Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moments

No matter what you do in your life we all strive for those small moments of perfection where whatever you are doing is effortless, yet the outcome is optimal. When I was fourteen I made a life changing decision to join the high school cross country team. And for the first two years, I hated running. Matter of fact, I really didn't like going to high school. Awkward, braces and glasses really killed the self esteem. I was tempted to quit running and just hide. Yet the masochist in me wouldn't stop. My junior year I made a commitment to religiously train in the off season and I added weights to the routine. Bigger, faster, stronger, and more disciplined I started seeing the fruits of my labor. Then my braces came off, I started my first job, and shed those horrible rimmed glasses in exchange for contact lenses.



And the next two years of high school were quite the transformation. The not so popular Matt Jacobs morphed into the high fiving crowd surfing "Matty J". Senior year I dated often and many, became the high school mascot and got a partial ride to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The summer before senior year I met my best friend whom I roomed with all four years of college (now he manages my lack of funds as our investment advisor)



But it all started with that first lung burning run, flopping my 14 year old baby fat up and down the sidewalk, and it progressed to a few runs where I could only just go faster and faster and faster. It progressed to a waxing and waning obsession with pushing one self to the limits for that sense of accomplishment, that meaning, and the clarity one can achieve for being such a narcissist.



Today was a run where I could only go faster, it was extra clarity, an ultra high. I dreaded all 10 miles today. It was rainy, muggy, and I was tired from working the overnight shift the night before. The first two miles seemed like bears but my splits were decent. Five miles later after two horrific passes over the Severn River by way of the Navy Bridge, I felt my legs spinning faster and faster. Holding the pace for my kick the last mile it started to pour. And my body cooled as my lungs took in glorious breath after glorious breath and my legs kicked and kicked their way down the sidewalk to a nice finishing time for my thirty year old body. Nothing hurt, nothing seemed difficult, the precision of the run spoke for itself. I felt clean, my mind felt clear, and I felt high. It's a difficult experience to replicate with words. But to me, it's the sense that I kicked ass, felt great kicking ass, and did it honestly. It's a sense of meaning. It is one of those little moments in life that is selfishly yours, and it keeps your wheels spinning until the next one passes by.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You can't make this stuff up

I work in the ghetto of Washington DC. And, I also work with a Redneck constituent in Maryland. Drug seekers versus drug dealers, crack versus methadone and crystal meth, trannies versus well, you get it, you just can't make any of this shit up.



In the ghetto, the storyline for a gunshot wound to the head is something like this, "Well, see, I was mindin' my own business, taking grandmamma to church, and then somebody reached in the car and shot me" (that's if they are able to talk after the assault, you'd be surprised, many are).



In redneck land the story for running out of pain medicine is something like this, "Well see, I'm out of work, and my pain Doctor refused to see me, and I don't want to get addicted to no pain medicines, but this tooth ache has been hurtin an awful lot". The retort depending on my mood is, "Have you gone to a Dentist?" Then they say, "Well, I don't have no money for that". Meanwhile they have a Blackberry phone and pack of cigarettes in their pocket. They usually get testy when you confront them about their money to buy cigarettes. I remember confronting an old man with Asthma and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease how he had enough money for cigarettes and cable TV but no money for his inhalers (he came in asking for a free inhaler). The response was something like, "I didn't come in here to be judged...wheeze...cough...I could just leave and go else...cough...wheeze...where. I gave him a free inhaler, hell, I'm a sucker for schmucks I guess.



And I'm told that God loves everyone. I suppose so, I'm just puzzled that the scum of the earth can survive multiple gunshots to the head while the single hard working mothers of three get diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at age 40. The good dying young has me question my faith in God the most, but it's more like a "I'll ask God when I get to meet Him question" than actually turning into an agnostic.



This morning I was at the Dermatology office for my quarterly skin check. My P.A. scraped a mole and said, "This could be neoplastic, let's just make sure it's not". And I said, "Yeah, Melanoma to the Brain sucks, terrible death, we've had a few of them.". And she said, "That's the part I like about my job, we find things generally when they aren't bad, aren't advanced, we don't have to give the ole "Sorry Johnny, your mom is dead speech".



Interesting, we do. A friend recounted his "Sorry your mom is dead speech" one day in the call room. As a background, this Doctor is a very soft spoken conservative person, and extremely stoic. When he finished telling a family their loved one had no clinical sign of brain function, a concerned and distraught family member said, "You are a Neurosurgeon right? Is your service like that Neurosurgery service on "Gray's Anatomy"? Is everyone sleeping with each other?"



If I never learn anything else, I will never be surprised at the great art form of the human race. God gave us life through Adam and Eve, and He tries to find ways to guide us to become better people...but dang, the disrespect people have for themselves and each other is universal from ghettos to trailor parks.

The universal theme is disrespect and lack of accountability. It's always someone elses fault, job, responsibility, etc. Will it ever get better? Is it worse now, or has it just stayed the same?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Diminishing Returns

The Washington Redskins are a horrid team. How do I know and why do I care? I married a life long fan. And what really stinks is that my wife went from angry to apathetic about how much they stink.

I identify the problem as Dan Snyder, the owner. Although he is an extremely successful owner in terms of profit, he has managed to turn much of the fan base against him. Charging exorbitant amounts for tickets, food, and parking while overpaying mediocre players, he has run his team into the ground with reckless abandon.

What is difficult to watch is that for at least 5 years the offensive line has been a basic root of their problems. They are old getting older, often hurt. We hold our breath waiting to see when the water boy will be inserted for a play, and then get a fat contract as a new diva. And each year when draft day comes, filthy Snyder decides we need to draft 5 defensive positions, overpay some out of shape player, and or draft 5 wide tight ends. Never does anyone say, "We need to fix the offensive line, the problem isn't the Quarterback, it's the fact that not even Tom Brady could manufacture a fart without getting sacked".

So every year, a decrepit offensive line falls down, we all boo, and call for the head of the coach, QB, and everyone except the root of the problem....the owner. And he can do nothing but sit on a fat pile of cash and laugh, because fans keep showing up, and keep paying what he decides to charge.

So what does one do? I guess we just suck it up and hope it gets better next year. I guess it's like being a Browns fan, or maybe a Cubs fan.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Living Forever

Since I was one year of age I attended church and subscribed to the idea that one day, most of us would end up in heaven to live in eternity with God, Elvis, and Jesus. No particular order mind you. And although I'm not a big time church goer and I detest most organize religions, I am still very spiritual. I usually have my conversations with God on the way to work, asking for the usual things: forgiveness, protection, and ways to become more mindful of myself in order to be a better person.

And since I was small, I have always wondered the same thing. And today, for the first time in years the idea crept up in my head as I was taking an afternoon nap. Mind you I didn't nap well, as the question I have is spooky to me, and quite unsettling.

If we are to live for eternity in the afterlife, do things ever stop. I mean, think about it. It seems a bit like Groundhog Day. Day after day of perfection and happiness. Does life just stay the same? Is there no end point?

As a child I was told that God didn't tell us everything because there were things mere mortals just couldn't comprehend. It's like if we tried to wrap our little pea brains around such grand ideas as eternal life as it pertains to time, our heads would explode. Mine simply hurts at the idea.

To me it's like the scene in "The Matrix" where Neo finds out he has found the architect before and failed many times. He just keeps returning and doing the same things, yet he has no recollection of his previous lives. Or Bill Murray in the film "Groundhog Day", when he keeps waking up day after day and finds it's the same.

Mind you, I love my life now, but there is surely a beginning and end, and I hope there is a continuation in that "Heaven" we all hear about. But something so finite with limitations is comprehensible to me. Having an eternal life with endless perfection boggles my mind tremendously. What the hell do you do with forever...think about it...forever. The idea of monotony scares me, it scares me to get bored and not be able to move on.

So maybe we just have to wait and see, maybe our minds are just too small to comprehend such greatness. And then you question your faith, is there a God? If so why is there so much suffering and pain? I think I will always have those questions but my mind is set that there is a deity out there. For me it's a lot of faith; however, I see no way around how else the earth we live on was created.


Spiritual Musings...I think I'll just move on to farts from now on.

My facebook life

So an old acquaintance posted something on my Facebook like this...

"Your updates have me thinking you take daily hits of the nitrous"

And so I write, "Abigail, you knew me in college, and I'm way more watered down now".

The post she was referring to was the following...

"Rawrrr!!!! It means I love you in Dinosaur"

And then I thought about all of the posts I write about how much fun it is to poop, and then to have gas, and then my rants about the poor, and socialism, and lazy people. And then I post things about Homer Simpson...you get it, it's random, and most posts have me giggling like a schoolgirl, then informing my wife of how clever I am, and she says, "Huh?!...I love you Matty"

So then I write back to Abigail, "I have no idea why my wife married me, it's like a daily Facebook newsfeed of wondrous and completely useless updates".

And the life of MattyJ rolls by, legendary moment after legendary moment in my own mind.

When we have kids, I expect life to still be a fun zoo of Facebook posts, silliness, and overall bathroom humor. There is a saying that kids "learn what they live". My family learned me how to laugh at bodily functions. Every family get together my aunt (generally 10 minutes into each meal) says, "Can we not at least have one meal without discussion about bodily function?"

There is not a closing to such a post like this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gas

If methane were a limited and expensive commodity, I would be a very rich man. This morning I awoke to, "I can't sleep, I think I'm going to vomit, your ass smells horrible, you've been at it all night".



She was right. I had more green clouds coming from me than the Wicked Witch of the West. More smoke than a magic show. Had you put some floaties on me on the Cuban coast, I coulda tooted over one hundred refugees in an hour (being that Cuba is 90 miles from Florida, mathematically my ass would have been going 90 miles per hour).



Call it a blessing or a curse (depending who you are), the Jacobs butt reigns supreme and it's disgusting. I woke up literally tearing up and gagging from some of the rotten eggs I laid.



And it's not really what I eat or don't eat, I have always been tooteriffic. My poor wife, my poor dog. They will all succumb to some sort of interstitial lung disease some day. So what do I do? Take Beano? Maybe Activia? It's a conundrum of manhood. I mean, think about it, someone else farts, it smells, we're all grossed out. But to paraphrase what George Carlin once said, "When we fart, we're kinda like, Hey, that's not so bad, we grin, and sometimes we giggle". And as much as I was gagging this morning from the putrid stench I emitted, I was physically giggling at the fact that I farted. As I write, I'm grinning from ear to ear anticipating at the next possibility for spontaneous combustion.



Thank God for being a newlywed, because she still puts up with it. I can see however that my future will consist of two separate rooms for those nights I create my own magic show of "Matty the Human Fog Machine".

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Not Christmas, but Fall. And as I look out the window at the beginning of our Autumnal season I'm reminded of why this is one of the greatest seasons of the year.

And while many people think of it as the commencement of growth with the replacement of a slow death of warmth, leaves, and all things that bloom, fall represents much more. In my life, it has always represented change and a renewing of one's spirit.

As a lad, fall was our Christmas each and every year due to our religious beliefs. Biblically, we celebrated the promise of being rescued by God at the Apocalypse, Judgement Day, and finally Eternal Life. As most main stream Christian religions do not celebrate these Old Testament based "Holy Days", we were a little different, or you could just say "cultish". However, each fall, around this time of year, we would take a vacation usually to some sort of beach, give each other gifts, eat at a lot of nice restaurants, go to theme parks, and enjoy meeting new friends whilst becoming closer with our immediate families. Those religious holidays were known as "The Feast of Tabernacles", or quite simply, "The Feast". And the weather was always very crisp and clean. It's the kind of weather you wake up to at 7am and say, "Damn, let's get this day started, Yeehaw".

Our church's religious practices have changed from a "Fire and Brimstone" type religion to a more "Honor God with your Heart" based practice. Unfortunately the days of the "Feast" and other old testament based holidays have disappeared. However, the memories of such good times and spiritual renewal have stayed in place. In fact, my mom and I always call each other around this time and say, "It's Feast Weather".

Anchored with these special memories in my heart, the fall has continued to be special for me, and on my way to work this morning I was thinking that five years ago, was when I met my wife.

Five years ago was a different time for me in my life. I was incredibly immature, really hurt from a previous breakup, and my self confidence was quite shaky. However, after a brief attempt at stand up comedy during a presentation in graduate school, my future wife came up to me and said, "I just had to meet you after such a hilarious presentation".

And as I maintained the courage to man up, ask her out, and keep persevering to win her heart, the weather became "Feast weather".

It was autumn, and I'll never forget riding out to her farm to study and go horseback riding. That day was where we had our first kiss on her porch while we should have been studying. After we went horseback riding she came up to me, kissed me, and as I stood there shocked, she said, "I just wanted to do that". I'll never forget how special I felt. You see, at that time in my life I was so used to giving so much in relationships and never seeing such happy returns. I felt valued, and to the romantics out there, I felt in love.

And every fall, something new and cool usually happened. Fall 2004, the same time I met Meghan, the Red Sox ended their 86 year World Series drought. Fall, 2007, we bought our first house, and the Red Sox won the World Series again. Fall 2008, we raised our Puppy. Fall 2009, we have been married over a year and I keep falling in love with my wife each and every day just like 5 years ago when she introduced herself.

As a hedonist I find ways to celebrate just about everything about life because it's too damn short. And fall, well, it's another celebration. Raking leaves, jumping in them, carving pumpkins, getting drunk while carving pumpkins and then eating the burnt pumpkin seeds you conceptualized on cocktail number two or three (who's counting), Autumn festivals, harvest time for grapes, nice meals of your favorite comfort food because it's nice and cool outside, sleeping with the windows open and burrowing under the covers, the list goes on and on, and yours might differ...

but to me, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Racist Facebook Patron

Facebook really has to go. Okay, well, maybe not, it has enabled us to reconnect with people we wondered whether or not they were dead or alive. But, you have to admit it has the ability to get a few people in trouble due to sharing too much information (myself included).

Honestly, what more is Facebook other than a quasi stalker friendly website allowing you to peak at other's lives as a comparison where you say, "Hey Meg, at least we have it better than this person".

I constantly find myself looking up old ex girlfriends and laughing at their bloated bodies, balding significant others, and litter of kids, then turning to my wife and saying, "Ha ha, look at them". And she echos..."You da shit Matty J".

Okay okay, maybe it's not literally like that, but it's damn close. Facebook makes me more and more of a hater of people. Sure it's okay to be curious of what people who you knew 10 years ago are still doing. But curiosity did kill the cat. And for that reason Facebook is not a good thing for vindictive assholes like myself who are still bitter over breakups from first grade. I openly write this with no qualms because I am not the only one.

Seriously, when you "reconnect" with folks on Facebook, do you all of a sudden go out to dinner with them, give them a call, start hanging out? Maybe, maayyyyyyybe 10% of the time.

I'll admit, we have reconnected with some folks and actually met in person. However, I'll stand to and abide by the opine that many of us use it as a voyeuristic way to watch the train wrecks of other's lives. It's like interactive reality television.

And to the subject of my post...I was called a racist one summer night because I suggested Obama was elected in part due to his color. In my opinion, the political climate was appropriate to elect anything more dissimilar to a white collar white silver spoon elitist Texan as possible. Throw in the fact that Obama is one of the greatest orators we have ever seen with a dash of charisma...point made.

Had he been a charismatic oratorically gifted white guy...I'm not sure if the results would be the same. Many young white people were sorry to be young and white. I myself feel guilty to be a young white male as I do tend to have it good. I hate our society for discriminating one due to their color, sex, or sexual preference. We all wanted to differ from the norm of white male. Obama was a way to say, "Change...and sorry my forefathers were racists". Unfortunately electing a black man didn't and will never erase the crimes that will perpetually exist against mankind.

Forget the tunnel vision of racism. Open your eyes more to the total vision that our world is a cruel cruel place where crimes against humanity happen every day. More and more I find myself veering back to my religious roots. In one way it's easy to question the idea of deity because so much wrong exists. In another way it's comforting to believe a deity exists, and a utopia will one day appear where everyone can be their potential and the suffering of horrible crimes against mankind will stop.

And I thought this was just a post about Facebook.

Regaining Ground

As the summer winds to a close I vow to pick up my blogs and write again. Honestly, I found blogging a bit of a fad, much like Facebook. Currently my Facebook posts have involved a fakeout of my bowel activities over the past 72 hours. I am thirty, and I am still laughing like an infantile 8th grader.



As a general lover of life and all things pleasurable (call me a hedonist), this summer was the best summer I have ever had. Meghan and I got a lot done with our home improvements, worked a ton, yet had a lot of time for cheap vacations with the in-laws. And as the summer draws to another dreadful close (at least the NFL and fantasy football is back), we see ourselves NOWHERE towards parenting a batch of little Mattys.



The end of a summer brings me to a bittersweet impasse of observations. Bittersweet because like much of life, I really don't know what to make of it other than observe and stay hopelessly positive about what we have at the here and now junction.



In no particular order:



1) The Baltimore Marathon is paused until next fall due to over training like an 18 year old at age 30. Lessons learned, yet I still fall into the pitfalls of persevering through the musculoskeletal woes of being thirty. Nonetheless I am still a svelte 169ish, and still proud to go "Skins" at the Redskins game due to the fact that it was "Damn Hot, that's why I took my shirt off"!



I will be registering for the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in Virginia Beach on St. Patty's Day. In my twenties I couldn't think of a better thing to do than get rip shit at some pub on St. Patty's Day. Now I'm planning to run 26.2 miles. My how things change.



2) My Grandpa Joe died unexpectedly in July. And I'm still not really sure how I feel about it. You see, it was a strange relationship as he was my father's step dad. Not to get too much into my fucked up family dynamics, my immediate family and I walked away from a side of the family who caused many years of psychological torment (let's say 3 years ago). We hadn't spoken to my grandfather in that length of time. To add more confusion to the pot of stinking dung, we only heard that Joe had cancer 2 days before he left us (Could they have at least Twittered us sooner?)



The tragedy on a personal level was watching my father go through such a tearing of heart strings. One day, I hope my epitaph reads, "Matty J, he was as good as his father".



Through all of the trial and tribulation my father has seen throughout his life, it killed him not to run back to his family to swoop in and be the rescuer he has always been. He's just that good of a person. Personally, he had just been shat on too many times. He couldn't fathom becoming involved again only to be hurt one more time. Picture a Gary Larson cartoon with a caveman walking into a cave with a sign that read, "Lion's Den" above the door. Yeah, this time the caveman learned to read the sign.



I can see my dad one day in heaven as the guy everyone wants to be around because his positive energy is just that damn contagious. Shoot, I see him as that right now. The pensive nature of death and dying this time around spurs me to emulate my father more and more. If there was a human living in the way Jesus wanted us to live, look no farther than my dad. I said it when I was 22, I'm still saying it now.



On the note of losing my grandpa Joe, it's so bittersweet. On one hand he was a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic to many a people. I remember in 1997 when he kicked my grandmother out of the house because he was back on the booze. Yet, he mellowed, and when Meghan met him she thought he was the sweetest and cutest old man in the world. To be honest, he cleaned up his act the last 10 years of his life. But the scars of time do not necessarily heal such wounds. I find myself cautiously aloof and happy to be in Maryland as I too am tempted to jump back in the hot cesspool of bad family dynamics. I find myself speechless in a sad and sober manner.



3) I have been inspired to write a book. I haven't written a page. I have thought of a few ideas, but then I start working my two jobs, do some housework, and take a little time to relax with the Mrs and I forget about it. My inspiration is a single mother of two named Joan Lehman. We're too long into this blog to describe how damn cool I think she is. I just find it really neat that she has published her first book, she's an Emergency Medicine Physician, and well, she's left a really valuable impact on my life just in who she is and what she stands for.



It's been too long since I've blogged and though Facebook has gotten way too old with it's ridiculous updates and sissy ass fights over politics, parenting, and well anything you could write a snide comment about...I guess I'll try and blog some more. Until then, goodnight.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pathetic

Folks:

This summer my blogging has become pathetic and non-existent.

In an effort to keep it pithy, I'll list our activities thus far.

1) Lost 13 pounds training for the upcoming Baltimore Marathon in October, 1o more weeks to go.

2) Gotten a great tan from places such as, "Assateague Island, Ocean City, Our Pool, The Bay, The Eastern Shore, and sooon to be Chincoteague Island".

3) Added on to our deck and have started to finalize plans to finish correcting our yard-drainage problem/landscaping issues.

4) Reunited with the Mayberry folks at Nick Freitag's wedding

Honestly, it's been a summer of avoiding work at all costs. We still have worked very hard and I still have two jobs, but I just feel every time I finish work, we're off traveling to some new place, even if it is as simple as catching up on a new "Food and Wine" Magazine at our pool. The second year of marriage has been sweet, and I've just not been able to be bothered regarding blogging.

Instead, I have had the epiphany to write a book. I'm toying with the idea, but once I become obsessed enough with the details, it will probably happen. Still haven't thought of a subject/storyline, but I'm just not into any hurry at this point. Summer is too short for us not to take advantage of living 2 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay, and 20 minutes from the Eastern Shore..oh and 2 hours from the ocean. Blogging and work can happen when it gets cold and when we have kids...

Speaking of kids, we both just can't imagine giving up our freedom of spontaneity at this moment. Maybe one day.

I'll blog more when I have the time, maybe some nice observations from all the traveling we did this summer...I think I have some stories...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Big Papi Wants You!

I'll save everyone from the epistles of late. Instead, I'd like to give a few updates since it is once again the first of the month (Cue the Rap song by a bunch of miscreants about getting their welfare checks....honestly the song exists, I was and am still a fan of it, the artists are "Bone Thugs and Harmony").

1) Learn to be more honest

This is a lifelong lesson I struggle with. I'm a "Yes" man, and I'd rather go out of my way to do something nice than create a potential rift of conflict. But, after a nice conversation with my father-in-law Mike, I resolved to at least try and tell it like it is.

Case in point...there is someone I know who is so full of shit all of the time, who hasn't done a lot with their lives personally, but finds it necessary to tell everyone else how to live. At one of these philosophical junctures, my friend said to the person, "You're so full of shit".

Those five words shut that person up, saved some excess Carbon Dioxide, and really honestly probably saved both the parties useless time spent on crap. I'm a pragmatist, it works, I think I'll try it.


2) MacBook

Fuck Microsoft, I decided to finally be the "Cool" kid on the block. Meghan and I are scrapping our PC's and Laptops and we went in on ONE brand new MacBook. Awesome, convenient, and to go with the theme, pragmatic.


3) Loseit

In my effort to finally confront my guilty eating habits, I downloaded "Loseit" from Apple. It's on my iPhone, and I get to count calories and exercise with a daily limit of what I can intake. Being that I'm ultra competitive, it's like a game...sorta like taxes..."Let's see how much I can win against the system today". Stay tune to how much I actually lose. My goal is roughly 6-10 pounds.


4) Marathon

I officially declare my plan to race in the Baltimore Running Festival this October. Five months is plenty time to procrastinate....er....train. Plus, it helps me with the aforementioned category. Meghan tried to feel guilted into training for the half marathon. However, I think she does better with cross-training. Not that she is a bad runner, but she HATES running. And her family has osteoarthritis like Michael Vick has debt. I don't want to help spur along my wife's ambulatory demise at an early age. She's too hot for a limp.

5) Birthday

Shout out to my pop, who's turning 54 in 3 days. Goddamn, can you believe it? Something to say about having a son when you're 24. I'm 30, not at all ready for a child. My dad keeps laughing saying, "You wont be able to chase your kids around because you'll be too old".

6) Big Papi

Last but not least, I bid a premature but appropriate melancholy farewell to David Ortiz, better known as "Big Papi". I love him dearly, he carried the Red Sox on his back during 2004 and 2007. However, it looks as if his career has come to an end. Yeah, he's still playing, but it's sad the way we watch his tired bones creak as he slowly hacks at pitches. His bat speed is nill. It's like watching my grandfather slipping into dementia, or your old dog with arthritis attempt to limp over to the tennis ball it used to fly to. No one wants them to go, we all hope that they turn it around. And to be honest, we'll all keep them around until it's time, but it's just sad to watch the end of an era, sad to watch that lovable spirit hurt so badly as time starts to pass them by.

It's a song and dance we all must wrestle with as we watch our loved ones slip away, and then we have to finally dance that dance ourselves. We have to be vigilant to enjoy our time now. It's too easy to never be satisfied and always want more. It's the double edged sword of living the American Dream. I want more money, I want to lose 10 pounds, and one day I want to live in a nice house somewhere on the water with a boat. But honestly, I have so much already living with student loans and a mortgage in the beginning of my career with a beautiful wife. Both of us are starting where everyone else does...square one.

The other night, my wife and I had steak outside on our porch at dusk, great music was playing, there was a slight breeze, and at that point in time there was nothing wrong with the world. Total perfection, two whole hours of it, not a want or a care, just an existance of satisfaction.

How many of us can find perfection within our day? It's so much easier to bitch about our "tough times" here in America, but really, are we constantly scrounging for food, are the readers of this blog moving their family from refugee camp to refugee camp? Did our houses get bombed, or did our village get pillaged by another tribe seeking genocide for their beliefs?

You can answer that yourself, but I profess we are mostly a nation of fat cats, spoiled and complacent, too worried about minimalist imperfections. Yeah, Big Papi is losing his swagger, he's the old dog who can't run to the ball anymore. And yeah, my grandfather is slowly slipping into the grips of dementia. Personally, it hurts to see one of my best buddies fail to remember who I am, or never really acknowledge my beautiful wife. But as my Aunt Ingrid said in her broken English (she now takes care of my grandfather in Sweden), "It's Life". And goddamnit she is right, it's not perfect. In these cases both parties have long ago reached their summits, but we still love them because there is no other way to feel.
As always thanks for indulging yourself in work avoidance for the day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dumbest Smart Kid I Know

Before I met Meghan, I dabbled more than once with many members of the opposite sex. Many say I was a man whore. More particularly, I was a kissing man whore. I could make out with chicks like it was 1950 at a drive in movie. And I was good too. Problem was, I was like a free clinic. It didn't matter your race, financial status, weight, or how attractive you were...I could hook you up. I took all callers finding the excuse of inner beauty and "personalty" for most of my customers.

If you meet anyone who knows me, they will let on that I'm a total pushover. My friend Samantha calls me a "Yes" man. And I'll admit, they're right. I HATE confrontation, and will do a lot to get out of it. It's a double edged sword as you can imagine. So, if I can say yes without causing injury to myself, even if the yes consists of me going out of my way to do something...sure, why not, life is short, I'll generally do it.

That's what makes me a genuinely good person. I like to people please, and I hate when people are upset. It's something I have to monitor because in the past I have put myself in harm's way just to make an unhappy person happy. However, through the school of hard knocks, I learned that people are generally happy or unhappy regardless of what you can do for them. But that took a long time and a few bad relationships to realize.

You see, I have that type of personality that is infectious. Think about it, I'm happy, I'm outgoing, and I'm damn handsome. The only problem, is I'm ultra sensitive to what people think about me. So, that can make me a little unsure of myself every now and then. Add that to the fact that I like to make people happy, step back and ask yourself...what type of people gravitate to a handsome, charming, yet sensitive guy?

Needy people...Yeah, that's right. And often times, those needy people are psycho. Put that together with the fact that my friends have said, "Matty would even hump that lamp post", and you have my list of ex-girlfriends. The problem is, needy people bring you down.

My coach in high school once said, "You're the dumbest smart kid I know". I took great offense, but looking back on my life's transgressions, you'd have to agree. You're talking to a guy who took two and a half years to break up with a girl who faked an abortion, threatened her own suicide at least five hundred times, and kicked in the headlight of my truck. That breakup took about twelve interventions from my best friends. All the while I was sustaining a 3.7 GPA. Enough said.

All the exes share similar breeding, or I guess similar articles of clothing...shoes...big shoes....ISSUES. Mommy, daddy, doggy, "No one loves me", shit, the list is endless. The problem is, they never really got better. You could make an argument about the last ex (we'll just call her "Dirty") not having as big of SHOES, but her own "Daddy" issues consumed her as well as her love for spending another man's cash.

Dating these mongoloids was depressing and exhausting. You see, they all saw me as their knight of hope. Shit, I was like Obama to them I guess. So instead of working out their own problems, they looked to me to fix them. And I was happy to help. You see, I guess I thought, "Keep being the nice guy, they can change, they'll get better, what would Jesus do"?.

What would Jesus do? Shit, that man would have tucked tail and run long before he caught a glimpse of them, that's what Jesus would do. But I was young and I thought I could change a person. I thought I was some kind of emotional healer. Honestly, these folks would have had better luck with a tarot card reader, or perhaps Dr. Phil.

In my effort to help the helpless, I never gave myself a shot to get something better. I guess I opened myself up too much to their own unhappy criticism. In order to stave off confrontation, I would always say "YES". Making them happy became my number one priority. Fearing the idea that I could disappoint someone coupled with my unquenchable desire to change someone for the better, I sold myself short and settled for many unhappy dating years. The evil cycle of rescuing with the false hope of change kept me doing what I was doing. In hindsight, I kept myself miserable.

And in my final epic relationship of CRAPTASTICNESS (Yes, it's a word), I finally realized my unhappiness (Shit, it only took 9 years of dating a million different people). So I decided against hiding my feelings, and shared my sentiments with my girlfriend "Dirty"(whom I was hoping to someday marry). My reward, "We should break up, I can't make you happy Matty". Gee, that was nice. A few months later, I found out she was shagging another guy all the while we were dating. That guy coincidentally was the "nice" bloke who offered to take me out drinking the day we broke up. Pour salt into the wound there and add a dash of, "They just got married", and you have irony.

But the veil of night is always followed by a ribbon of light at dawn. And you know by now, her name was Meghan. For whatever reason God put her in front of me, and I landed a date with her. She proceeded to take this wounded little fawn, nurse him back to health, and kick him in the balls by saying things like, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself, be a man, let's go, stop worrying." Sprinkle in the fact that she appreciated me, found me totally hot (dammit all who wouldn't), and didn't have a laundry list of psych problems, I was done.

Finally, I had stopped scraping the bottom of the barrel. I had met my perfect match and I was happy. I had at last found an environment where I could grow as a person and didn't have to reconcile with a hopeless head case.

When I used to work at "America Restaurant", I had become friends with this guy named "Roy". And he said to me one day, "My 30s were my best years, not my 20s. You see, I was stupid then. In my 30s I still had my looks, but I had a clue about how the world worked...less mistakes, more payoff".

My addition to that statement would be the following...

"Back when I was in my teens and twenties, I thought I could change people, and I cared too much about what they saw in me. So that would get me down, I never gave myself enough credit, and always settled for the bottom of the barrel. I was stuck in a perpetual motion of dating shitty people because I thought I could change them. But in my mid twenties I found an angel, and somehow I decided to act right, and she kept me, now I'm 30 and I'm happily married....less mistakes, more payoff".

Shit, even the dumbest smart kid can finally learn to do something right.

Here's to you Roy.

One other thing, "Dirty" married that "nice" bloke for his money, and she spends a ton. Now that's JUSTICE with a capital J

The Difference Maker

Today has me wishing a melancholy goodbye to the man who was our dentist. Unfortunately, a battle with cancer took him way too soon, he was in his 40s. I felt like I knew the man all my life even though I didn't. He was just that personable. He could talk to anyone about anything knowledgeably, and was a staunch advocate for preventive medical dentistry.

You know how when you say, "Yeah so and so is a doctor, or lawyer, or mechanic", and you get that mental picture of what they look like? Our dentist was born to be a dentist. He just looked the part. A little disheveled, but not sloppy, a little nerdy, but not in a bad way. He could have never been a teacher, or mechanic...it just didn't fit him.

As campy as it sounds, he changed the way I clean my teeth by actually taking time to show me the right way to floss and brush. He did his own cleanings, x-rays, and of course whatever surgical procedure you needed. He was the first dentist who didn't just come in after the hygienist finished ripping out your gums and say, "Hmm, yep, ahem, well, we'll see you in 6 months Mr. Jacobs". His only assistant merely handed him some things and made you rinse that disgusting fluoride wash at the end of your session.


It's strange to write about someone I feel so close to, yet know nothing about. He was just one of those positive people who made differences in other people's lives. He was kind and extremely benevolent. I once heard a story that he married a lady from somewhere in South America, and then paid to have her immediate family sent to America so they could join the "American Dream" and not be separated.

Meghan and I would often joke about how long our dental appointments would last. Honestly, he'd take 90 minutes a piece cleaning your teeth, making you feel really bad you didn't floss correctly, and patiently review how to floss, brush, and do whatever you needed to to promote dental health. When I first started going to him, he started giving me discounts because I was a friend of Meghan (who had been going to him since she was a child). He understood I was a poor student without dental insurance. Later, when I had insurance, he still gave me courtesy discounts.

Funny enough, last summer we even snuck our dog into his office. I don't think he really knew we were going to do that, and I'm sure he wasn't psyched that his practice could get shut down if the health department found out. But his office assistant gave the green light and said, "Where is your wife?" I said, "Well, we brought our puppy and she's in the car keeping watch". "Oh, bring the dog, we'd love to see her, Dr. Orbach wont mind". The look on his face was priceless as our little Boston Terrier puppy came bounding past the waiting room door and started sniffing his crotch(I was at that moment having my gums ripped out). Of course we apologized and placed the dog in the empty waiting room. He just smiled and said, "She's a cute pup".

Meghan and I both work in a field where too many assholes live to see another day, beat another wife, and suck the life out of the taxpayers so they can keep living on welfare. And we see people just like our kind hearted dentist, die an untimely death. My farewell to Dr. Orbach is quite lonely for me, as most farewells often are. His death appropriately has me asking the question of why things happen the way they do to so many good people, and the not so good people get to keep living?

It's a faith shaking question, but the thoughts of everything good that he did, within his short window of life eases the unsteadiness of that question. To me, everyone is here to die but not everyone around us is here to make a positive difference. For whatever those positive differences are worth, what he did was worth quite a bit to me. And I guess I come to the epiphany that he wasn't on earth just to help people have better overall health through dental hygiene. He was here to make us all be better people, his craft was just the vessel he used to accomplish that feat.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Manny being Manny

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I stand at the precipice of a dilemma, again. Manny Ramirez was being "Manny" again, this time, instead of whining about fake hurt knees and loafing on his team, he got caught using performance enhancing drugs. The benefit for me as a baseball fan is that at least he's not still playing for my beloved Red Sox.

If you all know me well, you know I am a ridiculous Red Sox nut. I love the "SAWX". And everyone always asks the same question, "Are you from Boston?" Nope, I am not. However, the Red Sox became my identity at age 20. You see, I had taken to leaving my hometown of Mt. Airy, NC, and exploring the rest of the world. That summer, I had booked a gig as a canoe instructor at a summer camp in New Hampshire. Coincidentally, my girlfriend (at that point in time) lived an hour away. Before she became totally crazy(one day I might tell the tales), she took to touring me around all of New England. And penultimately, the tour consisted of locking me into the lore of the Red Sox. She knew I was a hopeless romantic, and I guess she figured that since I was a sucker for lovable losers, I was a perfect candidate for the "Sawx".

I'll never forget that day, the park, the smells, the enthusiasm, every pore of that place oozed life, newness...a fresh start to a 20 year old with new ideas who just wanted to leave the repressing ideals of small-town America. It was like being reborn. The New Englanders adopted me at Fenway Park..."Oh a southerna who wants to cheer for the SAWX, you like to be miserable? Ok, have a beer and a Fenway Frank."

I was a welcomed stranger in a land I had been taught to fear all my life. "Those "NORTHERNERS"....THOSE "YANKEES" up there, they're so rude, they can't drive, you'll get shot if you look at them cross eyed". All my life, those were the quotes I heard from my "The South Shall Rise Again" compatriots of North Carolina.

On that day, and many days to come in the land of the "Northerners" I was adopted as the favorite son from the south. I was an honorary "New Englander". And I finally felt a place where I belonged. I could swear with ease, not trust anyone until I actually knew them, wear sear sucker suits, bowties, pastel shirts and pants, and say stuff like, "Wicked Good". I was looked at as intelligent for thinking forward, rather than just being a "fancy smart kid". Yeah, the Red Sox and New England became my identity.

And until 2004, the Red Sox kept losing with style. You see, they hadn't won the World Series since 1918. This was big, and I was a small cog in the Red Sox Nation wheel. There were old people hinging every last breath on living to see them win in their lifetime. Folks, this Red Sox thing was serious business. And countless times, the "SAWX" would get to the precipice, only to be knocked back down to base camp. They didn't just lose, they lost with style. Get your heart and soul into it, and they would gut you, stomp on your organs, burn them, and then feed them to birds of prey. Yet, again and again, the whole fan base would come back for another season.

In 2003, they broke my heart. Pedro was left in too long, Posada hit the game tying double, and Aaron "Bleeping" Boone hit the walk off in extra innings. However, I was back for '04. By then, I had adopted the same mentality as any New Englander/Red Sox fan. I was used to being miserable, never expecting anything to come of something that seemed good. "Yeah we're playing well May-July, just wait till the playoffs, they'll find another way to break our hearts again." In fact, it was my mantra for life..."Yeah life seems good, but I'll find some way to fuck it up when it counts."

And in 2004, everything changed. The greatest comeback EVER happened, we finally beat the "Evil Empire", and the curse was reversed when we swept the Cardinals. At the same time, I had met a girl named "Meghan" who later became my wife. Coincidentally, my attitude started to change. Things that were good could stay good, they didn't have to turn bad.

In 2007, when they won again, I was engaged, had bought a house, and was working at a successful job in Neurosurgery. My life had changed from dating fat psycho chicks and thinking I could do no better, to a guy who was a consistent winner. No longer was I waiting to fuck up, I was expecting to win.

When Manny was traded for Jason Bay last year, I asked my wife, "Do we have to change our cat's name to Jason Bay (Of course I named our cat Manny, and of course they won the series in 2007 when we adopted him)?" And now, tragedy has struck again, and I find myself thinking, "Do we need to change his name, or will our cat be associated with steroids and cheating?" On a broader level, do the recent championships count, or do they have the dreaded asterisk beside of their name?

More deeply, does this somehow give my life an asterisk? Did I really ever deserve everything good that happened to me? Quite seriously, you can correlate the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, and Meghan and I first meeting and deciding to seriously date. In 2007 when they won again, I got an amazing job that boosted my self confidence to what it is today, oh yeah, and right around that time Meghan and I got married. Have you seen my t-shirt that says "My Wife is Hot"?...yeah, damn hot, I married the prom queen.

On the most personal of levels, I used to really like doubting and hating on myself. I loved to "almost" get to date the hottest girls, but then I would fail with the same style the Red Sox would, losing when the games counted most. I loved feeling sorry for myself, worrying about failing, failing, and then crying about it. Honestly, the early 20s of my life were the most inconsistent and stressful because I couldn't close the deal, and at the most opportune times I put myself in bad situations.

You can say what you want about Manny and whether these championships are now tainted by the dark cloud of steroids. But you can't put an asterisk on the positive changes in my life. Will I rename my cat? No, I can't, because to me, that places an asterisk on my life, that sends a message that says, "And I've changed to become a permanent winner, and now I'll go back to when life was less certain...when we hadn't won since 1918". Manny is Manny and will always be Manny. And Matty will always be Matty, it's just that ever since those Sox won, Matty did too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Saying "Yes"

So I said "Yes", when Meghan said, "You don't have to come to Grandma's Mother's Day Luncheon, really it would be ok if you didn't come". I may not be the smartest man, but my dad has taught me a lot in the 34 years he has been married. No way was I going to fall for that trick!

And so I went. We loaded up the dog, got dressed up in our pastel "Prep-tastic" Spring colors and made a day of it. And dagnabbit, it was fun! The whole party was really a lot of fun. Picture a bunch of 75-80ish year old really wealthy women (who have by now mostly outlived their husbands) sitting down for a formal luncheon. The event was fabulously done; elegant China (Grandma has about 300 place settings of priceless hand painted China, I've seen nothing like it), hand cut crystal, silver, and some really nice gourmet courses that my mother-in-law and wife put together. Seeing these old ladies start with Mary Ellen's signature vodka cocktail at noon was more than humorous.

The overall atmosphere was a really happy place for me. Watching the old timers get doted on by their children, grandchildren, and close friends was probably more of a reward to the hosts of this event than the guests. And although the event was all about Grandma and her entourage of "Golden Girls", it felt a lot like a date with my wife and me. Meghan was dressed to the nines, smokin hot, and I felt like were had just started dating again. I kept stealing glances while we prepped our dishes, bussed the tables, and washed the bone china, crystal, and tiffany glass that easilly tripled our salary.

And honestly, I was happy I said "Yes". After the party had ended, Mary Ellen said, "Matt, thanks for coming, I know you'd rather spend your day off in many other ways, but it was nice to have you". And I thought, "Sure, I guess I'd rather be having a nice selfish day doing what I want, but in hindsight, this is what I wanted to do. I may have griped about it, and I may be a terriffic Martyr, but I really enjoyed myself today."

Folks, I am terrific at whining, and I have been schooled well in the annals of Martyrdom. But there are a lot of times (and many more lately), when I have found that shutting up and doing is much more rewarding. Because, when it's said and done it was never as bad as that selfish ego made it seem. In fact, why is it that we bitch and whine so much, why is it that we all have the fault of being selfish?

For me, I find that being selfish and making excuses is better than trying and failing. Not that I was worried I'd fail at cooking for a bunch of old ladies, but more globally, I constantly battle fear of failing with a lot of things I end up investing in. For me, it is much easier to hide from events that, "Might not turn out to be a success" and use excuses of "I'm too busy".

This is no revelation, and I am certainly not the only one who experiences these emotions. However, I'm lucky to know who I know, and have wonderful inspirational people around me who challenge me to rise up and be that figurehead, and not a bumbling idiot too afraid to take a chance. Thus far, I'm 30, married to a really hot wife, becoming more and more successful at life and my job. So, "Thank You", to my wife, my friends, enemies, mentors, and any remote inspiration that makes me say "Yes". "Yes" is much more empowering than worrying about saying "No".

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Mawwage is what bwings us togetha today"



I love being married. I love it so much, we're preparing to celebrate our first anniversary on May 25th. Say what you will about being with one woman the rest of your life, I think it's swell and I think it's one of the best things I have ever done. However, I have found that marriage is not without it's pitfalls. So far, I have realized the following about the opposite sex/marriage (I encourage my readers to be forthright if they know any other secrets about women):

1) If you have had fun without them, you're already minus two when you get home. If you have had fun without them and come home late, you had better been saving some stray kittens, cooking at a homeless shelter, or something else Mother Theresa would do. Have a bad excuse, your score card looks like Tiger's...except you're not in the running to win anything but a night on the couch.

2) When they say yes, generally they mean no, or they have a caveat to the yes. However, they don't really let on to the caveat until you proceed with whatever they gave you permission to do.

3) They become more honest about your figure.
4) When they say, "I really don't care if you come, it's okay if you don't (when inviting you to a function)", you better tag along.

5) The longer you are with someone, the less likely you are to pay attention to what they say even when you mutter, "Yep".

Last weekend we had four glorious days off together. Rather than jet setting to a far away place, we decided to stay at home in order to landscape, garden, and cook a lot of new gourmet meals. We were prepared for a traditional date weekend. There was a however. Friday, we were both set to spend our nights apart at two meritable events. Meghan traveled to southern Maryland, to stay with her best friend who was expecting her first child at any minute. She wanted to be there for the big moment, and wanted to help out just to be there to help de-stress the future parents.

Me, I had the civic duty of attending a bachelor party.

Needless to say, I may have told Meghan that I would be home around 10am the next day, so we could start bright and early on our gardening. Since I was riding with my buddy Drew who also had to be home early to spend his wedding anniversary with his wife, I felt it a fail safe that we would arrive home on time if not early.

After getting a delayed start due to the hangover breakfast, and after changing a phantom flat tire on Drew's car, we arrived at 12:30. Not good, not good at all. Already, I was minus two because I had fun without her...

Listen up, you all know it, you've seen the face, but something changes once you're married and you go out and have fun without her, especially if she has been working all day. I'd expect it's minus three once you actually have children. Before marriage we were always told, "So glad you could go out with your boys, great job, keep it up, you need your man time.". Now it's a little different. There's a strain in her face when she says the same thing, the gleam in her eye has left. Don't believe me, ask Hege. He just went to the PGA tour on Friday down in Charlotte, NC. His wife worked all day, and then she came home to their daughter. Think he wasn't down a couple of points after chilaxin' with a bunch of golf pros? And we both knew he was nervous pulling into the driveway. The simple statement of, "Matty, gotta get off the phone, Leslie doesn't like it when I come home after being away on the phone"...Yep, because once you're home, your eye has to be back on the proverbial ball.

It's game time when you hit the door. Bring flowers, tell her she's special, do something to make her remember she is very special, at least tell her you missed her and would have had more fun with her there. I'm not sure why guys...but it works. In the words of my father, "You gotta lie"...and honestly, it's not lying per se, it's just getting a little extra mushy in order to say, "Hey, I really care about you". And since you got married, I hope that you really actually do care about her. If not, you got in too deep too soon. I got lucky, I love my wife, and I love our life together, but you gotta remember, COMMUNICATE those feelings with more than hungover sweaty grunts.

Next, when they say "yes", they really mean "no", except they aren't sure if they mean "no", but after you do what they say "yes " to, they wish they would have said "no". Therefore, you put yourself in the wrong.

Last weekend I was invited for a fishing trip on the Bay with my cousin T.J. I vacillated on this subject for about 48 hours because the trip was during our "date weekend". I even got Meghan invited, and she ended up turning down the invite in order to go pleasure boating with some other friends. Me, well, Meghan said the following, "You really need to go fishing with T.J, it would be nice for you to get to know your new cousin, you need man time. You can meet up with me after fishing, we'll pick you up on our boat as you come in."

And then the story sorta goes like this...You see, what had happened was...well, we got skunked all day. So, the fishing captain decided we'd just keep trolling the boat 40 miles round trip. The trip that was supposed to last till 2 or 3pm lasted till 5pm. Thusly, I never met up with my wife until I drove home at 6pm. The words out of her mouth weren't, "I'm so mad", they were worse. "I'm just disappointed, I really wanted to hang out and now we have squandered two days of the four". Can you say minus a trillion points for something I had no responsibility for, yet somehow it was my fault? Disappointed is far worse than mad. Mad leads to make up sex. Disappointed doesn't lead anywhwere special.

We went out for crabs and beer to rectify the situation. Apparently picking crabs is the equivalent to "I love you, you are special" in our household. Minus a trillion went to par I think, until I do something else she says "yes" to, but really means "no".

And when you think you are really good at mind reading, you just get smacked down with the bludgeons of "Marriage Honesty". I'm still licking my wounds from last week.

While training for our honeymoon/wedding day photos/beach shots/six-pack abs we both lost a good amount of weight. Those beach pics were pretty sweet, and I was definitely ripped up and sexy. Even after the honeymoon we did well, trained for a half-marathon and kept those beach bodies for a few more months. However, as the cold weather set in, we started to sit more, exercise less, cook a lot of really rich food, and drink heaps of good wine. Needless to say, I put the 15 pounds I lost back on. Thankfully, I just lost a good 7 pounds in Colorado, but need to lose just a few more in order to get that bad ass body back. And as my own worst critic, I know I need to shed just a little bit more. However, during the weekend I always happen to place myself back up deNILE river, and I engage in cheeseburgers, beer, and fried goodness.

But I guess that will have to stop because the honesty police showed up at our house in the form of my wife as she said, "Yeah, you need to tighten up your abs some more, maybe Pilate's will help". Gunshot wound to the ego...ouch. We all know I'm not a fat guy, more or less I'm completely obsessed with my body, anything less than a 6-pack of abs, and I'm putting myself in the Morbidly Obese section. Suffice it to say, honesty is perhaps the best medicine, but damn it stings like the dickens. And I find it more prevalent the longer I stay married. I could bore you with more examples, but you married boys out there feel my pain.

Tomorrow, we head to Grandma Burton's house. My mother-in-law has decided to cater a lunch for Grandma and her 12 closest friends as an early Mother's Day present. The outsiders can only agree this is a very nice thing. I too think it is wonderful. However, Meghan has been mandated to "Help" at this event. This essentially means she will be preparing most of the food being that she is the gourmet. Since both of us are conveniently off of work, Meghan presented the situation as such, "Mom told me I have to go and help, I have no choice, but you don't have to come if you don't want to".

Stop!!! Hold it right there! To the buffoons who decide to heed that teaser statement, have fun. You will be sorry. Just like the statement, "Don't get anything big for my birthday, we are trying to save money". You might mean it when YOU say it, BUT they do NOT mean it. It is called lip service. You don't get anything nice for their birthday, you're done. You decide to stay at home and not help cook because you can't bear to stand the thought of wasting your day off with Grandma...good riddance, back to minus numbers.

Women are tricky, they cannot be figured out. It's like "Jedi Mind Tricks"...if you have an intuition and it reads, "I don't understand why she would say "yes" or "you don't have to if you don't want to"...do the opposite. If you somehow get in trouble doing the opposite thing, tell her you were just trying to make her happy. That generally suffices for the time being until you can figure out another method to crawl out from the busted up dog house.

Lastly, I find myself listening less and less. This is subconscious as I find myself an intelligent and thoughtful guy. However, I'm started to succumb to the disease I saw my father and grandfather go through. The disease of muttering "yes", and never knowing the words pursed my lips.

The other night we got sushi. Meghan said the following (note, I don't remember any of this), "I got napkins, chopsticks, and soy sauce, you bring the sushi"). And I muttered, "Yep".

As I moved from the kitchen to the living room table I said, "Did you get napkins, chopsticks, and soy sauce?"

My mother and grandmother and everyone else's mother call it selective listening. I just call it "Overload Protection". Face it, men aren't as smart. Their brains work in the process of one at a time thinking. We cannot multi-task. When we try to multi-task we generally screw things up or end up in the fetal positioning with our heads splitting from information overload. Although we are generally physically stronger we are mostly mentally handicapped when it comes to listening and processing what our wives tell us. Admitting your weakness is 99% of the battle. Try hard to listen, and when you fail just get that blank look on your face, shrug your shoulders and say, "You were right, sorry about that".

And those words are sometimes better than those three little words, "I love you". Heck, if you can master combining the two phrases together, you will be married to a happy wife, equaling a happy life for the eternity you promised.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Punched for a What?

Last weekend was Nicky Freitag's Bachelor party. Held in Baltimore, Maryland, or as we call it, Balmore, all the usual suspects from high school showed up for a very memorable evening. Shenanigans were had, beers were drank, and women were certainly gawked at. I find being married keeps things on even keel because it's easy to stare, but you don't have to do anything about it. It's like being in middle school again. Except you're just not afraid that you'll mess up if you get a chance, because the chance came and went when you said, "I do". My dad calls it window shopping.

A recounting of the night is illegal, but there were highlights...

1) Skinny Rob trying to fight the large African American scalper over ticket prices in front of Camden Yard Stadium. This resulted in the rent a cops "Holding Him Back". Rob...145lbs of financial wizardry. Stick to Finance man, not drunken Balmore fights.

2) Taking our 10 dollar scalped tickets and sitting 10 rows behind first base 15 people deep.

3) Seeing the various Blackberry and iPhone snapshots of the lucky fella receiving a "Blumpkin". We aren't' sure who he was, but we were happy to see such a thing is not just an Urban Legend.

4) Being punched at (with closed fist action) by a girl who was mad I stole her dildo hat...

What? You read right. As the night wound to an epic close, I thought it necessary to pal up with the bachelorette party at the club we were all partaking at. Throughout the night our party got along swell with their party. Let alone until I spotted a really angry looking petite blond stuffed sadly in the corner, who was wearing a dildo hat (yes, you heard it right, Dildo Hat).

Stupidly, I decided to take it, smile at her, and do some cute little "Dildo Dance". She being unamused, took to cocking back her fist, putting all of her 110lb frame behind that little arm of hers, and swinging for the fences (The fences being my purty little face). Thankfully both blows glanced off my left cheek. Instinctively, and rather slowly, I swatted her hand away after she went for thirds. Foreseeing violent retaliation would land me in the clink, I grabbed her Buffalo Babe colleague, stood behind her, and said, "Hold her back, protect me, she's gone wild"...thus infuriating "Little Miss Sunshine" beyond angry face recognition.

As her "Posse" held her back, I made my escape into the herd of drunken buffoons and retreated to the hotel, finding the last slice of late night pizza, grabbed a "beer for bed", and drifted off in front of "Baseball Tonight".

Fortunately, my buddy Drew and I left the weekend of bedlam a day early in order to go back home to our wives. I say fortunate because Saturday's activity involved betting on horses. If you know me, I hate to lose, and when I lose, I bet more.

We both had our obligations, Drew had his eighth wedding anniversary, and I had yard work "date weekend". I felt like "Frank the Tank" telling his pals, "I can't drink tonight, me and the wife have a nice little day planned, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond...I'm not sure what we'll get to, I'm not sure if we'll have enough time".

But I must say, it was really nice to see the guys from high school. Hell, I hadn't seen most of them in 8 years, and like life, everything changes, but stays a little bit the same. Some guys were married, some with children, some still single. Most importantly, they were still the same old guys who always had your back, the only difference is that we had gotten just a little bit older.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mandolines and Violins


I had the pleasure of a day off on Friday. Actually, I had just gotten home from working all night and was operating on a one hour nap I picked up in between consults.


Foregoing sleep, I took on the day for Honey-Do tasks. Dog to the park for 1 hour, return things to the mall, buy things at the mall for Meghan and me, grocery shop, and return home for dinner prep and the benefit of a nice fat cigar in the dusky sun.


The most exciting part of the day (other than my wife coming home), was purchasing our new Mandoline. Why so exciting? Mandolines cut veggies, including potatoes, thusly giving you fries...we had determined our night would be devoted to truffle fries.


To surround that decadent side, we had decided on Mediterranean Lamb/Beef burgers, with a nice herby mix of rosemary, chive, mint, and garlic. It was a snap putting that together. And to be honest, the rest was pretty easy as well. I whipped up a nice cucumber, tomato, onion, and kalamata olive salad, made some tzatziki sauce for the burgers, kept dessert as the BIG SURPRISE for later, and started on the fries.


After ruining a few potatoes with our new device, I got the hang of it. I was whippin those russets through the slicer and julienning the frick out of those bad boys. Meg got home, we opened a nice starter bottle of white, and put the heady aroamed fries in the oven to bake.


After 45 minutes, the "Those are too thin Matty" fries were greasy limp lumps of grey flesh. Slightly buzzed, we had the idea of placing them in the frying pan to make Truffle cakes...


The char that ensued was neither edible or intelligible, so we scrapped the heap of Truffle dung and tucked into the burgers, and the salad, and a really nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Pleased, we settled into the couch, and with the dog nestled under the blanket, I sneaked away for our latest dessert creation.


Macerated Blackberries, Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt, covered in Creme de Casis....props to Bobby Flay, we got the idea whilst watching our tvo'd "Boy Meets Grill". Thrilled and exhausted my wife woke me up and said, "it's time for bed". From Honey Do, to Honey Did...it was a good day to be a Matty.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring is Springin and Sprung

Ah...

Nothing like the joys of Spring. Hege and I used to praise the days when the girls started losing that winter weight and started showing up for class (and to the bar of course) tanned, scantily clad, and always ready for a romp!

And as much as that gets a young man's trigger happy, there is no more frivolous fornication with the abundance of loose and often times large women. It's a total blessing that those days full of risky business and liver damage are behind us. Frankly, it's a blessing we all survived disease free. As my good friend Mickey Burks said, "I'd be dead on the side of the road had I not met my wife". Here here Mickey...here here...as I told Grandma Burton last year..."Meghan is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and regardless of whether I know her for 1 year or 100 years, I'd have spent the most important part of my life with the most amazing and wonderful person I know. A lot of people say that Jesus is their personal saviour. Not to get too far into religious mumbo jumbo, I'll just say that Meghan is mine.

I started reflecting on Spring the other day whilst our dog Fenway and I were running through the rain at our local park. As there was no one on the trail and I could only yell, "Good girl Fenway, run run run" so much, I started to think about Spring and what the season has signified at different times in my life. In my early days, I remember a lot of long holy days at church. I'm taking 2 services of 2 hours each. Boring? Of course, just a little, but I always remember the fellowship, the green grass, the new smells, the birds, the picnics as we braked for lunch, and of course, the nice pastel colors of flowers and new church wear accessories.

As things changed and I attended less and less of the marathon church services, the theme of new and exciting stayed the same. Even throughout those crazy college years there was always a new hope that certainly "sprang forth" (that pun is for Hege).

And it brings me back to the other day, finishing our run in pouring down rain, seeing the new plant life covering the forest floor, and watching our newly 1 year old "Fenway" happily running, tongue slightly poking out, and ears erect as to detect any foolish nuisance in the woods. Life has indeed changed, and it's pretty neat. No more boring 4 hour sermons, no more "Oh my God why did I hook up with that?", or "Why did you all make me drink that?", and no more, "I really hope she likes me, do you think she'll go out with me again?", more importantly, no more, "I hope I pass this test, graduate, get a job, buy a house, the list goes on..."

I used to think once you were married life just got boring, and predictable...especially when those kids come around. I'll have to say I was wrong. Married life rocks, coming home to the most beautiful woman in the world who is still happy to have you around kicks ass. Watching the dog run in the rain and play at the park is better than any stupid shenanigans I pulled in college, which brings me to the point. As unsure as life is, you have to make wonderful whatever happens around you. Embrace the little moments, and little things. Life isn't slowing down as we get older, it's trying to pass us by, and eventually it will.

As your spring days get longer and the season heats into the summer, remember we are all lucky to be alive, please make your days the best you can.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Fool




Almost 3 weeks later I reappear. Fresh and ready to begin anew. You'll have to pardon the grittiness of the last few rants...overworked, underpaid....I now come back working, still underpaid, but ready to get things restarted.



It's daunting how much has happened over the past 3 weeks. Let's see if I can list it. Apparently making a list makes things easier to accomplish...I saw that on "The Office" last week....






In no certain order:



1) Snowboarded and hung out with our cousins in Colorado


2) Took a private Snow Cat ride with our cousin Tommy

3) Won a lot of money watching UNC beat the TAR out of Michigan St.

4) Went back to Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC) for Easter

5) Visited with Will Hege (Hege Ramblings) for a Man Power Lunch


Folks, let me be the first to say, Meghan got me the best birthday present I have ever received when she took me out to Colorado for a week of hanging with family and snowboarding. Honestly, I'm a mountain man at heart. I love the thrill of hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, running up mountains, and basically any feats of strength and endurance I can handle in the great outdoors. After recently turning 30 and eating and drinking too much all winter, I was even more excited to push the limits in the thin air of the Rockies. We arrived to a sunny 55 degrees that quickly turned to 20s and snowing. Perfect Spring skiing...and man oh man it dumped about 3.5 feet of powder on us whilst we were out on Copper Mountain.



As a novice snowboarder I'm totally tentative. However my cousin Tommy and his two kids beat the wuss out of me by day two and had me bustin through the out of bounds trees, bombing down double black bowls full of moguls and any other type of ridiculous hazard. But, as a 30 year old with my cousin Tommy and his two kids in tow (10, 12 years respectively) who can board and ski like lunatics...my ego got the best of me. My favorite quotes were, "Matty, are you okay?"...as my 12 year old cousin yelled watching me slam into 5 feet of powder...my board buried into the tree base....and I yelled back..."Oh yeah baby....oh yeah!"....


Though my east coast lungs were getting shreaded in the thin air, and my legs were taking a pounding ...I was in heaven, I was challenged...I was living. Goddammit I had a helmet...I was gonna be just fine.


You had to love it when I decided to launch off the ramps at the snowboard park with my ten year old cousin Jakey (He is already sponsored by a snowboard shop). Meg even caught an action photo of me...stiff legged, a little wobbly up top, a whole FOOT off the powder. It felt better than it looked I guess...but the elation, the bliss...the appreciation that I was away from that East Coast grind was enough. Shit, I coulda landed on my head and I wouldn't have cared...I had a helmet for Christ's sake.


Rarely do I come back from vacations slimmer...but this time I came back a little leaner, and generally feeling good about my 30 year old self. Nothing like competition from some kids who can kick your ass down the mountain to keep you feeling young. I guess when I have kids...regardless of the type (boy or girl), I'll be that forever kid...trying to follow them where ever they are...bellowing behind them, "Oh yeah baby, I'm having a great time"...while my wife watches on and says, "You're a nut!"


Our cousin Tommy, a jack of all trades, happens to groom one the slopes at Loveland. During the season, he drives the Snow Cat at night, four nights a week. As a bonus to my already RAD present, Tommy offered to take us up on the Continental Divide at midnight. Indescribable is cliche, but I'll use it as I have no other words. Although the wind was gusting and overall visibility was poor, the magnitude of the elements were humbling. Most fun...getting to drive that 350,000 dollar machine. In fact, Meghan and I had a friendly competition of who could groom the best trail. I lost...but as we got out to switch places, I peed my initials in the snow...and I took a picture. I would publish it but I deleted the photo as it was pretty unintelligible...some things never change.


What could be finer than seeing Carolina whoop ass in the NCAA's? Winning a little bit of royaledge for our pockets at the same time. Long story short, Meg and I invested 30 dollars for one of those office type tourney pools and I won the whole thing. Money is already spent as Meghan has planned out renovations to our deck and fence. God Bless being married!


As I continued my blog less jaunt across America I found myself resting with the folks for Easter. A couple of months ago I made it a point to schedule a little Matty with folks time to reminisce on the days when I was a young spoiled only child without a wife. Time well spent indeed as I got to catch up with my mother and father, both whom I love dearly.


And who couldn't forget to mention hanging with his best pal. Yep...old man Will Hege and I caught up for a MAN lunch the day before Easter. No kids, no wives, and surprisingly no alcohol. When I got home my mother asked if we reminisced about the old days. When you have a great friend like Will, there is no reason to talk about the olden days because your relationship adapts to life beyond chasing women and booze in college. It was really nice to catch up with a guy whom I really respect and value as a human being in this world. Honestly, that lunch took me back to when Will and I used to chat endlessly the first summer we met. Call it the rekindling of a BROMANCE, call it whatever you like. Or you can call it special that you have a good friend and that you have kept a good friend through thick and thin.


As eventful it was for me to write the blog, I'm sure you're still searching for a clever punchline, or maybe a creative story. Maybe next time.


I'm less overwhelmed with the updates now and I am looking forward towards charging back into blogdom one snappy comment at a time. Until then...in the famed words of T-rent from M0-town..."Good Night, God Bless, Trash Comes on Tuesday"!

Matty

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The morning CLANG...


Not Kris Lang, or Klang, the not so talented ultra goofy horse mouthed basketball player at UNC...but the CLANG. Pots, pans, dishes, foot-stomps, loud voices, and my mother telling my father, "Matty just got in from college, Maryland, partying, saving the poor"...and my father yelling, "It's 7am, I'm up, he can get up too".
You are all familiar with it. My mental image is the father from the movie "The Christmas Story"...Christmas morning, a little hungover from a few glasses of red, stumbling downstairs with his robe on, hair disheveled, eyes half open and crusty, and the wife and kids all amped cause Santa had come. You'd like to smile, you'd like to be cheery, and gosh darn it you actually like all the CLANG, but God Dammit you just don't want to let anyone know. Tis better to be salty, mumble things in a incomprehensible language, and pretend to loathe the evil people who woke you up.
It was MAN night last night. My buddy Eric came over with his Boston Terrier "Mack", and our Boston "Fenway" and "Mack" played and played. My wife was at work, his was out of town, and we had "Man Town" baby. Sushi, beer, basketball, cleaning up dog puke (Mack has stomach problems), beer, farting...and I even showed Eric the new "Fart Machine" application on my iPhone. It was DUDE heaven. The game ended, I dragged my sleep deprived Sam Adams intoxicated self upstairs, and dreamt on about our powerful blowout win versus Gonzaga.
And of course morning came. Per usual my really hot wife even in the morning was up first. I stirred, grabbed our dog, and wondered why my head had the dull ache of beer induced sleep. I stumbled out of bed, put on the coffee and made a rockin ass breakfast. Truffle fried potatoes, bacon and easy over eggs. Magical shit for a half hungover Matty. And I guess I really wasn't that cranky, wasn't worried about the CLANG because I had become the CLANG. Me, Mr. Salty Pants, Mr. "Goddammit Dad Shut the Fuck Up, it's 7am".
As the caffeine hit the synapses I kept on CLANGING and made my way downstairs, directly below the kitchen and started washing clothes. Upstairs I heard more CLANG...the dog running around, my wife cleaning up.
And I realized...what a beautiful sound. The morning, change, a new day, new beginnings, and the wonderment of having a happy home and the thrill of just being happy.
I'm on my third or fourth cup of coffee, my crusty eye balls are clean, my dog is snoring on the couch and my wife and I are catching up on the week's ti-vo'd shows. I am in my zone, and I am happy. But please don't ever tell anyone that I guiltilly enjoy the CLANG, especially when I visit my folks at home. I relish my salty exterior, but gosh darn it, I relish on that plush interior of soul I control...
Matty

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inspiration

I recently read a post about a mutual friend of Meghan and I. The post was in regards to her mother, who is an incessant collector of fine dining accoutrement. Sparing the recapitulation, the idea of writing of a mother's quirkiness is sparking my topic today.

I could write about my own parents, both of whom are wonderful and inspiring people. However, I'd like to focus more on the x-factor in the group of parents. The factor that is generally the butt of many "Man" jokes, and the victim of beer induced man-town rants...the mother-in-law.

Say what you will about mine, lay your jokes down, poke your fun, but my mother-in-law has always inspired me. She can be headstrong at times, and sometimes a little too much in my business, but time after time she has always been there for me, and most importantly my wife and new family.

If you look up the word "Adversity" in the dictionary, Mary Ellen's picture is there. She's a single mother, raised a beautiful daughter, and has gone through many a trial and tribulation most would look at and quit. In fact, I see patients daily who have not gone through a tenth as much hardship. Generally, these folks are asking for work slips, handouts, handicapped parking stickers, generally anything that can get them a free pass at the remainder of their ill coped lives.

My mother-in-law Mary Ellen however, is very special, and very dear to my heart. What's most inspiring is that she experiences everything on the positive. You have horrible mold, well, she has found cheese, you see some chicken shit, well, she actually can turn it into chicken salad. In short, she lives, and lives to experience life. She lives with a gusto for "I can" and never has she said, "no, I can't, I don't, it's impossible, well I just don't like it". For a lady in her mid 30s (remember she'll be reading this), she's not into the same middle aged rut most fall into.

Most recently she's phasing her career into retiring, and is spending her winters/springs at her vacation farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Instead of lounging on the couch all day, she's riding her two horses 7 days a week, going to the gym 6 days a week, and still finding time for her husband, and family.

Looking to the future I know I am in good stead and I know I married into a great family. I also know that daughers don't fall far from the mother-in-law tree. Knowing that, I'm blessed because my already wonderful and amazing wife is to keep getting better with age. How could I go wrong?

How would I know that you may ask. I'll share one last sentiment before I go. In fact, I have only recently shared this sentiment with my wife, and no one else.

The day we were married, and as the folks processed down the ailse, I saw something really special, and it was in Mary Ellen. I saw her daughter in her eyes, the strength, the beauty, and steadfastness of the Burton family shone through like that strong summer sunlight breaking through a foggy morning in the mountains. That strength, and that beauty made me look twice, well up with tears, and I fought them back. To be honest, I'm a cryer, you name it, I can find some tears. Whilest welling up with these puddles of sadness, I quickly wondered, "How the hell are these tears no flying off my face and into the second row?"

I must be clairvoyant, because after the ceremony I found out everyone bet that I would be the first to cry. To my delight, everyone lost their bet as my wife sprung leaks in her eyes like an old worn out dam.

Maybe this was my final victory as a "MAN", "Mr. Macho Man"..."I dont' cry at no stinking weddings..." Yet here I am, blogging my feelings. Blogging my feelings about my "MOTHER-IN-LAW"...and I'm wearing a nice designer skirt and carrying a matching handbag.

Too all a nice day.

Matty