September 25th, 2011 @ 10:24 AM · No Comments
At around 9:15 last night, as I was brushing my teeth, Cakes, our youngest called her mom and asked if she could hang out with some of her new friends from church after work. She promised that she wouldn’t be home too late.
The father instinct in me told my wife to clarify “How late is too late?” In my mind, 12:00 would be reasonable since she doesn’t get off work until 10:00.
I didn’t wait around to hear an answer. I didn’t even wait around to see if my wife actually asked the question. After all, she frequently thinks I am too tough on the children when I am in “Father” mode. It is only afterward, when my hunches are borne out, that she thinks I hung the moon. Anyway, I was too tired to push the issue so I went to bed.
In the middle of the night, I had to use the bathroom. The clock on my night stand read 4:00 as I was getting back into bed.
Just as I pulled the covers up over me, I heard the front door very slowly and very quietly start to open!
What an exciting way to start the morning! I continued listening…
The door quietly closed and the deadbolt slid into the locked position.
Well, that rules out a criminal!
That must mean…
My daughter is just now getting home!?!?!?!?
I decided right then and there that she and I evidently have VERY different definitions of “not too late” and there is no time like the present to get down to discussing them!
Let me just say that it wasn’t all hugs and kisses!
August 21st, 2011 @ 10:17 PM · No Comments
The penultimate moment In the movie “A Few Good Men” comes when Tom Cruise’s sharp young lawyer Kaffee demands, “I want the truth!” Jack Nicholson’s crusty old Colonel Jessup yells back, “You can’t handle the truth!”
It seems that am forced to relive a variation of this scene over and over again with my children. Tonight was one of those times.
Kimba, my second daughter, called to warn me that a certain young man would be calling to ask for her hand in marriage.
She has been attending a church for the last few years and has been growing tremendously. However, if the truth be told, I feel like her father in name only. I say that because she doesn’t really call me for guidance or direction.
So, when she asked the question, I was faced with a dilemma: do I tell her what I really think and feel or just passively pretend in order to avoid conflict and get along?
I decided to put the question to her. Which direction did she want our relationship to head?
I told her that I was willing to do whatever she wanted. If she just wanted me to rubber stamp it, I would.
She said that she wanted to know what I really thought. So I launched out and told her…
I think that asking for my daughter’s hand in marriage is worth more than a phone call. I think that question should be asked face to face…man to man. In went so far as to suggest a weekend visit so we could get to know him a little. Besides, he needs to get to know us because when he marries her, he is also marrying into our family.
After discussing back and forth for nearly 40 minutes, she agreed.
Then she thought of one last potential problem…
“What if he can’t afford the trip?”
“Honey, if he can’t make it from Nashville to Kansas City, he isn’t ready to be the head of a family.”
She agreed with me.
When we hung up the phone, we were closer and our relationship was more “real” than when we started.
September 4th, 2010 @ 1:12 PM · No Comments
Hurricane Earl was supposed to be meterological Armagedon.
The latest in the seemingly endless parade of “end of life as we know it because we filthy humans are destroying the planet with our SUV’s and air conditioners” weather events.
And, even though I have learned to be skeptical of such prognostications, we drove into Williamsburg expecting to see devastation and destruction.
What did we find?
Peaceful blue skies and normal life continuing on.
In the end, Earl did about $4 million worth of damage in North Carolina. I know that sounds big, but remember, it’s the government doing the reporting.
But, I should be grateful.
There was no traffic…
and I look like a fearless genius to my dubious friends at work!
Category: Travel, Weather
September 3rd, 2010 @ 1:16 PM · No Comments
Something happened today that I have never seen before…
I was washing my hands after using the restroom when a co-worker from the shop walked in. Nothing strange or unusual about that. It was what he did next that got my attention…
He walked over to the wall mounted air freshener and pumped a shot of air freshener and then headed into the stall!
I have NEVER seen anyone do that!
After the fact…sure. Everybody has done that! With arms flailing!
…and then try to walk out as if you are completely oblivious to anything that has just transpired inside.
But in advance??? That is a first.
Now that I think about it, it was a very humble act. This man went out of his way to extend a little protection before he launched a mushroom cloud.
And I, for one, was grateful.
On more than one occasion, I have headed into one of the bathrooms at work only to turn right around without ever making it inside. Toxic gas had so completely filled the restroom that there was no oxygen left. In fact, my breathing stopped before ever entering the room because the cloud was spilling out onto the shop floor!
The fumes then twisted the thoughts in my mind…
“I need to go, but not that bad! Man, that guy needs to see a doctor! Something is wrong with him! How do his wife and kids handle that at home?”
Maybe it was this man…I don’t know.
I DID NOT wait around to find out!
September 2nd, 2010 @ 12:47 PM · No Comments
Hard to find time to write these days…
Work…work on the house…sleep…do it all again.
I have even seriously considered ending the blog…and still might…
But…I just had to tell this story.
6-8 months ago, I did, for me, a very responsible thing. I booked a vacation…in advance!
You might scoff at that but the truth is that I have never been very good at that. Usually, we make “our plans” about a month ahead of time…if that!
I figured that since we have to get Big A back to Philadelphia for his second year at school, I would kill two birds with one stone and booked a vacation on the east coast…
Williamsburg, VA to be exact.
I figured that my parents could come down and visit for a few days and then take our son with them when they go home to New Jersey. They would get some time off, we would get time off and he would get back to college.
My plans were to leave at lunch on Friday directly from work and head to Nashville to pick Kimba up. We would then spend Saturday visiting with friends in the area and then leave early Sunday morning and arrive at the resort Sunday evening.
Three days ago, my wife called to verify our check in time…
After mulling that over for a day, I decided that instead of visiting friends in Nashville, we would pick Kimba up and drive straight through to VA. That means that we will get there right at check in time on Saturday afternoon. We will essentially gain 1 1/2 days at the resort.
That is why they (the family) pays me the big bucks! To figure these things out…
After I announced my decision to my wife and our two youngest, called Kimba and also told our Nashville friends, an unforeseen complication has arisen…
His name is Earl. You might have seen pictures of him recently…
It looks like we will get there just a few hours after he leaves.
At least we won’t hit much traffic on the way in!
August 22nd, 2010 @ 5:26 PM · No Comments
Our house has three 3′ x 7′ south facing windows in the living room and three more in the master bedroom. I don’t say that because our house is unique. That is the style in our neighborhood.
Those big, beautiful windows look great but they sure do let the heat in! One of our neighbors has actually covered ALL of his front windows with aluminum foil because they face the west. It looks terrible but the alternative is paying to run the air conditioner non-stop.
When I ordered the screen for the master bath, I also opted to replace those six old screens with the solar screen material. After seeing how dramatically the screen reduced the heat in the master bath, I wanted to figure out a way to mount a screen to cover the upper 4′ of those six south facing windows.
But, I had to get hoofing it on the bedroom ceiling. I didn’t have time to figure that problem out.
I made an offhanded remark to my son that that if he could figure out a way to make a frame that would be easy to install and remove, he could possible make some money with many of our neighbors.
This afternoon, as my wife and I pulled into the driveway, Big A walked out the front door with a wood frame that he had designed and built from scratch. As we walked up to the house, he tapped it into place. It fit perfectly.
It is an ingenious design. I mean, it is really good…and I am not one of those fathers who thinks that everything my kids do is fantastic. If anything, I need to be a little bit more complimentary.
First, it will hold a screen that will cover the entire window AND hold it securely in place. Second, it is relatively easy to install and remove. Third, it mounts flush with the existing exterior wood trim and when it is painted white, will look like it came from the factory!
He must get that from his mother’s side of the family!
August 20th, 2010 @ 12:06 PM · No Comments
Having trouble finding time to write these days…
Nights are out of the question. By the time I finish working on the house and taking a shower, Cakes and Big A are just arriving home from the restaurant and want to talk. So, I am going to bed AT LEAST an hour late every night.
Despite the late retirement, I still end up waking up before 5:00. I can’t really control that. My internal clock is set.
So, since I am getting less than six hours of sleep, I have been so tired that I am taking a 15-20 minute nap during my lunch break. So, no posts are getting written.
Besides all that, I don’t think that I have the skill to make construction “entertaining” or “interesting.
The construction on the bedroom ceiling is finished. I have started on the ceiling in the master bathroom.
I am pushing hard to finish because Big A is helping me with the “mudding and taping” of the drywall. I hope that we will have both rooms primed and painted before we leave to take him back to school in two weeks.
August 15th, 2010 @ 6:21 PM · No Comments
Although the summer is almost over, we plan on buying a gas BBQ. Whether we get one this year or next spring is another question.
As with most things in our marriage, this simple object has turned into a point of discussion. Naturally, my wife wants a big one. She said that she would barbecue every night if she could.
I want one that we can use at home and take with us if we go on a trip. I wanted her to see a few of the portable grills that I have looked at.
Then, the idea of fishing in the lake near our house came up when I stumbled upon a fishing kayak on Craig’s List. I can actually see myself learning to fish that way…stop by the lake on the way home, carry the kayak to the water, get in some exercise by rowing and then see if I can actually catch a fish.
The idea of getting a small boat, hooking it up to the truck, backing it into the water, parking the truck, etc. just seems like so much work, I know I will never do it.
So, I decided to take the family to visit the local outdoor store, The Bass Pro Shop. If you love the outdoors, this is your place.
Boats from $600 to $30,000. Guns of every size and shape. Fishing poles and gear…each specifically designed to catch nearly every single type of fish that God ever created. Knives, camouflage clothing, etc. etc.
There are more ways to spend your money than you ever thought possible! Good thing that I am not an outdoors-man!
August 14th, 2010 @ 9:05 PM · No Comments
I was going to cheat today…
Today marks the 3 year anniversary that our Midwest adventure began. So, I thought I would just copy and paste my notes from one of my family history files…
Except I couldn’t find any! Anywhere!
So, back to work…
Three years ago today, after 30 hours in our F150 Super Crew truck, we arrived in Overland Park, KS late Tuesday evening. We grabbed some food at Chipotle and then spent the night at a friend’s house.
By noon the next day, I found, rented and moved my family into a 1 BR apartment.
By 3:30, Big A was enrolled in high school and met the football coach.
By 5:30, had seen a doctor for his physical so he could start practice.
As I started settling up the apartment that evening, I realized that my wife had brought a card table and folding chairs to use for their dining room table. I hadn’t even thought about that before we left! I was too busy trying to fix the sprinkler system so our newly planted sod wouldn’t die while I was gone!
I appreciated that she was willing to sacrifice but I could not let that stand. Early Thursday morning, I went to the Salvation Army store and found a bike for Big A and two matching wing-back chairs for the living room.
That afternoon, we watched Big A’s first football practice in humid, 104º weather. That evening, we enrolled Cakes in a private Christian school.
I still wasn’t satisfied with their accommodations so on Friday morning, I visited the local Goodwill and found a couch, a chair for the corner of the bedroom and a 48″ round pine table with chairs for them to use as a dining room table. All three items were in nearly new condition! As an added bonus, when we brought the couch into the living room across from the two wing-back chairs, it looked like a co-ordinated set!
I have to tell you that I felt pretty good (even a little heroic) as I boarded the plane early Saturday morning to fly back to Los Angeles!
Category: Masculinity, Providence
August 12th, 2010 @ 3:01 PM · No Comments
Sometime, the middle of the night, my wife accidentally woke me up. I don’t really know what she was doing…reading, doing laundry, something.
As I settled back in to go to sleep, a bug tried to go up my nose. I brushed it away and said, “Whoa…a mosquito is trying to get me.”
“That’s not a mosquito.”
“What is it?”
“A fruit fly.”
“A fruit fly? Why do you say that?”
“They’re breeding in our old refrigerator.”
“The guy who serviced our washer looked at it and told me.”
When we bought the new refrigerator, I didn’t quite know what to do with the old one.
Our neighborhood is too nice to leave it on the curb for a few days. The garage is full of boxes, trucks, lawnmowers and lumber. So, I decided to leave the old one in the house until I sold it or got rid of it.
Guess what I was doing at 5:30 this morning?
Moving my refrigerator out of our kitchen onto our back deck…
Now, that is hard enough to do by yourself. However, if you add the fact that my son just recently cut a 4′ x 3′ foot hole in the floor right at that very spot, the degree of difficulty increases significantly.
Just another day at the castle!