Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Summer Heat Burns My Soul

The other day I did something completely out of character for myself. I took off my shirt while outside. Now it was in my back yard, however I did stay topless as I pushed my lawnmower around to the front of the house and in the garage. What’s the big deal you say? People take their shirts off all the time so what’s my problem? To start let me paint you a picture of what I look like. I’m 6’1” tall and go about 240 pounds on my leaner days. I am light skinned (my Irish, Scottish and English bloodlines win out over everything else for me), have freckles and am hairy. Add to that a lifelong image issue with my body (Americans seems to have this problem more than others) and there you have my reluctance to be seen shirtless even if it’s in my own yard. At least my body issues aren’t as bad as Kevin Smith’s who suffers from a much larger (pun intended) problem than I do. Please note this isn’t a dig on Smith at all, I terribly admire what he has accomplished in life and he has inspired me to start my own creative endeavors at long last. He has stated before that he doesn’t like taking off his shirt at the doctor’s office or even in front of his wife. At least I'm not that bad.

Basically what has led to this change in behavior is that my wife wants us to take a vacation to the beach but the only time available between our schedules and before our son goes back to school is towards the end of July. The closest beach for us to do this is in Galveston, Tx, about a nine hour drive away. So given my natural pale state plopping me into Galveston in late July means I will literally be red, sunburned to a crisp, unless I slaver zinc oxide on and wear long sleeved shirts and pants with a floppy sun hat at all times. Of course that endangers me to overheating myself on the beach and constantly sweating throughout the day so neither of those appear to be ideal working situations. My only other option now seems for me to go into the yard doing whatever work I can without wearing a shirt for about 30 minutes a day. Currently in Tulsa we are having 100 Plus degrees of weather and so far this week each and every day has been an Ozone Alert Day so I have to be very careful that I don’t overdo it. Today I even went over to a friend’s house and sat shirtless while our kids were in the pool. Very abnormal behavior for me but I do seem to be going through some life changes all for the better in the last year.

Perhaps by the time our vacation starts I will have been so sufficiently exposed to the sun that I won’t have many issues as long as I’m smart about what I’m doing. My wife won’t have any troubles at all. She is from Lima, Peru and has darker skin than I do. Thankfully our son is a mix of the two of us and while he’s not very dark skinned he’s not pale like his dear old dad and the more he gets outside the more tanned he seems to get. Being from Lima, my wife grew up going to the beach all through the summer but hasn’t been to one since she visited Atlantic City in the fall of 2002 when she was a freshly arrived vacationer to these shores. She ended up staying in the country but moved to Tulsa the following year where we met. Ten years is long enough and although it will be stretch financially and given my natural aversion to the sun, I’m willing to do it for the sake of our family. A family vacation has been long overdue and besides, I could stand having another go at some crawfish or alligator. That's one of the other changes I’ve undergone in the past year or so, I’m trying and enjoying food that I never would have touched in the past. Let’s just hope I make it back from all of this in one piece without too much burning.
Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

notmovingpictures Episode 6 Is Ready For Your Consumption

Episode 6 of your favorite (or co-favorite with Ten For Tuesday) podcast is now available at where Tommy is back for a conversation with Don once again. We had been working on the website for Alloy and with the help of a very good IT person we figured a lot of things out and actually got the site looking pretty good. There is now videos on there with pictures and new show dates as well as content under the Other Stuff tab like The Writer's block. All in all it was a good effort. After an interruption from my five year old son calling wondering where I was we got back into it and discussed two upcoming road trips. One to see Iron Maiden in Dallas and another to see Rush in San Antonio. Then we devolved into seeing who had seen Rush more (Tommy) and where we had seen them.

After that we dove into the deep end of a religious discussion about a church that had a toddler in front singing about "ain't no homo gonna make it to heaven." Homosexuality and religion are not easy subjects to get into but we did and I'm not sure if I actually got my point completely across. When you're trying to go into a difficult, touchy subject in a short amount of time it can be difficult to get everything out that you want to say. I personally believe that a persons religion and sexual preference are their business and it's between them and God. The bible is pretty clear on the subject but does that mean you would ostracize somebody or in the case of this church, revel and seemingly enjoy anothers perceived pain?

The church members were cheering, clapping voraciously and yelling "encore" in the video. the thing is even if you teach a young child your beliefs it doesn't mean that he won't "turn out" gay. If he is then he is and nothing you teach him at the age of 2 will change that. Change the subject matter and if you try and teach him to like your favorite football team or your favorite food or whatever it doesn't mean that it will take with him. He will grow (hopefully) learning to make up his own mind and experience life and learn who he is. Enough of my rambling, enjoy the podcast. In the near future I am planning on doing one with an old friend (Robbie if we can ever get together), more with Tommy as his band Alloy has not one, not two but three shows in July and perhaps another solo effort if I'm up to it.

Above all else remember that it's just talk and opinions, you don't have to agree with them but you should be able to listen to them without getting offended. Later.....................

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Hope It's Not Another Rough Start To The Week

So far today, this week has started off better than last week. Last week I should have known that there would be issues since my wife was starting a seven week long course. Every time something like this changes our schedules we have communication issues. By now I should realize it in advance and take care of it before it has a chance to happen. But no, that would make too much sense. My wife had talked about trying to get out of her class early so that she could take care of our son when it was time for me to go to work. Still, I should have clarified everything.

I ended up waiting as long as I possibly could before concluding that my wife intended to meet me at my job and pick up our son. Therefore I rushed off to work in an effort not to be late. To do that I had to speed, something that is not exactly out of character for me however once I arrived in the parking garage she was nowhere to be found. The only thing I could do is drive back home and see if she had gone there, but once I arrived I found the garage empty (of her car at least).

It was time to call work and explain why I wasn't there and luckily my manager was off on vacation and since I'm a supervisor I knew I'd be okay. Perks of the job. However I really needed to drop my son somewhere, preferably a safe place so now I rushed over to the Peruvian family that usually watches him. The husband was home and said that no, my wife had not made any arrangements for them to watch him but he'd be happy to. As I left I decided to make one last visit to our house just in case my wife had made it home and was wondering where our son was.

The path I take goes by a park but before you get there you have a hill to go down and as I flew down it I realized that I was going much too fast. Unfortunately just as this dawned on me I saw the police car sitting to the side. Whether he saw me or was drawn by my bright red brake lights I'll never know but sure enough he pulled out and lit me up. He used the standard question of if I knew why he had pulled me over and I answered honestly that my speed had gotten away form at the bottom of the hill. Then he collected my drivers license and asked for my insurance info. I had my old card but not the updated one and he wanted to make sure that I did have insurance, which I do.

Then came the next standard question of if I knew how fast I had been going. I'm sure I could have thrown a number out that would have been reasonably close but instead I just shook my head and said "I really don't know" with the full expectation of him informing me just how fast I had been driving. Instead he just told me to sit tight and went back to his car. After a few minutes I watched him (in my side mirror) get out of his car and observed that he only had my license in his hand. This was indeed my lucky day that he had not written me a ticket for speeding. He gave me back my license and told me to watch my speed and get my updated insurance card and keep it in my truck.

When he pulled me over I came to the conclusion that I could not control anything on this day so just take it easy and drive somewhat close to the speed limit. What would happen would happen. It was only after pulling out that I realized that he hadn't had his radar on so he really did not know how fast I had been going when he asked me. Right then and there I became positive that if I had guessed at how fast I had been going he would have written me a ticket for that speed since in essence I would have "confessed" to doing so. Instead my ignorance actually ended up helping me this time.

At a much lower speed I continued on to our house where once again I determined that my wife was nowhere to be found and then drove on to work. One hour later than my appointed time I clocked in safe and sound. My wife called later and I relayed what had happened to me. Of course it was my fault, she had told me to take him to the babysitter (she hadn't) and that one of their daughters had even been at our house on Saturday and they had discussed it all. I didn't bother to try and tell her that I'm sure they did, in Spanish, which I speak very little of. It's not worth trying to prove my point because no matter what decision I make it will turn out wrong, at least the way she spins it.

Hopefully the next time we have a change in the schedule I'll remember this and other past incidents and will actually talk to her (or listen depending on your point of view) and make sure we're in complete agreement about what is supposed to happen. Not likely of course but I can dream.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.