Passport Fiasco

The Older Daughter has been invited by her grandma to take a 15-day European cruise this summer. (I am very jealous, but that’s another story.) Her passport expired a few weeks back, so we needed to get it renewed. We went to the State Department’s website to find the requirements. It said that we needed to bring her old passport or her birth certificate, and that we could pay by cash or check. Knowing how the government operates, I asked The Wife to call the local office to make sure the details from the website were correct. She did and they confirmed everything. Great, right? Not so much.
When they got to the office, they were told that she needed her old passport and her birth certificate. Well that sucks. My worst fears were realized in that no matter how hard you try to make dealings with the government easier, they always go awry. Anyway, they headed back  home to pick up the birth certificate. They made it back to the office, got all the paperwork filled out and processed. Then it was time to pay. The Wife forked over the $100 fee in cash. That’s when they told her that they don’t accept cash. You’re kidding me right? This after they said that was an acceptable form of payment on their website and The Wife double-checked over the phone? Not to mention that every Federal Reserve Note says “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”.
I just wanted to rant about this to you and I hate to turn this political, but think about this for a moment. Think about this experience at the passport office; think about what a nightmare the DMV is; think about the IRS. You may have had other experiences interacting with the government. It’s nearly always a nightmare. The crush of massive bureaucracy and rampant incompetency is staggering.
How can anyone out there really think that the federal government can do a better job with health care? Universal health care would be an unmitigated disaster. Think of your DMV experience…that’s what going to the doctor or hospital will be like. We’ve got to stand against this.

50 Random Things About Me

Thanks to John via Chris for this one.

Here’s a meme with 50 seemingly random questions that I will answer with my expert writing abilities.

  1. What do you add to your coffee? I love the smell of coffee but generally need creamer to withstand the taste. Actually as I age and my taste buds die off, black coffee is starting to work for me.
  2. What are you reading now? I have kids. When do I have time to read? During vacation next week, I plan on reading Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? by G.M. Ford.
  3. Do you own a gun?  No, two (evil laughter).
  4. Are you registered to vote? Absolutely. If you don’t want to participate in our democracy, shut up if you don’t like what’s going on.
  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Doctors freak me out. I have to lay down when they draw blood out of fear of passing out.
  6. What do you think of hot dogs? I love them, but don’t ever tell me what’s in them or how they are made. 
  7. Favorite Christmas Song? No contest. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Diet Mountain Dew
  9. Can you do push ups? I don’t know. It’s better that I not try…I might be embarrased.
  10. What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend? I’m such a freak. My first girlfriend’s name was Lee. And this was in college (laugh amongst yourselves). The kicker is that I turned her into a lesbian. Yes, I was the last guy she dated before switching teams.
  11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring is my favorite (and only) jewelry I wear.
  12. Favorite hobby? I have kids. When do I have time for hobbies? I guess the closest thing I have to a hobby is blogging.
  13. Do you work with people who idolize you? (Dies laughing and is unable to answer)
  14. Do you have ADD? I do not believe so.
  15. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? I’ll answer tomorrow.
  16. What’s your Middle name? Too paranoid to answer. You might track me down.
  17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. How can I find a way to be on vacation permanently? Pizza rules. Beer rules.
  18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday. Gas, t-shirt, dinner at Subway.
  19. Name 3 beverages you regularly drink. Diet Mountain Dew, water, beer.
  20. Current worry right now?  Being successful in my new job.
  21. What side do you dress to? I’m not really sure what this means. Left-right? Gay-straight? I don’t know how to answer.
  22. Favorite place to be? The Oregon Coast
  23. How did you bring in the New Year? I watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with the Younger Daughter.
  24. Where would you like to go? Hawaii
  25. Name three people who will complete this. No
  26. Whose answers do you want to read the most? I want everyone to play along. Do it.
  27. What color shirt are you wearing? Dark blue
  28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?.  No, I’m not a chick.
  29. Can you whistle?  Yes
  30. Favorite color? Red
  31. Could you be a pirate? Unlikely
  32. What songs do you sing in the shower? Our of respect for my family members, I do not sing in the shower.
  33. Favorite girls name?  Heather
  34. Favorite boy’s name? Jeff
  35. What’s in your pocket right now?  Cell phone, keys, and $0.50
  36. Last thing that made you laugh? I looked in the mirror.
  37. Best bed sheets as a child? Star Wars
  38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? I sprained my ankle so badly when I was a junior in high school that I was on crutches for several day.
  39. Do you love where you live? I like it, but don’t love it.
  40. How many TVs do you have in your house?  5, but only 2 are used regularly.
  41. Who is your loudest friend?  Probably John (sorry John)
  42. How many dogs do you have? Two
  43. Does anyone have a crush on you? Not that I’m aware of.
  44. What are the most fun things you ever did? I don’t know.
  45. What are your favorite books? Refer back to #2.
  46. What is your favorite candy? M&Ms
  47. Favorite Team? Portland Trailblazers
  48. What songs do you want played at your funeral? I don’t want a funeral. Please have a party and laugh about the good times we had.
  49. What were you doing at 12 AM? On the computer when I should have been sleeping.
  50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Morning comes much to early in the day. Can we start it at about noon?

Am I Deaf?

I was at the doctor’s office for a physical. I saw “the glove” and the lubricating gel on the counter. Turns out he was planning on doing a prostate exam. I politely declined. Guidelines say that you should start getting this exam done at age 40 and I’m not going to have a done a day before I turn 40, so there.

Anyway, he completed the rest of the physical and asked if I had any particular health concerns. I didn’t really have any, but mentioned I thought I was having more difficulty hearing. So…he proceeded to rub his thumb and index finger together near my ear and ask if I could hear that. And I could, so he said my hearing was fine.

Ok, wait. This guy spent 10 years of his life and tens of thousands of dollars on medical school. We live in the United States and have access to the best diagnostic tools money can buy. And he rubs fingers together to check my hearing? This is insanity!

I Want To Be Mr. Potato Head

Okay, strap yourself in. We’re headed to a particularly wacky outpost of Bryan’s brain. Just a fair warning.

So I want to be like Mr. Potato Head. Why? Well, let me back up and give you a little background. I am really not very comfortable sleeping on my back or stomach, so the only choice is my side (well, I guess I could try standing or sleeping on my head, but I have doubts on the viability of those options). However, when I sleep on my side, my arms get in the way and that’s not always very comfortable either. The other problem is that my arms will fall asleep. It sucks. So here’s what I want: detachable arms. I’d have two hooks on my bedroom wall. When it was time for bed, I’d turn sideways and put my arm in the hook, then pull away from the wall snapping the arm out. Then turn 180 degrees and repeat. Presto! Happy, comfortable sleeping on my side. In the morning, I get up and reverse the process. Go up to my arm and press my body onto it to snap it back on. Sweet!

Now I could stop here, but I thought of some other really useful ideas along the same lines. I mean, I want lots of detachable parts.

  • Eyes: You know how sometimes you get dust or something in your eyes and cannot for the life of you get it out. With my plan, you just pop the offending eye out, wash it off, and pop it back in. Got bad eye-site? Go to the optometrist, get updated eyes, then just pop them in. No glasses, no contacts. Sweet!
  • Ears: Got a bunch of wax in your ears? No sweat. Snap the ear off, wash thoroughly, then snap it back on. Bad hearing? Go to the doctor and get new ears, and snap them on. Sweet!
  • Nose: So you know how when you have a cold, you’ll wake up in the morning and have a bunch of dried snot caked inside your nose? You should know the drill by now: snap it off, wash it out, snap it back on. Sweet!
  • Legs: I have a heck of a time sitting on the floor. I’m not comfortable sitting Indian style and if I fold my leg under my butt, they quickly fall asleep. So I want to be able to snap my legs off at the knee and put them aside while I sit on the floor. Sweet!
  • Head: If we could come up with a way to sustain life without a heart, I’d just detach my head from my body and discard the body. It’s kind of fat and starting to suffer from aches and pains. A body is kind of burden, so I would be content to just be a head. Then I could hire someone to carry me around. I could actually become the laziest person on the planet. Sweet!

I can probably think of others, but this is enough for now. If I could just have these, I’d be loving life!

Reduced To A Taxi Driver And A Banker

A father can serve many roles with his children throughout the years:

  • Janitor when she makes a mess
  • Teacher when helping her with homework
  • Chef when preparing a lunch or dinner
  • Doctor/nurse when she is sick
  • Inventor when helping her dream up a play-time scenario
  • Architect/Builder to make that scenario happen
  • Mechanic when fixing that broken toy
  • Counselor when she needs guidance on a problem

    As the years wear on, she is often less and less interested in these roles. However, there are two roles that remain for me: Taxi Driver and Banker. Sometimes I feel like I spend my life in the car shuttling the kids all over creation. And of course, there’s nothing more expensive than raising kids. I will see the Taxi Driver role start to fade as the Older Daughter starts driving next year. It’s bittersweet. I want her to grow up and be independent, but dads like being useful.