Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Evade Yard Work (or, "A Lesson in Facial Reconstruction")

I had high hopes for this post. I really did. It was going to be a very entertaining DIY post on building the perfect Tree Swing. Complete with pictures, diagrams and how-to's, it would have been the post to end all posts. Suck it HGTV.
But, life doesn't always work out like I plan. So instead, sit back and enjoy a harrowing tale of a 4-year old boy, enough blood for a True Blood fan-fest and a pretty slick DIY swing.
It's not that I dislike yard work; I actually find it very therapeutic. Our two minions were in the backyard playing on their new tree swing (have I mentioned that I built and installed it myself?) and I was just getting into my Sunday afternoon stick-bundling. Then it happened; the inevitable scream of one minion getting sick and tired of the other minion and expressing said agitation with some form of physical violence. Or so I thought.
What I envisioned as an "Ow! Quit it" love-tap was actually my oldest pushing the empty swing at her brother's face. Fortunately, he caught it... unfortunately, he caught it with his face. So as I'm walking around the side of the house, expecting to reprimand a love tap, I'm greeted by my boy-child as he races around the yard while spitting out copious amounts of blood. Seriously, it was an amazing amount of blood. If I were in a zombie movie, I would have been looking for the head-shot.
Fast forward to the kitchen and the ice wrapped in a towel pressed to his mouth. It was then that I realized that The Boy has one lower lip and now, two upper lips. So perhaps a trip to the ER is in order. We jump in the family's swagger-wagon and we're off; a picture-perfect family. One soon-to-be first grader, emotionally damaged due to the amount of guilt-at-high-volume that I've spewed upon her, her three-lipped zombie brother and me, the daddy covered in more blood than Octo-mom's midwife.
We checked in to the local Emergi-care, fill out the paperwork and start the exam. It goes something like this:
Them: "How did this happen?"
Me: "My son took a swing to the face" (author's note: not the best thing to say when you and your son are covered in his face-blood)
Them: "Do you have any questions?"
Me: "Where is your bathroom? I need to rinse the blood off my knuckles" (author's note; you'd think I would have learned how to shut up by now)
Them: "The doctor will see you."
Me: "I'm really not an idiot."
I cannot express to you how horrifying the next 30 minutes were as a father. What started out as a casual conversation about the "pinch of the injection" and "5-6 stitches to close up the wound" turned into a nightmare that I've only just recovered from. In order to keep Lippy Lipperton still during the procedure, they had to strap him into what can best be described as a Velcro Papoose... even his head. He did not like this... not... one... bit. Once the needle went into his head wound, he erupted. Screams that would bring Rambo to tears filled the ER.
"I can't get out of here!!! Daddy, get me free!!! It hurts and I'm scared!!!"
I was somewhat expectant and mildly prepared for this part. But in order to stitch him up, they then had to cover his face with what I would (and did) describe as a Mormon bed sheet, a small blue dentist bib with a hole cut out of it. The instant it covered his face and he couldn't make eye contact with me, my little man lost his damn mind.
"I can't see my daddy!!! Where are you, Daddy?!?! Why are they hurting me?!?!"
I immediately pulled the Mormon sheet down and looked into the tear filled eyes of my son (now sweating like a whore in church) and felt the true meaning of helplessness. As the doc feverishly stitched the boy up, I looked around the room and saw the two nurses crying and realized I too was a mess. I did the only thing I could think of which was to press my forehead against his and repeat the same thing over and over again, "It's gonna be okay buddy. Daddy's here. I love you. It's gonna be okay buddy. Daddy's here. I love you."
For what felt like eternity, he screamed, I whispered, nurses cried (okay, I cried too) and I envisioned the amount of therapy I will have to pay for in the years to come.
In reality, five minutes after the "wrapping" began, we were done. I tore into the Velcro Death Wrap and held my little pin cushion tighter than ever before. God dammit, I love being his daddy. In a moment filled with the shuddering, whimpering cries of my little super-hero while I smashed him into my chest, I knew that being a Daddy (and the best one I can be) is ALL that matters in my life.
EPILOGUE: It's been four days since "Sunday Fun-day". The sticks are still unbundled, his sister is allowed to come inside the house and I'm finally sleeping through the night without hearing those cries in my dreams. What I've learned is this... Tree Swings are stupid and I hate them. Okay, seriously? It's a damn good tree swing and perhaps one day I'll show you how I built it. Until then... I love you Lippy. You're my super hero. And you have great style.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Observation Deck

This week, Chucked Wood is launching a Project; the Observation Deck. It is an installation project that will reside at General Greene Elementary and afford the students an outdoor classroom as well as several "observation & refection" areas. The bench is the same style as the "Press-on Bench" but with the addition of a weather-proof box (aka: mailbox) mounted on the side. This is where the project gets special to me...

I love the stories that people have to share. We all have them, they make us, "us". My favorite part about Thanksgiving is the telling (and often, retelling) of the stories. I enjoy stand-up & improv comedy so much because I can relate to those stories of the dentist, airports, being married, having kids, etc. What keeps me coming back are the different takes each of us has on these subjects; how we view our lives.

So, when the opportunity arose to work with Mr. Howard, a student teacher at Gen Greene, I didn't wait long to say, "yes". He was working on an Environmental Education project and envisioned an outdoor classroom at the school made up of Press-on Benches. We decided to take it one step further and and a journaling, recording, reflection element to the bench that could be stored there as well. We came up with this:

And lastly, built a prototype to showcase on Kickstarter:
So now, we launch a $1000 fund raising effort to make this all a reality. This is all very new and very exciting... wish us luck! The next step is the potential for these to appear in parks & neighborhoods. A place where someone can simply sit, write, reflect, and leave a story behind.


Friday, April 13, 2012

No reason to be thankful (I just am)

After three years of being underemployed, my wife (the chef, seamstress, writer, cater, mother) has landed a full time gig as the Home Cooking Specialist for Whole Foods. That's right, beginning this weekend she'll be slingin' patchouli and pasta inside the beautiful (and super-cool) new addition to Greensboro.
This leads me to my rambling thoughts... I'm really happy today. My kids are healthy (although sick in the head, like Daddy), I have a job (whether I find it fulfilling shall not be discussed) and as I type, I sit in a beautiful spring afternoon. I'm totally gay for this weather... It's FABULOUS!

That's all I really want to say at the moment. Oh, and I still want an answer to my question from earlier in the week; if a group of necrophiliacs ran into a band of zombies, who would chase who?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Get Your Face(book) Outta My Auction!

It's the final 24 hours before the 2012 MS Walk at the Asheboro Zoo. That Girl's Team is made up of our craziest friends and family members that show up, ready to walk and have a good day. We know we had a GREAT day if we don't get kicked out.

I decided this morning to host a little auction for one final fund raising push over at Chucked Wood. The Hang Man is up for grabs to the highest bidder and bids start at $40.This 4-hook coat/hat/towel rack looks great and keeps yet another pallet out of the landfill.
It's been a rewarding experience to raise money for this year's walk. The Phillips Phamily is connected to this disease and it's our friends, family and anonymous donors that make each day a little easier. Thank you for your support.

Here's to life...


Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Wife Kicks (MS's) Ass

Why I Walk...
My wife, Shelby was diagnosed with MS six years ago. This lousy disease flipped our lives upside-down several times over. We were scared, clueless about MS and facing MAJOR hospital bills and the debt that those bills left us with. Each time we were ready to throw in the towel the National MS Society was there. They sent a nurse to our house to educate us, they offered us a shoulder to lean on and they have covered CAT Scans when we had nothing in our bank account. This support was made possible by your donations. Thank you.

As amazing as the Society has been, my wife's resilience has surpassed it. She works two jobs, raises two children (three, if you count me) and manages her own private catering business. I do what I can year round, but this walk is a culmination of all the times I could do more.

My wife kicks ass. She has MS. MS does not have her.

Why We Fight MS
Having multiple sclerosis means that you may not be able to walk when you wake up. Or that you may suddenly have impaired vision. Or that your memory will fail you for no apparent reason. The symptoms of MS are different, and devastating, for everyone - the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day. That sucks.

Why You Should Sponsor Me
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society will use funds collected from the MS Walk to not only support research for a cure tomorrow, but also to provide programs which address the needs of people living with MS today. Because we choose to walk for those who sometimes can't, because we choose to donate to the MS Walk, we are getting closer to the hour when no one will have to hear the words, "You have MS."

To donate: CLICK HERE

Here's to life!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Grow, dammit!

This was quite a fun week... we held a contest over at the Chucked Wood facebook page in an effort to pick a name for the latest "chucking", a 7.5' tall trellis made from a really cool shipping pallet and ~30' of metal cable. The wood from the pallet had some really amazing features including scars from the original mill work and even tree bark:


The contest lasted through the week and by Friday, "All Chucked Up" was named the winner. Congratulations to the Melissa G. for her winning entry! My two minions (aka: kids) enjoyed all the great names. And, although there "Chimichanga Fence" was not a choice, I was thrilled that they were interested!

Sunday afternoon was spent dropping this big beast into the proud owners' garden , training the ivy to climb it and taking a few parting shots (of the trellis, not the owner).

The next goal; turning this pallet hobby of mine into a full-time reality. Now, where did I put that Magic Wand...?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thoughts on the LYMI Tea Table

My "side project", Chucked Wood donated a piece to the American Heart Association's Heart Ball. It became a very personal journey along they way and one of my favorites to date. Here are some pics of the Tea Table and what I wrote to accompany it:

My dad is missing the tip of his finger from a table saw accident. He can still feel the tingle from a digit that isn’t there.

My dad has curly eyebrows that he fiddles with when he is deep in thought. It drives my mom crazy.
My dad has a scar on his chest from a double bypass surgery in 2011. It is a reminder of a day that saved his life. A side-effect being his new-found craving for tea.

No one at Cone Health gave up on giving Dad new life; he's better now than before the bypass.
This table is made completely out of wood that was tossed out. Used up.
This table has two board that are split. Yet, they still serve a purpose.
Most of the wood is peppered with knots. Yet, someone finds it beautiful.
The center beams do not line up. It drives my mom crazy.

Saying that a pallet is only a pallet is like saying a heart is only a muscular organ.
The heart is where we store our love, our grace, our faith.
My dad raised two kids with these virtues and still has more to go around. Anyone he comes in contact with can attest to this.
Those that know him best understand LYMI completely.
Enjoy tonight. Give what you can. May you live like that every day.
And Dad...
Love ya’, mean it.