Tag Archives: Time Off

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Okay, I lied.

It seems like I do have something important to say today.

I’m just stopping by for a quick shout out to my dad, my namesake and the big dude who taught me everything he knows — but not everything I know — about how to be a dad. Sometimes he did it by setting an example, and sometimes he did it by showing me what not to do.

Either way, I learned more from that man than I could have from a library full of books.

He taught me that if it was important to his son that he coach in sports, then he took the time off his job to be there for his son and coach whatever sport was in season. Dad coached me in tackle football, baseball, basketball, just about everything I ever wanted to play. When I made the school track team in shot put and discus and the mile relay, it was my dad who took me aside and showed me how to do it all.

He taught me that you didn’t have to go along with the herd, even if you wanted to achieve the same goal as it did. He’s a doctor, but he didn’t undergraduate major in anything science-y. He majored in English because he enjoyed it.

He’s also the man who showed me the value and the warmth of a real Hawaiian shirt with the wooden buttons. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Not Be Allowed Near My Closet With Anything Remotely Sharp, might not like them, but I love my Hawaiian shirt collection.

He’s also the man who brought home the first science fiction/fantasy book I remember reading. It was the middle book in a trilogy, but I was hooked for life. He set me on a path toward some exceedingly strange places, that I’m so very glad I found. He nurtured my love of reading and words and creating with them and I can’t thank him enough.

He’s also the man who helped shape my sense of humor. So, yeah, he’s the one you can blame.

Thanks, Dad, for being such a great mentor, teacher, coach and cheerleader all rolled up into one dad-sized package that kept pushing, prodding and questioning, all the while letting me know I was loved no matter what I did, as long as what I did made me happy.

Happy birthday!

Before I go, though, answer me one question: Who’s on first.

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Teenage Envy

by Richard

As I write this, Zippy the Monkey Boy is collapsed on the couch in the living room, having crawled from his bed, staggered from his room and down the stairs at the horribly early hour of 10 a.m. It’s now after noon and he’s been snoozing on the couch for the past two hours.

I am, to say the least, more than a big jealous, dudes. More than a bit.

See, Zippy the Monkey Boy’s got the day off from school today, as he has for the past two days (it’s Wednesday as I write this), and he’s spent his precious time off by staying up late and getting up even later. It’s getting so I’m starting to dislike it.

The problem is that I used to do exactly the same thing when I was around his age. To me, the day didn’t really start until the sun was more than good and warm: it was sliding on its own way to bed. And the evening certainly didn’t end on the left side of midnight. No, there were books to be read and truly awful television shows to be watched in the background. You know, the important stuff.

Heck, I even have fond memories of my first real job, mostly because of the hours. I was a reporter for the FLORIDA TODAY newspaper in Melbourne, Florida. And it was great. I didn’t have to show up until 10 am and was off by 7 pm and, dudes, it was great. I could stay up until 1 am, still get 8 hours of sleep and then show up at the office feeling great.

My days off consisted of staying up even later and then not getting a start on the day until there were only a few hours of daylight left. That all started to change when I met and married my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Kidding It’s Way Too Early To Get Out Of Bed, who insisted on spending quality time with me when there were actual people still awake.

So, yeah, I understand Zippy the Monkey Boy’s urge to stay up late and get up even later. I do understand. Which doesn’t mean I’m ready to let it continue, mind.

In fact, I’m wrapping this up right now. There’s a freezer with ice in it and a sleeping neck that looks like it could use a good cool down.

I know. Evil is an understatement.

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by Richard

So, the other weekend, She Who Must Lead The Way and I flew down to Miami for a “conference.” I put the words in quotes because She Who Must Have Her Time Off didn’t spend all that much time learning, but did spend a lot of time loafin’. So that was good.

But what I want to talk about was the plane flight down and what happened during.

To start with, I was running late, which meant that I had to meet She Who Must Not Be Kept Waiting at the airport. Where I kept her waiting. Which was not good. For me.

Despite no air conditioning, one security station closed down forcing humongous lines in the remaining security stations, a slightly malfunctioning full-body scanner (which probably has some great pictures saved in its hard drive for later perusal) and a nice pat down, we made it to the gate on time and even boarded on time. Despite the rapidly encroaching thunderstorm.

We were relieved. We figured we were on the plane on time so we’d take off on time. Not so fast, dude. We got to wait at the gate and on the runway a grand total of more than an hour and a half. And the enjoyable part was our flightmates. About 70 percent of the passengers were Italians from Italy on vacation here. About half of them were drunk. And about half of them were amazingly, loudly drunk. I had to be told this because, of course, I’ve never actually experienced this for myself.


Anyway, the amazingly, loudly drunk Italians eventually passed out. At which point, the Italian kiddies decided it was a good time to get unclipped and start running around the plane. At which point, the flight attendants began drawing straws to see who got to commit hari-kari first and who had to live through the flight.

Eventually we got in the air (despite on of the little Italian dudes being in the aisle during takeoff) and took off, to the accompaniment of loud snores and falling droplets of sweat from the poorly functioning air conditioning. Nice start to the trip, yeah?

So, anyway, here’s the very, very odd bit. About 10 minutes before we landed, one of the formerly passed out Italians decided it was time to get up and take care of some business. After a couple of minutes, he exited the bathroom in a cloud of cigarette smoke.

Yes, he’d gone to the bathroom for a quick smoke. On an airplane. In flight. The flight attendant had to visibly restrain herself from physically going after the dude. She, and the rest of the (conscious) passengers around us, were incredulous. None of us could believe it.

But the best part was yet to come. That arrived when we got down, taxied to the gate and then had to wait another half hour for the air marshalls and police to arrive so they could arrest the poor, drunk Italian man who just couldn’t wait another ten minutes for a smoke.

I see this has gone on for a bit too long. I’m gonna break here and resume tomorrow.

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