Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't look for me on the milk carton just yet...

I really do like to blog. could say I love to blog.

Now if the Cervantes' idiom from Don Quixote fame of 'the proof is in the pudding' is the standard for my opening statement, I'm very much in trouble. The idiom is actually 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating', but that does me no good either.

The long lapses in my post are completely a result of necessity and not apathy...I assure you. Writing, sharing and getting feedback from you have all been a blessing on a number of levels. I look forward to sharing ideas, thoughts and sometimes just general hodge-podge. I've been thinking a lot about politics lately (thanks to David Johndrow) and need to post a few opinions as we approach mid-term elections. I firmly believe we are on the precipice of great change in our country. I'm both excited and anxious about that fact though.

But, today marks the end of the federal government's fiscal year. The date passes each year
without even a second thought by most people. However, I work for a DoD contractor, and this date has great significance for anyone directly tied to doing business with Washington. If there's a single Christmas morning moment for Washington spending, then today I say Merry stinkin' Christmas!

I learned during my days with the USMC that October 1st was an important date in the military. Like all great planners, the U.S. Government works each year from a predetermined budget. That budget starts October 1 and ends September 30 the following year. Simple. Each military branch gets 'x' number of dollars to operate on during that year, and the money is budgeted down to the smallest individual commands throughout the service who each get their piece of the pie.

So far so good? Sounds very practical, sensible and responsible.

But least we not forget whom we talk about. The federal government has a proven record of taking the facile and making it fecal...excuse my crudeness. How it works with the federal government (in contrast to your personal home budget I hope) is that when you are allotted 'x' dollars to spend in a fiscal year, you better spend every dime or risk having your budget reduced the following year.

So this would be me the past month...>>>>

Grabbing as many of the available dollars left over from the bases I deal with in my job. As the last day of September gets closer, desperate spending takes over. Need proof? I quoted 27 business phone systems to a base in Korea last night. My company sells automotive parts.

I'm all about making as much money for my company as I possibly can, so I work a lot of long hours in September and pamper my customers just a little bit more than usual. Need laptop batteries? No problem. Need a floor buffer? No problem. You need it....I'll find it.

There is of course the other side of that coin. That's when I get my paycheck and notice the federal withholding line realizing I'm helping pay for the insanity...ouch.

I'll be back on a more regular posting schedule next week. Who knows...I feel a vlog coming on too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kids really do say the darndest things...

I'm on my second rodeo when it comes to 2-year olds...

That's my little fire gem to the right. Another blessing from Heaven and living proof to me just how much God truly loves me. Of course, tough love is love none the less.

Carlee is the second of my two...soon to be three...daughters. While both girls share several common traits (i.e stubbornness, impatience, fiercely competitive, etc.), there are also some core differences. Carlee's older sister (Tony C version 2A) was for the most part a very soft spoken toddler. She spoke quite often but mild-mannered. True to stereotypical profiling, she is now a loud, annoying teenager...but I still truly love her (Happy 15th Birthday yesterday).

Tony C version 2B is far more in-your-face than version 2A as indicated by this recent exchange:

Tony C: (looking over counter in direction of dishwasher) Carlee? Are you messing with the dishwasher buttons again? You know that's off limits. Carlee?

Version 2B: (slight paused, then popping into view with hands out) You don't worry about me! Tony, you just don't worry about Carlee and worry about Tony!

Tony C: (off-balance by the rebuttal) Excuse me?

Version 2B: You just don't worry about me. You worry about Tony, and Carlee will worry about Carlee.

Tony C: (regain composure) Come here! Come right here, right now!

Version 2B: But I don't want a spanking! Just don't worry about me!

Tony C: Now!

Version 2B: (chin tucked into chest, lower lip puffed out and mumbling) I don't want a spanking.

Tony C: (lifting tot up onto the table and looking right into her eyes) I worry about Carlee because it's my job to worry about Carlee. I'm your dad! Don't tell me not to worry about you. Understand?

Version 2B: (under breath) Yes.

She does actually call me Tony part of the time, and while this is a point of contention with some of my extended family, I'm cool with it. Her sister went through the same phase and grew out of it (and I'm sure on to calling me much worse behind closed doors).

While there is rarely a day goes by that Mrs. Tony C and I aren't entertained by our rambunctious toddler who seems to be obsessed with bodily functions involving digestion or shedding her clothing whenever and wherever opportunity presents, her matter-of-fact dialog and take on life keeps us in well as...on edge.

One recent morning while preparing to depart for school and work, I let the teenager deal with getting the toddler ready (mom departs at 6:30 am for work). After 15 minutes of bickering and crying (by both I might add), I headed downstairs to let the teenager finish what she had started:
Tony C: (yelling back upstairs) Girls! It is time to time to go! Get a move on it!

Teenager: (with toddler screaming in the background) Dad...she won't let me put her clothes on her!

Toddler: Stop! Don't touch me! Stop!

Tony C: Carlee! If you don't let your sister help you get dressed...

Toddler: No! I want you to do it!

Tony C: If I have to come back up these stairs, you will definitely get a spanking for not listening! Let your sister dress you...we have to go now!

Toddler: Come spank me! I want a spanking! Then you can put my clothes on!

While I've never heard those words come out of the toddler's mouth again, I should have punished the teenager too for not finishing the task and letting a 2-year old get the best of her...but then I'm sure she has plenty more lessons still yet to come before she's off to college.

Funny how birth control can come in many different forms...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some guys have all the luck...

I have a new favorite show...and I'm sure watching it is not going to help me lose any weight.

If you've not seen Man v. Food on the Travel Channel, you're missing all the great stuff television has to offer: 1. Great locations, 2. Humor, 3. Real local people, 4. Amazing food segments, and of course, 5. Somebody doing something really stupid at the end.

Let me start with the last one. The host, Adam Richman, ends each show by taking on a food challenge from one of the host city's restaurants. These are tried and true food challenges that have usually kicked several hundred previous challengers in the pants and onto the walls of shame. I've seen Adam do some pretty dumb things in his quest to reign supreme in the ongoing man v. food battle. Sometimes he prevails...sometimes he pukes. Nobody said war was pretty.

Since I've started watching, here are a few highlights from the more entertaining food challenges:

  • 15 dozen raw oysters in New Orleans- man won
  • 11 pound pizza in Atlanta- food won
  • 7 pound breakfast burrito in Denver- food won
  • 4.5 pound steak in Amarillo- man won
  • 5- 24 oz milkshakes in St. Louis- food won (Adam barfed)
  • 7 pound seafood platter and sides under an hour in Long Island- man won
While each of these challenges was entertaining in its own right, I personally like the challenges that involve really hot (spicy) foods...and I mean really hot foods:

  • Hell Fire Challenge in Salt Lake City (ironic) which involves 7 different tuna sushi rolls that get progressively hotter with the last one (milk allowed)- man won
  • Fire in Your Hole Challenge in Sarasota, FL which was 10 hot wings cooked with Habanero peppers, hot sauce, Cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and Ghost Chile extract in 20 minutes. He finished won.
  • Suicide Six Wings Challenge in Brooklyn that only 10 out of hundreds of challengers has completed. He actually wore gloves to protect his hands while eating - man won.
In addition to the entertainment value of watching this guy stuff, gorge and burn himself for the sake of pride, a t-shirt (usually) and a photo spot prominently displayed, Adam hits a few of the host city hot spots for local cuisine. For a 30-minute show, you get the info you really want about a city without the fluff of Foder's...where's the good food!

He officially stands at 33-19 against food, and Adam is a pretty funny dude. If there's a lottery for television host, Richman hit the Powerball in my opinion...but Bert the Conqueror would be a close second.