Thursday, April 26, 2012

It been a tough go at it

For the past couple of days I have been alone with the ladies while Keri was away galavanting.  Well not really galavanting, she WAS working.  Working in Newport, RI.  I'm sure she was hard at work.  (Really, she works her tail off.)  I have come accustomed to the single parent life, but only for a couple of days at a clip.  This stretch was particularly hard.

Some time ago, a near and dear friend was diagnosed with cancer.  A rather large tumor was removed and we all thought that was it.  Not so much.  Either they didn't get it all, or it came back, but it was back with a vengeance.  He was given the necessary treatments, but alas the disease was too big for one man to handle.  There was a benefit for him not too long ago and he didn't look particularly well.  I thought to myself that he had a few weeks, tops, until the end.  I came to grips with the fact that I would lose my friend, or at least I thought I did.  He toughed it out for about a month to the day.  When a friend told me of his passing, I was saddened.  I began to remember of our times together, the funny jokes, sometimes if not most of the time, off color to most, but always funny.  The next day it really hit me and hit me hard.  As I read through Facebook post after Facebook post on how he touched so many people, had been integral parts of so many people's lives, it was very had to keep my composure.  As I read story after story, I fought back tears.  It finally set in that I would never see him again, never be graced with that British humor that I took for granted.  I was grieving.  Something I don't think I have ever done.  I had lost people in my life before; my mom's mother and dad's father when I was fourteen, a great aunt a few years later, a kid I knew in high school, and so on.  But none of these people touched me in a way that my friend did.  It sounds bad to say, that a friend, not even a friend I hung out with all that often, touched me more than my grandmother or grandfather, but something about our friendship stuck with me.  

We were friends of friends in high school.  We ran in parallel crowds, occasionally intermingling.  It wasn't until driver's education until we connected.  And that is where our friendship really started.  He was in our band for a while and after that didn't work out, for whatever reason, he subbed when we needed him.  And he enjoyed it.  We enjoyed it.  We were running in parallel groups again.

We would ride to and from gigs occasionally.  On one of these trips, we somehow struck up a conversation about old school metal (i.e. Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) and how it would be cool do start a cover ban doing only this genre.  We laughed about all the cool costumes we'd have to wear.  While this project never got off the ground, it makes me think of him every time I hear a song by one of those artists. So I spend yesterday playing Maiden and Priest, non-stop, on Spotify as I read through his friends wishing him well.

Then today rolls around.  I woke up feeling calmed, almost knowing I was close to the end of processing The End.  Somehow I found my was to his Facebook page.  Oh, boy.  Here we go agin.  I guess I am still in the process, which is good.

I do not know why this is hitting me as hard as it is.  Is it because it's the first "friend" to go onto bigger and better things?  Is it because tomorrow is my birthday and I am getting older.  Did I just realize that he was about a year and a half older than I?  Is it the fact that I have become a wuss since I've become a father?  All I know is that the wake and funeral will be hard.  Hard on me, my friends, his family, and everyone that he came in contact with.  He was that powerful of a soul.  I always say everything happens for a reason.  This anecdote usually is enough for me.  Not this time.  This time we all knew what was happening.  Maybe I didn't realize the severity of the situation.  Maybe I was too caught up in my own bullshit to see what was happening.  But I honestly believe he was taken away to do a higher work.  Even it that higher work was to show us all we are imortal, that may be all.  But there was a reason.

Cancer sucks.  I miss my friend.  Hug your loved ones.  Cherish every moment you have with the ones you love.  Memories don't die.  Paul Peter Butcher will live on as long as we keep our memores of him alive.

I miss you Paul.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Fens

I had this bright idea to take the girls to Fenway Park for the open house.  After much self debating, I decided to enlist some backup for the trip, my mother.  And thank goodness I did.  I would have been out of my mind going at it alone.  She was a big help.  I couldn't have done it without her.  Or anyone for that matter.  What was I thinking attempting a trip like that, two toddlers and one adult?

For those of you who don't know what in the world I am talking about, Fenway Park is where the Boston Red Sox play baseball.  I am and have been a fan of the aforementioned Red Sox for many years, if not all my life.  My first trip to the beloved and historic park was last year for my first game.  I am hoping I can make sure my ladies do not go without seeing and experiencing this national landmark.   I was hoping they would get to do something that I had never had the chance to do as a child.  And now they have.

We got to tour the park, walk the warning track, peer into the Monster's manual scoreboard, one of the last, if not thee last in the majors, and walk around the park at our leisure.  It was a terrific day.  The weather was phenomenal, the behavior was stellar, and I couldn't be more proud to show my children a place that holds a special place in the fabric of my life (albeit mostly in from afar, but it is still deeply rooted in my life).  I am not sure who had more fun today touring the park, feeling the dirt, sitting on the dougout, doing special things in a park that is 100 years old that will stay with me, and hopefully my girls, for a long time.  I did get a feeling come over me when we walked in and we all looked out over the grandstands to the outfield.  It was a feeling of pride; proud to expose my girls to a national treasure that is Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.  Honestly, I did get a tiny bit choked up.  I think it was sharing something so special to me with my daughters.  Or was it the fact that I go to bring them to the home of the Red Sox before the Yankee fans got to brainwash them and lure them to the Darkside?  Either way, I hope it stays with them. I hope they will never forget the time their father took them to the Fens.  Lets hope they return the gesture and become members of the Red Sox Nation for life, at least to make their old man happy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I promise to be better.....

So, again, it has been some time since I last instilled upon my loyal readers the trials and tribulations of my kids and my life happenings.  I will do my best to do better, write more often, and not slack off so much.  Do I notice a theme happening?  Nahhh.  Its just that we've been busy.  Yea.  That's it.  Honestly.  I haven't been that lazy.  The kids really have been working me to the bone, and some days my last nerve too.  The following will get up to speed, and it may or may not be in chronicle order; my memory isn't that good anymore.

In the file: Cali is darn near indestructible, we had a Stay At Home parent play date at the Jump Zone.  For all of you that are unfamiliar with this beacon of light to children, it is a warehouse that has been converted and filled with the inflatable bounce houses and activity centers usually reserved for carnivals and birthday parties.  Kids love it.  I repeat, kids LOVE it.  And from what I can gather, parents like it too.  No, we parents don't jump and bounce like we once did in grade school, this place seems to knock our kids right out after a few hours of rambunctious jumping and running.  (My hat's off to the genius who thought of this concept.  One of these days, I will think of something that cool.)

Getting back to indestructible Cali, she walked square into a wall, looked up at my friend only to acknowledge that it indeed happend, rubbed her head and continued on her merry way.  It sounds much less traumatic in writing, but upon closer inspection I found a bruise from her forehead to her cheekbone.  And she was no worse for ware.  Tough cookie!

Easter - Kids, candy, family, candy, adults and candy, etc.  My teeth still hurt.

Bayly had her first real sleep over.  Well, kinda.  It was her cousins, but they did sleep over and the plan was for them to sleep in the same room.  I say plan because my daughter is four and a half and four and a half year olds don't quiet get the concept.  They did what I assume all little girls do on sleepovers; stay up late, chit-chatting about Justin Bieber, playing dolls or whatever kids do these days.  I had heard som noises coming from where the girls were supposed to be sleeping; didn't think much of it.  Just kids being kids.  But when 11:00 rolls around and one comes down to say there are tears flowing, an investigation needs to be commenced.  11:00 is late for a four and a half year old to be up, not to mention her 9 and 7 (maybe upper 6, I really can't remember) year old cousin's to be up as well.  So tears do not surprise me at the least.  It boils down to someone looked at someone wrong, may or may not have said some rude words, and the world stopped spinning in turn causing all life come to a screeching halt.  All said and done, the sleepover turned into a mommy, daddy, and Bayly sleepover in mommy and daddy's bed.  Yea, her first sleepover went pretty well.

There was something in the air today.  Perhaps because it is Friday the 13th.  Ooooooohhh.  Scary, I know.  Anyway, Cali just didn't want to nap.  She was quiet for the duration of laundry folding, at which any sane parent would think she was asleep.  Not so much.  I go see why my little angel is crying to find out she bonked her head on the crib.  "Ok.  You're fine.  You'll live."  Come back ten or fifteen minutes later to find her stark naked, pants and pull-up on the floor saying "Potty!"
"Do you have to go potty?"
Noticing a small wet spot on the mattress, "Did you go already?"
So I put her on the potty, and change the sheet and mattress protector.  I hear her tinkle more, inside I am happy.  "Yea!  Pee Pee on the potty!"  Outside I am very perturbed.  "You couldn't hold it for 5 seconds?"  I get things changed, Cali back in bed with a quarter of the animal/playthings that she needs to sleep with, and head back on my way.  Another ten or fifteen go buy and more crying.  This time she has thrown something out of her crib that she now cannot live without.  This scenario plays out a couple of more times, until I finally buck up and ignore her and she lulls herself to sleep with the soothing sounds of whimpering.  Great, she's now asleep.  I only have to wake her up in an hour to go pick up her sister.  She should be in a spectacular mood for the evening.  Normally she will be in the clutches of the sleepy time fairy for a couple of hours.  Just one hour should be CrapTastic!  She proved me wrong.  She wasn't perfect, but she was cordial and moderately behaved.  Who knew?  Not this guy!

For the past few days, I have been getting back into my old drummer mindset; listening to drummer supergroups, checking out some of my favorite drummers on YouTube, feeling totally inadequate as a drummer.  The kids also have been enjoying a good clinic video every once in a while.  The CD's bring me back to college and back to those inadequacies I had back in those days.  Its nice to see somethings never change.  Its nice to see them take an interest, albiet a tiny one, in something that I enjoy.  It only lasts a few moments, but it's there.  Lets hope they will keep their old man proud and continue to let him think they really want to do things he wants to do.  (I know they won't and probably don't now, but I can dream).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tis the eve of Easter.  That's the day of the living dead, for all of you non Christians out there.  Its also the day where children fall asleep dreaming about the basket of confections and possibly some sort of toy or other "There is a holiday here and I will give you this for the occasion" gift that some lovable rodent is supposed to hide in their houses (at least that's the way I was taught). And why the bunny?  Jesus wasn't tied to the mammal that, when put in a room with an opposite sex of the same mammal, would procreate faster than Superman flies through the air.  (Total speculation)

As I was shopping for the elusive Cadbury Mini Egg today, (Late, I know) I overheard someone say something about Valentine's Day is just like Christmas.  That got me thinking.  We do live in the most Capitalistic nation, where anyway to make a buck is the norm.  Its just like how the Christmas decorations come out right after Halloween, or even earlier, and our calendar is based on the sales at Target or that other bass-akward box store.  So I blame Halmark for the commercialization of Easter, Valentine's Day, Flag Day, and any other random holiday that occurs.  But without President's Day the auto manufacturers would go bankrupt.  So I guess it's not totally Halmark's fault.  Its all for the children.  Its for the children to tell their parents that they want that toy, that candy bar, that ball of lint, that they saw on TV.

Does that mean it's the fault of the box with moving pictures?  After all, television needs advertising to survive.  And advertising needs kids to watch and then go nag their parents (which mine don't do...yet) for the aforementioned toy/candy bar/lint, so the cycle can continue.  I guess its just the perk of living in a capitalist nation, where we will overblow a religious holiday and replace the true meaning with some fictional character with super human (or super bunny, in this case) powers, to make a buck.  I'm not complaining.  Just venting.  When all is said and done, we have to teach our children the real meaning of the holidays; why a holiday is a holiday, aside from the day off of school/work and no mail.  So teach your children well.  If you are unsure on the details, do what I do; make it up.  It can't be that far off of what is already thought of the masses.

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ramble on, and on, and on

Again, it has been some time since my last post.  I apologize to ally of my loyal readers.  I get busy with the kids; they tire me right out.  And some days I just don't feel I have anything witty to say.  Plenty happened today and hopefully I can translate it into something enjoyable to read.  I will try.

Today started like any other day.  Wake up, make breakfast for myself and the kiddies, make Bayly's lunch, and ship off to school.  On the way, I noticed the car pulling to the left.  I just shrugged it off to badly worn tires and a much needed alignment, all of which are in the cards for the near future.  Drop off goes well, like most mornings.  But you would have never known it was going to.  Some mornings the girls push, and push hard.  If I'm lucky, it will be only one.  If I'm really lucky, they both will be in the pushing mood.  Luckily it was only one today, but she wasn't into a full on pushing match.  Just the normal four and a half year old pushing.  But I am getting off topic a little....

While I was leaving my child in the very capable hands of daycare, I was informed by another parent that the truck over there has a flat tire.  Oh, that truck?  You mean, My truck?  Sweet.  I go check out the severity of the flat to see if I can limp home on the hopefully not-so round rubber thing.  No so much.  As I gather my thoughts to try to remember where my jack, tools, and spare are located, I realize that both car seats have to come out; more of an inconvenience but still annoying.  I locate all the necessary tools and start on the task of changing a tire.  I have no problem with changing or even rotating tires, I just prefer to do it in my driveway and not in the parking lot of the daycare.  The good samaritan who clued me into the fact that one of my tires was no longer in the business of holding air, was good enough to help.  He is a friend, but I think he would have helped a complete stranger if he was put into that situation.  No random act of kindness for this fellow; just acts of kindness.  (Sorry, rambling and off topic again.  I will try to not let it happen again.)

Tire gets changed, pack up the other child to go home and find my new and improved round rubber rings.  I find that I can get them for less through one of those dot com's and I can save on the shipping if I go pick them up.  A perfect way to spend the afternoon.

As promised, I will not ramble on off topic and will cut to the chase.  The kids, the young one usually has no problem falling asleep in the car, do not sleep for more than a quarter of the trip, ONE WAY.  This translates to a cranky, ornery two year old.  I can deal with that, she'll have to go to bed a little earlier.  It would have been better if she ate any of the potato leek soup I made for dinner, but that was just asking for too much.  I thought I did a good job on the soup, but both kids didn't buy my culinary skills.  Oh well.  What do they know?  At least they got something to eat. And dessert.  Without eating all of their dinner.

Kids these days have it so easy.