Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

I was able to return to upstate New York last week for a vacation with the family...and of course the first thing I could think to post about was food. While the Thanksgiving feast was great..it was not the highlight of my dining experiences while on vacation. There were a few things that trumped it. If I had access to these things on a regular basis they would not, but I don't, so they do. When I get the chance to go back home I usually make eating at certain places a priority. Now these are not fancy places,where I come from there are no fancy places, but they are all I need. The first stop is a trip to the Bagelry in Potsdam for a Gobbler. I spent a lot of time in college eating Gobblers and pizza bagels and my wife and I usually go there for lunch once each trip home. The second place I try to make it to each time is Sergi's for a pizza roll. These are about the most unhealthy things imaginable. After going to a late movie with my wife I decided to swing by to see if they were open. They usually are open late to cater to the drunk bar patrons. I also spent a lot of time as one of those at this place while in college. I grabbed a roll and headed to the car. The ride home was like 20 minutes so there was no way I was going to wait that long. I opened it and ate it while driving home. I thought I was doing a decent job of keeping it clean but when I got inside I realized it had slowing been dripping grease out of the end and on to my lap. A small price to pay really. The last stop has not been a regular stop but will be from now on I think. There is no sub quite like a sub from Jreck's. I knew no other sub for most of my young life and have yet to find a better one. I am now back in Wisconsin and will have to wait until Summer to indulge on these things again. In the mean time I will have to get by on butter burgers from Culver's.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crash and Burn!

I managed to have a wonderful Autumn day with the family this past Saturday despite the sort of rejection and ridicule that would have brought lesser men to tears. While getting dressed I had decided to take a little more pride in my appearance and put forth a little more effort in selecting an outfit than perhaps I am known for. I was hoping to draw some attention, turn some heads and perhaps make a few people subconsciously begin humming that ZZ Top song about every girl being crazy for a sharp dressed man! This all began to crash and burn shortly after take off. My first mistake was asking my wife if my outfit made me look fat. "Do I look fat?" are words that no man should ever utter or respond to..they should be all together ignored. After waiting a gruelingly long 10 seconds to reply..she dodged the question and said that things were "out of whack" and adjusted my shirt. Without saying anything at all and then changing topics..my wife had answered my question by applying my previously mentioned man rule on me! I am pretty sure there is a man rule about woman using our man rules! I proceeded to walk out to the living room where my daughter Julia asked me why I was wearing my work pants with that outfit and told me I looked "dorkish" ( which I am pretty sure is not even a real word!). Feeling the need to eject from this burning inferno I reach for the ejection button by soliciting the advise of my three year old daughter who the very night before,while reading Natasha's Daddy with me, had assured me that she loved her daddy just like Natasha loved her daddy! She would surely tell me that I looked great and that she appreciated the effort I had put forth. She agreed with Julia. This post is the first time I have mentioned what my original intent was that morning. Up until now the pain and embarassment was still too near to me..

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two Parties - Is Anyone having fun at either?

This post will be short as I am tired and a little worked up. Perhaps I will go into this more another time..I generally try to avoid politics...but I am feeling incredibly frustrated right now and these are the reasons...The Democrats and the Republicans, Fox News and CNN, The Huffington Post and Rush Limbaugh, Keith Oberman and Sean Hannity! The Obama campaign and The McCain campaign! A question each person/group should be asking themselves and also a great line from a ColdPlay song coincidentally: Am I part of the cure or am I part of the disease? I would dare say ALL of the above are part of the disease..and if you chose Fox News and not CNN or Keith Oberman and not Sean Hannity or The Republican and not the Democrats...I would dare say you just may be too! We are starting to get into ridiculous, absurd and quite frankly pathetic territory as the election moves closer. How did we sink to such a low in the political process? Do you blame the Democrats? Do you blame the Republicans? Do you blame yourself in anyway? Do you care enough to look for objective information to help you make the best choice or do you simply run to the media outlet that most closely aligns with your points of view on most issues? If you are making your decision purely based on what you are hearing on Fox News or on NPR, if you are voting for someone purely because of the color that their skin is or is not, or because of the sex of their vice president...you probably should sit this one out... Don't worry..its probably not as much your fault as it is this...the Two Party System. OK maybe you should not sit this one out..voting is too important. One of the arguements made for such a system is that it filters out the extreme or fringe beliefs on either side. I disagree...I think it serves to allow each side to define the other by those fringe elements. This generally would not be a huge problem if the reliable media did its job but they are perhaps the bigger part of the problem. We seem to have a two party media too which makes it tough for th average person to make any sense of it at all. I would dare say the media is the bigger part of this problem. How about just giving us the facts...and no we ar not each entitled to our own interpretation of the facts....facts are facts..if they are being interpreted..than they are not facts. So while I cool down a bit..and try to form some semi intelligent thoughts on the matter..What say you? Two party system love it or hate it? I hope its not feeling the love from me right now!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Take those old records off the shelf!

So the wife and kids are out of town for a week or so. The first weekend rocked..I went fishing until I got tired of it..went to see all those movies at the theater that I had not had time to...and ate pretty much whatever I wanted when I wanted. While there was no dancing around the house with just a shirt and my underwear on (Molly prefers I save those sort of antics for when she is around) there has been plenty of the following: the same dirty cups sitting in the sink that was there a week ago, the same dirty socks laying on the floor now covered with a weeks worthy of other dirty laundry, and chairs still pulled up to within two feet of the television where they were moved the day before.
I made the mistake of telling a friend that Molly had asked me to pick some vegetables from the garden while she was gone. Without any background on my friends that would probably seem like a harmless statement to make but when I add the fact in that my friends are actually idiots it may be easier to see how that could cause me some grief. A flurry of emails with the subject heading of Manly Things were suddenly whipping around about the chores Molly had left for me, laundry to fold, floors to clean, and sewing to be done. Attempting to be funny and also defend myself I responded "Ha! I spent last night sitting around in my underwear watching Platoon and scratching my itchy parts". Now this was a partially true statement but its real intent was to leave them with a mental picture they likely were not looking for. This was followed by another flurry of ridiculous emails to which I responded "and tomorrow night its Saving Private Ryan and chicken wings in the buff". There was another flurry of emails that progressively became more idiotic. My phone rang and I could see it was an internal number. A coworker called to tell me that he had been getting all of our emails ( he was not on the chain) and just wanted us to know. There had apparently been a glitch in Outlook and the email was going to another person that had an alias of Freeman , same last name as one of my afore mentioned idiotic friends, set up in their email. I was mortified and apologized and told him that the sillyness would stop...He chuckled and said it was a pretty good chain of emails to read.
Aside from that things have been going pretty well though. It is lonely during the week. I will likely enjoy having another weekend all to myself but after that I will just want my family home. I have eaten all of the unhealthy foods that I need to, watched all of the movies I have been meaning to, fished until I was blue in the gills, and scratched my itchy parts when ever I wanted. I am anxiously awaiting the moment when five kids jump out of the car yelling my name and run up and hug me and I am sure Molly will be anxious to see a few of the new steps I have added to my Risky Business routine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Abott And Castello Meet Walleye Will of the Wisconsin

After a recent family car ride I had scouted out a nice fishing spot along the Wisconsin River that I had wanted to try out. My friend Chris and I had recently gone fishing together and had decided that this spot is where we would make our next attempt. I say attempt because neither of us are anywhere near at risk of being labeled as skilled in the art or science of fishing. A fact we have both humbly embraced. Despite this I still want to be a bit cautious and protect my friend from any potential embarassment that may be caused by me writing this so I will only refer to him by his first name Chris and not his last name Freeman which would totally give his identity away. Imagine if Abottt and Castello had made a movie about fishing and you are pretty much on your way towards understanding what one of our fishing trips is like. If truth be told I am actually probably the more experienced catcher of fish. Thus far his catch outnumbers mine but that can all be easily explained. Our first trip out I considered to be more of a guided tour with me doing the guiding. Chris had not gone fishing in a while and so I had spent a good deal of time giving him advice, ensuring that he got the best fishing hole and trying to make it a pleasant experience for him, as any guide would do. It reminded me of taking one of my kids fishing really. This along with the fact that I had a bum left leg, my good casting leg mind you, from an intense game of kickball earlier in week, and surely it is becoming easier to see how I might explain his better catch thus far. And yes you read that correctly..it was a kickball injury. We took third place but that is another post.

We arrived at the river and began fishing with little success unless Chris successfully hiding a lure in the rocks under the water where no other fishermen could find it and me successfully tangling my line around my reel to deter any would be reel thieves ( fishing equivalent of The Club) counts. We had managed to get quite a few casts in when something happened that forever changed our lives and potentially the course of history in the state of Wisconin. An old man, wearing a camouflague hat and shirt , sweating and likely smelly, I did not get close enough to verify, came whistling down to the river. OK he may not have been whistling but surely after reading this you will agree that the story is much better if he was whistling. He greeted us and offered the socially required small talk questions written into all fishing etiquette books of "You fellas having any luck?" and "what are you fishing with?" He proceeded to repeatedly cast his lure in front of a natural rock dam that had formed just down river from us. Each time it appeared that his lure landed precisily where he intended it to and he proceeded to catch fish after fish or so it seemed. My friend Chris, who is the Costello in this scenerio, quickly gathered up his tackle and followed the path down towards the spot like a young girl after a Hannah Montana sighting. The old fella graciously allowed him to fish next to him and Chris proceeded to ask him what he was using hoping to replicate his success. I had my pride and proceeded to fish in the spot we had selected. Pretty soon Chris was catching fish too and that was more than I could bare. I gathered up my stuff and made my way down the path towards the old fella.

He immediately took us under his wing as if we were two of his grand children. He told us about a good place just down the river where he thought we should give it a try. He guided us down to a spot next to a small bridge and instantly began to school us. He set Chris up at a good spot to the left. "See that rock? You cast right towards that rock and you will catch a fish". To me "You see those weeds? You cast just in front of those and you will catch all kinds of fish". To Chris, "You got any surface lures?" With a confused look on his face Chris responded " I got these shiny fishy things" or something like it. To me he asked the same question. I of course had a better answer than Chris. I told him I had a Hula Popper to which he replied "Perfect young man cast right over there". I was proud of myself for having such a good answer. After a few casts he was correcting our casting technique stopping just short of standing behind us helping us cast in the same manner I would help one of my own children. Later on, after watching him catch a couple more fish I decided to try one of the other spots he recommended. " You got a crank bait?" He asked. To which I responded " I got one of these green fishy things". This negated my previous good answer. Chris finally caught a decent size small mouth bass and was so excited he was tripping all over the rocks as he attempted to reel it in. He caught a walleye a few minutes later that was big enough to keep ( he did not). After switching to a crank bait as he had advised I too caught a nice size small mouth. I asked the old timer how long he had been fishing in these parts to which he replied " almost fifty years now".
He referred to us as son and young fella the rest of the morning and spent the remainder of the time giving us further advice on how and where to cast as well as what type of lure to use for different types of weather. He started to gather up his tackle and said "see ya young fellas" and left our lives as quickly as he had come into them. He left us changed men, at least changed fishermen. We fished a little longer without him and then gathered up our gear and walked away from the river with big smiles on our faces realizing how lucky we were to have bumped into him. We decided to immediatley head to the tackle shop to purchase some of the tackle he had recommended fearing that if we delayed it at all we would forget what we had been taught. Its not every day you get a guided tour of the best fishing spots in the area from someone who has spent the past fifty years fishing there. We made plans to return the next weekend and did. As we pulled up to the same spot I found myself wondering and maybe even hoping we would see Walleye Will there again. We did not.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Something the Government Did Right?

My family and I just got back from a road trip to Las Vegas. If there is one thing you should know about me..it may be that I love to take a good road trip. Preferably without kids..but since I happen to like mine...they get to come along for most of them. Check out my wife's blog if you want all the highlights of our trip: http://www.tatro7.blogspot.com/. I instead wanted to give some well deserved shout outs to The Man. The Man in this case being the government. Now The Man usually screws most things up that it gets its hands into (Social Security comes to mind). On occassion however I must admit I find myself impressed with The Man. As we drove through the Rocky Mountains going 75 miles per hour...I said to myself on more than one occassion "The Interstate Highway System kicks some serious butt!" especially after returning home and reading the following article:


Now I am sure The Man has wasted an incredible amount of our money in the process, its part of The Man's nature to do so, but I am still impressed with this one accomplishment! Way to go Dwight D Eisenhower! I like where your head was at!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Theater or NetFlix? THAT is the question!

Being a guy who derives a certain degree of enjoyment out of watching movies ,while being a guy who's pockets are not stuffed with cash, while being a father of five with not a whole lot of time, while also living thirty minutes from the nearest decent size theatre has forced me to develop a method, philosophy, or strategy dare I call it such to determining what movies to view in the theater and which to simply add to the NetFlix line up. I thought I would share it with the general public since it seems to be working pretty well for me. I should probably preface this by saying, as many of you surely already know, I have excellent taste when it comes to movies which is certainly the best tool to have in any such strategy. First I familiarize myself with the choices that are available for the upcoming movie season...I suggest buying the Entertainment Weekly Movie Guide for Fall and Summer. I then watch as many trailers as possible online. Yahoo Movies seems to work well as does You Tube. Before watching any movies I consult the critics. Now I am not saying let some stuffy critic who takes movies way to serious make your decisions for y0u but see what the critics are saying. I would recommend using http://www.rottentomatoes.com/ to do this. From here it simple. If the critics give the movie greater than a 40% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes then decide for yourself whether or not spend the cash on a $8 ticket. If it is above 85% and it is a movie you are interested in you should probably go see it. If the fresh rating is between 20% and 40% and you still are interested in watching it..save it for the Netflix line up....if the rating is below 20% don't waste your time or money. This seems to work for me..but as I mentioned earlier...I also have great taste in movies. Discuss amongst yourselves...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Music According to Gilly's Son

A recent blog post by my brother in law, a recent cd sent to me by my father, and the fact that Father's Day is just around the corner has music and my dad on my mind. Several weeks ago my brother in law Derrick had a post on his blog about pop songs. I am still a little angry with him over the whole thing as it kept me up until about 2:00 am trying to think about some of my favorite pop songs. It even lasted into the next day. I just knew that if I thought a little longer I would remember that one song that I had completely forgotten about that was in fact the perfect pop song. He had created a list at the above site of all of the songs people had named as great pop songs. This got me thinking about a recent cd that my father had put together for me that had some of his favorite music or at least artists on it. I think I was suppose to recognize a lot of the songs. While I think I did recognize most if not all of them....the one thing that stood out about it was that none of the songs on it were really the songs I would associate with growing up with my dad. This got me thinking about the songs I would choose to pull together that most reminded me of my father or held a special place in my childhood memories. So this is an attempt to do that for posterity's sake. I have fond memories of driving in the car with my father. I specifically remember driving around in an old gold Buick that we owned with music playing in the car. My dad always liked to sing and dance in the car ( as best he could) while driving. My dad was actually a great dancer in his day in fact he even won a few dance competitions with his rug cutting. He was always clapping his hands, snapping his fingers, and doing what ever else he could get away with while still keeping the car on the road. I also have memories of driving in a big silver van with two captains chairs in the front and some groovy carpet and a bed in back. Above the bed in each corner was an equally groovy lamp. We would lay in the back while on the way to places like Lampson Falls listening to Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits. My dad also liked to sing. I recall him not being that bad of a singer..I am not saying he was great or even good..but not bad. He would sing in this falsetto voice that I just recently realized may be a contributing factor in my appreciation for the fellas who can hit the high notes. Some of my favorite songs or male singers are artists who are known for their ability to hit those kind of notes. My dad had a lot of soul and rhythm as you will be able to tell when you listen to a number of songs on this list. He really enjoyed listening to Motown and R&B. I remember him telling me a story about a trip he took into New York City to see a concert. As I recall it was at the Apollo in Harlem, or a place like it, and he was one of if not the only white guy in the joint. Which today may not seem like such a big deal but probably was a little different experience at the time or at least I picture it that way. Most of the songs I have selected are the most memorable for me..but a few are just there because they remind me of my dad. Leonard Cohen would be a good example of the latter. I can't say I have fond memories of his music..but I remember it and associate it with my father. I would highly suggest when you have the time you listen to The Essential Leanard Cohen though..I was just listening to some of his music trying to find one I remember and I have to say he is fantastic. I also do not recall if my father liked the Eddie Rabbit song..but it reminds me of him because I remember him always loving a good stormy rainy night. Some of the other songs are not the first song I would have chosen by a particular artist but I think we have all heard Celebration by Kool and the Gang and Heard It Through the Grape Vine by Marvin Gay enough times so I chose other songs from them that I liked a lot. So take a listen and if I can think of any more that stand out...I will add them later.

I Love a Rainy Night -Eddie Rabbitt
Black Water -The Doobie Brothers
I Can Dream About You -Dan Hartman
Get Down on It -Kool & The Gang
I Can't Help Myself -Four Tops
Got to Give It Up -Marvin Gaye
Smoky Mountain Rain -Ronnie Milsap
Everybody Knows -Leonard Cohen
Papa Was a Rollin' Stone -The Temptations
Let's Groove -Earth, Wind & Fire
Cat's In the Cradle -Harry Chapin
Sweet Caroline-Neil Diamond

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chick Flicks for Slick Ricks

Having just got done watching The Jane Austin Book Club, a movie my wife managed to sneak into our NetFlix line up with out my knowledge, chick flicks is the topic on my mind. While my favorite type of movie is an epic period piece preferably involving some sort of war, I have on rare occasion been known to indulge my wife and sit through a movie where the target audience most likely has significantly less back hair than I. On even more rare occasion I have even been known to enjoy a movie of this genre. A fact that I blame entirely on my father. While I do not want to go into too much detail as to why I blame my father, I fear it may be entirely too embarrassing for him, I do not feel it would be saying too much to admit on his behalf that he has been known to shed a tear or two during a movie. While off the top of my head I cannot remember a specific instance of it I know it happened...and if pressured can find eye witness accounts to support this claim. It seems that I too, albeit to a lesser degree than my cry baby father, have been known to at least derive some enjoyment out of the occasional chick flick. I thought I would list a few of the chick flicks I have actually enjoyed watching and I would be interested to hear from other men as to what chick flicks they have watched that they actually enjoyed. I am not terribly interested in hearing from the chicks out there on this subject matter but would welcome it if they chose to tell me about a movie that the man in their lives liked that would fit into this genre, especially if you think they may be embarrassed by you sharing it with me. I actually am not that terribly embarrassed to admit this small thing about myself...a fact I blame entirely on my father. Here is the beginning of my list. I will add to it as I think of them and will add yours to the list if I agree or at the very least can type it without laughing at you.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Pride and Prejudice ( Kiera Knightley version)
The Notebook (Also starring Kiera Knightley..a complete and utter coincidence)
Riding in Cars with Boys
About a Boy
The Lake House

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Make Tonight a Steak Night!

Having come under recent criticism for the lack of recent posts on my blog (clearly the demand for what is on my mind has been higher than anticipated). I decided to dedicate this post to one of my biggest fans and someone I consider to be one of my best friends. Mr. Travis Stokey and I have very little in common really on first glance but we share one important thing in common, a love of meat. Early in our friendship I was lucky enough to take part in one of his family traditions while my family was out of town. Every Thursday night the menu is the same at the Stokey residence! Its steak night! A secret marinate, carefully developed over years of steak grilling experience is prepared, the grill is fired up to just the right tempature, and some USDA Choice Black Angus steaks, bought on sale at a local Harris Teeter, are cooked to order on the Stokey grill. It is as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun. How thankful I am to have been able to share this tradition with his family one summer evening. We have been friends for quite a while but I was only invited that one time....but that is a topic for another post as the pain of never having been invited back is still too near to speak about. Since meeting Travis not a Thursday goes by in my life where I do not think to myself tonight is Steak Night! So do yourself a favor and make tonight a steak night in your home and when you do think of Travis Stokey, the man who started this wonderful tradition, a tradition I was only invited to share with him that one time despite our many years of friendship. And if you happen to be passing through Charlotte, NC and are looking to sample some of the best barbeque around..skip all the places you have seen on the Food Network and stop by the Stokey residence for some Boston Butt cooked on the Stokey smoker by a southern boy who knows how to cook meat. For Travis Stokey's talents do not end at cooking steak...he can also cook some of the best pulled pork around. As if bringing steak night to the people was not enough!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One of these things just doesn't belong

I had an interesting experience last night while assisting a member of my church load up a moving truck. As we were approaching the house I was warned by a friend that the house was not likely going to be very clean and that I should be prepared for that. As we arrived at the apartment complex it was clear that this was not the best part of town. As we entered the apartment, despite the warning of my friend, I was taken back by the extreme filth that I was witnessing. The floor was covered with everything you could possibly imagine and perhaps a few things you may not be able to. I have no words that could possibly describe the situation to you more adequately so I will not even begin to try. As we were in one of the bedrooms my friend and I had a private moment and he whispered to me that he thought that he may have underestimated the conditions when he had tried to prepare me for it. This was a single mom with three children, the youngest two being six year old twins. They were being evicted by their landlord for reasons that at this point are probably quite obvious. It was sad because despite ample warning the mother had failed to find another place for her children to call home. Even as we were loading the truck she was unsure where she would be staying that night. A family member had offered to let here stay for a short while but she was still considering a local homeless shelter. I felt incredibly sad for the children who were being raised in such conditions and being put in such a position by a parent. Its one of those experiences I will likely not forget for the rest of my life. As I was in the kitchen empting off a stand to be loaded onto the truck the mother was standing amongst all the filth washing the dishes. At that moment I thought nothing could possibly appear more out of place. As it turns out I was wrong. When I returned to my task of cleaning off the stand I found a copy of Consumer Reports that had just been uncovered by my efforts. It was the How to Clean and Care for Practically Anything issue.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eye of the Tiger!

This post is perhaps 99% of the reason I decided to start a blog in the first place. I am fast approaching thirty five years of age and have been looking at my life perhaps with a bit more of a critical eye. Assessing my progress, assessing my talents, assessing whether or not in twenty years when I look back on my life I will be happy with the path I have chosen. While on the one hand I feel I have made a great deal of progress in my life considering where I once was and where I came from there is still a part of me that is not content with the person that I am. My current frustration can best be summed up by one small thing I don't like about myself. I on occassion have been known to drink a Diet Coke or two or three at work. Not a huge problem and one that I immediately felt better about after reading a few articles about people who drink a twelve pack a day. Some days go by and the Diet Cokes I drink that day may be the only liquid I put into my body. No big deal right? Diet Coke is 99% water anway! I have stepped into the ring on many occasions to put an end to Diet Coke once and for all. So many times in fact that my wife just laughs it off each time I tell her that I am done drinking the stuff.
There are two things that bother me the most about my inability to stop drinking Diet Coke and those are the health concern and the simple fact that I can't seem to do it. The health concern is probably the lesser of the two. It would be first if not for the many health benefits of drinking Diet Coke . What really bugs me the most is what it may say about me as a person when I apparently lack the will power to make such a simple change in my life. This is in part why I started this blog. I was feeling the need to do something that completely does not sound like me at all hoping that in the process I would learn a thing or two about myself and make some of those small changes in my life that I have been meaning to for years, to take a chance on my career in the hopes of doing something I am truely passionate about, to finally take action on one of the many ideas that pops into my head rather than just talking about it, to discover a new hobby and develop a new talent, or to simply become a better person. With those thoughts in mind a couple of weeks ago I once again decided it was time to lay off the Diet Coke. The rules were simple...no Diet Coke during the week. If I choose to have one on the weekend I am free to do so. 99% of the Diet Cokes I drink are at work anyway. Since the start of this latest round I have been drinking an incredible amount of water. Who knew that drinking water could make you feel so good? If someone could figure out how to bottle that stuff and sell it they would stand to make a fortune. While I have had a few slips... I am two weeks into this and it is by far my most successful attempt yet. Who will be the Clubber Lang or Rocky in this scenerio? Diet Coke or Water? It will likely come down to whether or not I have the eye of the tiger"! .

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mr. Mom 2008

For the past four and half days I have been trying to fill my wifes shoes as she is soaking up some sun on a much deserved trip to the beach. This has become a tradition in our house and it accomplishes a few important things. It gives my wife the afore mentioned well deserved time off, it totally gets me off the hook for Mother's Day, and it also reaffirms for me just how challenging a job being a stay at home parent really is. This last one is important because it seems that each year that we do this I seem to have more kids than the last time and thus any previous experiences I may have had in filling her shoes must then be thrown out the window on the basis of change in scope or scale. My wife of course conveniently failed to mention the magnitude of the change this time around until the very last minute possible. The last time I attempted this trip we only had three kids and now we have five with two of them in school and two others taking classes at Lands End two days a week.
I must admit that I actually look forward to it each year...I consider it a challenge, a test of my parenting skills, a me versus the parental elements, there can be only one survivior sort of challenge. This years challenge appears to becoming to a conclusion without any major incidents..no lost kids, missed appointments, or broken bones to speak of. Everyone got three squares a day and diaper changes within the acceptable time thresholds I have carefully developed over time. We even managed to squeeze in some fun despite the uncooperating weather. We had a great day down in Dubuque,IA at The Mississippi Aquarium followed by a five star lunch at "Old McDonalds" and the discovery of a fantastic park, The Mines of Spain, which has an amazing overlook of the Mississippi. We stopped at various playgrounds along the way home and completed the day with Devon actually using the potty instead of his pants to take care of business. An event which actually shortened our stay at the last playground when I caught him going into what can only be described as stealth mode where he disappears off the face of the Earth for a while to take care of the business and suddenly reappears when the mission is accomplished. So a great day no matter what way the media tries to spin it!
While on the one hand my kids and I are anxious for my wife to return again ,as is the case every time she goes away for more than an evening, I am at the same time wishing this years challenge could go on a little longer this time around. Having just spent four and a half days in the life of my wife I can honestly say that running this household is as difficult as any senior management job could ever be. This is of course not news to me at all..but it is nice to have myself reminded of it every once in a while. I think the real reason I want this to go on for a little while is because I have seen myself over the course of five days improve on a much needed lack of patience despite the breivity of the situation and I also got to experience for a prolonged period of time what I think may be what motivates my wife to do what she does and I just want to spend a little more time taking that in. My experiment had a start and an end date making it easy to keep motivated and keep the energy level where it needed to be but a real day in my wife's life has no such end date, at least not in the near future. The reality is that as the non stay at home parent...I will only get so many of these types of experiences in my life and I need to take them all in. I also need to convince my wife to take a few more trips to the beach which I am pretty sure will not be a problem.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Broccoli and Cow Bells

This being my first post and as much a test to see if I can actually get something to post as a sincere attempt to join the blogging community...I thought I would start with something that is near and dear to me...that being humor. I attempt being humorous on a regular basis, with mixed results, and enjoy being around people that I find to be humorous. If you don't find these next two clips to be particulary funny...this may not be the blog for you!

Chopping Broccoli: