Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Fat AND a Stupid Monkey

Buggy stayed home from school the other day as he was not feeling well. After work, my wife comes home, and in the process of conversation somehow the word short is brought up. I don't remember what exactly was said, but it seemed to be a shot from my wife at both Buggy and myself. So I looked the kid dead in the eye as he was in his mother's arms and said, "you hear that, Bug, you're short!"

Without even missing a beat he shoots right back, very matter-of-factly, "You're fat." The boy has a very dry sense of humor, and of course once a thought hits his brain, it generally comes right out his mouth. And to be honest, as dry and easily as it came out of his mouth, I'm not sure if this was his idea of a joke, or just a debative form of us shooting derogatory facts at each other. Either way, I was temporarily shut up, and of course his mother couldn't help herself and busted out laughing hysterically. Apparently she is amused by the fact that my boys are smart enough and bold enough to go toe-to-toe with their father. And apparently having missed school due to a stomach ache was enough for him to be feeling much better.

Generally I have a talent for sarcasm and a biting wit that usually keeps people in check around me. I have in the past used this very effectively against my wife. Yes, I am aware that this is not the best way to go about building a relationship, but it appears she is getting the last laugh via our offspring. It appears that the same gene that has allowed me to fake my way to a superior position has been passed on. I'm going to have to maintain my alliance with the Colonel to keep these kids in check and from usurping my power over the Mookified compound.

So yes, I am officially fat for sure now.

Last weekend the boys and I are wrestling around, like we do. Josh has once again wildly thrust himself in the unenviable position of being chicken-winged by me. Sooner or later we are going to have to get him to learn to focus. Too much of this power ranger/mutant ninja turtle flying around business has done in his ability to fight me effectively. Well, while I'm holding him at bay, Bug climbs onto the couch and prepares to challenge me while I have one arm occupied with holding his brother down. But he makes the mistake of leaving his arms at his side, laughing and announcing that he is about to make the leap from the couch and come choke me out. So I give him a little fatherly open-handed love tap on the cheek.

Incredulous he looks at me and exclaims, "You just slapped me like a stupid monkey!" and continues laughing his head off as he prepares to remount his attack. It took me two days to realize that I slap him like a stupid monkey does, in his mind. I thought I had slapped him, as he is a stupid monkey. But nooooo, turns out not only am I fat, I am also a stupid monkey. And this is currently his phrase of the week I guess. I called home early this morning to say hello to the boys before they left for school. After Buggy handed the phone to Josh, I hear "OW. You slapped me like a stupid monkey!" come over the phone from Buggy's mouth. I have a feeling "Stupid monkey" will be a key part of his vocabulary until he finds something new to entertain himself.

Yesterday I hit the RedBox and rented the movie Law-Abiding Citizen. It was an excellent movie. One of the Stars is played by actor Gerard Butler, the same guy who played King Leonidas in the hit movie 300. There is a scene in both of these movies where you end up seeing Butler naked as a jaybird from behind, showing off his butt. Well, I got up to get ready for work last night and my wife is watching the movie. Just as I walk in, that scene is on the TV. I made casual mention that I think Gerard Butler gets paid a good chunk of change specifically for showing off his rear end. And so my wife replies, a little too quickly I might add, "Yeah, and its a really nice butt!"

Nothing else to say to me, just enough words to let me know that Gerard Butler has a better ass than mine.

So I guess the moral of this story is that I need to start working out to sculpt my butt to look more like Butler's and maybe get a more enthusiastic response to its form; and to trim down the obvious fatness I have going on. And then, when time and money permits, I need either plastic surgery to correct my monkey-like physical features, or mental health treatment to get out of a monkey-like mindset.

Either way, I have a lot of work ahead of me!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Ups and Downs Of Mookism

The problem with being the great and powerful Mook is that it has some ups, but is definitely set up for big downers. The great thing about Mookism is that when things go well, my ego is fed, heartily. When my critics react to me and any shortcomings, I chalk it up to how much I and my opinions matter, and therefore my ego is fed- again heartily. Now, if I could only convince others that I am a world superpower all by myself (and the aid of the Colonel- Rentacop of the Year, 2009)

This last Saturday, we were preparing to have a get together with another couple for a nice dinner at our place. My wife was busy in the kitchen trying her hand at a nice creole-themed feast. I on the other hand was busy cleaning up in the living room while doing laundry. I took one look at the desk area where this very computer I am typing on sits. The Colonel is back behind the tower, along with a lot of wires, dust, random papers that needed to be sorted through, and bits and pieces of god only knows it needs to be vacuumed up.

I shut down the computer. Then I unplugged the tower from everything and moved it and all the wires out of the way so that I could do a little dusting and then vacuum the carpet. Seems simple enough and goes by quickly. Then I take all the wires, plug them back in where they go and replace the tower to its normal position. I commence to turn on the computer. It starts up, makes some funny beeping noises like a warning and then shuts itself down. I try again with the same result. I bother my wife, the closest person to a tech guru of the household, and she tries the same thing, jiggles a few wires after an inspection, and we try again. Same results.

It turns out that I am the only person in the western hemisphere who can kill a computer without actually doing anything wrong. I am beginning to think someone has set the Mook up for a dismal failure. Either to stick it to my fragile ego, or to cause me to stimulate the economy by hiring a tech support guy to standby just in case I want to use the computer. This way, he can fix it after each keystroke or movement of the mouse I make.

So, great, we have no access to the computer over the weekend. This is both good and bad. It is good in that I can spend more time reading an actual book a little more often. Also both my wife and I are not wasting time messing around on Facebook or whatever site we choose to visit. (Editor's note: visiting this site and my blog family however are important sites not seen as time wasters. Thank you readers for visiting. Please check out the gift shop before you leave). So we spent some time playing card games, and also a board game with the kids. This is good time spent when everyone is home alone. HOWEVER, not having access to the computer is bad in that it takes away my excuses to avoid actual productive work during the daytime when I'm left home alone during the week.

Now, being the all powerful Mook that I am, this problem was going to require some real genius work on my behalf. So, Monday morning comes rolling around. I get home from work and the wife leaves. I had two plans of action, as a man always does. The first plan was to jiggle wire connections, stare at the box contemplatively, and push buttons. Plan B was to take a screwdriver to the tower, open it up and stare at the innards as though I have some sort of clue as to what I'm looking at inside.

I jiggled, I flipped a switch, I pushed a button. Nothing. I flipped the switch back, pushed the power button again, and VOILA! Computer is on. Had to check with tech support (aka my wife) as to why the keyboard wasn't working. Got that going, found everything was okay with our files. I informed her then of what Plan B was. I think the schism that occurred in her brain almost caused her to wreck. I was assured that had I opened the box, I would be in for a lobotomy via my rear end and her foot. Not her words, but that was the message I heard. Good thing Plan A worked, because I would've been clueless anyways, and and just more than slightly physically re-arranged afterwards.

So, it turns out I don't need a personal standby tech support guy to help me out. I just have to commence jiggling wires, pushing buttons and staring at the electronic stuff until it does what I want it to do. Like the men who stare at goats and kill them, I obviously have the mental powers to stare at electronics and fix them. It's when I touch them that they die. The Force must be really strong in me. Not sure how strong. Probably equivalent to the amount of strength in a small pony at least (thank you Eddie Izzard for this line).

So, if you have anything that needs to be stared (or is it scared when having to look at my face?) into working right, bring it on over. I'll act as though I know what I'm doing. Kind of like a guy who is trying to be manly in front of some poor helpless woman stranded by a P.O.S. car, thinking he'll get a date out of the deal or something. But don't bring a car by. I have not honed the Force well enough to fix objects that big. I've been doing that for years without any luck. so far, Mookism has a better shot at killing a car than fixing one. So technically I'm still more powerful than they are, but just in one way.

Oh, and in case you were wondering. My wife did a fantastic job on the dinner that night. I don't know about the guests, but I could certainly get full on that stuff every night and add some more weight onto my little frame. It's probably best that I don't though. I might get used to it, then having to give it up after ballooning to 400lbs or more, I might go through withdrawals and THAT would be bad. I would kill more than computers to say the least. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pour myself a 4th cup of coffee.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Sons Have Found That School Is The Easiest Way To Bleed My Wallet

I was pondering over the words of someone else, obviously a parent, that went something like this:

I wonder how it is a 6 year old can still be "starving" AFTER having eaten us out of house and home

It's an interesting thought, that I think we parents all realize, but because of its natural and constant occurrence from one generation through the rest of the generations, we never bother to really pay it any attention. More on the specifics of this later.

Within a month or two of school starting, and the boys both having equal amounts of money in their lunch accounts, I get a notice in their Monday folders that they are low. The oldest one, Josh, was not just low but negative in his account. It took me a while to think this over, and after having had a discussion with him, I found out he was taking some of the little extra "ala carte" items that cost him, or rather his parents (That'd be me and my wife), extra money, and thereby reducing the amount of lunches that can be bought before I have to go about writing another check to the local school nutrition department. So we got that straightened out...well mostly. I found out through the lady in the school office today that he still occasionally does this, but not everyday like he used to.

So I get home from work this morning and my wife tells me I have errands to run. Deposit a check from my parents into our account, and then write a bigger check for the same amount, plus our share to the school for the Spelling Contest Fundraiser. And also pick up some quarters for laundry, and also to write out checks for the boys' school lunch. On the Spelling Contest, I find myself torn.

First off, I am glad we have decent schools for the boys to go to in this district. However, on the flip side of this, I think the local PTC actually raises more money than this school gets funded by the government. Makes me wonder why I should even be paying for lunches regardless of financial ability, or school book fees, or any of that. It seems with all the fundraisers, the entire district's liability should just about break even before the FEDS and State Department of Education begin financial dispersal amongst all the schools. Well, this time around it is the Spelling Contest, and after a little work with his mother Josh goes and manages to get 50 out of 50 words spelled correctly. He got pledge money from both sets of grandparents on this, us, and one of my wife's cousins, and her husband. I have a lot of bills that could use that money, even though my share was only $25, which I have no idea how I let my wife talk me into this. My wallet is saying, "MAKE HIM MISS ALL THE WORDS!!!" My wallet is one cold-hearted individual, but then again he was made from a cow, so I'm sure emotions don't factor into his world. I try not to let them factor into mine, but my wife makes sure that I am overruled on this. Something or another about being compassionate and caring about my sons and their accomplishments, blah blah blah. In My Day...(oh dear sweet baby Jesus, I'm turning into all my older male relatives) our reward was spelling all 50 of those words right and knowing we'd done a good job and learned something. These days, its learning, some praise from mommy, and more money of daddy's going to the local PTC. I'm glad the boy is smart, and it shows when he pays attention and focuses like he did for this spelling contest. Confirms my superior genes of intellect can trump the wildly unfocused free-spirited genes his mother gave him. (Of course if you ask her, she'll blame that on me too. I of course will have already forgotten what the question was before you finish asking)

Now on to the lunch money. We got a bit behind over the month, partially because of some bills that came up unexpectedly, and partially because all these snow days they have had has thrown me off altogether. At almost $3 a lunch, EACH, it doesn't take long for them to eat through the money. And when they come home they are starving little boys, begging for more food like a couple of incarnations of Oliver Twist, only not as polite and timid about it. So I had to make sure to write the check big enough to cover the deficit I allowed to get racked up, as well as the remainder of the month plus a few days. Now, if you remember from before, Josh had his issues of taking he was always a few dollars lower in balance than Corwyn, because I had not re-equalized it as of yet. So I ask the lady to give me the deficit, and she writes down the figures for each boy. Josh was a little over $30 in the hole, but Corwyn was over $50 in the hole, for a total of $91 when all was said and done..just to bring them back up to $0 balances. So I wrote a check for $191 this morning. I was curious as to how the imbalance between Josh and Bug had occurred, so I asked. Corwyn can NOT keep a secret for anything. If anything comes into his head, it will come out of his mouth. However, we had heard absolutely nothing concerning him taking extras at lunchtime, and when asked about it, he denied it. Well, technically he wasn't lying. I was able to see the secretary's desktop screen as she brought up his records of lunchtime swipes and balances. And every other line had the word "BREAKFAST" (which is not included in extras with lunch, clearing him of committing any infractions of lying to us).

I found out that Bug is one of the staff's favorite little kids. He always comes right on into the cafeteria, all happy and smiling, and talks to everybody. And he has breakfast...a big one apparently, and eats everything. This all right after a short ride to school on the bus, which happens right after he eats breakfast AT HOME...a LOT of it. Then some classes and LUNCH. Then some classes and home to ask me for MORE FOOD! 3 full meals in less than 9 hours, and he is still coming home "starving".

Now I remember complaining for years about how the school never fed me enough at lunch...and then we finally got salad bar for all kinds of extras at no additional cost to us, with unlimited trips. I am pretty sure this school that my boys goes to offers the same amenity. Why they should be starving so much is beyond me. I mean if it was tater-tot casserole, or Chef's Surprise Leftover Day, I could see them maybe skipping the biggest portion of lunch and coming home hungry. But these boys get all kinds of good stuff to eat at school, and in a much bigger variety than we ever had. And the reports from staff say they both pretty much devour everything, barely managing to return the tray in the process.

Since having found out my youngest is a little scheister, and sneaking in extra meals, The staff is now well aware that there is to be strictly lunch with no extra items, and no breakfast for either of them. I can only afford to feed them all they can eat, or feed them some of that amount and keep a roof over their head. Both cannot be accomplished with the same amount of money that revolves in and out of my wallet. I was asked if we had applied for free or reduced lunch programs. I told them, and they verified the guidelines that say we need two more kids to qualify at our income level. I said I can make two more kids, but I won't be able to pay for them any better, even with free lunches and breakfasts provided.

I have learned a few things today as I wrote out checks for kid related activities:

Josh will punish me with his intellect. If he is slow on the uptake, it will cost me money for a tutor. If he is excelling, it will cost me money for the PTC. This boy better get a full academic scholarship to any college he chooses to go to!

Corwyn, is a sanguine little hustler. He charms the daylights out of people, especially all the women (who obviously don't realize he's playing them for his own gain), and gets stuff he isn't supposed to be getting, and no one knows the difference until its too late. Luckily Corwyn knows how to administer "face to face" (read here for more on that) so he can resuscitate my wallet in case he kills it. Most likely from extra meals at school. They think he's cute and adorable...all happiness and smiles. But I got to know that boy real well for the first 5 1/2 years of his life... He is something else. I'd blame his mother, but I'm sure there is overwhelming evidence stacked against me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Observations Of Events During Superbowl Weekend

All these events happened during Superbowl weekend, and are in no way in chronological order or in an order of importance.

Buggy decides to choke me out with a dual combination of a scissor lock around my neck from behind while using his hands as leverage to exert some extra pressure on my windpipe. He's learning....air flow as well as blood flow are equally important in taking down your opponent. For this I am a proud father. In addition to open palm slapping a school bus bully earlier int he school year, he is learning other techniques. A little more practice and he'll he getting in trouble at school for picking fights with older kids and winning. I'll have to scold him and explain to him why that is a bad thing, and yet, part of me will be smirking inside knowing I have raised a boy that learns to handle himself physically.

So I play along, and fake death. He checks the eyeballs by lifting the eyelids, and I have rotated the eyeballs downward so he only sees the whites of my eyes. Then he proceeded to surprise me with a move I had no idea he knew anything about. He had gone from killing dad to trying to resuscitate dad. He pulled my head up and tilted it back and with a firm grip on my nose he began to give me mouth to mouth. I stopped this before he gave me a heart stopping blow to this old guy's chest. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was bringing me back to life by giving me "face to face". After his mom came home from work, and heard this story, she was more than just a little amused at the antics of her youngest boy. I on the other hand, was less than enthused with a slight bit of his spit-laden breathing that had entered my mouth.

Later on Friday night, I had the neighbor from downstairs send up their grandson to ask why we were letting it shower in their kitchen. I was unaware of such phenomenon. So I made a check under the sink, and sure enough there was a pool of water, along with some fissures in the woodwork that allowed some of the water to leak through the floor and down out of their ceiling around the light above their kitchen sink. So, the sink and dishwasher were now off limits. I found a nice sized hole in the u-shaped pipe. So I call the property managers' number. No answer. Well, this doesn't shock me at 830 at night. I leave a message, and then again in the morning call back. I explain to the young ditsy lady in the office that the pipe has a hole in it and it leaks into the downstairs neighbors' apartment. Can she send someone over to fix it?

To that she replies, "Can it wait until Monday?"
I said, "No, I'd rather it be taken care of now. I can't use the sink or the dishwasher, which is a major inconvenience considering I pay for an apartment that comes with fully functional plumbing."

And to this she asks, "Why can't you use the kitchen sink?"
"UH, cuz there's a BIG HOLE IN THE PIPE THAT LEAKS ALL OVER IF ANY WATER FINDS ITS WAY DOWN THE DRAIN and RAINS IN THE NEIGHBORS APARTMENT...and the same if I use the DISHWASHER." I'm generally pretty easy going about whatever, bu when someone who is supposed to serve me asks a dumb question that any third grader would be fully capable of understanding the answer to, since it was already explained...well, Mookie The Sarcastic has a way of coming out.
I hear a disgusted sigh and a half hearted, "I'll see if I can't get anyone over there then.." As if somehow I have inconvenienced her. Well, I ended up waiting until this morning, Monday morning. I spoke with the maintenance guy while he checked it out and took a whole 5 minutes to solve the problem. Apparently there were a lot of issues that surfaced over the weekend that never got taken care of. I have never cared much for this young lady who works in the office. She is more concerned about getting new people in, and doesn't care much for dealing with anyone who has already signed their lease...until its time to renew anyways. She wrote it down, but from what I understand, it never got passed on to any maintenance guys to even look at the issue. Damn near the entire pipe was rusted out, almost along a seam.

There are a lot of aspects I don't like about my job either, but I do them to the same ability I do the other aspects that I do like, because its my F*&$ing job. I don't understand why these young idiots don't get this concept anymore. Guess I'm just too old fashioned in that I actually expect someone does their job the best they can do.

So for the last couple of days my wife has been schooling my oldest, Josh, on how to do dishes by hand, in a plastic tub to wash and one to rinse, and then hand dry and put everything away. I'm sure he has been scarred by such an atrocity of not being able to use an actual dish washing appliance. Even though his mother was doing the washing part for him. But good experience for the boy, as Calvin's Dad would say, "It's good for you and builds character."

Now, onto the Superbowl. Let me first say to all those rooting for Indianapolis to win: BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHA

Its not so much that I am a Saints fan, but as a 49er fan, I feel an allegiance to the NFC team in the Superbowl as well as the Pro bowl. That is, as long as the NFC team is not the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, or any team made to include a certain guy we call Brett Favre. In fact, if Brett Favre we're to ever lead my beloved San Francisco 49ers to the Superbowl, I may come close to rooting against my own team. Okay, maybe not THAT bad, but I would pray for a victory almost solely on the shoulders of others and a career ending injury for the guy who can never seem to just retire and be done with it.

New Orleans was damn near killed off by wind and water a few years back by Hurricane Katrina...I wonder if a fire will erupt and burn the city down in what will be the first Mardi Gras to last at least 2 weeks? Because lets face it....there is almost always a riotous atmosphere and a car or two set ablaze in whichever city wins the Superbowl, almost always. And, New Orleans is really going to celebrate their first ever Superbowl appearance and win right on into Mardi Gras. There will be NO break in the party action. Participants will sleep in shifts to ensure the party never stops. It could be March before its all over.

Now to assess the game. While the total score tally ended up being 48 points, it was definitely a lower scoring game than predicted. And while the 31-17 score was a seeming blowout, it was much closer than that in reality. The 4th quarter pick off my Tracy Porter that was run back for a Touchdown sealed the deal, but up until that point, this was a close game that could've gone either way.

I was not surprised by the gutsy calling of Sean Payton in the first half (or the entire game for that matter) opting to go for it on fourth and goal at the 1 1/2 yd line. The play before I was sadly disappointed in the running back Mike Bell. He went off tackle right, and as he changed direction from lateral to down field towards the goal line, the idiot made a stupid mistake. HE tried to make the cut on his inside foot. I'm no superstar athlete but even I know that cutting on your inside foot always lands you on your ass, and if you don't it was merely because God himself had come down and kept you in a more upright position. Inevitably Bell never was able to plant his cleats into the turf because of this display of shoddy footwork and slipped on his face, with a little extra help from a salivating defender. It was this dumb mistake that forced the 4th and goal play to even come into question. Now, I too would have gone for it on 4th and goal, no doubt. On your opponents 1 1/2 yd line down 10-3? with about 2 minutes left? Oh yeah.
But the play calling itself was amateurish at best. The kind of thing you expect from a first year coach in a JV game at your local school, not Sean Payton who has made his season on gutsy and smart game planning schemes. He stacks two receivers left, and then runs another off tackle right square into a mess of defenders, without any help outside the Offensive line. of course he wasn't going to score. That play was dead before they ever got out of the huddle.

Coach Payton did redeem himself coming out of halftime, with a brilliant and completely unexpected onside kick call, which was recovered by the Saints, and subsequently marched down the field for a touchdown to take their first lead of the game 13-10. Indianapolis, led by future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, engineered a drive to answer New Orleans and regain the lead. Then the game slowed down, in a back and forth manner, with only 1 field goal by the Saints coming prior to the last 5:30 of the game. Then with about 5:30 left in the final quarter, Drew Brees capitalizes on a failed FG attempt by Indy, and marches the ball right down the field for another touchdown, followed up by a controversial 2 pt conversion to put the Saints up 24-17. Indy comes back out, making play after play. Then it happened. Peyton Manning throws out to the outside receiver, and Tracy Porter just cuts in front of the receiver, picks it off and runs it back 73 yards to pound the nails into the coffin that held the Colts' chances of a Superbowl victory. With about 3:30 left in the game it was just too much for even Manning's comeback abilities to overcome. Eventually as the clock winded down Manning threw an incomplete pass on 4th down, giving the Saints the ball and the ability to run the clock out without running a single real play. I saw the first half of the game on TV, and had to listen to the second half on the radio. But through either venue, it was quite an exciting game. The NFC wins and Brett Favre wasn't involved. The boss will be happy, I'm happy with it. It was a good weekend overall, despite having to, as usual, work on Superbowl Sunday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentine's Day Terrorism

Being a married man, I like most have relatively few actual responsibilities left in life. We have to have a job and pay the bills. We have to take out the trash, or have someone delegated for the task (also read: the benefits of having children). WE have to remember birthdays, anniversaries (all of them: dating, marriage, first kiss, place you first had ice cream together and you almost swallowed your tongue when you saw the melting ice cream drip onto her chest, etc), Christmas, and Valentine's Day. If you can manage these relatively few tasks, life as a married man is pretty much golden.

That is until women start talking. They want you to listen to them. Sounds easy enough at first, until they catch on to your tricks of faking the funk while watching a game as they talked about whatever it is they were droning on for the last half hour:

If these guys don't get their act together, we're gonna be punting again. Oh crap she's staring at me..nod your head and say something vague.... okay she's talking again, good job. Oh great, I missed the play, and we are at commercial. Did we make it or are we punti-HELLO PUSSYCAT...I love the Hooters commercials. I wonder if she'd dress up in some tight clothes like that..uh huh!!! Oh crap, she's waving her arms and doing that head tilt thing she does...this probably calls for an "I understand". That reminds me, I gotta stop by the store and grab a six pack to take over to Bill's while we work on his deck...

Turns out you agreed that so-and-so's boyfriend is a total jerk and she will be going over there for a few hours and please watch the kids; you will clean out the garage next weekend at the latest, and that not to forget you promised to stay home and have a family night this evening....which you won't figure out until the argument happens when you start to leave to go to Bill's house for some woodwork and brews. Oh, and your in-laws will be stopping over for the week, next Saturday, which is why you need to get that garage cleaned, so they have a place to put their car. Boy, you are in for it later, you moron. You should've paid more attention.


In fact I think when listening, guys have a faulty message capture. We hear the words, "You don't need to get me anything for Christmas/birthday/anniversary/Valentine's day this year", and yet manage to miss the rest of the conversation consistently. I guess when its an economic decision that goes in our favor, our brain actually kicks in for a moment.

Yeah, because that sounds good to us. I can take that money and apply it to this bill, or maybe I can go buy that (insert new toy item here) I've been looking at for awhile. Well, after being married almost 10 years, I can tell you this is the same thing as committing suicide. and any act of violence by the woman on your body will be considered fully justifiable up to and including homocide. If you live through it, you better hope you get an all male jury and a male judge, otherwise not only will she get off scot-free, but they'll find a way to pin something on you in the process. It turns out that when say say they want us to listen, we have to listen for the message and meaning of it, not just hearing the actual words. Women love to complicate things....just say what you mean, if you are saying something slightly different than what you mean, use a sarcastic tone so we can be sure. None of this double speak crap that only women understand in the first place, but have full justification for being mad at a clueless guy for not getting it.

Well, this year I have found out that pressures on getting Valentine's day gifts do not come solely from your significant other, her close friends, or any family. No, the jewelry stores are in on this heist as well. Sure, we've all heard the commercials on the radio and TV, seen the ads in print. It was all free-market non-interventionist policies. My fellow domesticated males, if you have purchased from a jewelry store in the past year or so, and they have your contact information, be prepared to get a soft sell mugging directly by the jewelry suppliers.

Last year, I bought a ring for my wife from Jared's Galleria of Jewelry (Yeah, I went to Jared's, blah blah blah). We had to replace the original ring a long time ago because a bee sting on the finger caused swelling and they had to literally cut that ring off. Well, she got a bigger one this last year to put on her finger. And she has been in twice for routine cleaning, as well as other times to "look around." Sounds more like she's casing the joint before hijacking my wallet to do a job, if you ask me. She related to me that her last time in the store, the associate asked how much she was looking to spend. My wife told her that the price wasn't her problem, but mine. I wasn't even there to defend myself with a hearty laugh and a quip of "that'll be the day", as they conspired against me. Then yesterday, I get a phone call. Jared shows up on the caller ID. Jared has been stalking me hardcore lately.

I had a $1000 line of credit..they added $400 to that for me to go further in hock on demand. They keep sending out notices and special offers through the mail to get me to come in and over extend myself credit wise. Some female from the local Jared's calls acting all sweet. Now, they are sending me out all kinds of information, including some special deals, and a one weekend only gift card good towards any purchases made this pre-Valentine's Day weekend. You know...just so I can get some ideas for what to buy my wife for Valentine's Day, and save a little money with them in the process.

First it was the radio, then the TV, then print ads I was seeing. And now they are going straight to calling me at home, just to make sure I'm okay since they hadn't heard from me after playing one of 1000 ads, and sending out two mailers. Soft Terrorism at its finest.

I'm supposed to be the head of this rinky-dink operation, but I'm pretty sure that with the support of corporate jewelry retailers, my wife is planning a coup here. If I buy and I get overextended, then we have a credit crisis, the Mookified economy collapses, she makes a power grab. If I don't buy, I'm in for it real deep, and no football game or whatever else I can find on TV will get me out of that conversation alive. And then I'll be out buying something really nice to overcompensate and say something stupid about having had this planned for a while. You know, a big fat lie that she'll catch me in sooner or later. I think she has me locked up in the perfect storm situation here and there's no way to avoid it.

I spent time thinking I would be in charge of my life. And yet somehow I'm beginning to think that was all a master illusion. A woman, whether it was mom in the beginning or the wife now, has always been running the show and just telling us that we're handling ourselves just fine. Either way, we were set up by them and the jewelry stores have disguised themselves as our "helpers", when in reality they're all in cahoots against us men.