Specifically, the National Zoo in Washington D.C. because that is where Meredith and I first held hands and we haven’t let go since.

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We all have M names. Even the dog:
And Merlin

We did have a fish at one time that did not have an M name. In fact, it never really had a name at all. Maybe it died in despair knowing that it was never really a member of our family because it lacked an appropriately begun name.

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Not long ago, my wife Meredith and I tried a diet to help us achieve a healthier weight. We talked to John Scaralia at BodyTech in downtown Rutland and he was very thorough in his explanation of how his diet worked. The premise behind the diet is feed muscle, burn fat. The plan seemed sound and we certainly would not have been starving on this diet. It features a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat elements of the diet with an emphasis on the protein as the muscle builder. Blah, blah, blah…diet. Moving on…

So, that started my foray into eating 5 eggs a day. Yes, five. Did you know that all of the fat in an egg is in the yoke? Yes, it’s true. Most of the protein is in the white. Who knew? (I’ve been saying that a lot lately, sorry.)

I don’t eat five whole eggs. I eat 1 whole egg with 4 additional egg whites.

It takes a bit of time to crack and separate 5 eggs in the morning. I tried the egg whites that you can buy in cartons and I didn’t really care for it. So, I am stuck with cracking 5 eggs every morning.

Once cracked, I usually just cook them omelet style. I don’t add anything because that would seem to take away from the “healthiness” of it. They taste good all by themselves. Plain. But, that’s me. Plain. I like vanilla, too.

As for the diet, it didn’t last long because it required me to eat 6 meals a day! I didn’t have time for preparing all of that.

The good news is that my weight is pretty healthy. So, here’s to the mighty egg!

P.S. In case you needed incentive to have a healthy weight, when I lost 30 pounds from my peak weight all of my cholesterol numbers improved dramatically. No special diet, just weight. I was stunned.

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing seemed to go right?

Today was that day for me (you could argue that the last 380+ days have been like that for me, but I’ll put that aside for today’s story).  Today’s story actually started on Friday afternoon.  That was when I discovered that Maura had a fever of 103.  The good news was that the fever responded to the Tylenol and she was in relatively good spirits.   Friday night her fever spiked up to 105 in one ear and 103 in the other ear (yeah, go figure, I decided to take the average of the two).

On Saturday I decided to take Maura to the pediatricians just to rule out strep and see if they could pinpoint a diagnosis.   Well, strep wasn’t likely and the flu was ruled out.  So, she just has your run of the mill virus for which there is no medicine.  Yeah!

Sometime on Sunday, Maura decides that she doesn’t like Tylenol any more.  Grand.  Her fever has been vacillating between normal and 103 throughout the day.  She sleeps several times during the day at one and a half hour stints.  Bed time comes early for my little darling.

Did I say darling?  Oh no, I must be mistaken.  Someone swapped my charming little angel for a Toddlersaurous Rex from – eh, hem – Newark.  She didn’t want a bath.  Understandable given her fever, but she cried through it to beat the band (and my ear drums).  She didn’t want the eye medication prescribed to reduce the gunk that was building up.  In fact, she screamed a scream from the 9th circle of you-know-where that just about peeled the skin off my face.  Then she refused to take the Tylenol thereby dashing any hope that my sweet little girl might return and that I would be getting any sleep.

Well, I got Maura to bed and came downstairs to find Malcolm drawing on himself with a black marker.  “Look, Daddy!”  I stood there briefly with my mouth hanging open spewing nonsense about what I should do with my children, when finally Meredith knocks some sense into me and tells me to take the marker away.  I take it away, he cries.  Victory for the parents.

Fast forward to 10:30pm.  Maura “spills” in her bed.  Spill is Maura’s word for vomit.  At first I panic and wrongly assume that the end of the world would be coming shortly and that I was woefully underdressed.  Then after surveying the situation it appeared that Maura had merely coughed her way into “spilling”.  I did a superficial cleaning and put her back to bed.

Fast forward to 1:30am.  Malcolm comes trundling down the stairs*and whimpers something about not sleeping.  Mommy hears him, tries to console him, and tries to get him to come into our room, but he is stunned by the darkness that he meets at the bottom of the stairs.  I wake up halfway through this exchange thinking something is dreadfully wrong and I spring out of bed (like a well worn set of shocks, I might add), and dash toward the stairs without really knowing what’s taking place.  Well, fortunately for Malcolm, it took me several tries to get my glasses on my face properly and at least twice to get my crocs on without breaking my ankles otherwise I might have bowled him over on the way up the stairs.  By the time I arranged myself in some manner of midnight manliness, I realized what was going on and was able to approach my whimpering 3-year-old with some degree of 1am tenderness.

Muttering something about the dark and not sleeping in his room, I brought Malcolm back up stairs and tried to get him back to sleep.  He wanted nothing to do with staying up in his room for some reason.  I told him that I was going to sleep on the bottom bunk while he figured out what he was going to do.  He promptly climbed into his crib and went back to sleep.  Of course, I didn’t want to leave right away for fear of setting off a cry of alarm, so I stayed put in the bottom bunk.  Tucked in nicely.  An extra blanket on top.  Mmm…

Fast forward to 3:30.  Malcolm is asleep.  And so is daddy…in Malcolm’s room, on the bottom bunk.  I lay my head back down to sleep some more when I realize that I wouldn’t be able to hear Meredith if she needed to use the bathroom.  So I got up quietly and glided down the stairs so as to attract the least amount of attention to me departure.

As soon as I hit the bottom step, I hear Meredith calling out for me to help her to the bathroom.  Fortunately, she just started asking for me and was not stricken with a bladder infection from holding it for the two hours that I had fallen asleep upstairs.

The next day…well, my classes are a joy (sarcasm alert), I can barely contain my enthusiasm for teaching (sarcasm alert), and I spilled chicken noodle soup on one of my nicest shirts (just the facts).  Gah!

The good news…our Federal Income Tax return came in the mail, today (the bad news about that is that I hate the fact that I loaned the government any of my money in the first place); Malcolm and Maura ate a reasonable dinner considering their battles with the fever; everyone is in bed except me and I will be there soon.

I know that you have days like these, too.  My advice to you?  Open the soup lid away from you.


*I have a story to share about Malcolm and his crib, but that will have to wait.  As I mentioned, I need to be in bed soon, or else Tuesday will very likely be a repeat of Monday.

So, I sat down to eat dinner tonight with my family…at least 10 different times.  Will I ever again sit down for a dinner where I can just sit down and enjoy eating my food?

Without going into a play-by-play of tonight’s dinner here are some of the things that prompted my frequent trips to the kitchen (it doesn’t help that I have the closest seat to the kitchen):

  • Butter for the biscuits
  • plates for the biscuits
  • Butter everyone’s biscuit
  • Bread to substitute for the aforementioned biscuits because a child doesn’t like the taste of the biscuits.
  • Wipe sick child’s nose.
  • Butter biscuit of not-so-picky child
  • Cut off the crusts of aforementioned bread to further accommodate child who didn’t like the bisquits.
  • Butter biscuit of not-so-picky child
  • Wipe sick child’s nose.
  • Toast an english muffin to satisfy the inedible biscuit substitute.
  • Butter biscuit of not-so-picky child
  • Peanut butter and jelly for the new biscuit substitute.
  • Wipe sick child’s nose.
  • Butter biscuit of not-so-picky child
  • Diet Coke for mommy.
  • More macaroni and cheese for the not-so-picky child.
  • Fake application of butter to biscuit for the not-so-picky child.
  • Take what remains of dinner away from the not-so-picky child before it ends up at the four corners of the dining room.

There other things that escape my mind at the moment.  It’s no wonder I have heartburn after every meal.  Now I can tell my parents, “See, there is a reason that I was always eating my food so fast.  I was practicing for becoming a father!”