Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer days drifting away...

This has really been one of the more enjoyable summers I've seen in a long time. Rarely real hot and never too cold; although for me cold is never the issue. I've never been a big fan of summer.
As a child, because of my allergies, I spent most of the time in our finished basement, reading Stephen King novels, comic books, or watching our old black and white television. I loved that old television. In fact, even when I was home from college I would watch that old set. Even the Cosby Show and Cheers never lost their charm in black and white.

I digressed. Summer. Ah yes. Terrible season. I hate sweating, and thanks to my maternal grandfather I'm predisposed to sweating in any temperature over seventy degrees, it seems. I'm not really an outside kind of guy, and I dislike most bugs. What I DO like is summer evenings, though. Especially when the sun has just set and the western sky is full of oranges, reds, and that beautiful twilight blue. It's my favorite time of day, when it's not happening at 4:30 in the afternoon, that is. There's one mark against winter.

Now I'll tell you a secret. I like fall and winter because it puts our kids back in school. Swim-meets, band and choir concerts, family holidays together, parent/teacher conferences, class trips, class events - I love it all! But I feel guilty about it, too. You see, the kids moms? You know, Laverne and Shirley? They're school teachers so to them the coming fall is not as exciting. They like their summers off and their camping trips with the kids. I can't blame them, I would too.

But for me, I'll take the sweatshirt weather, college football, and all that wonderful school stuff, any day. It really has been one terrific summer this year, but I'm smiling a little more each night as the temperature dips down into blanket weather again. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaching an old dog a new trick.

Our trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania was to be my topic for my next blog, but as life has a way of doing, plans changed in a very sad way.

On our way home I received a call from Shirley that the family's dog had gotten sick while we were gone and a trip to the vet revealed that she was terminally ill. The decision had been made to put her to sleep, but they had put the girl on drugs to keep her out of pain until the kids came home and get a chance to say their goodbyes. I was floored, and unable to say much since the kids were in the car with me.

The kids were naturally upset when they were told. Buffy excused herself to her room, Willow had not been with us so she already had known. Angel wept and Spike being the youngest asked a lot of questions, understanding, but not fully comprehending I think. While they were being told, the Golden Retriever named Carmel was sitting in front of me and I was petting her. I realized at that moment that this beautiful creature created by God was the only animal that had ever taught me a very important lesson.

I've always been more of a cat person, myself, but growing up my family did have a loyal and faithful pet dog that was a member of our family from the time I was 3 until my first year of college.

However, I never liked big dogs. Not sure why, really. Could have been the fact that my mother was always in fear of big dogs, perhaps. Or maybe it came from something else entirely, fact is, big dogs of any kind make me uncomfortable. When the moms got Carmel, Angel was a toddler I think, Buffy was perhaps five, Willow a preteen and Spike was either a baby or hadn't even shown up yet (now there's a blog for another day!). So the idea that there was now a big dog living in the same house as our children made me uncomfortable.

Funny things about dogs, though, they sense human emotions more than I think we realize. From day one Carmel seemed to constantly want to be with me. As soon as we'd get out of the car when showing up at the house, she would be there, jumping on me, pawing at my arms and refusing to let me move. Laverne and Shirley were both understanding, though nothing was ever said, and would call her off of me. Though after about five or ten minutes she would be right back where she started.

At first I would pat her and try to get away as quickly as possible. Then through time that turned into a little petting behind the ear and a slower move towards a chair or the couch. Even as the years went on, that girl never gave up. There she was on the passenger side of the car, waiting for me to step out so she could maul, paw, and lather me with that unconditional love that she was determined to show me that big dogs possessed just like the medium and small ones.

A few years later I found myself petting her more and joking with Chandler about Carmel waiting for me before we would pull into the driveway. I didn't even realize it then, but I was finding myself enjoying that moment when she saw me. Before she had begun to show signs of her age and gotten sick, I was now fully in love with this golden girl and stopped running from her, and went to her.

I'm going to miss Carmel as much as I do my cat of 20 years and more than I miss the old family dog. This girl was a true one of a kind. She showed me two things about life. She showed me that my dislike of large dogs was stupid, and that with perseverance, patience, and continual love, you can bring anyone around.

Goodbye old girl. You were beautiful, you were loved, and you gave love; but most importantly, you taught this old dog a new trick. I thank you for that. I'll miss you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Captain's Chair.

This last Sunday Chandler, Laverne, Shirley and I decided to have a parents day. We took Buffy, Angel, and Spike over to Chandler's family to spend the night with their cousins while we headed up to Detroit for the afternoon.

First stop was the Detroit Science Center where we got tickets to the Star Trek exhibit that they have going on. It was a lot of fun and they actually had a full scale replica of the original bridge to the Enterprise. I can't deny that I was in total geek heaven when I took the two steps up the platform and sat myself in the Captain's Chair; also got a real thrill sitting at the Helm as well. But the best view had to have been at the view screen looking towards the bridge, seeing the whole thing right there in front of me. I told Chandler I wanted one of these for our new house that we are building. I don't think it's going to happen, but wow could the kids and I have fun with something like that!

Part of the package that we bought was a chance to watch the new Star Trek movie on their IMAX screen. So we went into the theater expecting a large screen, but I don't think none of us were prepared for the dome shaped screen that was facing us. The chairs reclined way back, which was good for viewing, horrible for my back. The air conditioning was blasting away and although the exterior shots of the Enterprise and any planet terrain was awesome, the constant quick action of the camera's during the battle scene's made everything out of focus and rather nauseating.

I couldn't help but laugh, though. Here we were, the four of us who have spent the last 12 to 20 years together; who have stayed up all night and partied hardy when we were younger, were now sitting there like four old people.

"It's too cold in here." Chandler would hiss to my right.

"This chair is killing my back." I hissed back.

"The movie is making me sick to my stomach." Laverne moaned to my left.

We really aren't as young as we used to be. Then after the movie we headed into Greektown for some excellent Chicago style pizza and a trip to the ice cream parlor before heading home. Both of which were excellent.

All in all, it was a great day and one that I think I needed. Going from day to day we tend to lose ourselves in our children, our work, our responsibilities; so having some time like this reminded me of the bond that we've all forged and how important that bond is.

I do have one regret, though. I wish we had had the kids there so we could have taken a picture of the entire family on the bridge of the Enterprise. What a great photo that would have been. Of course since I'm the oldest member of this clan, I claim the Captain's Chair.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good Morning Star Shine

On the weekends I tend to stay up rather late; actually to the early hours of the morning. I've always been a night owl and it's usually when I do most of my writing. Since most of the time it's just Chandler and I on the weekends it's easy to sleep in. However when we have the children with us, it makes sleeping in near impossible. And I love it!

This morning I woke up to the sounds of Angel and Spike running through the house pretending to be different superheroes as they fought with their plastic swords, shouting out different hero names (depending on who they thought could defeat whom at that moment). It was a beautiful sound that was intermixed with Chandler's soft laughter at the boys as some pretty witty comments came out of the mouths of both our children.

Now in about half an hour I'm going to have to wake up Buffy from her slumber. She and I stayed up late and watched The Untouchables last night. I love sharing my late nights with both my girls and eventually the boys when they get older. It's our special time and a chance to show them some of the movies that the boys are not yet old enough to watch. And like me, both of them are night owls as well.

The difference? Teenagers are not so easy to wake up! In fact I asked everyone else in the house if they wanted to do the honors. I've never seen a room clear out so fast in my life!

But you know what? I'd take the joy of this beautiful noise over a quite home, anyday! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That's Robert Reed to you.

So here I sit, ready to try my hand at my first blog. I guess I'll start the way that everyone starts when they want someone to get to know them; I'll tell you a bit about myself and the most important people in my life.

I am a 43 year old man with a husband of 12 years. Let us call him, Chandler (41). We have four children: Willow (16) and Buffy (13) are our two girls; Angel (11) and Spike (7) are our two boys. They live with their two moms: Laverne (are you kidding, she'll kill me if I tell you) and Shirley (and this one will burn the body). This is my family. I like to think of them as God's gift for surviving my wild years.

And hopefully you noticed the theme by now. I love everything pop culture, with television and comics right at the top of that list.

I hope to share exploits of our own little Brady Bunch and the happiness that they have brought me, along with stray thoughts that come out of this twilight zone of a mind that I have.

Hope you stick around!