Friday, August 01, 2008

I was like a kid in a candy store tonight...literally.

My eldest, Jeni, took me out to dinner tonight for my birthday since she won't be in town next Tuesday when I actually get older. She took me downtown to one of my favorite restaurants, Sticky Fingers...ok give me a second to wipe the drool and barbeque sauce off my chin.

When we left the parking garage we decided to cut through Mast General Store because it was still muggy out and we wanted some air. Mast General Store is a store cultivating reminiscing in order to get us to open our wallets. Well, it worked on us tonight. Near the entranced we used were wooden barrels filled with all kinds of candy, many that I had not seen since I was a kid. We started looking and Jeni said, "Go ahead get some. It is your birthday." So I did. It was a fun experience for both of us. I kept seeing candies I had enjoyed and acting just, well, like a kid in a candy store and she felt like the mom, a very candy friendly mom. At one point, I picked up a bag of some chocolate covered something and said, "Oooh" and then set it back down, only to hear Jeni say, "If you say 'ooh' you can put it in the basket." I ended up with a bag full of carmels, bottle caps, licorice, Zots, chocolate covered orange bon-bon things and more, and we both have more laughter inducing memories for the future.

So I say..."Thanks, 'MOM'...:D

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

That only happens on TV.

I had an experience last week that made me look around for the cameras and director. It was funny and embarrassing.

Thursday, I had a prospect fill out an application, but she didn't have her check book with her, so she asked me if I was going to be in the office Friday, the 4th because she wanted to bring her holding deposit by then. I told her I would be and she mentioned that she would bring me a plate of food as well because she was going to go to a cook out.

Friday afternoon, the prospect called and asked how long I was going to be there. She had not made it to her cook out and she had been serious about bringing me a plate. I told I would be there until 4. She did not make it by.

Saturday, we celebrated Jen's 23 birthday. Laura, Jen and I went to see Hancock (a pretty decent movie). While we were gone, Marla stopped by with the dessert for Jen's party. While she was waiting for us to get back, my prospect stopped by to drop off her holding deposit. She left her number and asked me to call her. When I got back, I called her and she said she would be by in just a few minutes. She stopped by and dropped off her deposit, nothing was mentioned about the plate by either of us.

Meanwhile, we had ordered pasta from Pizza Hut (surprisingly tasty and cheap). It seemed to be taking an unreasonable amount of time to receive our pasta, so Laura asked me to call Pizza Hut and find out what was taking so long. I flipped my phone open and punched the last number dialed. A few rings later, the call was answered. The background noise was excessive, so I simply said, "This is Eric and I was wondering where my meal was"

A pause and then SHE said, " I'm so sorry. I forgot to get your plate yesterday."
Screaming and throwing things at each other!!

This phrase was used by Laura over dinner the other day. What was she talking about? A couple she knows fighting? A scene from a movie or TV show? Perhaps a passage from a novel she is reading.


She used this phrase when she was describing what she found when she was doing research on the presidential candidates. Her conclusion from a day of looking online for solid, detailed information about the candidates was that for the most part political "discussion" or "reporting" is just people screaming at each other and throwing things at each other. I agree! We both long for simple debate. You know, two or more people stating their position, view, opinion and then discussing what they agree or disagree about...honestly. We know that people will disagree, sometimes vehemently, but it is not necessary to substitute loud voices, name-calling, misleading "facts" and catch phrase in place of truth, facts, details and agreeing to disagree.

I have decried the minuscule numbers of people actually voting and I am often told that we are just to busy living our lives. I don't buy that argument, but I can see how it might appear a daunting task to find facts to make intelligent decisions with most on the airwaves, the paper media and the Internet not providing facts, just opinions and not very factual ones. But don't give up. Keep digging, because electing our leaders is more important that finding a good deal on collectibles, downloading the entire White Album or finding when "Dark Night" is showing next week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Bbq and Fireworks Day!! and Happy Birthday to my firstborn, Jen!

I really do wish our great country happy birthday and I say a LOUD and PROUD THANK YOU to those who throughout our history served to make our country what it is today...FREE. I want to say to all those currently serving in our armed forces that we owe you a debt. We all do, whether we agree with where you are serving or why we are there, you are our heroes. You are the ones who make the ultimate sacrifice and I salute you!

Also, Jen, I am proud of you and wish you a great day. Of course, I still think someone counted wrong because there is no way I am old enough to have a 23 yr old daughter. You are a joy to your parents and I rejoice that you strive to glorify God in your daily life. Love ya!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going Green by Accident.

Ok maybe turquoise and maybe accident is not the right word. How about without planning.

Let me explain. I'm not a tree hugger, or a Green Peace hero. I don't Save the Planet on a regular basis, but awhile ago, I came to the realization that conserving energy, and not trashing the big blue ball we call home were probably good ideas. Not wanting to do anything radical, I made a couple simple changes. I bought a pack of those curly fry looking light bulbs, bought a battery charger and rechargeable batteries and got a bin for recycling from my local trash man. The last item is what led me "go green by accident". Here in Greenville, the Sanitation commission will recycle plastic bottles, cardboard, and paper. I got my bin and started separating my trash. The first week, I had very little in the bin when it went to the curb on Friday. Tonight when I set it out, I realized I might need another bin. Now, I'm not drinking more soda or unpacking more boxes. What I have discovered is how much we actually throw away which could be recycled. I finished a box of Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal(which by the way is right tasty) and started to drop the box in the trash can, when it hit me that the box is cardboard so it can be recycled. Ok, now before you think, "Duh!" I just had never thought about the box. It was my cereal container and when it didn't hold cereal, it served no purpose and things that hold no purpose go to the trash. So the cereal box led to paper towels which led to memo pads. So I recycle more now, but it didn't stop there. I needed to write down a phone message and my note pad was nowhere to be found. What was in front of me, was my power bill still in its roughly torn open envelope. I grabbed it and wrote the message on the back of the envelope. Then I took the bill out and left the envelope by the phone to take other messages instead of simply chunking it in the trash and buying a new memo pad. This led to me thinking twice about how I can use scrap paper, or partially written on paper. I realized that I wasted a lot of paper. I scratch a number on the front of a note pad sheet and then throw it away. Now , I use it all up and then throw it the bin.

I've even had a positive effect on others recycling without bull horns or After School programs, just example. When a friend who works with me stopped by tonight, his 3 yr old son dropped his soda and spilled most of it out, so my friend made sure the can was empty and then walked across the parking lot and dropped it in my bin. He did this because it has become habit when he is here.

So my little efforts are having positive results, maybe not cooling down all this global warming, but a little step in taking care of our home.

So let's get Green!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rearranging the book wall.

So Marla told me that she thought i should swap the bottom shelf books for the top shelf. I did and she was right. I also did a little other rearranging. What do you think?
We interupt this blog to bring you this breaking news...The book wall is finished!

When I was planning my move to the remodeled town home, I knew I would have to do something about my books. I had outgrown my worn out, Wal-Mart special, 1980's book shelves. I had books on counter tops, desks, tables, etc. When I saw the design for the remodeled town home, I saw the perfect place to put my books. The design of the shelves is a collaboration between Robert, the construction supervisor and yours truly. We ahd to alter it a bit, when I failed to find individual piecs of thick timber. The building of the shelves was a team effort from Robert's step-dad, Robert, and Jake and Mike(our 2 great framers). The look of the finished shelves benefitted from my labor and Laura's color choice. And finally, the walls actually look the color they should and covered with splotchy red spots thanks to Jason, our painter, carpet man.
I am so pleased with how this turned out. Hope y'all enjoy them.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On the road again...

Well, not quite yet. In about a year, it will be "Road Trip...YEAH!...time again.

Let me explain. When Jeni, my oldest, graduated from high school, I wanted to give her a different kind of graduation present, something that would stick with her for years to come. Knowing that she loved to travel, I gave her a Road Trip. We rode Amtrak to New York City and spent 4 great days there before hopping in a rental car and visiting Cooperstown New York and Baseball's Hall of Fame. Then because we were in the state of NY, we had to visit Grandma in Buffalo and then we drove back to Greenville, SC. It was a fantastic trip.

When Laura, that's my youngest, graduated from high school there was no question as to her graduation gift.(She's a travel lover as well) This time we got a bit more ambitious and we brought along my 'adopted' daughter (Laura's best friend, Marla) to round out the Wood family road trip. After decking out Dad's van with cushions, bean bag chair and pillows, we drove to see Grandma in Buffalo. Then it was Niagara Falls, a drive across Ontario, a brief stop in Detroit and then on to Chicago for a four day stay there. Another great trip.

Jeni graduated with her Bachelors in History just a year ago, so we took off to Washington D.C. for a week, with a day trip to NYC. Once again, the road trip did not fail to excite and please.

Now Jeni has begun her Masters in Teaching which she will finish in one year, so I have a graduation trip to plan. Originally, Jeni had asked to travel to Europe, which held all kinds of possibilities, but a few weeks ago, she told me that she wanted to get to know her own country a bit more before she went overseas. She suggested a road trip across the US attempting to hit all the states west of Indiana that she has not been in. I loved the idea and began plotting courses.

The results of my first route included all the states in the continental US that Jeni has not visited west of Indiana. It also would have taken 19 days of an average of 8 hrs of driving time. Not a workable plan, so it was back to Yahoo Maps. I finally came up with a route that included 18 new states for Jeni and only 12 days of driving, which if broken up between early in the morning and later in the evening leaves plenty of "tourist" time and the drives will allow us to actually see the beauty that is America. So the route is set, or close to being set, now the details. Which I will discuss later, because my stomach is growling and it lunch time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How can you just sit there?

Friday night jazz, downtown Greenville, live band, drums, awesome blues guitar, singer with a cool powerful voice and far too many people doing a great imitation of statues. Friday night, Laura, my youngest, took me downtown to listen to some great jazz and blues. She wanted to dance, a lot of her fellow swing dances come out on Friday night and dance in the street, well, actually on the sidewalk or piazza in front of the Hyatt. I am too proud to attempt to dance with an audience of strangers watching, although they probably wouldn't pay attention to me, but you know how sensitive guy's egos are. Anyway, I will be learning to swing dance because it looked like a barrel full of fun.

It was interesting to see the effect that the music had on individuals in the crowd. The range of effects was staggeringly wide.

First, you had the dancers. There were the swing dancers, or some variation of that, dancers with steps and order. Then there the couples that just had to move their bodies to the music even though sometimes, their movements made me think I might need to call 911 to help them with their seizure. The amazing thing to me about this second group of dancers was how uninhibited they were, which might have been aided by liquid courage, but I think it was just natural response to the music. I envied their lack of foolish pride.

After the dancers, you had the seat dancers, or the shimmiers and shakers. These were the folks who, even though they were sitting down, or leaning against a tree or pole, could not sit still, they moved their legs in time with the beat, bobbed their heads, with animated facial expressions or lips mouthing the words. It was clear that these folks were moved by the music, but just could not bring themselves to join the dance floor, dance sidewalk, you get the point.

Then there were the toe tappers. Folks that liked the music and kept time with the feet. If you looked just at their upper body or face, you might have assumed the music didn't have anything for them, but one glimpse toward the ground reassured you that they were feeling the music as much as hearing it.

The final group amazed me, they never moved, not at all. I wanted to walk up and hold a mirror under there nose before calling the coroner. I don't understand how you can not move to music, maybe not as dramatically as a dancer, or with as much emphasis as seat dancer, but, come on, toe tapping is not hard and hardly draws attention to yourself. I don't know if it were a conscious decision to not look common by showing that you enjoyed the music or if they were deaf. Ok, maybe that is a little harsh, but I was stunned.

So that leaves just one more thing to report, my actions. I'm a seat shimmier, or in this case a concrete pillar dancer. I could not stop moving, of course Laura told me later that at one point she almost broke into a laugh because my head bobbing looked more like "Doing the Chicken" than any kind of dancing.

In conclusion: I had a blast!