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The Fisher of Stories


Well, I’m Unbreakable. I’m Superman.

This was a big hit at school. For both of us.

I know we’ve all been over this before, and I know I’ve written countless stories about what it would be like to be a super-hero, but this time I’m actually convinced.

Here’s my evidence:

A. I recently got hired on at the newspaper I’ve been freelancing at.
B. My blood has become impervious to needles.

My proof for exhibit A can be shown with a picture:

Staff Writer, witches!

My proof for exhibit B will take a story…
Those of you who are avid readers of this blog will probably remember that I’ve never had a “normal” experience giving blood. For example, this tragedy happened earlier last year.
Those photos are the result of a young woman pulling a little too hard on the tube that feeds the blood into the bag, thus liberating the liquid Travis to a quite untenable home on the floor, and more unfortunately, my (at the time) brand new shoes.
Fortunately, someone in the BloodMobile had their head on straight, and doused them down with hydrogen peroxide, which later allowed the blood to wash right off, and left me with nothing but the memories.
The next time I gave blood, I talked with the nurses about “50 Shades of Grey,” and left quite a large puddle of butt sweat on the donation table. (Go ahead. Click those highlighted words if you haven’t read it before)
Which brings us to my most current decision to rent out “essence of Travis.”
I saw some signs around NSU (the university I attend) the other day for a blood drive. A couple of days previous to that, I had gotten a phone call from the Oklahoma Blood Institute about coming in and donating again because they had a drive in my area. I told them sure, I’d get around to it, and then never did. So I felt the guilt when I saw the sign.
I went in and got registered and, of course, bombarded social media with it, because I know those of you on Twitter and Facebook obvs care about every second of my life and want desperately to know what’s going on at all times.

Until it’s a man, then it gets real weird.


No one ever answered me, is he seriously still alive?

Then, a gentleman started the blood giving foreplay, which entailed feeling up my arm like it was a reluctant but well-meaning prom date, then tapping it with the blunt end of an iodine swab, then rubbing it voraciously with said swab until my skin shone like the oily skin of the aforementioned prom date.
Finally, he stood, poised at the brink, with the needle tip aimed at the crook of my elbow.
Now, I don’t know if he just “guessed” where my vein would be, or if he employed some sort of methodology learned in school. I also realize that my veins are coated in a thick layer of sub-cutaneous fat, and they don’t like to give up the good stuff easily. Maybe if he’d have spent a little more time on the foreplay, they’d have been more receptive.
He missed the vein.
Not to be discouraged with the attempt, he happily poked around the inside of my arm for a solid minute, at last uttering something that sounded an awful lot like a “Hail Mary.”
Oh how I longed for Expert Vein Sticker, mentioned in that story I told you to read a minute ago.
Finally, he called a friend over.
She, to be perfectly blunt, took a stab at it.
She failed.
Finally, someone walked over that looked very familiar.
Our reunion was as follows.
Me: “You look really familiar.” EVS: “You do too…”Me: “Were you at FBC Okay that one time?” EVS: “You’re 50 Shades of Grey guy!”
With the salutations out of the way, she attempted to get the flow of blood going. She succeeded, prompting this exultant tweet.

When I stand before the Throne, and Jesus asks me why he should let me in, I will say, “I AM A BLOOD DONOR!”

Then, to my surprise, something happened.
Actually, lots of things happened at once.
For one, the machine I was hooked up to started beeping like the heart rate monitor of a man who has just found the Victoria’s Secret catalogue mixed in with the hospital reading materials.
Then, everyone rushed to my side, providing me with a Kleenex box to elevate my arm, and a new way of squeezing the little thing they give you to squeeze.
EVS came over, and she tried like all get out to get the flow of blood started again, but all was lost…
I had clotted.

In all seriousness, I expected that tweet to go viral. Nothing. Not even a favorite.

Apparently, my blood contains such awesomeness, that when I am pricked, I immediately clot. They gave me a t-shirt and sent me on my merry way, leaving me with nothing but the bruises to show for it, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to have to replace that poor blood sucking machine. I do hope they use what little they collected for some sort of analysis though, particularly after a conversation with my mother.

Me: *regales with story you just read*
Mom: “Travis, that sounds bad.”
Me: “Well, bad for them.”
Mom: “If your blood is doing that coming out of your body, what do you think it’s doing inside your body?

imageimageimageimageSo there’s my evidence. That’s why I believe I’m Unbreakable. That’s why I believe I’m Superman.
Now someone get me some paint cans and bench press, I need to try something.
As I’ve mentioned previously, one day our children will find this blog. Someone will tell them about it, they’ll meander their way around the Internet, and voila, they’ll have more information about their dad than they’ll ever want.

Another aspect of that would be the fact that one day our children will have a Facebook account. And when they do, they’ll want to look back at the story of their lives I’ve told with pictures and with status updates. Kids being kids, I’m sure they’ll want to count how many times each have been mentioned or shown, and that’s when our son will realize something…

Akeeli is a Facebook “Like” machine.

I’ve often joked that if I want to improve my Klout score, all I have to do is post something to do with our darling daughter, and the response is overwhelming…not to mention the impact on the above mentioned Klout score.

And so this blog goes out to you, son. One day you’ll see it, and hopefully this will make up for all the Internet attention your sister got.

This is the adoption finalization. Crying, crying, smiling, and then Aven, the double thumbs up.

This all started on Saturday.
I’ve been really busy with work and school, and what little time I’ve been able to spend with y’all has not been as precious to me as it should be. You changed that this weekend.
I woke up early and headed out to cover a story for the paper. I didn’t have time for breakfast, and rushed through the interviews and the article because I had an appointment at the Apple store for my computer battery.
I didn’t have time for lunch before we went, so as we walked into the store, I started feeling the first effects of having taken diabetes medication without food. I got a little cranky. You rushed up to me and asked if you could go play on the iPads in the kid’s section. I said okay, and your sister went too.
After a couple of minutes, I noticed a little girl standing beside your sister watching. I asked her to get up and share with you so the kid could have a turn. When she sat down next to you, she immediately started trying to touch the screen of “your” iPad, and you shoved her arm away a little too roughly. I told you that you were done, and you had to come over to the wall and put your nose in a corner.
I know you don’t remember this specific incident, but I’m sure you’ll remember the discipline you’ve gone through growing up, and I’m sure, depending on how old you are, you think it’s so terrible. You want to know a secret? I think it’s terrible too. You and I share many qualities, remarkably so, given your lack of my genes, but the one thing we don’t share is an ornery childhood. I was mostly calm and introverted, and you are the complete opposite. I grew out of my esoteric behavior. I truly hope you never grow out of your outgoing and carefree nature.
We headed to CiCi’s Pizza, and as we were getting out of the car you did something that upset me. Right now, less than 48 hours later, I can’t even recall what it was. This tells me that it wasn’t really “me” that was upset, it was “Hungry Dad,” who is a monster. I’m still learning how to be a dad, son. I don’t know it all, and I’m sorry for that.
So I snapped at you.
You replied with a “Yes sir,” and we started walking to the restaurant.
Without even thinking, you reached up and grabbed my hand. I know you had no idea what that could do to me, and I don’t know that I can explain it.
You weren’t even mad that I had just gotten on to you. You knew that I wasn’t going to let anything happen to you crossing the parking lot, and you just trusted me – and loved me – enough to get you into the restaurant.
We ate, and I felt better. In fact, I felt so much better that I gave you and your sister each a dollar to go play games with. You went straight to a claw machine that promised you could “play till you won.” You played twice, looked up at me, and said, “Dad, can you win me something?”
Then you ran off.
Son it took me 15 more tries to win you that candy. Your mom laughed at me. But I wouldn’t quit.
When we left the restaurant, we had to take your mom to Hobby Lobby. We were walking in, and you did something I thought was hilarious. You parked yourself under a tree that was half as tall as me, and sat there in the “shade.”

There’s no shade except me.

As we resumed our trip inside, you looked up at me and said, “Dad, your favorite superhero is Superman, right?”

I said, “Yes.”
You just nodded your head like you knew all along, and then we went on in. While we were in the store, you pointed at something and said, “Dad, it’s your favorite color flower!”
I looked where you were pointing, and I saw a gigantic orange flower on display.
I’ve been saying for a year now that you don’t listen. Apparently I have been terribly, terribly wrong.
I smiled and said, “Yes it is,” and we went out to “cool off the car” while your mom and sister checked out.
Later that evening you wanted to go with me to a basketball game. You have no idea how badly I wanted to take you, but since I was the referee, I couldn’t keep an eye on you…and since you wouldn’t sit still for longer than 30 seconds, that’s kind of important. So, you didn’t get to go.
When I got home later that night, I was standing in the kitchen and you walked in.
“Dad, I got your favorite color juice tonight!” you exclaimed as you held up a bottle that once held an orange sugary beverage that was not at all similar to juice.
You know my favorite superhero is Superman.
You know my favorite color.
You even know my favorite basketball team.

You made this for me at school.

I think you like Spiderman a little better than Superman, and I think you’re partial to pink instead of orange.

And let me tell you a little secret.
I LOVED the color pink until about the sixth grade.
God, in His infinite wisdom and screwy sense of humor, put you and I together for a reason. Then, knowing we’d need women in our lives to keep us from killing each other, He went ahead and gave us your mom and sister too.
One day I’m going to figure this “dad” thing out.
I’ve got you eating like me already…

Your first corn eating contest. I’m absolutely certain you won, but they gave first to some little girl.

It’s not always sunshine and pleasant thoughts. You are stubborn, prone to violent outbursts towards your schoolmates, a bit of a liar (albeit a terrible one), and did I mention that you’re stubborn?

However, every phone call we get, every bad report from a Sunday School teacher, and every talk from anyone telling us you’re in trouble all ends the same way.
“He has a heart of gold. He is so thoughtful and sweet…when he wants to be.”
We still have work to do. About a year ago, after one of your fits, your mother and I looked at each other and cried, each wondering if we could ever straighten you out. I looked at her and said, “If God didn’t want this to happen, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s going to be okay.”
Guess what. It’s all okay. In fact, after this weekend, it’s better than okay. It’s amazing.
In honor of this post, I changed my Facebook profile picture to the one below. This is one of the happiest moments of our time together for me. We told everyone that you caught this fish. In reality, your mom set the hook and reeled it in while you ran to tell me about the fish you were “catching.”
She gave you all the credit. That’s how your mom is. That’s why we love her.
You were ecstatic. You ran. You yelled. I barely got you to stand still for the picture.
That’s how you are.
That’s why we love you.

Your biggest fish to date.

P.S. If you count the “likes” you got for this picture the first time I posted it, AND the “likes” it’s gotten since I made it my profile picture, the total comes in at a whopping 90. That’s not bad…
…but it’s not even half the “likes” your sister got on the picture of me baptizing her. 
But don’t worry. It’s not like it’s a contest. 
P.P.S. If your sister is still getting “Internet attention” when you read this, let me know. I’ll shut whatever she has down and give you $100. That’s a promise. 

Today’s blog may disturb you. I will manage to firmly prove once and for all that a certain country music star is probably both a witch and a terrorist. If finding out that country music stars are both witches and terrorists is something that is likely to disturb you, please close this page. 
I am not a superstitious man.

When I woke up this morning, I had a thought run through my head, and it demanded to be examined, studied, and investigated to it’s fullest extent, knowing that I had a duty to you, the reader, and to my country.

As most of you know, it has been quite dry in Oklahoma. Dry, hot, and humid. In fact, I haven’t been able to step outside and NOT start sweating since early May. By the time I get done walking anywhere, it looks as though I’ve run a marathon. Being heavyset, people often know that I haven’t run a marathon and that I’m just fat and out of shape. To those people, I say this: round is a shape. Suck it.

I don’t know how many of my readers are familiar with country music star Carrie Underwood. If you’ve lived in Oklahoma for longer than ten minutes or you’ve ever watched American Idol, you’ll know her as the winner of that show in 2005, catapulting her from anonymity to superstardom virtually overnight.

I have no opinion on Ms. Underwood’s music. Some of it is catchy and fun, and other times it can be about Jesus driving your car for you. But lately, radio has been playing a song of hers called “Blown Away.”

The tune is, as I mentioned, catchy and fun, and the song is about a young lady who watches her mean father die in a tornado while he’s passed out drunk and she’s in the fraidy-hole. Sort of a “what goes around comes around” story. At least she’s not slashing anyone’s tires, right?

This album was released on May 1st, 2012.

It just so happens that I have a a rainfall summary from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey that runs from May 3, 2012 to today’s date. This picture illustrates the amount of rain we’ve had in Oklahoma compared to a “normal” year. The only reason I quoted up “normal” is because as an Oklahoman, I realize we’ve had exactly six “normal” years since statehood.

This shows it’s been dryer than

As you can see, it’s bad. Terribly dry. Crops have suffered, lawns have suffered, and small, pale, Irish children like my poor niece cannot walk outside without having to be pumped full of fluids and slathered with sunscreen first. I’ve personally lost more skin to peeling this summer than I lost to bicycle crashes in the early nineties.

If you listened to the song in the video earlier, or you’ve heard it on the radio, you know that the lyrics feature the quote: “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma, to wash the sins out of this house.”
“There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma.”
“There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma.”
“There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma.”
Folks, hopefully I don’t have to spell this out any clearer for you, but I will. The album came out on May 1st. Since May 3rd, we’ve had a near record lack of rain fall. In fact, the average has been almost seven inches below normal. Are you understanding?
Carrie Underwood is a witch.
She has obviously released this album and this song as a curse on the state of Oklahoma. As long as radio stations keep playing it, the drought will last, and Oklahoma will eventually dry up and become the next Arizona. Only it won’t be a dry heat. It will be a “Travis doesn’t get off the couch because anytime he moves he ruins clothes with his copious sweat” kind of heat.

Seen here at an awards performance in full witch garb, admitting that I’m right.

If I can be proved wrong on this, let me know. I’m pretty sure the science behind it is 100% real, and so it can’t be wrong. I suppose the final word would be to see if she weighs more than a duck.

The next and final charge I will level at Carrie is a bit more circumstantial, but it might appeal to the conspiracy theorist in all of you like it did to me.
While perusing the data for my expert scientific research and eventual proof of Carrie witchcrafting Oklahoma a drought, I came across a startling revelation. Take a look at a screenshot of the survey.

Looks normal, eh?

Wrong. Look again.

This gives me the goosebumps, y’all.

Is Carrie Underwood a terrorist as well as a witch? Did she have a hand in 9/11? I’ll leave that up to Governor Jessie Ventura and the Supreme Court to decide. But after singing songs about destroying vehicles and watching people die in tornados, let’s just say I have a heavy suspicion.
I’m just laying the facts out for you people. Take them and run. And I didn’t even have time to mention what she did to Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

*All charges leveled against Carrie in this blog are of course based on nothing but pure scientific research, but at the same time, I am not actually accusing her of being a witch or a terrorist. I’m adding this for legal reasons, which really seems as though I have a grand opinion of myself, thinking she might actually see this. Carrie, if you read this, I love you. Marry me.

It’s been four years.

1,462 days have passed since the last time I was there. In that time I’ve almost wrecked a marriage, fixed it, worked at three jobs, left a church, found a new church, gone back to college, and adopted two kids.

I’ve ended a ministry, and started a new one. The former, teenagers. The latter, senior adults.

The last time I was there, Flour on the Roof happened.

The last time I went, we left early on a Monday morning. This time, I’ll be arriving on a Wednesday night. Last time, I was excited. This time…

I’m nervous.

The place I’m talking about is Falls Creek, Oklahoma.


For those that don’t know, Falls Creek is a youth church camp that is based near Davis, Oklahoma. For those that do know, there’s nothing more to be added. It is a wonderful camp, full of wonderful kids that spend the week battling heat and hormones, and trying to build a closer relationship with God.
In short, this place is amazing.
So why have I waited four years to go back?
Well, the answer to that is a bit complicated. The way I figured it, the Youth Minister that took my place at Okay was a nice enough guy to let me go back with them if I wanted to. Especially after I sorted my personal issues out. However, I couldn’t justify in mind tagging along with him while he was trying to rebuild some of the trusts that I’d broken. To me, it is the equivalent of a pastor ceasing his ministry at a church, then continuing to go to church there. I just didn’t think it was right, and so I didn’t ask.
“Okay, but Travis, aren’t you going back with that same church tonight?”
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that the YM that took my place has left, and the family that replaced him I have known literally my entire life, and also, 99% of the kids that were there when I was there have passed through by now. So I’m taking our newly saved and baptized daughter down for some “precious memories,” as my mother-in-law so contemptuously corrected me a few nights ago.
And when I took Akeeli up to the church the other night to get everything registered, one of the ladies doing the paperwork looked at me and said, “Did you have to do all of this when you were running things?” As she said it, she had a look in her eye that was something akin to a wildebeest cornered by several large and not-yet-vegan African lions.
I looked at her and smiled and said yes, fondly recalling how much I love it. All of the planning, the waiting until the last second on registrations, that one kid that would come running up on Monday morning ten minutes before we left and wanting to go. I. Loved. It.
So why am I nervous?
Falls Creek is almost like a living thing. It’s an entity, it experiences growth and change almost exponentially. And so I’m half afraid that it’s grown out of me. But another real reason is that I’m afraid I’ll get down there and realize that I’ve grown out of it.
I would love to one day return to the Youth Ministry field. That’s a long way away, but I know that if I return to it, I’ll more than likely be taking kids to Falls Creek. I have a heart for teenagers, and I know that FC is the best place for them when it comes to high intensity spiritual conditioning.
But what if I’m over it? What if I get down there, look around, and say, “Wow. This is so different. I can’t stand this.”
It seems silly and trivial, I know. But it is a genuine concern of mine, and the main reason for my nervousness. I’m sure I’ll get down there, take a deep breath, turn my phone off, and realize that FC is still the best place in Oklahoma. And I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face as she experiences the sounds, the sights, the smells, and…her very first icee date, which will be with me.
So I’ll leave work tonight, pick up our daughter, go home and grab our bags, and head out to Falls Creek, where I’ll make…
…The Return. Pray for me.
We all know I’m pretty new to this parenting thing. We’ve had our children for just a bit over a year now, and I’m constantly reminded (particularly by my mother) that there is a lot more to learn.

But there’s been a breakthrough. I have news, y’all. The kind of news that you see at first and you think, “Oh wow, that’s awful,” but then you secretly try it later just to see if I’m serious. And it turns out, that even though what I’m about to tell you is based on common knowledge, I haven’t heard of it being used before. This has led me to two different conclusions.

1. What I’m doing is groundbreaking and I should receive a Nobel Prize for it.


2. What I’m doing may in fact be slightly illegal and I’ll be put in jail for it.

At this point, I’m really wanting to lean towards that whole “Nobel Prize” thing. Mostly because I don’t think I’d do well inside the prison industrial complex. I’m not a fighter, and in prison, you’re either a fighter or you’re the guy the others guys fight over and then proceed to Andy Dufresne the mess out of you in the shower, in the movie projector room, or out by the tool shed.

“I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight and the Sisters let him be.”

I just want to chase a quick rabbit. If you read the rest of this blog in Morgan Freeman’s voice, I really think it might soften the impact of the incredible news I’m going to share with you. So go on, get in character. I’ll wait.
Alright, so the other day, our children went out back with our niece to swim in one of those little turtle swimming pools that are about three inches deep and have a tiny slide. We’ve all seen them. It’s the kind of pool that white trashy people put in their front yard right out by the street and let all the neighborhood children come pee play in. I’m proud to say my brother keeps his in the back yard.
About twenty minutes into the “swimming,” our son comes up to the door, and he’s shaking like a Republican in a Pentecostal church. The Missus immediately runs to get him a towel, yelling something like, “He’ll catch his death of the cold, bless my soul!” Apparently, seeing a shaking child turns my wife into a housewife with big skirts from a 1960’s TV sitcom.
I, on the other hand, observed the situation. I noticed the fine details. Mostly, I noticed the fine detail that our son wasn’t talking for the first time in two weeks. He couldn’t talk. You could tell he wanted to talk, he wanted to talk about leaves, and why he was cold, and tell us that he knew a bunch of stuff, and colors, and all the scuttlebutt down by the “pool,” but he couldn’t. He was shaking too hard.
Something in my mind clicked.
Then, The Missus rushed by with a towel, muttering something about the vapors, and wrapped her precious baby up in it, drying him off, and showing him all the love that she used to have for me.
And my brain just kept right on spinning.
“Travis. Hey, Travis. If he can’t talk when he gets cold, this could mean a whole new dynamic in car rides. You’ve got to do some research here, Sloat. You have a responsibility to God, the people of the world, and your sanity to do something about this. If you don’t, you’ll go to your grave never feeling like the successful person I let you think you are.”
So I searched for the opportunity to research.
It just so happened that yesterday after church, it was just the children and I in the car driving home. We got in, and they were so excited, their little heads filled with bible stories, and their little endocrine systems full of sugary drinks. They just kept talking. Talking to me, talking to each other, talking to themselves, it didn’t matter. They just wanted to talk.
Just another aside, but they are ALWAYS talking. I think, and this is Travis Sloat being real here, that this has got to be the worst thing about kids. They constantly talk. When we first got them, I thought, “Man, this will keep my conversation wit quick.” Now, a year later, I’m trying to watch a National Geographic special on Blue Whales, and the announcer says, “This, a Blue Whale, is the most majestic creature on the earth, and also the largest, with a length of about 30 meters and a heart the size of a small car.” And I’m thinking, “Wow. A car.” And our son, our wonderful, precocious son, is sitting there, soaking it all in, and I’m thinking, “I’m a dang good parent, letting our kid watch this kind of nature stuff.” And then I realize that if there are animals, and this is NatGeo, that sooner or later there will be a mating scene, and I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to deal with that just yet, and our son, he just looks at me, points at the TV, and says, “I know what that is, that’s a Blue Whale. It’s majestic.”
100% disclosure? Their talking will be why I die at forty.
But back to the car after church. They’re talking, and they won’t shut up, and I think, “Now would be a great time to test this theory I have.” So I crank the AC up full blast.
The only way this eventually works is if The Missus isn’t in the car. Anytime I turn the AC on with her in the car, she just looks at me, rolls her eyes, and either turns it down or shuts her vents off. Meanwhile, I’m sweating like I just ran a 5k.
So the AC is on, and nothing is happening. Of course, it’s 98 degrees outside, so I have to give it a minute. Finally, the car starts cooling off to the point where it’s getting chilly. Still, the talking continues.
Then, the staccato pace turns to a heavy machine gun pace, and I think, “Is this working?”
As the car nears a temperature rivaling that of a walk-in food storage freezer, the conversation grinds to a halt like a car running out of gas, and stops suddenly.
I can’t believe it. I looked back, and both of them had just stopped talking, almost mid-sentence, and were SLOWLY FALLING ASLEEP.

“So there was this one guy, named Jonah, and he was…umm…mmmfdhjalfda…nnnn.”

Folks, I don’t have to tell you how big of a breakthrough this is. Houses will be permanently chilly, cars will be filled with dry ice on long road trips, and schools will have classes outside in the winter. It will revolutionize the “children should be seen and not heard” sentiment of generations past that somehow got lost, for which I blame Barney.
Of course, there are still side effects to consider, such as an increased tissue budget, as well as an increase in cold medications. But you have to ask yourself. “Is a quiet child worth a little hypothermia?” If your answer is yes, then I suggest you start your own research.
I just have to make sure it isn’t actually child abuse first.

Will you look at that?

This post isn’t titled “The Road.”

I seriously want to thank those of you who made the five day journey with The Missus and I last week, and if you haven’t had the chance to read those, go ahead. I’ll wait.

Back in 2010, I know I wrote a post about being somewhat of a germaphobe, but I can’t find it. I’ve searched through my archives, and I’m getting nothing. It was about a cashier at Walmart who practically refused to clean raw chicken juice off the scale/scanner before they rang up my banana and apple. There was a slight altercation, the scale was halfheartedly cleaned, which resulted in me having to disinfect my fruit with 91% alcohol before I ate it.

My fear of germs hasn’t always been consistent. Growing up, the thought of germs couldn’t even rent a studio apartment in my brain. I would lick, eat, smell, touch, or roll around in anything. But I’ve noticed that as I’m getting older, and through the addition of kids, thoughts of germs and germ related paraphernalia have started tilling these hundred acre farms in the fertile fields of my faculties. I cite the towel post I recently put up.

You also have been briefed on my new efforts at weight loss. I’m trying here, folks. It’s slow going, but I’m going to give it the business.

However, I think it might be going too slowly for some of the folks I work with. You see, I walked into my office the other day and found this on my desk.

Dear Travis, Lose weight. Sincerely, The Office

You think someone is trying to tell me something?

In addition to the six pack, there was a loose bottle of the stuff, almost as if someone had said, “You know, I want to keep this other six pack for myself, but Travis really needs a whole week’s worth. I can make that sacrifice.”
After finding the culprit who had left me such a generous gift, I asked him why. He said that he had gotten the stuff at a garage sale, and he’d heard about my weight loss efforts, and wanted to assist. I thanked him, if a bit gruffly, and I continued back to my desk to check the stuff out.
After examining the side effects and such, I decided to give it a shot. It actually looks a lot like Five Hour Energy, and I love those, so I cracked the loose bottle, noted the small amount of liquid, made a remark about how they must sell this product by weight and not volume, chugged the contents of the bottle, and went on about my merry way.
Fast forward to the next day.
I come in, and I’m excited about my new weight loss product, and about the changes it will bring about in my life. I sat down at my desk and cracked open a second bottle, only to discover this.

Yep. A safety seal. And under that seal, a completely full bottle of liquid.

A safety seal that was missing from the first bottle I drank the day before.

The bottle that had half of the liquid inside missing.
The bottle that had been given to me by a coworker.
The bottle that had been purchased at a garage sale.
I really don’t even know what I should do at this point. I’m stuck trying to find out how much testing me for every known disease to man is going to cost, and wondering if I want that many needles in me. I could have induced vomiting, and almost did involuntarily, but I didn’t figure I could retroactively vomit up anything that had been in my digestive system for twenty four hours.
My singular hope is that the sheer volume of hot sauce and peppers I eat on a daily basis will have somehow incinerated the terrible unknown germs that I received from ingested a half used bottle of garage sale purchased mystery weight loss product. If not, I fully expect to die within the next few days.
I’m also looking to get rid of the other five bottles.
Any takers?

Just a real quick note, if you glance down, you’ll see a Facebook “Like” box. This box lets you like this post, which makes me feel crazy happy. I get a little notification, and my world is complete for the day. It also gives you the option to “Become a fan” of my blog, which will seriously lead to me hugging you awkwardly the next time I see you. So feel free to use the box. 

A while back, Johnny Virgil (my blog hero) posted a blog about having to choose who he should get behind at an intersection. It’s a choice we’ve all had to make at some time or another, one with an immediate consequence if you pick wrong: you don’t get to accelerate near as fast as you want to.

Before I launch into my story, I’d like you to know something about me. If I have a 50/50 chance at doing something correctly, I will inevitably pick the wrong thing. Allow me to elaborate. A USB flash drive has one way it can go in a computer. I have NEVER put it in the right way the first time. I always have to flip it over, sometimes more than once. Go ahead, make any sexual themed jokes in the comments below. It’s the same way with docking my iPad 2 or iPod. If it’s plugging something in, I never line the big plug up right the first time, I have to flip it. If I have to guess at True/False, I’ll without exception choose the wrong one. Please don’t ask me to help you choose between two tough decisions, because I will undoubtedly choose the one that will ensure your life will end in misery and a long, painful, slow death.

Now, back to yesterday, and the situation I found myself in. I was in a hurry, as usual, and I came up to an intersection with a vehicle in each lane, so I had to pick who I wanted to get behind. In the first lane, there was a mid 2000’s Ford Mustang GT convertible. In the other lane…a big, boxy mail truck. As in a diesel truck with a big box on top. It’s been my experience that Mustangs and mail trucks don’t accelerate in the same fashion ever. So the choice wasn’t even a choice, really. I settled in behind the car that belong to the mid-50’s, slightly windblown couple sitting in it and waited for the green. The light turned green, and I goosed the gas in anticipation of a 0-45 time that would be in the under 5 second category. Then I IMMEDIATELY stomped on the brakes, having almost driven over the top of the shiny white sports car. Turns out, Mr. Mid-Life GT Mustang Crisis had decided today was the day he was going to save his $4 a gallon gas. He took off not as if there was an egg under the gas pedal, but a human embryo.

In the battle of Mass * Force = Acceleration, the winner will be the one I don’t pick. Eat your heart out, Newton

Needless to say, I yelled at him.

Oh yeah, and the mail truck? I’ve never seen a mail truck accelerate so fast before in all my days. I don’t know if it had a turbo on it, maybe a cold air intake, or maybe he’d put one of those chips in there that make things go faster. I don’t know. All I know is that thing took off like a bat out of hell.

So when I got to the next intersection, I was all set up to get behind the mail truck. I had been proven wrong, sour grapes aside, I knew what I needed to do. Then I saw the car in the other lane. This car had followed me all the way in to Muskogee, and the whole time they had proved that they were in just as much of a hurry as me. It was a little gold Dodge something or other, and the driver was a young man with a heavy foot and somewhere to be. So in what little time I had, I over-ruled myself and the decision to get behind the mail truck, instead opting for the “sure thing.” I waited. The light turned green.

In the moments that followed, I learned two things. The first was a SOLID confirmation that in any given circumstance where there are two choices to be made, I will pick the wrong one. The second was that from here on out, I will NEVER get in a race with a mail truck. This dude had some horsepower, and he had driving skill to back that up. He successfully blocked me for 2 miles before I got around him, and when I did, he had a huge smile on his face.

I couldn’t even be mad. I’d been bested by a mail truck.


So if you and I are ever in a situation with a bomb, and I have to cut the red or green wire, and I don’t have any clue about which one to cut so we both decide I should guess, then I want you to know I sincerely hope you have your affairs in order…because we’re going to die. And if you’ve read this blog, you can’t get mad at me either.

Hey Facebook readers! You can comment on my blog now! I’m currently testing this feature to see if any of you utilize it. If not, fear not old readers, I’ll go back to blogger comments, which I know will at least make Mandy happy. Also, for those of my readers with dichotomous lives, you CAN use anonymous commenting in this form. 

“Hey Susan, let’s go to spin class!”

“Yeah, I just got done with spin class, I’m pretty tired.”

“I’m going to spin class, I’ll be back in an hour.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these statements and similar ones on TV over the past 28 years. Everyone was talking about spin class. Carrie Heffernan was talking about it. Elaine Bennis was talking about it. If you were a woman in the 90’s-early 2k’s, you were concerned with spin class and talked about it often.

Now before I admit something very embarrassing to you, I feel like I should preface it with a little “about me.” I’m the type of person that figures things out on his own. To you ladies out there saying, “Well yeah, you’re a man,” you can hush it. I just usually take a word or phrase, see the context it was used in, and go from there. I’ve done it all my life until recently, in fact, just the other day. That’s because just the other day I found out something about spin class.

I found out that it isn’t this:

Yeah. I know the girls in that video are twelve. But it was the first video I saw that really kind of matched the image in my head for “spin class.”

Go ahead, finish laughing. I’ll wait.

As it turns out, spin class has a lot to do with riding a stationary bike and nothing at all to do with having to get dizzy. Unless you’re having some sort of cardiac fit on the bike.

So that’s that, as it were.

If you were hoping to get an adoption tidbit thrown in here, you’re in luck. Adoption Update REEEEMIXXXX! The progress has slowed down a bit, thanks to someone who has trouble keeping appointments and doing things when she said she would. I really don’t have any idea why someone would purposely delay the rescuing of children from bad situations, but I guess there are people out there who feel that since they have that power, they can do it.

The lady wound up typing up a report on our lives. I read over the report, and I realized that Alicia and I have a pretty nice little thing going on. We’ve hit some rough spots, and there have been times when I’m sure we’ve both been ready to call it quits, but overall that report seemed to say that we have a good marriage, there is money in the bank for stupid stuff most months, and we would make some pretty decent parents when it all comes down to it. I was happy about that.

So now that report is going all over the world it seems like. Once it lands in the hands of our case manager, we’ll either be approved or denied. I’m not going to lie. If they deny us, hide yo kids. Cause I’m going to be snatchin one up. I’m kidding, but geez. I really don’t think we’ll be denied. The only negative in our report is the fact that we said we’d “sometimes” spank our child, but wouldn’t if they came from an abusive background. Y’all can say what you want, but I got spanked a LOT as a child. It worked. Mostly.

Also, I’m trying to get back in college. I’m going to be a writer, and I know that the only way those artsy fartsy editor douchebags will ever pay attention to anything I write is going be if I get a piece of paper that says I can do it well. Things are rolling for me to get back into it this spring semester, but we’ll see how it pans out.


Most of you remember the Okay Christmas Parade video I made last year, and the ensuing drama. A good portion of you stood behind and grimaced at the view while we fought against 2 people in my hometown who thought I was being mean.


They had another parade this year.

So…ahem…I made another video. Here it is in all it’s glory, and I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I promise next time to maybe not let so much time pass between bloggins.

So I’m stressed.

Tomorrow we have to go to the last class, which consists of a potluck dinner and listening to a bunch of kids tell us about how they’ve aged out of the program because no one wanted them.


They want us (people who are willing to adopt) to sit through a panel of teenagers who no one wanted. I honestly don’t think I’ll make it through tomorrow without crying like a 10 year old schoolgirl who has just been punched in the arm by the boy who likes her. I’ve made it through 4 classes and countless horrifying and terrible statistics without shedding so much as a tear, but I know tomorrow will break me.

We had our first Home Visit Monday, and to be honest it felt like a 2 hour verbal rectal examination. I think this coming Monday will be worse. We’re at the end of the process folks. You know that old saying about tying a knot in the end of the rope and hanging on? I’ve got the knot tied, but I’m struggling to maintain the strength to hold on. I’m not funny anymore. I’ve pretty much given up on the comedy thing for now. I’m gaining all my weight back that I lost. I’m taking things out on friends. I’m taking things out on my readers.

I’m stressed.

But I’m not stressed because I’m doing something I’m not supposed to be doing. I’m stressed because I’m taking the biggest leap of my life. I’m about to claim responsibility for the lives of two children. Two people who will look to me for guidance and understanding about why the world has treated them so badly. Two people who will call me daddy and love me unconditionally, until they’re teenagers when they will hate me unconditionally.

We’ll more than likely be included in the meeting the Case Managers have in December to pick out available kids we might like. Which means that if we make a decision in December, we might have kids before Christmas.


Will this be my first Christmas with children?

Also, the adoption is not finalized until six months after we get the children. You know what can happen in that six months? A long lost family member can suddenly show up and take our kids away from us. No consideration on our part, just, “Well, thanks for watching them, they’re going home now.”


How would we be expected to recover from that? I can’t, and I WON’T compare it to a miscarriage, because I don’t think it’s even close to the same. However, I will say that it is probably the next worst thing. About the time you are starting to realize how much you love YOUR kids, they can get taken away. I don’t think that’s right at all, and I pray every day that this never happens to us.

But what if it does?

What if after we adopt Alicia gets pregnant?

What if the kids have some sort of undiagnosed problem when we get them?

What if I lose my job?

What if, what if, what if?

I know y’all don’t have the answers. I don’t expect you to be able to comfort or console me, and I don’t expect there to be much more tolerance of these “non-funny” blogs, although some would argue they never were funny to begin with.

The Missus told me today that she likes to read my blogs because I always say more on here than I do in real life. I guess that’s true. I’ve always liked to write as opposed to talk. After she reads this, she may realize that she’s bringing children into a household with a crazy man and run off and leave me. I can’t say that I’d blame her.

I’m ready, y’all. I am. Don’t get me wrong. I’m ready to be a daddy. I’m ready for sleepless nights and diapers and giving advice on how to properly start fires. I’m ready to discipline, I’m ready to teach, I’m ready to learn. The thing is, all that is coming at me faster than your mom, and right now I’m just stressed about it. It’s okay to be stressed though. Surely I’m not the only would-be parent that’s stressed about it. And I don’t think I’ll be the last.

So bear with me and give me some time, and I’ll turn this whole thing around to where it was, only maybe a little cleaner because my kids might one day stumble over this jewel, and I don’t want them getting the wrong impression of their dad.

Geez. I’ve got to go hide my archives.

Dear Apple Juice,

As you dripped down my finger and onto my shirt this morning, I couldn’t help but notice some things. You didn’t stain my shirt, you didn’t make me smell bad the rest of the day, and you didn’t make me cuss really loud and swerve all over the road trying to hurriedly blot you with a napkin. Instead, I just kept eating the apple you came from, and I laughed a little at how much things have changed in my life. Thanks for the help in losing 66 pounds, and I have no doubt that you’ll get me to under 300 this week. I love you, and I’ll make sweet, sweet love to your core if that’s what you want, I just need to clear it with The Missus.

Insulinlly Yours,


Dear Greasy and Turribly Fattening Breakfast Foods That Almost Ruined My Life and Ruined Several Shirts That Don’t Fit Now Anyway Cause I’m Gettin Skinny,

Fuck you, and you can kiss my ass. You’ve been replaced by apple juice. Go ruin someone else’s shirt, bitch. I totally did it with your sister, and she LOVED it. And I banged your mom.



I went in to our lovely neighborhood Wal-Mart this morning to get breakfast, which was an orange and a banana.

The lady before me had chicken laid on the counter, and when the cashier scanned it, I could see the juice still on the counter, and then on the scanner.



I thought, “Surely she’ll give it a quick spray before she tries to check me out. Folks, SHE WIPED IT OFF WITH HER HAND.

The hand, I might add, that she was going to grab my fruit with. She just smeared the chicken juice all over the place, and I almost threw up.

So I’m standing there, facing a quandary. Do I hand over my fruit, watch her grab it in her nasty Salmonella hand, scan it on the Salmonella scanner, and then put it in a plastic bag to wallow in it’s Salmonella-ness? Or do I say something, which I think is pretty douchey of me?

We were at an impasse. We stared at each other. A tumbleweed rolled by. A train whistled in the background. I was contemplating just how long food poisoning would take to get over, and how much weight I’d lose in the process, and she was wondering what the hell was taking so long.


“Ma’am, can you disinfect that scanner before you put my breakfast on it?”

“OH! Sure I can! Sorry about that.”

The counter was wiped, she entered my fruit, I paid up, and walked out of the store feeling pretty good about how I’d avoided a terrible illness. It wasn’t until I had eaten most of my banana that I realized…

…she’d never washed her hand.

Bananas and oranges have peels though, so it’s okay…right?

Also, Erin? You’ll be glad to know I didn’t get the plastic bag. I opted to carry my fruit out with my hands and no bag at all. I’m going green, even if it’s with food poisoning.

Lord, beer me immunity.

This one is dedicated to the newly married Jeff.

I had just gotten married, and I was still in that “I’ve got to impress her to keep her around” mood. One morning I decided I was going to make her pancakes. I’m actually a very good cook, and I fancy myself for having a flair in the kitchen. I’m a Food Network fan, and I loved Iron Chef at the time. (still do, but I liked the original WAY better.)
I prepared my super duper pancake batter (Wal-Mart boxed). I brought my new bride into the kitchen for the show. “Watch me, bride. For I am going to make you breakfast with a show!” We had an electric stove in our tiny place, and I’ve always hated electric. They don’t cook right.
I heated up the skillet, and I dropped the first ladle full of batter in. I got it nice and golden brown on the one side, and the time came to flip.

This is me, circa 2003, right before it all went horribly, horribly wrong.  Man I used to be in shape.

At this time, the only thought running through my head was, “If I flip this pancake without a spatula, my wife will come over here, strip naked, and throw herself at me with the passion of a woman who had just watched a Desperate Housewives marathon.”
“Bride! Watch this!” I shouted, and with a quick flip of my wrist, I launched the pancake up into the air, where it sailed up in a beautiful arc…
We’re going to pause here at the pinnacle of the pancake pitch, and talk about what it takes to cook a pancake. HEAT. Your pan should be hot enough that drops of water dropped onto it dance across the pan like a Democrat on the abortion issue. My pan was that hot. Maybe hotter, because it was an electric stove.
We hit play. The pancake begins its descent, and I notice something. It’s moving a lot closer to me than I thought it would. No worries. I can pull the pan closer, and still catch it, which will impress my new bride so much so that she will not only make love to me, but she will do it right there in the kitchen.
My reflexes are great. They really are. For a fat guy, I can catch almost anything thrown at me. I have a knack for figuring out the exact point where something will fall, and I can catch it. One of my favorite things to do is catch ice with my glass before it hits the floor if it falls out of the freezer.
Anyway. I bring the pan into where the pancake is going to land. I know this, because the pancake landed in the pan. I immediately felt the hot desire of my wife pressed closely against my flesh, and thought, “Man, she’s quick. And I’m amazing.”

But it wasn’t my wife or her passion that had closed in on me. It was the frying pan. The pan then proceeded to melt through a three and a half inch oval of skin on my stomach, instantly. I cannot describe this pain. It was terrible. I truly thought my intestines were going to spill on the floor, and I would die.

My bride? She laughed at me. There was no love making on the kitchen floor. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I got any love for a week while that was healing. I couldn’t wear a shirt for a week. I had to CALL IN SICK to my job, and the reason was, I couldn’t wear a shirt.

My medical treatment for this wound? A giant shot of humility. I think that hurt the worst. Also, paper towels folded up with duct tape around the edges to hold it on.
Man, I miss that high class newly married first aid.