Thursday, July 30, 2009

Communication


I was recently speaking with a coworker, and she was telling me about how wonderful her boyfriend is. From her stories, her beau strikes me as an alright fellow. However, my coworker did go on to say that from time to time, maybe when the moon is full, she and Prince Charming have mild disagreements. She gave me some penetrating commentary on their tiffs. "It's usually due to a lack of communication."

Back in 1992, the folks at Time magazine must have been incredibly proud of their reporting when they published the earth-shattering observation that men and women are born different (see above image). Unfreakinbelievably profound, I must say. Volumes of books have been written on the subject of the differences between males and females (and how to reconcile those differences), but like my coworker, the communication barriers plague me the most. Here's a story to illustrate.

The following series of events takes place every two to the three weeks around the Ford abode, and the reactions and results are the same. Any given evening, Jamie will find me sitting in my recliner, relaxing and reflecting on everything good. And then Mrs. Ford makes this declaration: this house is a disaster! My reaction? Nothing. Now let's explore this. From Jamie's point of view, approaching me and declaring that our house is a disaster should invoke a certain response. Jamie expects me to drop what I'm doing, hop up, and vigorously inquire of her how this disaster can be fixed. Anything less, and I solicit her wrath. Let's explore what goes through my mind.

I hear Jamie say, "This house is a disaster!" Admittedly, I hear her, but I don't listen. Why? It's actually quite simple. In my mind, a disaster is something like a dormant volcano exploding in our living room. If I asses the alleged disaster, and the solution to the alleged disaster involves between five and ten minutes of light cleaning, I ignore her. Simply put, disasters require more than five to ten minutes of light cleaning.

I know many female Ford Retort readers still need further explanation, and because the Ford Retort strives to be a digital domain of positive education and unbridled reconciliation, I will take more time to expound on these ideas. If Jamie came up to me and said, "There's a big, purple elephant sitting on my head, so stop what you're doing and come help me get this big, purple elephant off my head," I would ignore her. I believe you probably understand why. That Elephantidae scenario is beyond the realm of possibility. Thus, when Jamie says the house is a disaster (and since I associate disasters with dormant volcanoes exploding), I ignore for her the same reasons I would ignore her if she said, "There's a big, purple elephant sitting on my head, so stop what you're doing and come help me get this big, purple elephant off my head."

Jamie and I discussed this particular communication issue not long ago, and because she's a very level-headed gal, she definitely understood where I am coming from. Communication...try it...it's a great thing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Supper Club

Jamie and I joined our first ever supper club (the Usual Suspects don't really count as one)!

I'm not really sure why I put an exclamation point behind the previous sentence because I'm rather confident that membership in a supper club indicates that you are an old fart.

We did have a good time, though, and enjoyed sharing several stories with old and new friends. We ate at this restaurant. Not half bad...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Been In Trouble With The Law Since The Day He Was Born



It seems as of late that I've had a few run-ins with local authorities. Let me tell you about them.

While driving home one evening a month or so ago, I came upon a license check being run by the Highway Patrol. I expected to produce my license and proof of insurance for the officer and then sail on my merry way. Frankly, I enjoy a good license check...you know...keeps the vagrants and filth out of the neighborhood. "Mr. Ford," the officer said after giving me back my license and proof of insurance, "are you aware your inspection sticker has been expired almost a year?" Uhhhhhhhh. "Please pull off the side of the road, and I'll be with you momentarily."

I left that encounter with a ticket for having an expired inspection sticker. And while the Highway Patrol officer exemplified the agency's motto of, "courtesy, service, and safety," I didn't exactly drive away fond of my experience. Nonetheless, I am glad to report that mailing proof of a new inspection sticker (which I acquired approximately 12 hours after my chastisement) along with the ticket to the local county courthouse will expunge the ticket and its penalty from your record. Since my entire experience was rather painless, it may have been worth it to see what is plastered across the bottom of one of Mississippi's uniform traffic tickets. Directly above the space for the signature of the officer of the peace is a statement along the lines of "infringement against the honor and innocence of the State of Mississippi..." I laughed aloud the first time I read that and thought to myself, "Did I just rape the State of Mississippi?"

My latest run in with local authorities occurred yesterday. Jamie and I were eating dinner with half of the Usual Suspects at our house, and she recounted an incident that occurred earlier in the day. Apparently an agent of the county came aboard my personal property and removed a pampas grass from my flower bed. From our inspection, we hypothesize that the county feels my pampas grass is obstructing my water meter. I was a little peeved when Jamie told me she watched this guy (apparently a big guy) extirpate my pampas grass without accosting him. She told me that he was a big guy and the chainsaw he was wielding scared her. I told her that if the guy was indeed one buffet line away from a myocardial infarction, he probably wouldn't have been a formidable foe (chainsaw or no chainsaw).

I'll have to consult with my legal counsel, but I have a feeling there is nothing I can do (legally) about the pillaging of my verdant property. And yes, the fat guy really did use a chainsaw to dig up my pampas grass!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Morning Update

Good morning!

It is now official. These folks have come and gone. They told us what we already knew: we have no deficiencies! For now, I'll have a break from ensuring continuous compliance with so many of their silly standards. Uhhhhhuuuuuhhhhhhhhh (that was me taking a deep breath).

There's a lot to catch up on (blog-wise and life-wise). Saturday during the day, I did little to nothing. And I have no qualms about it. But yesterday night, Jamie and I were able to catch up with some friends (known as the B B club to some) I originally met at this place. Good times!

I need to run for now. Jamie is working today, and I'm about to take her and her coworkers lunch from this place. Check back in soon. I look forward to chatting and catching up!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jamie's Lasik Surgery

Jamie went under the laser Friday morning for Lasik eye surgery. I am pleased to report that the procedure and recovery so far (according to this gentleman) are going well. Other than the fact that she's annoyed with me because I'm asking her to read everything at a distance of greater than twenty feet, Jamie is very pleased with her Lasik decision. She's looking forward to throwing away the glasses and contact lenses.

I stayed out of the office on Friday so I could chauffeur Jamie around for the day. In addition to my transportation responsibilities, I also spent some quality time catching up on this show.

Before they took Jamie back for her procedure, we lingered in a waiting room among twenty or so people. Jamie and I were particularly humored by a gentleman who sat near us. I'm going to guess this gentleman was born and raised in Bude, Mississippi. He was rather loquacious, and because he had undergone several medical procedures, he went out of his way to let everybody know the ins and outs of what was about to happen to them. After listening to him talk for about ten minutes, I leaned over to Jamie and whispered, "I think that guy could really help out the doctor in your surgery. I'm about to go ask him if he'd be willing to scrub in." As I leaned forward to get out of my chair, Jamie pinched the back of my left arm and brought me to my knees as I cried out in pain. Surprisingly, nobody paid much attention to our incident. I think we were simply among fellow clowns in the circus of a surgery center.

Several associates of mine have voiced a bigger concern about Jamie's Lasik surgery: now that she can see you better, is she going to stick around?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Freak Out!




YouTube is awash in freak out videos. A friend showed me this one the other day. I also particularly enjoyed the Super Mario remix below.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'd Rather Have Jesus

Have you ever been in church, singing a hymn or any song for that matter and just had to stop singing? For me, it's happened more than once with this song. "I'd Rather Have Jesus" is a great hymn, but I've often been overcome with the words I am singing. The lyrics are direct, and the message is a bold proclamation. These are not small words, and I've found myself crippled with conviction a time or two.

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be his than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I'd rather be led by his nail-pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway,
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I'd rather be faithful to his dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I'd rather be true to his holy name.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sins dread sway,
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He's sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs,
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway,
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Georgia



This won't shock you: Jamie and I have spent many hours over the past month in sadness over the premature death of Winston. We really miss him. On Saturday, July 4, Winston would have reached the ripe, old age of one year. And while our little puppy had matured to 60 plus pounds of dog, he was just a big baby if you ask me.

Jamie and I will be getting another bulldog. Let there be no doubt! In fact, we planned on getting one of Winston's siblings because his mother, Georgia, was having another litter of baby bulldogs. However, we received some unfortunate news from Wendy earlier this week. Georgia lost all seven of her puppies. Heat is tough on bulldogs, and it may be the culprit in this case. Jamie and I experienced a twinge of disappointment. We were looking forward to having Chaucer aka the Chaucey Baby.

Georgia is a little under the weather right now, so I've been thinking about her often. The above video (admittedly a little out of context, but hey, it was the best I could do) is in honor of her. Get well soon, Georgia!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Fourth


To celebrate Independence Day, the Usual Suspects spent the weekend at Eagle Lake in Vicksburg for some fun on the water. We had a grand time in what I like to call "acting da fool." If I told you that the weekend birthed many a notable quotations, would you be surprised? Of course not! So if you were with Jamie, the Usual Suspects, and me, you might have heard these things said...oh wait...


Well I did forgot about that. Our gracious hosts for the weekend were beyond accommodating, but they did have the above stipulation. I can't help but feel compelled to honor their one request: what happens at the lake stays at the lake. Sorry (but remember, Usual Suspects, if any pictures of me get posted on the world wide web...I will renege and write a "tell-all"). Truth is, most of the good quotes aren't repeatable anyway. So I'll mention two stories instead.

Apparently, unannounced to me, the party-planning committee authorized an expenditure in excess of $100 dollars to decorate the redneck party barge for the Eagle Lake Independence Day boat parade. Essentially, the residents of Eagle Lake have this tradition of decorating their boats to show off their pride in our great country with an annual aquatic parade. I was unequivocally assured that our garish decorating efforts would bring us nothing less than the glory of a first-place finish in the competition (my decorating contribution: staying out of the way). Unfortunately, we had to settle for the internal pride we felt for our country, because much of our competition resembled floats you would see in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nonetheless, I was proud of our team.

During the weekend, I discovered an amazing solution to a divisive national security issue that our country faces. Some limp-wristed politicians find waterboarding to be an objectionable enhanced interrogation tool to extract information from terrorists. Wimps! Thanks to our trip to Eagle Lake, I submit to you a new "water-based" enhanced interogation technique. Let's round up the terrorists, put them on an inner tube attached to a boat being driven by Big Richard, and take them on a ride around a lake. Even the hardest terrorists will melt, cry like babies, and start singing "God Bless America."

Maybe, on Saturday like me, you came to this realization: while I was out on a lake playing and enjoying liberty and civilized society, we had brothers and sisters around the world defending our freedoms. I'm not interested in your political views or affiliation, and I don't care what your opinion is of the current conflicts in which our country is fighting. But I'll tell you this: there are evil people in this world that have a burning desire to destroy America and Americans. And it's not our fault. If you believe otherwise, you're extremely naive or misguided at best.

God bless America, and those who defend her!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Has Anybody Seen a...Michael?


Well I am back. To say that I haven't enjoyed my hiatus from blogging would be a gross lie. And to say that I've reaped great satisfaction in shirking my journalistic duties would be true. Nonetheless, it's time to end the Summer slump and get back to the serious, world-changing duties of publishing my indispensable thoughts in my small corner of the world wide web.

The love of my life and I have not been idle these last couple of weeks. Hopefully between her blog and the Ford Retort, you'll be able to piece together a picture of what has been happening with us. We've had a wedding here, a wedding there, an outing here, an outing there, and of course a little bit of work. You know how it is.

I devoted some time and real estate on the Ford Retort to the master bathroom renovation that took place not long ago in our house. What received considerably less attention was a bit of landscaping in our yard that Jamie and I undertook. Thanks to the good folks over at Deep Roots, the moaning and groaning was considerably attenuated (they put in beds and borders; Jamie and I planted). I'm very pleased with the way everything turned out, but since I still haven't figured out who is responsible for making it rain, I've dragged miles and miles of hoses and sprinklers around the yard for the last month.

At our front door, Jamie planted several flats of Zinnias. Before we move along, I need to emphasize that these Zinnias belong to Jamie. I have nothing to do with them. I don't water them (unless it's with a bleach solution). I care for the them in no way. I hate a Zinnia! Given the choice between planting Zinnias and breeding African cockroaches, I'd say bring on the crawling critters (uhh...that made me shiver). Frankly, the Zinnia strikes me as a bland and uninteresting flower. It must be a flower that the French adore. Even more frankly, I think the French dog that lives next door to us is very fond Zinnias. You know the French dog...I've mentioned him before...he barks in French, strides in an uppity manner, and voted for Obama.

Winston never cared for the French dog, and I am confident he wouldn't have cared for Jamie's Zinnias. After all, Winston barked with a slight English accent, walked around with little sophistication, and voted for McCain (although he did so grudgingly due to McCain's faux conservative credentials). So if you stop by the house, please admire the aristocratic Japanese Maples and the variegated Monkey Grass, but if you kindly will, simply walk past the Zinnias.