Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Day For Stay-At-Home-Dads Everywhere!

Today I participated in a study of Stay-At-Home-Dads for a nice young woman.  She is doing a study on those fathers in my line of work.  I guess you can study anything in college and get away with it.  I mean, I got a degree in Recording Arts, so who am I to judge?  How could anyone know that the music industry as we knew it would crumble and reemerge as something completely different?

Back to the study.  I was asked questions on my decision to become part of a growing community of dad's that bear the brunt of the child rearing, the ease of my job, and the social backlash I have witnessed and/or felt.  All through the questions and my very enlightening answers, I kept getting this feeling that I was doing really well at my job.  Feeling like I was succeeding at my craft, so to speak.  I mean, I was giving the answers;  they were coming from my mouth.  I guess it's just nice to hear it once in a while.  Even if you are the one saying them out loud.

We were about finished with our little phone conversation when a call tried to butt in.  It was the school calling.  I just wrote it off as some Robo-call about this activity or that meeting getting cancelled because there was some snow on the ground.  (The world does stop when snow falls, right?)  Promptly after my interview was finished, I checked my voice mail.  It was the dreaded NURSE'S office!  Don Don Daaaa!  (Insert the Imperial March theme from Star Wars here)  Turns out my older one was feeling a little under the weather.  Ms. Nursey Nurse-lady was concerned about my little one because "She is not one to complain, but she wasn't feeling that well.  Her stomach was bothering her.  There is a bug going around."  (Not one to complain?  Do you even know my kid?  Come spend some time at our house.  I am positive you will hear enough complaining that your ears will bleed like a hemophiliac.  And show me a six year old that doesn't complain.  I'd like to visit this mythical world in which you practice medicine.)  No Crap, Lady.  That "bug" you speak of already has worn out it welcome at our house.  That nice houseguest visited the older one and her father last week so I doubt she picked it up again.  I had my suspicions as to why my "never-one-to-fib-about-her-health" wanted out of her school's activities.  She received a Rainbow Loom last night and has been compulsively making rubber band bracelets since.  I think she just missed her new toy.  Or she has come down with Craft-itis; where one MUST craft at all hours of the day or she will die!

So I go bail her out of her pseudo prison that is elementary school.  The secretary informs me of the bug and I instill in her my theories of the mysterious "sickness" my child has come down with.  We both agree on the validity of my hypothesis and the resourcefulness of one first grader.

We get home.  A bracelet is made (big surprise).  Pick up her sister at preschool.  And have lunch.  And she is no worse for the wear.  Praise God.  She is cured!  Its a Christmas Miracle!

I just hope this isn't the start of a pattern of behavior.  I just hope I won't be getting similar calls on History Test Day.  Or from the SAT proctor.  Or from her College Bio-Molecular Professor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ahhh. The smell of Christmas.

It is that time of year again.  The time of year where the stench of parental despair is replaced with the fresh scent of pine.  That's right folks, it Christmas time.  Where we all (or most of us Christmas Purist) get a real tree and prop, or tether it to the nearest four walls, and hang some sentimental (or really gaudy) ornaments.  We string them with lights; white if you were born after 1980, or multi colored if you are real old skool and fill the rest of the decorating spaces within your abode with other holiday nick-nacks and chochkeys.  We use this time to tell our offspring about the sentimental meaning of each of the "Baby's First Christmas" or SnowBaby riding a Harley thing hanging from the shrubbery that was just savagely torn from its home (or picked up from the local garden store or volunteer fire department).

We set out this morning to "Free a Frasier Fur" from any disaster it would encounter in a field.  Now I am from the school of thought that a tree that is to be worshiped and glorified in the name of The Big Guy, it should be big and full.  We have had some very big and very full trees in the past.  Some to the point of blocking the television or taking up half of the living room.  Both were exceptional trees to me.  But last year my Christmas tree spirit was somewhat broken and we got a "normal" sized tree.  While it served it purpose, part of me felt a little empty inside.  I guess it was just a little too weird watching the mindless holiday television programming clearly, without a branch full of needles to block my view.  Where's the Christmas sprit in that?

Fast forward to the present, or at least earlier today.  We returned to the last year's massacre sight, but no trees were tall enough for us to free.  So on we went.  The next farm, or murder sight, was abound with tall and full trees, AND plenty of Emancipators of Pine.  After a lovely walk up a hill, dragging, nudging, and tugging the kiddo's we arrived at the frasier fur section.  Some nice.  Some not so much.  But there were a group of tallish ones in the back.  They looked perfect from afar.  But upon closer inspection there was a flaw.  These trees were on the roadside of the field which meant they were one-sided.   The Boss thought that fact was a deal breaker and wanted to move the hunt on.  I am a problem solver.  And I felt sorry for these trees.  Poor guys.  Just because of someone's ill thought out planting they would never be freed of the slavery that is the Christmas Tree Farm.  And since we put the slave, I mean tree in the corner, this little guy would be perfect.  My argument was immediately agreed upon.  (I finally won one.  In under an hour.  Something must be up.)  I think everyone's patience was running on E and hysteria was going to ensue very shortly.  Saw 'er down!  

I must have looked like a genius, or a complete dork, but I took the landscape trailer with us to get the tree.  Its small; 5x8.  Not like its a 12 footer or anything.  That would have been a little overkill.  Why lug it on the roof of the car when I can just throw it in the trailer?  And who cares anyway?  They are all just jealous of my problem solving skills.  I'm the man!

Set up tree.  Tether it to walls because I have a history of trees that like to be still until they are all decorated and then they revolt.  Decorate tree with a healthy mix of sentimental and gaudy, and do what has become a Hoehne tradition.  We turn off the lights in the house then me and the rug rats slide under the tree and gaze up at its beauty.  It may not sound like it, but the view is quite breathtaking.  Not Bo Derek breathtaking.  But breathtaking in the fact that you are sharing a moment with your kiddies.  Its a peaceful moment.  A peaceful moment.  It doesn't last that long but it was there.  Try it sometime.  You can even adopt our tradition as your own.  Do it just to savor the moment with your kids before they go back to maddening you beyond belief and before the stench of despair returns to your house.

Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Its a new day in Daddom

Today, well last night it started, a new day was christened in my Fatherhood.  I survived a two and a half hour dress rehearsal for my daughter's dance recital.  In years past that feat would have been a walk in the park because she was only in one or two dances per recital.  But now she has progressed into the Petite team and is dancing in five of six (read, a thousand) dances.  And she is rocking the whole thing;  smiling for the audience or judges, hamming it up just like one of her dance instructors.  It's enough to make any father who couldn't dance to save his life except for the occasional Cabbage Patch or Running man proud.

That is not what this is about.  Sure, I am proud of my daughters dancing accomplishments.  But last night was different.  Last night I was "backstage" helping costume changes and watching the underbelly of dance recital rehearsal first hand.  Basically I was being frantic, then calm (during said dances) and frantically finding costumes, changing costumes, and tracking down runaway pairs of shoes that six and seven year olds throw about.  It was much like my every day life in every way.  But the most rewarding part was the acceptance of the other Dance Moms to my being there.  Sure, I may be one of the few Dance Dads that willingly help out, but I did so with great enthusiasm and charm that flows from my being.  (I am a bull-shitter and try to be funny in situations where I don't feel 100% comfortable)

I left the rehearsal last night exhausted and content.  I was finally talked to by the "Moms of Dance."  Before I got the cordial nod or salutation.  Maybe now they will let me into their inner den of their Not Too Crazy Dance Mom club.  What a joy that would be.  Can you imagine me, all dance crazy?  Yea.  Me neither.

I realize that I probably won't be able to help out backstage for most recitals or competition due to my chromosomal make up, but maybe I can buck the trend and become a Dance Dad extroidinare.  Or maybe one or two Moms weren't all that comfortable with my presence helping out and just kept their reservations to themselves, or until they got together with the other Moms in a secret, underground meeting damning me from ever helping out again.  If that were to happen I'd be sad but OK with it.  I understand that I am just a dad trying to be helpful.  And having two lovely girls that like to dance I feel the need to be involved with their activities, whatever they may be.

So whatever happens, I will accept it and watch from the audience.  Or backstage.  Or on the DVD later because they have banned me from ever stepping foot within earshot of their daughters. (I'd better talk softly at the next dance class)

Yes it is a new dad in Daddom for this guy.  Even if it was for just one evening.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It turned out to be a busy day for me....

It truly has turned out to be a busy day for me.  Not only did I do laundry, go to the bank, and tidy up some of the basement, but this will be my SECOND post today.  I really need to tone it down.  I am going to set a bad precedent.  The next thing I know, I'll be posting once a month..... Yea right.  A good goal but my life would have to slow down first.

Any-hoo, This morning the Mrs. and I thought it would be good to begin to teach my eldest daughter a very integral life skill:  shoe tying.  This stemmed from her telling me that she had to have a classmate tie her shoe when it kept falling off.  I am sure she reveled in the sight of one of her minions bowing down and kissing her feet, umm.. tying her shoe, but I couldn't let that continue and still consider myself a halfway decent parent.  I'm ok with decent or even mediocre.  But I can't condone halfway decent.  Who do you think I am?  Mr. Cleaver?

So this morning's teachings only led to a grumpy, frustrated kid (by my accounts she was grumpy before we started this exercise).  To advert an all out meltdown, we tied her shoes with the promise we would revisit the life skill lesson after school.  My assignment from the Head Master was to research ways to teach a youngin' to tie their shoes on the popular site YouTube.  (If you read today's other post you will know I am no stranger to the video site that has taken the interweb by storm)  I found what I thought would be an easy method.

Once the budding life skill master was home, done with homework, and regrouped herself from her daily post school attitude realignment (believe me, she comes home with more attitude than an '80's Hair Band's hair style) we decided to tackle the task yet again.  Only this time we had our trusty YouTube video.  The easy looking video I thought would work, only made it more confusing.  So we watched a few more.  She watched intently like a surgeon studying surgery.  (not a good analogy but it works; badly)  Slowly she puts the steps together in her brain and then onto the practice shoe in front of her.  She tries.  I give a few pointers.  She tries again.  And again. And again.  Almost.  Try again.  GOT IT!  Try again.  Nope.  But then it clicks.  While she may not do it with speed and accuracy of scorpion hunting its prey, she gains confidence.  And more importantly she did it herself. Wouldn't have any help from dear, ole dad.

She showed off her new skill to her mother when she returned home from a chilly day at work, proud as a peacock.  (Are peacocks really that proud?  I know they make a very annoying sound and there ain't nothing to be proud of that noise)

The moral of the story is my daughter learned something, mostly by herself.  She learned a life skill that will stay with her for the rest of her life.  And more importantly, I won't have to bend down and tie her shoes (while she is thinking I am just another minion bowing down and kissing her feet).  I may lace up a ballet slipper here or there but the regular, everyday shoes and sneakers is no longer in my pay grade.

'Tis the Season of Thankfulness

The time of year has come around again where people in America look back and reflect on the things that they are thankful for.  So here is this year's list of Things To Be Thankful For:

I am thankful some rogue Bastards decided to get out of Dodge (Britain) and start anew in an uncharted territory many, many decades ago.  (Sorry English readers but without you we wouldn't be the United States of America.  So I guess this post is your fault.  THANKS!)

I am thankful for my family.  My two angelic (most of the time) little girls and I am thankful for the unnamed, unsexed (at least to us) little addition to our family.

I am thankful for my wife, who works tirelessly at her ever demanding job so I have the opportunity to stay home, raise our children and goof off.  (Honey, disregard this line.  I work hard, really, really hard all day.  Just don't come home unannounced.  I may be knee-deep in laundry or YouTube videos of cats, dogs, or drummers, or building Legos while the kids "try" to help.)

I am thankful for my health, even if it hurts to walk down stairs on my 33 years-young legs as they creek and ache.  And thankful SUSAC's Syndrome is self limiting.  Screw you auto-immune syndrome.  I showed you!

I am thankful for all four seasons we experience here in New England.  Thankful I get to work outside tending to our garden and mowing my lawn (to keep my sanity mostly).

I am thankful for our extended family of friends and family.  Without them my life would be boring and uneventful.

I am thankful for my band, even if I am just a hired hand, with a gig every quarter, if we're lucky.  I am thankful I get to do something I love and am passionate about.

I am regretfully thankful for the changing of the seasons.  It's just too damn cold this fall.

I am thankful for everyone I have ever met.  Ever person that has come into my life has left a mark on me; good, bad or indifferent, you have left your mark.

I am thankful for every day I wake up, refreshed or not.  Though I awake more refreshed than my counterpart.  Her side of the bed just happens to be closer to the door.  I'm thankful she takes the brunt of the kid's nighttime visits to our bed.

I am thankful for laughter because without it we all would have gone crazy long ago.

Well, there it is.  The list of things I am thankful for this year.  By all means, it is not complete.  It is just a start.  What to do you expect?  I just scribbled this in 10 minutes.  Get off my back.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fatherhood changes a man

Some time ago, like many, many moons ago, I was living with my parents like most out of college kids (I may even still have been in high school at that point).  I didn't have enough money for the finer things in life.  Namely new audio cables.  (Hey what can I say.  I'm an audio geek.)  So to combat the lack of funds I started to fix and/or make new audio cables that I had around.  My ever attentive father got me this sweet precision screwdriver set and soldering iron.  One of these gifts is used more than any other tool I have ever used; and it doesn't even get hot.

Since my children have grown, toys break.  It is a part of life; just like the sun rising and the weather changing.  I can remember my father hot gluing wheels on my General Lee.  It turns out that that super car really can't fly.  Sometimes parents say a prayer when a toy breaks.  "Finally, we don't have to listen to that noisy toy at all hours of the day." or "Thank God!  Time for some peace and quiet."  We all want our children to have good, educational toys, but a line has to be drawn at the annoying factor.  And most toys the kids want have an annoying factor of one million.

So yesterday we were at the fair (because it is now fair season and what better way to spend the day eating and buying crap than a fair) and the kiddies get their eye's on some of the finest toys the World Famous Goshen Fair has to offer.  To our defense, it was a little noisy when the light up butterfly was purchased for an ungodly amount of money, but a mid afternoon tantrum in front of a packed fair wasn't in the cards.  When we finally get to a nice quiet spot with our french fries doused in catsup and vinegar (my wife likes the vinegar on her fair fries) we are serenaded by the lovely, never ending, not annoying at all sound of this seizure inducing insect.  Oh joyous day!

Fast forward to bed time and the kids are all riled as if they were mainlining pixie sticks.  They finally settle when from up stairs I hear a voice that informs all that her butterfly is broken.  "There is a God!"  But like any good father would do, I inspect and see if it can be repaired, tell her it will take time and hopefully she will get it back tomorrow good as new.  Upon my inspection, I come to the conclusion that there is no saving this high quality piece of crap and give up to finish watching Breaking Bad to hopefully return in the morning with a fresh mind and some bright ideas.

The morning comes and just like it happened seconds ago, she inquires about here busted hunk of overpriced plastic.  Again I tried to fix it the best way I could think; taking it apart, super-gluing the tinniest of tiny plastic piece that won't stay put unless I had an injection mold for this one part.  Defeated, my mind began to improvise, trying to bring joy to my little angle's life.  Then I remembered the best tool ever made.  Duct Tape!  A gift from the heavens.  Before I venture down the new repair road, I ponder if the aesthetics of the dull grey adhesive would be acceptable, but forge on anyway.  After some strategically placed miracle tape, the fake crystal looking bug on a stick is back in action and joy is returned to a three year old's psyche.  Score one for dad and Duct Tape.

The moral of this story is there are things that we used PC (pre children) that are just as important, if not more important than they are today (AC- After Children).  Who knew a set of tiny screwdrivers would single handedly bring so much joy to my children.  Such is life.

On a related note, the other toy, the stuffed dog on a stick, ripped in three places.  No screwdriver is going to fix that.  That one is up to her mother.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are my kids bi-polar or just kids?

This morning Bayly woke up and was a pill from the get go.  We are living in a hotel room for the week while my wife has a conference.  A normal child will be grateful for the "spoiling" she has received.  The pool trips.  The later than any five year old should be allowed to go to bed bed times.  The popsicles, candy, treats, junk food, crack cocaine (pixie sticks), movies and whatever else we did to keep them quiet and public appropriate.

So this morning Bayly "Couldn't find anything to wear!"  She didn't want to wear a dress.  No dress?  She wears dresses to plant a garden.  She wears dresses to ride a bike.  She even wears dresses over her dresses to go grocery shopping.  With the FIVE TO TEN dresses that are clean and packed out of the question, we move onto the other perfectly acceptable garments available to her.

"This is too tight."
"This is ugly."  Even thought she has just about worn a hole in it.
"I don't want that."

Normally I would just leave her in her room and let her tantrum it out.  But we are living in the lovely Hilton Chicago.  (More on the amenities of lack thereof later)  I cannot in good fatherhood let her scream and yell and be a spoiled little "girl" where the whole 3000 room hotel can hear her.  So I did what any "good" father would do.  I told Cali that we were going to breakfast and left.  I didn't really leave.  We just left the room and waited in the hall.  Usually that is enough to snap her into line.  Usually.  Three minutes or so later there was a little voice at the door.  So I go in only to be sternly asked to "GIVE ME PRIVACY!  GET OUT!"

"Where am I supposed to go?" I asked.  "The bathroom?"  There is only the bathroom and the main room.  I can't hide out in the open.  I have yet to perfect the cloaking device.  Soon....Soon...  And then I will make millions...........

So back into the hall Cali and I go.  Soon its "I have no leggings, but Cali does."

"Fine, get hers but change your shirt.  You wore it all day yesterday AND you slept in it."

This simple statement set off another whole ration of shit.  At this point, I am the end of whatever frayed rope I have been dangling from.

"Fine. Wear the shirt, but lets go."

Crisis adverted.  Not really but adverted in the loosest sense of the term.  Off to breakfast.  The kids agree to share strawberry pancakes because the restaurant doesn't do single flapjacks.  Compromise.  A step in the right direction.  It would have been great, but either kid failed to eat any pancakes.  Cali ate the strawberries and Bayly wasn't hungry.  Whatever.  I had no more fight in my for another public battle.  But my cinnamon roll french toast was killer.  If you come across it anytime, do yourself a service and gobble them up.  Or go to Yolk in Chicago.  Its up to you.

So we finish breakfast of champions (really breakfast of wills) and head to the shuttle to go to the kids camp.  Another perk of the conference.  I have been kid-less for two afternoons.   Bummer, I know.  I make do.  On the shuttle she's right as rain.  I stopped trying to figure women out many many moons ago.  I have found its easier and better for the psyche not to try.  But I figured I would be able to figure out a five year old.  Not so much.

Is she bi-polar?  Is the "I change my mind because I am a woman" thought process (or lack-thereof) imbedded at birth?  Is she just a kid?  Am I out of my mind for thinking I could figure these beings out?  All of the above?  Perhaps.  Probably.  Most definitely.

As promised here is more about the Hilton.

I am writing this post from a Starbucks eight blocks from the hotel.  Starbucks, where you can come, sit, buy an overpriced yet delicious beverage, or not, and use the WiFi.

Hilton Chicago.  Where you get a room that costs more than a beverage from the barista (some of them, at least), and no free WiFi.  They charge some ungodly fee and still charge for the room.  Its a nice room.  Not thee nicest room ever built but it works.  Would it kill them to have some free WiFi?  I've been to a fair amount of hotels and motels in my day and in my experience the fancier the joint the lack of free WiFi.  But as you work your way down the price ladder of establishments, the more willing they are to give free internet access.  Go figure.

If you work for Hilton, the last part was just a rant.  Don't take it personally.  If you don't work for Hilton, be prepared to dish out a few bucks if you want to access the interweb at their elegant and magnificent establishment.  

I am a dad. I am still a man.

It occurred to me the other day that fatherhood has changed me.  This "revelation" came to me as the girls and I were watching Disney's "Brave".  For those who have yet to see it, or won't ever see it, it is a story of an independent princess.  But not a princess in the likes of the glitzy, girly, prince Charming waiting, evil step-mother having princess.  This strong, independent princess will do good for girls near and far.  She is very similar to my princesses.  Independent, strong willed, don't tell me no, I can do it myself kind of princess.  Sound familiar?

Back to the dad part.  Ever since Bayly entered this world I noticed a change in myself.  I am sure other father's have noticed the same change.  I started to get teary-eyed at sappy movies.  I started to see things differently in the way of emotional situations; mostly in movies and shows.

At the end of "Brave" there is an emotional reunion of sorts of the princess and her mother.  I could feel the room get "dusty."  Darn dust; always gets into my eyes and sure as the weather men are wrong my eyes start to water.  I am totally confident it was the dust concentration in the air and had NOTHING to do with the  movie.  NOTHING.

So as I was driving my family to a business trip for my wife, and everyone in the car was either sleeping (wife), watching a movie (Bayly), or annoying her sister to no end (Cali) I had the aforementioned revelation.   While I may have become an emotional movie watcher, or developed and very acute allergy to dust (more likely), I am still a man.  I do man things.  I mow the lawn, superbly.  I fix things, sometimes just good enough, sometimes not superbly, sometimes it gets the job done.  I do have two kids, ya know.

The moral of this is I can be both.  I can show my princesses that a father can have that emotional side, or that its ok to be really allergic to dust and I can do masculine things.  I guess that is just the juggling act of fatherhood.  At least in the fatherhood of stay-at-home-dad land.

Being a good dad/father/man is tough work.  All we can do is our best.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Update but on a happier note

The last post was a somber one.  Today is my second birthday.  Not second as in I am two, second as in it is the date of my second life.  If you need further explanation  refer to the other post on this day.

Any-hoo, since we last met I went on an extended vacation.  And NO.  I didn't get put in the clink, slammer or out to pasture.  I went on a lovely vacation with my wife, kids and in-laws.  A few days on the beach.  Some golf.  And what seemed like a lifetime at Disney.  It only seemed like a lifetime because we were trying to get the most we could in our time there.  It had NOTHING (and I'm serious here) to do with the company.  Sure we had our differences and some of us (me) needed to cool off more than others, but once we got into the swing of things everything went rather smoothly.

Moving on....

If you have a chance to go to Tybee Island Georgia (aka Savannah) Go!  Don't hesitate.  Sure its a beach.  Sure its crowded.  But it is as close to paradise as Hawaii.  Moral of this story is if you can't make it to Tybee, go to Hawaii.  (Good luck with that.  Let me know how it works out for you.)

Disney is great.  If you have kids.  But I had fun too.  I would have liked to gotten all dolled up in the Bibbity Bobbity Glitter-fest but I guess they frown upon grown men getting all make-uped and putting on a dress and following around a princess all day.  What do they know?!  They could make a bunch of more money if they changed just a little....

The real travesty is the fact that there is no alcohol in Magic Kingdom; the flagship of Disney World Florida.  Epcot you can drink around the world.  Hollywood Studios.  C'mon.  Hollywood without any mind numbing substances would be Branson, MI.  (I apologize for any and all of my Branson followers.  I have never been your lovely city.  I am just trying to make a humorous point.)  Even Animal Kingdom allows alcohol.  What could possibly go wrong with a drunken patron and live animals, right?  But not in Magic Kingdom.  I guess they are hedging their bets that the dads would get all boozed up while their kids are getting doused with more glitter than the end of the year parade at P-Town and end up hitting on the princesses.  Or Minnie Mouse.  Hey, some guys like that.  Not me.  I'm just saying I've heard some guys have a thing for a girl mouse.  Whatever blows up your skirt, I guess.

Long story longer, the vacation was good.  The last day we celebrated an 80th birthday of a grandfather-in-law with his seven (yes I said seven, as in one more than six and one less than eight) kids.  Now I don't feel so bad with just two angels.  Happy birthday Poppy Hoss!

Its July 9th. What do you remember about today?

So here is a non fiction story.  The setting is 19 years ago, today.  In an old mill town in southern New England.  This is how it happend, or so I am told....

A young boy was swimming in the family pool when a storm rolled through town like a two-bit carnival cutting short the refreshing swim.  Thunder. Lightening.  Rain.  Normal early summer storm; nothing too spectacular.  Just as the carnival rolled into town, it was gone.  But unlike most suspect carnivals, this one didn't leave that much of an impact.

20 or so minutes after the much-a-do-about-nothing storm some neighbors decide to pass the time with a friendly soccer "kick-around" in the spacious front yard while dad shoots baskets in the driveway across the street, enjoying the summer afternoon.

Then it happened.  As with perfect timing only a cheetah can match, a bolt of lightning came crashing down.  It may have hit a large oak tree.  It may have hit a whiskey barrel planter.  It may have hit the 14 year old boy running after a soccer ball.  Yes all of those scenarios are viable.  But it doesn't matter who or what was the direct hit.  The tree showed no signs of distress.  The planter's metal bands were smoking.  The boy, however, was on his way to a nice six foot flight across the yard.  (Six feet doesn't seem like a "flight" per se, but six up and six over in the opposite direction he was running is some feat.)  One other soccer player is down.  Another is down and back up.

Basketball dad comes running, feet barely hitting the ground.  His attention going towards the down soccer player but changes his direction when they rise.  His attention is now focused on the lone child not moving; his son.  When he turns his son over he sees the color fading from his face.  Immediately calls are out to 911 and soon the dispatcher is relaying CPR instructions.  Soon bystanders come to relieve the father of a duty that no father should ever have to do.  A neighbor's daughter.  An off duty Police Sergeant.  Soon the paramedics arrive.  Clothes are cut and torn exposing a burn from feet straight up to and around the neck and back to and around the waist with the most perfect bow at the belly.

The young boy is put into the ambulance and whisked across town the the hospital.  All the major intersections were closed for this one young life.  At the hospital he was flown to a bigger hospital, who were more equipped for such an emergency.  The twelve or so minute flight must have seemed like an eternity to the boys mother as he was shocked back into a stable rhythm more than a few times.

Once stable, the child is admitted into the ICU and put on breathing machines and all the necessary monitoring devices.   The parents, aunts, uncles and just about everyone close to the boy had a very long and tiring night ahead.

A 24 hour coma later the nurses were alerted to the boy's machines alarms.  DId he stop breathing?  Was there another complication?  What is going on?

It turns out this kid was a fighter.  He pulled out the breathing tube.  He pulled the monitor leads off.  He was done with that.  But what about his brain?  Would he be brain damaged?  Would he know his family?  Would he know anything?  Family and the doctors were thinking the same thing.  But at least he is alive.

Doctors do their thing, examining him.  Testing him.  It turns out the burns were the path the electricity took through the boy's body.  The burn around the neck was from a cheap necklace he had on, which may have turned the charge around and back to the wet ties in his swim trunks.  But what about his mental state?

Sleep.  Awake.  "Do you know where you are?"


"You're in the hospital.  Do you know why you are here?"


"You were struck by lightening."


That exchange went on for a few sleeps all the while watching "Ferris Beuler's Day Off" again and again and again.  This is not what the parents were hoping for.  Then one day the answers changed.  He KNEW where he was and WHY he was there.  The doctors were asking memory questions and he was getting them correct.  He knew his family.  His girlfriend.  He could even count backwards from 100 by three's (no easy feat, even for the doctors).

All told a week in the hospital, a couple of take home heart monitors and a neuro-psych test later he is given a clean bill of health.  So much so that he decides to take a 30 mile bike ride through the hills of northern Connecticut less than one month after the accident.  And you thought he wouldn't be ok.

So there is the story of how I was struck by lightening.  Some of the facts may not be 100% accurate, but I wasn't really there.  Its just pieces of what I remember people telling me.  To this day I have no recollection of July 5th through July 12 or 13.  I'm just gonna chalk it up to being a kid.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm a good samaritan!

In another chapter of "My life is a Sitcom", here's a story for y'all.

So I was on my way to go deal with a child and bed time issues (read "My wrist hurts"and "my leg hurts" and "I can't fall asleep.  I tried really, really hard", etc.) when I spotted some geese and a duck in my front lawn.  Normally I would think its pretty cool to have such exotic wildlife in my lawn, but I also remembered that a few weeks ago a neighbor searched my woods for some of her foul that had been run amok the night prior.  After I laid down the nighttime law, I went over the the aforementioned neighbor's house to altert them of their runaway feathered pets.  There was no answer at the door; pitch black inside.  Either they are being really, really quiet, or they are away.  I wonder which is the logical answer.  I mean, they have kids and I know how hard it is to keep kids quiet for a second let alone a few minutes.  They must be hiding....

After I gave up on the neighbors are hiding from me theory, I followed the mini flock up the street with the intention of coaxing them back home.  How?  I had no idea.  I've never moved geese before.  I tried whistling at them.  Calling them.  Chirping at them.  Kissing and click noises.  They were not amused or even remotely interested in me.  I felt that they would be fine and eventually make their way home.  The neighbor told me that they are very good at finding their way back home so I felt confident that they could fend for themselves until they meandered home.

As I was walking back to my lovely abode, I looked back up the street to see my new feathered friends crossing the road. (Please no "Why did the goose cross the road" jokes)  I live on a very busy main route.  People come flying by all the time.  Last year a very intoxicated woman decided my mailbox looked better 50 feet down the road than at the end of my driveway.  I just wish she used her words instead of her car at a high rate of speed.  So I am motioning to the coming cars to slow down to give my feathered comrades a fighting chance of crossing the busy thoroughfare.   One gentleman thinks I was waving at him and kindly waves back.  Eventually he realizes what I was alluding to and stops to let them cross.  As for the other lane of traffic, not so much.  I can only be in one place a one time.  This one driver didn't see the birds until it was too late.  Two of the five hollow boned animals met their maker with a feathery, automobile-ic thud.  The guy that hit them was very concerned and apologetic.  I really felt bad for his tween daughter in the passenger seat who witnessed the whole episode.  She seemed to be taking it quite well.  He felt so bad that he called the police then ran to BJ's for a few things.  But he said he'd be back to check in before going home.  What a nice guy.

So he leaves.  I get the rest of the very sad flock (if you can call it that) into the back yard and into their pen.  Then the police officer arrives.  I fill him in on the situation, who the rogue birds belong to and whatnot.  This officer and I spot another lone bird and decide to reunite hime with his feathered brethren.  This bird is a little more agile and astoot.  It was one of the city's finest and me, chasing a duck, trying to steer him this way or that.  We succeed to get him back to the pen after about 20 minutes or so.  It must have been some sight.  Then the driver who assaulted the geese/ducks came back.

A car pulls into the driveway of the house that houses these birds.  I'm thinking the owners came back from dinner or a night out on the town or discovering some far new land or something.  But nope.  It was just the duck-sitter; the person responsible for locking up these guys at night.  Then another (or the same one) bird is spotted.  Now its on!

For the next HALF AN HOUR (or so) me, the duck locker-upper, and a couple of neighbors try to get this fast, smart, ornery, sly, insane, black duck back home.  And the cop just drove right by.  I guess he is only good for one wildlife call per night.  I'm sure he will be talking to this call to all his cop buddies for a while.  Back to the runaway duck.  We corner it.  It gets away.  The helper takes a few dives to try to grab it but it gets away.  It was quite comical.  Finally we get him cornered in a bush and he is captured.  Ordeal over!  Just use your imagination and try to see us chasing a duck around the neighborhood.  Laugh at will.  I did.

All in all it was an unexpected turn of events that broke up the normalcy of a Saturday night.  And I did some good samaritan work.  Maybe this will get me off the fast track to the bad place when I meet my maker.  I just hope it won't be  as I'm crossing the road with my feathered friends.

And I forgot....


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Well, Its been a while... But here's an amusing story

Ok.  You caught me.  I will plead to "I haven't felt all that creative and I'm kind of lazy" in the first degree.  But I will change.  I promise.  Just give me a slap on the wrist, a verbal reprimand, 15 lashings across the....  Oh never mind.  I will try to be better.

So since I've been gone some stuff has happened.  One band fizzled.  I pseudo-joined another, which has slowed.  And another is in the works.  So that's the musical update.

The dog is good.  He's a little stinker at times, but we (most of us) love him.  Its hard to imagine but its been almost a year that we have had him.  Time flies.

Kid wise is a different story.  We have gotten into our groove with school, errands, playing, and what-have-you.  Bayly is doing great in school.  Reading.  Writing.  Spelling everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  I can't even spell out "bad words" anymore because she will figure it out.  Why do they have to be so smart?  I blame the schools.

Cali is coming into her own; her own devilish character.  For instance, I would be cleaning up, kids playing together and as soon as I look up I see Bayly do some sort of bodily harm to her sister.  The first couple of times I reprimanded the elder child and imposed a fitting punishment.  After the fifth or so time this happens I realized that it was the younger offspring that was instigating.  Bayly was just defending herself.  The little (insert adjective here) was timing it just so that she wouldn't be caught.  This is going to make for great teenage years.

This past week has been one of Cali's "best" weeks.  And I use quotation marks to show sarcasm.  (I think that is understood, but adding these few more words makes the whole post seem longer, and in turn making me feel like I have written more than I actually have.)

The other day while playing together during relaxation time, (for those of you who do not know what relaxation time is, its after lunch when I get to do laundry/watch TV/look for jobs on the internet/research garden ideas/goof off/etc. and the kiddies play upstairs.  Play is usually what they do in between screaming at each other.) the two of them made a whole poop-storm of a mess.  Not actual poop, just a big F'ing mess.  The older one blames it on the younger one and vice-versa.  Long story short, they are not allowed to be freed of their mess until it is cleaned.  After some time, they clean it up and all is well in the world.

The next day relaxation time again (it happens every day for sanity's sake).  Laundry folded and I get to chill for a bit before I get the "Can we come down yet?" hollers from the stairs in their most angelic voices.  Only this time its a little different.  "Daddy, Cali's pouring water on the bed."  WHAT?!  It make perfect sense to pour water onto you bed if it were on fire or smoking or was a fish.  But her bed was and is none of these things.  So up the stairs I go to investigate The Great Waterbed Caper.

I need to preface the bed thing just a bit.  Cali has been potty trained for a long time.  It was recently that we kicked the pull-ups for bed and were going with gotchies a.k.a. undies.  A couple of weeks prior she was a super star.  Waking up dry, after us getting her up at 11 to sleepily put her on the potty.  Then she regressed.  One night was three sets of sheets in one night.  Then it was a couple days of bed wetting.  On the morning of the GWC, she was waiting for me when I came out of the shower, wet P.J.'s and all.  I clean her up, clean the bed up, put the sheets in the washer, etc.  Now before relaxation time, I had made her bed.  She saw me do it.  She witnessed the putting on of the new, non-urine smelling sheets.  Mind you they were the same ones that she soiled because I work that fast!

Back to the story.  So I enter the room of play to find a very wet bed and a very devilish Cali grinning.  She may be a psychopath.  Or she may be three.  Or she's both.  Well I was not pleased to say the least.  There may have been some talking in loud tones, I'm not sure, but I was ready to lock her in a tower until she was 45.  (Anyone got a tower I can borrow?)

The funny thing about my kids, and it may be the same for other families as well, when one is in deep do-do, the other one is overly helpful and polite.  It changes from one to the other, but when it hits the fan the other one knows to be an angel.  Which is nice.  But why can't they just act like that all the time?  So Bayly quietly and without so much as a peep cleans up the disastrous play-room while her sister is wondering if she will have the same fate as Rapunzel.

She was marooned to her tower.  That was until mommy got home and freed her.  Damn Price Charming.  Always ruining everything and freeing the princess.  I blame Disney.

Long story short, the Stay-At-Home-Dad thing is great.  There is always something new to keep me on my toes.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

P.S.  If anyone wants to make a sitcom of my life, let me know.  I'm sure it would be amusing.  And I said sitcom.  None of this reality TV B.S.  There's enough of that on already.  I mean they have a show centered around duck calls.  Whats next?

That's it.  I'm done.  For today.  For the week.  For a few months.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


So here in New England the flu has arrived.  I am not sure it has touched down in my abode and I am hoping it steers clear.  Although, I did get a lovely gift from my wife:  Her cold!  We can only hope it does not get passed onto our little angels.  I am crossing my fingers, toes, ears and tongue.  (I can't cross my eyes; I'm not that talented)

To make it worse, there's a storm a brewin'.  And I mean a real doozy of a snow storm.  Three to six inches of the white fluffy stuff.  Now I haven't been out to the grocery store today, but I am certain it is pandemonium there.  And why?  If the storm, or any storm for that matter, is that bad you are going to loose power.  And it is always said to get milk and bread before a storm.  So with that rational when the power goes out, you will loose your new milk when it goes bad.  But thank goodness you have bread; at least you can feed the birds!

Friday, January 11, 2013


So since the dawn of the New Year, I have revisited some things I have let go by the wayside last year. One being this blog.  Another is that place where people sweat, lift things, and run in place; the gym.  I have been being active at the gym for about a week and it is really starting to take its toll on my body.  My legs are tight; my back hurts; I'm tired.  These are not the side effects I was looking forward to.  I wanted to see rock hard abs, a chiseled physique, and the ability to run a six minute mile.  It is really true what they say: Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.

And since this blog is supposed to be centered around my life as a Stay-at-home-dad, I probably should talk about the kids at least once.

The kids are fine; growing up faster than a blink of an eye.  The older one has acquired an attitude that will rival any teenager;  Lord help us when her hormones really kick in.  And all of her bad habits are wearing off on her sister.  That can mean nothing but good things to come.

As a follow up to a prior post, I have started thinking about making a drum.  It is not going to be easy, to say the least.  But I do have a good friend that is a great wood-worker and I hope he will lend a hand and his expertise to the project.  I will keep you posted on the progress, as long as brightly, colored, shiny things stay away.

OOOhhhh, Look at that......

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Perhaps I was a little over zealous

SO its been a few days since the last post.  Hey, I'm slowly getting back on this horse.  Rome wasn't rebuilt in one day - or something like that.....

Sometimes I feel the need to pass the time on the interweb and look for jobs.  Not that I need a job, per say, but it fills a curiosity that I could find a suitable job.  That is until I start looking.  There isn't much out there.  Granted I am not looking for a retail job or some other mindless, mundane job.  I am looking for something I will be passionate about.  I have spent too many years of my "adult" life doing a job that didn't do anything for me other than a paycheck.  If I am looking, I want something that I will enjoy, fulfill me creatively, and put food on the table.  (Now I don't want anyone offering me a job for food - its just a figure of speech!)  And since those job are dwindling the search continues, so to speak.

Which brings up another related topic:  What to do when the kids are in school full time.  A whole six hours just by myself?  What to do?  I'm sure after laundry, shopping, faux-job searches, cleaning, errands, goofing off, playing with the kids toys, gym (yea....  right....  the gym.....  isn't that the place downtown with lots of strange weights and things??), and whatever else may come up I will be hard pressed to find free time.  Perhaps I should find something I can do at home that won't take too much of my time.  Who are we kidding?  Anything undertaking I assume will take all of my attention.  That is until something shiny comes along......

The other day I read an article in the local newspaper about a luthier (guitar maker).  This fella, an accomplished musician started making guitars in his basement with his father.  Now I am not an accomplished guitar player, or can play much on the guitar, but I thought I could make my own, custom drums.  I know you can get drum shells from wherever, but I wanted to make my own drums from scratch.  A little internet research later, I found a few links for such an endeavor, but then came along that shiny thing again.  Hey, I am a drummer after all.......

Maybe someday I will start making my own drums.  Maybe someday I will find the time.  Maybe someday I will find something to do when the kids are in school.  But until that day arrives my full time job is my kids.  And we all know that is more than a full time gig.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Its been a while.

As 2013 starts, I figured I should revisit my blog.  That's right, I have a blog.  You probably forgot about it; I did for a while.  I will try to bring you all up to speed on all the crazy things, or just normal things, that have happened since I abandoned this blog like the Titanic.  

I'm not really sure where I left off and I am too lazy to go check, so I will just start where I think I ended.  

The spring was the spring.  The garden showed promise.  I picked up a couple of lawns in the neighborhood to supplement my Stay-at-home-ness.  The garden was doing well.  WAS.  I refer to it in past tense mostly because we went on a few vacations.  But while we were away, the highly invasive party of vermin called weeds moved in and decided they were better suited than all my plants.  But we did get a good harvest anyway.  My loving wife made pepper jelly, blackberry jam, apple butter (not from apples that we grow, but from a lovely day trip to an orchard), froze herbs and other things that grew despite the new undesirable neighbors.  I even think she made stewed tomatoes.  What a woman!  

Bayly started Kindergarden.  Yes.  I am the parent of a school aged child.  That first day, as the bus rolled up she gently walked away, said "Bye mom," and never looked back.  No tears.  No hesitation.  Nothing.  The only tears, and boy were there tears, came from her Godmother and Grandmother.  

And while one of my angels is away learning all the things there is to learn, I find way time to do things that are now som much easier to do with one child.  Grocery shopping.  Banking.  Random errands.  Saving the world.  You'd be surprised how easy it is to save the world while only toting one child.  

Around Bayly's birthday we got a dog, much to the chagrin of my wife.  We found a great breeder of Labradoodles near by that came with a great review from a friend.  We had to choose the less than manly sounding yet hypoallergenic dog because of asthema and other health concerns.  Toby is a great dog, most of the time, gets along well with the kids, and even seems to enjoy life in our family.  But he is growing on my wife.  He knows how to turn it on.  He always finds time to cuddle with here on the couch at night.  I guess he takes after me.  Smart dog.  

Halloween was uneventful, aside from a hurricane/annual October CT storm.  

Then Thanksgiving.  No biggie here.  Same ole, Same ole.  

Newtown.....  My kids were lucky enough to not really know anything happened.  They are just too young.  It was very hard to grasp.  I, like so many other parents, hugged my kids tight that day.  

Christmas was insane mostly because I have a school aged child and a toddler.  Not a bad insanity.  A normal insanity.  If you have kids, you know how it is.  If you don't have kids, you are missing the best time of the year.  Or are you?  

Which brings us to New Years.  My wife and I were saying last night that 2012 was pretty quiet for us as a family.  No major things going down.  Lets hope the next year will be much of the same.  

Happy New Year my loyal followers/readers.  I will try to keep this going longer than last year.  Here's hoping!