Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A word from a sponsor

A little warning before you continue reading: I am going to pimp myself out for little to next to nothing. I can't help it. I will do just about anything to get something for free.

Even if it something that I don't see myself using. Ever.

I received an email today from someone asking me to promote a "Save our Saturday" Program from the Krylon company. If I write about it, Krylon will send me a can of its' Wood Stain Spray. Huh? The only wood I work with is my own and I am not willing to spray anything on my "wood".

I am not the kind of guy who does "Tool Time Tim" type of work. If the there is anything that is needed to be done around my house I grab the local newspaper, find a handyman, call him, and then sit back and let him fix whatever needs to be fixed.

I know my limitations and I am OK with it. As Popeye said so eloquently, "I am who I am, and that's all that I am."

Nevertheless, promoting a program that helps guys getting their Saturday's back and limit the amount of time they are doing chores around the house is something that I have no problem doing. Men should have more time to drink beer and watch mind-killing TV on a Saturday.

Here is a detailed description about the program straight from the email:

"Krylon is launching a “Save Our Saturday” Program, which will have a sports trivia contest for free tickets to the World Series and a free HDTV on its site. The site will be promoting Krylon’s new Exterior Wood Stain Spray for refinishing old wood furniture, floors, fences, etc. The product is not so much for handymen or woodworkers, as much as it is for dads who want to SAVE TIME on their weekends (the spray takes about ¼ the amount of time that conventional wood stain takes)."

The email also stated that they hope their program will help men with the "dreaded" honey-do list. I must say, this is another thing that I can't relate to like other men can.

I have been on my own for so long now, I don't even know what having a honey-do list is like. What I have is a shit-to-do list. May not seem like there is big difference between the two, but the difference is huge.

A honey-do list is something you better get done on a Saturday or you will be spending the night on the couch. A shit-to-do list is the shit you are thinking about doing while you are sleeping on the couch all day long.

See the difference? I'd much rather have my shit-to-do list.

To the Krylon Company, I hope I did a good enough job promoting your new program. I want my can of Wood Stain Spray.

I can't wait to see the damage my daughters will do with it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This and that

I don't know who came up with the saying that things happen in 3s, but I hope it doesn't apply to me and my kids.

Four days after spending an hour in urgent care watching Shelby having her chin stitched up after a fall, Savannah fell down the stairs and suffered a mild concussion and a cut that turned her hair bright red. Stitches were not needed, but I did have to spend another hour in urgent care.

I am quickly becoming a favorite of the nurses and doctors and they are looking forward to me coming back later this week with Shelby to get her stitches removed. I just hope an injury to Alani or Kern doesn't bring me back sooner.

While I don't have any Laker tickets to take Savannah to a game like I did after Shelby's injury, I did set up a date with her at a local restaurant. She constantly watches cooking shows and talks of one day being a chef.

I know the owner of the restaurant and she has agreed to let Savannah make her own dinner with the chef. Savannah is already counting down the days until she gets to cook with a real "Chef"...

I started a new blog right before my computer crashed where I intended to write about a fictional character who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was going to write daily chronically his last year of life. I only was able to do two posts before losing my computer.

Having dealt with cancer on two separate occasions, I often wondered how I would deal with being told that I only had a short time to live. The character's reaction to his diagnosis and what he does is the way I would have wanted to deal with the news.

I write about this now because yesterday at church our Pastor started a month long series called "One Month to Live." The purpose of the series is to get people to stop living for someday and start living life with purpose, passion, and fulfillment beginning today.

I look forward to the series and hope that it can give me more direction in my own life, while also providing material for my other blog when I able to continue it...

Several of you inquired about my computer problems and asked if that my recent posts meant I was back online again for good. Unfortunately, I am still without a computer and it is hit and miss when I can post.

One of my roommates is out of town and I have been able to use her laptop while she is gone. My new computer is on back order and is still two to three weeks from being in my hands...

While losing my coaching friend was extremely hard on me, I did have the pleasure of meeting his two brothers and his parents. Both brothers are football coaches and we really enjoyed talking x's and o's during the week they were in town.

One of the brothers texted me over the weekend and asked me to come up to Oregon in May for his son's high school graduation. I accepted and can't wait to spend the weekend with him and his family.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Date night with Shelby

While growing up, I was a klutz who spent many nights in the emergency room. There was never a year that I didn't spend some time in the hospital.

There was a concussion after running into a pole while in a kindergarten, a broken rib suffered in a baseball game as a 12-year-old, a deep cut to my right knee from a bike spoke, and I almost cut a pinkie finger off while working as a slicer at an Italian restaurant as a teenager. Throw in four surgeries for various health issues, and it shouldn't surprise that many of the hospital staff knew me on a first name basis.

After each trip, my parents always had some gift waiting for me at home. It always made me feel loved when I walked into my room and found some present waiting for me on my bed.

On Thursday afternoon, I was able to do the same thing for one my own daughters. I received a call during my last class from her mother that Shelby split her chin open after falling on a toy box. I left work in a hurry and spent the afternoon with my six-year-old in a local urgent care.

The result was a night that neither of us will ever forget.

She received six stitches to close up a cut that the doctor said was one of the worst she had seen. My daughter was a trooper during the ordeal and I knew I had to come up with something to give her like my parents had for me after my hospital visits.

I had two tickets to a Los Angeles Lakers' game later that night and had troubles finding someone to go with me. While waiting to be seen, I had received a number of text messages from friends saying that for some reason or other they would not be able to join me to watch one of the best teams in the NBA.

Shelby kept telling me different friends I should try and invite to the game, but never came up with person I knew I should take.

"Hey, I know someone I can take to the game," I said.



She smiled so big at my response that the doctor warned her about possibly reopening her cut. We both laughed at that and walked hand in hand out the door.

She talked endlessly during the two-hour drive and never stopped asking questions about what she was going to see. I have never seen her so excited, however, it would have been nice for a few quiet moments while trying to navigate through LA traffic.

As soon as we walked into Staples Center, she had to have a Lakers' t-shirt, a foam finger in the shape of the No. 1 sign, an ice cream cone, and a large bottle of water. She was quickly becoming an expensive date.

While waiting for the game to start, she asked me what I thought was an innocent question. It ended up being a dig at her old man.

"Dad, who do you think will win the game?"

"The Lakers are going to win for sure, baby."

"Well, that will be nice. Your basketball and football teams never win."

She is definitely my daughter.

Despite that comment, we had a great night and the Lakers did win. She stood up the entire game cheering and yelling "MVP" every time the Kobe Bryant got the ball.

As we walked out, she said thanks and that she had a great time. Shelby even said that she was glad that she got hurt and was able to spend the night all on her own with me.

I couldn't have agreed with her more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends in low places

I have never been a bar hopper. Oh, I have frequented bars many times in my adult years. However, spending night after night in a bar has never been something I have done.

Last week that changed when I spent three nights in a row in the same establishment while planning the memorial services for my coach who recently passed away. In doing so, I found peace in knowing that my friend was not as alone as I thought he was in the last year.

I found a place that people from all walks of life would go and find family that I never knew existed. I must say, it was a beautiful discovery.

These people don't go to the bar to simply drink. They go because it is the one place that they know that they can be with people who won't judge and will allow them to be the real person that they are.

Is there really anything more that people want in life?

Alcohol has been something that I have always feared. Growing up with a mother who is alcoholic and used it as a vehicle to deal with my father can do that to a child. However, I found that spending time with a diverse crowd in a bar doesn't have to center around drinking.

My coaching friend was a man that I have no problem saying that I loved. He had no family in our area and I often worried about him when he left work and headed home.

Make no mistake, he had his vices. In our own way, we all do. How else can we deal with the daily strife's without having some outlet?

For Bill, his outlet was leaving work and having a few drinks while hanging out with friends. I used to give him shit for spending so much time in a bar and tried to convince him to stop going in there so much.

However, after spending so much time in there last week, I am so grateful to the bar employees and its' patrons for the love they gave Bill. They really did care for him and grieved for his loss as much as I have over the last two weeks.

My friend might have lived in a trailer, had no car, and had no one waiting at home for him. But, he did have people who loved him, cared for him, and who looked out for him. Lots of people. More people that I could have ever imagined.

This was a real eye-opener for me. It showed me that it really doesn't matter what you have in life, what you do in life, or where you might want to go in life. What matters is the people you have in your life.

In its simplest terms, life is about the relationships you have built with people. If you can leave this world having touched and been touched by as many people that my friend Bill did, than you have had a successful life.

What more can you ask for?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saying goodbye to a friend

I read where Stephen King said he is at his best as a writer when he has a little friend standing in the corner of his office just hanging out. He isn't always there and doesn't know when he will come or go.

King just knows that when he is there, magic will likely occur and he writes as fast and as much as he can. Those are the times when King knows he is at his best as a writer.

While I would never compare myself to King, I can relate to him as far as not knowing when my creative muse will come or go. I do know that it hasn't been with me since Wednesday and I don't see it coming back anytime soon.

Instead, I find myself trying to write with my heart. It's a heart that was broken with the news that my colleague, top assistant coach, and more importantly, my dear friend was found dead in his house Wednesday afternoon.

Two days later, I am still in shock and can't believe that he really is gone.

He has been with me through two divorces, a cancer scare, the birth of my four daughters, and some ups and downs on the football field. Through it all, it has been his incredible wit and big heart that I will remember most.

We started coaching together in 1997 and despite the fact I was his head coach, I realized that he knew more about football than I would likely ever know. Any question I might pose about how to defend an opponents' offense or how to attack a defense, Bill always had the answers.

After he had spent four years at another school, I was able to talk him into returning to my staff this past year as my defensive coordinator. He had just finished a season where his team went 0-10 and the coach he worked for had announced his retirement.

It seemed like a good move for him as one of his losses he suffered a year ago came against my coached-team. However, this year we struggled with numbers in our program and finished with just one win.

Our lack of success had nothing to do with Bill as he was as good of a coach as any I have ever worked with before. He was also the same 'ole Bill as far as humor goes.

During our last game and facing the team he coached a year ago, we were losing by three touchdowns midway through the third quarter. After another failed offensive possession, Bill could tell that frustration was getting the best of me and put his arm around me. He then said the only thing that could have got a laugh out of me at that moment.

"You think this is bad for you?" he asked.

"What do you mean, Bill?"

"I could be over on the other side of the field right now kicking your ass. But, I chose to come and work for you. I feel worse than you could ever feel."

He then flashed me a little smile and walked away. While watching him head down the sidelines, I laughed and was thankful that he had come back to work with me again.

I just wished it lasted longer than one season. I am going to miss the hell out of him.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One of my favorites

(Since my computer is still down and I have received emails asking for posts, I decided to rerun the fourth post I wrote. Not too many people were reading me back then. I hope to be back soon.)

I fucked up yesterday. I really don't know how else to describe it. I just fucked up.

I am sorry about cussing... but I am pretty fired up. I am around high school kids all the time and I really have to control the language. Right now, though, there's no controlling it.

Before I get into what I did, let me give some background information that pertains to what happened.

Three years ago, I started dating the most beautiful woman in the world. I really don't know how it happened or what she was thinking at the time. Really... I mean if you saw a picture of her and me, you'd be wondering the same thing. Pretty fucking cool, huh?

Before we started dating, we talked about books and what we each like to read. I was a classical book fan, meaning I was reading the Hemingway's, Harper Lee's, Steinbeck's and anyone else that I heard won an award or two. I thought it broadened my mind and made me cool if I read them.

She, on the other hand, was into fantasy, sci-fi, vampire and a whole bunch of other shit that I never even fathomed of reading. I couldn't even imagine why someone would want to read that stuff. I mean, we did grow up, didn't we?

We traded books from our own collection and promised each other we would actually read them. She gave me Marta Randall's A Sword for Winter and I gave her Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

I actually read it. I really liked this woman and anything to help in my pursuit of getting her to bed... I was going to do it.

A funny and unexpected thing happened while reading this book... I fell in love with fantasy writing. The only other fantasy writing stuff I read before was the letters in Penthouse, and there was no cleanup needed after reading this genre.

It was incredible. It brought me into whole new world that I never knew existed. I wanted and needed more.

She then proclaimed me ready to move up a notch and tackle a series, not just one book. She gave me George RR Martin's series Fire and Ice and I dug in and started reading.

And I read and I read and I read. I finished four books of more than 1,000 pages each in four weeks. I couldn't help myself. It was the most beautiful, and yet, kick ass story you can imagine. I still get goosebumps down the back of my neck thinking about it.

But after the fourth book, I asked her for the fifth book. That's when she broke the news to me that he has yet to finish his next installment in the series. I was crushed beyond belief. And pissed off to boot.

What the hell was I going to do now? I had jumped into this series face first and it taken over all my thoughts throughout the day. Now, I had to wait for him to finish the next book?

Three years later and I am still waiting.

I routinely go onto his website looking for updates on the book only to find that he has been working on other projects, blogging about the NFL season, and traveling with his wife. He even writes a blog entry about HBO turning the series into weekly TV show.

How the fuck are they going to do that? He hasn't finished it!

Well, when it comes to books, I am not one to sit back and not do anything. After reading the book Friday Night Lights which a sports writer follows a high school football team from Texas, I called Boobie Miles to find out how he was recovering from a knee injury he suffered during the season featured in the book.

I don't remembered how I got the number, but I did and called him. We talked and he told me his football days are over and that he was still trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life. I wished him luck and thanked him for taking my call and we hung up.

Today, I thought I'd try calling Mr. Martin so we can discuss his lack of writing these days. His site told me he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I began calling information.

Damn it if I didn't find a George R. Martin and I now had a number.

This is where the "I fucked up yesterday" comes in. I was pretty nervous about calling and may not get exactly what I said right, but this should give you a good idea of what happened and what was going through my head as I called over and over again...
Ring, ring, ring, ring...answer machine.

"Thank you for calling the Martins. We are not available right now. Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Beeeeeeeep."

Yea, George, uhhhhhmmm... I am a huge fan... I can't believe I am talking to you, well not you, your answering machine. Shit, this awesome. Hey, how come you don't have something cool on your machine? Like, I am up on the Wall right now on lookout... Winter Is Coming. I'll call you back when I can. Now, that would be cool as shit. But, anyways, I am calling about your fifth book, when is it...Beeeeeeep.

Shit, I didn't even get to ask about the book. Relax this time. He is just a person... you can talk to him. Ok, calling again...

Ring, ring, ring, ring...answer machine.

"Thank you for calling the Martins. We are not available right now. Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Beeeeeeeep."

Hey George, it's me again. But, what I was going to ask is, uhhhhm, this is fucking awesome. But anyways, when is your next book coming out? I and I am sure many others are waiting. Your shit is soooo fucking good, but I can't wait much longer. I mean, your picture on your website looks like your old and shit. What the hell am I going to do if you.... beeeeeeeep.

Oh shit, that didn't go well. I don't want him to think I am stalker or a fucking nut. I have to call back...

Ring, ring, ring, ring...answer machine.

"Thank you for calling the Martins. We are not available right now. Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Beeeeeeeep."

Yea, uhhhhmm, what I was going to say is what if you die? How will I know what happens then? So, please finish this series. I am real big fan. Thanks and have a good day.

And that was it. What an idiot. I came off as a total dumbass. I can't believe I fucking did that. He'll never finish the book just to spite me.

I was ready to forget about the whole calling Mr. Martin thing when my phone rang. It was him. He was calling me back?? I hate caller ID...should have blocked my calls.


"Hi. This is George Martin. But not the author George Martin. The plumber George Martin. Please don't ever call here again, and I recommend you never try getting a hold of the author. Do you understand, asshole???" Click!

Damn. Who would have guessed there was more than one George Martin in New Mexico?

At least the real George Martin doesn't think I am an asshole.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Caught with my pants down

There are many times in my life where I have gotten my ass in trouble. However, I can't recall a time where my ass got me in trouble.

That changed Friday night when I read the following email from someone who claimed to be me on Facebook:

Dear Brett,

I found this video of you from high school. You can see your ass in it. Check it out.



Dumbfounded, I clicked on the link anticipating me and some shot of my ass. What I got instead was nothing but a flashing screen on my computer that quickly turned blue. That blue screen has not changed in four days and I no longer have a working computer in my home.

My ass video turned out to be nothing more than a virus that killed my computer completely. As if that wasn't bad enough, the ass that sent me the video claiming to have my ass in it also shipped the email to all my friends on Facebook. There is nothing like pissing off people you haven't seen since high school. I am sure they can't wait to see my ass this summer at our 20th Reunion.

I was notified Tuesday afternoon that my computer needs to be rebuilt and everything on my hard drive is lost. No more working on lesson plans, no more checking email, and no more blogging from home.

I don't know how long it will take before I get my computer back, or when I will be able to start writing again on a daily basis. The computer tech in charge of my job told me to remain patient and that when I get it back, it will be better than new.

What I do know is that I will never let the lure of my ass get the best of me again.