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September 10th, 2009

~Thursday~  My short walk to the bus stop this morning was a little on the trashy side. Actually, it was trash day, and I did a quick check of the trash cans and recycle bins as I passed the ones set out for trash pickup in my townhouse area.

It would appear that the neighbors two doors down were laughing and singing and having a party some time this week, if the two 16-inch pizza boxes in their recycle bin were any indication. Somebody in the townhouse across the street got a big old diploma frame, if the size of the box in their recycle bin is any indicator. Someone in the townhouse three doors down got a toy and threw its box into the recycle bin:


Down at the bus stop, there were three pieces of trash laying about: a large size Styrofoam cup from Cook Out, a crushed Sparks energy drink can, and some coupons for 5 wings at Zaxby's.

When I got on the 8:15 bus, there was only one person on it, which is highly unusual. I said to the driver, "It's dead up in here."

"Yup," she said.

"Good thing you don't get paid by the passenger," I quipped.

She laughed, and said, "That's what I'm talkin' about."

Later on, that woman got on with her adorable little girl again who once again had her arm extended holding a purse—a yellow one today. And surprise of all surprises, there was a daddy with the family today.

And finally, another young person reading—a classic—on the bus today: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned.



Prudence ripped someone a new asshole again this week in the response to her first letter. After reading it I thought of invoking Oh Snap!

Dear Prudence,

I consider myself a moral person. I'm lucky to be married to someone caring and attractive, whom I love and who loves me back. We just had our first child. My wife has a sister who's been married for several years, has kids, and seems happy. She's also extremely sexy. My wife is beautiful to me, but she doesn't have the confidence to pull off "sexy" like her sister.

A while back, my sister-in-law came over and we shared a bottle of vodka—my wife was pregnant so couldn't drink. Ever since, I catch glances from my sister-in-law that get my mind racing. She's paraded her body in front of me in bikinis all summer long. I'm not a cheating person, but I've also never been tempted before. I've tried to talk about it with my wife since we share everything. Now she feels I don't want her. She also doesn't think her sister would ever "want" me (not sure how to take that one).

Hanging out with my sister-in-law and her husband is one of my favorite aspects of being a part of my wife's family. I don't want to disrupt anything, but I don't know how to carry this around with me. Would it be wrong to confront my sister-in-law about this and try to clear the air?

—Conflicted

Dear Conflicted,

I can just imagine how you'd like this "confrontation" to go: "I think we should clear the air about the sexual attraction between us in Room 426 at the Holiday Inn off Highway Exit 22." You want advice, so here's some: Stop sharing everything if you think sharing includes telling your wife you'd like to bang her sister, declare pool season over—no more swimming with the in-laws—and throw away the vodka bottle.

You gloss over the crucial point that your wife just had a baby. That means that, for many months, she has not been as sexually available as usual, and even when she is, her flesh is distributed in strange and not totally alluring ways. Now think of what's going on in your marriage from her perspective. She is wondering whether she will ever get her old body back and whether her husband will still find her attractive. Your confession was not reassuring, and you're lucky it didn't prompt your wife to suggest busting up your new family.

You also seem to be insinuating that you're insulted that your wife thinks her sister is not interested in you. Which prompts some more advice: Grow up. You're an adult and a father, so stop acting like a horny teenager. It's time you understood that not every desire is to be acted upon or even spoken of. Use your intellectual powers to appreciate what your wife has gone through to bear your child and to recognize that while you're frustrated sexually, you're not going to say or do something so monumentally stupid that everyone you've ever known ends up thinking you're the biggest jerk they ever met.

—Prudie


You can read the other Prudie letters from this week, including one from a teenager who actually wants to have conversations with her mother, but her mother would rather read.



This afternoon, I personified four quarters: one with a state on it, and the other three regular old quarters. I needed to spend three of them, and I wondered, "Do I keep the one with the state on it to let it know it's 'special,' or do I spend that one with two of the regular ones to let it know that 'diversity is valued?'"

Here's a quarter, call someone who cares.



I had two work meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both of which went well. The afternoon one was cut back from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, and was our weekly working team meeting, which meant that food was involved. Jude (my boss) brought four cookies (two chocolate chip, one oatmeal and raisin, and one sugar). Rhonda (my officemate) brought string cheese. I was remiss in my contribution today.



I met my ex-neighbor at the gym today at 7:00, and I was glad we'd agreed to meet, as it was definitely one of those days that I would have ended up blowing off going.

I started with 300 ab crunches, while she worked on about ten of them. :-)

We both did the elliptical machines after that. I did it for forty minutes. She planned on 35, but did about 38 before it was all said and done. She wanted to get home to see Big Brother. We had good conversation and the time just flew by.

I ran into the grocery store next door, where I bought some sliced banana bread to bring in to work tomorrow to make up for my lack of contribution today. Then, I stopped by my office, where I dropped off a 12-pack of Diet Coke, so as not to have to carry it on the bus, and I picked up some homegrown rosemary, cayenne peppers, and some bay leafs, which Jude brought in for me today from her garden, and which I had forgotten to take home.



At home I made a killer stir fry consisting of diced chicken, some rosemary sprigs, a sliced cayenne pepper, celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, green bell pepper, and pineapple chunks—all in a pan with some Kikkoman Stir Fry Seasoning Mix. Delicious!

I had thought about going to Trailer Park Prize Night, but I got a bunch of other things done instead, including:

  1. Made a donation to my friend Joe Trostel's MS ride.

  2. Wrote out a thank you card for a thank you letter from the dean of NC State's College of Humanities & Social Sciences, and I enclosed a $25 check to match the one he was thanking me for already. I wanted to reward behavior that I encourage, which in this case was his personalizing what was basically a form thank you letter. He crossed out "Mr. Martin" on it, and wrote in "John," and at the end he hand wrote an additional thank you sentiment. Nice touch. My original $25 donation was in honor of my friend Susan's birthday (this is to a scholarship program she started), and I told the dean that this donation was in honor of him!

  3. Sent an e-mail to my financial advisor about some mail I got from Ameriprise today about one of my variable annuity accounts.

  4. Took care a couple of work items—scheduled a meeting with my officemate for tomorrow morning to talk about possibly attending a conference in Denver in November, and sent an e-mail to an HR rep who is running some professional development sessions with our organization's management team to suggest assigning a reading and discussion of an article about managing geeks that was referred to me by a colleague today.

  5. Devised this blog entry.

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