Things My One-Year-Old Used to Be Able to Do...

This is what sunroofs are for.

My one-year-old used to be able to:

  • Sing "Amazing Grace".
  • Count to 6, using most of the numbers along the way.
  • Name all the letters in the alphabet by sight.
  • Drive Grandpa's Corvette around the cul-de-sac.
  • Use an iPad, iPhone, iPod or iAnything like a pro. Including turning on the magnification feature no one could figure out how to turn off.
  • Build a lawn mower and a truck at Home Depot.
  • Somersault down a flight of stairs and ask to do it again.
  • Show off his vocabulary - turquoise, onomatopoeia, arrivederci, Isotopes.
  • Ask us to take him to a baseball game, then say "OK!", and go wait by the garage door.

Sadly, my one-year-old can no longer do any of these things.

Because, today, he's two.

Evan, I don't know where the time goes, but I do know this:

We love you.

Now, get in the car - we're going to a baseball game!

Sappy, precious memories...go!

A Glimmer of Hope

This post is part of The Caper Challenge. Follow the link to read other's caper stories.

It mocked him, hanging there like a shining, unreachable star.

Glenn sighed and turned away. He shuffled on down the road. The road to nowhere, it seemed.

He was tired.

Tired of walking to work since they couldn't afford a second car. Tired of working the night shift as a custodian in a skyscraper stuffed with cubicles. Tired of never being able to buy Trixie anything nice. Tired of struggling.

Trixie. His dear, sweet Trixie. Trixie who didn't need anything fancy; who was content. Trixie who encouraged Glenn to have hope, to try harder, to laugh more. Trixie, the light at the end of his tunnel. She'd even made it a point to pick him up from work whenever it rained, just so he didn't have to walk.

She deserved better than living paycheck to paycheck, playing hide-and-seek with the landlord for a few days past their rent's due date every month. She deserved better than the shabby, leaky and smelly apartment a custodian's paycheck allowed.

Trixie always made the best of things. Glenn remembered sitting on the roof of their apartment building. Glenn had been on edge, but after just a few minutes of Trixie's smile, he was relaxed and enjoying himself. In fact, he had almost forgotten that they were on the roof in an effort to avoid the landlord's incessant pounding on the front door.

They had watched the stars.

He couldn't get the image of the necklace out of his head. It hung in the window of the jewelry shop day after day. Every day it shined for him to see, twinkled for him to wish. He wanted it for Trixie.

Glenn pulled his badge from his back pocket as he approached the doors to his skyscraper. He paused on the front steps.

He couldn't do it. Couldn't muck his way through another shift wiping toilets and dumping bins for ungrateful cubicle dwellers. Couldn't stand dusting around their smiling family pictures and Dilbert page-a-days. Tonight the ingrates were peacefully dreaming at home again and he couldn't stand it anymore.

The wind picked up and it started to rain. He pulled his hood over his head and groaned.

Just perfect.

He turned and marched back the way he had come. He didn't know he had a plan, and surprised himself when he hurled the rock without a moment's hesitation. The glass shattered, sparkling in the moonlight as it glittered to the ground around his feet. But it didn't sparkle nearly as stunningly as the necklace. His gaze wasn't even distracted by the blaring of the alarm.

He grabbed it quickly, snapping the fish line it dangled from. He held it close to his face, trying to examine it in the dark.

Fake. "Of course", he thought. It's in the window, easy to snag. He stepped up and in, glass crunching under his work boots.

It was too dark to hunt for the real one. Besides, he hadn't much time. He methodically began to smash every display case. He grabbed and he grabbed, discriminating against nothing. He filled his coat pockets and then his pant pockets. There was still more, but he couldn't fit it anywhere. Quickly, he pulled his socks up over his pant legs and began to fill the pant legs with more jewelry.

He heard the sirens, but couldn't run. He'd lose all the jewelry, and he had no idea where the necklace was stuffed, if he even had it at all. He walked as quickly as he could down the alley behind the jewelry store. He turned down another alley, thinking only of distance, no real plan in his mind.

He reached the chain link fence at the same time the police squad car reached the alley. He was trapped. The fence separating the alley from the junkyard was too tall to climb.

The squad car had its flood light on and was sweeping the alley. He crouched in the corner with nowhere to go. If he hadn't been seen yet, he would be very soon.


The voice immediately behind him startled him. He glanced back, through the fence. An old, skinny man stood there, beckoning. A scraggly beard pretended to cover his face.

Glenn stared dumbly at the fence.

The old man snapped, "Just push it!" He turned and began walking away.

Glenn pushed on the fence. It bent in at the bottom. He scrambled under and let it snap back in place. The flood light illuminated the spot he'd been in just two seconds earlier. He turned and followed the old man as fast he could without losing all his loot.

"Why did you help me?", Glenn asked.

"'Cause I ain't the cops! Plus, it'll cost you a cut of whatever you're packing. You look like the Michelin man!"

He led Glenn to a shack near the entrance to the junkyard.

"On the table."

Glenn hesitated for only a moment, but the old man did not. He was holding a dirty revolver in his hand.


Glenn started emptying pockets and pant legs. The old man's eyes grew wider and wider as the pile on the table grew taller and shinier.

"You can have it all", Glenn said. "Except this."

He gently pulled out the necklace. It glinted brighter inside the shack than the dim single bulb hanging eerily from the ceiling should have allowed.

The old man chuckled. "That's funny." He raised the revolver an inch or two. "Hand it over. Now."

Glenn gripped the necklace tighter. "Please. It's why I did it. It's for my girl. Trixie deserves something special. Please."

The old man squinted at Glenn. A long moment passed. He glanced longingly at the necklace one last time and shifted his gaze toward the sound of the sirens

"Take it and get out of my sight, or my bullet will find you faster than those cops."

Glenn shoved the necklace into his pocket and hurried from the shack. He sprinted home, not slowing the entire way. He took the stairs up to the apartment. Didn't want the ding of the shaky elevator to wake the landlord.

Eight stories up. It wasn't until he approached his apartment door that he began wondering what he'd say to Trixie. How would he explain why he wasn't at work? What would he tell her about the necklace?

He stopped at the door and took a deep breath. It didn't matter what he would say. Trixie would know what to do. She always did.

He pushed open the door, but instead of Trixie's warm smile, he found himself looking into a wolf-like sneer. Two detectives had a bewildered Glenn in handcuffs before he could say a word. They led him to a car.

"How did you find me so quick?", he asked from the backseat on the ride downtown.

"You're an idiot, Glenn. We found your badge in the middle of the jewelry store, right next to the rock you tossed through the window."

Glenn sighed. The badge must have fallen out of his pocket in his haste to pack in the jewelry. He was so focused on getting out of there he hadn't even thought about checking to see if he'd left any evidence.


Trixie stared at him through the glass, the phone against her ear.

"You stood me up, Glenn."

He stared back in surprise, and then realization washed over him.

"You came to pick me up."

"And saw everything!"

Glenn hung his head. "That figures," he thought.

"It was worth a shot, though," said Glenn despondently.

"Well, that's not how I would have planned it. I guess I'll have to teach you how to spot a real diamond from a fake. I'll wait for you, Glenn. We'll both be here when you get out."

Then, as sly as a fox, she brushed her hair back from her neck discreetly revealing an unmistakable glimmer. She hung up the phone, gave him that warm smile, stood and walked away.

Glenn smiled. Trixie, his love, shined as bright as hope itself.

Special thanks to Jana and Jane Anderson, who helped me immensely with this story.


What did you think?

The History of Words

A long time ago, people used them too. They still do.

The End

Give me a brief history of something.

Brilliance in the Basics

My wife recently had to take an IT exam for her job. I think passing this exam should be a prerequisite for obtaining computer support. Here's a sample of the questions. Please put your answers in the comments.


You can't do this in real life

It's still a left click, even if you're left-handed

It doesn't do anything until you turn on the PC by clicking the power button

I don't want to; it's HP. I might break it.

Safety Tips!

Never kiss a shark on the lips.

Always wear a seatbelt. Except for when you're not in the car.

Go ahead and bring that knife to the gunfight, but bring a gun too. That way when everyone's out of bullets, you'll have an edge.

Don't eat poison. That stuff's poisonous.

Never tell secrets to a spy. The hard part is knowing who the spies are. So if someone comes up to you and says, "I'm a spy - tell me all your secrets!", you should resond, "No, thank you". They won't be mad, because you were at least polite about it.

If someone points a gun at you and says, "Give me all your money!", you should comply...but ask if they accept checks.

Don't play in traffic. Parks are safer and more fun, assuming it's not one of the new ones with no swingsets.

Give me some safety tips!

Changeup, Chapter 15

"You want to do what?!?"

"You heard me, Mike."

"I don't even know how to go about it. As you can imagine, I've never dealt with a client that had this much money. I've never handled this sort of transaction. There's going to have to be brokers, lawyers and consultants involved."

"Look, I'm not expecting you to be the expert or do it all yourself. I just know that I can trust you and I was hoping you'd coordinate this whole thing."

"I'll put together a valuation and then send you over a proposal to approve. This isn't going to be an overnight process, Joe."

"I understand. Thanks, Mike."


It didn't happen overnight, but three months of meetings, contracts and negotiations later, Joe dropped his pen on the desk, the ink drying on the last signature.

The baseball season was over, but it still took the top headline in the paper:


Joe smiled as he glanced at the article. He only skimmed, as there weren't any details he wasn't already aware of.

He had butterflies in his stomach as he stepped up to the podium. He found it funny this was the part he was most nervous about. He'd just completed a purchase he could only have dreamed of 6 months ago, and he was sweating a few journalists. The irony made him smile, which made him look far more relaxed than he felt.

The questions came fast, and Joe's head swam. Where had he gotten the money? Were there other investors? Did he have any experience running teams before? No college degree? Would that put him at a disadvantage? Would the team stay in Kansas City, or did he plan on moving them?

Joe tried to keep up, but his one and two word answers only let the questions queue faster.

Finally, one journalist in the back caught his attention. "You're the youngest team owner in baseball history. What do you think you'll differently, and why?", she asked.

Joe paused to collect his thoughts. He thought about the games he'd seen with Dad. He thought about the thrills he'd felt watching the World Series and the All-Star games. The players he'd looked up to - Rickey Henderson, Joe Carter, Bo Jackson, Nolan Ryan.

He stepped around the podium, slowly but confidently, like a pastor preparing for an alter call.

"I love baseball. Have since I can remember, and probably before that. My dad was a great man, and that's what we shared - baseball. Playing, coaching, watching, analyzing, cheering; we did it all."

"Baseball was about believing. Believing you could get the hit. Believing your team would win the Series. When they didn't, you believed there was always next year."

"It was affordable. It brought communities together. Even during the Great Depression, stadiums were packed with families. Today, I look around and over half the stadium is empty...just like baseball is today."

Joe paused while he fished something out of his coat pocket.

"This is the ball my dad and I played with since I was able to sit up and roll it across the floor to him. It's signed by George Brett and Whitey Herzog. You may have heard of them; they're in the Hall of Fame. The cover's coming off and it's far from the shiny white it was when they signed it. That's because we played baseball with it. Today, someone would simply sell it on eBay and pocket the cash. Then it would sit in a display case on some soulless executive's desk in a gray high rise."

"I want kids to enjoy baseball again, like they used to. I want families to turn off the TV and put down their PlayStation controllers and come to the ballpark. I want them to bond and build memories as fond as mine."

"Baseball used to be the national pastime, and if I have my way, it will be again."