Wednesday, November 30, 2005

talk about your arranged marriages.....

RIYADH (Reuters) - Four Saudi women teaching in a remote village school have married their driver so they can live closer to work, Al-Watan newspaper said on Monday.

The newspaper said the women from Al-Baha province in south-west Saudi Arabia were impressed with the man's "good morals" and decided to marry him and live together in the village where they teach -- avoiding a tiring daily commute.

They were married in a short ceremony, and have agreed to pay the driver a share of their monthly salaries, Al-Watan said. Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, while men can marry up to four women according to Islamic law.

Why four women? Two words - instant carpool!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

you know you're in the south when.....

What you're about to read is a true story, with no embellishment on my part at all.

A guy stopped by my office yesterday, and the conversation went something like this:

Him - Hey, I got a doe Thursday morning!

Me - Great, congratulations!

Him - Yeah, I got up to go to the bathroom. I looked out the bathroom window and saw three of 'em just standing there near my fence.

Me - Do what now?

Him - Yep, I'm standing there in nothing but my Santa Claus boxers, and I look again to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. The kids were still asleep, and my wife wasn't home from her shift in the ER yet, so I went downstairs to get my crossbow. I pulled it back, then grabbed an arrow. I opened up the door to the deck real slow, then put on my wife's flip-flops so I wouldn't slip on the deck.

Me - Wait, let me get this straight. You're on the deck in your Santa boxers, your wife's flip-flops, and you're about to shoot a deer with your crossbow.

Him - Yeah, so I get out there, and they all moved about 3 steps. I thought I'd scared them off, but then they stopped. I aimed and got 'er. She took about 2 steps and dropped, and the other two took off. Then I went back inside and put on some clothes so I could go outside and get a better look.
When my wife got home and saw it strung up just past the fence, she wanted to know why I didn't just field dress the deer where I shot it. I said, "I did!" She didn't believe me at first. Then she wanted me to go outside in my boxers and her flip flops and stand beside the deer so she could take my picture. But I wouldn't let her. I'd never live that down.

Even though I'm not a hunter, the look of pride on his face made me unusually proud for him.....

Monday, November 28, 2005

10 people in one house.....

Family. To some, this word invokes bad memories. Unresolved differences. Something you run away from. To the 10 of us, family is something you run towards.

Now, would I want to live 365 days a year with the other 9 people in the same dwelling? No, because there'd probably be a killing sooner or later, and yours truly may be the one to go down. Let's face it, people can only take so much needling before they snap.

The drive up took a bit longer than normal. TDOT was working on part of I-40 that morning near Carthage, then Knoxville traffic was a a little congested, but it was the day before Thanksgiving. We had dinner with the Moffitts at Olive Garden in Johnson City, then went back to their house for a few hours. Always good to spend time with them, wish we could do it more.

Most of the long weekend revolved around being lazy and eating food. I excelled at both. (One negative note - I've found that eating lately has been less enjoyable because my clothes have appeared to shrink over the past few months.) We spent most of the day Friday at Mamaw's, eating another Thanksgiving meal. We got her Christmas decorations up before leaving.

Saturday's trip back went pretty well, no traffic delays. The bride and I listened to the UT game (finally, a win) while the girls played on the PS2, slept or watched movies. That night I got the Christmas tree up in the den. Sunday after church we met Susie's family at Buca de Beppo for lunch. We came back home, watched the Titans' game (a long-overdue win) and did a few other things around the house. I got the outside lights up before the rain came in. Tonight we'll get the tree in the den decorated, and possibly put up the tree in the bonus room.

Thinking about the many things for which I'm thankful, I thought of a new one this morning on the way to work. I'm glad I'm not someone who looks forward to going back to work after an extended long weekend. That would be a miserable existence.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

and don't you ever forget it.....

My grandmother recently lost two brothers (Hayden and Glenn) over the span of 9 days, and it's been pretty hard on her. Having family around this weekend will be good for her.

Mom was talking to one of Glenn's daughters yesterday. Rebecca said that any time she or her other brother or sister would leave their parents' house, her father would look at them and say, "I love you, and don't you ever forget it!" She said when she thinks about her father, that's the first thing she remembers.

The older I get, the more I appreciate Thanksgiving. Christmas is and always will be my favorite holiday, but Thanksgiving keeps getting more special. It seems that everyone is always so rushed during the Christmas season, while Thanksgiving is more laid back and it allows us to just be with people we love.

Sometime over the next few days, tell someone "I love you, and don't you ever forget it!" Chances are they won't ever forget it.....

hey, i'm italian.....

The bride sent me out after a few items at the grocery store on Saturday. It was probably good "medicine" for me since UT had just lost to Vanderbilt. But I will give everyone a warning - unless you absolutely HAVE TO go to the grocery store the weekend before Thanksgiving, don't. It's too crowded and everything is picked over.

For example, one of my stops was at Panera Bread where I was to pick up a couple of loaves of sourdough bread. I walked in with my list and coupon (one loaf free) and was promptly told that they were completely out of sourdough bread. Panera Bread (emphasis on the word "Bread") was out of sourdough bread. That's like McDonald's being out of hamburgers. Or Fazolli's being out of spaghetti. You get the point.

So I go to Kroger's. Sure, they have sourdough bread, 2 loaves even, but they both had mold on them. Mold. Very nice. I called the bride, and she suggested that I go to Publix to get the bread and the other two items on my list. Fair enough.

I end up at Publix. We've started coming here more often than Bi-Lo for one main reason - self-check-out's. Bi-Lo pulled their self-check-out's, so we pulled our business. So I go to the back, find two nice sliced loaves of sourdough bread and look at the other two items on my list - vanilla ice cream and parmesan cheese, the kind in the shaker.

I don't know about you, but we keep our parmesan cheese in the refrigerator. Therefore, I looked for the parmesan cheese in the refrigerated section near the other cheeses. My logic is that cheese is cheese, and they'll ALL be together. I looked beside the mozzarella, the cheddar, the swiss, but there's no parmesan. I did find some expensive kind, actually a 3-cheese mix, in another section, but I knew I just wanted the regular Kraft in the shaker. In desparation, I did what most men hate to do - I asked for help.

Lois seemed nice enough, and was eager to help. "Sure, let me show you!" I followed Lois to the expensive 3-cheese mix.

"Actually, I did see that, but I was looking for the plain kind in the shaker."

Lois then handed me a block of parmesan cheese, sans shaker. "Oh, then this is what you want."

"No, I want the plain kind already in the shaker. I don't want to grate it." (The whole time I'm thinking 'what part of shaker did you not understand?')

"You don't want that, it has toO many other additives and preservatives."

"Yes, I really do want that kind."

She then turned to me as if she was about to bestow upon me some great measure of profundity and said, "Hey, I'm Italian, and I know parmesan cheese."

To which I replied, "Hey, I'm married and I know what my wife told me to get. So if you'll just point me in the direction of the Kraft brand, that'll be great."

I think I stunned her with that one. A bit miffed, she told me which aisle to find the additive-laden Kraft parmesan cheese.

Much to our delight, no one at dinner that night died from ingesting any ill-advised preservatives.....

Monday, November 21, 2005

enjoy it while you can.....

While driving around at lunch today, I heard an awful lot of cocky Vanderbilt fans on the radio sports talk shows. They need to enjoy this while they can. It reminds me of a Winston Churchill quote.

A woman had accused Churchill of being drunk, to which he replied:

Yes, madam, I am drunk. But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.

In September, when both UT's and Vandy's football teams are 0-0, Vandy football will still be Vandy football.....

not the end of the world.....yet....

First it was the tsunami. Then came the hurricanes and the earthquake. Now, UT loses to Vanderbilt in football. If THAT doesn't convince you that we're living in the end times, I don't know what it's going to take.

Some say they're glad to see Vandy finally win, that's it's good for the rivalry. What rivalry? Tennessee had won 22 straight, there's no rivalry there! All that's there is Vandy wishing for 22 years that they could somehow, someway beat Tennessee.

Did Vandy deserve to win? Yes. Jay Cutler picked apart UT's defense the entire game. Tennessee let opportunity after opportunity slip away. Chances to score were wasted all afternoon.

But you just don't lose to Vanderbilt.

Many people, even Vol fans, don't know that UT was winless in their first 12 games to Vanderbilt. Their best effort was in 1900 when they fought to a 0-0 tie. Their first win over the Commodores was in 1914 when UT beat Vandy 16-14 and wrapped up a 9-0 season, winning their first ever title - champions of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

But that was then, this is now. And you just don't lose to Vanderbilt.

Our junior high football coach, Jack Walling, used to fire up the student body during pep rallies by talking about PGD - pride, guts and determination. Watching Saturday's game, I'm not sure that UT had any of that going for them. Pride is certainly gone from the hill in Knoxville.

Coach Fulmer said UT has hit rock bottom. I sure do hope so, but I'm not sure. I don't know if they can get back up and win against Kentucky next weekend.....

Friday, November 18, 2005

i'm starting to need some of this myself.....

California vintners in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as Pino More.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

it's beginning to sound alot like christmas.....


Yes! I heard my first Christmas song on the radio yesterday! Chrissie Hyndes and The Pretenders' "2000 Miles." WOOOOOHOOOOO!

It was sometime yesterday afternoon, and I was sitting at my desk. I listen to WAPS out of Akron, Ohio, courtesy of (If you've never been to this site and you like to have some background music in your office during the day, this is the place to be. Just pick your music genre, then choose from the 100's of stations. Very cool, and it's FREE!)

I tried to play some Christmas music one day last week during supper, but the bride said it was too early. Hearing this song yesterday, I may have to overrule on that decision this week.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

for every daughter's father.....

This was Dave Barry's column yesterday.....

Every school-day morning, my wife and I take our 5-year-old daughter, Sophie, to her elementary school. We go to the cafeteria, where we wait, along with many other children and their parents, for the teachers to come and take the students to their classes. It's a loud, happy, social scene, the cafeteria, and a rare chance for parents to watch their children interact with classmates.

There's a boy in Sophie's kindergarten class who clearly has a crush on Sophie. Every day when we get to the cafeteria, he comes right over and says "Hi, Sophie!" She generally ignores him; she pays attention only to her girlfriends. But the boy does not give up. The other day, he brought something to show her: It was the instructions to his father's digital watch -- one of those little booklets, written in like eight different languages, that tell you how to set the time, date, month, etc. -- the booklet you always lose 15 minutes after you buy the watch, which means if the date ever gets off, you have to throw the watch away.

When we got to the cafeteria, the boy came running up, holding out the booklet. He said, "Sophie! Look at this! It's for my father's watch!" Sophie glanced at the booklet for perhaps one millionth of a second, then went back to chatting with her girlfriends. The boy was disappointed; clearly, he had thought Sophie would be wowed by the the watch instructions.

Seeing his face, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, as Sophie's dad, I'm glad my daughter is not easily impressed by boys. On the other hand, as a former little boy who tended to have crushes on unobtainable girls, I sympathized. My guess is that the boy is in for a lot of this sort of disappointment before he figures out how to impress girls. I personally tried humor, which allegedly is attractive to the opposite gender, but you could not prove that by my experience in grade school: I could make loud farting noises with my hands, but for whatever reason the girls managed to resist me anyway.

So farting noises and watch instructions are not what girls want. My guess is that the boy in my daughter's class will spend years trying to figure out what they do want. I wish him luck.

But not with my daughter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

i could have told you that.....

Ever see a headline in a newspaper or online and realize just how obvious it is? Here's one I saw last week:

Smarter kids may live longer: study

This one's easy to figure out without even reading the article. Here's why smarter kids live longer:

  • smarter kids don't play in traffic
  • smarter kids get dumber kids to do dangerous things in their place
  • smarter kids don't eat things from mouse traps
  • smarter kids don't hang onto the bottom of garage doors and ride them up and down while their friend pushes the button

Wait, I may have to get back to you on that last one.....

Monday, November 14, 2005


It's hard to remember a weekend when both UT and the Titans didn't lose a game. UT finally won again, beating Memphis 20-16. The Titans didn't play, so they didn't have the opportunity to lose. Alot of people in middle Tennessee are adopting a Chicago Cubs type of an attitude - wait 'til next year.

Mom and Dad were down for the weekend, and we had a good visit with them on Friday and Saturday. We helped Devonna move on Saturday, and got everything done in just a few hours.

I did learn on Saturday that my niece, Grace, has written about a character I created for her in her journal at school. A few years ago I started calling her "Pootydoot". I don't know why, it just came out one day. Ever since then, that's been her name. Of course she says that I'm the real Pootydoot, but she's only six so what does she know? So now her teacher knows all about Pootydoot. Whether or not it's the real one, I'm not sure.....

Friday, November 11, 2005

don't be late for school.....

These were the words I used when I called the bride this morning at around 8:00.

About a month or so ago, the bride decided that she was ready to get back into the work force outside the home. She's been doing some stuff for a local financial planner, but nothing on a regular basis. So she decided that in order to be able to have a similar schedule as the girls, she would apply to be a teacher's assistant in a Franklin-area elementary school. When that didn't work out, she decided to go for an interview as a sub in the same school system. She went for the interview yesterday and it lasted about 7 minutes. About 2 hours later she called and said she already had a job subbing for a teacher's assistant on Friday. Not only is it what she wants to eventually do, but it's at Sara's old school, so she knows almost all the teachers there. Good starting situation for her to ease into the job.

As Sara was leaving for the bus this morning, she told the bride how to do a portion of her job. As she walked out the door, Sara told the bride, "Have a good day at school, sweetie!" I just hope she doesn't start hanging with the wrong crowd on the playground.....

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Sara went to her best friend's (Amanda) birthday party yesterday. It was a shopping birthday party. She wanted to go shopping at the mall with her friends. So each child was armed with $15 (and any other cash they might have sneaked out of the house) and went shopping.

One of Sara's purchases was at Candy Craze, the bulk-candy store in the mall. You know the one - bins and bins of different ridiculously overpriced candy. She came out of there with $8 worth - over half of her $15. The bride commented on how small the bag of candy was and Sara said, "Mom, I'd already eaten alot of it before I got home." Our dentist should love us.

I remember doing that when I was little. One of my buddies and neighbors, Stevie Keesling, and I used to save up money and go to the local Jiffy Market about a mile from our house. It was always an adventure because it wasn't in the neighborhood. 90% of the trip there was uphill, then we'd have to cut through a couple of yards to bypass the highway that fronted the store. We'd come out of there with all kinds of candy and little pop-up toys. Good times.

Now I'm 41. I'd love to take over half of my next bonus and spend it on fun stuff for the girls and me. Why not? I mean with computers and everything, is it even necessary that the girls go to college? I'll have to think on that one.....

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

sticky situation gets even stickier.....

DENVER (AP) -- A man who sued Home Depot last month claiming a prank left him glued to a toilet seat made a similar allegation about another restroom more than a year ago, an official told a newspaper.

Bob Dougherty's lawsuit alleges employees at the store ignored his pleas for help on the day before Halloween 2003 because they thought he was kidding.

But Ron Trzepacz, former director of operations for the town of Nederland, where Dougherty lives, told the Rocky Mountain News in Tuesday's editions that Dougherty told him in the summer of 2004 he was glued to a toilet seat in the town's visitor center but pulled himself free.

Trzepacz told the paper he inspected the bathroom and found "no indication that anything had been on the toilet seat." No police report was filed, he said.

Dougherty's lawyer, Mark Cohen, denied his client made such a claim and said Dougherty, 57, is willing to take a polygraph test.

"The allegation doesn't make any sense," Cohen told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Neither Trzepacz nor the Nederland town administrator immediately returned a call from the AP. Nederland is about 45 miles northwest of Denver.

Dougherty's lawsuit, filed Oct. 28, said officials at the store in Louisville called for an ambulance after he had been stuck for about 15 minutes. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, which separated from his skin, leaving abrasions, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also said Dougherty was recovering from heart bypass surgery and thought he was having a heart attack when he got stuck.

The lawsuit claims he suffered pain, humiliation and financial loss. It seeks $3 million.

"It's not about the money. I want my health back. I want to be back to normal," Dougherty said. "I want to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody ever, ever again."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

old people food.....

Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies! I mentioned moving into a nursing home yesterday, and today I'll be eating "old people" food for lunch.

Yep, I'll be lunching with about 125 retirees today. The reason I call it "old people" food? Last year, while at the same banquet, one of the retirees put his arm around me and said, "Make sure you're near a salt shaker when you sit down, Wade. Today you're eatin' old people food." He let out a hearty laugh while slapping me on the back. And it was a ripple effect all around me as all the other retirees in ear-shot started laughing. They're all a great group of people. It's like being around 125 of my grandparents all at once.

I'm actually a pretty popular guy when I'm at these retiree functions. No, it's not my great personality or my biting wit. The reason? I bring the restaurant gift cards that are given away after lunch.....

Monday, November 07, 2005

youthful utterance.....

Conversation between Sara and me last night when I reached into the entertainment center to get a couple of cd's to take to work with me:

Sara: "What's that?"

Me: "A couple of cd's that I want to take to work with me."

Sara: "Who is it?"

Me: "U2's two latest ones."

Sara: "I thought U2 was a bunch of old guys."

Me: "Uh, no, not really."

Sara: (looking at a picture of the band on the back of one of the cd's) "Yeah they are!"

I should be checking myself into a nursing home any day now.....

Friday, November 04, 2005

had a tevye-esque moment last night.....

There are pictures of the girls all over our house, all taken at various ages. But some of my favorites are the ones in the foyer, on the right, just before walking into the den. We took them at Mark's and Jennifer's house in Nashville about five years ago. I had set the mode to "sephia" on the camera, so they have this bronze/antique look to them. Meg's hair is shorter, Sara's is in braided pigtails. Both girls were missing teeth.

During a commercial of a show we were watching, I went into the kitchen. On my way back, the bride and I crossed paths. I put my arms around her and looked at the pictures on the wall. Thinking about how young the girls looked I said, "Boys call these same little girls now."

As I went back to my recliner, I started thinking that ten years from now I could be a grandfather. A very young looking grandfather, but a grandfather none the less. Not that I'm complaining. It's just that sometimes the "now" seems to contain much less time than it used to, and the "then" seems much too far away.

My personality is such that I'm almost always looking forward rather than existing in the moment. Going past those pictures last night made me think that might I need to work on that a little more.....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

stuck in a moment you can't get out of.....

OK, I've known people who had been in the bathroom so long that I thought this had happened to, but.....

Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet
BOULDER, Colorado (AP) - A hardware retailer Home Depot has found itself in a sticky situation, defending a lawsuit filed by a man who claims the chain's Louisville store ignored his cries for help after he fell victim to a prank and was glued to a toilet seat.

Bob Dougherty, 57, of Nederland, said he became stuck to a bathroom toilet seat on which somebody had smeared glue on Oct. 30, 2003, and felt ``tremendous panic'' when he realized he was stuck.

"They left me there, going through all that stress,'' Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. "They just let me rot.''

His lawsuit, filed Friday said Dougherty was recovering from heart bypass surgery at the time and thought he was having a heart attack. A store employee who heard him calling for help informed the head clerk via radio, but the head clerk "believed it to be a hoax,'' the lawsuit said.

Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher said she could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit said after about 15 minutes, store officials called for an ambulance. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, and while wheeling a "frightened and humiliated'' Dougherty out of the store, he passed out.

The lawsuit said the toilet seat separated from his skin, leaving abrasions.

"This is not Home Depot's fault,'' he said. "But I am blaming them for letting me hang in there and just ignoring me.''

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

forgotten halloween memory.....

I must have been around 8 years old, so this would have been around 1972. Most of the yards in our neighborhood were around an acre or so, so you had to do alot more walking then to get as much candy as kids do now who live in neighborhoods with 1/4 acre lots. Dad took me and the Keesling kids around that halloween night.

We were about half way through the night, and Angie decided that her Casper mask was getting too hot to wear. Remember those plastic masks with the elastic string on the back? After about 5 minutes of breathing, you fogged up the inside of the mask so that there was a constant misty layer hitting your face from the inside of the mask. Angie had hit this point with her mask, and asked Dad to hold it for her. The four of us kids walked up the driveway on the next house, and Dad stayed behind to wait for us.

When we got back down to the bottom of the driveway, Dad had his back to us and was facing towards the woods. The first thought that crossed my mind? "Oh, this is great, Dad's taking a whiz and he's not finished yet!" All of the sudden, Dad turns around and screams with the Casper mask on. Scared us to death.

I think the four of us kids walked around with moisture running down our legs for the rest of the evening.....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

halloween came and went.....

Every year since moving into our neighborhood, we convince ourselves that we'll have TONS of trick-or-treaters. So we buy plenty of candy, and we always have plenty of candy left over. That's not always a bad thing. I was able to sample quite of bit of it during the night.

I would imagine we had maybe 50-60 kids come by last night. In a neighborhood of 200+ houses, we expect more kids. But again, leftover candy is good.

On another topic, Randy Sanders made alot of Vol fans happy yesterday by stepping down. Although I'm glad to see him resign, I feel bad for the way it happened. I think the pressure of losing finally got to him. There were reports of his children being harrassed at their schools because of UT's anemic offense. I'll admit that I never cared for his play-calling, but his family should be off limits. It's a shame that some people just can't seem to separate the coach from the man.....