Should My Wife Pick Up the Dead Roach?

“And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.”


The other day I saw a huge dead roach on the floor and the thought of picking it up to discard it was disgusting. Then in a flash of male brilliance, it occurred to me that it would be best for me to leave it right where it was so that when my wife discovered it later on in the day, she would know that the pest service was working. I left it right where it was with only a tinge of lingering guilt.

A few days later, I saw another big dead roach on the floor and went through a similar thought process. After all thought I, knowledge is the food of the soul…or was that Plato that said that? Regardless, I left it for my wife to see and do with as she wanted but was comforted that she would have increased knowledge regarding the success of our pest control.

Later, when I came upon the third dead roach, I decided to actually take a picture of it and write down a few thoughts. Of course, I could not take just one picture. I had to get down real low and get different angles to get the best shot possible. It took several minutes to get a real good shot. I could no longer justify leaving it there so I picked it up and tossed it in the trash can. My wife will just have to suffer through not having the added information and knowledge.

As I reflected on the poor dead fellow in the picture below, he started looking pretty familiar. Then a light went off and I realized that it was just a picture of me…wow…what I cad I had been.

Alas, the male brain can justify about anything. It is a highly capable self serving mass that seems dormant most of the day but occasionally turns on to take care of needs and wants (mostly wants) only to soon return to its dormant state.

But there is hope…because when you have been married long enough, your wife does not even have to be present to prod you towards improvement. There is an emotional encouragement (nagging) chip that each wife implants in her husband’s brain right after the wedding ceremony.  Throughout your marriage, she encodes signals that somehow know when to surface with their messages of encouragement (nagging). The male brain tries to suppress it but when presented with enough constant and solid evidence, the chip will take charge of the male brain. It comes to life when you have been lazy or incompetent and demands a better performance. My wife may be sleeping or even out of the country but that chip she planted in my head is always just one bag of  BBQ chips away.

So, I guess it is nice to know that our pest control works and that I have been able to serve my family well by getting that information to my wife. In an effort to improve the information flow and increase of knowledge between my wife and me, I will look for other ways to help.  For example, I also want her to know when I eat all of my vegetables at dinner so I am going to start leaving my empty dishes on the table as proof. Surely she will be happy to know each time that I am a member of the clean plate club…surely she…..bzzt….ow! Turn it off…please!

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My Wife Is Not a Turtle…but

“A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.”
Carly Simon

I was surprised this week as I came around the fire pit in my yard, to find a softshell turtle. It was immediately apparent that the shell on this turtle had been crushed and yet here she was, some 100 yards from the lake, laying her eggs.


One can only imagine the epic battle she went through, probably in the jaws of a gator. What helped her escape? Did her outer armor do its job and the gator just finally give up? We will never know, but it is clear, that for this survivor, life goes on.

I am touched by this example. She probably does not swim through the water with ease as she used to when her shell was sleek and perfect. She may have aches and pains as she moves around…and yet she keeps moving…she keeps pushing…she keeps living.

Now I am the first to insist that I am not comparing my wife to this old battle scarred reptile…but you know…there is honor in making it through many of the challenges that life throws our way. Raising kids, earning a living, running a home, being an awesome mom and wife…all of that takes its toll. But when a woman makes it through all of that, she has earned the love, respect and admiration of generations.

Now some men may seek the sleek…the shell that has not been tested by the battles of life. That is a shell game that risks losing what is really good and lasting about life for what is temporary and empty.

Again, I insist that I am not comparing my beautiful wife to this turtle…but you know…when I am in life’s mud and swamps, I want to be with someone that has paid the price and survived the battles.

No comparison intended but…even if she seems like a snapper from time to time, life is so much better having created awesome memories with someone that I can share and speak with of the rest of my life. And if she thinks I am a loggerhead at times, it just shows how perceptive and wise her age has made her.

And even if she has spent most of her adult life as a “gopher”…gopher this kid’s forgotten homework or gopher that kid’s medicine…she has done it with the energy and zeal that would make any of her reptilian counterparts jealous…that is if she had any reptilian counterparts…

No…I am happy with the old battle axe…not to make any comparisons to weapons of war…She has cared for me when my shell has been broken and put me back together better than Humpty Dumpty’s men. Her battle scars are what make her sleek and attractive and I would shell out anything to be by her side forever.

I am not comparing her to a turtle or anything close but if she were in a race with a hare, I would bet on her.

IMG_9668If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends. If you would like to be notified of future blogs by Gary, please hit the “follow” button at the top of this blog. If you are using a smart phone the “follow” icon is sometimes at the bottom of the blog.

Let’s Make Showers Stress Free Once Again

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me I’d still have to say it.”
George Burns

It seems like taking a shower should be a reward at the end of the day when nice hot water washes away your troubles and, for just a moment, you are relieved of the worries of the world. That’s how my showers start. Then it comes time to wash my hair and the stress begins.

For some reason, one bar of soap is not sufficient to shower properly any more. I remember when a bar of Lava would take everything off your skin except freckles and that seemed to be just fine. Then came beautiful colored shampoos and maybe even Head and Shoulders but it was still an easy process for men to follow.

Then came marriage and the shower evolution took place. I mean how many soaps and conditioners and detanglers and body lotions and shampoos are really necessary. Tonight my shower started out stress free and quiet. Then it came time to wash my hair and there were three unidentifiable big bottles in the corners of the tub and another one sitting right outside the curtain on the floor.

The light was dim and I of course didn’t have my reading glasses on so it was fruitless to try and read them. I made out “Aloe” on one of the bottles and assumed that must not be shampoo. My wife was out of town so there was no help coming. I was on my own. I finally just picked a bottle and washed my hair with whatever was in it.

I don’t mind using shampoos with names of flowers or scents of herbs. I don’t even mind shaving with a razor that has a pink handle. But would somebody please make a shampoo that, when it is in a bottle, looks like shampoo that a woman can and would buy and that a man can properly identify in a shower that is dimly lit with no reading glasses? If my wife, as a woman, has to buy two bottles instead of one then put shampoo in both of them but label one shampoo and the other conditioner. And use two inch letters that say “Shampoo”. Write it vertically if you have to.

As I get older and balder, I realize that stress free showers are right around the corner for me regardless of the smorgasbord of tall skinny plastic nameless bottles that may fill my shower corners. In the meantime, I may go back to Lava…or maybe use Aloe…or rubbing alcohol…or Nyquil…or Hydrogen Peroxide…or whichever other bottle whose label I can’t read is sitting within reach of the shower.

Let’s make showers stress free and make shampoo bottles for dummies and then take it one step further and make shampoo bottles for men.

Sustained Effort Makes Things Work…Rock Steady

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”
Winston Churchill

Throughout most of the 90’s, we held concerts at our water park in Central Florida. Water Mania was a new water park and was hardly a match for the much more established competitor, Wet-N-Wild. We did not have a big budget and needed to do something to make us stand out. So at great risk, we decided to hold concerts at our massive wave pool.

As a revenue source, it was unreliable and often times very costly. On one concert alone, we lost $50,000. The chance of rain was always a threat. The chance that not enough people would show up to cover the cost of the concert, was always a possibility.

As a security risk, it was challenging. We had to have scuba divers underwater in the pool to make sure nobody disappeared underneath the carpet of inner tubes. Our friendly water park staff had to make the transition to becoming tough security enforcers typical of concerts.

As a marketing tool however, it was effective. We were up against bigger attractions with multimillion dollar ad campaigns. It did not work over night but over the years, it did what it was supposed to do…it put us on the map. Many people who would have otherwise not visited our young water park, made their way out to hear the bands. For some, it is their first memory of the park and it eventually helped make Water Mania an icon in Central Florida.

scan0001Bachman Turner Overdrive

Kenny Loggins

Molly Hatchet

Bad Company


Greg Allman

The Outlaws

Little Feat

The Marshall Tucker Band


We closed Water Mania after twenty years of business in 2005. During the years that we did the concerts, we were constantly evaluating the risk reward tradeoff. It was tough on our family and staff but in the end, it was worth it. Sometimes simply sustained effort makes things work and it is not always clear while you are in the middle of doing it, that it is a good idea.

Consider your children. Sometimes it just seems like it is too hard to keep them pointed in the right direction, day after day after day. And then one day, they are gone from your home and on their own. At that point, you will know for sure what you already suspected…that every ounce of energy that you spent in their protection and development was worth it. Sure you have had a few bad nights and sure there will be more in the future but your effort made your family a family…you put your family on the map. You did your part…and it was worth it.

Would I do concerts again if I had a chance to start over? I would like to say yes but there is not enough rain insurance in the world to make my wife happy about it…so I guess the answer would have to be no…It was a dream that it happened and something that I will never forget. Sustained effort is what most of us need to achieve our dreams. Rock Steady.

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I Am Glad My Mom Was Not A Paramecium

“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”
Pablo Picasso
 paramecium mom


I am glad that my mom was not a paramecium because…well…I would have been one too. Since they mostly just split to make more, I wouldn’t have had a father either. And on those heartbreaking days when I just needed a hug, her numerous little cilia just wouldn’t be long enough to really reach around me.

I am glad my mom was not a flea. I love dogs but not that fond of drinking blood. I love to jump but would rather drive a jeep. I don’t think mom and I would have had that much of a relationship. I mean, if I got on a rabbit and she stayed on the dog, when would we have ever met again?

I am glad that mom was not a sparrow. I would have loved to fly but I never really got into sunflower seeds…and even though the Lord notices a sparrow when he falls, I wouldn’t really have had any knees to bend down on to learn to say my prayers.

I am glad my mom was not a salmon. I like the water but not really the ocean that much…too many predators. At least, I would have had a dad but then both of them would have died at about the time I would have been born…and so many brothers and sisters…I never would have known them all.

I am glad that mom was not an elephant. She would have protected me for sure but I am not sure that I would have liked the gentle nudge of her huge feet…and she would not have been happy with her big ears and teeth in the family photo. I would have never been picked up to cry on her shoulder or felt the gentle pat on my back that all would be okay.

My mom carefully selected the right mate and honored him his whole life. She has nurtured and protected me and my siblings since birth. She has provided shade from the constant and sometimes brutal challenges of the world. She has cried with us and laughed with us and encouraged us. She alone has been the stake in the ground that has prevented the vicious storms and whirlwinds of life from scattering us abroad. She has been the home to come home to. She has been mom.

I am glad that mom was not a paramecium but if she had been, I would have gladly swum the swampy waters with her. She makes any world she lives in a better place…a piece of heaven…a home.

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

Dark Matter Instead of Grey Matter Found In Guy’s Heads


We recently visited our home in Utah in which our two college age sons  currently reside. Having been away for six months, their mom was hoping to walk into a house that was clean and well kept. She hoped against hope that at least an effort had been made by my boys. At first glance, everything looked great. After spending a bit of time in the house however, the ruse began to unravel.

Closets and drawers and even dryers had been used to the max to hide the disarray. Their mother took it in stride and got to work. I just took it in stride and went about my business because, well, I am a guy and they were just employing the survival tactics that I had passed along in their DNA.

We all know that weez guys think differently than youz ladies…that is, if weez guys think at all. It has been postulated that about 85% of the matter in the universe can’t be seen and it has received the mysterious name of dark matter. I think we can safely conclude that most of it can be found between the ears of guys on earth. Since we know that there are not enough guys on earth to make up all of the missing matter, we could therefore conclude that there must be other guys somewhere in the universe which resolves the whole question of is there life out there somewhere…but I digress.

When we were first married, my wife made quite an effort to refine me. Since then, she has seen her own sweet little darling boys grow up to be men and it has tempered her expectations a little. After all, she is partially responsible for raising those testosterone driven, fast food eating, TV watching, clothes shedding, sports nuts and she is realizing that it is hard to fight nature. If not a reprieve, it at least has helped my wife understand my guyness.

When a guy sees an empty washing machine he thinks…well, actually nothing comes to his mind at first and he just keeps on walking. However, if he is compelled to do laundry, he thinks to himself…might as well fill er up and just add more soap…why do two loads when you can get them all done in just one load? The same goes for a dryer…let’s see how many clothes we can squeeze in there and still get the door closed.

When a guy eats a steak he is cutting the biggest chunks that his throat will allow him to swallow. In his bedroom, he thinks…why hang the clothes back up when you can get a few more days out of them and they are easy to find right there on the floor or on the back of a chair? He ponders…why make a bed if you are just going to crawl right back in it in a few hours…and why lift the toilet seat if you are accurate enough which, by gosh we know every guy is…and if by chance he finds a toilet seat that is already up, why on earth would you ever put it back down?

There is just a basic fundamental genetic difference between us. Weez guys don’t think like youz girls. Clearly weez guys don’t think at all. Somewhere between selfish and lazy is a place where all guys visit…well…reside. In that realm, brain waves that beget non-selfish action just do not occur. It is all just dark matter…which is apparently some pretty important stuff in the universe but it doesn’t help much in the thinking category.

That’s okay though because if weez guys were to think, we might stop acting like guys. Then youz girls would not know what to do as we would no longer need you to make things stabilized and right in our worlds. The world would suffer and things would come to a screeching halt. At least right now only youz girls suffer.

So ladies, just bear with us. We die sooner than you do and then you can find peace and relaxation. Until then, could you bring me a glass of milk while you are up?

What do you mean I have to go live with the boys?

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What Do You Do When Somebody Talks Too Much?

“Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.”
Robert Frost

Have you ever been around somebody who just eats up all of the oxygen in the room with their incessant chatter? Have you ever been that person? Let’s assume for the “sake of talking” that the person is not you but that it is someone else burning up their lips and gums and damaging your eardrums and vestibulocochlear nerves. What do you do? Below are five possible alternatives for finding relief:

1. Don’t listen. Imagine yourself on a sailboat on a beautiful sunny day in your 20 year old lotioned and tan body (even if you are 50…well, especially if you are 50). All the while, keep moving your head slightly and paying just enough attention to not nod yes when they are complaining about their own mother or their excess weight etc.

2. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. This is good for only the first exit because after that they might start a rumor about your bladder. For the second and third exits, you can use excuses such as, checking the laundry, sprinklers or locked doors. If a fourth exit is required, feign fatigue and reschedule the visit.

3. Inquire about the mole on their arm and suggest that they need to get it checked. If you can’t see one then just assume they have one on their back. If necessary, share the story of your older relative that had a bad experience with a mole. It has to be just subtle enough to not create a whole new conversation while allowing a seed to be planted of personal survivability and worry.

4. “Did you hear that?” always stops the conversation and you achieve a moment of silence, which can help you gain energy for the next chattering onslaught. If you stand and turn around and look, it helps your charade. Ask one more time, “did you hear that?” When they answer “no”, you can ask them to stay quiet for a few more precious seconds and then explain that it must have been the rats that sometimes appear in your house. Add that one time one of them stuck their head out from under the very same couch your friend is sitting in. Assure them that they need not worry because you recently bought a pet snake and allowed it to roam through the house in the daytime and that it had eaten most of the rats. Add a little shrug and laugh and say “now where were we?”

5. As a last resort, you might try to engage the other person in conversation but direct it in a way that has a terminal point…eg… I don’t like funerals…or… my warts have been bothering me…do you mind rubbing them because I can’t reach them?…or… did you hear that continuous talking causes gout?

If none of these ploys work, then hand them your grandbaby and some carrots. He will know what to do. Everyone will be happy…well, what is your friend going to do…give you the baby back? Of course not….that would get all of the neighbors talking!  Ahhh…peace at last!


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