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{Off The Cuff} Awkward Teenagers and the Cable Fairy

by:  Josh Grider



Greetings friends and fans. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was replete with a four wheeling, flat tire adventure and all the turkey I could handle. My father-in-law has an old school Jeep Scrambler that we took it for a little joy ride and ended up poking a stick the size of my thumb through the sidewall. On a day when the prospect of too much sitting around is always present, the flat tire four wheeling adventure was a nice distraction.
It was the boy’s first Thanksgiving and I can only imagine how much he would have loved to be a part of the adventure. All in all it was a fine day. I hope yours was too.

We headed home on Friday (as I’ve already mentioned, this last part of the year has been pretty slow for a lot of reasons, but I’ve had more Fridays/Saturdays at home than I have in years…it’s been strange). Upon arriving back home, which never feels as good as after spending time with your family, we found that the we had been the recipients of a Thanksgiving Miracle. Every channel that we could possibly receive (except for the dirty ones) had been made available to us. All movie channels, music channels, even HD channels and we don’t even have an HD television. I guess it’s pretty shallow to call that a Thanksgiving Miracle, so I won’t, but that Friday evening I felt as though we had definitely been visited by the Cable Fairy.

Kristi and I had recently switched cable providers and with the new company got a high tech digital recorder so we could record our favorite shows. I immediately started perusing all of our channels to find movies and things that we should record. You see, in the back of my mind, and when my wife reminded me that this had happened once before, I knew that this was just the cable company toying with us. They were showing us how good it could be and just hoped that we would love all these channels so much that when they inevitably yanked them out from under us we would beg, plead, and pay whatever they demanded to get them back. Cable Fairy, Thanksgiving Miracle, or marketing ploy, I didn’t care. We were getting something a little extra. Like a backstage pass at a show you only bought balcony tickets to, an upgrade to the compact rental car when you only paid for economy, we got bumped to first class and only paid for a coach ticket.

The extra channels really had an effect on me. I became very obsessed with taking as much advantage of the temporary free premium cable as I could. I constantly was on the lookout for shows to record. I stayed up a little later, got up a little earlier. I felt like I was somehow cheating myself, or cheapening the temporary free upgrade if I wasn’t watching it whenever I possibly could. The problem with an unannounced hook up like this is that you don’t know when it’s going to end, and if you’re like me you somehow think that nothing cool will ever happen to you, so when it does you automatically assume it never will again and you try to suck the life out of every moment of the cool while it’s there. I figured it was just a promo for the weekend but all of a sudden it was Monday and we still had it, Monday became Tuesday and we still had HBOs, Cinemax, Showtime, Palladium, CMT Pure, VH1 Soul, 43 different ESPNs, and about a billion other channels that I had felt some twisted obligation to keep watching. Finally, by Wednesday it all petered out and the free temporary premium cable upgrade was over.

In the end, I was glad to see it go. It was becoming “my precious” for those of you Lord of the Rings nerds like me…and Robert Plant. I’m just glad my son wasn’t old enough to remember seeing me that way, constantly scrolling through the guide trying to decide whether I wanted to record Bottle Rocket, or the Darjeeling Limited, or Super Bad, or Almost Famous, constantly checking to see if the upgrade was still there, trying to savor every last drop of it. The sad part is that if I actually paid for that premium cable I would probably watch about as much TV as I do normally, and despite all that I’ve written until now, is not that much, a little SportsCenter here and a little VH1 classic there. There is just something about the feeling of getting a little extra that gets me every time.

Well, there is no smooth transition to the next subject I wanted to share with you but that’s fine, because it’s all about being awkward…squirm…fidget…and here we are.

Isabella Chamillionaire Grider is our dog, and she is a fine dog at that. Before JJ she was Kristi’s little baby covered in black hair, and she was my mascot. She graced the album art of my, Million Miles to Go CD and was the heart and soul of our little family. Maybe it’s just me looking back too fondly but even after she broke her leg, and despite her one floppy ear, she seemed to move around with confidence and grace that other dogs only hope to achieve. If only she were pure bred I have no doubt she could have been a champion show dog. Of course I’m exaggerating, but once we had this baby she fumbles around the house like an awkward teenager, something she did not do pre-baby. She doesn’t quite seem to know where to go, or what to do. Admittedly, everything has changed for her. There is a little pinkish human that has taken nearly all the attention from her and she is still figuring out how to cope. I feel sorry for her, and we have really made an effort not to ignore her completely, but as any new parent will tell you, after the baby is born your focus is very one dimensional a few weeks. Nonetheless this awkward teenage phase is strange, and I keep wondering about it. She hasn’t lashed out in the least and seems fairly disinterested in JJ, she just lumbers around sighing a lot. I figure as long as we keep going to the park to hunt squirrels, she’ll pull through. The other thought that I had was that she really is a teenager in dog years and maybe we’ve humanized her so much that she’s acting like one. Who knows?

That’s about it for now. I’ve been encouraged to blog more and will try to continue to do so. I apologize for any grammatical errors. Don’t take it as a reflection on my teachers, just as a reflection on my attentiveness. Come see us play. Send me a message on Myspace, or Facebook. I check the sites often and try to respond to as many as I can. 

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