Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to The Diabolical Dr. Up!

     Today is a very special day!  No, not because I'm a huge fan of ghosts and goblins, but because this was the day when my little "Witchy Woman" was born 5 years ago.  My special little girl is 5, and boy how has that time flown by....It sure has been one heckuva ride!  If young Jesse is my pride and joy and my retirement plan (The 401-J) then Miss Maddie is most definitely the "Apple of my eye!"  This little girl entered our lives and changed all of us in such a positive way.  Her very existence is the truest form of a miracle that I've ever seen, and I've seen a few.  Each day that we've had the privilege of being her family has been better than the next.  She is an amazing little girl, and I thank the Good Lord everyday that I get to see her beautiful smile every morning.  To celebrate the birthday of my "best girl" I've got a few stories to tell about the fabulous Miss Madison Leigh Perry!
     She goes by many monikers, Princess Madino, The Diabolical Dr. Up, Mad Dog Maddie Meanness, the owner and partner of the famous Twinkle the Wonder Horse.  She's got it all!  However it could probably be argued that her greatest job is keeping her poor old daddy straight.  Whether it has been deflecting my ire at folks trying to bypass the system in the Elementary School Pick Up Line by asking me a question about princesses right about the time that I was going to go all redneck up there or telling me to "calm down" when all those idiot drivers seem to appear while we are in the middle of yet another adventure.  She keeps me straight by giving me those million dollar hugs, and keeps me honest by questioning just about everything.  You got to be on your toes around Madino.   One incident in particular occurred at my favorite place on earth.  Wal-Mart.  This day was like any other in the life of the Uber Dad, and I had both kids with me at Sam Walton's house of horrors.  I like to say it is a Tree of Woe, like the one that Arnold Schwarzenegger got hung on in Conan the Barbarian.  But that's another story for another time.  We were shopping for the normal necessities, Ice Cream, Doritos, and Dora Stickers, but young Jesse, ole 401-J himself, decided to pull a disappearing act.  Like most parents, it scares the daylights out of me when one of my children are all of a sudden out of my line of sight.  It happened on this day, and just like that..."Poof"....Jesse was gone!  I was pushing the buggy and Maddie was riding in the front part.  I turned and did not see Jesse.  Obviously, your heart drops when this happens, and I'm an excitable guy anyway.  Needless to say I was fit to be tied!  I backed away from the buggy and began looking in every direction, North, South, East, and West- and no Jesse.  I began to yell, Jesse!  Jesse!  No answer.  I was pretty upset by this time, and Maddie was giving me the strangest look.  Kind of like, "Dad, you're being an idiot."  She said with a flip of the hair with some fierceness that some only dream of, "Jesse's right behind you."  Sure enough, that little S,H,I, you can fill in the rest, had got right behind me, and stayed out of sight during the entire episode.  He is lightning quick, and very fleet of foot so he was able to move on a dime and stay close enough that I didn't know that he was behind me.  However, my lovely Miss Maddie saved the day!  Jesse got his later.
      Shortly after Maddie was born she began to have breathing problems.  This concerned Cheryl so much that she eventually rushed Maddie to the Emergency room at Children's Hospital.  As it turns out she made the right call, she gets lucky like that with decisions every now and then.  Maddie was diagnosed with RSV which is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children.  This was a big enough problem for Maddie to be admitted.  Eventually, Jesse and I were able to go to the hospital.  Upon arrival, I moved quickly, because I don't like hospitals, doctors, or hospitals with doctors in them.  I finally was able to locate the room that Maddie was supposed to be in.  I was shocked to see the door.  It was covered with huge red tape in the shape of an X that read, "Contaminated:  DO NOT ENTER."  I turned to Jesse and said, "Hold up.  What the heck is going on here." To be honest, I'm not sure I said "Heck."  I thought for a moment that Maddie must have contracted the Black Death or Monkey Pox or Both!  I tracked down some medical personnel, and you know it had to be a big deal for a guy who doesn't like medical personnel to actually go find some medical personnel.  I said, "Hey Doc!  What's up with all this warning red tape stuff.  Is this like a doomsday deal or what?"  He explained to me that RSV was very contagious, and they had to take the precautions.  He went on to say that we were in no danger.  I wasn't buying it.  I told him we probably needed some Hazmat suits to go in there, huh?  He again assured me that we were fine.  Hopefully he was right, and I'm not a carrier for some flesh eating virus or something.  Anyway, Maddie ended up fine.  Some early breathing issues, but mostly fine.  I guess if we don't die of the Plague later on, we came out pretty good on the Contamination deal.
     Now I'm going to close this Ode to Maddie post out with a little poem I wrote just for my sweet Miss Madison.  Maybe one day she can look back on this and smile.  I hope so.

When you came around we didn't know,
That there was one thing we needed to grow;

Your big blue eyes and smile so sweet,
Lit up our lives and made us complete;

You've grown so much since that day,
You'll always be my little girl and in my heart you'll always stay;

My beautiful daughter you make me so proud,
With you I always see the sky full of sun with not one cloud;

When I'm with you I see love infinitely,
You, Jesse, and your mom mean everything to me.

I know now, for sure, that there is nothing more important than the love of Family;

Happy Birthday to you Madison Leigh,
You are my heart, my life, and I love you completely. 
     

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hey! Watch This!

     Well this weekend saw those Morris Blue Devils finish out the regular season 8-0, and gain some momentum heading into the playoffs with a 26-6 win over Cleveland.  That would be Cleveland, Alabama not Cleveland, Ohio, but those Blue Devils could maybe give those Browns a run for their money!  Cleveland was also the site of the quote of the week.  I was asked about the motivational status of those fine young men playing football, and what measures I was going to take to increase said motivation by a concerned parent. (Who also happens to be the mother of our Quarterback and wife of the Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach-Michelle Peters)  I said, "I fired them up over there in the end zone a minute ago."  She responded, "Fire 'em up again!"  I went on to say, "You know all that hootin' and hollerin' only lasts a minute or two on the field."  The conversation ended with the statement, "I know! and I blame you Chris Perry!"  Wait for it.....here it comes, the quote of the week.  It came from Greg Rogers, and immediately after the above conversation he said, "Go and Blog about that!"  This was all in good natured fun, and the quotes were priceless!  Thanks guys for the material!  Also, the mighty Crimson Tide smashed ole Rocky Flop 45-10 this weekend.  Roll Tide!  For this chronicle of the old Uber Dad I'm going to write about two things, #1- Why it's always my fault. and #2- The question, "You used to be a cop didn't you?" and the unusual conversations that follow.  It's almost as bad as what follows the statement, "Hey!  Watch This!" or the even worse, "Hey!  Hold my beer.  Watch this!"  Here we go.
     Why is everything always my fault?  The short answer is, I don't know.  I get blamed for things that are completely not my fault, and can in no way be linked to me.  For example, Global warming, the Government shut down, rain (not even acid rain.....just rain), the fact that they killed off Shane on the Walking Dead a few seasons ago (Now, I liked Shane.  Probably my favorite character.  Dude would do what had to be done.  I respect that, but I digress).  Dad, why don't I have my favorite shorts?  Dad, Why can't you put on the Wizard of Oz right now?  Dad, I'm not happy.  All of these are my fault.  Well, I'll take the blame.  Go ahead and put it squarely on my shoulders.  I'll hold it up like Atlas.  Just recently I had a day of writing papers about Ancient Helike as the inspiration for Plato's story of Atlantis in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, The Cleansing of the Collective memory in France and Algiers after the War in Algiers, and one on The American Solar Energy Society.  Not to mention research on an upcoming paper on The Punic Wars.  Then I had to pick up Jesse, work out, and it was off to football practice.  Finally,  I came home to a little girl who had thrown dear old dad under the bus.  In fact she not only threw me under, she also backed the bus up over my body, and then ran over me again for good measure.  My sweet Miss Madino told everyone that I was the cause of her constant falls on this evening.  Undoubtedly, she had fallen repeatedly while Jesse and I were at football practice and it appears that I was blamed for each and every one of these falls "In absentia."  When I came home to my castle in lovely Mt. Olive, Alabama, I arrived to a kangaroo court who had already tried and convicted me for Maddie's unexplained falling spells.  Maddie's testimony was read back to me and it said, "It's Daddy's fault."  She said it again, "It's Daddy's fault, because he put me in Slippery Socks."  Well there you go!  It's on me.  No doubt about it.  Hang me now.  Next, they will be burning me in effigy to prevent the "Slippery Socks" from returning.  It's hard work being me.  By the way, I have no control over the weather or politics.  Sometimes I feel Omnipresent or is it Umizoomi, I forget.   No matter!  I didn't do it!  I'm innocent!  Who are you going to believe?  Me? Or your lying eyes?
     I get this question all the time, "Hey, you used be a cop didn't you?"  Then stuff goes haywire.  The fact that I once was a Law Enforcement Officer brings mostly legal questions, which I can normally answer, but sometimes the questions can bring about an issue or two.  Just yesterday I was asked, "Does it really matter that she's only sixteen?"  You bet your "soon to be kicked in the head by her daddy" sweet tail it does.  To heck with the law.  Guns don't kill people.  Daddy's with daughters kill people, and are glad to do it.  That's a fact!  Most people seem to think that cops in general are either mostly crooked or corrupt, or possess amazing powers like a cross between a Ninja and a Fortune Teller.  Well, I'm neither.  Jedi maybe.  Batman definitely (Shhh.  don't tell), but Ninja/Fortune Teller, No.  I probably can't get you out of that ticket (As far as you know), I don't know who shot Kennedy, I haven't "beat" a confession out of a "perp" like Andy Sipcowicz on NYPD Blue, and No I'm not going to help you find someone to "solve" the problem with your neighbor.  All that being said, I really don't mind helping out with information when I can.  However, the next time somebody asks, "You used to be a cop didn't you?"  I'm going to say, "Yes.  Now I'm Black Ops, and I'm trying to raise an army of hostile aliens, but the voices keep telling me to lead a Revolution with the Monkeys.  The band.  Not the animals."  That might work, but then again, maybe they could relate.
     That's all I got for today, but I thought I would leave you with some words of wisdom from my late father, God rest his soul.  Daddy always used to say, "Dammit Boy!"  I can hear him now.  That's it, just "Dammit Boy!"  Usually this statement was proceeded by me being blamed for something, because everything was my fault.  Wait a minute.....There's a pattern here.  Wasn't me.

    

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CJP and The Time Machine

     This is a story about a normal guy, caught up in an extraordinary series of events.  This normal guy, let's say, is in his early 40s, married father of two, and well-liked by all.  Well, almost all.  The hero of our story was on a mission to procure a USA Today newspaper for his mother-in-law.  I'm sure many of you have been in this type of situation before or at least something similiar. This normal guy was "Rockin" in his wife's Toyota Prius while on this fantastic voyage.  The music was provided by Bon Jovi- and this is where normalcy ceases to exist.  Our hero was bellowing the line, "I'll be the water when you get thirsty baby!  When you get drunk, I'll be the wine!!" from the 1988 monster hit I'll be There for You.  Then whether it was a combination of stress from the task of locating this elusive paper, and a desire to escape this mundane existence, something magical happened.  The Prius became a time machine.  Yep, you heard that right.  Straight out of Marty McFly and "Doc" Brown's playbook, although our story has a Toyota instead of a DeLorean.  All of a sudden we're in 1988!  Stuff is about to get real!
     All of a sudden the Prius was transformed into a 1985 Mustang LX blue in color, with some sweet white letter Grand Am Radial GT tires and some chrome modular mag wheels!  Now, I know that most folks think I would fit in an old beat up Chevy Chevelle as a vehicle, the Mustang was my vehicle of choice in my formative years.  Instantly, the treble box which was the radio in the Prius was replaced with 2- 15 inch sub woofers and an Alpine powered stereo system that would make your brain rattle!  Cause after all, "We like the cars...the cars that go BOOM!"  Consequently, due to this time transformation the clothes and appearance began to change.  Hair grows long in the back, and cropped nicely on the sides and front.  "Business in the front, party in the back!"  Stonewashed or was it Acid-washed, Levi's appear.  Funny looking 80s boots (cross between a pirate and a musketeer) are worn outside of the jeans.  Then of course, the purple shirt with wierd paisley shapes and some that look like Vincent Van Gogh had designed the apparel.  Suddenly we've got the 80s ride, clothes, hairstyle, and music!!  For the love of Prince and the Revolution!  What is going on here?
     The car was suddenly filled with the music of INXS (I need you tonight), then The Flame by Cheap Trick.  I changed the station when Debbie Gibson came on.  I switched from 95 Rock to Kicks 106 (Folks in Birmingham will remember that)- I ran across some Def Leppard, Aerosmith, and even The Bangles version of "Hazy Shade of Winter."  It was at this point that I realized that I was outside of the old BAMA 6 in good ole Center Point, Alabama.  This was a destination for cruising par excellance, back in the day.  The Posse was always on the Parkway!! (Center Point Park Way that is)-  I looked up at the marquee, and Beetlejuice, Rain Man, Coming to America, A Fish Called Wanda, and Rambo III were available for your viewing pleasure.  You could get in for about 4 bucks too!  Things were looking up for this Long Haired Country Boy, and his 80s Revivial!  I noticed the fashion choices on the sidewalk outside consisted of some "REALLY" Big Hair, Puffy Pirate Looking Shirts, Rolled up "Tight Roll" Jeans with Boat Shoes, Z Cavaricci's, and MC Hammer Pants.  Just to name a few.  
     With all this 80s Awesomeness overwhelming Our Hero- He Began to Speak as if possessed by the Enlightenment of the 1980s, or lack thereof, depending on which way the wind blew!

Last Night I dreamed I went back to the 80s, Oh What a beautiful sight!
Ronald Reagan came up to me, and said "Well Chris, who do you want to see", and I began to think.
I said why don't you call up ole Jon Bon Jovi, and see if he's free, cause ole Jon was rockin the hair back in the day, and he could play Livin on a Prayer like a Boss I'd have to say....Oh Yea!!!
While I was in the 80s, I saw Madonna, Tony Danza, and Axl Rose too, and I even saw Tom Cruise back when he was cool!
Then out of nowhere came this long skinny arm, connected to an alien with his big eyes on me!
Suddenly I realized that I was looking at E.T.!
E.T. said, "What Brings you Here?" So I began to think,  I said, "E.T. you've seen it all.  You've seen the 80s rise, and you've seen the 80s fall."  Tell me why it is sir, that I like to reminisce.  Why is it that I still like Prince!
Then I began to tremble and I began to shake, I knew I was dreaming, but I couldn't get awake.  I cried out, "Holy Parachute Pants Batman," then as soon as it began it was over.

     The Radio was playing when I woke up in the Prius, and it sure wasn't Bon Jovi.  It was one of them new fangled pop songs by Kanye Kardahian, ( I ain't saying she's a gold-digger)  I was parked directly in front of a USA Today paper machine, and I realized that I was back in the year 2013.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.  The box was out of papers, though.  Bugger.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Rogue History and Brother Frank

     I know I have mentioned a few times before that I am a 42 year old college senior.  Well, in addition to my job as a student of history, I was recently elected to serve as Treasurer for the UAB chapter of the National Historical Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta.  I know, it sounds really important, and I can't lie....it is.  I think I'm going to retire my shorts and t-shirts that I normally wear, and buy a seersucker suit.  Maybe, I'll have a pipe to go with it.  The classic Southern Historian.  Probably not.  It's hard to change your style.  Phi Alpha Theta puts on a series of events with guest speakers in the library, and they can be a lot of fun for a History geek like me.  I even took Jesse to one of these recently, but that didn't turn out to well.  Believe it or not, the boy got really bored listening to a speech on the history of Civil Rights in Birmingham.  Oh well, it is what it is I suppose.  For this particular blog post I decided to write about the most recent Phi Alpha Theta Colloquium, a discussion on "Post Nazi Cities:  Urban Reconstruction under Three Cold War Regimes in Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Wroclaw."  If that don't fire you up, nothing will.  This talk was presented by one of my favorite professors, and I was looking forward to it.  I will spare you the particular details, but some interesting things happened at this event.  Also, Grandma and Grandpa have arrived from Wisconsin, and the kids are fired up!  The other night I began to wax poetic about old school stories involving my family.  My brother Frank in particular.  Well, I figured I would share some of those legendary tales in this setting. 
     The setting was the Henley Room at Sterne Library on the lovely campus of the University of Alabama-Birmingham.  This room is like an oasis in a sea of periodicals on the 2nd floor of this fine book bank.  This event was right up my alley, because the speaker is a professor that I have taken twice, and I currently am a student in his "Europe Reconstructed" class.  Dr. Demshuk makes history exciting, and that is alright with me.  I arrived early to help set up, because I'm a man of importance these days.  I've even got a checkbook with Phi Alpha Theta on it.  Don't hate!  This was an unusual day at the old library.  The electronic stuff didn't want to work right, and things just seemed off.  I began to mingle with my fellow historians, after all I am quite a talker, so mingling is a strength of mine.  While I was talking about something or another an older fellow came right over to me, stood directly in front of me, in my personal space, and began to open a bottled drink.  I'm an ex-cop who used to teach Defensive Tactics, Pressure Point Control, and Expandable Baton defense, so I believe in the concept of personal space.  I like to have a "Reactionary Gap" between me, and any potential predators.  This guy was all up in my "Reactionary Gap!"  I said, "Hey Partner, are you bringing me a drink or what?"  He looked down at me through his glasses that were on his nose, and said, "No, son, I don't think so."  I did not realize who this older gentleman was.  He is a "Distinguished Professor."  Professors have different ranks, and this would either be a full-bird Professor or a "General" professor, and either way it's not the one you want to call "partner."  The reason why Mr. Distinguished Professor was opening a soft drink by me, was because this event had no food.  Normally, these things have food and refreshments, at least I think they do.  I caught on to this, because every Professor that walked into the room looked over at the table that normally has the food, and upon realizing no food was present, had a look that was a cross between disappointment and irritation.  I suppose these guys aren't any different than your normal college student, and free food is always a draw.  Once the presentation kicked off I noticed that there was one guy who came in late, and that I did not recognize.  You get to know the people in your particular area of study, and this guy was not familiar.  The information was coming at me, fast and furious like, a little overwhelming to be honest.  I was trying to soak it all up, and then I noticed that one of the professors had nodded off.  This was amusing, and I smiled.  Then my attention was drawn to the area immediately behind the speaker.  The guy whom I didn't recognize was not only asleep, but out like a light, with legs outstretched mouth wide open and head laid back.  I began to wonder if this guy wasn't just some homeless fellow that wandered in off the street for a nap.  I have had experiences with homeless folks taking baths in the public library bathroom in the past, so it was feasible.  It was distracting to say the least!  This guy was out.  Probably drooling a bit too.  I tried not to laugh, because I was enjoying the presentation.  The talk went on for a while, and we came to the Q and A portion, and the professor that was asleep woke up like Lazarus rising from the dead, and blurted out, "Well, who is paying for all this stuff??!?!"  The question actually fit into the situation, and it was answered.  The guy behind all of the activity was still asleep, and I think snoring.  Head kicked back, mouth wide open...snoozing.  I don't know where this guy came from?  Well, all in all, even with no food, folks sleeping, and me making a distinguished professor uncomfortable, it was a successful event!
     My brother, Frankie can't smell.  He also has one leg, and within the last few years survived a massive heart attack.  My bro, is a survivor to say the least.  He's got some interesting stories too, and if you follow his Facebook posts, you already know that.  He lost his sense of smell by falling off the top of a moving vehicle many years ago, and I was relaying this story to Grandma and Grandpa the other night, and the flood gates of Frank stories opened up.  I told them about the time he had been out tipping a few back and decided to back his Datsun up our driveway.  The driveway at the house I grew up in is like Mt. Everest, straight up and down.  Treacherous traveling to say the least.  Frankie decided one night that he was going to hit in reverse, and back up the thing.  Bad idea.  He ended up running through Daddy's fence, and causing some kind of commotion, provoking the response from dear old dad, "What the hell is wrong with you, boy?!?!?!"  But wait, that's not all!!  He had another incident involving our driveway.  He left the same Datsun in neutral one night, and as he stumbled in the house, the vehicle found its way back down the driveway, and into the woods.  They had to call a wrecker to fish the thing out from the depths of the wilderness.  My father's response was again priceless, "There is really something wrong with that boy."  I've got a bunch more, from "The Great Whispering Pines Horseshoe Tournament of 1990" which I won by the way, to "Dumpster Diving with Frankie."  I only did that once.  Once was enough, let me tell you.  Frankie is a master of the Yard Sale Sciences, and quite the aficionado of junk.  This knowledge is what led to my father referring to Frankie as "Lamont."  As in Sanford and Son- Lamont.  I could go on and on, but Maddie just gave me some wet pants, and I'm not really sure how they got wet.  I don't know if I really want to know.  Time to go.  The quote, "Why is this wet, Maddie?" has been used many times in my history.  Phi Alpha Theta Treasurer and Uber Dad extraordinaire out!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm Still....Batman!

     The journey of the American father is perilous, and challenging in a way that those who are not a "Patre" (Latin for Father- Learned it in my Roman History class)- cannot understand.  To effectively dominate my day to day activities like I should I had to become a superhero.  I'm Batman!  I wrote about this idea back during the summer, and Batman had to make another appearance yesterday.  Maddie had a birthday party to attend, and Jesse was my navigator on this adventure.  An adventure it was!  Indiana Jones would have been proud, although there were no Nazis or snakes.  We would overcome all obstacles that were placed in our way by any means necessary, whether they be fair or unfair.  There are no rules here!  Just survival, and we have to keep Gotham safe.
     My lovely wife, Cheryl, informed me of this birthday party last weekend while I was watching an Alabama game.  Mistake #1.  I missed half of what she said, well all of it really.  While my attention is on a BAMA game don't speak to me, please.  I will not comprehend anything you say, but I will nod and say uh-huh, like I got it all.  Regardless, after a fantastic Saturday that saw the Morris Blue Devils win a classic against the Hayden Wildcats 8-0, the Alabama Crimson Tide play dominant like they always do, a grade achieved in Environmental Science 109-Lab by yours truly that was an A, and the discovery of some awesome Memphis dry-rub chicken wings....things were going pretty good for this guy.  I should have known that it wouldn't stay that way for long.  Does it ever?
     The day started with me doing what I always do, working out, writing papers, studying, and entertaining the folks around here.  That's what I do!  Then I was reminded of the journey that awaited me and my two children.  A birthday party over the mountain, somewhere.  The destination was one that I had never been to, and me and MIA the GPS had a falling out recently, so she was out of commission.  Cheryl could not attend the birthday extravaganza, because Grandma and Grandpa are headed our way from the great white North (I always want to sing "North to Alaska" when I say that), and she had to prepare the ole homestead for their arrival.  So it was me and the two youths.  A familiar setting to be sure.  Jesse would be my navigator along with Siri, and the journey began.  We got off to a rough start due to the Prius sensing that it was me driving, and not Cheryl, and refusing to operate correctly.  After I scolded the car a few times it seem to operate better.  Fear maybe.  Or maybe I'm just nuts talking to cars, but I am the guy that tweeted the Long Island Medium for a free reading.  This also involved an auto-correct mishap that changed Pneumonia into Moon-Dip.  What the heck is Moon Dip anyway?  I'm getting off track, but we were on our way, regardless of my talking to Toyotas or not.  Jesse was doing a fine job navigating!  Best job I've seen him do!  Eat your heart out MIA!!  However, we ran into trouble around HWY 280, and with the combination of horrible Google Map/iPhone directions and idiot Sunday drivers I began to rant a bit.  I do that from time to time.  I got it honest from my Father, who was an expert in ranting and raving!  Right in the middle of my rant, my beautiful daughter Madison Leigh Perry says to me, "Calm Down, Daddy."  I took her advice and continued to the destination.  Jesse, my navigator, also had a question for me, "Dad, is that something you did in Police work to make people talk?"  I told him that I tried not to rant and rave while I was in police work, but sometimes a little crazy helped out a bit.  I started to tell him about the time I had to run off those nude sunbathers, but I thought better of it.  Shortly after my minor meltdown we actually found our destination.  It was a church fall festival, and it appeared to be a lively event.  So end of story, right?  No, wrong.
     There were inflatable jumping deals all over this place, and Maddie loves her some inflatable jumping deals, let me tell you.  I, on the other hand, can't stand them.  This is the place that "crappy parents" come to leave their "crappy kids."  I know what your thinking, "There are no crappy kids!"  Well, I beg to differ, there are plenty of them, and I believe they were all in these jumpy things on this day.  There were also some pushy volunteers running the above mentioned jumpy things, and we had a disagreement on the entrance point of one of these monstrosities of snot and slobber filled youngsters. I should say that the kids who misbehave and act a fool are doing this, because they don't have anyone telling them that they shouldn't do it.  The lack of parenting is an epidemic today, and a lot of parents think it's cute when their kids are acting this way.  It's not the kids fault, really...at least most of the time.  Little Charles Manson may have been fond of the jumpy things too, who knows?  After the inflatables we went inside for face painting (another one of my faves), ring toss, cake walk, etc.  It was fun.  Maddie had a rainbow and a heart painted on her face, and I got to eat snacks.  Pretty good!  I took the kids to get some water, and I went to the bathroom.  The kids were drinking from the fountain, and I thought the floor seemed sticky.  We found out that some unfortunate soul had been overcome with nausea on this very spot.  Probably too many cakes from the cake walk combined with those jumpy things.  We left that area, pretty quickly, and I ran directly into, what turned out to be a giant Rat.  Huge rodent it was!  Actually it was a male and female and we had our pictures taken with them.  Mickey and Minnie Mouse were in the house, and I insisted on preserving the moment in pictures.  It wasn't lost on the lady that I asked to take the picture, that I was the only dad in the place that posed with his children alongside Mickey and Minnie.  That's just how I roll.  That's why I'm Batman, and  you're not.  Maddie got to hang out with her friends for a while, one of them maybe a little too closely.  Luke, her boy-friend, is very fond of Maddie.  I've wrote about him before, and this relationship is cute, but concerning for my future sanity.  Well, as all the kids were playing, and I was eating more snacks.  One of Maddie's little friends from school came up and hit me on the leg, and said, "Hey, Batman!"  This little guy is convinced that I am the caped crusader in the flesh, and treats me as such.  I think it all started when I wore a Batman shirt to take Maddie to school one day, and I've been labeled as Batman ever since.  The truth is.....I am Batman!  Tell all your friends about me!

    

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Princess and The Pimp: A Halloween Love Story

     It was a dark and stormy night.  The rain fell and the thunder clapped.  A fog rolled over the local cemetery, and covered it like a blanket.  The young man walked into this resting place for the dearly departed with his heart racing, and sweat on his brow.  Fear was in the air, and he was gripped with sheer terror.  Then he heard a moan.  A moan that sent a chill down his spine.  He began to move quicker.  He moved with a sense of purpose to escape the fear that gripped him.  The faster he moved, the more pronounced the horrible shrill of a moan became.  The rain fell more now, and his vision became impaired.  The fog covered him.....It was if his heart would explode in his chest, and then out of nowhere a hand reached for his very soul.  The young man was taken by a.....Sorry to interrupt this scary Halloween story, but I want to write about some Halloween related incidents.  First off, the story of Jesse the Witch that was supposed to be a wizard, then the Princess and the Pimp, and finally to finish it off a little old school South Side of Birmingham Halloween action.  We will return to your regularly scheduled programming in its entirety.
     On Halloween a few years ago, Jesse wanted to be a wizard.  I suppose it had to do with Harry Potter or something.  His mother was placed in charge of making young J-Jam Wizardly.  Maddie dressed up like a Princess and I was basically going as a nutcase/madman with a hockey mask on.  Not too different from every day, only with a hockey mask.  I don't normally go about my day to day activities looking like Jason Voorhies.  Once everyone was dressed and ready to go I noticed that Jesse looked a lot like a witch.  I asked my dear wife, "Cheryl, is he a witch?"  She responded, "Of course not, he's a wizard!"  I said, "Well, he looks an awful lot like a witch.  Not that there's anything wrong with that."  Jesse was definitely witchly, but we went about our Halloween festivities anyway.  We were walking around our neighborhood and passers by kept commenting, "What a great witch costume." or "She's a pretty witch!"  I kept trying to tell these people that the boy was a wizard, but it didn't matter.  Jesse was immune to this confusion about his costume choice, so we kept moving.  When you walk up to doors while trick or treating, most people will attempt to guess the costumes the children are wearing.  Jesse was labeled a witch.  I kept telling them that he was labeled incorrectly, but this unfortunately incorrect identification continued to occur.  It got to the point that I gave the people a heads up prior to the 'Trick or Treat" formality.  I said, "I know he looks like a witch, but #1- he's a boy and #2- he's a wizard.  Thank you for your assistance in this matter."  I'm glad that Jesse is pretty enough to be looked upon as a girl, I guess, but the boy was a wizard.  After our lovely Halloween activities I posted some pictures on Facebook, and the first comment was, "Why is Jesse dressed like a witch?"  Appreciate ya Harry Potter.
     My wife and I got Married on June 6, 1998, but we were engaged around Halloween the year before.  That Halloween we went to a costume party, and she wore her freshly purchased estate piece engagement ring.  At this point I had not met my future in-laws, but photographs were taken of our adventures.  I was dressed as a pimp.  A pimp wearing a white-belt and white shoes, no doubt.  This was going to be the introduction that my wife's fine parents got of her future husband.  Their daughter the Doctor had went off to Alabama, and married a pimp.  A redneck pimp on top of that.  If you look at the pictures closely you will see the ring, and I think I made a pretty good pimp.  I reckon if it all goes to pot around here, I could have a career as a pimp-impersonator.  You have to plan ahead.  Well, long story short, we buried the pictures.  I officially met my future mother and father in Wisconsin, and the pimp story was forgotten.  That is until now.  These pictures have never seen the light of day....until now.  They are posted here for remembrance, and just plain comedy.  They are pretty funny, and we look so young.  Well anyway.  The pimp landed an angel back on Halloween in 1997.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
     Halloween used to be really cool back in the day.  Outside of watching out for some razor blades in those apples, that nobody really gave out to begin with, we had some fun.  The Jaycees haunted house, The Verdict, and of course dressing up and going to South Side.  They had a thing down there by the old Louie Louie that went toward the fountain, like a gauntlet of fear.  Folks dressed up in all kinds of costumes mingled with the traffic, and tried to scare the crap out of people.  This was some fun stuff.  I dressed up from time to time, and did my part too.  On one occasion I had my scary old man mask on, and I actually jumped onto a car.  This kind of thing wasn't encouraged, but I was a rogue youngster.  Well, the mask I was wearing came flying off and I ended up looking through the windshield of this car minus a mask.  It was just my 16 year old face looking at the people in the vehicle.  The funny part was, that after a pause...They looked at me, and screamed like I was Freddy Kreuger or something.  You had to be there, but it was funny.  I guess as the old saying goes, "I've got a face for radio." Or writing a blog, I suppose.
     There goes a few Halloween related stories, and I hope you had as much fun reading them, as we had living them.  Halloween is a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see what the kids dress up as this year.  Oh, by the way, the young man escaped the cemetery unscathed, and wrote a blog post about it.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

15 Reasons Why My Kingdom is Safe with Prince J-Jam

     As an aging head of state, and king of my known world, I have started to look toward the future.  The heir to my throne is a fine young man, and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to carry on the empire in which I have built.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown or as my Queen would say, "Your head is too big to wear the crown in the first place."  God save the Queen!  Here are the 15 reasons why my Kingdom will be in good hands with the boy King....J-Jam!!  I have no fears in the succession to the throne, and one day son, all of this will be yours! (I'm moving my hands around in a sweeping motion in the kitchen right now, to signify the vastness of my empire.)  On to the list:

#15-  Jesse is a very smart young man and extremely helpful.  In fact he just told me the other day, "Dad, don't worry about college!  I'll help you with your Science and Math."

#14-  He's one tough customer.  Tougher fellow you won't find.  He will need this toughness in dealing with the rival "Madino Clan."  That's a rough bunch, and Princess Maddie has some ambition about her.

#13-  He's got the look.  Just as Sheena Easton and Prince said so eloquently.  Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes.  Fine looking fella!  This will come in handy when negotiating with the ladies.  Don't tell him I said that-  He still gets upset when I mention...."Girls"  Shhh.

#12-  My DNA.  He's got the gift of Gab.  He can talk a tree into moving its roots.  My main dawg has advanced Rhetoric skills...Thanks, of course, to the DNA of the King!  All Hail, the King!

#11-  Cheryl's DNA.  Unbelievably kind soul and extremely generous.  He will keep the folks happy around here, although watch your back because, "Hell hath no fury, like Cheryl's DNA scorned!"

#10-  He's not power hungry.  Which is good for me.  I won't have to be run off like an old lion.  The old lion just wanders around alone, and then starves to death.  That's not appealing to me.  In Jesse's kingdom the old lion can still hang with the young lion.  At least for now.....

#9-  My people descend from Royalty.  Purple is our color.  My line began with Mark Antony and Cleopatra over 2,000 years ago.  Sounds good, huh?  How's that for a family tree?  What's really cool is you can't really prove me wrong even if you know I'm full of it.  Spaghetti Science...throw a bowl of spaghetti against a wall, and some of it is likely to stick!

#8-  The boy can dance!  You never know when you might have to cut a rug with a foreign dignitary.

#7-  He can, sort of, cut grass.  Which is good for the up keep around, "Ye Olde Castle."

#6-  He has a bright future.  Doctor, Lawyer, President of the United States, the sky is the limit.  This is important, because History tells us that Empires Fall, and fall hard.  Just in case we get conquered by a rival tribe, it's good to have a back up plan!

#5-  He's really good at "Call of Duty."  He can defend our walls.  At least in a make believe Video Game setting, which kind of fits with this whole line of thought.

#4-  He's got my kind of crazy!  Got it all natural like.  In my experience this quality has always come in handy.  Folks don't mess with the wild-eyed crazy guy!  That's a fact!

#3-  He descends from "Cristos the Spartan."  "Spartans, ready your breakfast and eat hearty, because tonight we dine in hell."  "No retreat, No surrender!  That is Spartan Law!"  Sorry, I just wanted to quote 300 to get myself fired up this morning.  As you were.

#2-  He's got an Angel's Heart and the Devil's Hand.  Those are song lyrics that really have no purpose other than I've always wanted to use those words. Now I have.  Check that one off the old Bucket List!

#1-  Two Words.  He's Awesome!

     Well there you go.  The qualities of the future King!  Sounds good to me!  Long live the King.....that being me, but if I was to perish in some way...We good around here!  The Prince will take us to unprecedented success.  All Hail!  Bow Down to the King! 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Clan of the PerryDawg

     I'm a simple man that has discovered through trial and error what exactly is of worth in this world.  What it boils down to is Family.  Blood is thicker than water, but trust me when I say this, "You don't have to be blood kin to be family."  That's a fact.  My tribe is second to none.  I've got the good Doctor, Cheryl, who saved me from my "Desperado" days of my 20s and made an honest man out of me.  My first born, the boy who would be king....Jesse, my main dawg and hero extraordinaire, and who shows me every day what real heart, determination, hard work, and just plain smarts can do for you.  Then there's the "Apple of my Eye," Miss Maddie the princess of our clan.  Maddie is truly one of a kind, and we are certainly blessed by her presence in our lives.  As a tribute to these amazing human beings that I call "la familia Perry."  I've got a humorous story about each of them.  These are stories that have never been told before, and you're hearing them here for the first time!  By the way, I'm one lucky guy to be sure, to have all these amazing folks in my life.  Somebody up there must like me!
     My lovely wife is quite an amazing woman, and she has accomplished many great things in her life.  At the top of that list would have to be landing such a fine man as myself....Wait, that's not on her list.  Sorry.  She's very accomplished and well thought of, by all.  Cheryl received her PhD in something or another, I can never really remember- I like to say in "Sainthood," because she's put up with my kind of crazy for 16 years.  She graduated the day before our wedding, and they say I don't know what I'm doing.  Heck, I married a Doctor, and she was official the day we were married.  These days she is the Deputy Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.  I don't know.  Don't ask.  However, her success has been what has allowed me to make the whole Uber Dad turn and pursue a "Dream of History" at UAB, and I am forever in her debt.  Recently, we had an occasion to eat lunch at our favorite restaurant, Taj India.  She told me a story that almost made me choke on my Gulab Jamun, and I love me some Gulab Jamun.  Undoubtedly, Cheryl was working on some type of research that involved mice.  Cheryl is an awesome writer and she does quite a bit of the write ups for this research stuff.  She began to tell me the story of her "Transgenic Mouse."  Again, Please Don't Ask.  First, she had to clear up that she was actually speaking of a real "squeak-squeak" mouse and not the computer variety, because I was confused.  It's rare, but it does happen.  While she was writing up the report on the "Transgenic Mouse" there was a type-O on the report and the "Transgenic Mouse" became a "Transgender Mouse."  The fun and hijinks began from there.  The Shemale mouse was quite the center of attention at the ole Center for Clinical and Translational Science.  Cheryl, being the expert she is, caught the mistake very quickly.  Thank Goodness.  I could only imagine what would have happened if this mouse was released to the scientific world.  The response would have been, "What kind of research are you people doing down there in Alabama?"  Cheryl corrected the mistake, and the "Transgender Mouse" was deleted from memory. 
     Jesse has some confidence about himself.  He's been quoted as saying, "There's no I in team, but there's a me in Awesome."  Now don't get me wrong he is a very humble young man with awesome character traits.  I've raised him to work to get ahead and to earn his way.  I've coached Jesse in every sport he's played, and I've always made him earn his spot.  I've always figured that I'm not doing him any favors giving him a place he didn't earn.  That's another sermon for another time.  However, as tough a customer as young J-Jam Sixkiller is, he is extremely afraid of bees, wasps, and hornets.  If one of those demon red wasps gets in the house Jesse flips his lid.  All I hear is, "Dad!  Dad!  Dad! Come Quick!"- and upon answering his distress call I find him hiding behind the locked bathroom door.  I then have to hunt down and kill said wasp before Jesse will return from his bathroom safe haven.  This past summer I attempted to teach Jesse how to cut grass.  I told him, "When you grow up and have a family of your own, unless you live in the Desert, you're gonna have to cut grass."  Plus, I've been waiting for years to turn these duties over to him.  Like my father before me.  It's the circle of life or the circle of landscaping.  During this teaching process, I left Jesse alone for a second to "Go see a man about a horse."  When I returned I saw an unmanned lawnmower and no Jesse.  I thought to myself, "I was only gone a minute, there's no way the lawnmower ate him!"  Another moment or so passed and Jesse flew across the yard like a shot.  The boy was blessed with God-given speed let me tell you.  You can't coach speed.  It took a minute, but I was able to see what had brought out "Lightning" Jesse the Flash.  A mean faced bumble bee was directly behind him, and gaining fast.  I'm not sure if this bee was really chasing Jesse or if he was just late for some bee business.  It sure looked like the bee wanted to get Jesse.  This went on for a few minutes until Jesse went by me like lightning, and ran in the house.  The bee paused for a moment, and flew away.  Well, there goes my grass cutter.  Well young buck, there may be a "Me" in awesome, but there surely is a "Bee" chasing your awesome butt all around the yard.
      Madison Leigh Perry AKA "The Diabolical Dr. Up" AKA "Mad Dog Maddie Meanness" AKA "Princess Madino"- I could go on and on.  She's almost got as many nicknames as Jesse.  I got the nickname gene honest, from my father (See The Legend Of Lopez blog post).  Recently, Maddie punched me in the throat.  Accidentally mind you, but she punched me in the throat.....Hard!  Really Hard!  This led to an unfortunate series of events that had yours truly falling over a chair while holding 3 books, a cot-mat, a backpack full of College level textbooks, and a Dora Blanket.  This was an unprecedented fall.  A fall of epic proportions.  As I laid on the living room floor looking at the ceiling with a Dora Blanket covering my broken down body, I thought, "Well, it doesn't get any better than this, huh?"  Maddie walked over to me and said, "Daddy, quit messing around!  We've got stuff to do!"  I was able to get my crumpled up body to move and rise to my feet, and I kept moving forward.  You have to keep moving forward.  That's my motto!  Even if a 4 year old punches you in the throat- You Gotta Keep Moving!  I love my sweet Maddie, and let me tell you....She packs one mean punch!
     Well, that's a quick reflection of my beloved family!  The Clan of the PerryDawg.  We Rock.  This bunch turned me into the happiest and luckiest guy in the world.  They've inspired me to become the man I am today, and given me the soul of a poet.  I can literally find the beauty in any situation these days, and I am thankful for that.  Really thankful.  I just hope one day that I can repay each and every one of them for all they have done for me.  It's a tall order, but I plan to spend the rest of my life giving it my best shot.  As long as I'm breathing I'll be thankful for all I've got!

    

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Myth of Monday

     Well, after an awesome weekend that saw my two favorite football teams win and remain undefeated (The Alabama Crimson Tide and The Morris Blue Devils, for those who don't know).  A  beautiful Sunday that was just chocked full of awesomeness, and Sunday Night hanging with that Motley bunch I call my family, I was not at all ready for the new week to begin.  Mondays in general suck.  They suck a lot.  Mondays are the "dia del diablo"...day of the devil.  This Monday would be no different I was sure, and I had a full day of stuff to do, that I didn't want to do.  On top of all that my dearest wife was heading off to Oxford, Mississippi for some reason.  It had to do with work, but I was done with Ole Miss after my beloved Tide throttled them Saturday night.  Anyway, this Monday had some sure enough surprises in store for this ole boy.  The Myth of Monday begins now...
     The day started at 4 am.  I had not been able to sleep the night before for some reason.  Maybe, dreading Monday.  My wife woke, got her stuff together and had left for the great state of Mississippi by a few minutes after 5 am.  This was one of those times that I didn't say, "Thank God for Mississippi."  If you're from the Deep South, and Alabama in particular, we are normally close to last in all those Government rankings for education, healthcare, standard of living, and other stuff.  However, the one thing Alabamians can count on is not being ranked 50th, that distinction normally falls on Mississippi.  Thus, the mantra, "Thank God for Mississippi."  I wasn't thanking the good Lord for the Magnolia State on this day, however.  I had to get the kids up and ready for the day ahead, and prepare myself also.  Nothing new, just tedious at times.  Remarkably, the morning preparation went awesome.  Maddie listened to my instructions, and Jesse got up and took a bath with no complaints.  I even had time to sit down and drink a second cup of coffee without any nonsense going on around the ole homestead.  I thought, "Well this is only a distraction technique by the Monday devil, to lull me into thinking this day could go OK."  I got out of the house unscathed, and kids to school with no need for violence.  Things were rocking along all smooth like.  The next destination on my list was the campus of The University of Alabama-Birmingham, my home away from home.  I had a meeting at 10 am with my Environmental Science Professor to discuss my grade on a recent exam.  I arrived and it was raining.
      I knew the bottom was going to fall out at any moment.  I turned around in the car, and I realized that I had an umbrella in the backseat.  Well, who put that there?  A Guardian Angel to be sure.  I had about an hour to kill before my meeting so I decided to try and eat breakfast beforehand.  Upon arrival at The Commons on The Green I was greeted by the nicest lady at the front who welcomed me with open arms.  I felt like I was in the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or something for a minute there.  Then I went to get my standard breakfast fare, and I saw that they had bacon!  They never have bacon!  I love bacon!  After my second plate of, well, mostly...bacon, I was off to attend my meeting.  I found the location with absolutely no problem, no issue, and  No MIA the GPS.  I was rockin this deal.  The meeting went extremely well and my Professor was extremely nice and helpful, which I appreciated very much.  I was now off to talk about Post-World War II Europe.  A lively discussion it was, and I was hit with an inspirational moment as if directed by a muse...My paper topic that I had been stressing over, came to me.  Out of the blue.  Just came to me.  It's gonna be an awesome paper too.  It has to do with the strained ethnic relations in Poland pre and post war...TMI I know, but this was a good thing I promise you.  Plus, my Mother-in-Law is Polish, so maybe I can get some brownie points from doing a paper on the Motherland.  But I digress.  Monday's are normally my late day, because I have an Environmental Science Lab for 2 hours or so, and we normally go out and walk around creeks and test water and wildlife and stuff like that.  Kind of labor intensive, but it has its moments.  I was off to be all green and stuff...Environmental humor.
     I have to say that this Environmental Science Lab was pretty cool.  Found out that there will be a study guide for the midterm, which is awesome.  Got to see a snake and a turtle, and looked at a bunch of nasty stuff under a microscope.  Things were looking up.  Plus, I got to hang out with my buddy Tim and make jokes about Captain Planet.  It seems everyone wasn't exactly thrilled with their test scores in the classroom portion of Science class, but I told them that I had met with the Professor earlier and she was extremely nice and helpful.  We finished the class drawing pictures of bugs, and then we actually got to leave early.  Do what?  Early...on....a.....Monday.  Slap me and call me Charlie.  We gone!!  I knew Jesse would be thrilled that I wouldn't be late to pick him up at school, as I normally am on the horrid Mondays.  I even had time in the car to read my Roman History Primary Sources.  I was rolling in it!  I figured it was only a matter of time before the other shoe fell...and then I saw an email from my Environmental Science Professor.  I knew something was amiss, and it couldn't be good with the Subject Header...EXAMS.   I opened the email cautiously as not to get the bad news too quickly, and BOOM!!  This fellow, actually made a B on my exam.  There was a mistake that took off 8 percentage points.  Yep, that's right.  Add 8 points please.  That's right.  I'm the Best in the World!
     This Monday wasn't at all bad.  It was good.  Heck, I would do it all over again it was so good.  I got Jesse home, and I started typing up this blog post and the phone rang.  I went out to answer and it said Washington D.C.  I said, "Well, I guess they want me to come up there and run that place." Jesse said, "No Dad, that's where mom is.  In Washington."  I explained to Jesse that his mother was on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.  He asked, "Is she at Ole Miss?"  I said, "Yes, Ole Miss is in Oxford."  He went on to say, "Call her, and tell her to go see Peyton Manning for me."  I didn't bother to tell him that Peyton went to Tennessee.  Moral of the story....Monday's ain't all that bad.  The bad part is a myth.  The Myth of Monday.  I still don't like Monday's, but I'm trying to grow as a person.  That's all I got.  I'm off to Recycle!