Tuesday, December 28, 2010


On December 22nd Maxfield lost his first tooth. He was very excited to leave the lower left central tooth for the Tooth Fairy that night. At 4 am on the 23rd of December Max ran into my room to wake me up and show off the new five dollar bill he found under his pillow. I told him the Tooth Fairy was being generous because it was Max's first tooth and it was close to Christmas (and it was the only bill the Tooth Fairy had in her wallet). He was amazed by the magic of the Tooth Fairy.

On December 24th Max woke with the excitement and anticipation that goes along with Christmas Eve. Throughout the day we discussed Jesus' birthday and the spirit of giving and the three Magi. We visited family and exchanged gifts with God parents and grandparents. That night we were invited to dinner by our neighbors at a Japanese style steakhouse/hibachi joint, where the chefs cook on the table top and entertain the diners with cool tricks and knife work. My boys were in awe of the flaming volcanic onion as well as the chef catching food in his hat. It was a great night and Max could not stop talking about it.

Christmas morning was filled with toys, stockings filled with treats and the talk of Santa and his magic of giving. We had a incredible day assembling toys, pretending to be superheroes, playing games and using our imaginations to accomplish great feats of strength and magical powers. We visited with more family and exchanged presents with aunts and uncles and Mom Mom.

It was a great and magical long weekend in our house. And after it is all said and done, the wonderment and awe between the Tooth Fairy, Santa, Jesus, the three wise men, Lego Star Wars guys, Iron Man, countless super heroes, aunts, uncles and Godparents, I truly think that Maxfield was most impressed with the Hibachi chef guy. So much so that he asked that we take him back to that restaurant for his birthday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Cheeses*

Wyatt Blue, my four year old, attends a pre-school in a local Methodist church. The school is highly regarded as an excellent pre-school with a focus on education with a Christian foundation.

Last week I was driving Wyatt to pre-school and I asked him what they were learning in school.

"Christmas." He said.

"What did you learn about Christmas?"

"Christmas is a the time when Jesus becomes a baby again. You see, Jesus is a man who at Christmas time becomes a baby. He then becomes a boy so that by Easter he is a man again. You see Jesus is two men, a boy and a baby. His super powers are that he can become a baby again. But I think he should just stay a baby because then we could have Christmas longer and oh look at all those Gooses. Why do Gooses sit there?" He pointed to the field next to us.

"They're are called geese when there are more than one." I corrected.

"Why are all the geeses there?" Wyatt asked. "Hey Dad. Geeses, Jesus, that rhymes!"

"Yes it does Wyatt. What else can you tell me about Jesus?" I asked trying to get him to focus back on our original conversation.

And I smiled the rest of the way to his school as he rhymed other words with Jesus.

Wyatt continued, "Cheeses...Pizzas... Sneezes... Pieces..."

*Baby Cheeses from ABC's Modern Family, best show ever.


Here are some gift Ideas for the holiday season although some of them may not be able to make it to your tree in time.

Maze Man--A friend of mine does his own hand drawn mazes. They are cool and complex. He even does custom mazes for business and what not. Very cool.

B Toys--I wrote about these folks a year ago here and how funny their instructions were. They included my post on their website. Check them out. This is the company's first Christmas season. We were trying to purchase a Veterinary kit/Critters Clinic for Wyatt but have not been able to track down at Target. They keep selling out. That is how awesome their toys are.

Books make great gifts and awesome stocking stuffers. I highly recommend Frankie Pickle books by Eric Wight as well as The Dread Crew by Kate Inglis for the young readers. And of course for the older readers on your gift list there is anything by Brad Meltzer (my secret man crush) as well as For a Good Home by Eve Mont. Brad has a new book coming out in the next month or so and he has a television show on the History Channel. Eve Mont just signed a deal for three new books with her publisher.

If there is a hairy sweaty man in your life I also would suggest Shave Secret and Anti Rash Underwear as gifts. Both have changed my life.


Kcinnova --won the Tassimo Single Serve Coffee Machine. I had over 60 entries between comments and emails. I used a random number generator and her number was picked. Thank you to all who entered and thank you to all who read Poop and Boogies.

Remember when you are having your Christmas dinner and someone asks, "What's in this?" just say "Poop and Boogies. Shut up and eat it."

Happy Holidays everyone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Must be Italian.

"Frah-Gee-Lay. It must be Italian!" Mr. Parker says with excitement.

"I think that says fragile honey." Mrs. Parker corrects him.

Check out the rest of the entry here .

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Gentlemen

Last year I wrote a post about how my brother Anonymous rates the Christmas cards that he receives. In that post I mentioned that no one understood my No L card.

This year, without my wife's knowledge (because she thinks it is "dorky" or something), I created and mailed my own Christmas card for my siblings. Two days later I received a phone call from my brother Anonymous. He told me that even though it was early, he is pretty confident that I was going to get "top honors" this year for the best card. I was and still am pretty excited.

The above picture was on the face of the Christmas card and the text read, "Merry Christmas. Let nothing you dismay. From the Merry Gentlemen, Maxfield, Wyatt and Jackson. And Lauren and Bill.

Top Honors. That is big.

I need to start making next years card.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Susan is a friend of mine since childhood and while we were growing up she always invited me, the Catholic, to her Jewish family's celebrations. I attended various nights of Hanukkah and many Passover Seder dinners at her house that Susan's Uncle Kenny knighted me an Honorary Jew. He told me that after someone attends enough events with his family that by default they are Jewish-ish enough. He may have given me the honorary Jew title just because he wanted me to keep coming back to the Post Seder dinner poker games that I usually lost.

Susan still invites my family, more so my kids, to her house to celebrate and learn about Hanukkah with her daughter Estella. We have attended the past two years and the kids would exchange small gifts and my boys would get to light the Menorah and play Dreidel and eat chocolate "gelt" coins.

Last night Max told me that they were learning about Hanukkah in school.

"What did you learn about Hanukkah?" I asked.

"Nothing new." he said. "I already knew it all."


"Yeah, from Estella's house."

"Oh." I replied.

"Are there any Jewish kids in your class?" Lauren asked Max.


"How do you know?"

"The teacher asked if anyone in the class celebrated Hanukkah and I was the only one to say yes."

I laughed.

"The teacher asked if I was Jewish." Max added, "I told her no, but my friend Estella is, and that is where we celebrate Hanukkah."

I need to get Estella's Great-Uncle Kenny to knight Max.

Monday, December 06, 2010


So apparently and allegedly Brett Favre had done it. And then there was this kind of popular dad blogger, Dad Gone Mad, who used his popularity and recognition as a reason/excuse to (allegedly) do it. I am talking about sending pictures of their junk to people.

I figure I need to do it as well. But since I don't have everybody's email addresses I will, in the effort to save time and what not, just post pictures of my junk on my website.

Here are pictures of my junk.

This is the junk in my garage. I do not know how it got there or how to even use half of the junk there. It is just there.

This picture is of the junk on the top of my chest of drawers. Lauren hates my junk on the chest as well as the fact that it clutters the drawers. This is the junk that litters my pockets everyday.

This last picture is of the junk that I pull out of the laundry on a regular basis. The picture above is a collection from just the past week. An Elephant, a domino a Lego Star Wars light saber a die from a board game and yes, that is a partially eaten pickle that I had taken from the washer after I had run it. I have no idea why any of my kids would have put a half eaten pickle in their pocket, but it sure did make me laugh when I found it as I was transferring the clothes to the dryer.

What kind of Junk do you have after you run your laundry?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I am not a fan of shaving. I never have been. I started shaving when I was 14 and I do not like the act of shaving. I like a clean face. I like a close shave. But I do not like the actual chore of shaving. A chore, that is what it is.

I have thick hair. Thick hair and thick thighs are what I inherited from my mom's side of the family. When it comes to shaving my face I have to pay attention and work at making sure I do not butcher my skin in the process.

About 8 or so years ago my mother in law gave me a Gilette Sensor razor for Christmas. It made shaving a little bit more bearable. I still hated shaving but having a nice razor made the process a bit better. I have since moved away from the Gilette Sensor and I have started shaving less and less, preferring a beard or goatee to nicks and cuts left on my face.

When my wife Lauren ran the ING Philly Rock and Roll Half Marathon in September they gave her a bag full of stuff for running the race. In the swag bag was a little tiny tube of some kind of oil attached to a piece of paper that said "Shave Secret." The paper had instructions on how to use the oil for shaving using just water and the oil. The paper claimed "the best shave ever". I had my doubts but I decided to give the stuff a try.

I shaved my entire face, not one nick. The shave was close and my skin was left soft and smooth. Let me tell you, THE BEST SHAVE EVER. I looked up Shave Secret online and found that it could be purchased at Wal-Mart. I immediatley went out and purchased a small bottle. I now, kind of, like shaving. I now shave challenging myself to actually give myself razor burn or a nick or cut.

Whenever I discover a new product, restaurant or whatever I always make it a point to tell my brothers. The 8 of us tend to share these kind of things as I pointed out in this post about underwear. I was talking to my brother Jim one morning and I told him how much I love Shave Secret. He said that a while ago he used the stuff but stopped because he thought it was clogging up his sink. I thought that he may have a good point. The oil does, kind of, clump the shaved hair together before it is washed down the drain. I could also see the oil causing the clumps of shaved hair to stick to the walls of the drain pipe much like cholesterol sticking to the insides of an artery.

I told my brother Jim that I could see that happening but that I would rather invest in Drano than give up the best shaving experiences I have had so far. He laughed, then he said, "I stopped using Shave Secret because I THOUGHT it was clogging my drains. It turns out that about a month after I stopped using it, I had a plumber out to check the drain and there a was a toothbrush stuck down in there the whole time. So it was not the Shave Secret."

I highly recommend Shave Secret for those without a toothbrush in the drain problem.

In the effort for full disclosure, Shave Secret did NOT pay me or give me their product to review, I repeat did NOT. I recieved NO compensation for this post whatsoever. I just really like their product.

I also want to recommend this product to all of the guy bloggers out there who grew moustaches for the Movember. Guys like Laid Off Dad , Clark Kent's Lunchbox, Kevin from Always Home and Uncool and Whit Honea.

From the Movember Website
"Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days."

In 2004 Movember concentrated their efforts to focusing on the number one cancer affecting men, Prostate Cancer. The typical prostate is explained here. So LOD, CK, Kevin and Whit you have raised money in the hopes that more men will have doctors stick fingers up their butts. Thanks guys.

All kidding aside I think it is awesome that those bloggers participated in Movemeber. It is never too late to donate.

Monday, November 29, 2010


About six weeks ago I had to have the radiator in my car replaced. It was expensive. When I picked up my car I lifted the hood and noticed two valve covers missing. I showed the technician and he quickly replaced the valves covers. Mistakes happen.

Last week on three separate occasions I noticed a small puddle forming under my car. I checked the fluid on the ground which was odorless and tasteless (like Iocaine powder). I figured that maybe when the radiator was replaced there was a hose or clamp or something that was loose, kind of like the valve covers. I called the dealer, explained the entire situation and scheduled the appointment for Black Friday. I was off from work and I could wait for the mechanics to inspect it. If the car needed more work, Lauren would be able to pick me up.

Black Friday morning Lauren decided to go shopping. We were both up early due to Jackson and Wyatt both having colds/sinus infections and it made sense for her to get out and shop. I told her I would take the boys to the car dealer. I didn’t expect it to take too long for the dealer to check the possible leak. I would call Lauren if we needed a ride.

When we pulled into the dealer lot I noticed that all the parking spaces reserved for “service” were full. Actually there was only one space on the entire lot for me to park. I had no idea that Black Friday was also a busy day for mechanics. I escorted a grumpy Maxfield, a snot covered Jackson, and drippy nosed Wyatt out of the car, through the car show room, past several leery eyed sales guys, to the service desk.

When I take my car in for service I usually deal with a really nice guy named Scott. But someone else was behind the service desk when we walked in. I gave him my information and he told me that it may take a while for them to get to look at it. I explained that I made an appointment. He told me they were really busy. I asked him how long and he told me maybe an hour just to look at it. I started to question their definition of appointment when Scott walked in.

“Hey, you brought the whole crew today, huh?” Scott said smiling at the kids.

“Yes. I figured I made an appointment and you guys could take a quick look.”

“We’re pretty backed up back there.” Scott said. “Do you have someone picking you all up?”

“No.” I kind of lied.

“No?” questioned the other guy behind the counter. “This may take a while, so, you know…” He did not finish his thought which I am sure involved something about the kids not wanting to be there.

“I made an appointment.” I said somewhat annoyed. The other guy could tell.

“I know.” said the other guy. “But we are busy.”

“Seriously”, I questioned, “an hour?”

“It could be longer.” He replied, indifferent to the fact that I made an appointment and he was almost acting like he was doing me a favor.

“You can take as long as you like. “ I said smiling. I pointed to my kids. “I am going to take these guys out to the showroom and let them look at all the new cars. I can pretty much guarantee that one, maybe more of the sales guys out there will be coming back here to ask you guys to hurry up with my car because they are tired of cleaning the snot off of all the new cars.”

The other guy behind the counter looked at Scott and asked him if I was joking.

“I don’t think he is.” Scott said.

The other guy behind the counter said. “Uhmm we have a waiting area where you can go.”

“No thank you.” I said. “We’ll go to the showroom. We’ll look around.” Which, we did.

My car was done in 20 minutes.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I sat Indian Style (or as they say now “criss-cross apple sauce”) closest to the base of the piano that Mrs. Miller was playing. I don’t recall if Mrs. Miller actually played songs or if she just plinked away on the keys to get the Kindergarten class’ attention. Almost every day she would read a story from the piano bench to the 18 or so kids sitting on the ground before her.

Usually I would sit in the middle of the pack, or more likely towards the back with Jeff Stewart and Mark Greeves, but not that day, that day I had something to prove. I don’t remember the story Mrs. Miller was reading because I was too busy concentrating on the task at hand. I had to time everything perfectly. Mrs. Miller, with the book facing her, would read a few sentences, then she would turn the book towards the class and with a very slow sweeping motion from our left to right (her right to left)show the class the pictures in the book.

As Mrs. Miller read, I slowly untied my shoe. As she showed the class the pictures I would try to quickly tie my shoe, muttering under my breath something about carrots and making rabbit ears. I tied and untied my shoe several times during the story. Mrs. Miller finally finished the story and asked the class some questions about the moral of the story. I did not pay attention to the discussion I was busy tying and untying. I was frustrated that my plan did not work. Just as Mrs. Miller was dismissing the class back to our desks I untied and tied my shoe with much flourish. I exaggerated every move, crossing the laces, making a huge loop, pushing the loop through.

“Oh Billy!” Mrs. Miller said with a huge smile. “You are tying your own shoes. That’s great.”

I looked up and smiled, finally she noticed.

“Listen up everybody.” Mrs. Miller said to the class. “Billy has learned to tie his shoes. That means he gets a star on his accomplishment chart.”

Mrs. Miller took out a red shiny star from a small box and stuck it next to my name on a chart hanging on the chalk board. “And now Billy has 3 stars so he gets to help hand out our snacks today.”

It was one of the greatest days of my early life. I think I was one of the last kids in my class to learn how to tie my shoe. It was a big accomplishment for someone who looked like this.

Yes that is Mrs. Miller.

When people used to ask my dad how he did it raising so many kids he used to respond by saying he really only need to teach the first few and the rest of us learned from them. I learned how to tie my shoes from my brothers. I am not sure which one. Dennis probably took too long to explain. Kevin was probably too quick. My guess it was either Dan or John who taught me to tie my shoes. It was also probaly Dan or John who would give me noogies to make my hair look like that.

Most of the sneakers for the kids in my house have Velcro straps. There is no real need to teach them how to tie shoes. Do you think that as their generation grows that their shoes will always have a Velcro straps?

Friday, November 12, 2010

100 Months

This blog, most times, falls into the dad blog category. Sure it is from a dad's perspective but I like to think it is more about family then about being a dad.

This Saturday I will be married for exactly 100 months. 100 months ago, Lauren and I became the start of our family. Over 3000 days ago I said these words to Lauren.

I chose you to be my wife.
In front of our family and friends as witnesses
I promise to give you the very best of me
and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to always love you
in good times and bad
in healthy times and in sickness.
I promise to be faithful to you.
I promise to always be there for you
to support you and to nurture you
and to be receptive of the gift of your love.

I love you more today than yesterday
but not as much as tomorrow

I will love you for the rest of my life

As you wish.

A couple of weeks from now will mark the anniversary of when she actually agreed to marry me. The story of that is told here It Would Have Been Romantic and here When She Said Yes

There was nothing in our vows that stated I was going to be blogging about our life together for 10s and teens of people to read. She is as much of Poop and Boogies as I am, which again, is why I think of this as a family blog. I am very grateful to Lauren for putting up with me and this hobby of mine.

And although on occasion I do yell at her and say "Get back, Witch" I do love her more than and MLT.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I sat straight up in bed. Something, a noise maybe, a feeling, an instinct woke me up. The projected image of the time on my ceiling read 3:36 AM. I tried my best to silence my breathing and quiet my pulse which were the only noises I could hear beside the soft hum of the quiet baby monitor. I held my breath and listened towards the boys room. Did one of them cry out? No, nothing but silence from the direction of their room.

Did you ever try to listen harder? You attempt to stretch the muscles in your neck and face in an effort to squint your ears hoping that will be able to make you listen farther. I tried that. Nothing. I laid back down. A minute passed and I started to drift back to sleep when I heard the noise again. I shot back up. The noise was coming from downstairs. Something downstairs was moving. We lost the dog a few weeks ago and we no longer have any cats. What the hell was moving? My heart raced as a I did a quick mental check to make sure I was truly awake and not dreaming. Damn it, I was awake.

I jumped out of bed and put on my glasses. I hate having poor vision. I grabbed a rather large utility knife that I keep stashed in my room and I headed for the steps. I paused, a few steps down, to debate whether I should call 911. My heart racing, my breathing quick and shallow, I descended one more stair, when a loud electronic chirp pierced the dark silence. I stifled a small yelp, my heart stopped. I felt a wave of relief pass over me as I realized that the chirp was from Lauren's cell phone. She must have missed a text message or something. The movement I heard was probably the phone vibrating in her purse which was hanging in the foyer closet. I sighed. I walked down the steps to the closet so I could silence the phone.

I flipped the light switch at the bottom of the staircase. The foyer lit up and splashed light into the darkened kitchen. I turned at the bottom of the steps and I stopped cold. I thought I saw movement in the kitchen. My feet felt frozen. They warmed when I realized I was catching my reflection in the kitchen bay window. I turned profile and sucked in my gut. I shook my head knowing I had gained back about 5 pounds of the weight I worked so hard to lose. I chucked to myself at the fact that I was standing in my underwear holding a knife. How embarrassing would it be to get into a fight with a burglar while wearing nothing but boxer briefs. I don't even like arguing in just my underwear. (Most of Lauren and my personal conversations happened either at night right before bed or in the morning when we first wake up. It is the only time we can talk privately. If Lauren and I ever get into an argument or disagreement it is during this time when we are in bed or getting ready for bed. I always get up and put pants on when we argue. She laughs at this. The first time I did it, she asked me what I was doing and I said "I can't argue in my underwear." Which would be the title of my book on relationships if I ever had a book on relationships.)

I reached into Lauren's purse to silence the phone when I heard movement from the kitchen. It sounded like some one brushed up against a wall. It was a faint noise but I definitely heard it. My whole body went numb with fear. I mentally counted to three and jumped into the kitchen with the knife outstretched ahead of me. I flipped on the light hoping to startle whoever was in there. The problem is our light in the kitchen is on a dial dimmer switch so the whole flick the switch /startle the intruder was more like a turn the dial and slowly increase the light output and un-romanticize the intruder. No one was there.

I searched the entire house, all windows and doors were locked, all closets and burglar hiding spaces were empty. I was confident that there were no intruders. The noise I heard must have been the wind. I went back to bed.

The next day, late in the afternoon, Lauren told me she heard noises coming from the walls between our kitchen and dining room. What kind of noises I asked. She told me "critter like" noises. That night I sat and listened to the wall. There were definite critter like noises coming from the wall. But these were big critters. It sounded like something was trying to climb up the inside of the wall. The noise was the same noise I heard the night before. There is a wooded area behind our house so it could be anything. I thought it was likely squirrels or moles or possible a raccoon.

The next day I climbed down into the crawl space under the house to investigate. I don't like critters. Underneath the kitchen area I discovered a hole that could allow an R.O.U.S. into our house. Everyone knows that R.O.U.S.es are the third danger of the fire swamp. My heart started racing, my feet grew cold. I was more scared than the night I thought there was a robber in my house. I followed the path that I thought a critter would follow from the hole to the wall where the noise came from. I scanned with the flashlight and searched and searched. Just as I was underneath the area where the dishwasher sits, it started through a rinse cycle. The noise from the dishwasher startled me so much that I may have tinkled a tiny bit. I was thankful that I was wearing pants this time.

I searched the entire crawl space and found nothing. I used some steel wool and Great Stuff and sealed every possible hole that could be used by a critter. I just hope that I didn't trap the varmint in the house, and if I did, I hope it is big enough to scare away any burglars.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Brothery Love

It was Wyatt's turn to pick what color cereal bowl he wanted. Ever since the continuing red plate arguments we have started to let Max and Wyatt take turns on picking what color eating instrument/utensil they want.

"Wyatt, which bowl do you want?" I asked. "The blue or the green?"

Wyatt put his finger to his chin and thought about the choices. "Uhmmmm." he hummed to himself.

"That's not fair. Wyatt got to pick last time." Max whined from across the table.

"That's not true Maxfield." Lauren corrected. "Last night at dinner you got to choose. Now it is Wyatt's turn."

Max pouted.

"C'mon, pick already, blue or green Wyatt?" I was getting impatient.

Wyatt turned his soft, big, round,brown eyes towards Max and said "Max, what color bowl do you want?"

Lauren beamed. "Awwww Wyatt. That is so nice."

I sighed and smiled.

Max perked up. "I would like the blue bowl."

Wyatt tilted his head back towards me, his eyes narrowed as his lips thinned into a smirk. "Then," he said, pausing almost for affect but also weighing the consequences of his decision "I will take the blue one."

I am not trying to be mean but the look of satisfaction on Wyatt's face as Max cried out in protest was priceless.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Lauren did her thing and made very cool treats.
I did my thing, using some special effects, I made it look like we were grilling children.

And the kids did their thing, looking cute in their family themed costumes. Max was Boba Fett, Wyatt was Jango Fett and Jackson was Hobo Fett.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Autumn is my favorite time of year. The crisp air, falling leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, back to school, Football season, Sam Adams Octoberfest on the shelves, new TV shows, the list goes on and on. This year I thought I was going to be able to add Soccer to the list of good things about Fall.

This Fall was the first Fall where our family was involved in Soccer. Both Maxfield and Wyatt joined soccer teams this year with mixed results.

Max did not play last year because he was still healing from his broken Femur so he was a bit behind the abilities and knowledge of the other players in his 6 and 7 year old league. A few games into the season the nature of the game finally clicked with him and he did pretty well. He loved to play goalie and actually played that position for at least a quarter of every game. The last day of the season, during a tournament game, he let up two goals. His emotions got the best of him, his eyes filled with tears as he declared at the top of his lungs "I am the worst goalie ever." My heart broke. Soccer is not being added to my list of Fall favorites yet.

Wyatt's approach to Soccer was to show up at games and watch from the sidelines. Wyatt would join his team at half time to eat Orange slices and then go back to sitting out the rest of the game. He refused to play in half of his games and getting him dressed and out the door became a 45 minute chore every Saturday morning. Soccer is not being added to my list of why I love fall.

Although without Soccer there would not be Soccer babies, who are so darn cute.

Also without Soccer there would not be Soccer Mom's who are so damn hot.

Funny story:

Dick's Sporting Good's was one of the sponsors of Max's league. Each child received a water bottle with the Dick's logo (as you can see in the picture). Every Saturday morning Lauren and I would get the kids dressed for the games, pack various snacks and lunches, and load up the van to spend the day at the fields. One morning I was in the living room getting Wyatt dressed and Lauren was filling the various water bottles for the kids and some for us. I could hear her getting frustrated as she kept banging something on the counter.

"What's wrong?" I called out into the kitchen as I was struggling with Wyatt, attempting to put on his shin pads.

"Nothing." she said in a tone that I could tell she was gritting her teeth. She banged something against the counter.

"Are you sure?"

"Arrrgh." Lauren growled in frustration. " I am having such a hard time with this Dick's top."

After five minutes of me trying to compose myself Wyatt finally asked, "Daddy, what is so funny?"

This is our annual fall photo. This was much easier to take than last year's photo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are starts with the sentence "The night Max wore his wolf suit he made mischief ...."

The night before I brought my son Maxfield home from the hospital (two days after he was born) I brought home a knit cap that Max had worn so that our dog, Luna, could smell it and get an idea of what was going to happen in our house. Max was going to make mischief.

Three years before that, in late October of 2001, Lauren and I decided to get a dog. I was in my early 30s and Lauren, well, she was younger than that. We went to the local SPCA and as fate would have it we picked out a German Shepherd Chow Chow mix that was classified as an unknown runaway. We did not really decide on her, but she decided on us.

She had a weird look. Her teeth were gnarly (not in a Surfer dude "hey that wave is really gnarly" kind of way, but in the way that her teeth pointed in very odd directions for her mouth kind of way) and her overall appearance was somewhat ugly. The people at the SPCA could only tell us she was a recent stray that seemed well trained but had no home. They figured she was a runaway. I had visions of her being a dog of someone who lost their life on 9/11. Maybe the dog had escaped her home and found her way to the Philadelphia area. She was not pretty, but she was beautiful. Ugly beautiful. Beautifully ugly.

Lauren and I decided to call her Luna, which is Spanish or Italian or Greek or something, meaning the moon. She looked something like a wolf, and wolves howl at the moon. The name was fitting.

I never had a dog. Luna was my first.

In Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are there is a picture of all of the monsters looking up at the moon. It is right after Max declares that the wild rumpus should start.

In June of 2006 I brought home from the hospital, a day or so after Wyatt, our second son, was born, a knit cap, for Luna to smell. She licked at the cap with her big purple tongue ( purple a genetic trait of her being a Chow, or of her being a Wild Thing) and she pawed at it with her large over sized feet and front paws with long dark terrible nails.

Luna's coloring was all over the place. Sometimes she looked brown, other times she looked striped. One of the monsters from Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are looked the same way.

In early January of 2009, I brought home a knit cap from the hospital. Our youngest son, Jackson was born and I wanted to make sure that Max and Wyatt and definitely Luna had a chance to smell what was coming home in the next day or so. Max and Wyatt did not sniff at the hat, but Luna, Luna inhaled the scents.

In the book Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Max decides he is going home. The Wild Things protest and tell him "We'll eat you up-we love you so."

Our dog Luna has been with us in -paraphrased Maurice Sendak's words- "through night and day, in and out of weeks and almost over a (decade). "

Due to circumstances beyond our control , we had to put Luna down this evening. She was (I hope) at peace, Lauren and I holding her and petting her as the vet administered the shots that would take away her pain. Luna is now Where the Wild Things Are, chasing rabbits and eating treats.

I am sad, Luna was my first and only dog. Lauren is even more sad than I am. But we are adults and have had Luna in our lives for the past ten years. We can handle it.

But even worse than our feelings, is the fact that on Friday 10/22/10 Maxfield will have his first day in his entire life ( 6 years and 7 odd months) without his dog. Max knows this and he has cried about this. Wyatt will experience his first day in his 4 years and 4 months of life without his dog. Jackson, who is only 3 month shy of turning two , will have his first day without Luna.

We know she is Where the Wild Things Are. We love her so. Let the wild rumpus start.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Greatest Dad

I was the greatest, bestest dad in the whole entire world. On Wednesday October 6th I told Maxfield and Wyatt that the new, latest and greatest season premiere of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien would be airing for the first time on that coming Sunday October 10th. I had seen a few advertisements for what was going to be a marathon of Ben 10 episodes on 10/10/10. I smiled at how awesome the marketing was to premiere the new season on that very date. I smiled even bigger when Max and Wyatt did happy dances and started to ask questions.

"When Dad?"


"What time?"

"I am not sure."


"On Sunday. You see Sunday is October tenth. October is the tenth month, Sunday is the tenth day and the year is 2010. So the date is 10-10-10 to show Ben 10. Get it?"

"We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah."

"I can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. I can't wait for Sunday...."

I was the best dad ever. I think I reached the highest rating ever onthe NASDAQ (National Association of Super Dad Awesomeness Qualifier) charts.

I did a little research online and discovered that Cartoon Network was going to be running several hours of previous Ben 10 shows culminating in the newest never before seen episode at 10 AM. 10-10-10-10. Could you make a premiere time any more perfect? I also read online that they were doing something special at the NY Comic Book Convention. It all made sense. I told the boys about the extra 10.

On Thursday October 7th Lauren and I agreed to let Max and Wyatt's best buddy, G, sleep over on that coming Saturday, so they could all watch the new Ben 10 together. More happy dances.

"G is sleeping over. Yeah. G is sleeping over. Yeah. G is sleeping over. Yeah."

Still the best dad. My NASDAQ rating split and then shot through the roof.

On Friday October 8th I perfected and tested my Candy Corn Pancakes recipe. The boys loved them. I told them I would be making them again on 10-10-10 day for the Ben 10 sleep over marathon. No happy dances but my best dad in the whole world rating was clearly unmatched.

Saturday October 9th was blur of soccer games, food shopping, house work, chores and other activities that were all done with smiles and whistles. G came over. The boys ate pizza and played and watched a movie. They were excited to wake up and spend the morning in their pajamas and eat sugary breakfast and snacks and watch Ben 10. Life did not get any better than that for a kid.

I was enjoying my spot at the top of the father charts. It was like I could do no wrong. Life did not get much better than that for a dad.

The next morning I woke up and turned on the TV to Cartoon Network. Ben 10 was not on. I checked the Verizon Fios guide and saw that Ben 10 was not scheduled to come on for any time in the morning. I felt a sense of dread overcome me but shook it off knowing that sometimes the cable guides are wrong. I went to the computer and did some quick Google searches. I found the pages that I read about the Ben 10 Marathon and the times of the shows. I read them again. Yup 10 AM on 10-10-10 is the time. I checked the local TV listings and saw that Ben 10 was not airing in our area until later that afternoon. I thought that it was odd that I had conflicting reports. I went back to the websites I had just read and scrutinized the pages. The dread returned. I had been reading some news articles from some Asia Pacific sources. Apparently Ben 10 is a huge hit in Fiji and Malaysia. The only problem was I did not live in Fiji or Malaysia.

I eventually gathered the boys in the kitchen hoping the smell of melting Candy Corn would soften the blow of the bad news. I explained to them that Ben 10 would be coming on.

"But how come?" They asked.

"I messed up the times." I said.

"But it is 10-10-10. It has to be on."

"It is not coming on until 7 o clock tonight." I explained.

"But how did you mess up?"

I could see the tears of disappointment starting to form in their eyes at the same time I felt my worlds greatest dad status start to plummet. The news was devastating. The kids looked as though I had punched them in the gut. They looked as if their favorite pet had just died. No they looked even worse. They looked as if, as if I , as if I had just told them that Ben 10 would not be on.

I screwed up. My kids were sad. I felt horrible. I did what any father would have done in this situation. I lied.

"Well I did not really mess up. It was the cable company. They messed it up. I called them and they are going to try and fix it but I don't think they will get it to work in time. Here, have some candy corn."

The best dad market crashed that day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It is rare for Lauren and I to go food shopping together. Usually one of us goes to the grocery store while the other stays home with the kids. Every so often though, we go to the Giant Food Store that has the child care play area, drop off the kids and Lauren and I make a date out of food shopping.

We try to make the best of the 90 minutes of free babysitting that the grocery store provides by shopping together, making food choices together, and every so often holding hands while in the canned goods sections. But my favorite part of grocery shopping with my wife is that we try to make each other laugh. Sometimes, during the day to day business of being a family we forget to try make each the other laugh, but not in the food store. The comedy potential is abundant at the grocery store.

I don't know when or how it started but it may have been back in the spring. Lauren from across the produce section held up two cantaloupes in front of her chest and yelled, "Bill, what do you think of these melons?"

The looks from the people around us was awesome. I, of course, burst out laughing.

The rest of that shopping trip became a duel to see who could get the better reaction from the other people shopping. Now whenever we get the chance to food shop together we make it a point to see if we can get a reaction, not only from each other, but also of those around us.

"Hey Lauren, what kind of nuts do you like? In bulk or already in a sack?"

"Bill, I got crabs!"

"Lauren? How do you want the sausage?"

"Bill, get the presliced cheese. I hate it when you cut the cheese at home."

Last week, Lauren and I split up in the store to get the shopping done a bit quicker. I was in the main front aisle, pushing the cart towards where we were going to meet up when she popped out from around the corner of an aisle 4 rows down. Lauren held up a jar a peanut butter.

"I already got some." I hollered to her. I picked up the jar of peanut butter in the cart and held it up for her to see.

She turned to put the jar in her hand back on a shelf. I could see the smirk start to form on her face when she turned back to me, held the jar up in the air and yelled.

"Did you get the big one? You know how I like the big one."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

...feeling like a fool

Sunday, 10/10/10. Phillies playoff game on tonight. Philadelphia Eagles on tonight. Mad Men almost season finale on tonight. And of course this is all the same night (10/10/10) that there is a Ben 10 marathon and new episode of the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien airing.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Middle Child Syndrome Medicine.

Wyatt has been going through a phase (I hope its a phase) that whenever he is upset or disappointed he starts spouting off with "I NEVER..." Sometimes I get his frustration and where he is coming from.

"I NEVER get to sit on that spot on the couch."
"I NEVER get to be Batman on the Wii."
"I Never get to go to first grade birthday parties."

Sometimes I don't get where he is coming from and I chalk it up to Middle Child Syndrome.

"I NEVER get to turn off the TV."
"I NEVER get to go to the bathroom first."
"I NEVER get to open the refrigerator door."

Ridiculous things like that.

Wyatt is the middle child. He does not get as much attention as Max does ,due to school work and activities. Nor does he get as much attention as Jackson, who is not yet 2 and needs help with almost everything.

Every now and then I need to remind Wyatt that he is special and that he does get special treatment every so often.

At the end of our Little League season (back in June) one of our coaches, Lee, suggested we have a pizza party at the local firehouse. The coach is one of the chiefs at the fire department and thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing the trucks up close. While we setting up the party Max and I were invited to go for a ride on one of the engine trucks. We of course said yes. We sat in the back and ooh and ahhed like little kids (Max id a little kid) the entire ride.

The pizza party was a huge success. Towards the end of the party the Chief Lee heard me tell Max not to tell Wyatt that we went for a ride on one of the trucks.

"Wyatt will be upset that he did not get to go." I explained to Chief Lee.

"Well, I will make sure that I take Wyatt another time." Lee responded. "When would be a good time?"

"Actually Wyatt's birthday is tomorrow, what are the chances I could bring him by tomorrow?"

Lee, being the good guy that he is, smiled and said. "How about I bring the engine to your house?"

On Wyatt's fourth birthday a fire engine pulled up in front of our house. Chief Lee asked Wyatt if he wanted a ride. Wyatt of course said yes. Chief Lee took Wyatt around the neighborhood with the lights flashing and the siren blaring.

Every now and then, when Wyatt starts with his "I NEVERS", I show him these pictures and I tell him that Max and Jackson never had a fire engine show up for their birthdays.

A ride in a fire engine is definitely good medicine for Middle Child Syndrome.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


This morning I ran my first official 5 K race/run. I say official because I actually wore one of the number things on my shirt. The proceeds from the run benefit Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Ryan and Jack fighting back. If you feel so inclined go to their website and donate.

This was the first year they held the race so the turn out was somewhat small in comparison to other runs I have attended. But this was the first race I have ever entered and although I was disappointed with my time I did place first in my age group which was Blue Eyed Men Born Between May and July 1970. That's right the rest of the dudes in that category ate my dust.

I pushed myself pretty hard during the race and then when I finished I ate my body weight in soft pretzels and Dunkin Donut Munchkins.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Young Jedi

Mom mom recently bought the older boys some toys. Little did she know that the boys would love them so much that they would need to sleep with their new toys. The new toys were not stuffed. They were not animals. They were blue light-up noise making double sided light sabers.
I no longer hear the soft gentle snores of the boys in the middle of the night. Now I hear the "vroooooosh-Vreeeeeoom-CRESH." of the light sabers.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Jackson, while playing with the cordless phone, dialed 911. I have no idea how long he was on the phone with the 911 operator. The call took place right after bath time. Lauren and I were busy drying off the kids and dressing them in their pajamas. Besides Jackson's incomprehensible 20 month old babbling I am sure the 911 operator heard all kinds of talk from the boys about heinies, tushies and bu-utts (pronounced with two syllables as in "Max, see my bu-utt." ((one syllable for each cheek waved in front of his face)).

We are thankful that the officer dispatched is one of our neighbors who knows us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deja Vu

Jackson was wearing some Batman jammies hand-me-downs. As he ran through our kitchen I had flashbacks to Max doing the same thing. I thought about it a bit and realized that I posted an image of Maxfield on this blog back in 2005 .

I emailed the 1st pitcure to Lauren and her response was "Oh my. It is a blue eyed Jackson."

This is one of the very reasons that I love that I started this blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010


This past May, the 17th of May actually, I started an effort to exercise and lose weight. When I started exactly 4 months ago, I weighed 217 lbs. This morning my weight was 189 lbs. I have been hovering abound the 190 mark for the past three weeks. I still count my caloric intake. I still run 5 days a week. But I have not lost any more weight. I have plateaued. I have hit a wall.

Over the course of the past four months anytime I felt a lack of motivation or uninspired something small would set off a spark to keep me going. Whether is was a reading Black Hockey Jesus' monthly running updates or discovering new music by one of my favorite local bands Find Vienna *or finding a new route to take, something would motivate me to get out the door the next morning.

Lately I have been uninspired. Maybe it is the change of weather. Or maybe it is due to the fact that it is pitch black out at 5AM when I do my runs. Or maybe it is due to the fact that I have plateaued and there are no signs of progress.

I switched my exercise routine from P90x to just running for many various reasons. One of those reasons is that Lauren, my wife, one of my biggest inspirations also runs. I was hoping I would be able to train to get to her pace and that eventually we could run together. It would be something we could do as a couple. Having her as a partner would keep me motivated. But with three young boys in the house doing it together is not an option. There is not enough time in the day for Lauren and I to do it together. I would love to be able to get all hot and sweaty and out of breath with Lauren, but well hiring a babysitter so we could do just that would be kind of weird. Yes I am talking about running. So I am stuck doing it by myself, which is getting kind of boring. (this would be a bad spot to say that occsionally my brother Jim has joined me). I am still talking about running.

Lauren has been training all summer for a half marathon that takes place this Sunday. I plan to go down town and watch her race. I am excited and nervous for her. I also know that when I watch her cross the finish line I will be inspired to run again. She has that affect on me.

*I discovered Find Vienna last year at a first Friday event in our small town. They were playing outside of the music shop. I loved the fact that they were performing their own music and that they were really good. I have been keeping an eye and ear on them ever since. They are really good and I think they are going to have a great future. If you like Maroon 5 or The Script you will like Find Vienna.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


"Is Wyatt okay?" I asked Lauren as she climbed back into bed.

"Yes. He just wanted to cuddle for a bit. He wanted to come into bed with us but I told him I would lay with him in his bed for a few minutes."

"Oh. good." I turned out my bedside light.

"Did you ever notice all the dried boogers on the wall next to his bed?" Lauren asked.

"Ew. No. That's kind of gross."

"Yes it is."

"Well the good thing is, at least he is not eating them."

"Yes. You're right."

"Good night Lauren."

"Good night Bill."

Lauren turned out her light.

"Bill," Lauren said breaking the quiet, "That is not comforting. Did you ever notice how there are no dried boogers on the wall next to Max's bed?"

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Stripper Taught Me How to Do Laundry

My mom never taught me how to do laundry. She did most of it and when I was old enough to do my own I just winged it. I moved out of my parent's house when I was 19 and most of my laundering was done at the Laundromat or some other coin operated machine in various basements of the various apartments I rented. I was working as a life insurance underwriter so I took most of my dress shirts and dress pants to the dry cleaner, which was the only other true expense I had at the time; rent, food, beer and dry cleaning were my bills. I got by.

I started working in a nightclub when I was 24. The after hours club where I worked downtown was located right next door the city's premiere gentleman's club (AKA a nudey bar or strip joint). I worked 5 nights a week during hours of operation and 2 days a week dealing with vendors, promotions and book keeping. One of the managing owners of the strip joint also was a partner at the place I worked. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between the two places to borrow supplies, make change, persuade VIP customers to visit my club and report numbers.

One day around 2 in the afternoon I had to run next door to see my boss. I entered the darkened black light lit gentleman's club from the bright sunny outdoors. I waited a minute for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and my ears to adjust to the too much bass mixed Guns N Roses Paradise City. Once I could make out faces I nodded a hello to the doorman and I waved to the barmaid. A dancer, named Mercedes or Porsche or some other type of fancy car name, sitting by herself at the bar pointed at my shirt and started laughing. She directed the barmaid's attention to my shirt and she too started laughing.

I looked at my shirt and I could see big purplish fluorescent splotches spattered all down the front. I walked towards the bar and I asked the barmaid what was so funny. She told me my shirt looked like it was, well, what she said was not very nice but it involved body fluids. The dancer then asked me if I did my own laundry. I found the question to be odd but I answered yes. She then asked me how I did my laundry. I told her that I put all my clothes in the washer, pour the liquid detergent over the top of the clothes and then I turn on the washer.

The dancer took a drag from her cigarette, as she exhaled up into the air she said, "That's the problem right there." She then explained to me that the by pouring the liquid detergent over top of dry clothes was causing it to "stick" to my shirt. The soap was not dissolving completely in the load of laundry. Liquid laundry detergent has fluorescent qualities that make it glow in the presences of black lights. Mercedes, or Porsche or Miata, then told me that I should put the detergent into the washing machine first, then turn it on and let it fill halfway before I put my clothes in. The soap would have a chance to dissolve and not stick to any one article of clothing. I would also get a cleaner load of laundry overall.

The front door to the club opened, silhouettes of a three male patrons appeared in the door way, back lit by the bright sun. The door closed and three men paused waiting for their eyes to adjust. Darkness enveloped them except for the bright white fluorescent splotches scattered across their clothes.

I am sure most strippers have all kinds of cleaning tips.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Last month I attended the BlogHer Voices of the Year Gala and Art show that was held one night of the BlogHer conference. The art work (a photo by Karen Walrond also known as Chookooloonks ) that was paired with my writing is here and up for auction here.

While I was at the conference I walked the expo floor, checking out all the various vendors who were there in an effort to pitch their products to bloggers. There is some debate throughout the blogosphere regarding bloggers and companies working together in an advertising/reviewer type of capacity, pay vs. no pay, adv-itorial vs. actual review, good pitches vs. bad pitches. It gets so screwy that the FCC is involved.

All of the companies that had booths at BlogHer, as far as I see, support the medium of blogging. They paid for their booth space, which in turns supports BlogHer, which in turn supports the individual blogger. In an effort to show my good faith to those companies that support the medium of blogging I decided to review a couple of the items I received while at the conference.
I have not been compensated financially in any way. I just feel compelled to support those that try to support bloggers.

Playskool and their PR people did an excellent job of showcasing their PlayDoh, Mr. Potato and Tonka lines but the coolest thing I saw at their booth was their line of Weebles. I loved Weebles when I was a kid and I totally forgot how fun they can be until I saw them at the conference. I told the Playskool people that my son, Maxfield, had just built a "weeble" using PVC piping and weights while he was at a day camp. The people at the Playskool booth were nice enough to give me a two-pack of Weebles for me to bring home to show Max what a real Weeble looked like. My kids loved them. They still love them. Jackson, being 19 months old, is the perfect age for Weebles. They fit his hands perfectly and he enjoys the fact that they don't fall down. He also enjoys throwing them across the room at his older brothers.

The great and deep thinker Jack Handy once wrote, "I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.”

That right there pretty much sums up my thoughts on the whole Green Movement. I am all for doing what is right by the environment. I recycle. I believe that people should use renewable/sustainable products but whenever I see something that is supposedly better for the environment I can't help but be somewhat skeptical. The people of Scotch-Brite were handing out samples of their new line of "Greener Clean" scrub sponges. Looking at their website they use the description "a new line of effective cleaning products." By using the word effective it says to me that other people are also skeptical. I have no idea on what kind impact the scrub sponge will have on the environment but I will tell you that it works just as good as their other non-earth friendly scrub sponges. I have used it only a few times so I have no idea whether it will last just as long as a normal sponge. My only criticism is that it would not fit in my ears to dampen the sound of a four-year screaming that he will "NOT eat my DINNER no matter WHAT", over and over again, while I tried to do the dishes.

I appreciate the fact that both Playskool and Scotch-Brite support the medium of blogging.

I now plan to teach Jackson how to throw the sponge instead of the Weeble.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I was in the attic looking for some old documents when I discovered this picture of my wife, when she was about 5 years old, and her father. I showed Lauren the picture. She said she remembers the exact moment the picture was taken. Her dad was testing the timer on his new camera.

The other day, my mom said that Jackson looks so much like Lauren. I didn't really see it.

I see it now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I was doing my best to teach Maxfield and Wyatt a lesson regarding manners. Sometimes the kids act like kings and demand juice, milk, dessert, the Wii or anything else. After giving into Wyatt's requests at the dinner table and not hearing his response I said, "Your thank yous should always be louder than your requests."

It was a long day and I was in a mood.

I then said to them, "Children need to be constantly practicing their manners. Like doctors and lawyers practice their professions, children should practice their manners, always."

Five minutes later Max farted loud and long.

We all laughed. It broke the tension.

He has definitely been practicing his comedic timing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


My mother sat down at the kitchen table to have her morning tea. She was having a rough start of the day and decided to sit in my father's spot at the table that faced the back window. My dad had been dead for a few months and my mother would occasionally find comfort in his chair. She sipped her tea recalling a conversation they had just a few weeks before he died, before the cancer took over his brain, about how my mom never sees any rabbits in the yard anymore. My dad told her it was probably due to the groundhog living under the shed as well as the neighbors dog that was keeping away the rabbits. As these thoughts ran through her mind a brown Cottontail Rabbit hopped into her view through the window. The windows in my mother's kitchen run almost floor to ceiling and only sit 2 feet above the outside ground. My mother watched the rabbit hop closer to the window and seemingly stare inside. Mom stared back for what she said seemed like 10 to 15 minutes. My mom took the rabbit as a sign from my dad saying everything was going to be okay.

Ray, my wife's father, passed away just a few weeks before my dad. Just a a few days before Christmas actually. I remember the week after Christmas, right around Ray's birthday, Lauren and I were laying in bed enjoying a rare afternoon quiet rest, when a bug flew against the window over and over again. Lauren got up to investigate to find a Lady Bug hanging out on the curtains. A few days later we learned that Lauren's mom had a similar experience at the same time. Max, who missed his Pop-Pop very much, also had a Ladybug experience during that week. We began to call Ladybugs Ray.

Some people believe that the spirits or ghosts of deceased loved ones try to communicate with the living through signs. These sightings or symbols are called after-death-communications; ADC for short.

In 2005 when my grandmother died (my mom's mom) there was a butterfly ADC phenomena going around amongst her siblings. When a family friend, Jeff Toz, died in Iraq there were many deer sightings (my mom used to babysit Jeff before and after school everyday for three to four years. Jeff and my youngest brother Jim became very tight friends. Jeff was an avid hunter and a deer showed up at his funeral which the Arlington guards were very wary and suspicious about a wild animal being on the grounds. When my mom came home the next day from the funeral her next door neighbor told her there was deer on her front yard at the exact same time of Jeff's funeral, doo-doo-doo-doo-dood-doo-doo-dooo-dooooooo. *) ADC.

A couple of weeks after my mom told me her rabbit story I had three rabbit sightings/signs.

1- A rabbit was sitting in my driveway when I came home from Steve G's mother's funeral. Steve G and I were childhood friends. So after a night of thinking about dead parents I see a rabbit.
2- I took my mother-in-law to see Lisa Williams, the entertainer/medium, perform at the Keswick theater. After an evening talking about dead loved ones I pulled into my mother-in-law's driveway and there on her front walk was a rabbit.
3- The third time I saw a rabbit (after my mom's ADC story) was when our family was leaving for one of our cousins/nieces first holy communions (which was the first big family event without my father). I was in the car waiting for Lauren to come out when a rabbit appeared from under a bush, hopped towards the car and just sat there staring at me. Again another doo-doo-doo-doo dood-doo-doo dooooo*moment. We began to call rabbits Skip.

We have also have had many other ladybug encounters. For a while after Ray died wherever Max and Wyatt went they would find ladybugs. Wyatt who usually screams at the sight of bugs would have no problem picking up and carrying ladybugs. There was a time right around Max's birthday where there were 5 ladybugs in his bedroom. ADC? I don't know. Strange and weird? Yes. Last week I was cleaning out the garage and a ladybug landed on the workbench. I said "Hello Ray."

Lately, as rabbits are known (and actually so was Skip) to do, they have procreated. There has been so much procreation, my backyard is becoming overrun by Skips. On any given morning there are at least 5 or 6 rabbits in my backyard grazing on the grass or eating our garden. They are everywhere. They have set up a den behind my shed. There are piles of rabbit poop all over the place. Every morning I sit on my back porch sip my coffee and watch rabbits chew up my lawn and I say "Good morning Skip."

My house is haunted. Haunted by ladybugs and bunnies.

Do you have any ADC stories? Is your house haunted?

* The doo-doo-doo is supposed to sound like the theme to the Twilight Zone but every time I read it it sounds like the spaceship tones from Close Encounters. I am sorry for any confusion this may have caused if you "heard"the same thing in your head.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dark Side

Maxfield closed his eyes, extended his arm towards the middle of the kitchen table and slowly bent his hand back to a 30 degree angle. Ten seconds later he opened his eyes and looked disappointed. Wyatt closed his eyes and did the same arm motion.

"What are you guys doing?" Lauren asked.

"We're trying to use the Force." Max answered.

"I am trying to move that cup." Wyatt added.

"How does the Force work?" Max asked.

"How does it say it works in the movie?" Lauren answered with a question. I love the fact that she did not answer by saying that the Force is not real or that it is only pretend. She lets them believe. There is a sweet and comforting innocence to the conversation. I am across the room smiling from ear to ear.

Earlier in the weekend, Saturday evening to be specific, I was flipping through the channels and like any pseudo-sci-fi fan, I had to stop when I saw that The Empire Strikes Back was on one of the cable stations. I did not pay attention to what channel, I only saw Yoda instructing Luke. My six and four year old kids saw Yoda too. There was going to be no more channel flipping.

My boys are familiar with Star Wars and some of the characters from toys and Lego video games, but they have never seen the actual movies. I decided to let them watch, knowing the original films are relatively tame. They caught an hour of the movie before it was time for bed. I told them we could watch more at another time. Oh the questions they had as they brushed their teeth and put on PJs. "How did Yoda lift the X-wing?" "Why was Han frozen?" "What happened to p3p0"? "Is Bobo Fett a good guy or a bad guy?" "Why is Dark Fader a bad guy, Max always said he was a good guy and I always pretended to be Dark Fader because Max said I had to be him, do I have to be him because I don't want to be if he is bad?"

Sunday afternoon, while flipping through the channels I realized that the same cable station, Spike, was running a continuous loop of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Another station was playing Fantastic Four. We started to watch the Fantastic Four when after a few scenes I realized it may be a bit too violent for the kids. We switched over the Empire at the same moment in the film that we stopped watching the night before and I let the kids watch the rest of the movie. I sat on the floor folding laundry while watching it with them.

My kids were glued to the TV. I got caught up in the nostalgia and stoppped folding the clean clothes in front of me. I was getting excited to watch my kids reaction when they find out Darth is Luke's dad. They probably already knew because something like that is just part of human DNA strand now, or just embedded in the collective consciousness. But I wanted to see if they, you know, got it.

The Millennium Falcon is trying to outrun Tie Fighters, R2 is trying to fix the warp drive, Luke is engaged in a light saber battle with Darth Vader, the big moment is coming up when a commercial comes on.

I start matching socks when all I hear from the TV is "Tits." I look up at Lauren wide eyed she gives me a look. I hear it again..."Tits."

The commercial is for a roast of David Hasselhoff that will be airing that night. The commercial shows a clip of one the comedians saying something about Pamela Anderson. I was shocked. In the middle of a Sunday afternoon, in the middle of a movie like The Empire Strikes Back they air a commercial like that.

I am no prude. I understand that the station we are watching is a men's station, but, come on, seriously the commercial had to say tits? I was hoping they would not ask what that meant. It is way too soon for my kids to learn about that. I am hoping it is like another 6 or 7 years before Max or Wyatt start asking questions about tits. And if they have as much interest in them as they do the Star Wars movies, well then there will be questions. Right now I like the innocence and imagination of the out stretched arm, eyes closed, using the Force as opposed to an out stretched arm, eyes closed, doing a "tune in Tokyo."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I decided to wear my super underwear for my trip to NY last Friday for the BlogHer Voices of the Year thing. I knew it was going to be hot, that I was going to be doing a lot of walking and that I wanted to be comfortable. I also thought it would be a good idea to wear a moisture wicking T-shirt (aka a workout shirt) under my dress shirt.

I sat on the vinyl seats of the NJ Transit train for about 90 minutes on my trip from Trenton to NY. I took the dank, steamy D subway train from Madison Square Garden to 7th Ave. I then walked two blocks in 90 plus degree weather wearing a back pack stuffed with business cards* to the event. When I arrived I felt very comfortable in my super underwear. I was sweaty but I was comfortable. I took off my back pack so I could get my invitation when I noticed that the backpack was soaked.

It was then that I realized that moisture wicking under garments was not the way to go. Moisture wicking fabric wicks the moisture away from the body to the outer layers of the fabric. It is designed that air then either cools or dries the fabric. But when you wear another layer of clothes on top of that fabric, like a dress shirt, the dress shirt, or the middle trunk section of your dress pants becomes soaked with sweat. My clothes were moist from my chest to mid thigh.

I stood in the lobby hoping my clothes would dry off a bit. But as my luck would have it I ran into Oh The Joys. We have known each other in the blog world for years and this was our first time meeting. She gave me a hug. I am sure it felt like she was wringing me out. I apologized for being so sweaty.

I walked around the showroom floor for about an hour hoping I would un-dampen. I purchased a copy of The Dread Crew because I knew that Kate Inglis would be signing copies in the lobby. When I approached the table I saw Black Hockey Jesus. I introduced myself and I immediately became nervous/excited and could feel myself sweating. I am a big fan of BHJ. A couple of minutes later I bumped into Kevin. I started talking to him and he said "Man, you are sweating." Which I replied "Well, I am hot." and then I became very self conscious of my sweaty-ness. I was no longer sweating but my clothes were damp.

After the community keynote speakers I went into the various halls to go look at all the artwork that was matched up with the 90 VOTY blog posts. I was excited to see that my post was paired with a photograph taken by Chookooloonks (which will be auctioned at some point in the near future). I then proceeded to do my best to hand out my business cards and network which turned out to be basically me just getting shaking hands and hugging people and getting my sweat on people. I dampened The Bloggess, Laid Off Dad, Kim, Cecily, GreebleMonkey , Father Muskrat and Torrie and I am sure a few others.
Overall I am glad I went to the event. It was great to meet some people whose work in this medium of blogging I really enjoy. The best part was that I got to tell them I enjoy their work to their face.

These are the business cards I packed. I had 80 little tissue packets with a P and B label, you know, because tissues are good for both. I did not do a very good job networking, I still have about 50 packs left.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Lima Syndrome

Last night we decided to order food from a Chinese/Japanese restaurant that Lauren had been wanting to try. Wyatt, of course, refused to eat his dinner. Like any four year old he had his reason. "I don't like that chicken."

"Wyatt you eat chicken all the time." I said.

"But I don't like THAT chicken." he said pointing to the batter-dipped chicken "nugget" sitting on his plate.

We ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken (C97), Steamed Vegetables (D1) and Rice (C30) for the kids. All three items that they normally would eat if we made it at home.

"Wyatt, please eat." Lauren said.

"No. I don't like it."

Maxfield, being the older brother, and knowing that dessert was on the line if everyone did not eat tried to help out. "Wyatt," he said "these are chicken nuggets from a McDonald's in China."

Lauren and I laughed at Maxfield's logic.

Max continued "Kai-Lan eats these."

"No she doesn't" Wyatt barked. He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

"Eat the vegetables then." I suggested. "Or the rice. I know you like rice."

"I don't like THAT rice."

He was being stubborn. We told him he would not be getting any dessert if he did not eat. He was fine with that. I told him he not going to be able to get up from the table if he did not eat. He was fine with that. I told him I would get a pillow from upstairs so he could sleep at the table. He was fine with that. I did not understand why he was putting up such a fight, it's not like I was asking him to eat C67 or C17 or J57.

We needed to pick up a quart of Rita's Water Ice for our neighbor so Lauren told Wyatt she was taking Max and Jackson. Wyatt didn't care, he acted like he was calling our bluff. Lauren took the other boys. I was left with Wyatt as my hostage at the dinner table.

We went back and forth with my requests for him to eat and his refusals. He asked for something else to eat. I told him he had to eat what was on his plate. We sat in silence for a few minutes. Wyatt tried to get up to go play with Lego's. I made him sit back down. I stared at him, he stared back. He finally figured out I was being serious, he took a bite of his chicken. He chewed it 4 or 5 times, gagged and spit it out. He asked for some milk to wash down the food. I told him no, he had to eat his veggies. He took a bite of the snow pea, gagged and spit it out. He ate some rice. He knew he was my captive.

We started chatting about the day. A good conversation between a father and his middle child. No one was around to interrupt or divide my attention. We talked swimming, Ben 10, fire engines and Legos. He chuckled and smiled as we recounted the day.

"I was pretty good today dad."

"Yes you were."

"I helped you with the fence." He smiled.


"Can I have some ketchup?"

I got him ketchup. When I opened the fridge I noticed some raw Sugar Snap peas and I placed a few on his plate. He ate them. I squeezed a mound of ketchup onto his plate. He dipped his chicken in the ketchup and took a bite. I returned the bottle to the fridge and saw some left over pasta.

"I like ketchup." he said and he batted his long eyelashes at me.

"I know you do. Do you want some pasta?"

"Just a little bit."

I gave him pasta. We talked some more. Wyatt must have seen my back bone softening and he asked for a tomato. I gave him one which he ate the whole thing. Wyatt then told me that he was full but he still had room for water ice. Just then Lauren walked in with a quart of Black Cherry and a quart of Root beer and I told her Wyatt was cleared for dessert.

She looked at his plate, all the original Chinese food still there, looked at me with a "are you sure" face.

I think I fell victim to a reverse Stockholm Syndrome.