Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Church Nursery: Daycare or Terrorist Training Center

I try to not write about my religious views too much.  Politics and religion don't mix well when socializing with my friends

Except all of my friends are the people that I go to church with.  And most of them have the same political view.

Elect Mitt Romney.  Plain and simple.

This is not about Mitt Romney.  It's about the church nursery.  And what comes out of it.

Why is is that the church nursery is the only place that you can't randomly pop into.  What goes on behind Door #1?  For that matter, what happens behind Doors 2 and 3.  Fort Knox could take a few lessons on security from the church nursery.

Occasionally I walk past the nursery door.  Childproof doorknobs, windows that distort the view.  In our church it is the hangout for 18-month to three-year old children.  By age four the graduates of the nursery have moved into the "Primary" room.  You have to be twelve to get out of the Primary room but it also means you don't have to participate in the Primary Program.  If you are a boy that day can't come soon enough, the girls shed a few tears.

I used to think that the greatest service that I could offer up my church was to work in the nursery.  Play some games, hold a baby (18-Months), have a few fishy crackers and cups of water in the smallest Dixie Cup ever made.

And then I had my own kids.  And the dream died.  Kids were hard.  Kids tried my patience.   Why would I ever want to work in the nursery when I barely could handle my own kids..

Don't get me wrong, kids are adorable.  Just not when they are in the nursery or visiting my house.

In pictures, videos, singing to the congregation at the front of the church, okay.  But in real life they are little terrorists who turn into teenagers and stay that way through their teens.

And that's my kids I'm referring to.

Snot nosed little Munchkins who are trained by some of the best parents in the world see, hear, and smell the fear of a guy like me.  It doesn't help that I'm a grandfather, that I have experience in calming, soothing, kissing boo boo's and the like.  They just know that I'm not their mom and I'm certainly not their dad.

And if I try to be they will let the world know.

When they throw a fit seismic instruments at the university hit 19 on the Richter scale.  And diaper blowouts?  I'm not cleaning that mess up.  Gingerly pick up the kid and take it their parents.  Two sleep deprived adults start playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who takes care of the latest explosion from Mt. Bottom.

And who brings a sick kid to the nursery.  Turns out most people.  At least a diaper contains the one blowout, throwing up is kinda of random and directed at random people.  Well, random adults at least.

And nursery is the best kind of sleeper cell for these little terrorist.  They don't actually sleep.  It's just their mischievous side that goes to sleep.

And they go into a coma like slumber.  And one day they wake up...

And turn into teenagers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Survey Says

When I was a kid I was prone to not turn in my homework.  Truth is that it was a challenge to get me to do my homework, not turning it in was just part of the process.  I was and continue to be a goofball.  I wouldn't turn in my homework and then I would get in trouble.  And I thought that unfair.

My logic was that I shouldn't get in trouble for something I didn't do.

I'm less about study and more about logic.

So imagine my reaction when I read in the online version of one of my daily newspapers the following:

"When Wives Sleep Poorly, Marriages Suffer"

Uh..... duh.

If mommy ain't happy, daddy's not happy.

The article specifically says; "When a marriage is happy, men sleep less. But when women sleep less, the marriage is not apt to be so happy."

Our marriage must be one of incredible bliss.  I get 7-8 hours a night and she's going for an Olympic record. 

And that's not fair to say about her.  All of our kids would gladly miss most of the day if they could.  We just have a bunch of sleepers in the house. 

When my oldest son was a teenager he once slept to 5:00, PM.  He completely missed the daylight.

So my wife is incredibly happy and I'm just happy to be here.  With the kind of reasoning this study provides it is clear that I need to sleep less and encourage my wife to sleep more. 

Maybe the reason that there is more happiness in the marriage is because if she' sleeping longer there is less interaction and less of a chance of the guy saying something stupid and inappropriate.  Or write about the subject in a blog.

It also means that if my wife was in a coma I'd more than likely be translated.

Does a study like this qualify for duh?

I look around and I see guys doing stupid things all of the time and I just file it away in the little gray cells to not do that stupid thing.  I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I'm certainly not stuck on stupid.  I have a theory that over 40% of homeless men are just good guys that said or did something stupid to/at/for their wives and then walked out of the house after the argument.

Without their keys.  We walk a fine line as men.

As for the study that men are happier when they sleep less and women aren't happy if they don't get more sleep I have to report that the test included only 32 couples.  I don't know how many couples there are in the world but the potential, if every man, woman, and child were in a relationship is over three billion.  32 couples is equivelent to only, well not very many couples compared to three billion couples.  There was a +/- error of say 2.5 billion.

My own warped theory is that her happiness and mine are totally unrelated to sleep.  I think it's simpler than that.

For instance, she's happier in the morning when I've had the courtesy to turn on the light and lift the seat on the toilet rather than blindly take a potty break at 3am.

She's happy that I'm employed and actually get up and go to my job.

It's possible, but not probable, that I finished a project that I had been working on for say 3-5 years.  What women wouldn't be?

Maybe I decided to save some of my 10,000 words for the day and actually used a couple of hundred on her when I got home.

Maybe she's happy because telemarketers or the random child didn't call her and wake her up from blissful sleep?

Or maybe the last quote at the end of the article hit the nail on the head.

 "Couples that have more positive interactions during the day may be engaging in other activities in bed at night."


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Flu: A 12-Step Process

The Flu.

I don't know of anyone who wouldn't rather have a good back hair wax than the flu.

We've been hit in our house with not a shot of the flu but a volley of it. Started with reports of food poisoning and moved speedily (at last count) to over a dozen members of our family and friends.  While I have had the time for the past two days to lay around the house and do absolutely nothing, other than confirm that daytime TV totally sucks, I did reflect on the various stages of the flu along with some personal observations.
  • Stage I - Complacency ~ This is the stage of pure euphoria that you have prior to getting the flu. It's basically your life. Complacency, at least for a guy, has many components; forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom, drinking your milk straight from the carton, wearing the same pair of jeans for a week, drying with the same towel for a month, eating a protein rich diet. But you did get your annual flu shot.
  • Stage II – Hints of Things to Come ~ In our case it was just a comment about how someone was sick "the other day" from "food poisoning". We all thought about how horrible he must have felt. Food poisoning, what a way to go. The CDC will soon be on the job.
  • Stage III – It's in the House ~ The problem with smart people is that they don't put puzzles together very well. Morning comes and one of the baby's in the house for the holidays has thrown-up. No let's just say it, PUKED during the night. But nothing major, it's part of having babies, they puke in the night at random times. And on unsuspecting family.
  • Stage IV – This Parties Not Big Enough ~ Let's admit it, if you're going to get a lot of people sick you need a lot of people. Have a family dinner, invite all of your children and their children. Make sure that there is a lot of love going around, kiss that baby, let them eat off your plate, share a fishy kiss, hug and kiss everyone, within reason. And don't forget to go to the store and infect the masses, why should your family have all the fun?
  • Stage V – The Watson Stage ~ Sherlock Holmes would put the puzzle together and exclaim, "I've got it Watson" or something intelligent. The Watson Stage is where Sherlock would have already put it together and minimized the impact. We're more like Watson, we still haven't connected the dots. At church we get notice of our fallen comrades, grandpa, two sons, one son-in-law. All sick and unable to attend. Let's see, 1+1+2+1 equals we're dumb as dirt.
  • Stage VI – Spreading the Joy ~ Another family gathering, more hugs, loves, kisses, kids eating other kids food, adults sharing food with kids. It's an epidemic in hibernation.
  • Stage VII – Joy in Mudville ~ If you are the host of the party it's the highlight of the night when the party is over. It took hours but finally, everyone returned to their own homes. And we three settled down for a long winter night. Who knew?
  • Stage VIII – Say Hello to My Little Friend ~ It hit the wife first. She comes downstairs with a bowl in her hand, I thought that making cookies this late was a little quirky but HEY, I'm not arguing with fresh baked cookies. She announces that she is puking and that as an added gift this particular strain of the flu is choosing two external paths to wreak its havoc upon her body. I'm a guy so the fact that she is going to sleep in the guest room means I'll still be rested for work in the morning. I did offer to go to the store and buy 7-Up and Saltine crackers but was politely turned down.
  • Stage IX – My Eyes Are Open Now ~ By 11:15pm the cloud of death hanging over my house woke me up and told me it was my time to visit the bathroom. The victim of Stage VIII had politely asked me to use the downstairs bathroom and I relocated myself in a somewhat hurried manner to that room. I will admit that I now fully realized what was about to happen. It's like knowing the end of a murder mystery long before anyone else does. No matter how much you try to create an alternate ending in your head it doesn't change the outcome. I realized that the wife and I were both down. In retrospect I don't know if popping my head into my son's room and telling him that his mother and I were sick was just in case he had compassion or a forewarning. What I do know is that a half hour later I could hear him making noises in his room that sounded like the tune I'd been singing earlier. It was now official, this was a serial flu bug.
  • Stage X – The Negotiation ~ Now everyone in our house has the flu. Weakness had begun to set in and I was beginning to make deals with the big man upstairs. They say that there are no atheists in foxholes. I can tell you that there aren't any atheists with the flu either. The whole time you are kneeling down and praying to the porcelain prince you are also promising to do things that you would never do in your right mind. I promised him that I would pray more often, be nicer to my family, start eating right, watch Oprah, actually listen to my wife, finish projects around the house and lose the weight that I need to lose. I also personally committed to ending world hunger, find a cure for cancer and quit shooting, in the butt (with an air-soft gun), the defenseless squirrel that continues to live in my porch roof despite my efforts to evict him. My ace was to become friends with my wife's ex-husband but I'm saving that prayer for when or if my wife wants me to go to the opera with her.
  • Stage XI – The Aftermath ~ This is a strange period of time. I remember calling my boss and telling him I wouldn't be at work. That's about it. The Aftermath is a good time. During the Aftermath you aren't puking, not eating, and drinking water is to a minimum. Having the flu is like being a leper. You only have to tell one person and your social calendar frees up completely. No visitor's also means no one is going to see your messy house, therefore, no cleaning. Also, no dishwasher running, no washer/dryer in use, no vacuuming, and no showers. If you don't take a shower you're not changing clothes, underwear, brushing your hair, etc. You have little contact with society and know what it's like to be a zombie. You sleep away most of your day and nothing, and I mean nothing. You're entire life is based on your proximity to the bathroom. We got to the point where my son called me on his cell phone to ask if we had juice in the fridge. HE WAS UPSTAIRS! And closer to the fridge. But slowly, over a 48-hour period, we all have started to make a comeback. Which leads to:
  • Stage XII – Complacency ~ This is the stage of pure euphoria that you have after you've survived the flu. This is where you go back to all of your bad habits that you promised God you would leave behind. It's basically your life; forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom, drinking your milk straight from the carton, wearing the same pair of jeans for a week, drying with the same towel for a month, eating a protein rich diet.
And, remembering that you got your annual flu shot.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Greatest Invention Since…

Ever since I was a young boy I have heard people make reference to a new invention as "The greatest invention since sliced bread". Obviously the invention in 1928 of a mechanical machine to slice bread was a big deal to people in the 20th century. What took them so long to invent a machine with such a simple use is beyond me but I also can spend 2 hours staring at the TV wondering if I want to turn it on and watch it. Before the invention of this machine people, (gasp), had to slice bread with a bread knife one slice at a time. The inhumanity of it all!

History shows that Otto Frederick Rohwedder, originally of Des Moines, Iowa introduced a machine to slice bread on July 7, 1928, a date which also happened to be his 48th birthday. He first came up with the idea in 1912 but apparently just sat in his workshop for the next 16 years trying to find a faster, more efficient way to slice the bread for his daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Now Otto, Ot to his friends, wasn't a rocket scientist, primarily because they hadn't invented rockets yet, but he was from Iowa. Now Iowa is a major wheat producing state and I can only assume that there was a plethora of unsliced bread sitting on the shelf at the local general store just begging for this invention. I have a picture in my mind of unruly crowds in the streets of Des Moines protesting the governments inaction in coming up with a better way to cut a slice of bread off of the end of the loaf. Especially since slicing bread required that they make an effort.

Slicing bread wasn't new, the concept of the entire loaf of bread sliced at one time and prepackaged was. My struggle with sliced bread as the greatest invention since 1928 is that it is also a slap in the face to a lot of inventors before and after 1928. If the invention of the automatic bread slicer was the highpoint of inventing then inventing before and after 1928 must have been demoralizing.

Alexander Graham Bell invents the phone, Thomas Edison and his 1,063 patents, the building of the first a-bomb, Al Gore inventing the internet, they all pale in comparison to the invention of mechanically sliced bread.

Mr. Edison, "We have harnessed the power of electricity and directed its flow into this contraption of glass and fiber and have produced artificial light. The world will never be the same."

Assistant, "Unless we could find a way to slice a whole loaf of bread in one go. Now that would be something."

Edison, "Damn you!"

To be fair, Otto did try to multi-task in producing the first bread slicer. Up until 1928 bread wasn't available in a package either. So he had some pressure on him to produce. Not only did he have to slice bread in one go but also come up with the idea of a package for it. As mentioned, Otto came up with the idea in 1912 but apparently just thought about it for the next four years until 1916 when he actually decided to design it. I understand that as sometimes it would take my kids that long to clean up their room after I tell them to.

By 1916 Otto had a factory and a plan and he was really thinking he had something. Sadly and typical of the early 1900's his factory in Illinois caught fire in 1917 and burned to the ground. I think a cow started the fire. Of course the blueprints and his prototype bread slicer were now ashes and molten metal. The thought of starting over, World War I, and the fact that he was making his sandwiches out of hoagie rolls now put the dream of sliced bread out of his mind. In 1926 something happened that would change Otto's place in history.

Someone had previously invented toast but in 1926 Toastmaster invented the pop-up toaster. In 1927, seizing upon an opportunity and using his life savings, Otto pulled himself up by the jock strap, girded his loins, fresh courage took, and invented, patented, and introduced the first mechanical bread slicer and wrapper. It was such a hit that by 1930 Wonder Bread began selling pre-packaged sliced bread and all the bakers in the world copied them. Sliced bread was such a big deal that the sale of toasters skyrocketed. All because Otto's machine allowed for a standard size of bread. How visionary. I'm in awe.

Let's pause out of respect for Otto.

Of course, during the depression and before TV people were amused by the simplest things.

The industrial revolution, based on the invention of the mechanical slicer, peaked in 1928. Now, every new invention is compared to the invention of mechanical sliced bread. Everything invented before sliced bread barely garners recognition. Things that were the best invention prior to sliced bread include; fire, the wheel, dynamite, the light bulb, the flush toilet, waiting in line, two-seat outhouses, locomotives, airplanes, ships, and running water, just to name a few, don't have the appeal to the public of mechanically sliced bread in a plastic bag. And since 1928, TV, cell phones, rocket ships, computers, jet airplanes, Slinky's, the internet, Spam, Twinkies, and the remote control, have all been disappointing failures in comparison.

In Iowa Otto Rohwedder became something of a celebrity. Who can resist the man who invented the mass slicing of bread? But the attention of an adoring public and the paparazzi over his invention eventually drove Otto to take up residence in Michigan where people believed that the best invention before and since sliced bread was something called the automobile. Otto died in 1960 in Concord, Michigan without so much as a mention in the local paper.

I read that his coffin was in the shape of a loaf of bread with a big plastic bag around it and a giant twisty tie.

R.I.P. Otto, we shall never forget you.