UPDATE: Before I begin I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has come and visited my online journal…blog. I recently surpassed 200,000 hits on my blog. That’s a lot! I know 199,000 of that is probably my Mom and I but still to have that many hits makes me feel good. A lot of it comes from people coming from other blogs (thanks!) and a lot of it comes from return readers (thanks!) and I just want to say thank you for making me feel good and allowing me to share Lis’ story of encouragement and inspiration, my stories of complaining, Lukas’ story of growing up and my family’s stories of nonsense. I started this journal in April 2005 as a way of getting my frustrations, confusions and feelings of Lis’ battle off of my chest and onto “paper”. Then I heard about these blog things and in May I posted all of my April entries onto the site and opened our story and myself to the rest of the world. I’ve gotten such a positive response that it’s helped me continue to write and 2-1/2 years later I continue writing and continue to get readers. It’s awesome and I thank you all very much!
And now to my regular post…
I’ve always done this. Relate my personal life to television and movies. I was Ross while my friends Dennis and Ian were Joey and Chandler, respectively. It happens all the time. I did it a couple posts ago when I related “Desperate Housewives” to mine and Lis’ situation and I did it once more after watching Thursday’s episode of “Scrubs“. Before you ask, yes it’s still on the air (NBC, Thurs. @ 9pm PST), though the show is in its last season.
Let me do my best to set up the scene. Earlier in the episode Turk and his buddy JD were playing a video game when Carla walked in and asked Turk where Izzy, their daughter, was. He guessed that she was still sleeping when instead she was with Carla. So Carla turned off the video game and told Turk she wanted it out of the apartment.
JD gets a page that his girlfriend went into labor. Turk uses the excuse to be with his friend as an opportunity to take the video game and the console into the break room of the hospital they work at.
Carla finds out, gets ticked then eventually takes over for the janitor and begins playing the game with Turk.
The scene that I relate to goes like this:
Carla: Listen, I discovered the game when Izzy had colic and I was up all night, and I became addicted. That’s actually the main reason I wanted it out of the apartment.
Turk: Oh. I thought you were mad because I’d rather play the game than play with Izzy. Which, I guess is sometimes true…baby don’t get it twisted, that girl is my world but every now and then I got to do my own thing. You’ve heard of hunger pains? I get sports pains and watch Judge Dredd with JD pains.
Carla: Turk you think you’re the only one who gets pains? I get put on my tight jeans and walk down the street and see if anyone honks pains – they do actually. How do you think I became addicted to this game? Every parent needs to take some time off.
Okay, I thought there was more to this scene than those three lines – oh well. Lis and I often have this “argument” because early on a Saturday morning I wake up, eat my breakfast then go and grab a game of Madden ’08, which is super cool because I quarterback a team that consists of Lukas, my brothers and most of my friends in Elisangela Stadium – named after my wife, shouldn’t she want me to play the game!
She thinks I should be playing with Lukas because I haven’t done that all week. The reason: I work 9-6 every day and often work 3-4 nights a week. Plus on Monday we’ve been going to a small group through our church.
I explain to Lis that (like Turk) I need some me time. If you’ve read my blog you know that I complain about working the two jobs often back-to-back so I don’t see Lukas but a ½-hour in the morning when I’m rushing to get ready for work. But I also don’t get any “me time” either, unless you count the time I spend in the shower or the time I’m driving from job to job.
Playing my video game is my “me time”. My way of getting away from stuff or an hour, pretending that I’m quarterbacking a team full of my pals, tossing TD passes to Lukas or having Erik zigzag his way through opposing defenses. That’s my fun time.
Before you gals all says…what about Lis’ “me time”. I work at night so Lis has a few nights of her “me time,” as long as Lukas is cooperating and going to bed when he’s supposed to. During the day she works hard around the house. I understand she has no time for “me time” then.
I think it’s important to have that “me time”. Even if it’s just playing a video game for an hour a week.
One quick note, Lukas usually doesn’t allow me to complete a full game because he wants his “Dad time.” I can usually get through a half unscathed before he begins to attack me. Using me as a slide from the couch to the floor, jumping on me, or trying to wrestle with me. He distracts me from my game because he wants to play. This sometimes frustrates me but most of the time makes me feel loved. Everyone now…ahhhh!
Meanwhile in reality…Lis, Lukas and I had a nice weekend. I was off Friday night, Saturday and Sunday and we had no plans made. It was the first time in months that the three of us had a weekend together and nothing to do. That changed as we quickly found things to do.
Friday night we went to dinner with my parent’s. We “celebrated” Lis’ second-year of remission. It was two years ago today that Lis was released from the hospital for the final time. Free from chemotherapy, free to let her hair grow back as she pleased and free to go on with her life as a “normal” person. We had Mexican food, Dad and I drank a couple of daiquiris and we had a nice dinner together.
It’s weird thinking that it’s been two years since Lis went through her battle with cancer. She’s done an awesome job. Her hair is long and needs a haircut. She doesn’t need to go to the doctor’s that often and we’ve started to sweat the small stuff again.
Saturday we got up and did some yard work. Felt good getting on the ladder, pulling dirty leaves from the gutter and then raking them up. I felt like a man, I felt like a homeowner. I, of course, needed Lis to go and get the camera, as this was a moment in time that doesn’t come around very often. So Lukas and I posed for the camera and the three of us cleaned up our front yard. Afterwards we took off for a little bike ride.
That evening we went to our Pastor’s house for a game night. He and his wife had invited the three of us over, along with a gal from our church and a co-worker of the Pastor’s wife. We ate baked potatoes and played Cranium for the first time. Lukas had a great time playing with David’s (the Pastor’s son) Star Wars toys and hanging out with the older boys (ages 8 – I believe).
The highlight of the evening, okay maybe not the highlight but one of the funnier moments, was when Lukas was outside playing with the boys. Pastor Jeff looks out the window and says, “Kevin, I think Lukas may need some help.”
I turn around and look out the window thinking he might need help going up the dirt bank on the side of the home. I noticed the two boys sitting on the bank then noticed Lukas, in the front yard with his pants to his ankles, his bare butt and his pee-pee in the wind. He had just finished taking a leak in the Pastor’s front yard. How embarrassing!
I had talked to Lis about this earlier, when we first started potty-training Lukas. We taught him how to go in the bushes, even if we’re just in the backyard hanging out. I told her that one-day we’ll be at someone’s house or he’ll be in the playground at school and feel the need to relieve himself. He’ll just drop his drawers and do it. That time came earlier than we expected and at our Pastor’s house. Though I wasn’t too embarrassed about it being at the Pastor’s house it does make the story a little more entertaining to tell.
We ended up having a nice evening hanging out playing games.
We’ve really begun to get more involved with church and stop making silly excuses for not going and meeting new people. We have gone to a Monday night small group with six other people from our church the last two weeks. Most of the people are around our age and we’ve had some good conversations and are forming a close relationship with the people in our group and church. We’ve also been attending Sunday school classes and are really starting to build relationships with other members of our church.
Another quick note, last night at our small group meeting the group leader asked if anyone did a journal. I began to raise my hand at about the same time he asked the ladies if they journal. I tried to put my hand down as quickly as possible but was caught. I mentioned that I kept a blog and gave them the address to the site. So…if any of you are checking in I wanted to let you know that I wrote this entry prior to last night’s meeting so I’m not trying to butter you all up with nice comments about how much I enjoy the small group.
It’s really made me feel good. Being involved with church and having a friendship and relationship with our church family really has made me feel good on the inside and a whole lot happier overall. We spent a couple hours at church yesterday when we used to show up 20 minutes late and leave immediately after the Pastor had dismissed us all.
I had a rough start to the week last week, but after having a relaxing weekend I entered this week with a positive attitude. I came into work this morning happy and ready to take on the day. I wasn’t (am not) going to let other people’s negative attitudes bring me down. I’m not going to let things get on my case or push me down.
Last week I had to deal with an irate client, who is irate every month his bill comes. I had to deal with the agency’s account and figure out why money was being deducted and it wasn’t balanced. I had to deal with computer issues in the office. I honestly almost walked out of the office one afternoon it had gotten so bad. On top of all that I was working three straight days (Tues. – Thurs.) of going from one job to the next without a break.
Come Friday things had worked itself out. The irate client was not as irate and willing to pay the bill the company was going to charge him. His stepdaughter explained to me that he’s always in a grumpy and argumentative mood. I had figured out the account and how the company had been taking money from our account even though the client’s were from his other agency that’s not affiliated with this office. I was looking forward to my Friday evening with my family and my weekend to chill out with them.
Sunday afternoon I watched as my Colts lost to the dreaded-Patriots. Argh! I dislike Bill Belichick! We also went to Ian’s parent’s house for dinner. We celebrated Ian’s 32nd birthday by having some steaks, potatoes and apple pie. Lukas calls Ian by his full name, “Ian Barnes,” like it’s one word. He must have picked it up because I have two friends named Ian and people refer to Ian as Ian Barnes. The whole night he was saying, “Thanks Ian Barnes Mom” and “Mom, where’s Ian Barnes?” even though we all said Ian.
I split victories in my pay leagues for fantasy football. I have now won seven straight in the league with my newspaper co-workers. My team doesn’t strike me as being spectacular so, even though I’m tied for first I’m not feeling that confident. Meanwhile, I lost again in my other pay league dropping to 4-5, despite the fact that my team looks unbeatable on paper. It’s so frustrating and I’m starting to run out of time before the post-season begins.