Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Born to be a Dad

I fell off the wagon yesterday. It was the first time in about five years that I walked into a comic book store and purchased comics. I am now the proud owner of The Walking Dead issues 89, 90, and 91. I wanted 92 but they were sold out. Guess I’ll look on the internet for that one.

            Why did I break my dry spell? I gave up comics about the time I moved back to Savannah for money reasons plus I had started doing the digital scene. Frankly, I got tired of reading comics on my laptop. Reading stimulates all my senses especially the feeling of turning the pages and how the paper smell. I miss my old newsprint comics.

            I made my departure from the no comic’s wagon because I was celebrating. What was the big occasion, you ask? First of all, this week marks my return to accessing my arm on my own. I don’t have to run to the center to get help. Because I am doing this on my own, I don’t have to hurry home to get started. Weird having all this free time.

            Secondly, I got to be a Dad yesterday and not just any old run of the mill Dad, I got to be the type that rides in on the white stallion to help his daughter and back up his soon-to-be-wife. It felt good.

            Roni is on a 504 plan which is basically a legal document that lists the schools responsibilities to deal with any issues that Roni might come across and how the school will handle it. As a special education teacher, I don’t necessarily handle 504 plans but I do most of my work with the special ed version of it called the IEP.  So basically, I got to use all that knowledge that I’m paying the federal government back for and help out my family. Did I mention it felt good?

            I walked out of there yesterday with some new realizations about myself.

1.        I am going to be a good father.

The Big Guy casts a big shadow and I have spent the last part of these 13 years since he’s left trying to live up to it. My measure of what is man and what a man does for his family is all due to Dad’s work on me and my sister. It hit home yesterday how much I’ve learned and am willing to do to protect my family. I didn’t have to but I knew that I was willing to make a jack-ass out of myself to protect my little girl. Nobody puts Roni in the corner, Dammit!

2.        My work ethics are more like my Dad than I thought.

My biggest issue with the staff at Richmond Hill Elementary was not that they were doing a poor job in advocating for my daughter but they didn’t realize they were supposed to be advocating for my daughter. I am so used to looking at my student’s needs and all the basic scenarios to resolve an issue that it’s actually ingrained into my system. Damn you, Big Guy!

 I honestly wanted to dive over the table at the counselor who manages Roni’s 504 plan. I do the same job as her on top of teaching 3 separate classes. I still manage to always try and err on the side of what is best for the kid.

            At one point my Star Trek II Capt. Kirk attitude almost came out when the counselor said there was nothing else she could do. Much Like my buddy Kirk, I do not believe in the no-win scenario much less ever say that to a parent.  It was polite, but I told her she was not doing her job. Khan!!!!

3.      Face it, Tiger. You’ve hit the jackpot!

Over coffee with Kim, I realized that I am really in that once in a lifetime relationship. The forever one that I keep hearing about on screen and song... We fit like Legos, laugh like maniacs, work together like honey bees, and have a chemistry like Bogie and Bacall. It’s the full package, baby!
Kim makes me feel like teenage Peter Parker

Since the engagement, I’ve had this fear about cracks beginning to show in our relationship now that the ante has been upped. Looking at my track record, this would be where the tower falls. Nope. We keep getting better the more serious it gets. She gets me. I get her. It works.

It’s a weird place that society has put me as the Step-Dad. I get to deal with all the squabbles over the remote, making them clean their rooms, and yelling for everyone to “Shut the hell up before I pull over this car.” Yet somehow, I can’t legally sign them out of school nor speak on their behalf with the school unless Kim is there. I’d have no problem with that if real Dad was around but he’s not and I don’t see him ever being a viable source of stability.
1974 Step Dad Hall of Fame Recipient

Yesterday, made me understand how those things don’t matter because I am willing to step up and do what is needed of me by my new family. Furthermore, it’s looking like I have a knack for this. On the day I got engaged, my old buddy, Rags, said that he was so happy for me not just for Kim but for the kids. He has always known that I was born to be a Dad. I like that. I like it a lot. I am starting to believe enough in myself to allow me to know that I got this. After all, I am born to be a dad.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's a Magical Ol' World

            As a kid, I loved those Sunday mornings when my parents were too tired for church and we‘d just lay around. The highpoint was always sitting in the dining room while chatting with the Big Guy as he’d make his secret recipe pancakes. Years, later, I figured out the the secret was adding vanilla to bisquick. Once again, the big Guy gets one over me.

Kim and I have started a similar routine and I love it. By nature, I am a morning person but have never been too crazy about it. Waking up at a gentlemen’s pace makes the whole process better. Somehow, now I make the pancakes and I also have my own secret recipe borrowed from food network.  Just to amuse the kids I’d make funny colored pancakes.
"V" is for Veronica...

Thanks to my soon-to-be sister-in-law, I can surprise the kids with their favorite webslinger. (Whom am I kidding? I dig the spidey pancakes as much as they do)
...does whatever a pancake can.

I was hobbling back to my room to get some forgotten item when I passed a box in the living room. Due to my dialysis supplies, I always have a few boxes around my bedroom door or about to go out front so I thought nothing of it as I walked by. The problem came when the damn box began to shuffle and giggle which scared me so bad I almost slung coffee against the giant Errol Flynn Captain Blood print I own.

I looked down to see my step son had taken two boxes and made some sort of contraption. Jude began giggling his little laugh that I love to hear. He was clearly amused by the situation.

I leaned down smiling, “What are you doing, little Man?”

Jude popped back,” I’ve built a secret lab for me and Cuddle bear to play with.” Cuddle bear is Jude’s sidekick. He is a panda from Build-A-Bear and Jude’s constant night time companion along with his lightsaber to fend off the dark.

“A secret lab, eh? What are you trying to build in there? Looks a little cramped.” I asked.

“Robby,” Jude laughs, “I can’t tell you that. That’s why it’s a secret.”

Well, ask a stupid question, I thought to myself.  At this point Jude grabs the top of his lab and flips it shut. Overall, the whole thing was pretty ingenious. The lab lid could flip up and become a sidecar for Cuddle bar as they would race through the space time continuum. Along the sides, he’d written “Nothing to see’, “Top Secret,” and my favorite “Don’t Peek.” At one point Jude and Cuddlebear were making their own Kessel Run and it hit how much this reminded me of a Calvin and Hobbes strip.

Next to Peanuts and Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes had to be my favorite comic strip to read in the papers. For years, I held on to the last strip and always had it posted in my dorm rooms, camp cabins, and first few houses. I think the charm about Calvin and Hobbes is that we all remember being that seven-year-old kid and how your imagination could fuel a whole afternoon of fun.

To a seven year old, a box could become anything with a little time, effort, magic markers, and a knife. Watching Jude play in his secret lab reminded me of my old refrigerator box; excuse me, my old secret cabin getaway.

The Big Guy had brought home a grill and I started playing with the box much like what Jude created except it myself and my sidekick, Pluto. My father had so much fun watching me play in that old box that one day he surprised me with a refrigerator box with the instructions that I could do anything.

First we cut a window so I could get some light and then worked on a door. I got an old blanket to make a rug for my floor. The “cabin” fit perfectly in the den so I could spend time in my getaway cabin yet still be able to watch The Brady Bunch from my back porch. After a while, I rigged some shelves for my comics and snacks using more cardboard and duct tape.

The outside was spectacular. Along one side I went with a Six Million Dollar Man motif complete with Steve Austin completing a long jump that ran the span of my new cabin. I even drew Oscar Goldman, Steve’s boss, with a little cartoon bubble. I still remember what he said to the Bionic Man.

“Great Job, Steve. Let’s see if you can break some more records.”
Sadly, the comics were always much better than the actual show.

The other side of the box was decorated as if I had stepped into Sherwood Forest because I was heavily into my Robin Hood phase. I had drawn the famous archery contest where Robin splits the arrow in two. This was nicely accentuated by drawing the arrow running the length of the “cabin.” Not too shabby.

To say that Jude and Veronica have many toys and devices to choose from to spend their time is a bit like saying that Italian Cruise boat Captain might have not used his best judgment. They have their Nintendo DSs, a Lego Millennium Falcon and Queen Anne’s Revenge plus the Kinect that I bought them. Yet, I am thrilled to see them choose two boxes that I was going to throw away and create something fun.

I find it ironic that it’s my job to be teaching them about how the world works as the adult with full supervision privileges. Yet, these two kids can look at the world and still find wonder just by playing with two boxes. Talk about the student becoming the Master. Imagine the type of world we’d live in if more people could act that freely.

            I’d be down with that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Make Dialysis Fun!

            It amazes me to watch how ideas are being spread so fast over the internet. I never paid much attention to the notion until Kim pointed it out to me back in the early days of our dating. Up until then, I paid little attention to social media other than posting my usually funny quips and silly pictures. For the past few months, I’ve sat back and watched as the majority of images are reposted. It’s been pretty cool to see an idea move around different circles. This got me to thinking…..

            This image popped up over the weekend. I saw it first on Kathy Vassy’s page but by last night I watched it spread from several others to ending up on my roommate’s page. That is a lot of circles to pass through and few had any real connection except through me. This got me to thinking…..

            An idea popped into my head to help me deal with my renewed sense of openness and optimism towards my dialysis and condition with kidney disease. Since introducing everyone to my “dark passenger,” I’ve honestly felt better with this whole thing in spite of having the continuing problems of accessing my arm. It’s a good thing.

            Meet the Falcon which is what I call my dialysis machine. I call it that because I like to say, “Punch it, Chewie,” every afternoon when I turn on the treatment key and hear the Falcon slowly roar to life. I have to slowly increase the filtration levels which mimic the sound of the Millennium Falcon roaring to life as they flee the evil Empire. I recognize this as a bit silly to the casual observer but I am trying to keep positive about this.

            The Falcon sits on top of my Pure Flow machine which creates what we refer to as a batch. The batch is mixed into the machine and makes the dialysate which cleans the blood.  The Pure Flow is huge and boring looking. I’ve been debating on decorating them for a while. This weekend an interesting notion hit me which I shared with Kim. She loved it so now I share with you.

            I’m hosting a contest to receive stickers to decorate the Pure Flow. There will be two categories:

 1) Something funny, witty, or clever.

2) Something to represent where you live.

I’ll be posting this to my blog and twitter but I’d really like to see how far this will go. Please repost this link on your Facebook, blog, twitter, or whatever form of social media that I am unaware of yet.

Now I recognize that a contest must have prizes so I am working on creating two gift baskets to be mailed to the lucky recipients that will feature items from Savannah, GA. I know that it will have some benne wafers from Byrd’s Cookies. Fun stuff like that.

If you don’t have my address, feel free to e-mail me at:

Kids ask you parents’ permission before entering. Good Luck!

Please read and repost. I am lucky to have an awesome assortment of friend and colleagues so I  gotta admit that I am a little excited to see how far this will go. Let’s see if I can get on Tosh 2.0.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Odds and Ends....

            Kim made this spontaneous suggestion on Saturday morning over breakfast that we should go to the Jacksonville Zoo for a family road trip day. A third cup of coffee and a good breakfast later, the Richardson-Wade-Yancey clan was cruising down I-95. (We really need to come up with a celebrity name to make these blogs easier)

            Like any excursion, this one was filled with the usual oddities that Kim and I seem to attract like dryer lint. The language barrier made for an interesting exchange/apology shared with an older couple from Quebec. The tapir was proudly displaying all that God gave him which made Jude ask the inevitable question of why this guy had five legs. (Man, I am not looking forward to the “talk.”) My personal highlight was the pregnant lady going into labor while we all were waiting for the zoo train. Apparently, labor pains entitle you to ride up front with the conductor. Who knew?
This guy needs to be in pictures, if you know what I mean....

             Writing this blog, I have a lot of chances to go in depth about situations between the Big Guy and myself. While loads of love surrounds each encounter, there is usually an adversarial moment or town involved. In short, I enjoyed aggravating my father. Looking back, I think he enjoyed those moments too.

            This weekend made me realize that I may have a challenge in my hands with Roni. I’ve always know how bright and quick she is but this weekend, I felt like Roni was always a few steps ahead of me. Roni was always playful and she was never out of line but man, she just kept getting the better of me. It was around the South American exhibit looking at the really, really huge anaconda (I am more terrified of snakes than of needles) that I grasped just how much of my own medicine I was receiving from an eleven year old girl. I laughed at myself. Hard.
Somebody learns that I hate people reading over my shoulder.

Not winning....

            So this is how you’ll exact your revenge on me, Big Guy? Who would ever guess that the 6 foot 7and half inch part time lumberjack and full time librarian of the mountains would finally get all parental revenge on his firstborn through the use of an 11 Year Old Disney Channel Addicted Girl? The ironic part is I know how I deserve every little bit of aggravation Roni gives me because I certainly delivered more than my fair share to the Big Guy.
It's a posed picture but I'm not really acting too hard here.

            Life’s a circle. Sing it, Harry.

II.        The Dark Passenger Update:

            The Dark Passenger has been riding shotgun with me in my dialysis treatments since my last post but it’s been a less bumpy ride than usual. I am still having problems accessing my top buttonhole (butt hole, Damn you, Holly S.) The good news is that I am not freaking out and shutting down.

            Writing about this seems to make me feel better. Who knew? In the past week, I am still concerned and even a little worried. Somehow, this time, I am not racked with the usual guilt/frustration/anger that comes with not getting the needles in my arm.  

            I have made two strides forward in taking care of myself this week and they both happened today. 1) Kim met me at my dialysis center so she could learn more about how to properly canalize (way too fancy word for insert-big-ass-needle-in-arm). 2) I stuck my arm on my own with a sharp and without my usual hesitation.
The 15 Gauges are the Big &Tall of the Needle World 

 Sharps scare the hell out of me because if inserted improperly, they can cause what is known as an infiltration. Once again, a way too fancy word for tear-through-vein-and-make-arm-swell-up-real-big. I think am losing my fear of sharps. It’s a big step for someone who couldn’t even watch when my nurse, Crystal, would insert the needles way back in July. Ad-Rock, you rock so well….

III. Obligatory Geek Reference

         Did you know that Mahna Mahna originated in a porno? I came across this bit back around the

time the new Muppet Movie came out and had this idea to do a blog that never materialized. This has

stuck with me but I could never frame it just right for a full entry. Enjoy the link. Slate tells it better

than I ever would have.

Friday, January 6, 2012

In Which We Learn How Dexter and Dialysis Relate....

            Everyone has a deep fascination with something that could be considered off the wall. I love serial killers. Next to demon possession, serial killers are the only horror movie topic that honestly scares the hell out of me. Cap’n Tony, my pop culture Obi-Wan and good friend in Buffetology, is the only other person that can stump me regularly on this matter. I don’t feel too bad about it seeing that he wrote his graduate thesis on fear and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
         Dexter is one of my new obsessions. I love watching the drama of how a serial killer deals with his need to hunt within his day-to-day life. Around season three, Dexter has to learn to cope with issues revolving around his decision to settle down with the girlfriend and two step kids. Each episode confounded me as Dexter plays a game of cat-and-mouse with John Lithgow. What got me was how much I was relating to Dexter being in a similar situation (well, except for all the killing). I understood the frustrations of trying to have quality time with a family while trying to juggle a demanding job and a “dark passenger” whose needs must be met.
            I have a dark passenger that I cannot ignore either. It is called end stage kidney disease.
            This morning really cemented that notion into my head. See, I have to do a dialysis treatment six days a week. I am very lucky because I am now set up to do these treatments in the comforts of my own home in my favorite chair “lent” to me by a good friend courtesy of Uncle Sam.
This is where the magic happens...

            But still, having a dark passenger blows.
            Much like Dexter’s need to hunt so he can keep his dark passenger at bay. I have to maintain regular treatments to keep my passenger at arm’s length. I tell myself how this situation could be much worse but it’s frustrating to block out around 4 hours every day just for a treatment. I also remind myself how this part of dialysis is temporary because eventually I’ll be doing it all while sleeping when I switch over to nocturnal home hemo dialysis.
            So why am I not already there? Well, my dark passenger likes to throw up a few issues to keep me on my toes. In order to do treatments, I have had to learn how to stick myself with these two basketball pump size needles into my vein. This is also the part where I should mention that I am terrified of needles. Nothing is ever easy with me.
Since August, I have been rushing home after work to meet my nurse, Crystal. She has been helping me to learn how to access my fistula which is the medical way to say, “Get big ass needles in arm.” If all goes smoothly, the treatments last 3 hours plus with another hour or so for prep, clean up, and paper work. This leaves me about an hour or so for dinner then bed. Next morning the process begins all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
            Five months of amazing training by the greatest home hemo nurse ever and I am proud to say that I have been doing it all on my own for several weeks. I am getting closer to my final goal where I make the big switch to nocturnal.
            The results have been amazing. I am walking better. I have more energy and I just all around feel like my old self. I have even noticed a bit of that old Richardson swagger again due to my new level of confidence. It’s like I’ve been given a daily double dose of Enzyte (not that I need it.) Just like Dexter, I can live a normal life yet keep my dark passenger at bay.
            Until this morning.
            My streak of accessing my arm was broken. I just could not get it in. I had woken up around 3:44 am to get a treatment in early so I could still make it to work due to End-of-course-testing at school. Naturally, my body decides to pick today to screw with me. I swear to God that sometimes I think I must have set nuns on fire in a previous life. Welcome to karma, Richardson.
            So I am sitting in my chair, trying to get the needle in the top buttonhole inserted but with no luck. Fear began to rise as a loop of having to have Crystal help me access begans to play in my head. Another loop begins where I have to rush home like the past few months which leaves me no time to myself or family. Not going well.  
            I began to think over and over, “Not this again and not now. I need to be done by 7am so I can test today.”
            The dark passenger was enjoying screwing with me.
            I eventually had to stop so my arm wouldn’t swell up and I made an alternate plan. If I go into the dialysis center, it will give me time to calm down and Crystal can supervise me. Easy peasy.
            Fortunately, I have several hours to kill at his point so I went back to bed after calling in and making arrangements for testing coverage. It went smooth and no one seemed irritated with me. Easy Peasy, part deux.
            After some breakfast at Panera and a very long phone call to my amazingly, supportive girlfriend, I began to shake the dark passenger and put him back in his place. Oddly enough it happened over coffee. Every morning, I always get a large dark roast with several shots of caramel syrup. It is the perfect amount of sugar and cream plus its caramel. What’s not to love?
            As I poured the dark roast, it trickled out in a sickly stream while spitting out grounds. Not going to work. I got a new cup and went to my back up of light roast. Same trickle and even more grounds.  
Instead of getting pissed, I started chuckling at myself. Sure, I could get pissed but why? It has been a really shitty day so far but I got to have one every now and then to even out the good ones. It’s all going to work out. My day might even get better.
My dark passenger had gotten the best of me this morning but only for a little bit. I realized this morning that not every stick is going to go well. As Crystal and Kim reminded me this morning, “Sometimes you got to have a bad stick.”
Yes, Crystal ended up having to access my site for me but the minute she was done I did something I have always been too afraid to do. I pulled out her needle then did it myself. I got it in right away.
Today, I made some major decisions about myself regarding my dark passenger. For years, I have been trying to keep him at arm’s length but in the end, I pay the price with frustration. Much like Dexter, I have got to learn that it’s ok to embrace the dark passenger so I’ll be able to control the other parts of my life.  To do so, I have realize it’s OK to mess up on the occasional stick and not shut down like I did this morning and times to many to count.
Who knew that in order to be successful, I have got to learn how to fail?
My biggest fear in all this is not that it can kill me but I that somehow I lose my independence followed by my dignity. It finally hit me this morning that I do not have to deal with my dark passenger on my own. I have a strong and trustworthy circle of support that is waiting on me if I ask. But that is the trick, learning how to ask.
I took my first step into a larger world this morning when I asked Kim for help. I asked if she would be willing to learn the whole treatment process including accessing my buttonholes. There was no hesitation on the phone as I heard that sweet Texas drawl say, “Of course.”
My treatment is in the process of wrapping up with about 30 minutes to go. My view of life feels much better than it did eight hours ago. Over the past few hours, I have gotten this all on paper (Ok, hard drive) and even got a visit from Kim. She was worried so she came over to check on me. She even brought over coffee and bourbon bread pudding from our favorite bakery. Score!
There is a lot running through my head as I type this. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I am not fighting off the dark passenger at the moment. I even admit how I am trying not to worry about having troubles when I access over the weekend. But then I just stop, take a breath, and think about what Kim said to me as she hugged when she arrived.
“I’m always here and I’m going to talk to you like you talk to me when I get wound up. One step at a time, Robby. One step at a time.”
 One step at a time........
Kiss my ass, dark passenger. I got this.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Do You Mean We Have to Plan a Wedding Now?

            Everyone has a series of “go-to” jokes they pull out in everyday conversations. One of mine comes out if I do something stupid in front of a crowd. At that point, I usually respond in my most self deprecating manner, “Well, I guess this explains why I teach special education.”
            I had a series of those moments today as I returned back to school after an awesome Xmas break. It was surprising at how happy I felt to be back at work. For the most part, I enjoy my co-workers and loved hearing about their break too. People were very congratulatory to me about Kim and my engagement. I have to admit that enjoyed hearing all the well wishing and nice things. Around 11:00, I began to think that I should get engaged more often.
            Around lunchtime, the word began to spread like wildfire. That’s when the questions began: Have you set a date? Who’s your caterer? Do you need a photographer? How are you set on invitations? I know a guy and can get you the friends/family price. Will there be a chocolate fountain? Would you like to borrow our trellis? How can you not have a Star Wars theme?
            My head began to ache at everything we have to do.
            Then it hit me.  
            In my own odd thought process, I never bothered to fully grasp how I have a wedding to plan. Please do not misunderstand me. There is no doubt in my mind that about getting hitched to Kim. For some stupid reason, I had assumed how once we got engaged, we’d sit back and bask in that happy glow for a few months before getting around to any actual wedding plans.  
Kim is already looking at options for us. Nothing is set in stone yet, much less an actual date. My nerves kicked in at first but now I am just excited.
 I have no idea what we are going to do except for one thing. This wedding is going to be about our love and our choices. We have a lot of decisions to make about what we want but the cool thing is that we are going to do it together and for ourselves. This time, I refuse to add people to the wedding party because so-and-so would look good up there matched whose-his-face. I am not going to go out of my way to invite this person just because they are important to someone’s job and need to be recognized by everyone. We will not hire this person to do whatever because they are owed a favor.
I have been through that dog-and-pony show before. Quite honestly, all that appeasement crap made my first wedding to Satan’s daughter just all the more unpleasant. As I look back, all I really remember is a blur of greetings and well wishes followed by a reception that I had to leave early because bridezilla was about to pass out. (Never mix Xanex w/ Cruzan orange Rum)
Am I bitter? Probably a little bit. I’ll give you that. But I promised I learned my lesson. This time around, the pageantry doesn’t matter. I just want to be able to look into Kim’s eyes and watch those adorable cheeks that made me fall in love with her, as I say the words, “I do.”
I do not care if the wedding is in a church, on a beach, a square, or even front of a judge in the courthouse. I am not worried about flowers, save the date cards, or who’s the best deal for pictures. This time around, I finally have a little perspective in what matters and what can be left at the door. This is about us and our love. Our wedding will not become a show to be presented in front of our friends and family. I have no idea what our wedding will be but I am a 100% sure it will be a perfect celebration of the love between Robby J. Richardson, Jr. and Kim Theresa Wade.
I am not going to lie to you though. I do not hate the idea of a chocolate fountain. Is there such thing as a pudding fountain?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Revolutions

To say that my soon-to-be step son cracks me up is an understatement. Jude is hilarious. It amazes me to watch this seven-year-old who already has his comic timing down. The kid is funny. I could write an entire blog just on just stuff that comes out of his mouth. The best part is that it’s not always funny because Jude is trying to amuse. He has a very serious and deadpan way of speaking. Jude cracks us up constantly with his matter of fact view of life.  
Jude and his big sis, Roni. Where one is, the other follows. Pretty cool.

            Last night Kim and I cooked ham, greens, black eyed peas, and corn bread for our New Year’s Dinner. It was awesome. Kim can cook some kick ass greens. While sitting at dinner the following conversation happened after Jude almost knocked his milk over due to being careless.
            “Dude, you’ve got to work on being careful at the table. This is my roommate’s table cloth and I do believe I’ve seen some grape jelly stained on a one of the chairs that is also not mine.” I peered down at Jude with my serious look.
            Jude put his fork down as if it would aid his contemplations and I could tell he was thinking very seriously about something. He began to nod his little head as he looked up at me and replied, “Yes, I think I’ll make my New Year’s Revolution to have better table manners.”
            Laughter breaks out at the use of ‘revolutions” instead of New Year’s “resolutions.”
            Jude’s thoughts are on a roll and he continues speaking to me in his matter-of-fact tone. “Yours should be using please and thank you more.” Then Jude resumes eating.

            What can I say? My sidekick is right. As a personal rule, I gave up “revolutions” years ago. For the past ten years or so, I just made up silly ones like “this is the year I beat heroin’ or one year I actually decided it would be to get a tattoo which I did on my 33rd birthday. I never really took them seriously but this year I’ve going to give it a try. I’m still throwing in some fun ones because that’s how I roll but otherwise, I’m giving it a shot.

Robby’s 2012 New Year’s Revolutions
1.      I am going to work on using please and thank you more with my fiancĂ©’ and step kids.
2.      I am not going to exercise but will work on being a healthier person.
3.      I will not compost.
4.      I will not teach the dogs to play chess.
5.      I will play more video games and finish Star Wars Saga Lego’s with at least 90 percent.
6.      The Afternoon Tide will get off the ground like I have planned as well as the “big project” that will make Lou Manglass & I millionaires.
7.      I am going to explore the works of Gene Sheperd especially the radio stuff.
8.      I am getting serious with the story telling and will work my way up to at least 3 events this year.
9.      I am bringing back sexy. Maybe while wearing a codpiece….
10.  I will clean up the yard and make it look really cool.
11.  I will save up some cash Kim and I can have a kick ass honey moon.
12.  I will start writing short stories.
13.  I will label all Xmas decoration boxes in garage with the words, “Charlie Sheen Shrine.” Winning!
14.  I will not fake my own death in an attempt to teach better bicycle safety to Roni and Jude. Again.
15.  I will not hide then jump out of the laundry hamper in an effort to frighten Kim. That was a bad, bad idea…..
16.  I will continue to hate the recorder and any music that comes from it.
17.  I will try to surprise Kim by taking her out more and arrange for the babysitter.
18.  When asked for my name while ordering lunch at Panera, I will stop saying, “MC Bootylicious.”
19.  No more wire hangers! Or maybe no more hanging wires. I get confused….
20.   I will work on being the best soon-to-be-step-father-and-husband-that I can be.