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Growing Older, But Not Up

I think I might actually have grown up.

I fought against it for years and years (hence the title, based on a fabulous Jimmy Buffett song Growing Older, But Not Up, embedded here for your pleasure.) but I think the years might have eventually worn down my resistance.

This came to mind yesterday when I realized suddenly that I actually enjoyed mowing the lawn.

When I realized this, I’m almost certain I felt a ghostly dopeslap to the back of my head by my mom, reaching out from beyond the grave to try and pay me back for all the grief I gave her while I was a young dude and it was my job to mow the lawn.

I hated it, dudes. Sincerely, loudly and with great passion, hated mowing the lawn. I would do anything to avoid having to get out there behind the mower, sweating in the brutal Dallas sun and trying to cut a lawn that would only grow back as soon as I got done cutting it.

Which, oddly, was my favorite argument as to why I shouldn’t have to mow it. Sort of like why it was dumb to make your bed since you were only going to sleep in it that night and mess it all up again.

I’m completely ignoring the fact that I’m the one who makes my bed every day now, just because it looks nicer than does an unmade bed.

As a young dude, when I was forced to mow the lawn, I’d grumble the entire time and then do as poor a job as possible. I didn’t mow in straight lines. I threw in curves, loops, circles and, on one memorable

occasion, Abe Lincoln faces.*

All of which meant that, as soon as I was done an put the lawn mower away, I could call myself done only until either my mom or dad saw the result and forced me to go back out there and get it done right. Which only led to more grumbling and groaning.

Amber Rose is an American model and performer who is married to some rap star and is the first person who's picture appeared when I typed Amber into Google Images, otherwise I'd have no idea who she was. Sorry, Amber.
Not the kind of amber I was talking about, dudes to the left.

Somehow, over the years, I’ve changed, despite my best efforts to cast my personality in amber and never move on into adulthood. It’s sneaky, adulthood. And it snuck in on me.

When I mow the lawn now, there’s a certain sense of . . . satisfaction, I guess. A feeling that, as the blades of grass fall to my rotating cutter, leaving behind a smoothish, shorter line, I have accomplished something tangible. And, apparently, I’ll take that sense of accomplishment where I can get it.

Growing up, it turns out, isn’t one big step, but a series of tiny, incremental ones that you never even notice.

Who knew?**

 

Footnotes & Errata

* I was very, very bored.
** Yes, everyone. Everyone but me. Yes, thank you for reminding me.

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2,000 POSTS! WHEEEEEEEEE!

This is the 2,000th post here on the Guide, dudes.

That’s 2,000 times either I (Richard Jones) or Barry (Barry Robert Ozer) have hit publish and sent something out to you, our (hypothetical) constant reader.

This blog has been running in one form or another since about this time in 2008. The first post actually was published by Barry on January 27, 2008.

In fact, Barry actually wrote the entire first week of the blog. Well, the first week’s worth of posts since they weren’t daily back then. After he convinced me, in the best fashion of Tom Sawyer and the whitewashed fence, that I really should be the one to write these things, I’ve been doing most of them ever since.

Although, really, I think the best posts are those that Barry brings to me. He’ll have something happen in his life that sparks an idea, he’ll write it up and then I’ll punch it up a bit, send it back to him, do a bit more editing and then put up here. The collaboration sparks things.

Things like our book, A Dude’s Guide to Babies, still available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine booksellers across this great country and other almost-as-great countries around the world.

When we started this blog, George W. Bush still was the president. Barry was happy about that. I wasn’t. Before our first year was up, Barak Obama was president. I was happy about that. Barry wasn’t.

We started this blog as a way to drum up interest in the idea of publishing our book, the aforementioned A Dude’s Guide to Babiesbut it’s become so much more for me.

While we don’t get all that much feedback here on the site, we do get a number of comments from folks through our Facebook feed, Google + and other social networking sites. We really do appreciate those of you, especially you, Chris Upson, our most frequent commentator, who take the time to let us know where we got it right and where we got it wrong.

I was going to thank the (metaphorical) little people, but realized that might not be as funny as it could. It’s also not true. I might be the person with his fingers on the keyboard, but it’s only because I got invited first.

When we started this blog, there weren’t a whole lot of places where men could go to talk about parenting. The idea of a stay-at-home dad was just beginning to gain traction as something other than a comedy idea. It still was a tremendous step up from where the idea was when I started doing it 14 years ago, but still far below where it is now.

Which is not to say the idea of a dad staying home to care for his kids doesn’t still get mined for far too much silly, dumb attempts-that-miss-wildly at comedy. But it’s growing into an accepted idea you won’t have to fight for.

So, thanks, everybody.

We’ve been having a great time. Spread the word. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends about us.

We’re a fun couple of guys and we’d love to hear from anyone.

Thanks for reading however many of the past 2,000 posts you did manage to read. Thank you for your support.

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Not Even The Mouse

It’s late at night and the only sound is the constantly shifting pounding of my fingertips slamming into the keyboard of my laptop.

(It’s not really that loud, but I’ve been harassed about my typing volume lately and, really, it is the only sound in the house right now. Even the fireplace has stopped the cooling ticking that it goes through when the fire has died down. It’s quiet is what I’m trying to say.)

I love this time of year. I truly do, dudes.

Christmas Eve, once everyone else has gone to bed, all my preparations for tomorrow are finished and there’s just me, the tree, the stockings and whatever is making that light scratching sound up near the ceiling of the kitchen. Nothing to worry about, I’m sure.

Anyway.

I’ve gone online already to watch Santa as he starts his flight around the globe. I’ve headed to watch as NORAD tracks the jolly old elf, and I’ve even checked out the corporate octopus, with arms in every single area of world commerce, making plans for world domination as it tracks the one individual capable of breaking the the Google Quarantine. Yes, Google is tracking Santa as well.

I’ve forced the young dudes to sit still for a half hour while I indulged in my second-favorite Christmas tradition: reading aloud from ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and Dr. Seuss’ seminal work How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s too childish for them, they say. Well, tough. I like it. I’m going to read it, so there. 

I’ll show them childish.

We’ve indulged ourselves with the traditional Christmas Eve dinner of fondue. What? It’s our tradition: started by our family way back in the 1970s when we shared Christmas Even dinner with the Kight family next door. We’ve been doing it ever since and the young dudes insist.

Each one of us has opened one single present from under the tree. Sometimes the young dudes will try to open the one present they think they know is best. Sometimes they’ll just go for the biggest. Or the smallest, under the principle that I’m sneaky.

All of that is done. And I am alone.

I find the solitude quite comforting.

I think it’s the fact that I know where most of my family is. That I’m surrounded by most of those I love, that I could reach out to those here, but don’t.

There’s only the quiet and my thoughts.

This is the time when I like to think back over the year that’s been, to review what went right and what went wrong. This is the time of forgiveness and caring and I always think I could use a little of that on myself now and then.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, is going to be loud and rambunctious and filled with screaming and laughing and the deafening sound of paper being ripped to literal shreds in a paroxysm of need to get to what’s inside.

And all that is as it should be.

But, for now, it’s quiet.

Well, except for that blasted scratching sound again. I think there might be another raccoon in the attic or something. No, probably not a raccoon. It sounds too loud.

Almost like something pawing at the roo–

You don’t suppose. . .

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