Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Friday, June 26, 2009

Big Brother Hosts My E-Mail Account

So I set up a Gmail account in the interest of keeping Junior Club business separate from - well, actual business - and a fair bit of my recent Gmail traffic has centered on Ways & Means merchandising (t-shirts, caps and other products bearing the JWC logo). One of our new items this year is a cooler bag, and I've traded several e-mails with folks about unit costs, initial order and so on. So one day I happen to look up and see a banner ad directing me to a wholesale tote bag business, and I realize - Gmail is profiling me. After that, I started paying attention to the substance of my e-mails and their interrelation to the advertising at the top of the Gmail page. Some of the connections are tenuous at best - a reference to the July 4th weekend generated an ad for a book about Ben Franklin? Others are pretty intuitive - an offer to purchase 3 x 5 grommeted flags in response to an e-mail about a tailgate - and some are just plain hilarious (a discussion about whether a particular event venue would permit alcoholic beverage service generated a link to

But the best one appears below. Here's the setup - I'm scheduled to be out of pocket most of the day tomorrow on a JWC-related "errand," and my spouse is somewhat less than enthused to be on kid duty for nine straight hours on a Saturday. (The fact that the errand is a fun one is not helping me on the PR front.) I sent an e-mail warning my Saturday partner in crime that I was getting some static from the husband side, and here's what I got from my friends at Gmail:

MARRIAGE WARNING. - Marriage Crisis? Unhappy Spouse? Here's What To Do Now. Guaranteed.

Gmail, it's so reassuring to know that you have my back. You're like Dr. Phil and rolled into one.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Parker Sends an E-Mail

Dearppucfhgjk;loughdex Camden[;p;pl;[;[--[[;/[p9u77y,
Mom and I are reading "Peter Penguin and His Chatter Beak." What are you doing? I will see you tomorrow at school.



P.S.: batman

(Note: Parker really, really wanted to type an e-mail to his friend, Camden, but was somewhat handicapped by the fact that (1) he's just now learning to read and write and (2) neither of them has an e-mail account. Hence, this open message to Camden. Mom provided some assistance (but "parker" and "batman" were 100% PJ - typing included).

How I Know It's Summer

1. I spend an inordinate amount of time writing names on things (t-shirt and swimsuit tags, pool toys, etc.) and become apoplectic when I can't lay hands on a Sharpie marker.

2. I spend an inordinate amount of time inflating things (prior to writing on them; see #1 above).

3. My car starts to take on a musty aroma, courtesy of the damp beach towels and sweaty camp clothes that have taken up permanent residence in the backseat.

4. The front porch looks like a parking lot for roller blades, skateboards, Subskates, kickboards, inner tubes, etc., etc.

5. The chili and stew recipes have worked their way to the back of the recipe box, and it's been a week since the oven got any action.

6. Our monthly Ridglea bill triples (all of those poolside grilled cheese sandwiches off of the dollar menu add up!), but the grocery bill has dwindled to nothing.

7. We know when it's 10 pm on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, because the dog starts freaking out when the Concerts in the Garden fireworks go off. (This is actually an item from the related list, "When You Know It's Summer on the West Side of Fort Worth.")

Monday, June 8, 2009

You Are Everything I Never Knew I Always Wanted

Parnell is very fond of the above quote from the movie "Fools Rush In" (and I'm pretty fond of it as well). Certainly it sums up our married life together, but to me it also represents those moments that we experience from time to time when, with the benefit of hindsight, we see the big picture come into view and understand how the pieces of our lives were intended to fit together.

A visit to the Cake Wrecks blog this evening took me to the blog site of a family that has lost two children - one at sixteen months and another at fifteen weeks gestation. They are pregnant with number three, and as I pray for a "happy ending" for them I am also struck by their faith - not a blind faith that they will suffer no more but a faithful belief that whatever happens will have a deeper purpose within their own lives and in the lives of others. Reading about their journey made me think about our own (comparatively miniscule) struggles to have our second child. Our first miscarriage (at seven weeks) was terribly sad and disappointing, and also disorienting - after an initial pregnancy experience that was absolutely textbook (well, until the last twenty four hours, when we discovered that our firstborn, stubborn and mischief-filled from the get-go, had flipped when he should have flopped, hit a growth spurt and got his head stuck in my ribcage, necessitating a C section), it honestly had never occurred to us that anything could go wrong.

Our second lost pregnancy (just past the fifteen-week mark) transcended sad, disappointing and disorienting - devastating is the only word that comes to mind. After that experience, our reality did a 180 and we began to wonder if anything could ever go right again. We agreed to take a sabbatical from all things baby; I focused on work, and on getting myself back on an even keel, mentally and physically, and together we focused on Connor. We traveled. We decided that there were worse things than being a threesome. And we decided that we would try one more time, beginning in March 2004. (Practical girl that I am - and 100% certain that we would have another boy - I wanted our boys to be exactly five years apart, so that all of Connor's hand-me-downs would be seasonally appropriate for the little guy.) Of course, I got pregnant a month before our start date - someone's way of taking away some of the anxiety, I suppose. My fourth, and last, pregnancy was not at all textbook - we had a myriad of scares along the way - but each time my precious little boy found a way to reassure me, moving in my belly at just the right moment and letting me know that he wasn't going anywhere until his "birth day."  Because he was a repeat C section, because his brother had been HUGE at 38 weeks, and because our doctor estimated that "Repeat" was even bigger than "Peat" (she was correct), his arrival was scheduled for two weeks before his due date. As the nurse was hooking me up to the monitors, one final wave of panic hit me: we had made it this far, but was it possible that he wasn't ready to join us? I voiced my concern, and the nurse immediately pointed at the monitor and said, "There - your first contraction." Someone - God? Parker? The former working through the latter? - had heard me, and the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. Well, almost the last piece:  when they placed Parker in my arms, the fog of those two failed pregnancies began to lift, and my perspective forever shifted. A voice in my head uttered what should have been an obvious truth:  had either of those pregnancies succeeded, I would have had my two children. But I would not have had the two children that I was meant to have.

Looking at my two boys, they are such obvious compliments to each other - one towhead blonde, one sandy-headed; one green-eyed, the other brown-eyed; one so scientific and frequently serious, the other prone to being silly and capricious. They balance each other, and they balance our family. I watch them together, when they are playing - and even when they are fighting - and they make perfect sense. I look at Parker as he sleeps, and I think, "You are everything I never knew I always wanted."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ride 'Em, Cowboy(s)!

Tried to upload these to Facebook, but encountered uploading "issues." These were taken at H3 Ranch in the Stockyards, after dinner with Parnell's mom and my grandmother. (Japanese Palace was our initial Sunday night destination, but then we sampled H3's steak and proprietary "mop sauce" at the Beastro benefit at the Fort Worth Zoo, and we were hooked.)

Needless to say, the saddle barstools were a BIG hit . . . .

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Times, They Are a Changin'

My (first) baby is a fourth grader, and a Webelo Scout. Wow, you blink, and it happens. At the pool today, I got the distinct impression that his choice of deck chair, and his insistence that I have a splash ball catch with him in a particular location (the better to show off his pitching, and over-the-shoulder catching, skills), were fueled by a desire to show off for certain female age contemporaries . . . .

So you will forgive me my nostalgia in sharing with you these, the "greatest hits" of Connor's second grade creative writing assignments:

"The Zoo Letter":

Dear Mr. Manager, I would like to work in your zoo. I could help feed the animals. I could also help heal the animals. I could event help clean the exhibits. Sincerely, Connor McGlinchey P.S. I hate cleaning the exhibits.

"Letter to the Mayor":

Dear Mayor Moncrief, I think we should have a new water/theme park in Ft. Worth. Because it would make the kids happy. Plus it would make a lot of money. I hope you will approve. Sincerely, Connor

(Observations: Most kids would have stopped at "it would make the kids happy" - but, nope, not Mr. Future Business Leaders of America. Also, I was not aware that we were on a first-name basis with the Moncriefs.)

"Street Sign":

(Accompanying a drawing of a Jeep passing a "BUF XING" sign) My sign is important becuase your car may get hit by a buffalo. And I'm sure you don't want that to happen.

"The Adventures of Sherlock Snows":

Once there was a snowman. His name was Sherlock Snows. He was the greatest snow detective. The best of the best. He has even solved epidemics. Once he was a scientist and he found a cure to the worst thing in all of Snow Planet . . . global warming. This just in, Sherlock has just found the missing emerald, diamond and ruby that were stolen by Lefty Calohan [sic]. And he has jailed Lefty himself. Wait it turns out Lefty is a girl. In other news there is a new kind of Slurpee. It is called Banana Swirl.

"My Brother":

It was October 29th, 2005. [Editor's note: Parker was born on October 29, 2004.] I was just about to turn six. [Ed.: Again, a year off.] And I had just started to go to South Hi Mount. [Ed.: Um, no again - but at least we're being consistent.] It was after school. And I was happily riding my bike across the street. And after about two hours of riding [Ed.: Huh? Our attention span stops at the fifteen-minute mark.] my dad came out and got me. And he told me that we had to get to the hospital right away. So we went to the hospital and my mom was there. [Ed.: Wow, what a coincidence!] And my dad told me that my mom was just about to have my baby brother. So we talked to my mom, and then we went home and got pajamas and my dad put me in a Nemo scrub suit. And we went back to the hospital We waited for a long time. And at about midnight my mom's doctor woke us up. And he told [us] my mom just had the baby! [Ed.: Parker was a repeat C-section. He was born at 11:21 am, less than two hours after Parnell and I got to the hospital and 12 minutes after we entered the surgical suite. Connor and my parents arrived at the hospital about an hour after we did. The scrub suit thing is true - he had little doctor's scrubs with Nemo fish all over them. My doctor's name is Adrianne, and she probably would object to being called "he."] And so we went and saw him in the nursery. But he was asleep so we spent the rest of the night at the hospital. And in the morning the rest of my family was there and they gave me presents! And they said it was because I was a big brother! And they had presents for Parker, too! And finally Parker woke up! [Ed.: We know we're in the home stretch of the story! Because we are using exclamation points!] And he was so little and cute! [Ed.: Almost eight and a half pounds, at two weeks premature. The cute part is true.] And he loved his rattle. It might even be the biggest change of my life! [Ed.: Only child for almost five years . . . you THINK it might be the biggest change?]