Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gettin' Sauced

People who follow me on Twitter know that I am a self-proclaimed foodie. They know that I love to cook and that I love to eat. They know that when I bite into certain foods, I WANT the food to bite me back - “forkplay", if you will. Yes, I’m one of those who likes it HOT & SPICEY!

On a recent trip to Tampa, the cast was having breakfast with our producer, Sandi, AKA @McMedia.  She made us a wonderful breakfast in her fancy, right out of Southern Living Magazine kitchen.

I asked for some Tabasco sauce for my eggs - ‘cause that’s how I eat my eggs. She said that she didn’t have any Tabasco sauce. Dang it!  But just as I was deciding that she must be a communist, she said “I have something bettah” - that’s yankee for “better.”

She handed me a small bottle of a habanero, carrot based hot sauce by Intensity Academy. Carrot based? What the heck? Habaneros? Waaay too hot to enjoy. I was sure that I wouldn’t like it.
    I will not like it, I will not
    Habaneros, much too hot
    Carrot based? I do not care
    I will not like this stuff, I swear!

But since I kinda made a big deal about having to have hot sauce on my eggs, I figured I’d better give it a try. And you know what? It was the BEST STUFF I’d ever put in my mouth. The sweetness of the carrots enhanced the flavor of the habaneros while taming their heat yet maintaining their kick. I finished my eggs and later caught my self taking shots of the stuff straight from the bottle - which Sandi said I could keep after catching me.

I said,”Sandi, we should ask Intensity Academy to be the ‘Official Hot Sauce’ of the Midlife Road Trip.”  God bless her, Sandi made a few phone calls and landed Intensity Academy as a sponsor! As a product that we fell in love with and sought out as a sponsor, I am hereby awarding Intensity Academy the Midlife Road Trip Seal of Satisfaction.

Over the holidays I got to meet the founder of Intensity Academy, Michele Northrup and her husband, Tom. They brought me what has been my favorite gift this year - a WHOLE GALLON of their hottest, hot sauce, H-3 and a sampler pack of their Scovie Award winning sauces and marinades! Here’s a picture of me getting sauced. That's Michele, me, Tom & Denise (my wife).

Though we shamelessly attempt to get free products, services, accommodations and whatnot along our midlife journey, cast members only award the MLRT Seal of Satisfaction if we believe in it and LOVE it. We’ll be glad to try anything you send us, just be advised that if we don’t like it, we won’t mention it, and if it doesn’t ROCK OUR WORLD, it won’t get our Seal of Satisfaction. Our fans know that our endorsements mean something.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Midlife and Resolutions

So it’s the time of year when bloggers everywhere begin making suggestions for resolutions guaranteed to make my life better in the new year. Here are the top recurring themes I’m seeing in the blogs.

1.  diet and exercise
2.  quit drinking and smoking
3.  spend more time with family
4.  get out of debt
5.  get organized

Screw all of that. I’m in the middle of my midlife crisis.  I don’t wanna diet. I don’t wanna exercise. I don’t wanna quit drinking - especially if I have to spend more time with family. I’d have to start smoking in order to quit smoking. I would feel totally un-American if I were out of debt. And dang it, I have A.D.D. so getting organized is a medical impossibility.

The ultimate purpose of resolutions is to make your life better, right? BUT, statistics show that most resolutions are broken sometimes between Superbowl Sunday and Fat Tuesday. A broken resolution is tantamount to personal failure.

Personal failure leads to low-self-esteem WHICH erodes productivity and diminishes the quality of life, THUS having the EXACT OPPOSITE effect of what what the resolutions were intended to do in the first place. All of that to say… I ain’t gonna make no resolutions this year.*

*Note to my northern friends who got their thongs in a thistle over my use of the words “ain’t” and “no” in the same sentence constituting a “double negative"... blah... blah... blah.  Please be advised that I type in fluent Southern where the first negative adds emphasis to the second negative rather than negating it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making the Bed

This morning I tweeted that I was waiting on my wife to finish cleaning the hotel room so we could head back to Atlanta. I really didn’t intend to say any more about my wife’s OCD cleanliness, but based on some of the twitter responses, there was no way a 140 character explanation would suffice, thus this unintended blog entry.

My wife is a wonderful housekeeper. She likes things to be kept clean and neat - always. I love her anyway.
It’s not that I’m a slob. I’m not. I just believe in functionality over vanity. For example, she likes to make the bed before we leave the house. I, on the other hand, figure, why make the bed when we’re going to sleep in it again tonight anyway?

She has taught me that if I don’t help make the bed, I don’t get to sleep in it. So now I make the bed.

She even makes the bed when we stay in a hotel room.
“...but the hotel staff get paid to do that!” I argue.
“The hotel staff will flush the toilet too. Are you going to wait for them to do that as well?” She replies.
“That’s different.” I pout, dutifully making my side of the bed.

After all these years, I’m still not sure why she finds it necessary to make the bed in a hotel room. She says, it’s because she likes to come back to a clean room. But dang it, she cleans the room the day we’re checking out!

I think making the beds in a hotel room is a bad idea. Suppose the cleaning staff comes in after we leave, decides that the room looks good enough and doesn’t change the sheets? We owe it to those staying in the room after us to leave our beds messed up! Surely I’m not alone in this.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

OCD Pre-Travel Cleaning Ritual

I love to travel.
I love my wife.
I love to travel with my wife.

But I absolutely HATE the pre-travel cleaning ritual that makes us late and adds stress anytime we leave the house for more than two days. We’ve been late to family reunions, weddings, and vacations. We once nearly missed our flight to Miami for a Bahama cruise. I even contemplated divorce the time we missed the first quarter of a Southeastern Conference college football game.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to the standard, dust, mop, vacuum and make the beds, kind of cleaning, but my wife’s OCD dictates cleaning beyond what normal people would call...well, normal. We have to clean the baseboards, the crown molding, behind the washer, behind the dryer, behind the refrigerator, inside the refrigerator, inside the kitchen cabinets, under the bathroom sinks, the basement - you name it. I didn’t even know that most of those were cleanable spaces.

I’m sure we would have had to have the septic tank pumped if she were to think of it. You would think Southern Living magazine were coming over to do a photo shoot of our house.

“Why is all of this necessary?” I ask.

“What if something happens to us on the trip. What if the plane crashes or what if the boat sinks and people have to come inside the house?” She replies.

“What do we care? we’ll be dead.” I say.

“But don’t you care what people will think?”

“I hope we’ll be remembered for more than how we kept house.” I say. “Do you honestly think people will be standing around the funeral home saying stuff like...

They seemed like such a nice family’
‘It’s so sad... so sad.’
‘Did you know that they found dust on top of their ceiling fan blades.’
‘You don’t say!?’
‘Not only that, they found dirty dishes in the dishwasher, cobwebs on the laundry room ceiling and two Cheerios under the refrigerator.’
‘No way, not the Griffins! They seemed so normal.’
‘It just goes to show - you never know.’"

We’re traveling to my brother’s home in Highlands, NC this Christmas. I would write more but I gotta go clean the garage.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coconut Villas

As a part of the Midlife Road Trip cast I have the opportunity to travel all over the country. I don’t normally intend to blog about the places we stay unless I have a humorous story about it.

I’ve stayed at five star resorts and at dumps that make a Motel 6 seem like a five star resort. I once stayed in a dump just outside of New Orleans that came with a complimentary crack pipe and a can of Raid.

Earlier this month our cast and crew assembled in Dunedin, FL for a planning retreat. I really wish we hadn’t stayed at the Coconut Villas because now I am spoiled. The Villas are immaculately landscaped and give the feeling of being in a tropical paradise. The Villas are located conveniently located to shopping and restaurants, yet the area isn't "touristy" at all, making the Villas perfect for work & relaxation.

I loved the wireless internet. It's not every day that you can surf the web while watching Dolphins play just a few yards from the back porch. It was also neat to have a crane (I guess it was a crane - it was a big white sea bird with along neck) walk right up to the back door. In fact, one day when we left the door open, the bird walked inside for a visit. Of course we took lots of pictures.

The only negative thing that I would have to say would be that some of the adjacent properties looked rather dumpy in comparison to the Villas. I hope our producers will book us for the Coconut Villas next time we're in the area. I am hereby awarding Coconut Villas of Dunedin the Midlife Road Trip Seal of Satisfaction.

Though we shamelessly attempt to get free products, services, accommodations and whatnot along our midlife journey, cast members only award the MLRT Seal of Satisfaction if we believe in it and LOVE it.

We’ll be glad to try anything you send us, just be advised that if we don’t like it, we won’t mention it, and if it doesn’t ROCK OUR WORLD, it won’t get our Seal of Satisfaction. Our fans know that our endorsements mean something.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Airport Security

Sure, we’ve all been inconvenienced by the increased airport security measures since 9-11. And now thanks to the attempts of a wanna be shoe bomber, we now have to remove our shoes before passing through security. (Why couldn’t it have been a bra bomber?) I considered the inconvenience a part of my patriotic duty - until it began interfering with my sex life.

Denise and I were traveling with four other couples to Europe. This was our first trip out of the country since 9/11. The ticketing agent informed us that we could only have one carry-on item each. We had a total of three. So we frantically emptied the toiletries bag and began stuffing combs, brushes, make-up, toothpaste, etc. into the other two bags

Someone in our group noted, “The line through security is a mile long. If we don’t get in it now we’ll miss the flight!” We already knew that we were cutting it close and couldn’t afford any delays. A friend help Denise sip the bags shut, but I still had two handfuls of stuff. “What about this stuff?” I asked. “Put it in your pockets.” Denise said. “What about the empty bag?” “It’s fifteen years old. Leave it!” Denise replied. I stuffed the stuff into my pockets and ran to catch up with my group in the security line. I was reluctant to leave an unattended bag, empty as it was, at an airport ticketing desk. I was afraid that its discovery might initiate some security protocol that would shut down the whole airport. Of course then we wouldn’t have to worry about missing our flight.

I was the last one in our group to get in the security line. Denise was about ten or fifteen people ahead of me. The security people don’t let you break in line, so for the next hour and fifteen minutes I stood alone in a vast crowd of people awaiting my turn to go through the gauntlet of airport security. When I got to the x-ray conveyor belt, I could see Denise and our friends waiting on the other side of the metal detectors, motioning for me to hurry up - as if I had anything to do with how fast the line was moving.

I placed my shoes, watch, ring, and blazer on the conveyor belt alongside my carry-on bag. I stepped through the metal detector. The buzzer sounded and the red light atop the detector began to flash. “Cell phone needs to go in the tray.” the security guard said. I placed my cell phone in the tray.

“Step back through.” the guard said. I walked back through the metal detector. The buzzer went off again. “Any change in your pockets?” the guard asked. “Oh, yeah,” I said. I placed my change in the bowl that the guard was holding. “Step back through.” he said. I obliged and once again the buzzer sounded. The people in line behind me were looking exasperated. Denise and our friends were still giving me the hurry-up look.

The guard snapped his fingers and another guard approached. “Follow me,” the new guard said. I followed him to a table near my friends. He had me hold my arms straight out as he waved a wand up one side and down the other side of my body. The wand beeped at my waist. “Take off your belt.” he said. I removed my belt. My friends were laughing now. The guard waved his wand all over my body again, and again it beeped. “Empty the contents of your pockets on the table.” he said, motioning for another guard. My pockets were full of stuff from our toiletries bag. I pulled out eyeliner, lipstick, a toothbrush, a roll of Certs, a bottle of Midol, a stick of deodorant, a teasing comb, a pack of chewing gum and some Hall’s cough drops.

One guard examined my ticket and passport while the other examined the contents of my pockets. “That it?” the pocket-contents-examining guard asked. “Yes sir,” I swallowed, knowing that it wasn’t. The guard waved the wand over my body yet again. And yet again it beeped.

I knew what it was. He said something into his radio and three or four more guards hurried to the table where I was standing. The guard’s voice changed from a ‘just doing my job’ tone to a ‘we have a situation’ kind of urgency. “Sir, do you have an artificial hip?” he asked. “No sir.” I said, beginning to sweat. My friends were now looking worried. “Are you SURE your pockets are empty?” he snapped, “Because next we do a strip search.”

I turned my pockets inside out so the guard could see that they were, in fact, empty. In doing so, I tried to conceal the foil-wrapped condom in my left hand. “What’s that?” the guard asked. I showed him what I was holding. He waved the wand across the foil package. It beeped. He took the beep generating square from my hand and held it up for the other guards to see. “Looks like the bro’s planing on joining the Mile-High Club,” he laughed. The other guards laughed. Other passengers laughed. My friends laughed. Denise didn’t laugh. Europe didn’t prove to be as romantic as I had hoped.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Truth About Cruises

I had envisioned sitting at the dinner table and handing each of my daughters an envelope with $100 cash. They would open it up and ask, “What’s this for?”
I would reply “Pack your bags girls, we’re going on a cruise!!”
“When?” they would ask, excitedly.
“Our plane leaves in the morning!” I’d say. And they would squeal with delight and fight each other to give Daddy hugs and kisses before running off to their rooms to pack. Denise would kiss me and tell me how wonderful I was for planning this great surprise, revealing her amazement at how I was able to keep the cruise a secret. The look in her grateful eyes would promise a vacation filled with passion and romance.

my oldest daughter, Sherri, had a part-time job and would need to ask off work. So I decided to spill the beans and tell them about the cruise a couple of weeks in advance.

The news of the cruise was not greeted with the great joy I anticipated. Denise and the girls seemed to be overcome with a sense of panic because they only had two weeks to prepare. Apparently females can’t just pack-up and go on a cruise. They all had to get manicures, pedicures and haircuts. They had to make numerous trips to the tanning salon.

We were going on a cruise for goodness sake; why couldn’t they just get a tan on the ship?

They also had to buy new clothes and bathing suits. Never mind the fact that neither the people on the cruise ship nor the fine people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas had ever seen their old clothes or their old bathing suits. My girls spent more money “preparing” for the cruise than I had paid for the trip all-together. This stress-free vacation had become stressful before we even set sail.

Surely things would be better once we were on the boat.


Cruise lines are evil companies that exploit the intricacies of the female psyche. When you board the ship, they have a photographer take your picture against a fake background. Then they display the pictures in the main hallway of the ship and charge $30 for them.
They send troops of photographers to follow you around to snap your picture at the various theme parties, formal dinners, shore excursions etc. And they don’t just take one picture and move on. They make you do different groupings.
“What a good looking family, everybody say ‘party’”…click, click… “O.K. Just Mom and Dad”…click, click… “Now, just the girls”…click, click, click, click… “Now just this daughter”…click, click… “Now, the other daughter”… click, click.

Denise felt obligated to buy all of these “official” pictures. Never mind that we had a digital camera and could take our own pictures; these pictures came in a protective, high-gloss, official cruise line display folder, made from some of the finest cardboard on Earth.

After buying enough pictures to fill another suitcase, I decided to start making goofy faces so Denise wouldn’t want to buy the pictures. On evening when we were in our cabin, Denise was looking at some pictures. “I can’t believe you made a face like that” she said.
“Why on Earth did you buy that?” I asked.
“If you don’t buy them, they leave them on display in the hallway. Do you want everybody on this cruise ship seeing you look like that?”

Another evil thing the cruise line does is issue you a cabin key that is not just a cabin key. It is also a credit card that can be used on all the ship’s gift shops, boutiques, spas, salons, clubs and casinos, and is happily accepted at certain establishments in the various ports of call. I missed that somewhere in the fine print. I thought that the cruise ship must have just had incredibly good bargains for my daughters to be buying so much stuff with the $100 I had given each of them to spend. My girls were wearing new stuff that they had bought on the cruise ship instead of wearing the new stuff they bought back home for the cruise ship.

The female mind offers further proof of God’s sense of humor, albeit cruel at times.

A final beef I have against cruise lines is that they engage in false and deceptive advertising. I had envisioned our cruise being a time for great family fun where we could relax, hang out and enjoy one another's company. Nowhere in the cruise brochures did they mention that they allow teenage boys on the ship.

This discovery was not comforting for a father of two beautiful daughters with new tans and new bathing suits. Not only does the ship allow teenage boys, it has a special club on board that you must be UNDER 21 to enter. How was I supposed to spy on my daughters?

This cruise vacation cost me twice what I had budgeted and was twice as stressful as any vacation we had ever taken, and to top it all off, I gained seven pounds.

With all said and done, if any cruise line out there would like to give my family and me a free cruise to alleviate their guilt, I am willing to reconsider all the bad things I said about cruise lines. I may even write something good about them in my next book. In fact, I may even start my next book on said ship and list said ship in my acknowledgments. Please call or email me soon. I need a vacation.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Folks have been asking me, “What’s this ADDetourz business all about?”

Well, it’s like this - I have been certifiably diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have a short attention span and I am easily distracted.

Often on family trips, I would drive miles out of the way in pursuit of something piqued my interest rather than staying on course of our destination. For example; once when we were driving from Atlanta to Savannah down Interstate 16, I saw an exit sign for the town of Dudley. Well, our cocker spaniel was named Dudley, so I thought my daughters would enjoy seeing the town of Dudley. So we took, what my girls referred to as “another one of Dad’s ADDetours”.

The producers of Midlife Road Trip are counting on me taking some ADDetourz along the journey. So I’m sure that in future posts or blogs or whatever this is, I will be recounting the experiences of some of these unplanned excursions. At least now, you know what an ADDetour is.

Pictured below are the Dudley exit sign, Downtown Dudley (PO), and the most famous water tower in Dudley.

In 1991, on the way back to Atlanta from a Disney Vacation in Orlando, we took an ADDetour to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine. Here’s a picture of me, my oldest daughter Sherr, and a former alligator that surely enriched a local taxidermist.

One more thing, In case you’re wondering about the unusual spelling of ADDetourz, it’s because domain name “addetours.com” was taken. So rather than trying to track down the domain’s owner and trying to convince them to sell it to us for a song, we simply changed the spelling to “ADDetourz” for the purposes of graphics, video production and this blog.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

CRAZY DAY and I haven't even had lunch!!

I had to take my daughter to the doctor this morning in my wife's car because she was out of gas and chose to take the less-empty vehicle to work.

Dropped off prescriptions, brought daughter home - now ready to work.

Phone rings... a church friend needing help with plumbing problem. I rushed over, analyzed the problem and said, "You need to call a plumber". Problem solved.

On the way home I stopped at Kroger to pick up the prescriptions and to buy some stuff to make Kacie some chicken soup. An elderly lady making a U-turn, crashed her cart into the wine shelf, knocking 4 or 5 bottles of merlot on the floor where, of course they shattered, baptizing my feet and new sandals with wine and shards of glass.

(Fortunately, no one was hurt, though I might have been if I had swallowed glass while sucking my toes as I was initially inclined.)

When I exited the store, it was pouring down rain. I had left my umbrella at my friend-with-the-plumbing-problem's hose. I decided to run for it. But when I got to the place where I thought I had parked, my truck was nowhere to be found. So in the pouring rain, carrying 3 bags of groceries, I ran around the Kroger parking lot searching for my truck - for like TWO MINUTES before I remembered that I was in my wife's car. #SucksGettingOld

Now I am home, soaking wet, venting my frustrations.

Time to put on some dry clothes and make some chicken soup.