staring HARD at Calvin... just making it even more laughable!

"Son, why did you shave the dog's head completely bald?" In all my days growing up and in all my years as a father I have never even considered having to say those words. Have you??

"I was just trying to make it so the hair wasn't in his eyes and when I started to cut it he moved and it shaved all the way back and it shaved his head and back." (Back?)

I looked down at the dog sitting in the protected area around my feet and saw what little Calvin meant by "shaved his...back". Admiral Jackson had lost a two inch strip of fur just before his tail. He'd shaved the dog's head and butt all in the same motion... AWESOME!! But I had to act stern and strict... I snorted LOUD as the laughter busted out of me, I had tried to remain serious, but I couldn't! I laughed so hard at the dog! Even Calvin started to laugh a little, despite knowing the days ahead of being grounded from the X-Box!

But that's not the funny part!!!

Two minutes later, little Ramona started yelling and crying upstairs and I can hear her thundering toward the stairs to come down! I can't understand a WORD she is yelling except for I KNOW Calvin is involved. And I can tell the older boys have seen her because I can hear them laughing all the way from downstairs in the TV room.

The only problem is that Calvin seems genuinely confused as to what the problem could have been.

Sarah comes in to the TV room soaking wet with a towel around her for modesty... covered in black poodle fur. She looked AWFUL! I promise I tried SO HARD not to laugh but I just couldn't stop it!

Calvin, at this point, was laying back in his chair laughing into a pillow while she pointed at him and screamed at him about how he had not cleaned the dog fur out of the tub and now she had it stuck ALL OVER her.

Half an hour later, after regaining some control over the situation again, I spent some time reading with Sarah. It was a good quiet time and I could tell she had really settled down again. She had her fuzzy pajamas on and her favorite stuffed animal tucked in next to her and we were just starting on the second book. All was calm...

Then she vomited...

Does it get any better than that? Seriously!

Princesses Still Exist

I'm taking a break from discussing the exaggerated emergencies and manufactured hysterias of the mainstream press to tell you that there is hope! Princesses REALLY DO exist!

Writing for different commentators and show hosts is not as easy as it would seem. Research can bog you down in some deep and sometimes melancholy moods.  This morning has been one of those mornings. I have been doing some research for a large piece and the research subject was dragging my mood down. I needed a break.

My 7 yo, Sarah, reminded me in her special way that I told her I would make homemade donuts this morning. "Dad... dad....dad... when are making the donuts... dad....dad... donuts, dad....daddy... are you coming?....Dad... I'M STARVING FOR DONUTS, DAD!"

"FINE! I'm making the donuts!!!"

I was doing some serious Papa Bear grumbling... that is until a 7 year old princess spins into the kitchen and asks me to please zip up her dress. I asked her why she was wearing her fancy dress and she said "I'm a dancing princess today and you are my dancing daddy."

She put her CD player on the floor of the kitchen and held her small hands up to me and smiled; I suddenly became a Dancing Dad.

We danced to her favorite Taylor Swift songs first and she taught me how it's important for  little girls to stand on their daddy's feet while they dance so that they don't accidently get stepped on. As I listened to the words of the song I wondered how I was going to react when "Romeo" came to steal my dances with my Princesses.

Then we danced around to some crazy techno music and I showed off my best robot dance. She laughed so hard as I tried to do the Moonwalk.

Her big sister showed up in her fancy dress and shoes and I danced with my 12 year old daughter. I taught her some steps of a Samba and I watched her and realized suddenly that she was emerging from being a little girl into a beautiful young woman as she danced there in the kitchen. Her eyes flashed sparks as she smiled at me and I could sense that she would not be my little girl for much longer, but that it was ok, because she would always be my Princess.

As another techno song came on I stepped back and watched as my two beautiful young daughters transformed into princesses and  danced together in the kitchen... spinning and smiling and swirling and clattering about in their fancy shoes. I was no longer a man having a difficult day, I was a  Dancing Dad who was dancing with some real live Princesses. How can there be no hope, after all?

I believe there is hope because princesses still dance with their dads.

H1N1... My Elbow Pit is NASTY!

Having a moderate amount of medical training I am not one to minimize preventative measures for avoiding illness, injury or even chronic halitosis (bad breath). I do, however, take a realistic and common sense approach to the issue of medical illness and disease... it happens.

I'm not smiling at the more-mild-than-expected numbers from the H1N1 flu because the moment I do someone else will come up and say, "there is still a second more virulent wave coming!" ... well, actually, that's already passed..."there's a third more deadly wave coming!" It's impossible to disprove a negative. The next wave of illness could easily be manipulated to completely debunk my analysis and I would be none-the-wiser.  It's like saying, "We have done a good job making America safe from terrorist attack and we will NEVER be attacked again!" The minute you say that some other young man is being convinced to strap high explosives to his groin-al region.

On a quick aside... I would have a difficult, if not near impossible, time keeping a straight face while trying to explain to a young and fervent recruit what the "plan of attack" was going to be..."Here's what we're going to do! You take this bag of high explosives and slide it down next to you nuts. Then you take this here syringe of accelerant and inject it into the bag of high explosives around your nuts. THEN when you get to you seat... you take your blanket and cover your whole body in the blanket, to avoid suspicion and all, and then you light your nuts on fire in order to detonate the high explosives strapped to said nuts. OH! And if the explosive DON'T explode you can at least expect an intensely hot flame in and around the "twig and berries" area."

And the terrorists are bragging that they have 300 more crotch bombers ready to light their balls on fire! (Hey, I'm just reporting then news here, I don't make it up.)

Anyway... back to the flu...

What I AM stating is that the numbers have not even come CLOSE to the type numbers we have been hearing we would see from the beginning of the year. In fact, to date, only 12,000 people have died from this flu. Certainly ONE death is too many when you have such a tragic illness take a life, but in the overall number of deaths per flu season, that would be considered a good year. Typically, between 30,000 to 40,000 die each year in the US just from catching the "regular" seasonal flu.

Has sneezing into our elbows and bathing in hand sanitizer saved us from mucous covered devastation? I know my dry cleaning bill has certainly been devastated due to the "detritus left behinds" from the many good moist sneezes that have been delivered into the sleeve of my suit jacket.

I must admit it's a bit awkward to have the mucous stained elbow pit area in a long meeting. Judging by some of the glances, it's as if I had "liquid evil" boiling up on my sleeve. Who came up with the "elbow pit sneeze/ cough maneuver"?? Why can't I just wash my hands after I sneeze? HEY! You try feeling good about delivering a goobery sneeze to your expensive suit jacket sleeve! It's just nasty!

Sneezing into your sleeve leaves you with the awkward "wiping up" procedure with a tissue or napkin.  You try  to knock off the big chunks but you just end up smearing the wet stuff deeper into the silk fabric. Hand sanitizer makes its appearance as you attempt to de-snot your hand after the clumsy cleaning stage.

And what about those days you decide to go short sleeved? I see your wrinkled up faces out there! You know what I'm talking about! You end up having to use your hand to wipe the "stuff" off your arm anyway!

No one likes to see their kids sick. All six of my kids caught a nasty flu this year. I'm not sure if it was the H1N1 flu because I didn't take them to the Dr's office to try to catch the flu if they didn't already have it. Instead, I monitored their fevers every hour and kept them on a regular cycle of alternating Ibuprofen and tylenol along with LOTS of fluids. And you know what? They all made it through! Not ONE of them had to be taken to the Dr's office.

I'm a DAD, after all! It's my job to watch over and protect my children.  And I DID! I changed their bed sheets and blankets every morning and I kept a chart on their beds showing their temperature and medications that were given and when. That's what Dads and Moms are SUPPOSED to do! I don't expect that the corpulent nursing caregivers could have done a better job than me when it comes to taking care of my kids.

Would the healthcare system be "log jammed" if every parent decided to be a parent and care for their child properly?

H1N1 is a deadly disease... no doubt! But so is Strep, Staph, Dysentery, Dengue; and even normal Flu is deadly. Gingivitis can be deadly for heaven's sake!

But hysteria is not helpful and it can lead to an overload in patients seeking medical services and that would deny care to those who do become fatally stricken with the illness. Has anyone tried to find out how many of those deaths occurred because they patient had to wait to be seen?

Some may say that we needed to react as "big" as we did. But did we? How much of our scarce resources did we use up? Hell, H1N1 has just become the new "snow day" for the average worker and school kid.