Saturday, January 22, 2011

is that elvis or a fetus? you decide

board games are fun.  when i say board games i am referring to any game really that involves skill, knowledge, or a combination of both.  games that depend too much on the non-skill/non-knowledge based trait of luck aren't that fun.  strategy games are fun, but they generally take too long.  card games are okay, but they involve too much chance.  and last, but not least, as i'm not a mouth-breather, role playing games have never interested me that much (which is surprising considering my affinity for star wars).  accordingly, board games are my recreational non-athletic game of choice.

mostly i like board games because i'm somewhat of a seasoned professional in this arena.  i'm pretty good with trivia and all of its iterations, as well as, guessing words and giving clues for other to guess words.  i also excel at spelling frontwards, but especially backwards.  i'm so-so at charades, but my high-level of skill in the other areas makes up for it.  i would have to say, however, that my specialty is drawing.

a co-worker recently told me about a game i'd never heard of: impossible pictionary.  naturally, i was intrigued and felt somewhat challenged as nothing pictionary had ever thrown at me proved to be impossible (just ask milton bradley as they tried for years to stump me until i unofficially retired).  impossible pictionary, though...

alright, i'll bite.  what is this impossible pictionary of which you speak?

basically, it's pictionary, but you split up into boys vs. girls (always makes for a good date night to have a battle of the sexes when it comes to board games and run the risk of driving your marriage/relationship to within inches of formal dissolution) and then each team tries to come up with impossible words for the other team to draw.  the only rules are no legal or medical terms... at least in her family since everyone is a doctor or lawyer.

i requested some examples of words they have used to see if i felt it would even be worth my time to throw my hat in the ring.

so, "falafel" she says.

difficult?  maybe.

impossible?  hardly.

i started a rough sketch of how i would approach the task of drawing a falafel and was well on my way to certain masterpiece that even a blind person could have guessed before i asked for another example.  my co-worker then explained that part of the strategy is to provide a word to the other team that might be somewhat embarrassing for them to draw.

take, for instance, the word "menopause".  now even i will concede that this word could be somewhat difficult, especially if one is attempting to draw it in the presence of mixed company.  another co-worker of mine, however, didn't seem to think it would be that tough and suggested that you just draw a uterus with a ghostbuster-esque circle and line through it.

brilliant.  the genius of the masculine mind.

then again, as nice as concept as it was; one little problem: how easy is it to draw a uterus?

well, in my experience, a lot easier than one might think.

i shall explain...

to date, my record in pictionary is like a bazillion and one.  but my near spotless record hasn't always been that way.  there was a time that it was actually completely spotless and as unblemished and pure as the snow falling on the streets of salt lake city on that cursed winter night when my unbeaten record fell.

this night took place during the early days of the courtship between the blogmaster and mrs. blogmaster-to-be.  it was a seminal event in our relationship that almost led to the ruination of the budding romance between us.

as it were, mrs. blogmaster and i were engaged (not to be married... at least not yet) in a heated battle of pictionary with a couple other couples.  it was a close match with each turn counting that much more than the last one.  we may have been teetering, we have been trying to secure a lead... i don't remember;  but, what i do remember was that it was finally my turn and just as sure as casey at the plate i was ready to spark our comeback or seal the deal depending on whether we were behind or about to run away with it (memory doesn't serve).

the following is the play-by-play:

the blogmaster has selected his card and it looks like the word is "elvis".  yes, we can confirm that the word is in fact "elvis".

shouldn't be a problem for the blogmaster seeing as how he is from las vegas and has seen his fair share of elvis impersonators.  what's more, if we consider his considerable skill in sketching caricatures, this one should be in the bag for his team.

here he goes.  the timer has been turned, the sands are flowing...

looks like he is starting out slow.  taking his time focusing on the details to ensure that the drawing is clear and unmistakable.  no need to rush.

good call.  it looks like he is going with elvis in his later years: a little more portly, big hair and big sideburns... these feature being more exaggerated and identifiable with elvis should make the drawing more identifiable and easy to guess.  he is a wizard.

the hair and sideburns are in place.  looks like he's moving to the face with some thick rimmed glasses.  unreal... glasses?  who would have thunk?

no guesses yet, i think his team is waiting for the whole picture to come together just for the drama of it all.

step-by-step recreation of the drawing from an upside down view as mrs. blogmaster-to-be would have viewed it.
wait... it looks like mrs. blogmaster-to-be is mustering up a guess...

here it comes:

mrs. blogmaster-to-be: "fetus!"


crickets chirping.

did she say fetus?  did she really say that out loud?  awkward.  the blogmaster is stunned.  it's as if time has stopped.  actually, it has... the last grain of sand just slipped through the birth canal portion of the hour glass.

in all fairness to mrs. blogmaster-to-be, the hair does somewhat resemble a gelatinous fetus, but i'm afraid i've never seen a fetus wear a pair of thick-rimmed glass, hold a microphone, or wear a one piece chest hair a-blazing jump suit.  but, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt since she's looking at the picture upside down.

we can't believe our eyes.  this can't be good.  in fact, it looks like the blogmaster is expressing his frustration towards mrs. blogmaster-to-be and i think mrs. blogmaster-to-be just told him where he can stick it.  ouch.  he better keep his pie hole shut and take the loss like a man.  double awkward.  their friends are staring at them.  we're all feeling a little uncomfortable now.

end scene.

okay, so fetus and uterus are two different things, but they both end in "us" and i had to have some kind of transition from one story to the other.

bottom line is that the blogmaster still needs to learn to be a gracious loser.  luckily, he doesn't have to be gracious too often.  however, the other night we played a game (girls against boys, of course) and the girls won.  i graciously accepted defeat and admitted out loud without any hint of rancor or resentment that the ladies had won.

mrs. blogmaster was so shocked that i had conceded defeat so willingly that she grabbed a video camera in order to film me with my tail between my legs.  i gladly admitted on camera that i was actually happy and somewhat relieved to see the ladies win as it was quite possibly the first time ever in the history of cooper family get togethers that the women had defeated the men.

in fact, i was so pleased at the outcome i encouraged mrs. blogmaster's filming of the momentous occasion for posterity's sake as i had once feared our kids would never see this day... at least now it was documented and even our youngest will be able to look back on a glorious moment he is unlikely to remember or ever experience again.  mrs. blogmaster was so geeked out over the win she even put the scoresheet on the fridge for a few weeks to make sure i could remember my defeat at the hand of the ladies.

it was a great day for female board-game players everywhere.

so, in closing, how's that for gracious defeat?  maybe next time i'll talk about the ultimate frisbee football game that pretty much ruined Christmas a few years ago.  stay tuned.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

jan. 15, 2011: the blogmaster versus the mountain

editor's note: 

on january 15, 2011, jeremy cooper woke up with an uncharacteristic urge to go for a jog and scale the local neighborhood mountain.  after a period of several minutes the blogmaster did not return.  mrs. blogmaster assumed the worst and  while she was en route to the cooper's life insurance agent to inquire as to the availability of funds on the blogmaster's policy, a search and rescue team was dispatched to locate the poor soul's remains.  the blogmaster's whereabouts are still unknown, but the following words were found etched in the sand not far from something resembling the carcass of a well-dressed man.  we presume that the message can be attributable to the blogmaster as it was etched in lower case lettering.

i would ask that you begin to prepare yourselves emotionally or at least until such time as the whereabouts of mr. cooper are determined as it is quite possible that this will be the almighty blogmaster's final post.

part 1: the idea

today is saturday, january 15, 2011.  i woke up this morning with a desire to do something physical so as to make myself feel better for having eaten several pieces of pizza and a bowl of ice cream and hot fudge the night before at approximately 21:00 hours.

the thought occurred to me that i should go for a jog heading due east and attempt to scale the west face of the first mountain i ran into.  the fact that i seriously considered doing this should reveal a lot in terms of where i was at emotionally: desperate.  i am not a lover of recreational running whether it be on a treadmill, on the street or on a trail.  i hate it.  i know hate is a strong word, but to be honest, it's not strong enough to describe my sentiment of sincere despite for recreational running.

let me qualify my comment to clarify that while i do indeed hate recreational running, i am perfectly fine with running during an actual sporting event like, say, a basketball game.  running to escape a local street gang of ninjas who outnumber me in terms of bodies and superior weaponry is also acceptable; although, i generally prefer to incorporate my superior skills in the areas of stealth and subterfuge to hide right before their very eyes and, thus, preserve energy for the counter attack.

notwithstanding my disdain as noted above, i decided i needed to do something cardiovascular to get my heart rate pumping.  running seemed to be as good an option as any.  i even thought it might be fun if mrs. blogmaster joined me and we did one of those cute couples jogs, so i asked her to come along.  a swift "no" was her unflinching answer.

"why not?" i inquired.  as if anyone would ever need to give a reason for not wanting to go run just because we can.

"because i want to sleep."

part 2: the preparation

fair enough, but sleep wasn't about to stop me.  my intentions were manifest and the scaling of that mountain had now become my destiny.  as a result i slipped into some of my old basketball shoes, did some half-hearted stretching, grabbed the 3rd or 4th generation mini ipod that pretty much never gets used and headed on my way.  hence, if for nothing else, the run was good in that i was able to get some use out of our severely neglected ipod.  it's tough being an ipod these days when there's a couple iphones and an ipad in the house.

my jog had commenced.  i was ready to quit after about 50 yards,  but i showed true grit and stuck with it.  the music was a nice distraction from the boredom and pain, but someone must have created an "uninspiring songs to run to" playlist because every song that shuffled through my earphones would have been more appropriate to use as an inducing bedtime medley for the kids rather than a sir edmund hillary-esque escapade.  oh well, i wasn't about to stop to try to figure out how to change things up since stopping would almost certainly end my trek as it was unlikely i'd start up again.

thus, i persisted.

actually, the day was pretty nice and the paseo i took was empty, so, to be honest, it was a fairly pleasant experience.  i had plenty of time to think about important things... like the premise for this blog post, which is more than i've been able to do for the past couple months, so, i guess it wasn't all bad.  thing is, i hadn't hit the mountain yet.

part 3: the mountain

suddenly, i arrived at base camp some two thousand feet above sea level.  the air was thin and the climbing gods seemed to be staring me directly between the eyes.  for a minute, i could have sworn the mountain gestured a mocking smile my way as if to tease me... not unlike a pretentious austrian bodybuilder.

i gathered my equipment (read: ipod) and set a pace that seemed reasonable for accomplishing my first goal of 2011.  i commenced and made it without stopping until i reached the first switchback.  i paused momentarily there in order to gather myself mentally.  the ensuing stretch was certain to be the most difficult of the climb as it was the steepest incline i would face.  i focused and listened closely to one of jack johnson's less energetic tunes before shaking my hands a couple of times and then digging in for the final push.

"one foot after the other," i kept telling myself as i put my head down and hoped that each time i looked up i would be just steps away from my destination.  i spotted a sign at the top and made it my mark... "if i could just get there, i can make it," i thought.  the sweat was dripping, my breaths were getting shorter...

"is that aimee driving like a bat out of hell in the general direction of our life insurance agent's house?"

almost there...

wait!  what's that?

and that's where the trail goes cold, zombies.  some say the blogmaster never tasted death and merely transcended the space time continuum this morning through some strange wormhole transfer between parallel universes triggered by the uncanny, yet unsightly, body motions he was engaged in as he climbed the final pass.  others say he still roams about the valley scratching blog posts on whatever surface he can find.  

we may never know.  we can only hope.  very nice.  very nice.  but, maybe in the next world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CALLING ALL ZOMBIES (this is Mrs. Blogmaster)!!!

Today is the Blogmasters 35th birthday, something he's been looking forward to since last year. Since Dec 3, 2009 he's said he's almost 35. I guess this is something he's been looking forward to. Naturally I wanted to do something special for him and thought I would ask all Zombies out there to write Jer a little Happy Birthday something. It doesn't need to be much, it could just be Happy Birthday or HB, for short. All I know is Jeremy loves to get comments on his blog. He'll often call me from work or send me a text saying, "Did you see the comment on the blog?" He's like a little kid at Christmas staring at the comments as presents to open, or a sister or friend calling to tell you about a great sale or item they just bought.  It's hilarious! And who knows how many times he checks the blog in anticipation of comments. There are few things that make Jeremy smile like he does when reading comments. So, if you would be so kind to take a moment and shout out a Happy Birthday to the now 35 year old Blogmaster I would sincerely appreciate it. ~The Mrs.

Friday, October 29, 2010

if you already read the last post, you should maybe re-read it

as i was re-reading the last post i authored, i forgot about some stuff i wanted to mention regarding the greater cooper family Christmas card photo shoots.  if you haven't re-read yet, i recommend that you do so.

yours truly,

the blogmaster

Thursday, October 28, 2010

all words (we totally rocked barry manilow last weekend), no pics (but some comments on the ones below)

mis amigos, it's good to be back in front of the keyboard.  you should know that writing on the blog is therapeutic for me and, so, i thank you for allowing me to express myself on a no-charge platform that is available to anyone with an internet connection.  you're too kind.

couple things.  first, we totally rocked barry manilow.

thanks to some good friends of ours, this last weekend mrs. blogmaster and i did something totally crazy.  i'm talking wild stuff... way out there.... something we'd never done before.  in fact, i'm almost embarrassed to say just what it was, but since this is pretty private forum in which i often express my most personal and sentimental secrets, i'll share:

we went to a barry manilow concert on the strip.  there i said it.  it's out there.  now i feel so free and cutting edge.  hopefully none of you think less of me, but this is just who i am.  and this was no ordinary barry manilow concert... it really actually was your parents', or maybe even grandparents', barry manilow.

this was a once in a lifetime opportunity i couldn't afford to miss and so i passed up not one, but two invitations to go watch some boring mma fights.  as if.  that's just not how i roll.  i live life on the edge.  i wallow in places most of you would fear to tread.  i mean, c'mon, it's barry manilow we're talking about here.

i'm not sure how old barry is, but based on the way he runs across the stage i'm pretty sure he's had a couple knee and hip replacements.  the guy looks pretty feeble.  that being said, he can still sing and play the piano.  it's clear the guy is talented, but i've got to think there's a lot of extremely talented people that never get nearly as popular as he does.  i don't quite get it.

i also don't get older, more mature women who still coo over barry and his finely frothed and feathered hair.  it was kind of funny to see them stand up for as long as their prosthetic knees and hips would allow and wave their arms or cheer their longtime hearth throb along, funny in a good and bad way.  i half expected to see some depends or granny trow to be thrown up on stage.  although, i have to admit, i was up on my feet a couple of times myself feeling the love with mrs. blogmaster.  but, it was kind of nice to be able to sit for most of the concert.  very relaxing.  just the way a concert should be... if you roll an oxygen tank into the concert with you.

actually, the concert was pretty enjoyable even if we were the youngest people in the audience and i only recognized about 4 of the songs (the copacaban encore was sizzling).  barry puts on a good show and has some catchy tunes, so it was a memorable experience i will cherish for many years to come.  plus, we always have a good time with our friends... so, to them and barry, i say thank you!

as for the family pics below, it's kind of funny i ended up posting them because at the time we took them i was certain they weren't going to be any good.  let me set the scene for you: taking pictures on a sunday afternoon with our boys at an extremely dusty underpass.  not a good combination.

i didn't want to be there.  the boys didn't want to cooperate.  and dust was getting on everything.  aim, on the other hand, was all over it and kept us sharp.  and i'm glad she did because when i was checking the pics out on the camera a week ago i saw some potential in them i hadn't noticed before (which is most likely due to the fact that i was threatening the boys within an inch of their lives on numerous occasion during the photo taking).

taking group pictures with uncooperative kids.  i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  there's a special place in hell for the most nefarious of satan's minions where such ilk are banned to an eternal damnation of being forced to try to get kids to hold still, look at the camera, and smile... and all at the same time.  maybe it's just my kids.

actually, i know it's not just my kids.  every year my parents, big jeff and special k, have this grandiose idea to take a pic of the litter of their grandkids for a Christmas card they send out to half the world.  they always have a theme that focuses on Jesus Christ given the holiday and so the kids are typically dressed up in nativity garb and playing the parts of those involved.  traditionally, the nativity is seen as a very holy, even sacred, event that is viewed as a hallowed moment in time to billions of people throughout the world.  our photo sessions with the grandkids are anything but that... and with the Christmas season fast approaching, i thought it appropriate to share some about our joyous experiences in snapping photos together.

first, there's the older kids.  now a days they're doing a lot better when it comes to holding still and looking at the camera, but they're not so great about leaving the younger kids alone.  it is virtually impossible for them to not irritate they're younger siblings.  then there's the younger kids who won't sit still or look at the camera.  and usually at least on of the younger kids is essentially on strike and boycotting the picture altogether by passionately crying and temper tantruming his/her way into the wonderful world of photoshop.

to make matters worse, special k is usually running the show which is kind of like the blind leading the naked.  big jeff, on the other hand, has become especially adept at spotting the futility of such situations and so he's long gone by the time the cameras start clicking usually at work on the day of thanksgiving or shortly thereafter.  he has gotten to the point where he contributes as a third party advisor to the end product and financier of the endeavor.  and then there's the rest of us, the parents.

every year, no matter how futile our attempts were the previous year, we all still stand behind kenna jo trying to get the kids to look up, hold still and smile.  herding cats is the cliche that comes to mind.  and it doesn't help that special k holds off on taking the pics until everything is perfect.  not gonna happen, mom... just fire away, shoot now and ask questions later.  and so in attempt to get the kids to look up in sync and smile, we've attempted many creative antics to catch their attention, but most of the time we just sit there and snap, whistle, yell, or clap at the kids.  it's as if we think that 5 adults all yelling at the kids from different directions to look at us is going to convince them to do just that.  it's pure chaos.  it's no wonder we can never get them to focus.

of course, there was the year that i put a pair of pantyhose over my head and ran around behind my mom like an escapee from an insane asylum.  the overall shock factor of seeing such a display caught the kids' attention for a few minutes, but that didn't last long and left most of them with a look of awe/horror.  then there was the year uncle ryan puled up his shirt and started slapping his belly to the children's utter delight.  this technique was met with great success at first, but once the novelty wore off we were back to the drawing board.

we've tried everything.  hiding fruit snacks behind the baby Jesus, having my sister strategically place herself in the photo to prop up a child who can't actually stand, bribery, threats, etc.  nothing seems to be overly effective.  but, somewhere between the mysterious workings of luck and the modern technological marvels of a program like photoshop and the paid professional efforts of a graphic designer, we get an acceptable pic and my parents are eventually able to put out a decent product.

however, i usually approach the entire experience with mixed feeling since my three boys are generally relegated to the stand-in roles of shepherd 2 or 3 or the non-gold bearing wise men.  it's rare they get the money roles of joseph or baby Jesus and i don't even have any girls to be mary or an angel, although that doesn't stop my mom from letting a baby girl be baby Jesus... something she and i don't see eye to eye on seeing as how i feel cross dressing at such an early age has to be contrary to the spirit of Christmas.  at any rate, with the recent influx of new grandkids in the greater cooper family, the boys have been moving up the ranks to take on such coveted roles as shepherd 1 or the wise man who gets to carry the gold... seems like we even expanded the angel role to include some dudes now.  joseph, however, has still been an elusive gig for us to land and colston ate himself out of the baby Jesus role his first year, but we're still encouraging the kids so that they know as long as they meet the right people, shake the right hands, and get a solid spray tan or two before the photo shoot that even they have a shot at getting a premier spot on the greater cooper family Christmas card.

back to the blog photos...

get excited, zombies.  there are more pics from that photo shoot on my sister-in-law's camera coming soon.  btw, thanks adam and t-cakes for putting up with us.  if i looked like i wanted to break your camera at the time, just know that it wasn't you, it was me... actually, it was my boys.

but, as the barry would say, "i can't smile without (them)" or "looks like we made it" through yet another photo shoot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

more pics (good witch, bad witch), with some words mixed in (colston exacts his revenge)

it's that time of year again when a good little mormon girl known better known as my wife, gets dressed up like a person who makes a habit out of practicing in the art of black magic and joins a coven of like-dressed individuals to sip some word of wisdom forbidden tea, aka witches' tea.  isn't all hallows eve great?

seriously, i really enjoy halloween.  of course, i'm the guy who made the pitch for salem over cape cod and have always wanted to tour the haunted mansions advertised in the airport of new orleans.  as i've said before, i'm a sucker for the supernatural.  i'll admit it, i love the prevailing spooky atmosphere, the excuse to dress up and pretend to be someone you're not, and the desire to watch scary movies.  problem is, with all the costume parties and technological advancements in children's costumes, halloween is becoming almost as expensive as Christmas.

when i was a kid, a costume pretty much consisted of a sheet, some hand-me-down clothes, or a plastic jumpsuit with a character printed on it and a cheap plastic mask.  now, my kids get all diced out in body armor suits that feature ripped abs, biceps and pectoral muscles.  and then there's the adult costumes... i found a pretty sweet green lantern costume that i was really tempted to purchase because it actually looked like green lantern, but it was too pricey.  aim, on the other hand, doesn't have as much self control as i do and she has more reasons to dress up.  problem is, most female adult costumes in this day and age seem to be patterned after the wardrobes (or lack thereof) of many of the professional dancers making a living in this town.  i can hardly take my kids with me to shop for costumes anymore.

at any rate, as noted above, the costumes aren't cheap and it doesn't seem like we can just stop at one anymore.  for starters, we did a group theme thing with some friends at a get together last weekend.  i must admit, we looked good and it was fun, but, i don't know that i'll ever wear the stuff i wore at that party again and i wasn't even trick or treating there.  then tonight, aim threw on the witch garb and got her broomstick on as you can see in the pics.  side note: if i must, i'll take credit for the white witch idea and, yes, i think she looks amazing, so deal with all the pics or skip over them.  so far, aim = two costumes, jer = one.  then colston wanted to be the flash, jameson wanted to be snake eyes, and luckily caleb chose one we already had in stock: beyond batman.  i don't even want to do the math.

plus, if i throw in the cost to replace the window colston broke last week, and the dvd player he ruined, or the couch cushions he drew on (yes, all last week), then i start to really get depressed.  then there was his incident from last night.

so, i was sitting in the kitchen talking to a friend when all of a sudden colston comes down saying he's hungry and goes straight for the candy.  i shoot that down in a hurry and tell him to go to bed (it's like 9:30), but he pretty much ignores me and keeps saying he's hungry.

i assume he's really not hungry but just wants candy, so i don't give him anything.  he persists, so i finally give him some grapes and a cookie and send him on his way.  i don't hear from him the rest of the night and conclude that he's either passed out due to severe starvation or gone to sleep.  either way he's being quiet.

fast forward to this morning.  the boys are getting ready for school and the older two head into where  colston is sleeping.  all of a sudden i'm hearing all this talk from the room about how colston has pooped his pants.  my first thought is that it's not likely seeing as how he's potty trained, but the complaints keep coming.  my next thought is, well if he did drop a deuce in his drawers, at least its contained within his drawers which means there will be minimal mess to clean up on the bed, floor, windows, and any other conceivable thing you'd never think a kid could get doo doo on.

but then, the words that pierced my ever so sensitive ear drums left one of the boys mouths: "he pooped on the floor."  at this moment a feeling of extreme frustration overcame me as this is not the first time colston has dropped trou and unloaded in his bedroom.  usually it's number one, but it's not like that's any better.  at that point i go into his room to get to the bottom of this and tell him to clean it up.  of course, he's too tired to do it; but, i'm not about to let him slip out of this one because he's conveniently tired, so i tell him he's still going to have to take care of it when he gets up.

next thing i know i'm out of the shower and catching some breakfast downstairs on my way out the door.  before i leave i pause to ask my wife is she was aware of the fact that colston had gone number two in his room upstairs. the main reason i do this is to make sure that in case colston hadn't cleaned it up yet, she would take care of it before i got home (that's a veteran move right there).  well, it just so happens that she had heard the news and, in an effort to keep me informed of what's going on in our children's lives, she relayed to me that when she asked colston why he pooped on the floor in his room, he told her the reason.

his reply: because i was hungry.

this can only lead me to believe that this was his passive aggressive way of getting even with me for not giving him any candy the night before and sending him to bed: going number two on his bedroom floor.  it's pretty funny actually if it's not your kid, but, as luck would have it, colston is just that: my kid.

in closing, let this be a lesson to us all:  the next time you don't get what you want, public defecation is an effective form of retaliation as it makes a powerful, if not pungent, statement without anyone getting hurt.

well played, son.  well played.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the 15 year itch: trophy husbands and high school reunions

first, and most importantly, mrs. blogmaster is doing much better.  she still has her moments and isn't quite out of the woods yet, but overall, i would have to say she has improved dramatically.  this is a good thing.  i'd like to blame my recent absence from the blog on my all consuming efforts to take care of my dear wife in her time of need, but that would only be partially true... depending on who you ask.  rather, i am caught yet again with my pants on the ground searching for a new inadequate excuse for neglecting my faithful followers... if there are any left out there.

so, on that note of reconciliation, i will attempt to jump start this idle blog from the dead in effort to see if i can regain the hearts and minds of the zombie nation.  and in my triumphant return to the keyboard, i will hearken all the way back to the summer of 2010 and recreate mrs. blogmaster's first outing in public following the epstein bar diagnosis.  it just so happens that said outing occurred for the sole purpose of attending aim's 15 year high school reunion in provo, utah.

for starters, before you fill up the comments section of this post with all types of "15 years? you don't look old enough to have a 15 year reunion already" let me just say, you're right.... at least for me.  aim is actually 7 years older than i am.  just kidding.  yes, we are that old... actually, i'm older.  i'll be 35 in december.

back to the reunion.  i've never attended any of mine and, in general, i'm not a huge fan of them.  more on that some other time.  but, being the good spouse i am, i was willing to support aim in attending her own as the dutiful trophy husband i've become so accustomed to being.  apparently, this is important to her and i've learned to accept the fact that mrs. blogmaster basically married me for my frighteningly good looks and unusually large head.

at first, i was slightly offended when she would ask me to not talk around her friends as i felt that i was so much more than a simple piece of eye candy... albeit a delectable, if not succulent, hunk of a finely chiseled gourmet chocolate... you know, the european stuff and not that plasticky american crap; but, eventually the whole charade kind of wore down when we moved back to vegas as she knew it was pointless to carry on as before since everyone already knew me anyway.

but provo is a different story... all her friends there still fall for the ruse.  and if it's important to her, it's kind of important to me as long as i get something out of it and it's convenient.  such was the case here because i got a new pair of sunglasses.  problem is, all of the stores in provo quit selling sunglasses in june and start stocking their shelves with their fall and winter apparel in july.  apparently, the sun doesn't shine during the fall and winter in provo and sunglasses are unnecessary.  i had to go to three different stores before i could find a pair that i liked enough without paying a grip of cash and then aim didn't seem to think they passed muster when i modeled them for her.  it's rough trying to fulfill the ideal trophy husband image when your wife doesn't think the sunglasses are up to par... i was feeling self-conscious already.

once purchased, and not a moment too soon, off we went to the park during the day (i would never wear my sunglasses indoors or at night even though i like the song).  having become comfortable with the glasses, i was able to take on a completely different persona and, as a result, slid right into the trophy husband character aim needed right then.

and for those who don't quite get where i'm coming from, you need to understand that as far as i can tell aim was something of a big deal at her high school back in the day and, so, i guess her friends need to see that she married someone that appears to be as big of deal as she was back then.  enter me.

actually, she will never admit to this stuff and will actually be quite upset at me for typing any of it at all, but that's what she gets for making me be her trophy husband for all these years... besides she doesn't know the password to the blog to get on and delete this, so she'll just have to deal with it.  no way i can give her that information... she'd delete the majority of my best work.  that's just the way it is... one of the perks of being a trophy husband i guess.

what?  i won't even give my brother-in-law the password to his facebook account i set up and manage for him, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him.  he pretty much freaked out when i set it up for him and invited a bunch of people to be his friend since he seemed to think that essentially meant he was asking each of them to go steady with him.

at any rate, the reunion was a success.  i tore off my shirt five minutes after i got there and did ab points for hours to the absolute delight of her high school buddies and then finished up with chris farley's chippendales routine to round things out.  i feel like it reinforces our children's sense of security to see their dad doing these kinds of things for their mother, so, all in all, i'd have to say it was a quality family outing.  add to it that before the event had ended, at least 43% of aim's friends told her she'd married the exact kind of guy they thought she would.  i saw her smile and beam with pride even though she was pretty wiped out from the epstein bar stuff.  that made it all worth it for me.

i guess that's about it... and just in case the satire is lost on all y'all, aim demands no such thing of me and i did no such things while at the reunion (my abs aren't even fully visible unless i get an artistic spray tan).  this much is true: we did go to the reunion and an attendee did tell me he's a zombie, but that as i type up my blog posts i need to be more vigilant in stopping sooner than i do and backing away from the keyboard.  so, with great reluctance, i will now stop and back away from the keyboard.



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a series of unfortunate events for mrs. b

it all started with an innocent family friendly game of soccer on the greater cooper family vacation outside of zion's national park, but what i mean by friendly is really competitive.  whenever the cooper family in its most organic form engages in any kind of contest, sparks are likely to fly.  add in-laws and grandkids into the mix, and the stakes get even higher.

take for instance kenna jo asking me if i got higher on the climbing wall than my two brothers-in-law after a day of recreation in zion ponderosa.  then there's my brother (i won't say which one) taking out his own daughter at 3rd base during the kids versus adults whiffle ball game.  and it was during this same game a brother-in-law (i won't say which one) wasn't about to let the munchkins win and i wasn't about to let the adults mess up the batting order for the sanctity of the game.  of course, that was just during the last greater cooper gathering.  that's not even counting board games or political discussions during countless other group events, both of which rarely take place anymore.

fast forward to the soccer game the night before the family outing ended.  there was some mixture of my brother, my wife, myself and a kid or two against my sister, kathryn, and a few in-laws out on the pitch and it was intense.  we went up one early on, but all of a sudden the score was tied.  next thing i know mrs. blogmaster is taking a cross from someone and squaring up to launch a howler to the goal.

at once, mrs. b cocked her leg back ready to unleash that stay-at-home mom pent up fury on that poor futbol, when, somewhat unexpectedly, my sister ever so slightly tapped the ball just accurately enough to the point where mrs. b's bombastic kick connected not with its intended target but with my sister's shin.

i believe a certain law of physics states that no two solid objects can occupy the same space at the same time.  so it was with aimee's foot and kathryn's shin, with aim's foot being on the unfortunate end of that collision.  let's just say we all heard a sound and it sounded like someone twisting a grip of bubble wrap packaging in one swift motion... and it wasn't kathryn's shin.  snap.  crackle.  pop.

aim's a tough cookie, though, and she seemed to want to stay in the game so i suggested she play keeper since the goal was just one single garbage can and that shouldn't have required much movement.  so, she limped over to her new position and prepared for the ensuing battle.

play on?  maybe not.

in the fog of war, things become somewhat hazy and it's difficult to keep one's wits about him.  things are often said or done that push the boundaries of moral relativism under the guise that the ends justify the means.  such was climate of the remainder of the game that day as i attempted to instruct my wife on the finer points of being a goalie... after all, i did serve my mission in the futbol worshiping country of argentina.  i know a thing or two (but not three) about playing goalie.

first, when an opposing player is approaching you unmarked with the ball, and it's just you and him, i was taught to charge the ball and minimize the angles said player has to take a shot.  such action quickly limits the oncoming player's ability to get the shot off he wants and forces him to commit to a shot/pass earlier than he might like.

second, don't let the ball go in the goal.

third, there is no third.

the first time a player approached aim it was just the player and her.  i raised my voice instructing, or coaching as i like to say, her "to charge the ball."  no such luck.  apparently, mrs. b's foot was more injured than i thought... unfortunately, that thought didn't occur to me at the time (see the fog of war comment above).  mrs. b didn't take too kindly to my, as they say in argentina, speaking in voz alta (literal translation: high voice), and quickly reciprocated my verbal fiery darts with a few of her own, cautioning me to not say another word.

i recognized that tone and knew better than to push my luck, so i watched quietly as a brother-in-law raced down the field and scored again thinking certainly mrs. b would charge the ball this time.  not so, my friend.  it just wasn't meant to be.  thus, we left field on the losing side of the match that day... some of us sulking, others of us limping.

long story short, we made  a stop at the kanab general hospital the next day.  x-rays came back negative and the doc said it was a bad sprain, but mrs. b still got some crutches.  turns out after a few more x-rays in vegas, mrs. b had tore some stuff, little things called ligaments.  i wasn't surprised, her foot was like a balloon.  she got a cool little boot that she gets to wear around, but all in all, it looked like we'd be over this in a month or two.

that was then.

not long after mrs. b tried to kick straight threw my sister's shin, she woke up next to me in a hotel room in southern california with a swollen eye.  you'd have thought i punched her seeing as how she looked like rocky balboa during his first fight with apollo creed (the one where they had to take the razor blade to his eye because it was so swollen).  well, it wasn't the result of a fierce boxing match, it was a severe case of pink eye... and during our little get away sans kids.  what?  so, here she was with her little walking boot for her foot and a swollen and irritated pink eye.

but, wait folks, it doesn't stop there.

next thing we knew mrs. blogmaster woke up on another morning and couldn't hear out of her left ear or swallow too well with her center throat.  so, she does what any sensible person would and goes in to get it checked out.  apparently, everyone has a middle ear (everyone with ears that is) and, apparently, it can get clogged up which clogging can last up to two weeks.  such was the case with little aim.  well, yesterday was the two week anniversary of the date she was told this and the deafness is still going strong.  plus, she still thinks she's swallowing glass every time she gulps.

then there was a fifth ailment...

so, not only did mrs. b have the foot, the eye, the throat and the ear to worry about, close to a week ago, mrs. b starts feeling a little drowsy and out of sorts and she gets diagnosed with mono.  you know, that sickness teenage boys and girls get from open mouth kissing all the time.  here's what i can't figure out, i don't have mono and my allegedly monogamous wife does.  go figure.  the only conclusion i can come to is that edward or jacob must have mono.

and you thought we were all done...

not more than two days ago, the results of aim's blood test came back saying she's got this epstein barr virus thing.  it's a bit of a bummer because there's not much that can be done about it and there are strong links between it and two rare forms of cancer.  we're still waiting to get some more information on the whole deal, but it's surprising to me how many people suffer from this ailment.  luckily, it sounds like it's something that is treatable, although not curable, so we'll play the cards we were dealt the best we can (thing is, i don't know how to play any card games other than uno... but, at least i'm good at that).

anyway, i just thought i'd let everyone know what's happening with the queen of the house of cooper, not for your pity or so you'll feel sorry for us; but, maybe you can say a little prayer for the mrs. during her bout with the numerous maladies she now faces.

i would be remiss if i did not express a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to the family members and friends who have gone way over the top and out of their way to help us out.  i can promise you that it is much appreciated and will forever be remembered.  you are all true friends.  your acts of charity and kindness are both inspiring and uplifting to mrs. b and me.

one last thing to mention before i bid you all adieu for the week: as if the above weren't quite enough for the fair lady aimee to have to face all at once, when i rolled over in bed again this morning to catch a glimpse of the incomparable morning beauty of my muse, either there was a glitch in the matrix, i was having a strange bout with deja vu, or mrs. b was channeling rocky balboa... again; only this time it was the other eye that was swollen up.  that's right, aim's now nefarious nemesis, more commonly known as pink eye, had struck again.  is that even possible?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hurry... somebody write this down: bladder augmentations

in this day and age of elective cosmetic surgery where typically any and everything bigger is better, i think we might be on to something here: bladder augmentations. i know such a procedure would improve the cooperfive's lifestyle dramatically. especially during movies. especially during road trips. especially when you are the father of three boys which roughly translated means dad is the only one who can accompany the offspring to the loo anymore. more on this later.
before i get into what now might seem to be my quarterly post, i owe my loyal zombies an explanation. true, i may have let you down last month by not authoring a single post and then waiting all the way until the 21st of this month to finally go ahead and share my unsolicited opinions. i know it's rough trying to get by each day without the occasional sermon from the blogmaster and for that i apologize. i never meant to abandon or hurt any of you. all i can say is i'm sorry. that and i've been a little short on inspiration lately. and when the inspiration has come, the motivation hasn't been there. bottom line: it's hard out here for a semi-professional blogger trying to chase that dollar in this economy. please forgive me and return to the fold. i won't let it happen again.
now, as far as bladder augmentations, i really see a burgeoning industry about to blossom here. take for instance 4/5 of the cooperfive, that 4/5 being every member of the clan except for me, and their lima bean sized bladders. i can't relate. it's like i don't even know these people... i mean, they'd rather urinate and be comfortable than get to a destination more quickly or sit uncomfortably through a throw-away scene during a movie. i don't get it because i, on the other hand, have jedi-like internal discipline that gets me through just about any meeting, movie, or drive across half the big island of hawaii just because i was determined to hold it in.
my point in mentioning this topic has something to do with my recent jaunt in public restroom hell. said jaunt took place about a month ago when the greater cooper family was on one of its annual outings to go see the grand canyon. long story short, we never made it to the grand canyon, but that's a post for another day. we did, however, successfully arrive at the world renowned vacation destination more commonly known as jacob lake while en route to the grand canyon.
jacob lake is a little spot on the way to the north rim that has a restaurant with good milkshakes. we stopped here to regroup our family caravan after the cooperfive made a brief stop in kanab to get mrs. blogmaster's foot x-rayed (another post for another day). that was before mrs. blogmaster got strep throat which was before she got pink eye which was before she got mono (all posts for another day). meanwhile i have managed to escape the carnage of attacking viruses and germs unscathed. kind of like will smith in i am legend. or superman in everyday life.
anyway, the cooperfive got to jacob lake just as big jeff and special k were high-tailing it back into their car in an effort to catch the grand canyon before having to be back to st. george to see tarzan at tuacahn that night. this is how greater cooper family vacations go: a hybrid of boot camp and a field trip on steroids. i wasn't about to get out of dodge that quickly, though. we had just gotten there and i had to try one of the milkshakes at the restaurant there in town as we had been told these shakes were the stuff dreams are made of. for those who are unaware, i love ice cream and all its derivatives... including milkshakes.
for me, at least 50% of an enjoyable vacation hinges on the quality of food you are able to eat. if there is a reputable milk shake place in a town i visit, i must try it. it's pretty much natural law. and not only must i try it, but i will eagerly anticipate the cool soft creamy consistency of milk, whipping cream, and sugar touching my tongue over and over in my mind until i do, in fact, try it. ice cream is the ultimate game changer, mood swinger, and tool of bribery all rolled up into one. and so, such was the mood i was in while eating lunch, biding my time patiently, knowing it would only be a matter of minutes before it would be just me and a cup of frothy and delicious milk shake.

in moments like that, i can withstand just about anything as it seems that i'm in the departing gate of an airplane bound for some blissful make-believe world where the refrigerator is constantly stocked with quality ice cream and frozen yogurt dispensers are a standard fixture in every kitchen. deep down inside i know such a world does not exist, but sometimes it feels so real to me.
and so there we were. eating lunch and surveying the menu to decide which flavor of milk shake each of us would get. it wasn't all that different from opening birthday presents, but on someone else's birthday. everything was going just as i had dreamed it would until caleb says the words that when spoken in the public arena are like poison being slowly dripped into my ears.
"i've got to go potty."
maybe aim will take him. not a chance. he's way too old and it's always my turn when we're together, especially on vacation. plus, she was on crutches at this point.
i say something like, "fine, let's go. make it quick."
so, we go to the restaurant's restroom which, unfortunately, is in a very narrow hallway and roughly the size of two porta-potties glued together: not only difficult to get into and out of, but difficult to maneuver to the urinal and toilet once you are in there.

it was like negotiating a rubik's cube. say there, kind sir, can you take a step back while i open the toilet door? now you, stranger, over there take one step to the left while i slide sideways into the stall. once i'm inside, you'll need to move back to your original position so i can close the door. after that, you two are on your own. needless to say, we made it.
no big deal. i can handle taking one kid to the public restroom. no skin off my back, i've got a big fat famous milkshake coming my way. not so fast, my friend, for no sooner do i go to order when mrs. blogmaster tells me that now colston has to go to the bathroom, too. i feel a hint of frustration start to swell somewhere within my upper bosom, but i just tell myself "milkshake, man. keep your eye on the prize."
off i go with son #3 (luckily son #1 is fully potty trained and capable of using a public restroom on his own). of course there's a line for the restroom by now and we wait. we finally get in and navigate the internal labyrinth, more efficiently this time, but colston's the kind of kid (like his dad, i'm ashamed to admit) that has to drop trow’ all the way down to his ankles when urinating in the urinal. don't ask me why. we just do it because we can, i guess (not that i do it anymore, i quit years ago. he can still get away with it, though).
colston takes care of business. we exit. a load has been lifted off my shoulders thinking the only thing now keeping me from enjoying my milkshake is the speed at which those puberty loving teens behind the counter can whip it up. not fast enough, apparently, for no sooner had i secured my milkshake in hand and begun to enjoy every bit of it and its delectable divinity that mrs. blogmaster motioned over towards son #2 anew and said, "he's got to go to the bathroom again."
you've got to be kidding me. he just went 10 minutes ago. can't you see i'm eating a milkshake here? am i a pigeon? is this a hot dog? what's gives?
"i think he had a bit of an accident," she says. "he told me he thought he was passing gas, but something came out (pardon the detail, faint of heart zombies)."
you've got to be kidding me... did i already say that?
in that moment i literally felt the seed of frustration already firmly planted in my fertile bosom start to spring forth a mighty stem with powerful branches budding at a break-neck pace.
"caleb, let's do this." i resolutely demanded.
back to the bathroom, through the maze, into the stall, to grandmother's house we go...
"let's survey the damage, caleb." off came the drawers and sure enough, there was some skid markage.
"looks like you're going commando for the rest of the day, son." that didn't seem to bother him, but then again i'm the one who had to clean the underwear there in the enclosed stall. i guess i could have left them there, but that didn't occur to me. then another issue popped up: what do i do with the shorts once i wash them? do i just walk out of here with a pair of little boy's underwear in my hand? not a chance. that can mean only one thing: i've got to hide them in one of my pockets. so, i did. luckily, i had cargo shorts on.
that was no fun. but i did it and there was still plenty of time to enjoy my shake. what could possibly go wrong now?
maybe son #3 having to go to the bathroom again. that's right, my two youngest boys both had to go to the bathroom twice each within a 20 to 25 minute time period all while i was trying to enjoy my milk shake. not a good situation for me.
at this point, the budding frustration in my bosom had full-on blossomed into a mighty redwood as i marched over to colston who was standing outside the front door of the restaurant where several other old people had congregated to wait for a seat. i stepped up to colston and leaned over to ask him if he really had to go to the bathroom or if he just wanted to ruin his dad's life (just kidding, i just asked him if he really had to go or if he wanted to go because he had seen his brother go. it happens all the time).
unfortunately, he wasn't as interested in answering my question as he was in showing me the butterfly he had just noticed in the potted plant he was inspecting.
"look dad, a butterfly."
"do you really have to go to the bathroom?" was my uninterested reply.
"dad, a butterfly."

in my head: son, i'm about ready to stomp on that butterfly, although i'm starting to think you don't have to go due to your lack of a response. i must confirm this suspicion, though.

so, i ask again:
"colston, do you really have to go?"
he's still not looking at me or acknowledging my question at this point so i grab the top of his head and turn it until his face is facing mine in order to get his full and undivided attention. his eyes, however, stay fixated on the butterfly.

seriously? does it really have to be this hard?
i then ask him one last time, somewhat sternly, "hey, do you really have to go?" he nods his head, yes. at this point, i'm at my witts end and to make matters worse i hear one of the older ladies not sitting far from us, who apparently had been observing the entire exchange between colston and me, say, "oh, look at the pretty butterfly," in an effort to acknowledge the observation of the poor little boy whose dad couldn't have cared less about his precious discovery. for, here was an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature outside of one of earth's most spectacular stages with my youngest son and all i could think about was running him to the bathroom so i could enjoy my shake. but, it was a good shake. and so, for one last time in that span of just under 1/2 hour i made my way back to the hobbit sized public restroom, with which i was on a first-name basis at this point, so colston could hit the stall and take care of some grunts.

i sat there observing the boy with my arms folded thinking that if anything can redeem this series of visits to public restroom hell, it was my milkshake which i left safely in the hands of mrs. blogmaster. even then, i could picture it in my mind sitting there loyally waiting outside for my imminent return. that would calm the storm. that would put me at ease and cause me to forget all my worries and allay all my fears.
and with that thought in mind, we triumphantly made our way back outside to be reunited with my cup of ice cream. but then, as i reclaimed my milkshakelike, like a giddy little school girl, from my dutiful wife and raised the straw up to my anxious lips, i looked down into the cup only to see no more than a 1/2 inch or so of melted milkshake remaining. i was devastated. it was a betrayal of the most devious kind. i felt as though i'd been double crossed by both the milkshake and my wife. the milk shake failed to repel the glutinous sips of my dubious wife in an act of duplicitous, not to mention gratuitous, reciprocation. i was so disgusted i couldn't even finish the damaged goods left for me and i summarily discarded the cup into the closest trash can before stomping over to the family car.
the drive back to st. george that afternoon wasn't a pleasant one. it started with a vociferous lecture from me to the boys in which i established a decree in the family of cooper that never again would there be two quick trips to the bathroom in this family when there could be one. not on my watch. i tried to get them to understand this concept, but i'm afraid my pleas fell on def ears. on the other hand, my stink eye stares in mrs. blogmaster's direction were certainly not without merit as my message of supreme immaturity and rank selfishness was received loud and clear.
but, then to top it all off, it was as if the demons who dwell in public restroom hell, who seemed to be zeroed in on the blogmaster that day, ready and willing to torment me at every possible moment, had orchestrated one final act of mischief to put me over the edge. for at long last after we had trekked down and arrived at our seats towards the bottom of the tuacahn amplitheater to see tarzan, and as i set my drink down (which was then serving as a poor man's substitute for the milk shake that had been so coldly taken from me earlier that day) which subsequently tipped over due to my lackluster efforts to hide the drink from the grabbing hands of the kids who would have surely robbed me yet again of the blissful joy i was expecting to experience from another sugar-laden treat, and as the soda seeped across the ground like a spreading pool of blood oozing from a wounded body, mrs. blogmaster tapped me on the shoulder and pointed down at colston who was informing us anew that he had to go to the bathroom... again.
you can't make this stuff up.

that was just the start of it. after that whole ordeal we made the mistake of going to see a 2.5 hour movie with the kids and buying them adult sized drinks beforehand. i kid you not, jameson left the theater no less than five times to use the restroom. i think he missed one hour of the movie.

then most recently, on our way to idaho, mrs. blogmaster informed me she needed to use the restroom. duly noted, love, i thought at the time. but as we cruised up 1-15 and as my mind jumped back and forth among the myriad issues a driver at high-speed with multiple passengers in the car has to consider, i drove right by an exit leading to a perfectly suitable restroom facility.

my bad.

only then did i inquire as to whether mrs. blogmaster would be able to make it to the next stop, which who knew when that would be. she then informed me that when she says she has to go to the bathroom on a roadtrip, that she has to go right then and there is no time to wait. thing is, the time immediately before that request, some 30 minutes earlier, she told me she had to go, but that she could make it for another 15 minutes or so.

go figure.

after pleading my case for a minute or so, in an attempt to clear my good name as a husband who does want his wife to be able to urinate when she needs to, mrs. blogmaster stated that when she tells me she needs to go, she expects my one goal in life to become the deliverance of her to a restroom facility. thus, in summary, life, eternal salvation, my job, the safety of others, and much, much more can all take a back seat to aim's urge to pee.

and to think all of this could have been so easily avoided with a few bladder augmentations.

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog