"I asked for a car; I got a computer."

Looking for a commentary that uses big words and ponders the deeper meanings of various topics? Well...you've come to the wrong place. This blog is all about extolling the greatness of Christ, the joy of marriage, the rollercoaster ride called parenthood, the supremacy of the 1980's...and doing all of it at a fifth grade reading level!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Friday (Last Day)...and more!

My last day of bachelorhood was sort of anti-climactic. Watched the ACHS Lady Panthers pull out a victory over Woodson. On my way home I got a phone call from Pittman telling me that the mother of a student he recruited from San Antonio was killed in a traffic accident while passing through Abilene. I guess there's no "good" time to lose a family member...but Christmas always seems to be the cruelest. So I made some phone calls to people around the school to help with that matter. Then went home and packed and got things ready to go for the next morning.

HOWEVER...I did enjoy my last night of not having kids in the house...as I slept 'til almost 9:00! Hadn't done that in a long time!

Saturday, I made the trek to Howe, with a stop in Fort Worth to drop off Santa Claus "stuff" at my parents. Santa has yet to find his way to our house in Abilene...but I'll email him a map for next year.

I guess my family was happy to see me I had to re-introduce myself to my sons...but other than that things are already getting back to normal. Exhibit A of that normalcy is that Noah crawled up in bed with me at 2:00 this morning...and proceeded to throw up all over me!

"Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Well that's too long!"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Day 8 (Thursday)

I left work a little early (shhhh, don't tell anyone!) to get my haircut. Since my follicle population has decreased over the years I don't venture off to any fancy place. I trot on over to the local Family Cuts...and for $6.95, I let some poor down-on-her-luck lady take her agression out on my head. While I'm in the chair I got to listen to one of the "stylists" griping at her husband/boyfriend on the phone. Fortunately, my children weren't with me...as she was using some colorful language.

Afterwards I dashed home and, once again, ascended to the rooftop to repair Christmas lights that had gone awry. I THINK I finally have the mystery solved -- I just pray that I haven't overloaded my outdoor electrical outlet!

I then thought I would make a "quick" trip to Sam's to pick up some items for Robin's gift. No such luck. There's no such thing as a quick trip to Sam's...thus, I was late to Christmas Party #2 of the season. This one was with my office at work. Once again, it was a White Elephant gift exchange. Fortunately the ratio of white elephant gifts was higher at this event...so I didn't feel quite as stupid when someone opened my gift (Oversized Fantastic Four "The Thing" Hands). I managed to walk out of there with the "extended" DVD version of Stripes!

Got home about 10:00. Cleaned up the kitchen and wrapped some gifts in preparation to leave Saturday morning to meet up with my family...who I miss very, very much.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

We interrupt this diary...

...to answer a "tag" I received from Craig Fisher, Principal Extraordinare. My apologies to those of you whom I tagged...but the note said if I broke the chain I'd have 7 years of bad luck! And I just can't be havin' that...

List 7 things to do before I die:
1. Do radio play-by-play of a high school or college sporting event (preferably football or basketball)
2. Take Robin to New York
3. Run the Chicago Marathon
4. Spend a family vacation at Disney World during Christmas
5. Find a picture of my biological mother
6. Read the entire Bible in one year
7. See my grandchildren

List 7 things I cannot (or will not) do:
1. Hunt
2. Live in a big Metropolitan area
3. Water ski
4. Ride a motorcycle
5. Dunk a basketball on a regulation goal (surprise, surprise!)
6. Watch movies with a lot of blood
7. Listen to Country Music

List 7 things that attract me to my spouse:
1. Her commitment to Christ
2. When she says, "Don't buy me anything for Christmas" she means it! (eat your heart out, boys!)
3. Her love of basketball
4. She thinks Will Ferrell is the funniest man in American...next to me.
5. She enjoys Hamburger Helper
6. She has forsaken some things that she loves very much in order to be a stay-at-home mom...and with my kids, that ain't easy!
7. She's physically BEAUTIFUL!

List 7 things I say most often:
1. "You're killin' me, Smalls!"
2. "Why did you do hit your brother?"
3. "There is no 'try'; only 'do.'
4. "Lighten up, Francis."
5. "My bad."
6. "Geez, Louise!"
7. "I'll tell you what..."

List 7 books or series that I love:
1. "Of Mice and Men" -Steinbeck
2. "Lord of the Rings" -Tolkein
3. "War of the Worlds" - Wells
4. "Bringing Up Boys" -Dobson
5. "Catcher In The Rye" - Salinger
6. "Power Of A Praying Parent" -O'Martian
7. 1st Samuel - 2nd Chronicles

List 7 movies I would watch over and over again:
1. "School of Rock"
2. "Breakfast Club"
3. "Hoosiers"
4. "Monty Python & The Holy Grail"
5. "Red Dawn"
6. "Forrest Gump"
7. "Christmas Vacation"

List seven people I would love to join in (if they haven't already done so):
1. Scott Freeman
2. David Pittman
3. Deana Nall
4. Trey Laminack
5. Jennifer Ellison
6. Jim MacKenzie
7. Melody Willingham

Day 7 (Wednesday)

After work I, along with the Community Outreach Minister from our church, delivered a washer and some other stuff to a singled mom and her three kids. She has a 9-year old, a 6-year old, and her sisters 11-year old is living with her...and she is all of 23!!! I remember how "mature" I was at 23...and the thought of me actually raising a 9-year old at that age almost made me sick to my stomach.

Afterwards I went to Wal-Mart to buy things to make fudge. Yes...I made fudge last night. And it's really quite good. It's for an open house we're having at work tomorrow. Granted, I should've gone the Mark Lavender route and volunteered to bring cheese and crackers...but I wanted to challenge myself.

Note to self: Challenging oneself is HIGHLY overrated when it comes to culinary achievements!

Also stopped by Cracker Barrel to get a couple of gift cards. Man, that place is a MADHOUSE! I know it's good...but wading through all of the "grandma stuff" to get to a table is a beating. I'd rather brave Wal-Mart on "Black Friday" than try to navigate a crowded Cracker Barrel!

Played a little poker last night...and that's all I have to say about that. Crawled into bed WAY past my bedtime.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Today was a typical Tuesday at work...complete with a trip to Dairy Queen for our weekly Fantasy Football League owner's lunch. Each of us is instantly transported back to the third grade as we giggle and carry-on like we're in the Elementary School lunch room. The ladies at DQ don't seem to mind us too much. In fact, I think they look forward to the weekly mayhem that ensues.

I also made a trip to the Salvation Army today before heading home. That might be a good blog topic for when my bachelorhood is over.

After work I ran home to obtain a gift for my first Christmas Party of the season. The Admissions office invited me and some of my cohorts from the Alumni Relations office to their annual Christmas Party...which consisted of dinner and a "White Elephant" gift exchange.

Now I don't know about you...but to me, the term "White Elephant" is a $.25 holiday term for crap. I even confirmed this with more than one person who was attending that evening. So I grab something that I think is worthy of such a gift exchange and proudly head off to the event.

After dinner we all get in a circle, draw numbers, and the fun begins. The first gift selected is a riot! It's a framed picture of the host of http://www.marklavender.nl/. I work with the real Mark Lavender...so everyone gets a big kick out of this. However...along with the picture is a CD-rom version of what is, quite possibly, one of the greatest games in history: Oregon Trail!


The next gift opened is a gift card to Cracker Barrel...followed by a plug-in video game. All of a sudden I get this horrible feeling in my stomach...which grows to mammoth proportion as I see the next person reach for my gift. Censors won't allow me to type what I was thinking as this poor soul removed the tissue paper, reached in the bag, pulled out the cardboard box and opened it to reveal........a one gallon can of Ranch Style Beans.

I was mortified...especially when the gifts continued to be very cool (with the exception of a kaleidoscope. At least you can eat the beans!).

So that whole encounter pretty much shot my wheels off. I didn't hang around long after the gift exchange ended. I dashed home, changed clothes, and cleaned both bathrooms; then watched the second half of the DePaul-Wake Forest game on ESPN (big win for DePaul!).

Now I think I'll go to bed and dream about people throwing Ranch Style Beans at me!

Day 5 (Monday)

Well...I didn't accomplish much last night...which means I must FINALLY be embracing my status as a bachelor.

I dashed home after work and wrapped a gift for a birthday party that Elijah and Noah were supposed to go to, and took it over to the party. I made dinner. While it was in the oven I went outside and screamed at my Christmas lights which keep failing me (I think I need a "better" extension cord).

After I ate (chicken, rice, salad, corn-on-the-cob), I sat down at the computer and put two things on eBay. I vacuumed my bedroom and the boys bedroom...then attempted to sort through the millions of toys that E & N have. They're not getting a lot for Christmas...but they have so many toys that they don't play with I've vowed to give those away in order to make room for what Santa is bringing. But alas, I lost the will to do that early on (maybe I'll pick back up with that tonite).

So I made some popcorn, sat down on the couch and watched Monday Night Football...and fell asleep sometime near the end of the 3rd quarter.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Day 4 (Sunday)

I went to Church this morning...and I REALLY started to miss my family. Don't get me wrong -- it was the most relaxing Sunday morning I've had in a while. I didn't have to worry about feeding and dressing two high-energy children; I didn't have to juggle snacks, papers, and Bibles while walking from class to the auditorium; I didn't have to get up three times during the sermon to whoop Noah.

But I almost felt like I had lost my identity. I enjoy being Elijah, Noah, and Jacob's daddy; and I very much enjoy being Robin's husband. So it felt weird -- that's all.

After church I ran to Wal-Mart to buy trashbags and super glue. (Cracker Barrel was PACKED at 11:20AM. I guess the Abilene folks are happy it's here). Got home. Changed clothes. Went to the front yard and raked leaves for what seemed like days. Went inside and had some lunch. Then went to the backyard to finish raking. All tolled, I filled 17 trash bags with leaves. Which doesn't seem possible when you consider that I have two Mesquite trees (NO leaves) and one small pecan tree.

Next I started cleaning out the garage while listening to the Cowboy game on the radio. By the middle of the third quarter I couldn't stand the drama, so I went inside and watched the rest of the game on TV. After the game I went back to the garage. I loaded up my truck with a bunch of recycleables, then made a trip to Sonic for a BIG Diet Coke.

Got back home in time to watch the Packers and the Lions. I needed a big night from Samkon Gado...and I needed Brett Favre to have a bad night in order for my Fantasy Football team to make the playoffs...so I spent the next 3 1/2 hours watching that (and yes, I had popcorn). After that, I started watching "Red Dawn"...but fell asleep before Lea Thompson (LOVE her!) and Jennifer Grey came on the scene. That might give me something to do on Monday night.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Day 3 (Saturday)

Got to sleep in (8:00AM)!!! WOO HOO!!! Cleaned up the living room. Put a load of clothes in the washer. Folded the clothes that were in the dryer and put them away. Emptied the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen. FINALLY created DVD's of a video I made for a reunion back in September.

Went and watched the ACU Lady Wildcats pull out another close victory. Ran to Wal-Mart to return a couple of things Robin had bought. Made it back to Moody Coliseum to watch the men's team play. Left after the first half (I shoulda stayed -- it wound up being a close game). Made dinner (chicken, rice, corn-on-the-cob). Replaced a strand of Christmas lights up on the roof. Turned on the TV while I started picking up around the living room. "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer Stone" was on...so I quit picking up the living room, made some popcorn, and watched the movie. Fell asleep during a commercial -- woke up around 1:00AM.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Diary Of A Bachelor

On Thursday I took Robin and the boys to her parents. This is the last year that Robin can get "free babysitting" from her parents at this time of year...as next year Elijah will start Kindergarten. So I met my in-laws at Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, dropped the family off, then headed back to Abilene.

Thus began nine days of bachelorhood. So what does a father of three do when he's all alone for nine days (I'll be heading to the thriving metropolis of Howe, TX, next Saturday). I will try to detail that phenomenon here.

Day 1 (Thursday)
Pulled into Abilene about 7:00PM. Dashed over to Moody Coliseum to watch the second half of the ACU Women's Basketball game against Central Oklahoma. Squeaked out a win by two; laughed at the announcer (Mark Lavender) griping at the refs while his microphone was on.

Stayed for the first half of the men's game then went home. Made some popcorn, turned on the Christmas tree, and watched "Miracle." Talked to Robin for awhile then crawled into bed about midnite.

Day 2 (Friday)
Got up at 7:00AM. Ironed, showered, dressed, and went to work. Left work @5:30. Went to Wal-Mart for filter for the furnace, milk, and orange juice. Got home and a wonderful turkey sandwich for dinner. Watched "Young Guns" for the 15th time (at least!). Left the house to work the ACU December Graduation Reception. Stayed there 'til 10:45. Went home. Made popcorn and watched "Fast Times At Ridgemont High"...cuz I can't find my copy of "Christmas Vacation!" Went to bed at 1:00AM.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Item #590 not found in the Parenting Handbook

"Food coloring maintains its hue while traveling through the system of a 5-year old and a 2-year old."

To quote Forrest Gump: "Thats all I have to say about that."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Item #589 not found in the Parenting Handbook

"Food coloring, though fun to use in cookie projects, can be rather difficult to remove from the human body."

Robin continued her little tradition of making Christmas cookies with the boys. In the past she had just used white frosting on the cookies. This year she decided to employ a little color into her project...so she broke out the red and green food coloring.

As you can tell Elijah and Noah had a wonderful time.

Unless either of you have an alternative suggestion, I think I'll try using an S.O.S. pad on Noah's hands tonite -- maybe that'll work!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Only 23 shopping days...

...until I begin my Christmas shopping!!! AAAGH!!!

Elijah, Noah, and Jacob visited Santa Claus over the Thanksgiving holiday. Elijah has been very secretive about his conversation with Santa, but he finally disclosed the secret last night. He only wants one thing for Christmas this year -- a robot dinosaur. Robin asked him, "Have you ever seen a robot dinosaur?" Elijah's reply: "No, but he's Santa Claus. He can make ANYTHING!"

So...if either of you can tell me where to find a robot dinosaur I would be forever indebted to you!

While pondering the robot dinosaur, I was taken back in time to all those Christmas mornings where I would wake up with all kinds of fun stuff under the tree. So...in keeping with my love of the Top Ten list...here, from the home office somewhere in the North Pole, are the top ten "under the tree" gifts that Santa brought to me as a child:

10. Evel Knievel Dragster (1976): I saved my own money and bought the Evel Knievel moroThe only thing that would've been better than this would've been an Evel Knievel Rocket. Then I could've dug the Snake River in my back yard and had a blast!
9. Baseball Cards (1978): Santa Claus brought me 100 packs of the 1978 TOPPS cards for that year. I think I chewed every stick of petrified gum that morning as I opened each pack.
8. Gnip Gnop (1977): Each side had three balls...and the object was to get your balls to your opponent's side before they knocked theirs to yours. Fun game!
7. Baseball glove (1978): But not just ANY baseball glove. One signed by the GREAT Joe Morgan -- former 2nd baseman for the Cincinnati Reds (and the Astro's...and the Colt '45s). I twitched my elbow just like he did all through little league. It's a shame that it didn't work so well for me.
6. Air Hockey Table (1979): This established the Campbell house as the place to hang out. My entire family played with this for hours on end. One day the game got rather heated, and the legs on one end broke. So my dad simply broke the legs off the other end, and we played on the floor.
5. Pinball machine (1975): No, it wasn't a big, fancy arcade-style machine. It was a little table-top model, but it was awesome. I tried to charge my family a nickel for every time they played...but it didn't work out.
4. Bicycle (1972): Yes, Santa Claus brought me a bicycle before I was even three years old. But my mother has always fancied me as an accelerated student. It was yellow with the "regular" seat (no banana seat for me -- kids in my neighborhood would beat you up for riding on a banana seat) and was called "The Super Bee." This is the same bike that I was riding in '75 when I knocked my two front teeth out.
3. Mattel's Handheld Football (1981): It made car trips great for me...and my family.
2. Atari 2600 (1982): The original!!! Keep your crummy ol' Play Station 2 and XBox 360. Give me 3-on-3 football, Pitfall, Combat, and Yar's Revenge!
1. Johnny Bench Batter Up (1979): The greatest gift EVER. A baseball attached to a pole with rubber bands. You could hit the ball and the pole would spin around until the rubber bands brought it back the other way. The only problem -- you couldn't order replacement rubber bands. So when you used up all the rubber bands you had a great back yard decoration.

Feel free to share yours!