Crankoutloud cranks out the advice

Dear COL
My 2 cents

Often times while I am reading my daily dose of Dear Abby, I wish I could be the one who gets to dole out answers. So I thought I’d take it upon myself to actually go through the exercise of providing invaluable advice, in Crankoutloud style, of course —

DEAR CRANK OUT LOUD: My girlfriend and I have been together for three years and I treat her like a queen. The problem is that she still finds things to start a fight about. What do I do? –I’M A LOVER, NOT A FIGHTER

DEAR WUSS: Okay, here’s what you gotta do. It may sound counterintuitive, but your lady is looking for you to “man up.” Start by revealing a personal flaw or disgusting habit. And if you can’t think of any flaws to reveal, then make something up for Pete’s sake. Your girlfriend needs to have SOMETHING to complain about and you are giving her zero material. When she is hanging with the girls, what does she have to offer? When her friends are whining and complaining about their men, what’s she got? She doesn’t want to come back with, “Well, my man sends me flowers every week and offers to paint my toenails!” Nooo! It’s got to be more like, “Yeah, I totally understand why you’re angry at Bart, Cindy, my Tony always leaves the seat up too!” Once you’ve exposed a few imperfections and driven her mad with those, continue to come up with more, and be sure to mix it up a bit to keep things interesting. Trust me, taking such measures will only strengthen your relationship. You gotta become a fighter to be a lover. And if you should end up in splitsville, well, don’t blame me. Do I look like a marriage counselor or something? Don’t be such a cheapskate and pay for a counseling session. Gees.

DEAR CRANK OUT LOUD: I am a recent widower in my mid-forties and have two teenage sons. I’m wondering the appropriate amount of time to wait until I start dating again.  –WANTING SOME ACTION

DEAR WANTING: Although I’m sure most advice columnists would tell you to date whenever you feel the time is right, that there is no standard waiting period for such things, I’ll give it to you straight. Oh sure, you’re gonna have lots of single ladies sniffing around, but you gotta tell them to get lost. No one can replace your beautiful wife, so my advice is to not even try. In fact, you should start building a shrine in her honor immediately and spend the rest of your days here on earth remembering all the loving things she did for you and how you are totally devastated that she is gone and that you will NEVER get over her and you NEVER want to start dating again. How can you even THINK about dating again?? Oh, sorry, I guess I’m getting a little carried away. This is the advice I would want Dear Abby to give to my Gerald if I were to expire first. Better advice for you would be to ask Dear Abby.

Maybe I’m not so good at this advice column stuff after all.


Happy Thanksgiving from COL!

A Crankoutloud original. Not too shabby, eh? Of course, my oldest just asked me what it is. sigh.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving holiday, dear readers!

I will try my darndest to get a new post up by Sunday evening. Not sure if it will be Thanksgiving related or not, all depends on what family shenanigans may be in store for the next couple days.

Later, dudes!


P.S. Last chance to vote for your favorite Crankoutloud post before the poll closes on Sunday!

Workout interrupted

lower back pain

Once upon a time, Gerald threw his back out because of a sock. Yes, dear readers, a sock. It was a few years ago, and Gerald’s back had been out for about a week and it was starting to feel a little better, it was on the mend. And that’s when it happened. I have a habit of throwing the boys’ floor laden dirty clothes at the room door. They will then at least be one step closer to the hallway dirty clothes basket where I’d prefer my family actually place their dirty laundry. So on that fateful evening, my youngest had a stray dirty sock on his bedroom floor, and, following the aforementioned described practice, I tossed it towards the bedroom door. Gerald happened to be standing there, I’m sure telling our son goodnight, and he didn’t know what I had thrown. Apparently he was unaware of my dirty clothes tossing routine. <What?  Gerald unaware??> Anyway, not knowing what was coming at him, he instinctively turned his body quickly and then it happened. The back was back out again.

Besides the argument that ensued (Why would you throw a sock at me? How did I know a sock could scare your back?), I couldn’t get it. I couldn’t begin to understand what it felt like to have your back give out. I’d never ever had a problem with my back and I figured since I had never put this part of my body through any undue stress <like lifting an engine block, Gerald?>, I never would. Well, that all changed about two weeks ago, when, for the very first time, I threw my back out. Oh my. Wow. That hurts. I had no idea, no clue. Constant, can’t walk, can’t move, can’t bend, can’t stand, dull ache, sharp pain.

All those times of being unsympathetic over someone else’s back pain is O-V-E-R. I must apologize <yes, Gerald, you read that right> to family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who have ever complained or even touched upon the subject of back pain. I am truly sorry for ever trivializing it. I never realized how debilitating back pain can be until I felt it for myself. I admit to sometimes rolling my eyes when Gerald claimed his back was out. And I didn’t realize how suddenly it can happen until I did it myself.

My back is doing much better now; it was noticeably better the next day, actually. Ibuprofen really is a miracle drug, isn’t it? So for now, I’ve put my workouts on hold–oh what a shame–and I’ve been very careful in every movement. I sure don’t want to throw my back out ever again. Damn this getting older.


P.S. There’s still time to get your vote in for favorite Crankoutloud (COL) post!

My first poll entry ever

Okay, so this is my first try at including a reader poll within a blog post, and I have to admit I’m pretty excited.

The vote is for Crankoutloud favorite post. I would like to submit one of my blog posts to Project Underblog for their consideration, but being the wishy-washy person that I am, I’m not sure which one. I could use a little help here…  Thank you, dear readers!

It’s all about me

Well, dear friends, the time has come. I’ve really been needing to work on my About Me page. It has been sorely lacking. I mean, how pathetic that it has simply directed a reader straight back to my first blog entry ever. My readers deserve better than this, right? Right.

I’m not sure why I’ve been putting off editing my About Me page. I mean, I am pretty self-absorbed, and I love talking all things about me. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been avoiding what you would think I would consider a fun task.

I suppose I want my About Me page to stand out from all the other About Me pages out there in the blogosphere. The pressure to be different is enormous, and then this page will be more of a “permanent” fixture on my blog site so it’s gotta be material that applies for the long haul. Here’s a good analogy: Gerald and I have been toying with the idea of a kitchen remodel/renovation and the question of countertop material has come up more than once during these discussions. I want zero maintenance counters. Just like we have zero maintenance landscaping and I have zero indoor plants because if I had indoor plants then this means I’d have to actually water them or something to keep them alive and that would probably explain why all my previous attempts at keeping indoor plants have failed. But I digress. I’ve had several people tell me there are granite sealers out there that will last for like a whole ten years! Nope. Ten years is great and all, but I can already tell you that Gerald and I would NEVER get around to doing the resealing. Seriously, NEVER. Again, I’ll say it, it’s got to be zero maintenance. Oh, so where was I? My About Me page needs to be able to stand the test of time in the knowledge that it will surely sit there untouched pretty much forever. It would have to be some serious life altering event, and, even then, it would still probably be another couple years after that before I could be bothered to edit the page.

And then, what if my About Me page is totally boring? A few years ago, I started communicating with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. I started typing up this email with the intention of catching her up on my life for the last like 20+ years (or however many years it had actually been). How embarrassing when I realized I can sum up the major events in my life in three sentences. Probably two sentences would have done it, but I didn’t want to look like a total loser.

So… after giving myself the sole assignment of working on my About Me page, I forced myself to complete it and it’s out there now. So, yes, go see, go see!


Safety first


Let’s play a little game. This game was developed by adolescent aged boys so please try to keep up.

A few years ago, my boys started shouting “Safety!” and “Doorknob!” Gerald and I looked at each other in confusion. The boys’ friends were also shouting out these words at what we thought was pure randomness. Gerald and I were able to piece it together though, as parents learn to do.

So this is how it goes, people. If you fart, you have to say “safety” before anyone can say “doorknob,” and if someone says “doorknob” before your “safety,” then you try to find a nearby doorknob to touch in time before the “doorknob” caller gets to tag you and frog you repeatedly in the arm, until you touch a doorknob. Okay, got it? Well, just when we thought we had it, the boys added another rule to the game. After you say “safety,” you have to say “no aftershocks.” So it’s “Safety, no aftershocks!”  If you said “safety” without the “no aftershocks,” apparently you were still eligible for an arm bruising.

Well, in good parental spirit, Gerald and I decided to do the old if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em bullshit. So we started playing the game too. And trust me when I say, this game was alive and well in our house. Gerald and I would laugh and call out our required “Safety, no aftershocks!” and “Doorknob!” whenever necessary (huh hum…). At some point, the entire group of boys decided to take out the “no aftershocks” rule. Probably for the best, there already was a lot to remember.

Funny thing, once Gerald and I wholeheartedly embraced this whole Safety/Doorknob game–admittedly, we even started playing when it was just the two of us–the boys interest quickly faded. They started being slow to participate and annoyed when we would take to calling them out (Safety!) when they let one rip (Doorknob!). Oh, like the smell didn’t give it away, puh-lease! I’m sure having Mom and Dad all involved in their GOF (Game of Farts) was just too much.

But we, our little family, still find ourselves playing the game. It’s kind of a half-assed effort now, but we still call out the occasional “Safety!” and “Doorknob!” We’ve even tried to get the grandparents in on the game, but for whatever reason (?), they have never shown much interest.



P.S. See now, Carlos, this post is about flatulence!

Down the rabbit hole I go

rabbit ears

A (present day) coworker who read my previous “stinky” post, pointed out how I failed to mention my tendency to hop down rabbit holes at work, sometimes disappearing for days at a time. Well, I pointed out right back to him I believe that is a separate post. So here it is, a post about rabbit holes, metaphorical rabbit holes.

Yes, I am known for my tendency to get down too much into the weeds, as I believe the expression goes, but I have found so many interesting things when I start making my way down a rabbit hole. Going down rabbit holes definitely has its ups and downs. Hmm… maybe pun intended.

The cons are easy, so I’ll start with those —

* It can be a thankless job. No one really wants me to uncover a possible issue. Ignorance really is bliss and personally I’d rather stay in a state of bliss all day long, but better to uncover that potential flaw before it reveals itself in some astronomical explosive manner (aka the big kaboom).

* It takes time. If something worthwhile isn’t discovered down that rabbit hole, then this can equate to wasted time.

* It may uncover more information than necessary. You know that long lost understanding of the organization’s archiving process? Yeah, well, no one really needs to know it and no one really cares.

Pros —

* As stated above, no one really wants an issue uncovered, but there are definitely some better found NOW than after the big kaboom.

* Finding small treasures while down the rabbit hole may help to untangle all the understandings/misunderstandings about a particular process. When a full picture comes to light, it can make it easier to make changes, and make the changes with the confidence that you’re (probably) NOT going to jack up something else.

* No one else wants to do it, no one else wants to get dirty. So how is this a “pro?” I get to do it on my own, get down in there and spend the time to wrap my head around all the possible discovered pieces to then put the whole puzzle together.

* The feeling of finding a valuable little tidbit, or possibly a big disaster a brewing, is priceless! It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy to know you may have helped prevent some major incident from occurring in the future. So even though rabbit hole tunneling may be a thankless job for the most part, there can sometimes be a little glory in the end.


He’s not with me

For each of my kiddos, there are occasions where the thought of disownment is real, very real indeed.  Take for instance when our oldest was about three and still an only child.   We attended a Catholic christening service for our friends’ newborn.  The service ran longer than we anticipated, and anyone with a toddler knows that once you exhaust ways to entertain your child, you may be in for some embarrassing moments.  We made it through the service pretty much unscathed but while we milled around outside the church afterward, waiting to greet our friends, our son took off, burning off all that pent up energy I’m sure, and took the funniest looking dive right into some manicured bushes.  I was hoping no one noticed, but then I heard this couple near us laugh and kind of wonder aloud where this kid’s parents were.  Still being somewhat fresh to parenting a toddler, I’m sure I turned multiple shades of red and I had the urge to slink away and pretend I was not related to this out of control child in the bushes.

As for child number two, for the longest time he suffered from lots of respiratory gunk and sinus infections.  The poor kid pretty much had a constant stuffy nose and congestion.  He was maybe around three years old and I took him to the grocery store and put him in one of those I’m sure totally germ infested shopping carts with the kid car at the front.  <this was my second child, remember>  I went past the whole toddler tolerance threshold limit and my son about threw a gasket.  He started to fuss and get mad and then came the angry crying.  We made it to the checkout line, my son was still strapped in the car cart thing, and he started screaming, “Boogers!  I have boogers!” over and over again.  Oh well, sorry, kid.  There wasn’t much I could do at the moment so I continued to check out and he continued to scream.

I do think it’s funny the complete opposite reactions of first child vs. second child incidents.  If the grocery store thing had happened when we only had one child, I would have been in hysterics and probably left the store right then and there in a big panicked mess, screw the groceries.

But the disownment urge now is for bigger, well.. maybe it’s different, infractions.  As any parent discovers, you get through one phase of your child’s life, just to turn the corner to run right smack dab into another.  Toddlerhood troubles turned into daycare, school, and neighborhood troubles.  Currently, I’d say it’s mainly fights, name calling, bad language, and grade slips.  Oh and I dare not ask what’s going to be around the next corner.  I’ll let that be a surprise!


Halloween play by play

Pumpkin     +     Wine glass       =

I decided to do a sort of Halloween play by play blog post because I’m sure nothing would be more excruciatingly boring exciting than a detailed description of my 2014 Halloween.

Thirty more minutes left of work — Is it wrong that all I want to do is go home and hit the wine?  And maybe whine while I’m drinking the wine?  <that’s A LOT of wine/whine>

It’s quitting time!!!  Gotta run by the store to pick up some allergy meds for the the dog.  Can’t you just feel the excitement a brewing? Or that could be my lasagna lunch talking, not quite sure which.

I’m home and my youngest is quick to inform us that he has no plans to eat dinner, in the traditional sense of the word “dinner.”  We don’t have to ask the reasoning.

Juicing up the digital camera battery (because I still suck at taking pictures with my phone).  I swear, is anyone going to invent a cell phone that is actually for phone calls and actually has clear reception?  And we can go back to using a camera for a camera??

Chips and wine, it’s what’s for dinner.  Right?  Am I right?  Who’s with me?  Hey, Gerald, we need more chips!

Pictures of the kids.  Done.

Sitting on driveway with Gerald and the dog.  First couple rounds of kids.  Done.  Wine.

Wine.  Wine.

Hey, there goes our oldest with his friends.  Hey, is he even going to acknowledge us?  WTH?  Wine.  Wine.  (and whine)

Oh, here comes our youngest.  Has a full pillowcase and everything. Good jobs, son.  That’ss howz it’s done..  Wine.  Wine.

It’z startin to sloww downz now.  Not soas many kids.  Good.  It’s cold getting out here.  I’m going in.  Let’s check out the candy loot.

What?  What do yous means I no candy from all this candy?

I’s going to bed.  Goodnight.

– k D-