Thursday, March 30, 2006

three of my favorite words.....

Three-day weekend.

Yep, in about 9 hours I'll start a three-day weekend. It's been a busy week and I'm looking forward to it. What will I do? Maybe a quick flight to the Bahamas for the weekend? Head up to Indianapolis for the Final Four? Nope, even better.

I'm spreading mulch.....try not to be jealous.....

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

no, that's not it.....

I was telling a friend of mine about the funeral scene from "Elizabethtown" yesterday, and he had a story that was just as good (if not better).

It seems that a man in my friend's church had passed away. A friend of the family had been asked to sing at the funeral. When this friend met with the widow to discuss the music for the funeral, he said, "What are some songs that your husband really liked?" She rattled off a few classic hymns and then said, "But his favorite song of all was 'Jingle Bells.' I'm sure he'd want that to be sung." The friend said, "Are you sure you want me to sing 'Jingle Bells' at you're husband's funeral?" The widow replied, "Oh, yes, I'm very sure. He just loved that song!" The friend asked several more times about 'Jingle Bells', and the widow insisted every time that her husband would have wanted the song sung at his funeral.

The day of the funeral arrived, and the friend of the family is still a little hesitant to sing 'Jingle Bells' at a funeral service. But since the dearly departed would have wanted it done, he decided to go through with it.

The piano started playing, and the friend started doing a "church version" of 'Jingle Bells' - sort of slow. About the third line of the first chorus, he looked down at the widow. She had her hand over her mouth and was laughing. Laughing so hard that she was shaking. This seemed odd to the friend, but he kept singing. He looked back and the widow was still shaking with laughter. He had to look away in order to keep his concentration. The friend finished the song and the funeral service continued.

After the service, the widow came to the friend and was still laughing. The friend said, "Are you OK?" The widow said, "I am so sorry I was laughing, but I couldn't help it. Right after you started singing 'Jingle Bells' I realized that I had told you the wrong song. Then I finally understood why you questioned me so much about single 'Jingle Bells' and I couldn't stop laughing!"

Turns out the song she was thinking about was 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day'. I don't think that guy has sung at a funeral since.....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

they nailed it.....

The bride and I watched the movie "Elizabethtown" last night. (We watched "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" Saturday night and saw the birth of Brangelina. The movie was OK, but the fire between Brad and Angelina was moving. Not really, I made that up.)

I wasn't too sure about watching "Elizabethtown" because I had heard it was a chick-flick. And it was to a certain extent. But what I enjoyed about it was the way the people from this small Southern town were portrayed.

It would have been easy to have them all in overalls, dipping Skoal and sucking on long necks the whole time. But the director chose to make them realistic. These were people I grew up with, the kind of people that most of us who live (or have lived) in small towns in the South grew up with. They weren't stupid. Sure they were comical at times, but they weren't ignorant.

One of my favorite scenes was when Drew drove into town for the first time. Everyone waved at him and literally pointed him towards his destination. Kids on bikes, people on front porches and on the courthouse steps, old men on benches. Although he hadn't been there in years, everyone knew him. It was like he was coming home, even though home was about 2,000 miles away in Oregon. (My other favorite scene was when the band played "Free Bird" at the funeral. That's a scene you've got to see.)

And they all hugged him. It was uncomfortable for Drew at first, but he grew into it. But that's just what we Southerners do - we hug.

I used to think small towns were overrated. The older I get, the better they look.....

Monday, March 27, 2006

hey, y'all, watch 'is.....

The following article proves that there are rednecks in other places besides the South.....


CHELSEA, Mich. - A man has been sentenced to six months' probation for shooting at his neighbor's radio-controlled model airplanes with a shotgun.

David Nuttle, 41, of Washtenaw County's Webster Township, pleaded guilty to one count of malicious destruction of property worth less than $200, a misdemeanor.

Judge Richard Conlin of 14-A District Court in Chelsea sentenced him Thursday to six months of probation and 50 hours of community service. Conlin also gave him a 20-day suspended jail sentence, deferred as long as Nuttle complies with the conditions of his probation, which includes no alcohol or drugs and no contact with the planes' owner.

Nuttle also must pay $154 restitution and $550 in fines and court fees.

Nuttle used a .410-gauge shotgun to shoot at the planes. He said his shots hit only one plane, causing two tiny holes in it. The plane he is paying for crashed when the child who was operating it lost control of it after being frightened by the shots, Nuttle said.

Nuttle told the judge he regretted his actions.

"I felt I was defending my family and my property from these airplanes, and I called police several times," he said. "But I made a bad decision that day and I realize that."

Nuttle told The Ann Arbor News after the hearing that the planes have been a nuisance to his family, scaring his children, spooking his chickens and causing his goats to faint from exhaustion.

Friday, March 24, 2006

it's just a number.....

Age is something that people are never satisfied with. They either want to be older or younger than their current age. The older you get, the younger you wish you were. But when you're young, you want people to think you're actually older.

Last week after Meg's softball practice, the bride came and picked her up. Since she has her learner's permit, Meg asked to drive. When they got to Target, Meg pulled the van into a parking spot. As they got out of the van, there were three firemen getting out of their truck. One of the firemen looked at the bride and said, "What 'chu doin' lettin' a 12-year-old drive?"

Needless to say Meg won't be contributing to any fireman charities this year.....

Thursday, March 23, 2006

ways to tell i'm growing up.....

The bride asked me when I got in from work the other day where I'd gone to lunch. When I told her I'd eaten a sandwich downtown then gone to the library to read she remarked, "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd go to the library to read at lunch. I'm so proud of you, honey!" I felt like I'd just brought home a painting for my mom from kindergarten. Not really, I never could paint.

This got me to thinking about other things that have changed about me over the years that appear to be leading me towards maturity. Here's what I came up with:

I like to read for fun - When I started reading for fun about 2 years ago, a co-worker suggested that I start with Dr. Suess books. I had her fired. (Not really, but she did leave her job not long after that so I felt vindicated.) I've read all of Grisham's books, and Stephen Frey is another one of my favorite authors. I recently even read a biography, and I'm starting to read some more real-life things by Donald Miller. I'm a big boy now.

I actually try to eat better - This doesn't mean I always do, but I'm at least more conscious of what certain kinds of food can do to my gut. However, there are times that I see something I want to eat and eat it despite the eventual consequences to my waistline. Learning to accepts oneself is another sign of maturity. At least that's what I tell myself whenever I want ice cream.

I no longer laugh at certain sounds in public rest rooms - OK, this would be more accurately stated as "I no longer laugh OUT LOUD at certain sounds in public rest rooms".

Starting to car-shop for someone besides the bride or me - I've never done this before. Now, lest someone get really excited and think that I'm buying a car very soon, I'm simply doing research. It'll be awhile. Sort of like getting into a cold swimming pool, I'm easing myself in a little at a time because I'm not looking forward to the shock.

My musical tastes are changing - I used to listen to just one genre of music. Now it's all over the place. I love the music that Lightning 100 in Nashville and WAPS from Akron play. The oldies stations are now playing stuff that I grew up with. Country music is a little more enjoyable. Even the bluegrass ensemble from Belmont that played in the downtown library yesterday didn't sound all that bad.

Last night at about 8:30 I exhibited another character trait that proved I'm a little more mature every day. When Ryan Seacrest announced that Chicken Little was no longer going to a contestant on American Idol, I didn't get up and do a victory dance.....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

results wednesday.....

I thought the women out-sang the men in last night's American Idol. Here's my review:

While I don't care that much for Paris, I thought she did an excellent job. Katharine keeps getting better, as does Mandisa. Kellie did a great job. Lisa's song was just average, and I think she's in the bottom 3 again.

The best of the night was either Chris or Elliott. Taylor chose the wrong song, plain and simple. I keep waiting for a little Ray Charles; thought he might do "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'". Ace was OK, but I think he'll be in the bottom 3 again tonight. Unless there were a bunch of 15-year-olds who text-voted for him last night while telling their fathers that Ace was the best. Uh, yeah. Kevin gave his best performance so far, and I think the sympathy vote keeps him in it for another week. Bucky was pretty much off-key the whole night. He should also be in the bottom 3.

My prediction for who's going home tonight - Lisa.....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

wrong number.....

The caller ID feature is great. I've got it at work, at home and on my wireless phone. I especially appreciate it at work because I can always tell when that annoying ad-specialties salesman from Memphis is calling to tell me what great deal he has that I certainly can't live without today (even though I've told him time after time that I'm quite pleased with my current vendor and asked him not to call me any more).

This morning I was awakened from a sound sleep at 12:23 by a noise, but my mind simply could not register where it was coming from. I immediately reached for the alarm clock even though it didn't sound like my alarm going off. Then I sat up in bed and looked around the room, still stupified by the noise. (I'm not all there when I'm woken up in the middle of the night.) By the time I realized it was my cell phone and had gone to get it, the caller had hung up. And I didn't recognize the phone number. Wrong number, I guess. I turned the ringer off just in case they decided to dial the number incorrectly again.

So if you're one of the few people I know who has my cell phone number and you called me last night, do me a favor and call me during the day time. Because if you're looking for someone to be coherent with you in the middle of the night, you're barking up the wrong tree.....

Monday, March 20, 2006

good ol' 14a.....

Welcome, sweet springtime, we greet thee in song.....

Barney Fife "sang" this song with the Mayberry choir in one of the earlier episodes, "Barney and the Choir". Actually, he didn't sing it. If you'll recall, his voice was so horrible that Andy convinced him that he was singing into a super-sensitive microphone and that by singing very softly his voice would reverberate all over the room. (They had to do something because John Masters sent off for the arrangement from New York!) Turns out he was simply kip-syncing while one of the baritones actually sang the song into a mic offstage.

If today's supposed the be the first day of spring, you could have fooled me. My drive in this morning was done so in a driving rain while the temperature hovered around 37. It's not supposed to get out of the mid 50's all week. Two weeks ago we had highs in the upper 70's and low 80's. Now that springtime is here, it's cold again.

I guess I'll put the shorts up and drag the sweats out again.....

Friday, March 17, 2006

19 years ago today.....

You know how it is when you first start dating someone that you really like? You want to impress them and do things really special for them to hopefully make you stand out from everyone else.

The bride and I had our first date right after Valentines Day in 1987. About a month later her birthday came along, and I wanted to do something special, something that just screamed "classy" -but not the Ron Burgundy kind of "classy", something actually nice. I made reservations at the Polaris, which was the restaurant on top of the downtown Sheraton. The food was OK, but the restaurant rotated so that within an hour you would see all of the Nashville area. (Not like a merry-go-round that Sara thought it would be.) It was the kind of place that we don't go to any more because of the price. If I had been thinking logically instead of with my heart, we wouldn't have gone there then because technically speaking I couldn't really afford it at the time. (I think I paid more for our meal that night that we pay for our whole family to go out and eat now.)

But that's what you do when you're in love. That's what you do when you know that person's "the one." And that's what you still try to do 19 years later. You may not always succeed in being romantic, but you hope that she knows she's still that girl you use to try to impress with an expensive meal that didn't taste all that great.

Happy birthday my dear bride.....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

it was 11 years ago today.....

Thursday, March 16, 1995. The bride and I made our way to Centennial Hospital bright and early. By 7:00 AM, she was hooked up to all the equipment. (I kidded her that if she had gone in one day later the equipment in the room would have tripled, but since she was 29 instead of 30 on that day they were able to keep the medical machinery at a normal level.)

Family was in the waiting room waiting for their next granddaughter or niece or sister or cousin. I, however, was bedside in the delivery room, my right hand held out ready to be squeezed. At 10:56 AM, Sara Beth Stapleton was born at 6 pounds 7 ounces and (I believe) 21 inches long. One thing common during both girls' birth was that there was a Billy Joel song playing on the radio (not on CD, so it wasn't planned) when they were born. "She's Always a Woman" was playing when Meg was born, and "She's Got a Way" for Sara.

She's a mix of both parents - she may look like me and be impatient just like me, but she's tender hearted and kind like her mom. I'm trying to get her to stop growing up and older, but it's not working. But even though she won't abide by my wishes to stop getting older, I'm proud of the young lady she's becoming and I look forward to all that she's going to be.

As long as that doesn't mean that boys will be coming to our house to see least not until she's out of college.....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

week 1 review.....

Sara and I had softball practice last night, so we missed most of American Idol. We got home in time to see Chris doing "Higher Ground." However, I did record it and zipped through the performances in about 30 minutes or so. Here's my ranking/grouping:

Best - Taylor, Chris, Katharine and Mandisa

Good - Lisa, Paris, Bucky, Melissa and Elliott

Weak - Kevin, Ace and Kellie

Who's going home? I keep saying Kevin will, so I'll stick with him. If he ends up with the granny and pre-teen vote again, it may be Melissa. Yeah, she forgot the words to the song, so that may cost her.

As for the makeovers? Some of them looked a little odd. Chris didn't look natural at all. Kellie looked much better in the weeks leading up to this point. And I completely agreed with Simon's comment on Bucky's hair looking like Jessica Simpson's. I kept waiting for him to walk out from behind swinging doors and deliver a Cheesy Bites pizza.

The results show is tonight.....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

yes, a table by the window and a dandie dinmont terrier, please.....

Several cafes in Hong Kong now lend their dining guests dogs and cats to pet during their visits. This temporary affection, according to a January Der Spiegel dispatch, is popular because Hong Kong residents find it so inconvenient to own pets in such a densely populated city.

Also in January, the owner of the Augsburg, Germany, restaurant La Boheme confirmed that while customers are welcome to bring their own dogs with them when they dine, "small children" are not allowed in the evenings. "After a hard day's work, (diners) want some peace," he told Agence France-Presse.

Those who know me won't lose any sleep wondering how I feel about this "fad".....

Monday, March 13, 2006

outnumbered again.....

Estrogen levels were unusually high at our house this weekend. The normal female-to-male ratio is 3:1; from Friday night until Sunday morning it was 13:1. I kept a low profile and didn't talk much. I thought that was in my best interest. My role was that of pizza delivery guy, chair mover and chauffeur.

We were a host home for our church's youth weekend, Elevate, and our house was home to 9 extra sophomore girls and a just-out-of-college leader. We were grateful that we had girls because we'd heard stories about some of the boy groups not bathing during the entire weekend. (However, a family who hosted sophomore boys told us that some of the boys took more time primping than their 14-year-old daughter; one even brought a flat iron to straighten his hair. I kept thinking how hard a guy would have gotten pummeled for even claiming to own a flat iron in East Tennessee when I was 15. Different times, different times.....)

The group seemed to work well together. Everyone got along, and even those who were newcomers to the group felt welcome. We were fortunate to have the same youth leader that we had last year when we hosted, so that worked out great. (Although she may not ever be back again because of the pillow case incident.)

And the host family, despite the lack of sleep, did very well. Personally, I was grateful for the variety of snack foods. I consumed quite a bit of it in 36 hours. Time to start working on my figure for bathing suit weather....

Friday, March 10, 2006

sea of blue.....

I typically don't get too excited about UT men's basketball this time of year. I'm usually more into what's going on in spring football practice. But this year the UT men have a shot to do some damage in both the SEC tournament and the NCAA's, so I'm pretty excited.

The SEC tournament is here in Nashville this weekend. I grabbed a quick bite at lunch and headed down to the Gaylord Entertainment Center to see how crowded downtown was. One word - very.

One thing though - there was more Kentucky blue than UT orange. Kentucky fans travel well for basketball, and since it's close for them this year they're all over the place.

By the way, what's blue and has 7 teeth? 3 Kentucky fans.....

must-see episode.....

There are a couple of television shows that all four of us try to sit down and watch each week: American Idol and Extreme Makeover - Home Edition. This is a plug for the latter.

You know the premise for the show - a family has a home that's in bad need of repair, there's been a crisis within the family, so the Extreme Makeover crew comes to the rescue. In this week's episode a man who's a pastor dies from a massive heart attack on his 19th wedding anniversary, leaving behind a wife and 5 children. They moved out of the parsonage after several months into a couple of trailers because that's all they could afford. Cue the Extreme Makeover staff so they can make their magic happen.

The wife wanted to be able to continue some sort of ministry within the community. I won't give away the outcome, but a good friend of mine was contacted by a producer from the show and was asked to contribute some items to a special wing of the house. He was able to turn his part of the project around within about 72 hours.

So watch the show Sunday night at 6:00 CST. I think you'll be glad you did.....

Thursday, March 09, 2006

this is fun to do.....

Occasionally when the bride is out and about during the day, instead of calling her on her cell phone I'll send her a text message via the Internet. I did that yesterday.

The funny thing is that she was out shopping with her mother and she began to read it aloud when she received it. It was nothing bad, especially for two people who've been married for almost 18 years. (Very PG-rated in nature, nothing I wouldn't say in front of our daughters. I basically told her that she was the very air that I breathe or something along those lines.) But she didn't make it past the first three words, became embarrassed, said "Oh!", then closed her phone. She didn't even get to the part of the message that told her I had an errand to run after work and would therefore be home a little late today. She did, however, remember to go back and read the message after she dropped her mother off later that afternoon.

I felt like I'd passed her a note at school and she had to wait until she got home to read it all alone in her room behind her locked bedroom door.....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

it's all about priorities.....

A friend sent me this yesterday. It's sort of long, but well worth the time.....

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important . . . Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture . . . Jack stopped suddenly.
"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked. "The box is gone," he said. "What box?" Mom asked.
"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.
"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was . . . my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said. "Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
5. You mean the world to someone.
6. If not for you, someone may not be living.
7. You are special and unique.
8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better. (This is one I have trouble with.)
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it. (Another one I still have trouble with.)
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
13. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy.
14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Monday, March 06, 2006

like watching cold maple syrup pour out of a bottle.....

I tried watching the Oscars last night, I really did. I like Jon Stewart and I thought he did an OK job from what I saw. But there's just so much you can do to make a non-music award show interesting.

Of all the movies up for best picture, the only one the bride and I had seen was "Crash". It was a very good movie. However, it was at times very hard to watch. Some scenes actually made me uncomfortable.

Glad to see Reese Witherspoon with for best actress. Always good to see a Nashville girl get her due.

I guess the biggest problem the Oscars had last night was its competition on other channels, specifically TV Land. They had an Andy Griffith marathon on Saturday and Sunday in honor of Don Knotts. And let's face it, who wants to watch an award being presented for best short-feature documentary for Icelandic midget tossing when you can watch Barney Fife go up against Ernest T. Bass.....

Friday, March 03, 2006

happiness is.....

We have a customer who comes in every week. His name is Davey. Davey's life revolves around two things - the Pittsburgh Steelers and NASCAR. He was in a little earlier today, all decked out in his new Steelers cap and sweatshirt. I told him how much I liked his Seattle cap, and he smiled then laughed.

Davey's probably about 35 and still lives at home with his mom. His dad passed away a few years ago, so it's just the two of them. He's never had a job, never dated anyone, and will never be able to drive. But every time I see Davey, he's smiling. I've never seen him not smiling. And he's happy. Some may say that he doesn't know any better, but so what? He's content. I've read somewhere that contentment is a major component of happiness.

To Davey, happiness is simply living his life. And the Super Bowl win didn't hurt either.....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

dude, you through with your gum?

(The piece of "art" to the right is the one the article below is talking about. $1.5M? Please. I've seen food stains on our placemats at home that are more artistic.)

DETROIT - A 12-year-old visitor to the Detroit Institute of Arts stuck a wad of gum to a $1.5 million painting, leaving a stain the size of a quarter, officials say.

The boy was part of a school group from Holly that visited the museum on Friday, officials say. They say he took a piece of Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice gum out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler's "The Bay," an abstract painting from 1963.

The museum acquired the work in 1965 and says it is worth about $1.5 million.

The gum stuck to the painting's lower left corner and did not adhere to the fiber of the canvas, officials told the Detroit Free Press. But it left a chemical residue about the size of a quarter, said Becky Hart, assistant curator of contemporary art.

The museum's conservation department is researching the chemicals in the gum to decide which solvent to use to clean it. The museum hopes to make the repair in two weeks and will keep "The Bay" on display in the meantime, she said.

"Our expectation is that the painting is going to be fine," Hart said.

Holly Academy director Julie Kildee said the boy had been suspended from the charter school and says his parents also have disciplined him.

"Even though we give very strict guidelines on proper behavior and we hold students to high standards, he is only 12 and I don't think he understood the ramifications of what he did before it happened, but he certainly understands the severity of it now," said Kildee.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

too much of a good thing.....

I read recently that the average American now watches 28 hours of television a week. Over the past 72 hours, I helped push that average up just a bit.

I could feel it coming on Friday night, but I was resolved to prevent it. It started with a scratchy throat and a deep cough. By Saturday night I had a fever. For the next few days, I alternated between the couch and bed. And I watched television. Lots of television, and several movies that I'd taped over the past couple of months.

And I learned alot. I now know the names and phone numbers of all the personal injury lawyers in the Nashville area. I know more about certain female products sold than even a man married for 18 years should know. And I know that "Different World" is on from 10 until 11 every weekday morning on Oxygen. That last one's pretty bad, I know. But nothing is worse than what I'm about to tell you.

I was apparently delirious from my fever, because I agreed to watch the last hour or so of "The Bachelor" with the bride on Monday night. Not only did I agree to watch it, but I actually made comments like "Who do you think he'll pick?" and "Moana's too high-maintenance." Yeah, my illness was that bad.

Maybe it's just the virus/flu bug that's still in me doing the talking, but I sure do hope that Sarah and Travis make it here in Nashville.....