Monday, June 23, 2014

Murphy's Law

     There's an old adage that states, "anything that can go wrong will go wrong."  It's a bunch of nonsense right?  No, it's not.  As unfortunate and unsettling as that may be, it is a fact.  I can attest to that, and my research points to Murphy's Law being alive and well.  The only thing my research cannot reveal is who the heck Murphy was to begin with.  It seems like a bunch of scientists have had this sort of "perceived perversity of the universe" theory for many years, but there is not one named Murphy in the lot.  At least, that I can find.  I suppose Murphy's Law sounds better than McLovin's Law, so we'll just go with that.  It will be the contention of this particular post that indeed Murphy's Law happens almost every day to some unsuspecting person, and they are normally parents with their children in tow.  I have three recent events that happened to yours truly, and the proof is in the pudding - so to speak.  I will say this, "If there was a Murphy, I would throat punch him on pure principle."

    The first example was my adventure with a tree.  Well, technically a tree limb that resembled a miniature tree.  This limb/branch/monstrosity fell in my yard immediately after I had cleaned the entire area of all tree type debris.  I had to get my chainsaw out and cut the tree down for transport to the lovely Mt. Olive dump.  I do not own a pick up truck, but I get by pretty well stuffing refuse into my 2003 Nissan Xterra.  I put the seats down, and fill it up.  These particular red oak limbs put up a fight, and I caught one in the eye before I even left the house.  Another of the spear like botanical objects ripped the flesh on my arm.  Undaunted by these events, I left bloodied and battered to go to the dump.  En route I noticed that ants were crawling into my open wound, because they had found a home on these stupid tree limbs.  I began to slap at the ants to remove them from my person, and in doing so I pulled the wheel of the car.  This action shifted the load in the Xterra to an extent that a few of these devil limbs fell on my head while I was driving.  I was able to get to the dump alive, but somewhat irritated.  I then happily (I'm being facetious here) paid my $8 to drive up into a mountain of garbage to get rid of the cursed limbs.  The mountain was fierce that day, and on top of catching a nail in my tire, the place was especially foul.  The dump has never been and never will be a place to enjoy the day and have a snack, but it was truly bad.  I tried in earnest to deposit my waste quickly and exit, but the mangled limbs were stuck together like they had been galvanized by Mr. Murphy himself.  I grabbed hold of the obstinate limbs, and pulled fiercely as if trying to free the mighty Excalibur from its stone.  Then an avalanche of limbs, logs, and other stuff I didn't realize was in there fell directly on my right leg.  It almost severed my Under Armour shoes from my lower extremities.  I escaped with only a busted lower shin.  I busted it pretty good, but at least I still have my foot.  You lose, limbs.  Enjoy your pleasant home at the dump, that is before you're incinerated or buried.  Even though, I was triumphant in my battle with the tree pieces from hell one could see very easily how Murphy's Law was at work here.  If you're not convinced, hold on I've got more.

     Father's Day is a time of joy for all of us Uber Dads, and I look forward to it every year.  This past Father's Day we didn't have an exact plan of what to do, and we sort of called it as we went.  The initial idea was to go to Ihop to eat delicious pancakes, and then go see the new Angelina Jolie Sleeping Beauty movie "Maleficent."  As always it was a chore to get the kids up and ready and out of the house, but it was accomplished with no one getting injured.  At least physically.  Unfortunately for our anticipated pancake fiesta, undoubtedly half of the metro Birmingham area had the same idea.  The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was packed to capacity, and we actually got trapped in the parking lot due to heavy volume.  This is the time when my tactical police driving training comes in handy.  Have you ever watched Starsky and Hutch?  It was kind of like that exiting the IHOP parking lot.  Of course I did it in a Toyota Prius not a wickedly painted 70s era Gran Torino.  We ended up at Jim N Nicks BBQ, and if I had to pick a fine backup to pancake eating it would be BBQ eating.  That's a fact.  While we were waiting on our food I knocked a glass of water off the table and it splashed the group of people sitting next to us.  I immediately did what any father on Father's Day would do....I blamed one of my kids.  I said, "Jesse!  Be careful."  Then, I apologized to the people next to me.  The spill occurred due to a perfectly executed headlock to my son, and then when I got that look from the wife I performed an evasive maneuver and knocked off the glass.  However, the funniest thing related to this topic of Murphy's Law that occurred involved my dear wife.  Our food arrived, and my lovely vegetarian wife received her Baked Potato.  There's just not a lot for a herbivore to eat at a BBQ joint, but she does it with a smile on her face.  She does use the Sauce, because as we all know the sauce is boss.  When she picked up the BBQ sauce dispenser deal on the table (it resembles a ketchup bottle) it refused to work correctly.  It seems something had gotten lodged into the neck of the dispenser cap, and everything was stuck.  My wife would not be denied, and she used sheer force and energy to free the desired BBQ sauce.  Then there was an explosion of red flavored goodness that ended up all over her "Life is Good" t-shirt.  The one with the dog wagging his tail with the caption, "Instant Message."  She was so embarrassed I had to block her sight path as we left to prevent any further embarrassment.  Murphy's law in action once again!

     Finally, the adventure that Jesse and I went on that will forever be labeled, "The Home Depot Incident."  We are presently in the middle of a move.  We are selling our lovely home and moving to another, and there is quite a bit of work that goes into selling a home you have lived in for 15 years.  Fixing all the little things, preparing the house for showings, and just making sure everything is working like it is supposed to.  Cheryl always leaves me one of those "lists" that she is famous for, and to my credit, even though I hate lists, I try and check off everything.  On this day Jesse and I had quite a day ahead, and a lot of work to do.  We were moving right along with our list.  Moving stuff to storage.  Tune up lawnmower for landscaping duties.  Clean basement.  Move more stuff.  It went on and on, but right in the middle of our list we received a telephone call.  It was a requested house showing, and if you want to sell your home all of these requests must be accepted.  That's just the way it is.  Now, I had to shift gears to prepare the house for showing.  There's a checklist, prepared by Cheryl, for that too.  Going down my list in record speed, because we only had an hour or so to vacate the house.  Cleaning, making beds, scrubbing sinks, staging everything to perfection, and in the process losing my very mind.  I had a plan to take back some items to Home Depot that was on my other list to kill time for the showing.  So, we got everything together and headed out.  At that exact moment I noticed that a truck was out front cutting limbs off my tree.  Yep that same dreaded tree, only this time it was a contracted right of way tree cutting exercise or something.  They had been in the greater Mt. Olive area for a few days, and they picked this exact time to cut trees in my yard.  I wasn't really happy about this, and I stood outside to watch.  My concern was that they clean up their mess.  I don't mind the cutting, but make sure all the limbs are gone.  I went back inside to grab my keys, and when I came back outside Jesse said, "They didn't pick the stuff up dad."  I was a little hyped up after all my cleaning and vacating, so I was going to go and find them.  Luckily, for me not them, they were set up down the street.  I walked down toward the tree cutting folks, and I must have had a look of determination combined with psychotic-overly stressed wild man because the guy I spoke with was a little taken aback by my confrontation.  I simply told him, "Ya'll need to pick up those limbs pronto, because we are showing our house in about 30 minutes."  He responded, "They should get to them today, maybe tomorrow."  I reiterated, "You don't understand.  You must pick up limbs in 30 minutes or less!"  There was a little friendly banter back and forth, and I thanked him for his service and left.  The limbs were picked up, by the way.  Then we were off to Home Depot.  Unfortunately, on the way we were stopped in a horrific traffic jam.  It seems that the tree people were cutting trees on the main road, and everything was blocked in that area.  Karma, I guess.  Evasive driving successfully led us out of the tree wasteland, and even though several people in the greater Birmingham area tried to stop us we made it to Home Depot alive and well.  I entered to return our items.  The lady asked, "Do you want this all back on your debit card?"  I responded, "Yes, that will be fine."  I had to scan my card, and she looked at me funny and said, "That card doesn't match, and it says invalid account."  She read off the partial card number of the purchase, and it didn't match my card.  Finally, it dawned on me that my wife had obviously used her debit card and not mine.  Go figure.  I told the lady, "I don't have that card."  She looked at me like I was some kind of Home Depot item return con man, and said, "Well, I guess I'll have to give you cash."  I gave her my best crooked grin and said, "Yes, I guess you will."  Tragedy averted.  Kiss my grits Murphy!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Search for Pedro the Pink Monkey

     The morning started out like any other.  Awake, coffee, news, more coffee...etc.  Nothing mind blowing or even concerning.  I had the pleasure of taking my lovely daughter Maddie to school on this morning, because Cheryl had an early meeting.  Jesse, who is out of school for the summer, would be my co-pilot.  Little did any of us know, that we would soon embark on a missing persons/inanimate monkey case.  Now, I've done a little investigating in my time and I consider myself competent.  However, I'm no Sherlock Holmes by any stretch.  So, if you like mystery novels or a good whodunit stay tuned.  If you don't, well, keep reading anyway.  I'm kind of like kudzu, I'll grow on you.

     Maddie had to be at her school by 0830 hrs. to depart at 0845 for swimming lessons.  I had to get things going and the children moving, because I have been known to have issues with little girl's swimsuits in the past. (See "The Dora Swimsuit Miracle")  I got the kids up and watered and fed.  I made Jesse take a bath, because...well if you have any 11 year old boys lying around you probably already know why, but I digress.  I attempted to get all of Maddie's things together ahead of my planned departure time of 0745.  Swimsuit- check.  Swimsuit, actually on child.  Not yet, but I hoped it would go well.  Books- check.  Maddie loves books.  Towel- check.  Little Croc shoes- check.  Frozen dolls- check.  Actually, the Kristoff doll makes a good projectile.  Just ask Jesse.  I felt pretty good about where we were.  It was about to go bad, however.

     I was actually able to put the swimsuit on the child with no issues!  It felt like I had just hit a walk off homerun in Game 7 of the World Series!  Dang, that felt good.  I do realize that my lovely wife Cheryl had fixed this series game before it started though, because she made sure to buy an idiot proof swimsuit this time.  I brushed teeth and fixed hair, and it was only 0715 hrs.  I had a bag full of Maddie stuff ready to walk out the door!  We were handling our business this morning.  Then the bottom fell out.  Pedro went missing.

     Who is Pedro?  Well, Pedro is a pink monkey.  Not just any pink monkey, but a pink monkey that I tend to make come alive at times.  I have a distinctive Pedro voice for said monkey.  Kind of a cross between Zorro and Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke.  I use Pedro to wake Maddie from time to time, and even tell her stories at night.  Pedro has even been a wrestling partner for Mad Dog Maddie Meanness in the Thunderdome arena of her room.  He has a great bionic elbow, ala, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes.  Maddie was not happy that Pedro had went missing, and she basically shut down any and all assistance she was giving me until he was found.  I had my work cut out for me.  I didn't even know where to start.  Luckily, I had the keen eyes of Jesse Perry to help me find poor Pedro.  Who am I kidding, if it's not a video game or a baseball Jesse doesn't see it.  He doesn't even want to see it.

      Pedro really went missing I'll tell you.  He wasn't under any of the beds, the couch, the refrigerator, and he wasn't in the bath tub.  Sometimes things find their way in there.  I checked the upstairs, the downstairs, and both garages.  Nothing.  I began to think I would get a call from some monkeynapper demanding ransom.  I needed to find this monkey.  Pronto.  We were creeping up on departure time, and if I didn't get her to her destination on time, all of HE double hockey sticks would break loose.  Well, I'm probably being a little over-dramatic here, but it wouldn't be ideal by any means.  Where in the world is Pedro the Pink Monkey?  I was about to find out, and the answer was shocking.  Sorry, again over-dramatic, but this is a mystery story.

     Pedro the Pink Monkey was finally located.  He was found laying safe and my bed.  What?  I know I forget things from time to time, but when did I sleep with a Pink Monkey.  It seems like I would have remembered that.  Wouldn't you think?  I just couldn't figure out how that monkey got there.  When Maddie found out where Pedro was found she said, "I forgot.  I put him in your bed Daddy.  He was scared, and I knew you would protect him."  That was one of those Awwwww moments.  I love that girl.  We loaded up and headed to Maddie's school.  Me, my co-pilot Jesse, and the lovely Miss Madison.  We even arrived early at 0815 hrs.  We walked into the school, and I was all proud of my most recent accomplishment.  Not only as a girls swimsuit putter onner, but a missing monkey Detective.  We walked in her room, and one of the little girls in Maddie's class came up to me and said, "Maddie's're supposed to put a shirt on over the swimsuit."  Busted my bubble.  It is Ok to go just swimsuit right?  You don't have to have a cover or a shirt do you?  There are just too many rules for all this stuff.  That's all I got.  Long live Pedro the Pink Monkey!