Three Years Ago Today

I barged into the room with a purpose, but couldn’t remember for the life of me what that purpose was until I saw the familiar red banner of the USA Today sports section. Birthday or not, the world of college football stops for no one. I hadn’t planned on watching any of the action that day, but I was such a bag of nerves that I desperately needed a distraction. After reviewing the docket of games, I decided to place a small wager on one of them—a symbolic fifty dollar bet that I was sure to win. For that day was a lucky one—it was three of my four children’s birthday. Auburn catching seventeen points against Florida at The Swamp was my selection. [Read more…]

They Wanted To Show Me Their “Bunsen Burner” But I Politely Declined

The guys at DadLabs are funny folks, except they kept asking me if I wanted to see their “Bunsen Bruners,” and, frankly, I’m not into that kinda stuff. Especially with a camera rolling and all. [Read more…]

Note to Self

Dear Self,

Next time you get invited on TV to talk about your book, think twice about bringing your brood. Because you never know when your boys will break free and stroll onto the set. (Thank goodness it was during a commercial.)

What did you think they’d do? Just sit there quietly while watching hosts Russell Bivens and Beth Haynes do their thing? Well, yeah, as a matter of fact, I did. And, at least for part of the time, they did just that.

But even when they were being good boys and girls, they were a mere spontaneous meltdown away from making the wrong kind of news in chairs which were scant feet away from all the action. Lucky Lovie was there to keep everything under control.

Surely they’d be good for my interview. Right?

Um, wrong. The interview, appropriately enough, was littered with kiddie interruptions.

And honestly? I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Wanna watch it? Click this link.

Tales from the Trips is available at Carpe Librum Booksellers, Borders Books, on amazon or direct from the publisher. 30% of all proceeds go to Childhelp, a leading non-proffit organization which benefits victims of child abuse and neglect.

The Language of Lovie

lovely lovie

As most of you know, I have a new book out, Tales from the Trips. Virtually every reader I’ve heard from seems to agree on one thing.

Lovie steals the show.

So what is it about Lovie that’s so captivating, you may wonder? Simple. It’s how well she deals with all of my nonsense. An exchange we had just two days ago is a perfect example.

“You’re a jerk,” she said, half kidding and half not. (Why I was being called a jerk is anyone’s guess, but I can assure you it was probably warranted.)

“A jerk?” I asked.

“Yep. A jerk. If people want to find you on the internet, they just type in www.jerk.”

“Which domain? Dot com? Dot edu? Dot org, maybe?” I asked.

“Dot dick, honey. Dot dick.”

No wonder my readers love her, so. Today, I thought it’d be fun to post five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from the book. Since I’m too lazy to type, I’ll be cutting and pasting, which means our gal Lovie will be going by her real name, Caroline.

* * *

5.) With Caroline in the hospital on bed rest, the task of getting Pookie ready for school each day was left to yours truly. I called my wife in a panic the night before the first of those mornings for some pointers. Here’s how it went down:

“What am I gonna do tomorrow?” I asked her.

“You’re going to get her ready for school.”

“Obviously, but what do I do?”

“Well, for starters, you have to make her take her reflux medicine and fix her breakfast.”

“I can handle the medicine, but what should I fix her for breakfast? She won’t eat cereal, will she?”

“No. You’ll have to make her something. Go to the refrigerator.”

“Refrigerator?”

“Yeah, you know, that door in our kitchen that you open when you want to have a snack?”

“Oh. I thought that was the pantry,” I said.

“Do you want my help or not?” asked Caroline.

“I need your help.”

“Then shut up and open up the fridge.”

* * *

4. ) Caroline’s, um, constructive criticism of Briggs, the dog I owned long before she and I were ever an item:

“Honey,” Caroline began another call to me, “your dumbass dog has struck again.”

“Oh no,” I exclaimed. Even I was getting sick of his shenanigans. “What was it this time? A toy? A shirt?”

“No. He’s on to much messier and disgusting things now. He dug into the garbage and chewed up a full bag of…”

No. No. Please no. Not a bag of…

“DIRTY DIAPERS! A whole day’s worth. Not only that, he must have eaten some because he’s thrown up on the floor. And I’ve got news for you. IT DOESN’T SMELL LIKE THROW UP! IT SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING ELSE!”

“Well, honey,” I answered, “you always said he had shit for brains. I suppose it was only a matter of time before he started having shit for lunch.”

* * *

3.) Don’t mess with Caroline when it comes to organizing for a trip:

“Honey,” I complained, “there’s no room for my bag.”

“Here,” she said, handing me three plastic grocery sacks.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Your luggage,” she replied. “Unpack your bag and put only the stuff you need in these. We’ll find a place for them.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Wrong. My allotted luggage was squeezed under the front seat.

* * *

2.) Caroline is quite possibly the world’s worst driver. But that doesn’t stop her from fighting back:

“Caroline!” I screamed as she narrowly missed rear-ending a car that was slowing down to turn right. “See that blinking light down there on the right side of that man’s car? It’s called a turn signal. Do you know what it indicates? It indicates that he’s about to turn right, which means he’ll have to slow down. That indicates that you should probably slow down, too.”

“Honey,” she said.

“What?”

“Do you know what this indicates?” she asked while slowly extending her middle finger.

* * *

the road trips usually end here.

#1) Quite possibly my favorite exchange of all-time, another road-trip gem:

“We need to stop for lunch between eleven-thirty and twelve,” said Caroline.

The effective traveling rule of putting off all stops for as long as possible made the answer an obvious one. “Great,” I said. “We’ll stop at twelve.”

“But everyone in America will be eating then,” complained Caroline.

“Well,” I said, “I guess we’ll be eating with them. We’ll call it America’s Lunch.”

“You’re America’s Jackass,” she answered.

We stopped at eleven-thirty.

* * *

So there you have it. Five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from Tales from the Trips–but, remember, those are only five. There are many, many more. If you’d like to read them, please buy the book. You can get it on Amazon or you can also buy direct from the publisher. Those copies will be autographed.

But come to think of it, maybe I should just have my wife sign them.

After all, Lovie steals the show.

Mystery New Year's Goal–Childhelp

Recently I blogged about my New Year’s goals. (I don’t make resolutions. They sound too dire…) I hope to become a better husband to Lovie and a better dad to Pookie, A, B, and C. I also hope to become a better Christian and in turn, a better man. I ended the post by referring to a mystery goal–one that readers would “hear about soon.”

Many of you know that I’ve written a parenting memoir called Tales from the Trips. What most of you don’t know is that I plan on donating thirty percent of the net proceeds from the sale of my book to charity, more specifically to an incredible organization called Childhelp.

And that’s my mystery New Year’s goal–to help raise as much money and awareness for Childhelp as possible.

All you have to do to assist is buy my book! Tales from the Trips will be officially released in April (National Child Abuse Prevention month) and available through Amazon.com. However, a limited number of pre-release editions can be purchased directly from the publisher later this month. (Buying direct from the publisher means a bigger donation to Childhelp!) Please send me an email at john@laughterthoughtmedia.com if you’d like to be notified as soon as I have them in hand. The cost of the book is $14.95 plus tax, shipping, and handling. If you’ve already signed up, don’t worry! I’ve got you down.

So who is Childhelp, and what, exactly, do they do? Childhelp® was founded in 1959 by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, and has become a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.  Childhelp’s approach focuses on prevention, intervention and treatment. They have a National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) which fields calls twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in addition to having a physical presence in many communities across the country.

Here are some of the programs they offer in those communities.

Good-Touch/Bad-Touch®:

A child abuse prevention and education program within elementary schools which reaches over 450,000 annually.

Residential treatment facilities (Villages):

Entities which provide specialized, comprehensive care for severely abused children. In addition to psychotherapy, counseling, medical care, and on-site schools, the programs also include art, animal-assisted, music and recreational therapy to help heal the heart, soul, and body of each child in our care.

Therapeutic Group Homes:

Entities which provide a nurturing refuge for abused and neglected children until they can be placed in foster care, with adoptive parents or returned to their families, as determined by the courts.

Therapeutic Foster Care

Entities which provide recruitment, training and certification for foster families with access to 24 hour professional counseling and support.

Children’s Advocacy Centers

A coalition of law enforcement, prosecution, social service agencies, medical professionals, and crisis counselors working together to utilize a highly effective, one-stop approach to the investigation of child abuse. The concept of the Children’s Advocacy Center is also available within a mobile unit to provide services for abused children in remote areas.

I have seen firsthand the amazing good that Childhelp has done in my community of Knoxville, TN, where we are lucky enough to have a Child Advocacy Center as well as a Foster Care program. In 2008 alone, Childhelp touched the lives of over 1,300 children, up 250% from 2000. Their impact will do nothing but continue to grow, and this year, I hope to be a small part of that growth.

To keep up to date on the latest developments, please visit me here or at the Tales from the Trips website. I’ll make sure to pass along more details as they develop.

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