Monday, February 28, 2011

Not My Idea Of A Party...



"Alicia, I love you. I want to have kids with you, and I can't wait to raise them together and watch them be successful with you. I'm upset right now because of what just happened, and I'm still trying to process everything. I'm not upset with you at all, and I know it might seem like it because I'm not talking a lot right now, but I'm just trying to cope with these feelings. All I know is that I never want to do that again, and I hope you feel the same way." 

That's all I really wanted to say to my wife on Saturday afternoon. We were sitting in Shawnee, OK, in the parking lot of a Kohls, and I'd had 30 miles to rehearse what I was going to say to her. I opened my mouth, and I managed to say, "I'm not mad at you..." before the tears threatened to start. So instead of a wordy explanation, Alicia got to see me choke up and stare out the window for 5 minutes trying to get a hold on myself.

You might not believe that a "party" started all of that, but it did.

Most of you know that Alicia and I are trying to adopt a child. We've recently been approved for that adoption, and now we are just searching for children. We've set age limits, we've set the conditions we'd accept, and we've spent a lot of time trying to make sure we've done the right thing. So when we got an invitation to an "Adoption Party," we signed up, just to give it a chance. I had a bad feeling about it all along, but I knew Alicia really wanted to check it out, so I agreed to it.

It was a two and a half hour drive to Oklahoma City, and we got there about 30 minutes early. We walked into a gymnasium, and we were handed our name tags, some tickets for a door prize, and a book. In my time on this earth, I've made some enemies, both big and small. I'm here to tell you, I wouldn't wish that book on the worst of those enemies. The photos and words run together in a blur on the pages, under the guise of what the kids like to do in their free time, all telling stories of the pain of abandonment, the knife points of loss, the wounds that never completely heal. The kids are all smiling in their pictures, some of them are dressed in suits, and all of them having one thing in common.

They are absolutely too old for us.

There were balloons, inflatables, food, craft stations, and posters of superheroes and movie stars everywhere. If someone had walked in off the street, they would have thought that they had stumbled onto a rich kid's extravagant birthday party. Laughter was in the air, smiles were plentiful, but all of those were storefronts built to conceal the tents of sympathy behind them.

Alicia and I first decided to adopt because of a little girl's picture on a local news station's website. Alicia sent it to me one day and said, "I want to adopt, and I want this little girl." Neither of us have ever looked back from that moment, but we did decide that the little girl was too old for us. However, on Saturday, that little girl was in that book. She likes basketball and has an older sister. That's all I managed to read before I had to turn away and stare icily into the distance, telling myself that if I cried in front of 300 people that I'd be laughed out of the place.

If I had agreed to it, we'd have left with that little girl and her sister that day, and I don't think it would have been a "legal" adoption. Sadly, they are just too old for us.

Alicia and I scanned the room, and we noticed something. There were people there with 2, 3, and even 4 kids, and they were looking to adopt more. We both got angry about that. How is that fair? Why would they want more? Don't they know that we don't have ANY? Don't they know that they are just making it harder for us? Finally I realized that they don't. They might be blessed enough to take care of another child, and they are just trying to help someone out. I can't judge them. Alicia and I still feel like we should have "dibs" though. I know that's not logical, but you won't convince either of us of that.

We were ushered into the arena, and told that the kids up for adoption would be there shortly. After they handed out a few door prizes, they told everyone to start mingling in preparation for their arrival. Alicia and I sat there on the bleachers, trying to decide whether or not we were going to leave, and in walked that little girl and her sister. Both of them cuter than the pictures ever could have told us. Alicia pointed them out, but I had already been watching them for some time. I watched as they went through the inflatables, and I watched as the older sister put her sibling's shoes back on for her. I watched as a woman walked up to them and said, "Are you sisters?" I watched as the oldest nodded yes, and I watched as the woman immediately turned her back on them and started to walk away. I watched as they went to each "fun" station, unable to move, my heart seeming as though it was tearing loose from chest. I watched, I watched, and I watched.

Then I got up and left.

A piece of me died on Saturday, some part of my soul that I can only hope will regenerate itself. We walked out the front doors, and I will never forget how quiet it was outside. The door behind us slammed like jail cells in the movies. We walked away, leaving those kids to lives unknown, simply because they'd been born 2 or 3 years before the kids we'll eventually get.

So as I sat in the parking lot of that Kohls, staring out the window, I finally reigned in all my emotion and the words came fast and plentiful. It wasn't that elegant and rehearsed speech that I'd had 20 minutes to prepare, but when I saw the look in Alicia's eyes, I knew she understood. We're on the same page, it's just not a page in that terrible, awful, and scary adoption book. We're going to make a difference for someone. But we're never going back to one of those "parties."


p.s. I know some of you are here looking for the winner of the contest. Because of the weekend I had, I didn't tally everything up. However, I am doing it today and will have a winner tomorrow! Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Ways I Learned Things...

I looked up at my dad, and I remember hating him during that moment. I wanted him to not be there, to not be making me do this. I paused, the glass almost to my lips.

"Travis, drink it or you're going to get a spanking."

I was a teenager, and newly so. 13 years old, and at that point I thought I could handle the spanking, thought I was big enough now to not feel the pain as much as I did when I was younger. Then I remembered how bad it hurt, and I put the glass to my lips and tipped it forward, lips sputtering, not actually ingesting any of the liquid inside of it.

"Set the glass down, son."

I did so quickly and happily.

"Now, do you think Lady likes to drink that water?"

Lady was our dog, a mutt, 13 years old like me, and falling fast to the pains of old age. She didn't walk that well anymore, and spent most of her time laying down in the shade of a big sycamore tree in our yard. My parents had gotten her for free soon after they had me, and she was as much a part of the family as any of us were. However, since becoming a teenager, I had become negligent in my duties of making sure she had fresh water. When my dad found the water, it had algae and Lord knows what else in it. He'd decided to make my punishment a lesson I wouldn't soon forget.

I made sure to keep the water dish filled with fresh water from there on out. Lady didn't live much longer after that, I can distinctly remember the day she died, she laid on the grass, twitching, my dad trying to get her heart beating again, tears flowing from every member of the family, none of us wanting to let her go. Then it was over, she was wrapped in a sheet, and my dad was digging a grave in the back of the yard.

Then, 4 years later, a grave was dug for my dad.

I'd drink a million glasses of that water if I could have both of them back.

Fast forward to present day and the inspiration for this story. The Missus and I have a dog. His name is Poo, and he is a Boston Terrier. You might have heard me mention him before. I don't like him much, and I don't think he likes me. Sometimes I tease him, sometimes I'm a little mean to him, and he encourages that by being a sad little emo dog.

Normally The Missus takes care of him. She feeds him, she waters him, and he's just HER dog. He won't come near me unless I have food, but if she so much as glances in his direction, he wants to jump in her lap and snuggle and never leave her side. I think that's another reason why I don't like him, his obvious disdain of me and my position in the house.

However, a couple of days ago I walked outside and saw a leaf in his water bowl. That's it, one leaf. Other than that, the water was drinkable by human standards. When I saw that leaf, I could smell that glass of water I stared at 15 years ago. I could see the little chunks of nastiness as they swirled in the glass, and it prompted me to act. I emptied out his dish, rinsed and rubbed it clean, and filled it with fresh water which I then offered him. He just stared at me, never coming within 10 foot of me, warily watching as I set the bowl down. He probably thought I was poisoning him.

It's funny how some lessons we learn stay with us through our lives. I may not have the warmest heart towards animals, but one thing is for certain, they'll always have fresh water at our house.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Digs And A Giveaway!

Well, you might have noticed some changes around here.

For starters, I have a new URL.

Secondly, I have a new layout, which I've been told is easier on the eyes. Like your mom.

Thirdly, by just clicking on something I saw on the internet, I increased the size of my...blog roll.

These are just a few of the changes I've implemented and will continue to implement in the coming months. I'm going to direct this blog more in the direction of story telling, and less in the direction of "whatever comes off my fingertips without going through a filter in my brain." I'm going to see what I can do about illustrating those stories, but listen. I draw really bad.

But, as any story teller will tell you, a good story needs one main thing in order to matter. Listeners. Or in this case, readers. There are all kinds of ways to gain readers on a blog, including just having good content, but the one I've found that works the best is to buy them.

That's right, I'm going to do a giveaway.

$30 in iTunes gift cards, to be specific.


So here are the rules: 

If you are a follower or become a follower, you get one entry. 

If you comment on this post, you get one entry. 

If you "Like" my blog on Facebook, you get an entry.

If you follow me on Twitter, you get one entry. 

If you tweet about this post, you get 3 entries, just make sure you leave a comment with the link to the tweet. You can tweet about it once a day until Sunday, February 27th. 

If you blog about this giveaway, you'll get 5 entries. Again, leave a link in the comments. 

Then, next Monday the 28th, I will draw a winner and get those gift cards sent out. 

Also, if there is anything in particular that you would like to see on this blog, be it advertising, your blog on the blog roll, pictures, more posts, a certain kind of story, etc, then please feel free to let me know. You can click that email button up near the top of the blog, or you can leave me a comment, as that gets you an entry into the contest. After all, you are my audience, and I am here to entertain you. Thanks for the loyalty, and welcome newcomers! 


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Greatest Story Ever Told...

With all respects to Jesus and that fine story, the greatest story ever told actually happened two nights ago and was written by a bunch of teenagers.

Once there was a little girl who needed help. The little girl needed help getting NOS on her turtle so she could go to the store. On the way, the turtle saw a rabbit and they started to race! Then a semi came through and smashed the turtle and the rabbit to death! The rabbit did not die, he came back as a zombie and ate all the turtles that were left. But the turtles were from Iraq and exploded! 


-The End


There you have it, folks. Rabbits and turtles racing, which is classic, and then zombies? You can't argue that zombies have taken the literary world by storm. Add some violence with the semi smashing, toss that all together with an Iraq reference, which is topical, and you've got the greatest story ever written. Do you NEED to know how the girl eventually got NOS on her turtle? No. No you don't. All you need to know is that the turtle was looking for victory number two when it came to rabbit/turtle racing, and he was prepared to do anything to get it.

I'm not going to lie, folks. That bit at the end, the twist there? I got the goosebumps. The turtles win again. When will those rabbits learn?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Hang On, I'll Google It."

not an actual search

A long time ago, one of the people who inspired me to start blogging did a post about the Google searches that led people to his site. His name is Johnny Virgil, and you should definitely go see his blog. It made "Blog of Note" not too long ago, and it was very well deserved. He also has a book out, and while you're on the site, you should buy it. Heck, buy two. Either way, go see him by clicking here.

I tweeted at him and asked if I could put my hand in the honey pot of his creativity, and he told me that would cost $100 and that there couldn't be any eye contact. I then explained that I just wanted to plagiarize him and not do anything sexual, and then we got it all lined out and he basically said I could do it for free.*

So here it goes, folks. Google searches that have led people to my site.

Fat ginger karate: I'm going to just choose to not be offended by this. I mean, this person obviously doesn't know that by googling these words he's unlocked a ginger curse that will follow him for 10 years. I don't make the ginger rules, folks.

Girls sex with fish: This could only be a Japanese man. I can't think of any other race or gender to google this set of words. I also think I'm pretty ashamed that this search led him to my blog. From here, the only thing that could possibly be worse is if I gave this Japanese man the sexual gratification he was looking for somewhere on my blog.

Hi my name is Travis and I am gay: ERRONEOUS! ERRONEOUS ON ALL COUNTS!

Twat Maine fisherwoman: Sometimes there are words put together in a Google search that have to be an accident. This HAS to be an accident, right? I mean, you go to Google, you get up for a second because your kid just tried to lick a light socket, you get him lined out, and you come back to realize that in your absence a book fell on your keyboard and just happened to hit the right letters to type out "Twat Maine fisherwoman" and you think, "Man, that was close, I'm glad it didn't hit enter too," and then you hit backspace, but because you were thinking about the enter key you hit that instead and now you have a really short amount of time to delete your history before your wife walks in, but you can't delete the pictures from your mind that you saw when you asked Google about the twats of fisherwomen in Maine. This is the only acceptable explanation in my mind.

Cool hair music fish: Google + LSD = this search.

Furnitures for midgets: I am honored that the little people have chosen to land on my site when searching for their furniture. I would like to let them know that I am going to start a small furniture line called "Midgetstuff" that will be available sometime in the spring of 2014. Beds, couches, chairs, tables, and all the accessories for the classy and refined vertically challenged person. To be honest, I'm glad I landed a minority (no pun intended, big guys) demographic here, because truthfully, a lot of searchers come to my blog because they hate the gays.

Arkansas bird deaths god: I know what post got them here, I can only hope they found some comfort in my fake newspaper article, where I plainly state that it wasn't an act of God that led to the death of all those pretty birdies.

How do boobs look like when aroused: I've got to level here with you here, I have no idea. When I get around to arousing a woman, I'll let you know. Also, since the person who googled that is probably 13, I'd like to tell them to stay off my blog. I got adult situations and foul language on here, kid. Go back to watching Family Guy.

and finally...

How to put the my tik in her ass: I'm assuming that by "my tik" you're talking about either a.) a hamster, b.) your man parts, or c.) an actual tick. I think no matter which way you're going with this it's a bad idea. Typically, unless a woman is in the adult film industry and therefore has no self respect, you're going to need to just try to stick things in her...ahem...lady parts, and leave the backside alone. Also, I would limit my options to "b" if in fact the woman has agreed to let you put anything there. I haven't actually interviewed any women about this, but I feel pretty confident that most would shy away from a hamster or tick going anywhere near their downstairs. However, give it another ten years, and I'm sure the fetish you're after will roll around to being popular. Good luck though.

Hope you enjoyed it, readers. If it goes over well I'll probably do it again soon. I have over a thousand of these searches, and this was just the tip (heh) of the iceberg.


*This conversation may or may not have taken place like this. Mostly may not. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Definitely A Valentine's Day Post.

If you didn't catch the warning in the title and you still need an escape, at any time you can click

HERE.

I am using today as an excuse to be a bit schmoopy. I know that we should all be nice to our spouses year round and that anyone who just does it on V-day is lame and blah blah blah. I don't care. My blog, my life, my rules. So here we go.

Over the years, Valentine's Day and it's meaning has definitely changed for me. As I've grown up and matured a bit though, I'm beginning to see what it's really about.

Chocolate and sex.

Naw, I'm yankin ya. (maturity) I managed to land my first real girlfriend around the age of 16. We'd been dating for about 4 months when Valentine's Day rolled around, and I decided I was going to make her something with a wood burning kit. It was a little wooden slat with "I heart (name deleted out of respect)" burned into it, then painted a bit. We'd been dating for FOUR MONTHS. I didn't love her. I grew to love her in a weird, awkward, "I'm sixteen and she touched me inappropriately sometimes" way, but I never truly loved her.

We dated for a year and a half, and then I had another girlfriend. This one was the rebound, and we never made it to V-day. I did not love her. That is all.

Then I met The Missus. To make a long story very short, we fell in love, and we were married. That was just about 8 years ago. Over the past 8 years, I've learned a lot about love, and all the forms it can take. I think I learned the most about love a few years ago though. You see, I did my best to screw up my marriage, and I did it in the worst way possible. As I was doing this, I put my wife through quite possibly the worst year and a half of her life. I was ruthless, I was mean, I was hateful, and I was apathetic. During this time, a Valentine's Day passed where I got her a card, and I was so uncaring, I didn't even look at what it said. The look in her eyes when she read a certain line on that card is something I'll never forget. It was the epitome of my selfishness, the peak of my savageness.

Then I realized one day what needed to be done. I did my best at fixing things, and I laid everything out to her. There aren't a lot of people in this world lucky enough to experience what I got to: forgiveness. I'll never forget hearing her say, "We're going to get through this." So we started the repair project.

There are three different types of love mentioned in the Bible. Those types are Phileo, Eros, and Agape. Every time the words love or charity are mentioned in the Bible, they are referring to one of those types of love. Phileo is "brotherly" love, or the love that you have between best friends. Eros love is self-explanatory, it is the love that is SUPPOSED to be between a married couple, but that is a soapbox I'm not really qualified to stand on. Agape love is "unconditional" love. This is the love that Christ displayed when He went to the cross for us. It is also the kind of love that you would think one would have the most trouble with in a marriage, and that might be true for most people. However, it's not for me.

You see, I have no trouble loving The Missus unconditionally. To me, it's easy, especially after seeing how she does it for me. She sees me, sees all my baggage, sees all my imperfections, and still accepts me and loves me no matter how many times I fart, insist on watching college basketball before coming to bed, or leave dirty dishes in the sink. I can return that love because the example has been set perfectly by her.

I won't speak on the Eros love, because that's just not classy. I think I'll take the Jim and Pam approach.

The one I have had the most trouble with, and the one I've made the most progress on in the last two years, is the Phileo kind of love. My wife is slowly but surely becoming my best friend. We laugh at each other's jokes, we tell each other secrets, and we do all that best friendy stuff that best friends do. Plus, we get to live together, and it's not like a normal girl/guy "best friend" relationship, because there isn't any weird sexual tension. You know what I'm talking about guys, the Friend Zone tension.

"But if we have sex, we won't be friends any more. And I really just like us being friends...don't you?"


So, Alicia. When I said "Happy Valentine's Day" to you this morning and kissed you before you left for work, this is what I was saying. I could have put it in a card, but I don't think it would have fit. (TWSS) I could have said it to you, but we both know I'm not capable of that. I tend to get lost when I look in your eyes, and not in that dumb romantic way, either. Something in your eyes paralyzes me. It exposes me for what I am, an amateur everything who flies through life with a quick wit and false sense of bravado that is combined with a supply of charm which is double that of any human alive. So I wrote it all down and posted it in a blog for about 1000 people to see.

But the only one I care about is you.

Here's to hoping we become best friends in 2011.

I love you.

p.s. I'll also get you chocolates and flowers and a card and hopefully sex, because for sure, I'm not stupid.