Thursday, March 29, 2007


c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: Last week, I introduced you to ‘G A S – Living With Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.’ In this installment, my virtual adventure continues with help from the book’s author, Jay Wright.

Late sessions on eBay can produce a wealth of affordable treasures. But they also test personal endurance and concentration. Tired eyes often struggle to read item descriptions in the wee hours. Cloudy thinking frequently produces reckless choices. One may suddenly see a battered relic as being an artifact worthy of collector’s lust.
A recent night yielded such developments. I was on the computer long after everyone else in our household had slipped into Dreamland. One by one, I studied entries after a search for ‘Gibson Les Paul.’ My pupils burned from overuse. But I couldn’t go to sleep. Carelessly, I tapped away at the keyboard. A natural-finish model caught my eye with its elegant wood grain, and gold hardware. Suddenly, my mouth was wet. I recognized the guitar as one typically priced at $1,200.00 brand new. I wanted that axe!
Struggling to focus on the page, I typed in a bid… of $25,000.00. Then, my face went red. I had to read the numbers again. WHAT WAS THAT???????????
I groaned aloud. Thankfully, the outburst did not awaken my wife. Now, my thoughts were scrambled. I’d intended to offer $250.00 on the instrument. Twenty-five thousand seemed insane, even in my exhausted condition. But what could I do to make it right? The thought of being excommunicated from eBay was frightening. Yet I couldn’t cover the cost if bidding continued to escalate beyond my desired amount. How could I handle the withdrawal symptoms? My wife would be certain to leave if I spent our reserves so recklessly. I needed an adult beverage. Immediately!
Beer at tasted unusually refreshing at three o’clock in the morning. It helped calm my apprehension with a gentle massage of overtaxed brain cells. I reckoned that deep therapy was in order, and continued treatment until my fear of discovery subsided. Slumber came, mercifully. And I joined the dream continuum…

* * *

I was walking through a vast courtroom, alone.
A judge sat waiting. His bench had been fashioned of carved ivory, and gold. He had a visage creased with deep character lines, developed over many years of pondering fates. He wore a dark robe and thick spectacles. Under a raised eyebrow, he observed my advance.
"Mr. Ice," he intoned dramatically. "How do you plead?"
"Plllead?" I said, fumbling the word. "Plead to what?"
He did not appreciate my ignorance. "Defendant! This is a court of law!"
I noted with surprise that we were surrounded by a circle of vintage guitars. Each plectrum seemed strangely familiar…
He continued in a crescendo of emotion. "How do you plead to abandoning your family for these gaudy trappings of Rock ‘n’ Roll??"
I flinched with embarrassment. The tuneful axes on display were mine!
"Your Honor," I protested. "Nothing I did could be called abandonment!"
He gestured toward my wife, and daughters. "What say you, good lady?"
Liz sniffled through tears. "Twenty-five thousand on a Les Paul. And it wasn’t even a valuable ‘Gold Top’ or a three-pickup custom!"
I felt a brick settle in my stomach.
The judge took off his glasses in reflection. "So is there any defense for your actions, Mr. Ice?"
My lips would barely move. "Buhhhhhh…"
Before I could manage an intelligible word, another voice joined the proceedings. "Your Honor," he said. "I’d like to speak on behalf of this man!"
The judge reacted with irritation. "And who are you?"
"Jay Wright," the newcomer said with a grin. "Author and expert." He was a cheerful figure, seasoned by years of writing and music. "I am a witness on Guitar Acquisition Syndrome."
I felt my tummy brick begin to fade!
Jay spoke with undeniable credibility. "Rod is a candidate for further study and research, because his condition is definitely in the more advanced stages. The diagnostic term, ‘G A S’ was coined back in the mid-nineties by a member of the group, Steeley Dan. It has since been jokingly used in a few guitar magazine articles, on guitar enthusiast websites, and in music stores; but my book about the malady is a first attempt to research and document this increasingly common human disorder. I fully expect more research, study, and books on the subject. It will be people like Rod and me that will be the guinea pigs for the most advanced studies, as we seem to represent the more extreme carriers of the guitar envy gene (GEG). We tend to experience abnormally strong physiological and psychological reactions to guitar deprivation. Yes, we are BOTH candidates for further study."
The judge frowned. "You also have… G A S?"
Jay nodded. "Of course! I consider Rod's presence here to be his ‘coming out’ announcement. By declaring his illness publicly like this, he will no longer feel the guilt of late night surfing of online music stores and eBay, tearing pages from guitar magazines for future reference, corresponding with a universal support group of other afflicted souls in cyberspace, or of fondling half the guitars that get within his reach. It's such a freeing experience. I salute him for his courage and rejoice in the comfort he will now feel. People like us don't want to be cured, just understood. "
I bowed my head, in awe!
A gavel pounded the ivory bench. "This is my decision. The defendant is sentenced to one hundred hours of public service. He will also endure the next twelve months without anything better than a ‘First Act’ guitar from Wal-Mart to play!"
I choked. "Please! Noooooooooooo!!!"
The judge offered no sympathy. "Bailiff, take him away!"

* * *

Morning brought fresh coffee, and a clear head. I learned how to retract an incorrect bid after only a few minutes of reading eBay help pages. The seller was understanding and cooperative. My hands stopped shaking after three cups of java.
With our household e-mail was a real message from Jay Wright. I had shared my column about his book, after finding a contact address on the ‘’ site. His response was a pleasure to receive:
"Thank you. That is SO enjoyable to read. And I thank you in advance for the business it just might stimulate. As you might have noted, I buy starter guitars with the royalties - guitars for folks who truly deserve one but cannot afford one. I lived like that for the first 19 years of my life. Now, in retirement, I must give back. I have been so blessed."
The day ended by losing out on a ‘Penncrest’ guitar, probably made by Kay in the early 1960’s. It was an item sold at J. C. Penny stores during that period. I had placed a bid of $45.00, but missed the auction end. My dream of legal peril provided a sobering experience. I would not bid on eBay again…

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Note to Readers:
Pictured here is Jay Wright, author of 'G A S.' (left) Holding Jay's rare 1988
G & L ASAT 'Blues Boy Special Edition' guitar is George Fullerton, legendary business partner of Leo Fender.

Jay sent the following letter to John Karlovec, my editor at the newspaper. I can only term his message as - incredible!

Thanks, Jay!!

Subject: Recent Article

I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Rod Ice's piece on Living With G.A.S. (March 7). Rod TOTALLY understands the wonderful affliction that we both share. It is also shared by millions around the world. As I read his piece, it was like reading something I had written - I could finish each sentence, like the words to a song you've heard all your life!

Rod is a candidate for further study and research, because his condition is definitely in the more advanced stages. The term, Guitar Acquisition Syndrome was coined back in the mid-nineties by a member of the group, Steeley Dan. It has since been jokingly used in a few guitar magazine articles, on guitar enthusiast websites, and in music stores; but my book is the first attempt to research and document this increasingly common human disorder. I fully expect more research, study, and books on the subject. It will be people like Rod and me that will be the guinea pigs for the most advanced studies, as we seem to represent the more extreme carriers of the guitar envy gene (GEG). We tend to experience abnormally strong physiological and psychological reactions to guitar deprivation. Yes, we are BOTH candidates for further study.

I consider Rod's article to be his "Coming Out" announcement. By declaring his illness publicly like that, he will no longer feel the guilt of late night surfing of online music stores and eBay, tearing pages from guitar magazines for future reference, corresponding with a universal support group of other afflicted souls in cyberspace, or of fondling half the guitars that get within his reach. It's such a freeing experience. I salute him for his courage and rejoice in the comfort he will now feel. We don't want to be cured, just understood.

I commend Rod for an excellent piece that I have shared with my family and world-wide support group. He is a gifted writer and your readers are very fortunate to have access to his work. I hope to meet him in person one day. hmmmmm, perhaps this is the year to make that trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.....

Jay Wright

Just say "NO" to fewer guitars.

"Living With G A S"

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

The hour was late. It was long after midnight in rural Geauga County. Moonbeams reflected from puddles of water in the driveway. Pine needles wind-walked across the road with a lazy rhythm that fit the darkness. Peaceful wisps of rain spotted the kitchen window. Only the glow of a computer screen lit our household. Everyone else had sensibly gone to bed! Soccer Fairy and Leigh were snoring like petite kittens. My own eyes felt heavy, but restlessness kept slumber at bay. Wife Liz succumbed to fatigue after one glass of wine filled her tummy. Yet I was still in cyberspace, searching for hidden treasure...
Through the haze of darkness, eBay was calling!
I felt a tingle of embarrassment while logging on to my account. My wife was certain to critique the act with severe emotions. Being unemployed meant that self-discipline should negate such reckless desires. I had no logic for visiting an auction site just to tempt myself. Still, it felt thrilling to type ‘Electric Guitars’ into the search box. When pages of results started to appear, I felt elated. Yes, yes, yes… I read each entry lovingly… an American Stratocaster at $200.00, or a vintage 60’s Les Paul at $2,000. A Teisco for $350… a ’52 Telecaster reissue for $1500… hours left to bid, or days left to bid… it didn’t matter. I clicked through one after another. My only pause came to check that Liz was still busy in Dreamland!
Eventually, I reached an unfamiliar image. Instead of a stylish musical instrument, a book cover appeared. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Was it a repair manual? Or a manufacturer’s catalog? A closer view answered my silent questions:

Item number: 190091790278 GAS - for Fender, Gibson, PRS, G&L, Martin guitar players. Gift book for suffers of ‘Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.’
LIVING WITH G A S by Jay Wright
BUY IT NOW price: $14.00 USD

I chuckled quietly while reading the colorful eBay description. Was this book about…me? The ‘syndrome’ detailed by Mr. Wright seemed hauntingly familiar. But my attention span did not endure. A red Kalamazoo ‘Tonemaster’ in Arizona diverted my interest. It was tempting, classically beautiful, and cheap! After placing a low bid on the guitar, I surrendered. My reserve of energy was gone.
The Sandman toyed with my head, as oblivion took hold. I was at a club with Orville Gibson and Leo Fender. We shared coffee as I praised their contributions to music history. "You guys were true pioneers. Just think of what you gave the world! Without your instruments, there would have been no Buddy Holly… no Jimmy Page… no electric revolution for Bob Dylan… no Jimi Hendrix…"
In the morning, I checked e-mail while Liz lingered in the shower. A message on Yahoo! about the red Kalamazoo caused me to chill. It read: "You won! This item is yours. Please pay now!" I was flabbergasted. Why hadn’t I been outbid? My joy of conquest was tempered with fear. How would I explain the purchase to my spouse?
Finally, I returned to the ‘GAS’ listing. Re-reading the information produced a sort of personal revelation:
"A signed copy of this book is the perfect all-occasion gift for guitar and bass players of ALL ages. Here's 200 pages of tongue-in-cheek stories, confessions, suggestions, opinions, and pictures from over 200 afflicted players, store owners, and collectors. They tell of their obsessions with the largest selling musical instruments in the world: guitars and basses - how they acquire them, why they hang onto them, how they decide which has to go (if one MUST go), and how they individually experience GAS. Some even confess to the lengths they have gone to hide or deceive their families about their latest purchases. Well-known artists like Will Ray, Joe Wilson, and Brent Mason plus lesser-known players from 23 countries around the world share their insights and - in their own words - describe their situation. Think there's only one kind of GAS? No, this book identifies 42 strains. Think you're the only with this affliction? No, you have lots of company - this affliction has spread around the world. Oh, and there's a self-administered test so you can diagnose the severity of your affliction."
It was as if Mr. Wright had taken a page from my diary, and rewritten it into a full-length manuscript. I was not alone!
"Why do countless GAS sufferers avoid seeking therapy for a disease that has now spread to the 4 corners of the earth? Why do they only speak in jest about their affliction? Do they think that ignoring it will help it go away?"
I knew better than to believe that my hunger for off-the-wall guitars would simply vanish over time. The need to buy was pervasive. It moved me to procure many battered, unsightly relics that were soon banished to the ‘Dead Zone’ in my closet.
"In this book Jay Wright provides insights, humor, and philosophy for living with this affliction. Collected from over 200 enthusiasts in 23 countries, his research findings are a definitive work in the understanding and enjoyment of GAS."
A lump formed in my stomach from reading the brief review. Each word spoke with unmistakable directness. I felt guilty and mad. Finally, a quote from contributor Bryan Griffith nailed me between the eyes:
"You never know when GAS is going to strike or how hard it will hit. Be warned, if you are a lover of and a player of fine quality stringed instruments, particularly of the guitar variety, it will get you at some point when you least expect it. There is no escaping its merciless attack and it will continue to attack until it has firmly grasped you and you beg for mercy. And it will show you no mercy. It gnaws away at you, appearing in dreams of clever deception and methodical planning to counter GAS’s greatest opposing force – the ever present, disapproving wife!"
Anxiety grew after reading the passage. How would I explain my new plectrum to Liz?
Planning for the revelation encompassed several days. A Fed Ex shipping report charted the Kalamazoo’s expected day of arrival. Then, I rearranged our family schedule. Everything fell quickly into place! But a single flaw ruined my work. The guitar arrived on Tuesday instead of Monday. The scheme went for naught.
We were leaving on an afternoon shopping trip when the delivery truck reached our neighborhood. I made a feeble excuse about forgetting to turn off the coffeepot, and jumped out of our car. But Liz was skilled at sensing uneasiness in my voice. She hesitated as I ran up the driveway. There was nearly enough time to hide the evidence. But she squealed with delight as I became wedged in the front door. "Can I take a look, too? Please please please! Let me see what you’ve got!"
My confession did not sound convincing. "I was trying to respect your feelings… I didn’t want you to worry… it was an accident… an eBay oops!"
She raised an eyebrow. "I don’t mind that you bought a new toy. What makes me upset is that you kept it hidden. Don’t you understand?"
I nodded. She was an incredible woman.
"Trust me," she said. "I love you."
My mood brightened. "In that case, did you know that Ibanez made a weird model called ‘The Iceman?’ It’s only a hundred bucks right now…"
Liz glared with alarm. "Rodneyyy!! You’re such a poo!"


Friday, March 16, 2007

“Moving Meditations”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Moving is a chore.

No intellectual construct can nullify this truism. It resists any form of interpretation or ‘spin’ that human logic can produce. Simply, finding a new point on the map represents shifting our most basic element of existence: location.
George Carlin used to call it "having a place for our stuff." Even those without a specific address keep some point of reference from which to operate. Perhaps a car filled with business materials? Or a truck loaded with goods needing to be hauled? In any instance, our need for a home base is constant.
Recently, a household restructuring did more than simply reinforce our need for some kind of consistent personal geography. It also provided new lessons for the future:


1. Moving Proves: Inter-dimensional travel is real.
Remember the Fox Network show called ‘Sliders?’ Lost items are simply on another plane of existence, waiting for us to make contact. In the midst of a move, they typically reappear because we have opened a portal in the vast continuum. Shuffling possessions upsets the normal balance of nature. We are interfering with the relationship of ‘empty space’ and ‘filled space’ as tangible quantities. So each move opens a gateway between the worlds.
Moving Proves: Workout routines are expensive, and unnecessary.
The activity develops physical strength and agility without extra cost. Do you think Bally Total Fitness has the answer? Try carrying a surplus hospital bed through piles of family relics. Or… tote an upright piano from house to house, during leisure moments. The result will be conditioning on par with athletes in the NFL. No credit check is needed! Apply today!

2. Moving Proves: Philosophical debate can come from anywhere.
A move inevitably spurs family interaction about the need for ‘stuff.’ Aunt Millie may encourage a total purge of every household item not used for sixty minutes. Meanwhile, Cousin Melvin might defend the keeping of check stubs from 1972 as a habit worthy of praise. The contrasting opinions can provide useful cerebral stimulation. When enjoyed against a backdrop of adult beverages, such brain exercises can yield enhanced self-awareness and understanding.

3. Moving Proves: Ten pounds of sausage really does fit in a five pound skin.
Getting rid of household goods is taking the easy path to success. A more challenging route involves space management. This is where politically correct, gender neutrality disappears. The female ability to condense matter is magic at work. Stack it high!

4. Moving Proves: Nothing lasts forever.
Nature is constantly in motion. Oceans swirl, continents evolve, and the global atmosphere displays conditional trends lasting thousands of years. But none of this is eternal. Home parameters are no different. They may change many times over the course of a generation. From an apartment, to a condominium, to a trailer, then a typical house, and back again. Only a good collection of beer cans or Sports Illustrated issues really endures over time.

5. Moving Proves: Trucks are useful, even for city folk.
Those inclined toward a progressive environmental outlook are fond of criticizing large automobiles. In particular, their disdain for truck-like vehicles is well known. Yet how many of the same individuals will accomplish moving chores in a Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Aveo? Most will quietly affirm that gas-guzzling, tire-shredding, fume-belching workhorses actually have a place in modern society. (This knowledge will be quickly disavowed when returning to political correctness.)

6. Moving Proves: Human psychology is never satisfied.
In residential terms, it is our nature to consistently want something else. A bigger house. A smaller house. A secluded home in the country. A spot closer to schools and shopping. A winter bungalow. A summer cottage. More closets, a bigger basement, a recreation room, an indoor pool, a patio, a library… or a streamlined, silver fortress on wheels! No matter what we own, it should have come in a different color or configuration. (See number 10)

7. Moving Proves: Dirt is unstoppable.
Say it to yourself. "How did THAT get there??" When moving possessions, dust and lint seem to appear magically. No matter how diligent the household cleaning regimen, dirt wins inevitably. It can discover the tiniest crack between floorboards. Or the most miniscule gap behind an appliance. This is why some of us simply choose to accept reality as it is, and live. Sadly, the part of civilization that will NOT embrace such inevitabilities can cause great suffering for less tidy folk.

8. Moving Proves: Animals are smarter than people.
After a household transition is accomplished, the unavoidable task of reorienting family pets can begin. This is usually equivalent to potty training children. Household guidelines must be carefully reestablished. In the interim, chaos reigns! But we are willing to endure great measures of personal sacrifice for our animal friends. In the end, their needs may become more important than ours. So… who is really the master over whom?
9. Moving Proves: Internet access makes everything better.
The first order of business after any move used to be – hooking up the telephone. Then, it became the television set. Now, being plugged into cyberspace is more of a priority. Living without the virtual vastness technology provides is unthinkable for more than the duration of a power outage. A home with web connectivity will be happier, and peaceful to experience. Those denied such privileges are doomed to watch back-to-back-to-back episodes of ‘Dora the Explorer’ while yelping for mercy. Or likely to end up playing Parcheesi for an entire weekend.
10. Moving Proves: Old age is a stealthy predator.
Fond bits of the past often surface during a household relocation. These relics make us pause, and reflect on bygone days. Was 1961 really so long ago? Only yesterday, youngsters scribbled their innermost secrets in a locked diary. Now, the same kind of naked revelations are spread across networking sites like MySpace. Once, having a pocket radio with six transistors meant living on the cutting edge. Now contemplating life without a cell phone, Wi-Fi notebook, and a hybrid car is horrific. Each advancement raises the level of sophistication for those coming of age. Yet it reminds the rest of us how primitive our own lives once were!
11. Moving Proves: Bills always arrive on time.
They find us… somehow. Letters from family and friends may wait years for delivery after missing our mailbox. But payment due notices arrive in a flash, despite logistical hurdles. Their arrival is more certain than the march of Federal Agents toward terrorists in hiding.
12. Moving Proves: Real men do cry.
Cry for a beer, that is… or two… or three. Moving is physically demanding, but also a task that requires mental toughness. One needs the ability to stub toes, jam fingers, scratch walls and mark floors. This must be accomplished without reacting to the inevitable criticism that follows. The reward for such durability is humble, but satisfying - a river of cold brew!

Once a move has been accomplished, the process can begin again. It is a cycle of nature that has been accelerated by modern habits. Our ancestors may have preferred to dwell in the same home over a course of generations. But we of the 21st Century are restless by birth. Marriages, architecture, lifestyles, history… nothing survives without change. Our modern civilization has a template always ready for redesign.


Friday, March 09, 2007

“Biz Woman vs. Soccer Mom”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Chasing career goals can be addictive, yet unfulfilling. There is a prevalent temptation to judge success and failure in capitalistic terms. Yet gains made for an employer do not always translate into personal rewards. Lasting wealth will not come from the ability to gather money or power. Empires inevitably crumble over time. Only love lasts forever. Real value lies in friendship, family, and faith.
I considered such thoughts recently, over dinner. Soccer Fairy, my eight-year-old advisor, suggested a writing project about working mothers. While it might be similar to a column I wrote last year about the contrast of work responsibilities and household needs. But the new feature would address such issues from a woman’s perspective.
Liz applauded the idea after further discussion. She was enthusiastic about sharing in the creation of a manuscript. "More newspaper royalties for your wife!"
"No," I responded. "For The Fairy. She thought of it first."
Her reply came with a smile. "Close enough. We can share the compensation. Donuts for everyone!"
"Even Quigley?" our little one cheered.
"You and sister Leigh. But not the Pomeranian!" my wife retorted.
A fresh pot of coffee helped focus my thoughts as they disappeared. Our daily routines had begun, once more. I started writing as the morning continued:
BIZ: Knows all her company’s executives by name.
S. MOM: Knows all the kids in her neighborhood by name.
BIZ: Can change a business presentation without losing her focus.
S. MOM: Can change a baby’s diaper without losing her appetite.
BIZ: Can perform an office audit in record time.
S. MOM: Can perform a Teddy Bear wedding or a goldfish funeral, from memory.
BIZ: Knows how to trim unapproved expenditures from the company budget.
S. MOM: Knows how to carefully trim the bangs of her fidgety children.
BIZ: Is able to motivate employees like Donald Trump
S. MOM – Is able to motivate kids like Willy Wonka.
BIZ: Visits a gym to stay fit and work out frustrations.
S. MOM: Has chocolate with friends to stay emotionally balanced and talk out her frustrations.
BIZ: Once drove a VW. Now owns a Lexus with all the toys.
S. MOM: Once drove a VW. Now owns a minivan full of toys, sports equipment, extra uniforms, and juice boxes.
BIZ: Proud that she can do it on her own.
S. MOM: Proud that she can do it on her own, but takes the family along, anyway.
BIZ: Can read a profit & loss statement with masterful comprehension.
S. MOM: Can read a grade school report on sea turtles with masterful comprehension.
BIZ: Understands the need for cost cutting and layoffs.
S. MOM: Understands the need for sprinkles on a cupcake.
BIZ: Takes her children to promotional exhibitions for a learning experience.
S. MOM: Takes her children bowling to learn through play.
BIZ: Wears a ‘power suit’ covered with company medallions.
S. MOM: Wears a sweatshirt and jeans covered with finger paints.
BIZ: Can sing the words to an Italian Opera.
S. MOM: Can sing the theme to ‘Jimmy Neutron.’
BIZ: Thinks going to Quail Hollow is a great reward.
S. MOM: Thinks going to Dairy Queen is a great reward.
BIZ: Read the story of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, and was inspired.
S. MOM: Read the story of Spongebob Squarepants and was inspired.
BIZ: Feels sorry for people who have to live on peanut butter sandwiches.
S. MOM: Feels sorry for people who can’t have peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk.
BIZ: Enjoys watching ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’ and ‘Forbes on Fox.’
S. MOM: Enjoys watching ‘Phil of the Future’ and ‘That’s So Raven.’
BIZ: Has read every volume of wisdom penned by Dale Carnegie.
S. MOM: Has read every volume of ‘Geronimo Stilton.’
BIZ: Looks to corporate headquarters for guidance.
S. MOM: Looks to her family and church for guidance.
BIZ: Believes in her training; trusts regimentation.
S. MOM: Believes in love; trusts her heart.
BIZ: Feels no sadness over conquering competitors.
S. MOM: Feels no shame for crying over those in need.
BIZ: Can fix her own computer when problems develop.
S. MOM: Can wash a puppy, mend a doll, doctor a scraped knee, comfort a sick baby, and replace a flat tire. All before dinner.
BIZ: Is able to forecast labor needs, six months in advance.
S. MOM: Is able to shop for birthdays, graduations, and Christmas, six months in advance.
BIZ: At the office after others have gone home.
S. MOM: At home after others have gone to the office.
BIZ: Negotiates with unionized labor about workplace duties.
S. MOM: Negotiates with her children about finishing homework.
BIZ: Thinks her company boss is tough, but fair.
S. MOM: Knows she is the household boss. Strives hard to be tough but fair.
BIZ: Proud to spend extra time at corporate training seminars.
S. MOM: Proud to spend extra time at after-school events.
BIZ: Invests in the success of her employer. Hopes not to get fired.
S. MOM: Invests in the success of her family. Can’t be fired.
BIZ: Looks like a model, thinks on command.
S. MOM: Looks like her mother, thinks on her own.
BIZ: Is confident in her ability to drive company profits.
S. MOM: Is confident in her ability to drive a minivan while passing out snacks, reading a map, talking on a cell phone, and applying makeup.
BIZ: Feared by others in the boardroom.
S. MOM: Loved by others in her church.
BIZ: Is adored by a family that appreciates her career achievements.
S. MOM: Is adored by a family that actually spends time with their mother.
BIZ: Owns a stock portfolio worth thousands of dollars.
S. MOM: Owns her soul. Doesn’t want anything more.
My column brought a smile to Liz’s face after we enjoyed dinner. She read each entry with a thoughtful nod, and an occasional gasp. "You’ve illustrated the frustration of being a working mom. Where do you place loyalty? And trust? It isn’t always an easy decision."
"No," I agreed.
"My career is important," she continued. "But you guys… are everything!"
Soccer Fairy offered her own slant on the discussion. "I know the hardest choice of all…"
"Really?" Liz replied. "What is that, sweetie?"
"Picking out Donuts with our money. Do we get them chocolate covered, with powdered sugar, or cinnamon?"
"How about some dusted with crushed pork rinds?" I said. "Or corn chips?"
Soccer Fairy squeaked like an irritated mouse. "Roddyyyy!"
"Are you happy now?" my wife exclaimed.
I bowed my head. "If you need me, I’ll be in the doghouse, with Quigley. Don’t forget to drop off some of those treats!"