Just TRY and Keep Up

In a couple of previous posts, I shared with you little slices of life as a 911 / Police / Fire dispatcher.

Not today.  Oh, no.  Today, I am going to share with you a little slice of the “Life of Chaos in Paradise” (a.k.a. – being a “father of five”) is all about.

After getting off duty at 3pm, I hop in my car and start heading home.  A couple of miles down the road and I notice that the gas gauge is a little lower than I care to see it – so I decide to stop for gas.

The Mother of Five is working later tonight, and that usually means that dinner for the clan is my responsibility, so I make the decision to solve two problems in one stop.  I take the exit off the freeway for a quick side trip to Sam’s Club where I can pick up a rotisserie chicken (I was planning on making Chicken Caesar Salad) and at the same stop I can fill up my gas tank too!

Seconds after pulling onto the freeway exit loop my telephone rings.  It is #2 of 5.  He is trying to tell me the car (which he is now driving) is “dead”.  Having driven that car for the past several years, I am familiar with it’s “eccentricities” (the headlight warning buzzer not working being one of them) and quickly assess the problem with the car’s failure to start as likely just a dead battery.  I assure him that I will swing by to give him a jump start just as soon as I can, but let him know that since I am so close, I am planning on stopping for the chicken and gasoline beforehand.  (I am pulling into the Sam’s Club parking lot by this point.)

Once I finish my phone conversation with #2 of 5, I (try to) call the Mother of Five to alert her that the boys were unable to get home for when #5 of 5 gets off the school bus, and that she will be home alone for a few minutes.  There is no answer at her workplace, so I leave a message to have her call me when she can.

I run into the store, grab my chicken and (like a 1970’s Hertz commercial) I snag some grape jelly on my sprint through the store.  (We are out of grape jelly – which is a staple in my diet).  I check out, load the chicken and jelly into the car then make a quick run to the gas pumps where I fill the tank and (simultaneously) call home to check to see if #5 of 5 (who should be off the bus by now) made it home.

I am relieved to hear that she has indeed made it home safe and sound.  I explain #2 of 5’s dilemma to her, and assure her that I will be home within 20 minutes or less.  She appears no worse for the wear, so after a short conversation with her, I hang up.

Another five miles down the road and my phone rings.  It’s the Mother of Five.  I catch her up with everything that has been going on.  That’s when I find out that she came home on her lunch break, and started a crock-pot meal (which was quite tasty I may add) and that I did not need to pick up a rotisserie chicken. 

That Figures.   

She asked that instead of going straight to the school to jump start the car for #2 of 5 (remember, he is still sitting up there waiting for me) that I stop by the house and pick up #5 of 5 first.  Then I can deliver her to the Mother of Five’s workplace – which is directly across the street from the Dance Studio where she takes lessons.  (Whoops, forgot today was dance class.)  I agree, but ask her to call #5 of 5 and have her all ready to go when I arrive.

All goes well for the next 15 minutes of my trip home.   Just as I pull off the freeway when I arrive in town, I spot #3 of 5 and a friend walking home along the roadway.  I slowly pull up along side of them, roll down the window and inquire - “Hey little boys, want some candy?”  

Creepy?  Yes.
Inside joke from way back?  Yes.
Reason for concern, or to call the police?  No.

I look around to make sure the police (or any do-gooder) is not watching me, and tell the boys to hop in the car.  (Can you imagine the 911 calls that may generate??  I can!!)  I quickly run #3 of 5 and his friend  home.  He lets me know he is scheduled for work at 5pm.  NO PROBLEM (or so I tell myself).

Once the boys are dropped off, I located #5 of 5 who is indeed ready and waiting for me to take her to dance.  I unload the rotisserie chicken and grape jelly… (Remember the rotisserie chicken and grape jelly?) put it in the refrigerator, then load #5 of 5 up and head for The Mother of Five’s workplace.

Once #5 of 5 is safely delivered to the Mother of Five, I head up the hill to rescue #2 of 5 who is still waiting patiently for me in the High School parking lot.  Amazingly, he has only called to check my “status” once in the past 30 or so minutes.  I arrive at the school, locate the car (with #2 of 5 in it) and quickly get the car running again.   Since he does not work, he asked if he could head off to a friend’s house.  I tell him to “enjoy”, and bid him a fond adieu.

Time to head back home to start preparing cleaning the kitchen for dinner.  One more quick stop for batteries (#3 of 5 needed them for a new calculator – which has my blood boiling and will be fodder for another blogpost soon enough) on my way home and I should be back cruising on easy street.   As I enter the store, my phone rings.  It’s the Mother of Five (again).

It seems that #4 of 5’s volleyball game (45 minutes away) was canceled, and that the team was upon the bus on the way home.  I was asked to also make sure I was at the Middle School to pick up #4 of 5 by 4:45pm.

By now, my head is starting to spin.

I grab the batteries, and head home.  I head inside the house, install the batteries, and plan on cleaning up the kitchen before the Mother of Five comes home for dinner when all of a sudden I hear voices in my head from the basement.  Whoops!  I have completely forgotten #3 of 5 downstairs who still needs to go to work!

#3 of 5 came upstairs to tell me that his friend (who also works at the same McFastFoodJoint) was called by their manager and asked to come in today.  I explain that I need to have the BOTH of them dropped off at McFastFoodJoint by 4:45 (or earlier) so I can run up to the middle school and grab #4 of 5.  They agree.  The friend runs home to get his uniform, and I prepare to head out yet again. 

Once both boys are in uniform, I load them up and drop them off at McFastFoodJoint  then quickly head up to the Middle School where I find #4 of 5 waiting with a friend.  Apparently, there was a little confusion and the friend’s mother thought she was bring #4 of 5 home.  Had I been even a minute later, the friend’s mom would have not been there, and I would have sat in the parking lot trying to figure out where my kid was at.   

Once I pulled into the lot and was spotted by her friend’s mother - #4 of 5 jumped out of their car and into my car.  Then, and we headed home.

I arrived home at 5:15pm – roughly two hours and fifteen minutes from the time I left work.  In that period I bought dinner (that I did not need to) gassed the car, made/received four phone calls, found one of my kids wandering around town, brought that kid home, took another kid to dance class, rescued yet another one of my kids who was stranded, picked up batteries for some uber-calculator (don’t get me started), received another phone call, took the found wandering kid (and his friend) to work, picked up my daughter from the vollyball game that never happened and brought her home…

Oh yeah.. One other thing.  During these couple of hours - I LOST MY DAMN MIND!! 

Father of FIVE???  Sheesh…  What was I thinking??

Will you help me?

I am going to try a little experiment – and I WANT YOUR HELP!

For the past two and a half years I have been collecting hoarding content on my kindle in an attempt to re-establish “reading” back into my life as a recreational activity.  I must admit, for the past two and a half years it’s been a pretty successful endeavor.  I went from reading nothing (for several years), to an almost regular diet of reading!  Some of the books I have read are better than others – but I have yet to read one I disliked completely.    

As proof of this success, click through to the link of my Kindle Reading List
It now contains TWENTY completed books!!  Yup, twenty books in twenty months!! 

Normally, when it’s time for a new book, I just go through the collection of books on my Kindle (which is sorted by date) and find the first book that “tweaks” my interest at that moment.  The problem is, I add (roughly) ten books on my Kindle for every one book I read.  This leaves me with content I added years ago (and have often even forgotten about) that could prove to be quite entertaining, but I never scroll down far enough to find.

So, I am going to try an experiment.  Below, you see a number of unread books that are in my Kindle that come from various locations throughout collection. (My current penchant for historical / religious fiction / thrillers is glaringly obvious!)   

Here is where YOU can help me!  Look through ‘em.  Tell me which book YOU think I should read.  (Maybe you have knowledge of one of these books – for the better or worse).

The book with the most votes by 7am (central USA time) on Monday morning will be my next read! 

Leave your vote in the comments below, on one of the Facebook status updates, or on the Twitter “tweet” and feel free to share the link.  The more the merrier!        

Thanks in advance!

The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity

First Jesuit Pope predicted in THE MESSIAH MATRIX!

To what lengths would the Vatican go to suppress the secret origins of its power? Current papal politics has made this thriller eerily prophetic! The Messiah Matrix is a myth-shattering novel whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose the fundamentalists who hide them still.

A renowned scholar-monsignor is killed in Rome while a Roman coin is recovered from a wreck off the coast of ancient Judea. It’s up to his young American protégé--a Jesuit priest--and a vivacious, brilliant archaeologist to connect these seemingly disparate events and unravel the tapestry that conceals in plain view the greatest mystery in the ecclesiastical world. Together they pursue their passion for truth—while fighting to control their passion for each other. What they uncover is an ancient Roman imperial stratagem so controversial the Curia fears it could undermine the very foundations of the Roman Catholic faith--much like the secrets emerging from the Vatican in today's news.

From the ancient port of Caesarea to Rome's legendary catacombs and the sacred caves of Cumae, this contemporary novel follows their exhilarating quest to uncover the truth about the historical existence of the real "Christian Savior."


The Shekinah Legacy by Gary Lindberg

In this controversial Amazon best-selling thriller, international cable TV journalist Charlotte Ansari and her Asperger's son are caught literally in the crossfire of history when terrorists, the CIA, Mossad and the Vatican all converge in a pulse-pounding search for relics that could forever change the balance of power in the world.

Three decades ago, Charlotte's mother suddenly vanished with no trace. The mystery was never solved. Then suddenly, on the same day that Charlotte's home is attacked by terrorists, her son receives an email from the grandmother that he has never known. The coded message catapults Charlotte and her son on a dangerous mission to India and Kashmir to find the only objects that can save the old woman's life. Unfortunately, Charlotte and her autistic son don't know what they are looking for.

The Shekinah Legacy is a thriller in the tradition of Dan Brown, Steve Berry and James Rollins. In this provocative novel, author Gary Lindberg uses the form of the thriller to explore the limits and perils of belief.


The Gar Diaries by Louis Bourgeois

Young Lucas grew up as a gar fisherman's son, in the steamy backwater bayous of southeastern Louisiana. His story invites you into a brutal world that is dominated by domestic violence, poverty, and the day-to-day struggle for survival ... a struggle that might have left even the strongest of us emotionally scarred and bitter.

Lucas (a distinctly non-heroic hero) reveals the childhood fights, the family traumas, and the fiercely wrought beauty of a visceral existence that feels ill at ease with itself. He gives us an unflinching look at a place and people we need to know.

As you begin reading The Gar Diaries, be aware: the language is vivid, the emotions are intense, and the honesty is often disturbing. This book will truly reshape your perception of life in the Deep South - and might very well haunt your mind for years to come.


The Delphi Agenda by Rob Swigart

Papyrologist Lisa Emmer’s world flips when the Surete meets her at her Metro station with news of the savage murder of the esteemed Paris historian Dr. Raimond Foix, her friend and mentor in the study of ancient documents. Horrified, Lisa finds clues at the crime scene left behind for her by her mentor—clues to a secret kept hidden for centuries. These clues make her a prime suspect in the murder investigation, and also put her directly in the cross-hairs of a deadly commando group that proves to be none other than a contemporary offshoot of the Inquisition.

They want an ancient document that reveals a secret so explosive it could change the world—a document they’ve been tracking for centuries. Led by a sadistic priest and a vicious but very accomplished nun with excellent military cred, their mission is to destroy the document—no matter what the cost in blood.

Desperate to clear her name and to stay alive, with the help of a handsome yet mysterious banker, Lisa must solve the clues and uncover the millennia-old secret before her adversaries can find and destroy it. Since she was a child Lisa had suffered from uncontrollable fugue states. Now she discovers just in time that what she always thought was a liability may in fact be an almost paranormal ability to see things in ways others cannot. The trail leads everywhere from ancient cemeteries and tombs throughout France to Istanbul and Greece, as Lisa and Steve desperately stay one step ahead of their enemies, solving the clues to a dangerous treasure hunt their lives now depend upon.


The Lost Journal by Chris Blewitt

In 1778, during the peak of the Revolutionary War, a secret document is hidden and its whereabouts are known to only one man. Now, more than two centuries later, Seth Layton accidentally discovers the journal that will unlock its location and he is on a quest to find it. Joined by his grandfather and new female friend, Madison, they are chased by unsavory characters and some powerful people through historic Philadelphia to the streets of Washington DC. What American secret will the journal unveil and will Seth and his companions live long enough to reveal it?


The Templar Concordat by Terrence O’Brien

When the truth is your greatest danger, and the enemy knows the truth, things can only go downhill when the enemy finally gets the proof. And that's the proof the Hashashin get when they steal what the Vatican doesn't even know it has. Now the infallible decrees of two Twelfth Century popes and three kings, stolen by the Hashashin, threaten to catapult the bigotry, bias, and religious blood baths of the Third Crusade straight into the Twenty-First Century. When Templars Sean Callahan and Marie Curtis are drawn into the mess, they face an ancient enemy that has already nearly won the battle, a newly elected Mexican pope being undermined by entrenched Vatican powers, world class scholars who will sell their prestige to the highest bidder, and terrorists lingering over lattes in sidewalk cafes. Moving from Rome to London, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia, Callahan and Curtis are desperate to find some way to stem the success the Hashashin are having enlisting the majority of moderate Muslims in their Jihad. Out maneuvered at each step by the Hashashin, only a last ditch roll of the dice has any chance of success. But it's the only chance they have.

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