Saturday, December 30, 2006

Please, air out your dirty laundry some place else!

I think I've just discovered a new quirk of mine: I get real uncomfortable when people start airing out their 'dirty laundry' in front of me!

Angie, for example, who I just told you about. And just now, Bill, as we'll call him.

Bill is a plumber who paid a visit to our house today to fix our garbage disposal. Bill is a nice guy and a very good plumber - he fixed our disposal and only charged us $89 for 15 minutes of work. (Which deserves a blog post all by itself!)

I was surprised how much I learned about Bill while he was crawling around underneath our kitchen sink.

He lives in Bedford and has 2 kids. And, at the moment, Bill is working 2 jobs because he and his wife want to eventually own a home once she gets out of the penitentiary. Er, excuse me? Did you say 'penitentiary'?

"Oh, she ain't violent or none of that! White collar crime. She's actually a wonderful woman!"

OK, pause. It's at this point in the conversation when my quirky uncomfortableness kicks in. And the reason is because I don't know what to say. How are you supposed to respond to something like that?

Option 1 - Lie so that Bill doesn't feel uncomfortable: "Hey, whose wife hasn't spent a little time in 'the big house'. In fact, they keep coming to pick up my wife because she never calls her parole officer! That crazy girl!"

Option 2 - Try to sound interested: "Cool! What'd she do?"

Option 3 - Stay positive: "Keep up the hard work, Bill. You'll get that house someday!"

Option 4 - Abruptly change the subject: "So . . . uh . . . crazy weather, huh?"

As you all know, I'm most likely to use Option 4!

It's not that I don't want to hear about other people's dirty laundry or discover which skeletons are in thier closet. It's just that when they throw it out there in casual conversation . . . it catches me so off-gaurd that it's hard for me to respond . . . well, casually!

So if you're ever talking to me and I suddenly comment on the 'crazy weather' without using an appropriate transition statement, then don't get upset. It's just that I have no idea how to respond to whatever it is you just said.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tate's First Sponge Bath

I took these shots during Tate's first sponge bath a few weeks ago.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Can't buy me love?

Not too long ago I bumped into a very casual acquaintance - let's call her Angie.

Angie was eager to show me an early Christmas present her husband had given her that same morning. A huge diamond ring. Very pretty. Very sparkly. Very $$.

Impressed, I complimented Angie on her new bling and asked if it was expected - since she got it on a weekday morning I thought surely this was an anniversary/Christmas gift or something like that.

Angie: "Well, if you must know . . . we haven't been getting along very well lately."

(Warning: Socially awkward conversation!)

Wade: "Oh! . . . uh . . . that's great! . . . I mean, about the ring and all . . . not about you and . . . "

(Failing! Abort! Mayday! Change the subject!)

Wade: "Uh . . . so . . . crazy weather, huh?"

(Just stop talking, Wade)

First, in Angie's defense, let me state that marriage is difficult (understatement of the year!) - so nobody here is judging any body's marriage.

That being said . . . I spent the rest of the day wondering if that ring actually made things better for Angie's home life. I mean, is it really that easy? Is all I have to do when I upset my wife is make a quick stop at Coach?

I realize one of Dr. Gary Smalley's love languages is Giving and Receiving Gifts - but does a diamond ring really make a difference in a marriage facing challenges?

I asked this very question to someone who knows quite a bit about this subject . . . and Kelly said that it depends. (Listen up, guys) She said that it does help when the spouse is feeling under appreciated. An appropriately thoughtful gift (which doesn't necessarily have to be $$) shows the them that they are valued.

However, if the gift is given just to make-up for a pattern of undesirable behavior then it may not produce the intended outcome. Sure, your wife may have a rock on her finger but you're still belching like a cow and scratching your rear-end in public!

I hope and pray that things improve with Angie and her husband. I just had to share my thoughts on a conversation that took me a few hours to move past.

By the way, Kelly's love language is Acts of Service. So when I'm in the dog house, I'll get more mileage out of hand-washing her car than giving her an overpriced hand bag.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

QOTW: Jolly Old St. Nick

Warning: If you still believe you were visited the other night by a red suit wearin', deer drivin', gift bearin' fat guy who did a shimmy down your chimney . . . then don't read this post.

My 9-year old nephew made a comment on Christmas Eve that pretty much sums up my belief in Santa Claus when I was growing up.

"I don't believe in Santa. But its fun to make believe because he's seems like he would be a really neat guy."

I have to agree, Trip!

I remember when I was 5 and figured out the whole thing was just a bit. I can't say that I was all that disappointed and/or upset. I just knew the idea of some guy spending all year making brand name toys and then flying all over the world in a sleigh pulled by, ahem, flying reindeer all in one night was a little far-fetched.

But, just like Trip, I had fun make-believing. One of my favorite things to do on Christmas Eve was watch Harold Taft (local weatherman) give Santa Watch updates using his weather radar during the 10 o'clock news.

Every year just as the news was ending, Harold would interrupt the send off with 'Breaking News' that Santa had been spotted on the radar. They would switch to the radar and you would see a really poor graphic of Santa in his sleigh dance around on the screen.

That was my cue to scream real loud and run off to bed so Santa wouldn't catch me awake. I can remember hiding underneath my covers and hearing my dad act like he was talking to Santa in our living room.

"Hey Santa! Glad you made it! Wade has been such a good boy this year! What did you bring for him? Wow! Wade's gonna love that! Did you bring the batteries for it?"

I can't wait to do the same thing to Tate!


QOTW: You're woken early Christmas morning by a man wearing a red suit placing presents under your tree, you:

Total votes: 14

Gather the kids around for a photo-op: 9 votes, 64%

Assume your dreaming and go back to bed: 2 votes, 14%

Hide your family in the closet and call the police: 2 votes, 14%

Grab your 12 gauge and get trigger-happy: 1 votes, 7%

PS: Since I have this crazy fear of somebody breaking into our house in the middle of the night, I'd be the one with the 12 gauge. So leave it me to be the one who kills Santa! Sorry, kids!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Just what I've always wanted!"

If you don't mind, I'm putting off QOTW results until tomorrow.

I rather share my Top 5 favorite Christmas presents I got growing up.

5. My first drum set (5 years old) - This was the year that had me thinking, "Maybe there really is a Santa!" Although I had been asking for a drum set all year it wasn't until Christmas Eve that I specified that I wanted one with a cow bell! How else was I going to play along to Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper if I didn't have a cow bell? The next morning I ran into our living room and found my drum set . . . complete with a cow bell! Hmmmm?

"I need more cow bell!"

4. My first TV (7th grade) - It was while watching this TV in my room when I realized, "Wow! They play football on Monday nights, too?" I've been hooked ever since.

3. My Millennium Falcon (6 years old) - A Christmas gift my mom would ultimately regret giving me (as if she didn't regret giving me drums the year before), the Millennium Falcon was the mother of all Star Wars toys. It solidified my position as one of the popular kids in the neighborhood and insured that all the other kids would be coming to play at our house! Thanks, Mom!

2. My dog, appropriately named Bonkers (7 years old) - What's the best gift for an unmedicated ADHD little boy? An unmedicated ADHD golden retriever!

1. My real drum set (8th grade) - No more toy sets from Toys R' Us - this was the real deal . . . minus the cow bell. I'll tell you more about my life as a little drummer boy in a Shocking Confession coming soon.

Merry Christmas, Everyone! I hope you get whatever it is you've always wanted!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Joy of Winter

As the mid-west is currently enjoying "Artic Blast 2006", this clip is a great reminder of why I prefer living in an area that has an annual snowfall of less than 3 inches.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tate-ism #1

It was bound to happen sooner or later . . . though I was hoping it would be much later.

Several nights ago I felt something wet dripping on my foot while changing Tate's diaper. I guess I should have waited another minute or two!

I realize no one at the hospital actually said this but I was going under the assumption that circumcision rehab would somehow limit his "range".

Eh, not so much!

I don't know whether to be proud or grossed out!

As for the messier diapers, apparently Tate is a grunter when he's going to the bathroom. Oh yeah! Sounds like he's trying to pass a tennis ball or something! He's not in any pain - I just think he's being a little dramatic. Hmmm . . . I wonder where he gets that from?

What I do know is that newborn diapers are supposedly the easy ones. There will come a day will when I will hope the 'fountain of youth' is all I get hit with.

Speaking of which, Tara has a great story about her 5-month old's diaper explosion - talk about a kid with range!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

QOTW: Christmas Shopping

I asked this question to hopefully draw out someone who has stood in line for hours waiting for (insert name of retail store here) to open the day after Thanksgiving. I'm glad it looks as though we all utilized our God-given common sense and have thus far avoided this particular yuletide whipping.

I'm serious! I just don't get it! What could possibly be inside that store that makes you stand out in the cold (or summer-like temperatures if you live in Texas) just to be trampled as soon as the doors open at 5 AM?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this season's biggest time-waste!

I don't want to make too much light of the lady in the white coat because she obviously needed medical attention. But I wonder how hurt she would have been if she hadn't stopped to put her wig back on before getting up.

QOTW: When do you typically do most of your Christmas shopping?

Total votes: 16

Throughout December: 14 votes, 87%

Throughout the year: 1 vote, 6%

Christmas Day Eve: 1 vote, 6%

Black Friday: 0 votes

I dunno, ask my wife: 0 votes

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

QOTW: O Tannenbaum! O Tannenbaum!

I have to admit there is something about a great real Christmas tree that immediately puts you in the Christmas spirit – that “new tree smell”, perfectly hung lights and ornaments, presents underneath . . . living a whole month in nervous anticipation of knowing the 8 foot tall fire hazard in your living room could go up in flames at any moment!

Real Christmas trees definitely have their place during this time of year.

But c’mon! Nothing beats the simplicity of an artificial Christmas tree . . . especially one with pre-hung lights!

There’s no beating of having to comb through tree lots. You don't spend weeks trying to scrape tree sap from the top of your car. No trimming. No, “It’s still leaning a little to the right, dear!” No watering – it’s actually a fire hazard if you do!

But here’s the biggie: an artificial tree pays for itself by Year 2. Which means you'll have more $$ to spend on gifts!

Here’s the Strzinek Family (artificial) Christmas Tree! As you can see, we’re running a little behind on the Christmas shopping – we’ve been pretty busy lately!

QOTW Results: Real Christmas Trees or Artificial Christmas Trees?

Total Votes: 25

Nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree!: 11 votes, 44%

Gotta go artificial! Those tree lots are a scam!: 14 votes, 56%

Monday, December 11, 2006

Coming Out of the Newborn Fog

Whew! I wish someone had told me that having a baby pretty much changes everything . . . just kidding!

Today is really the first day I've had the mental capacity to do much more than just sit in my recliner with a blank stare on my face.

But now it's back to business as usual . . .

Little Man Tate's Baby Pool

And the winner is . . . 6-month old Mallory!

Some may be impressed that a baby could predict the birth of, well, another baby but I'm just trying to figure out how she typed her guess on the keyboard. Hmmm . . . I wonder if Mommy Shannon had something to do with that.

Of course, I'm sure Mallory will use her Barnes & Noble gift certificate to buy baby books and not cooking or sewing books!

It's pretty embarrassing that my guess ended up 37th out of 40 - hey, I was certain we'd have a Thanksgiving baby!

Thank you all for playing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

We're Home!

We've made it!

Thank you all for your kind comments. Kelly and I have felt lifted by your prayers throughout this entire adventure. It has meant so much to us to know we have such encouraging friends and family! Please continue to pray for us as often as you'd like!

He's awake! Quick! Grab the camera!

Look at this kid's hair! Since Kelly and I were both blonde growing up, we're amazed that Tate arrived sporting black hair.

I'm sure it'll fall out soon but while it's here I'll have fun combing it over. Hmmmm . . . . I wonder if I can spike it up into a mohawk?

Coming soon: The results of Little Man Tate's Baby Pool

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sweet Baby Tate

Let me begin by stating how incredibly disappointed I am in our hospital's wireless network - disappointed indeed! I stayed up until 1:00 AM trying to post updates! Sorry to leave so many of you hanging!

Since I had to run home to pick up a few things, I thought I'd stop down and show off my boy - what else would you expect from a proud daddy?

Kelly will give all the details later but the day went pretty much like this:

7 AM: Arrive at hospital.

8 AM: Kelly's water is broken and she is given a "pit IV" - the stuff that supposed the get the party started.

8 AM-6PM: Absolutely nothing! After watching contractions on the monitor for almost 10 hours, Kelly is still only a 6 - very frustrating! Thinking we still had a ways to go, I order pizza. (Don't worry - I wasn't planning on eating it infront of Kelly!)

7 PM: Just as I finish my pizza, Kelly is now a 9 and we're told we'll be pushing within 30 minutes. (My pizza-filled stomach suddenly doesn't feel so good!)

8:10 PM - Tate shows up fashionably late!

7 lbs 7.7 oz (with those numbers he'll be picking all my games when he gets older!). 20 3/4 inches. A head of black hair so full that you can part it to the side! He is simply perfect!

As for Kelly, she simply amazes me! Absolutely fabulous doesn't come close to describing how well she did. She never complained. She never got upset. She never lost hope. Heck, she never even broke a sweat!

And should any of us be surprised?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kelly-ism #7

One thing I will always remember about Kelly being pregnant is that she has been so quick to laugh during this time. I wonder if there is any medical evidence supporting 'pregnancy induced giddiness'.

We all know, however, that there is plenty of evidence (mainly from personal experiences by moms everywhere) supporting 'pregnancy induced loss of bladder control'. But leave it to Kelly to find a way to actually combine the two and lose bladder control nearly every time she starts to laugh.

For example:

When Macy (our golden receiver) and I got home from a softball game the other night, we both needed a bath. Below is the conversation that occurred shortly thereafter when Kelly walked past the bathroom:

Kelly: "Ew! It smells like wet dog and wet 31-year old in here!"

Wade: "Yeah, smells kinda like up-dog!"

Kelly: "What's up-dog?"

Wade: "Nothing! What's up with you dawg?"

Although Kelly had heard the joke before, she couldn't stop laughing at how stupid it was . . . Whoops! So much for bladder control! Off she ran to the bathroom! (You'd be surprised how fast she can move at 39 weeks!)

There's something that cracks me up about watching my 9-month pregnant wife crack herself up and then have to rush off to the bathroom!

Who knew I'd have so much fun during Kelly's pregnancy! We should do this more often!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

QOTW: Christmas Decorations

I know I'm going to sound like a scrooge when I say this but there are some things about Christmas that are an absolute beating! That being said, they are usually the very same things that eventually make Christmas all the worth while.

I'm talking about shopping malls. Parking lots. Christmas carols 24/7. Picking out a Christmas tree that doesn't come with a payment plan. Trying to figure out Uncle Ricky Joe Bob's sweater size. It's A Wonderful Life on a continuous loop on 4 different channels. A Christmas Story on a loop on 4 other channels.

Last but not least - Christmas decorations.

For me, my responsibilities for Christmas decorations involve only one thing - putting lights up on the house - umph! I'd rather a Steinway piano fall on my head!

So yet again this year I found myself elbowing my way down the Seasonal Aisle at Home Depot wrestling some poor old lady for the last box of green outdoor lights and praying to God that they actually work when I get home.

Once I start hanging the Christmas lights I begin cursing the guy who originally came up with this glorious idea. All the while knowing that once I've finished, the Clark Griswald moment of the lights not working is inevitable . . . of course, there's one bulb out so the entire stran doesn't work.

(Side rant: That stupid box said the lights would keep working even if one bulb goes out!)

Breathe in. Breathe out. Count to 10 . . . and try again.

Hey! Not bad! I guess I don't mind putting up Christmas lights after all . . . even if is kind of a silly tradition.

"When do you start decorating for Christmas?"

Total votes: 16 votes

As soon as I clear the Thanksgiving table: 9 votes, 56%

December 1st: 4 votes, 25%

December 15'ish: 3 votes, 18%

Bah humbug: 0 votes

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Looks like Tuesday will be the big day.

Kelly's got the details . . .