I had a bit of wine last night at a client meeting. When I got home home I had another drink... then called Tish for an evening of phone antics.
I joked with her that I was tanked (I only had a bit of a buzz going is all). She responded that she would like to see me tanked some time. It would be fun.
I replied "No you wouldn't. When I drink, I just get gas then fall asleep."

"So... it's pretty much just the same as when you don't drink huh?"

That's why I love her.


CASE # 14276-2006

Aspen's mother headed back for Phoenix last Thursday to hang out with her new boyfriend and get her head together (see Bon Voyage a few posts below). She was supposed to be back on Monday. She called Saturday and Sunday to say hi to Aspen. It is now Thursday and no one has heard from her since.
On Friday the friend she had been staying with called her dad (Aspen's grandfather) and asked if he could come pick up her stuff. She wanted it out of her guest room. He picked it up and tried to drop it off at her only other friend's place but they refused to take it. I guess that means she's not welcome there either anymore.
On Monday the summons and complaint was registered at the clerk of court. The process server has her copies ready to be handed to her. I had been hoping to get them to her on Wednesday but that's hard to do when someone is 'missing'.
On Tuesday Aspen's teacher and I had a scheduled P/T conference. Her mother knew the date and time but managed to not show up. It was a great opportunity for me to have a little info session with her teacher and fill her in on the goings ons. She was sympathetic of Aspen's situation and judging by her expressions, a little surprised to learn that her mother may just be up and leaving town. On the upside, she had some really good things to say about her social, intellectual and behavioral qualities. I was a very proud father that morning... well, I'm a proud father every morning but anyway...
This morning Aspen was bothered to learn that her grandfather would be picking her up rather than her stepdad. We called him so she could say hi and tell him that she missed him.
There is a hearing on Monday to see if the restraining order can be lifted against Ed and Aspen on their stepdad (this is all pretty complicated... you following all this?). Aspen's mom has also filed a motion that she be given half the furniture since they are now divorced. According to the ex's lawyer, she doesn't have a leg to stand on since no such agreement was written into the divorce settlement. Hopefully the judge will allow the kids to see their stepdad again. Aspen misses him and Ed would like to be able to go home again. I will be at the hearing to attest that I have no fears for Aspen's safety if she is around him. All of her family will be there to support him too. She will not have an easy time in that court room facing everyone on his side. The only person who may be on her side is her new boyfriend. I hope he is there so he can hear someone else's version of what's been going on rather than just taking her word for gospel.
It will be interesting to see when anyone hears from her again. She may come into town Sunday with her boyfriend to be here for the hearing Monday morning. Or, she may have left for good. I don't know which I prefer. If she is here on that day, I will make sure to serve her the papers at that point. Then, I just wait for the court date to come. Once she is served, Aspen is bound to stay in the area until the hearing, so it will be a bit of relief to know that her mom would have to be breaking a law if she were to try to take her somewhere.



I will update tomorrow or Wednesday on the Aspen situation. In the meantime I will brief you on another front of my life. The Tish situation...
While it may seem that Tishy and I are compatible in all the important areas, our phones seem to have a different opinion on whether or not we should be an 'item'.
Over the last few weeks, Tish was having me believe that my phone was deteriorating from the inside to the point where my using it at all to contact her was more aggravating for her than anything else. Apparently I sounded like a robot whenever it was me calling her. This meant that I would call her, talk to her for a moment, listen to her complain about my phone then suggest she call me back so my romantic talk doesn't sound like C3-PO in heat. I believed her complaints were legitimate because toward the end of the day when my phone had been off the charger for several hours it was difficult to understand her too. The voice quality was not clear, her articulation would come through with piss poor clarity at best. Like she had downed 4 too many brews before calling me.
So, wanting to do anything to appease my muffin-puffin, I went out and bought a new phone. That ran me a total of $260 what with all the surcharges and fees and accessories and new ringtones etc; not to mention 2 hours of my day off to wait in line with all the other numb nuts who dropped their phones in the lake while reeling in that 6 lb bass or used them as outlets of frustration in their most recent domestic disturbance situations (always good people to wait in line with!).
So when it's my turn to talk to a service representative I ask "What phone do you have that will make me sound human and my girl friend sound sober?" Of course she tries selling me on that really expensive looking and really expensive phone that does everything short of acting as a defibulizer in the case of an emergency. But my heart is in good shape so I go with the next model down.
After getting all my little black digital book re-entered and all the appropriate ringtones assigned my first order of business is, of course, to call my num-nums and let her know that I shelled out the big bucks to ensure she would be more satisfied with our conversation quality. And what's the first thing she says?
"Damnit Brico, you sound like a robot. Let me call you right back."
So now you can all check out her site to see when she gets a new phone!



For those of you who have been around these parts for a while know that a client of mine earlier this year was the production company of Taledega Nights (The Ballad of Ricky Bobby).
Well, they're back. This time they're doing a movie about some 1940's little league team. One of those family feel good inspirational against all odds nonsense movies. As usual, I ask who the big names are in it. This time it's Andy Garcia, Cheech Marin, and some unknown actress named... Kate Hudson!!!

Now, anyone who knows me is well aware that Katie and I have a predestined future together. The fact that she and I will be working side by side on our latest project together immediately after the inevitable split with hubby Chris Robinsomething from that Blue Birds or whatever band should only serve as inarguable eveidence that our coupling is not simply theoretical. Even Tishy can't deny the forces that be after a certain point (but don't worry baby, you can still come down until further notice, mwah!).

Of course, I'll be keeping you all posted of how things are progressing on this front. You have all been so supportive of me in the past, I would ask for your prayers and wishes on this as well, but really, fate is in motion and it won't be neccessary. But thanks anyway.



Here's a quick update (at least I hope it will be quick, I haven't finished it yet)...
Aspen's mom left for Phoenix this morning. She'll be back Monday. She just had to get away from all the stress over here.
The night before, the friend she had been staying with called me to let me know that even she was fed up with her lies and wanted her out of the house. So she stayed at her last friend's place last night. I suppose that's where she'll stay once she gets back from her vacation too. And this friend who told her to take a hike has been a friend of hers since high school. She told me that if I needed her to testify on Aspen's behalf during the custody trial that I could count on her.
She is really burning every bridge she has. What's more her (ex) friend has talked to her ex (the one who allegedly hit her) and says that she'll testify on his behalf as well. She knows full well that Aspen's mom went over there that night to incite him into such a move. Nice huh? And she plans on calling her other friend (the one she has left) to let her know all the lies that she's been sewing and to be aware of all the chaos she is in the midst of.
I went to the lawyer today and was both encouraged and disheartened. The good news is that all the provisions I want to put into the custody suit are workable and won't be vetoed on principle by the judge.
The bad news is that even though she doesn't appear to want to contest it, it will still be costing me more than I have. I was hoping to get the paperwork drawn up on an hourly rate then I could do all the filing and footwork myself. Not the case. I still have to pay a hefty retainer. Ouch.
Another bit of good news is that she doesn't have to sign anything. She simply gets served and if she doesn't show up to the hearing then the judge pretty much puts his seal on it, no problem. And by the time that gets around (six weeks?), she will in all likelihood be long gone and not be in a position to contest it even if she had second thoughts.
And she left town before getting the restraining order she filed in the kid's names removed. So while she is resting in Phoenix, her son still can't go home.
And lets keep things in check: Once I have full custody and Aspen is safe in my care, that is the closing of one ugly chapter of this mess. The next and even more ugly chapter begins when Aspen's mom decides to up and move. I have always wanted her out of my life but I didn't want her out of Aspen's life. Mom is doing some research for me to find the titles of some books that guide a parent in raising a child that has been 'abandoned' by the other parent. This will not be an easy thing to witness or counter. Aspen will be losing one of her pillars. It may be a faulty and crumbling pillar but it is still one she loves and relies on.
Yes, there are definitely some hard days ahead for daddy and Aspen.
There, that was 'quick' wasn't it?


1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog's content and look?
Yes. I customed it myself with the help of Kalani. It has gone through a few modifications, including the recent removal of the tag board that did nothing but serve as a billboard for really poorly envisioned ad campaigns. I'm sure the top banner will change every year or so. I post all the old ones somewhere hidden in the archives. Try and find em!

3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?
There is no one I know who I have purposely concealed my blog from. My family, coworkers, and all my girlfriends know about it.

4) Did blogging cause positive changes in your thoughts?
I know that writing and journaling aretherapeuticc. So in that aspect I believe it is helpful. It's an outlet like anything else.

5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or do you love to go and discover more by yourself?
Because the last year has been one of the most stressful of my life I have had little inclination to visit anyone else's blog, particularly lately. Perhaps that will change. There are so many blogs I wish I could say I had visited today.

6) What does a visitor counter mean to you? Do you like having one on your blog?
It meant alot more to me a year ago. Then I became somewhat obsessed about it. Now I rarely check it. I find it humorous to know that 400 of the 500 hits I get a day are from the middle east to check out this post.

7) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
Since most of the bloggers I know I met through HNT, I already have a very good idea what they look like.

8) Admit it. Do you think there is any real benefit in blogging?
undoubtedlyy. And I hope to be reaping those benefits the next time Tish comes down!

9) Do you think that blogger's society is isolated from the real world or interaction with events?
It's late and that's a bizarre question. Short answer: NO, don't be stupid!

10) Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it's a normal thing?
If it's constructive it doesn't bother me. If it's someone coming uninvited into your blog space to be an ass then yes that bothers me.

11) Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
Who comes up with these questions? Tish, why did you tag me? Did I hurt you in some way???

12) Were you shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
Oh yes, absolutely. It totally blows me away that someone who has a blog would A. commit a crime and B. get caught. I honestly couldn't believe the news! Is this almost over???

13) What do you think will happen to your blog after you die?
My grand children and great grand children will read it. Wait... Mayan calender ends in just a few years. Nevermind, it will perish with the rest of us.

14) What song do you like to hear? What song would you like to link to on your blog?
What song do I like to hear? Did the person who wrote these questions speak English? I swear to god some 11 year old came up with this tag and it somehow made it's way to me. I am really tired! I like the song that I have linked on the sidebar!!!

15) The next victims?
Aspen's mother, her new boyfriend, their future marriage counselor.



Those were Ed's words last night when he and his mother were talking on the phone from my place. She expressed her desires that Ed meet Chris (her new boyfriend) and how she hoped they would be able to have a positive relationship.
It floored me (in a way I guess, in another way nothing she does 'floors' me) that she would have the audacity to suggest such a thing while she is responsible for his 'dad' having to spend a night in jail a few days earlier.
She asked her sister to take legal custody of Ed temporarily. All indications say that she plans to move away soon and this is preparation work. Everyone knows this is her just ridding herself of her responsibilities but at the same time we realize that it would be in Ed's best interest. Her sister has not yet given a response. Ed says that he would rather I have custody of him (whomever has custody, Ed would still live with David). But I will not take that task on. I work full time and am not going to be legally repsonsible for a 16 year old by myself. One mess up on his part and I could lose Aspen to DSS. No thank you. That doesn't mean to say I don't love him or wouldn't do anything for him out of love... but I won't do that (thanks Meatloaf).
Anyway, I go to my lawyer Wednesday to spell out the specifics. Hopefully he'll have the paperwork drafted within a few days and (and here's where we knock on wood, keep our fingers crossed and keep on praying to the powers that be) then present it to her for signing/notarizing. If the ink hits paper then I take it from there and file it with the magistrate. From there, the judge's seal should be on it within a few weeks. But the big sigh of relief will come when it's signed.
I'll keep you posted. Unless something major or unexpected happens I'm going to drop this subject for the time being. I was tagged by Tish the other day and I need to get around to that. Can't piss off the g/f ya know!



Aspen's mother and I sat down for a three hour talk on Sunday. The purpose of the pow wow was to see if common ground could be found in the custody situation with Aspen. I was adamant about where I stood. So any common ground to be found was going to be her bending, not me.
And that is what happened. As if she knew what lie ahead if she tried to contest in court my demands, she was agreeable to nearly the last detail.
It seems to be her intention to move to another state to be with her new boyfriend, but not with Aspen. And this move may be very soon. This week she will be giving over full custody of her son to her sister, in which case he will be allowed to remain staying with his stepfather. She says that she will have the restraining order on David protecting Ed and Aspen removed this week. She has not said yet whether or not she will testify against her ex in the upcoming trial of assault (they are no longer married so it can not qualify as domestic assault). If I had to bet I would say she won't.
Of course, all of this hasn't happened yet. And as I know full well with Aspen's mother, the weather changes like that! So this is all able to change in any given day's update.
Assuming that there are no more sticking points in the wording of our custody agreement, the worst is over and when the judge puts his stamp on the papers Aspen will be 100% legally safe and in my care.
For those of you who pray, keep 'em coming for just a few more days, they seem to be working. Particularly you Bug! You're tight with the big guy!
And a heartfelt thanks to absolutely every one of you who have leant me comments of support and courage through all of this. You are all fabulous! It really has helped knowing that there are strangers and friends out there who are in Aspen's corner. Thank you all!
And Tish, I hope to be seeing you real soon now!

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE (a sequel to the post below)

When the police were called and her ex was arrested he spent the night in the local jail, not getting home until 3 am. His son is forbid to see him. Aspen is forbid to see him. Ed is now left with fragments of his life from a year before. When Ed heard the news that it would be 45 days before he could go home again or see his 'dad' again his face woulda broke your heart.
I recall vividly the first time I met Ed nine years ago. He and his mother were laying together reading. He looked as much like her as people say Aspen looks like me. The love he shared with her was abundant.
Now, that is all gone. Due to her manipulative and deceitful actions over the course of the years, actions that have taken him from stepfather and household to stepfather and household, from school to school to school, he has learned the hard way what and where dishonesty gets you.
Sadly, I wonder if his mother will ever learn that same lesson for herself.
Word got back to me late yesterday (after writing the previous post) that Aspen's mother has been engaged in conversations with a 'boyfriend?' in Phoenix (which happens to be where she was hiding out for those two weeks while never calling her son). The basis of those conversations has been her and Aspen moving out there to live with him. Upon learning this I left work abruptly, went home, found his phone number and called him. I assured him that I have every intention of getting full custody of Aspen. After laying out the basis for my decision and reminding him of the facts that the judge would hear it was clear that it wasn't a question of 'if' I would get custody, simply a question of how much $ it would cost for her to attempt to fight it and slow the inevitable judge's decision.
Once again, I have to hand it to Aspen's mother. She has successfully duped another guy into believing her version of reality. A guy who apparently is willing to throw his hard earned money into a potential fight to help ensure that Aspen's mother doesn't lose joint custody. A guy who seems convinced that Aspen's best interests are served by attending to her mother's wishes. A guy who believes that a year of phone communication from 3000 miles away has afforded him a clearer and more accurate portrait of Aspen's mother than all of her family and 'friends' who live with her day in and day out.
It will be layed on the line (perhaps as soon as today) in person, face to face, one on one, me and Aspen's mother, what it is I seek. There may be room for compromise. If she has suggestions or ideas where we can both get what we want than I am all for that. But I will not sacrifice Aspen's stability, security and future to appease her mother. If she accepts my terms then there is no battle, only papers to be drawn up, filed and signed. If she doesn't then I will unblinkingly shell out the thousands that this will cost to ensure Aspen's life is not in the hands of someone who clearly has a truckload of issues to work through.



Who wants an update on the saga going on over here?
Got your popcorn? Cause this is good.
Now before this chapter and my attitude towards it ruffles any feathers or strikes a negative chord with any of you, keep in mind Aspen's mother is a habitual liar. She will make up any story if it suits her goals. And I, her son, her parents and her sister know that this is exactly what this is. So bear that in mind as you read on.
Today at 2:46 pm I got a call from Aspen's mother. She was in tears and really doing a super job at sounding scared and hurt and fretful. I mean her voice was trembling and everything. Seriously, a Golden Globe performance if I've ever seen one. She informs me that her ex had just assaulted her and the police had been called. She needed me to pick up Aspen tonight because she would most certainly be busy with police paperwork for the rest of the day.
I said 'okee dokee' and hung up. I felt pity for her ex. He is a great guy. Aspen loves him, ed loves him, her parents like him. Now I don't doubt that he shoved her or manhandled her to get her out of his house (she claims she was there to get some of her stuff). But this woman could make Ghandi himself blow a gasket and go medieval if he was alone with her for 10 minutes so I don't blame a regular joe for losing his cool.
I call Aspen's grandfather (her father) to let him know what has just transpired. His response is "Oh lord, here we go again. She's hitting crisis mode and it's attention grabbing time."
Not very sympathetic of a father is it? You see, he's been through this before. Whenever she is in dire straits she has some 'tragic event' happen to her that garnishes everyone's love and support and sympathy and detracts from her foolish behavior that up to that point had everyone down on her.
Except now at age 37 she's played that card too many times. Her father is disgusted, her mother, her sister, her son and me (of course I've been disgusted for years). This time her little claim of abuse has only fostered more resentment from everyone. This plan to reestablish herself in everyone's eyes as the victim in all this rather than the culprit is not fooling anyone.
I think how for the last years I had to sit silently by as all her family believed the lies she made up about me and why we split up and what my flaws were (I have none, ask Tish!). It is such sweet redemption in a way to know that I have been not only vindicated from the past but can play an active part in keeping her from doing the same old thing to the next guy.
But I digress...
She pressed charges and filed a restraining order against him which also encompasses Ed and Aspen! For 45 days! This is Ed's dad for all intense and purposes. This is where ed lives. Seeing that his mother has no place to live (she's been staying in the guest house of a friend about ten miles away for a few weeks) this move has kind of thrown a monkey wrench into the day to day life of an impressionable 16 yr old boy. Where the hell is he supposed to stay now? He can't go to his house, his room, his bed. I mean what the fuck kind of move was that? I'll tell you what, that move there just did more damage to her and Ed's relationship than she will ever be able to fix.

So much more has unfolded on this day (Friday) that I can't even begin to go into it in one post.
Please tune in tomorrow for the rest of this chapter. Consider the intermission to be what we writers call 'suspension of disbelief', cause the rest is so frickin unbelievable!



It's too cliche to even talk about really...
The incompetent boss' son who comes in and implements all these changes in an effort to make things run smoother when in reality all it is is him redelegating work so everyone else has more to do and him having less to do.
"There! See how much more efficient everything is now?" he boasts as he relaxes in his easy chair. Meanwhile, everyone else is working overtime to take on the extra workload.
what makes this scene a bit more novelesque is that the boss' son (we'll call him 'Child of Chuck, Kirk or CoC,K for short) is absolutely psychotic.
I find it hard to believe that out of all the medications advertised on TV these days that there isn't a handful that could help CoC,K be a little more even keeled (that's right, when you own a boat you start using sailor metaphors!)
CoC,K is of the mindset that nobody else (other than his daddy of course) does any work around the place other than him. That everyone else is 100% incompetent, lazy, and uninterested in doing the job at hand. Of course, that's why the business has run smoothly for 14 years before he got here.
Last night, he and I came to blows.
We had a job that was on the books to be done yesterday. Unfortunately, the crew who was supposed to do it didn't. Why, exactly, I'm not sure (not the point). I immediately started making calls to remedy the situation. I called the crew foreman to ask what was up. I called the client to explain things to him. I called the boss to fill him in. I called other crew foremen to find anyone able and willing to take on a job at that late hour. Basically, I went beyond the descriptions of my job to make sure things worked out smoothly.
Unfortunately, it seems that waiting around for another crew to come meant that CoC,K would have to stay a few minutes later than closing time. And that wasn't acceptable to CoC,k at all!
Well, the grade A temper tantrum ensued. Complaints started flying about how he works six days a week and nobody else does what they're supposed to do. It was at the point when he complained angrily that "people don't show up until 11am or whenever they feel like it!" that I lost it.
Why? because he was referring to me. Did I show up at 11am? Yes, that very morning. Was I signed out like I was supposed to be? Yes. Why did I show up at 11am rather than 8am? Because I had scheduled appraisals and client meetings that morning, three of them. Kind of an essential part of my job.
So in the heat of the moment I leveled a big fat "Fuck you!" at the psycho boss' son. Followed up with a "I had 3 client meetings. Stop whining like a little girl* for once would you?!"
As you can guess, that wasn't appreciated too much. But I didn't give a shit. People who make a habit of complaining about others really get under my skin. Bitching and moaning and whining and hissy fitting and temper-tanturing and all around rant and raving have no business in my world (or the world to be quite frank!).
"Deal with what life gives you. Don't be a snivelling twit about every little thing in life." That's my creed. I think Lao Tzu said that.
Anyway, today I am sitting down with the two bosses today and giving CoC,K's dad a rundown of last night's events. He may not believe me word for word but he knows his son. And if enough of the rest of us start complaining about him, he'll have to do something eventually. Which, hopefully, will mean smooth sailing for the rest of us down the road.

*my apologies to all little girls out there. it's hard to remain politically correct in some scenarios. from here on out i'll use the phrase "stop whining like a little CoC,K!"



For the first time in 7 months it wasn't 95 degrees here in the southeast. It was also my day off. Upon realizing that at noon (when I finally decided to get dressed) it occured to me that I could wear some good ole blue jeans for the first time in forever.
Before I had a chance to curb my enthusiasm (a great show by the way!) and before I even realized I was speaking, these were the words echoing throughout my place...
"Oh sweet! Jeans! I hope I still fit into these babies!"
Yeah, that was pretty embarrasing. Just thought I'd share.



Saturday afternoon I took a much needed few hours of relaxing time on the boat. Miguel and I set out with a full cooler to get some waterskiing done. Miguel is a serious skiier. I am not. Having seen how easily he dropped a ski and jumped waves with just one, I figured I had to try it. And success! In fact it was much easier than I had anticipated. In some ways it was easier than skiing on two. In fact, the hardest part seemed to be trying to locate the dropped ski when you were ready to pick it back up.

When it got too dark to ski and the beers were adding up I had the genius idea of taking my camera into the lake to take some shots from a rarely scene vantage point. Fortunately, we both can swim fine with one arm raised up high in the air.
Sadly, no shots of me on one ski. I guess steering, holding a beer and taking pictures is a bit much to ask of Miguel.



David Tirado was a computer technician. He did not work in either of the WTC towers. However he was in WTC 1 on the morning of September 11th, 2001. The company he worked for (Rent A PC) had been paid to deliver and install a computer into that building on that day. David was the technician at his company assigned to deliver and install it.
David was 26 and engaged to be married in two short months to his long time girl friend Danielle Ferraiola.
I was able to get in contact with a few of David's closest friends and asked for their thoughts for this tribute.
Friend Steve Barton contributed the above photo. In it are (l-r) August Lambrose, Steve and David partying before a Pearl jam concert (one of David's favorite bands).
Wanting to stick with The Nut's long standing Ten Things theme I asked Dave's best friend Steve to give us a rundown on who Dave was...

Dave's Ten Favorite Passtimes: Baseball, Softball, Videogames, Music, Movies, Watching wrestling, Tricking out his car, Working on computers, Animals, and of course Chicks!

Dave's Ten Favorite Bands: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Tool, A Perfect Circle, The Doors, local H, Five Cent Hero, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots

Ten Words That Best Describe David: Honest, Genuine, Funny, Conceited, Sore-Loser, Sweet, Loving, Loyal, Weird, and Silly

Dave's friends contributed these memories of their friend...

"He would act like a complete clown to make people smile and even though he wasn't trying to make people smile he was very accident prone which made everyone laugh.."
-Richard Tirado (Dave's brother)

"He used to scream real loud in Spanish - well I think it was Spanish, at me. That was hilarious, and always caused me to laugh."
-Rob Barton (Dave's close friend)

"The thing that I remember most about David was his smile. It was a peaceful and happy smile that invited you to laugh along with him. He was a kind person. I can never remember him doing a mean thing to anyone else. On the contrary, he was often a peacemaker."
-Doug Blancero (Dave's teacher/counselor)

I asked Dave's friends if they had one thing they could tell Dave today what would it be...

"There's just one thing I want you to know, and that's how much you're missed. Even after all of these years, it's not getting any easier not having you around. I miss your laugh. I miss your smile. You were the only person in this world I trusted implicitly"
-Steve Barton (Dave's best friend)

"I love you and I miss you and I'll never be the same without you."
-Richard Tirado

"I miss you dearly, and will always remember you. And that I wish you were still here."
-Rob Barton

"You are remembered still. I can still see you in school or laughing as we joke or I put you in a headlock. I still cry when I think of the loss we experienced when you and others from the youth program died that day."
-Doug Blancero

I aslo asked Dave's friends if they had one more day with their beloved buddy what would they do with the time...

"If I had 1 more day with my brother I would switch spots with him."
-Richard Tirado

"Like old times, we would eat junk food, watch bad pay per views, and play video games till the sun came up."
-Rob Barton

"I would probably just want to spend time with him and let him know how good he is."
-Doug Blancero

Obviously the world lost a great many things on Sept 11, 2001. The innocent civilians caught in the middle of an international war of idealogies before our unsuspecting eyes struck all of us at the core of our beings. We saw the absolute worst in humanity that day.
I took on this project because the only way we have a chance of turning something good out of that day is by continually reminding ourselves individually and collectively how precious each moment of each day is and just how tightly knit we are as a global community. If we can walk away from 9/11 more aware of our actions and their consequences as a nation and with a deeper appreciation for life as individuals then that day will have made us stronger and the lives lost will not have been in vain.
As it is now said... Never Forget!

To review the other participants in Project 2996 go here. To learn more about Project 2996 click on the link on the right sidebar.

Thank you to Christopher Cross, Steve and Bob Barton, Richard Tirado and Doug Blancero for your efforts and contributions toward this tribute.



I talk about Aspen quite a bit here but only the serious Nut reader would know that Aspen has a big brother (from her mother's first divorce). Ed is 16 and is a wide receiver on his school's football team. Aspen loves him dearly. And vice versa. I was stepdad to Ed from age 7 to 11. We are still close though he considers his mother's 4th ex husband his true dad (I was ex #3). Ed continues to live with him today while his mother is in hiding. This pic is from Thursday night's game. Ed's team won 50-0! By the way... Ed gets his striking good looks from me!



Those who have been through it know that it's like a strategy game. Know your opponent. Don't let them see you sweat. Never blink. Loose lips sink ships. And all that other hype that refers to head to head combat.
I suppose in the animal kingdom it's just as cut throat. Striving to protect the offspring from potential threats. But on Animal Planet it's rarely the father vs mother. In nature there is a mutual understanding between the parental units as to what's best for the newborn.
I guess that's why this feels so unatural to me. I'm a lover not a fighter. 'Make love, not war' and all that crap. But at the same time this is as instinctive for me as rushing to her aid when she has fallen off a swing. I'm acting on an essentual gut level.
Sure, I think long and hard. I ponder. I calculate. I weigh options. I reformulate my strategies. I attempt to predict my opponent. I play a long tiring waiting game. But there is never a second thought. Even when I learn the cost of non-refundable retainer fees. There is never a second thought.
I din't ask for this to happen, she did. This isn't of my making, it's all hers (despite what she might have anyone who listens believe).
This will be many things... mentally taxing, financially painful, but when the dust settles she will be safe in her bed at the end of the night with her teeth brushed and hair washed. And in the morning I will be all smiles as she complains about the limited choices daddy can offer for breakfast before I take her to school (cereal or blueberry waffles?).
Security has it's price.


This is yet another excerpt from a very recent phone conversation with my snooker doodles...
Me: "Man am I tired! I need some extra sleep just to recover from your being here!"
Her: "Yeah right! I think you got plenty of sleep while I was there!"

hmmm, this theme is making me tired.



This is an excerpt from Tuesday night's phone conversation with my treasured sex kitten. As is common, Tish was bummed that I was too tired to continue our dialogue any further after 10:30 pm as I needed to get some rest...
Brico: "Baby, you would want to keep talking until 3am. You never go to sleep at 10 pm!"
Tish: "When I'm with you I'm asleep that early."

hmmm, is that a compliment or a complaint?



I know probably half the blogs out there just had something about Steve Erwin having passed. For years I didn't care for the character. He seemed all fluf and no substance to me for the longest time, an over the top showboater. But in the last couple of years Aspen has had animal planet on non stop and his mug became as prevelant in my house as my own. I became aware of just how all encompassing his knowledge and compassion for wildlife was and what his real goals in doing what he did were.
I was really floored Monday morning when I turned on CNN. I had to tell Aspen. It was the first time that someone she 'knew' and liked had died. She was sad and surprised just like I was.
He died doing what he loved, we all should be that lucky.



Tish came down for the weekend again (so obviously I'm pretty tired). Tish, Aspen and I went on the boat and Aspen spent about an hour on the tube. Much to my surprise, and to some other boaters watching, Aspen dared and managed to stand up on the tube at 15 miles per hour with no hands! She loved falling off and I eventually got tired of stopping and turning around for her so I had to tell her to not let go anymore. Tish and I had a blast watching her. Tish refused to go back in after I "tried to throw her off last time" so she just sat and watched.
This was the first time Aspen stayed the night while Tish stayed over as well. Since Aspen's mom is 'away' for who knows how long (or where for that matter) the 3 of us shared the evening together watching Lion King 1 1/2 (Tish loves Disney movies).
Then Aspen's mom called. Ooops, there should be a '!!!' after that sentence, sorry... Aspen's mom called!!! Now when a part time parent 'disapears' for 2 weeks and leaves 100% of the parental duties to the other parent with essentially no notice, one would think that when the absent parent finally calls to speak to her daughter that she would take a moment to explain a thing or two to the other parent. You know, basic stuff like "This is where I'm at" and "This is what I'm doing" and "This is when I'll be back" and "This is why I had to leave" and "I'm sorry for the inconvenience" and "Is there anything I can do in the meantime to help you out?" Instead, when Aspen's mother called, the extent of our conversation was "Hi, can I talk to Aspen please?" "Yep, shes right here". Then after about five minutes of Aspen asking her when she would be back several times and only getting "In a few days" as the vague and uncommitted response the call was over before I had the chance to step in and get whatever info I could.
So, who knows what lies ahead. I think this week should be rather uneventful until Friday, that's when she is losing her car. She is supposedly 'back' Friday. Of course, she hasn't been 'away' in the first place. She's just been hiding out with her new boyfriend in the city. But she doesn't want us to know that.
Have you ever known a person who you can't believe 90% of the time? A person whom the odds are that they are lying at any given time? I call that person 'Kaye'.


"Daddy? When is mommy coming back?"

Aspen's mother was last seen Thursday August 24th. Our regular schedule of who had Aspen which days was interrupted because, according to her, a friend was coming into town to help her move her stuff out of her place (her now ex husband demanded she be out by that time - he gave her 25 days notice). Together, arrangements were made so Aspen would be looked after while she was busy moving and I was in Chicago.
Aspen's mom called her while she was at a friend's house Sunday to say 'hi' and to let her know she was 'going on vacation' for a few days.
Wednesday I got a message from her from an unlisted number saying she had to leave town for a few days.
Thursday I got another message from an unlisted number apologizing for her absence saying that she would be back next Friday (Sept 8th).
Where she has gone and what she is doing is anybody's guess. It is pretty well concluded that she is still in the city and hasn't gone anywhere. A call to her cell phone from a local area code was intercepted by her ex on Thursday morning saying 'Hi honey, I guess I'll catch you at home later'. Apparently the caller didn't realize her number had been transferred to an unused phone in her ex's possession where upon he could hear any messages being left for her.
It's hard to conclude anything other than that she is shacking up with another guy somewhere in the city at this point. That's okay, whatever doesn't kill her simply makes my case stronger. And she's leaving Aspen out of it which is all I ever wanted anyway.