Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can I be Frank?

So what I am about to tell you is something that I just need to get off my chest.  I thought long and hard about whether or not to blog about it. I decided to do it for a couple of different reasons, first , to write something personal about myself, and second, because I had no other topic. :)
The other day I saw the picture above.  I think I was about 5 or 6 years old. I am sitting atop of a tank that was at this military museum or something in Maryland where my Aunt and Uncle lived. Every time I see that picture it reminds me of what I am about to tell you.

I was molested when I was a child by my Uncle Frank. God that feels weird saying that. (he is not alive any more so he got what was coming to him)  But I have always wondered how many other children he did that too. Did he do it to his own children? I have never got up enough nerve to ask my cousins, probably because I only see them once a year at the family reunion if they show up (or if I show up). I was even molested by some of my babysitters, that would take me into the closet and feel me out. I mean really...WTF? What would a child of 5 or 6 have that they would want to feel? These girls were like in their 20s or even 30s.  All I can think was that they were molested too and this is what they knew.
My Uncle Frank (which I hate even admitting he is my uncle) was in the military and was a strict father.  But when we would go over to spend a night and play Batman and Robin with our cousins...I would somehow end up in his lap after everyone went to sleep.I dont know how...but I did.
 I remember him kissing me so hard that my lips hurt. And his stubble on his face poked into my skin like thorns from a rose bush. I remember just not knowing what to do and staying very still, not moving an inch ...I literally felt like a piece of meat. I knew it was wrong what he was doing to me but I had no idea why he was doing it, and I was scared.

I always wondered what kind of impact that had on me, and I think I know now. It made me shy away from being able to show affection to my children and in some ways... to anyone. I always felt like I could not hug on my children the way a Father should, in fear of them having some sort of thought that I was molesting them. I was fearful of them thinking that, can you imagine? I remember times when my daughters would come sit on my lap and I felt uncomfortable about that , all because of that fear.
Aside from stealing some of my fatherhood....they stole some of my childhood innocence. Oh how I hate them all for doing that!

I tried to not let it effect me as I grew older, and for the most part, it didn't.  I do remember seeing Frank in his wheelchair (from a distance) after he had developed Alzheimer's  and I recall thinking to myself....oh the Bastard cant remember any of the terrible things he did to children.
 The bastard!!

By the time I grew to my twenty's and thirty's I had blacked it out from my memory and never mentioned it to anyone except Kim. I figured that if I didn't think about it then it never happened. That worked pretty well for me for the most part. I had opened up one day and told my family about it, and after that day I felt better about it and it didn't seem so dark anymore. It was mainly due to my Brothers who would made jokes about it. The main joke came when one of them put their hand on my leg and said with a very serious look on his face "Can I be Frank?"
I laughed aloud because it was pretty funny. (cmon, even you chuckled a bit didn't you?)
 I have come to terms with all of the past...but will never forget what that did to me as a man. I have such a hate towards pedophiles that if I had a choice with what to do with them once they were caught....I would give them the death penalty....the worst kind imaginable...boiling. :)  That's just something that I will never understand....why anyone would want to do any type of sexual activity with a child...I mean...I just don't get it. They have got to be Mentally Disturbed.

So now when my brothers ask me "Can I be Frank?" I always say, "well you have got the pervert part down pretty well."
 I am a firm believer in "What goes around...Comes around" so I really think Frank is paying his debts to the devil right now. (Not a very Christian thought, I know...but that's just how much I despise this man)

So OK, I am posting it...Now it is no longer one of those dark secrets you keep in the closet (no pun intended) And now you know something that only my readers will know about me. Aren't you Special?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Death by Spatula

 "I brought you in to this world...I can take you out too" . I remember my mother saying this on occasion. I remember she was always cooking when she said this.(maybe holding a knife or spatula in her hand gave her that powerful feeling...I don't know)  But thank God my mother never had to follow through with that, because death by a spatula would not be a pretty sight.

I know there has been alot of talk about the death penalty in the news lately with the Davis case (who was put to death last Wednesday) and it got me thinking on whether or not I truly believe in it. I have always said I did....but after doing a little investigating work.(ok I googled it) I am not so sure now.
 I am a God fearing man and for the most part, I love everyone and everything that life offers. (Except doing the dishes and laundry...I really HATE those two things) (thank God my wife doesn't hate them as much as I do) (or does she?) Nah.....anyways.... :)

I used to think this:
I do have compassion and I also believe in second chances.....but when you take someones life (on purpose) its only fitting that you should die too. An Eye for an Eye and a Life for a Life.

I think a little differently now and I will tell you why...but first let me give you a little history lesson. I googled a lot of stuff for this research so I have to share :)

 Death by law has been around for so many years that you would think it would deter people from committing  crimes. That's why the death penalty started in the first place. In fact it has been around since the eighteen BC. Back when they would execute people for things such as marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason. Some common methods of execution at that time were boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing, quartering and spatulaing  )ok,  I threw spatulaing in there just to see if you were paying attention. (but really? boiling? that's just not right.)
 Back in the 1700s there were 222 things that you could do that would get you the death penalty. It got a little bit of reform when the Europeans brought the death penalty to America , then... only things like stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians would get you the death penalty.
There were many reforms throughout the years regarding the death penalty to include such exceptions  such as mental illness, race , religion, and juveniles.
Fast forward to now. 58 countries retain the death penalty, including China, Iran, the United States, and Vietnam all of which rank among the highest for executions.
 There was 3200 people on Death Row at the beginning of 2011 in the United States. That may not seem like a large amount of people, but remember that not all states have the death penalty. (16 do not) We only execute murders and rapist of children nowadays. And only average about 100 executions per year. I just don't understand that...if there is 3200 people on Death row....that means that they were tried and found guilty and the sentence was death...why wouldn't we see to it that we follow through on our end and kill them in a timely fashion? That ratio is worse than credit card interest make the minimum payment but your debt just keeps just doesn't make sense to me.

So the real question....How much does all this cost the Tax payers? Please read some of these startling amounts.

  • The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life. Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. 
  •     In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the  costs of incarceration.
  •  In Maryland, an average death penalty case resulting in a death sentence costs approximately $3 million. The eventual costs to Maryland taxpayers for cases pursued 1978-1999 will be $186 million. Five executions have resulted.  
  •  The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level.
    Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole. Based on the 44 executions Florida had carried out since 1976, that amounts to a cost of $24 million for each execution.
  •  In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years

OK now you know the costs ...and for that reason and that reason alone, I don't agree with the death penalty the way it is today. It just isn't working people. Why should we be paying more than the price it would cost to keep a murderer in jail for life? Either kill them right away like they did in the old days....or lock them up for life with no parole and be done with them. Locking them up in a cell with Bubba still cost the tax payers money, but it would at least cut our losses financially. Maybe my type of thinking is just to Black and White.

So now I think this:

Should the people on Death Row die? Yes

Is the Death Penalty a consequence? Yes...just not one Im willing to pay for.

Do we have to kill them just because there is a Law that says we can? No...lock them up and throw away the key and be done with them.

Should we institute Death by Spatula for Death Row inmates? might deter people in the future. It worked for my mom. :)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dearly Beloved

Our bowling partners have a daughter who is 19...her name is Brandi....we have known her since she was 2. We saw her go through the terrible twos, and the awkward tween years, the sassy years when she was a teen, and then her graduation and her beginning college. So needless to say...we know her quite well. She stopped by Sunday evening to give us some big news....really big news.

She had just got back from a visit to see her boyfriend in Chicago. He joined the Navy and had just graduated from his basic training camp. She said that they went to a carnival and that's when it happened. They took a Ferris Wheel ride, and he got down on one knee and ask for her hand in marriage. could have been a catastrophe had he lost his balance while on one knee, 4 stories up on a Ferris Wheel...but thank god it wasn't. It was a romantic gesture, and she said yes!! 

So you are probably thinking...Really Ian...that was the Big News? People get proposed to everyday....what makes this such big news? Is that the Really Big News you wanted to share?
Well...No....You should know by now that when I say I have BIG news...I will back up those words with something epic...and there is nothing worse when someone has big news and they just keep prolonging the dialogue in order to keep the readers in suspense. Like when you want to know the score of the game and its the last thing they show on the I hate that. And Im so glad I am not like siree. when I have big news I like to just shout it out as soon as I can.

Brandi asked Kim and I if we would get ordained and marry them. How epic is that eh? I must admit, at first I was like really? this a joke?  But once I saw that she was serious and mouth started to salivate at the opportunity to officiate a wedding. I asked her why us? She said that she didnt want a minister or priest that she didnt know and would have to make frequent visits to in order for them to get married.  I never understood that either...but maybe thats just me....I think you should have someone you know, and more importantly...knows you to perform weddings and funerals. To me, it just makes sense. And Im not just saying that because she chose us to do it. (Okay maybe a little) So of course we said yes. But she also said that "she knew that we would do it in a way that everyone can relate to and keep their guest entertained during the ceremony". I am assuming that she meant that people want to see us joke about marriage and all the fun stuff that goes with it....but since I know marraige isnt all fun and games....that may have been a hugh assumption on my part...or hers...Im not sure. But I do know it will be fun and Im excited.

So we are now officially Ordained. I was unaware that you could get ordained online with just your name and email address. Wow...that was quick. So now we just need to think of the many jokes content of the ceremony. The possibilities are endless....and since the wedding wont be until Feburary or March we have lots of time to decide.

So if you need a minister for your kids birthday party, or your weekly book club, or even if you need someone you know to talk to....just know that we are now ordained which makes us available to pass a plate. Please give generously  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Dreams

Can you feel it in the air? Do you sense the excitement that's about to come? Can you feel it in your bones?   I'm talking about FALL !! The best time of the year.
 I cant begin to tell you how excited I am....but I will anyways. :), I laugh more, I think I am even nicer this time of year. The excitement of hunting, NFL season, baseball playoffs, bowling league, Halloween, and did I mention hunting?....yeah I did....ok so yeah...I'm stoked for next two months.

To tell you how good is been since fall has been in the air (and also to brag a little)....we had our first night of bowling and I bowled a 191, 206, and a 211.  Your right...I said that to brag more than anything. But maybe I am on to something here. Perhaps the next two months will be 60 days of good things happening to me. The possibilities are endless.....

 Perhaps one of the next sixty days, I will shoot a deer,come home and Kim will be wearing her French Maid Halloween costume...(I swear its a Halloween costume), anyway....she cooks dinner in her "costume", meanwhile I watch NFL football on the tube while the fire in the fireplace crackles and pops in the background.

 Or perhaps I will have day that I wake up and say "I'm not going to work today", and I go hunting instead and shoot a hugh 10 point buck, take it to the buck pole and end up winning a hunting trip to Alaska.

Or....Maybe one of the days I will hit the lottery and take a trip to a hideaway island in the tropics that has no people but does have satellite TV. 

Or...maybe one of those days I will come home from work and Kim will be there in her French Maid costume (Halloween costume....thats my story and Im sticking to it) and then she say's "Honey...tonight its all about you"...and she gives me a full body massage which takes away all the aches and pains in my body. (including my feet which Kim says that she will never touch even with oven mits on)

Yeah......maybe I am pushing the limits of Fall on that last one....but thats what the fall makes me do...dream of great things happening. Lions winning the superbowl...ok another push  but who knows....maybe....just maybe it works that way. Fall comes and Great things happen.  I am a pieces too, so us dreamers are always thinking about "what could be" verses "what it is".

The reality of it is...I will be making my own supper four nights out of each week and when my body aches I will have to take a couple of ibuprophin, the Lions wont make it to the superbowl, I wont shoot a deer this year and my TV will probably go out.

See...isnt Dreaming so much better? Thats why I Love the Fall Season !!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

River Riot

And were came and went...the weekend of Bliss is over. We could not have asked for better weather for our canoe trip. It was just a picture perfect sunny day. Heres how it all went down. (my version)
Before we started our trip, we checking the list that I made. (Yeah...I'm that guy) If I don't make a list I will end up having to run to the store several times each day for something that I had at home but forgot it because I didn't make a list. And besides, how would you feel if you got to your camp site only to find out that you forgot the grill? That would be silly....and I'm sure it doesn't happen to the average Great American Camper.....especially those that make lists.

We arrived at our campsite only to discover that we forgot the grill. Are you kidding me right now...I made a List !! We were supposed to get it from Taylor's house when we stopped to pick her and her friend Jamie up. big deal..(Dad screw up #1)  I will just run to the store and pick up some charcoal. Obstacle would have been had I remembered to buy charcoal starting fluid...back to the store I went for the second time. (Dad screw up #2)  This plush 8x12 foot cabin did come equipped with a campsite grill. (did you catch the size of that plush cabin?) they somehow made the pictures look a whole lot bigger than what it was. But "No big deal...we only plan to sleep in there at night" I said. (Dad screw up #3)

 "Lets start a fire"...Taylor said with great enthusiasm...Great idea....I mean it WAS a great idea...until we remembered that I didn't bring I go once again to buy some wood. (dad screw up #4)  The store owner was giving me one of those "You didn't make a list did you?" kinda looks. At this point I really didn't care what kind of looks he was giving me...I just wanted to relax by the campfire with a cold one in my hand...and it would all be better after that. And it was...the fire started with a little help from the torch that I brought, the beer was cold from the ice that we brought and wait....where are the bathrooms? Why do I see people going in and out of that tiny building across the street from our cabin? The girls spotted it and before I could say anything they were up and on there way over to verify our suspicions. Once I heard them cracking up...I knew we were right...they were outhouses.And although I took some ribbing from all of them, I was not too terrified myself  because I remember reading something in this Plush Resorts website that there were modern bathrooms and hot showers. I thought I would surprise them with that piece of info after I found out where they were. The beer was cold...the fire was burning, and so was our neighbors who occupied the cabin that was 5 feet from ours....oh how I love camping at a campground!!

We were scheduled to go out canoeing at noon the next day. That means we needed to be at the site at big deal....we will have plenty of time. At 11:00 Taylor and Jamie remembered that they wanted some alcohol to take down the river. Being the calm cool and collective guy that I am...I didn't say .....:Are you freaking crazy?...You knew we where we were going and you didn't bring the things that you needed?  And I'm glad I didn't say that...... after the grill and charcoal words wouldn't have had much credit. So off we go to the store for the fifth time. We didn't know where a store was that sold we just chose a direction and went with it. We found a highway and took the exit to the first town that we saw......And you will never guess what this town was having on the day that we were in a hurry.....that's right...a parade! The girls finally asked around and found a store a few miles out of town.....and now we had 10 minutes to get back to camp....I whipped out my GPS and we made it only a couple minutes past our 11:45 deadline. We were about to load up the van but Taylor couldn't find her sunglasses..."whoa"..I said..."I don't think there are going to be any red carpet photographers on the river Taylor"...but oh no....its a life or death situation for she walks back to the cabin in search of her sunglasses....I just about lost it....but I yielded to my patience....And besides,...a Taylor and Dad argument usually ends in a whole lot of yelling and I just didn't want to cause that kind of scene when we were about to embark on a very fun trip......ok I know the van will wait for her...its just that she was putting my fun on hold while she was looking for her sunglasses...and as it turned out...she didn't find them anyway. So my patience paid off.

As I said before, the day was beautiful and the sun was shining. This was by far worth wait. Grill or no grill, this would be a time to remember. The river was absolutely beautiful. The Thornapple River is Michigan's longest river with a span of 88 miles. I would have loved to seen all 88 miles of it. Its wide, deep and the lack of paddling that one needs to do while canoeing...Priceless!! That gave us plenty of time to sit back and drink a few cold ones, and then a few more....and the small bottle of apple schnapps and raspberry vodka went down very well as a chaser...or was it the other way around? Either way...we were all smiling and having a great time. I only ran Kim into low hanging branches a couple times. I thought that wasn't too bad considering I had been drinking a bit. And besides, its not like we tipped over and she fell into the river or anything. We decided to pull over and have some lunch...sounds pretty easy...just maneuver your canoe to the side of the river...piece of cake...I got this honey!! know how things happen fast... right?  And sometimes they happen so fast that you cant even explain what happened. (are you with me?) So the fact that I cant explain how Kim fell from our canoe and into the river is all because it happened so fast. Kim claims that she jumped out in order to save the canoe from tipping over....I called it abandoning ship. But whatever it wasn't...I can tell you what it was...and that is FUNNY....if you could have seen the look on her face when she came up out of the very cold makes me chuckle just typing this. It was only after many, many, many jokes ...that we had our lunch and were on our way back down the river. We saw swans, muskrats, turtles, fish and egrets on our trip. I say we say a mermaid too...but Kim didn't think that was so funny. But we all had a wonderful time on the river, and none of us wanted the trip to be over. But the burgers and roasted sweet corn on the grill was a treat in itself when we reached the cabin. For me....the best part was after dinner and I laid down for a short was sooooooooo nice. I heard no kids frolicking around the campsite. Ahhh...... now this is what its all about!!  Job well done Dad...Job well Done !!!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weekend Bliss

 This weekend we are going camping and canoeing. I will once again become one with Nature. Roughing it in the wilderness with the bears and coyotes. Oh wait...that's how I envisioned it. But the fact that Kim made me rent a cabin  at a lush resort camping facility, tells me it wont be as rugged as I once thought.

        You see, I go almost every year to the middle of nowhere for "deer hunting" (That's what I tell Kim anyways) for a week or sometimes even two weeks. I do go hunting...but that's not the purpose for going. I go because I love the outdoors and being alone in the wilderness just excites my senses. I can do whatever I want to do...whenever I want to do it. Sitting in front of a campfire listening to the howls of the nearby coyotes always lets me know that I'm not in Kansas anymore. (Yeah I know I'm from Michigan...but I digress)  I can drink as many beers as I dare, fart,scratch my ass,and any other disgusting thing that us men do, and no one will care one iota. (Well, that is assuming nobody is lurking in the bushes.)  Knowing that one slip up with my knife or tree stand could leave me stranded in the woods for days or even weeks before someone comes looking for me, It makes everything I do that much more critical and important. If something goes wrong in the field, I must use my mad McGyver skills to rectify the situation. That's why I always wear a belt ,chew gum and carry duct tape. OK, maybe I am over stating that fact that I really enjoy camping by myself. (Work with me...Im trying to paint a picture here.)

        The camping trip this weekend will be a little different than I am used to. OK ALOT different. The electricity, toilets that flush, coffee maker, blow dryer and the kitchen sink, are all things I will have to adapt to while roughing it. And did I mention the people...... the hundreds of people? Who will set up their tents and campers ten feet away from my cabin while their kids frolic about the camp sites. Kids?  (Note to self....Bring lots of beer)  I can see right now that my normal time in the hammock while the Yellow Bellied Warblers sing me into a dreamy sleep, just wont be the same. But hey, I'm a trooper...I will go with the flow...I will rough it out for the sake of happiness. If my family wants to relax at the pool or play mini golf, I will do it with a smile on my face...just for them of course.  (you feeling sorry for me yet?) Didn't think so.  However I will draw the line if someone starts singing Kumbaya while sitting around the campfire passing around a bottle of wine. C'mon, There is only so much I can take while I'm roughing it. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Common Fear

 I was talking with my cousin Penny (who is a phlebotomist)  and she was telling me about her 3 friends from work who have all had serious bouts with breast cancer. (Yeah...I said 3) I am talking  Mastectomy's and double mastectomy's here.  These women all work in the same dept. at the hospital she works in. Now... I am no expert in statistics...but that just seems like the likelyhood of that happening is astronomically high to me. I had asked Penny if she feared that she would too be faced with it at some point? She replied to me "Doesn't every woman fear it"? It set me back for a moment. Every woman fears getting breast Cancer?
After thinking about it for a moment, I realised  "Why wouldn't they?.... because I too fear it...not breast cancer (However I have started to develop some pretty good sized "man boobs") But Cancer in itself is something that I fear. I suppose in some way...every person probably fears getting cancer at some point in their lives. And rightfully so...percentages says that it is probable....quite probable in fact.

Women go through mammogram testing each year as an early detection process. A mammogram is something I never understood  until my wife explained the process to me....the fact that they must squish the breast as flat as a pancake to take pictures of it...just flabbergasts me. (OK that's a mans version of the test) But are you kidding me right now? We can do some amazing things in this world such as send robots to Mars, or replace organs in the human body...but we cant find a better method to check for cancer other than squeezing a boob to take a picture? All I can think about is "Thank God there is not such a thing for men." A "Manogram" so to speak. But even if there was...I think I would be forced to do it each year. What else is there? I was terrified when I had to go through  the whole prostrate exam. (Yeah that's the one where you hope your Dr. does not have "Man Hands") I went through this and will continue to do it because the statistics of a man developing prostrate cancer is  1 out of  every 6 men. And Breast cancer is not a whole lot better with a 1 out of every 8 women.

 Although the survival rate is fairly decent for both of these cancers ...dieing from it is not what scares me....its the treatment that scares me the most. Radiation, Chemo therapy, and the possibility of many surgery's that one must endure, all of it just scares the hell out of me. I have seen first hand what chemo does to ones body.... not a pretty sight. I have always wondered if I would put myself through all that if  I was faced with that decision. My heart goes out to all those men and women who have suffered and survived such a horrible disease and treatment. You talk about inspiration?...these are the people where you can draw enough inspiration and adoration that you will ever need. I also have much adoration for those who have forgone the treatment and said..."enough is enough".
Fear of cancer is in my head...but also in my head is knowing that I cannot control what happens to me. Only god decides what he wants me to be faced with in my life. Another thing that I do know for sure is..... that whatever God decides...I will face it with pride and dignity.