Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas



Click the Year for the Previous Christmas Cards 2009, 2010 and 2011

Monday, November 26, 2012

Addiction Figures

Up until the Christmas of 1978 I played with the normal toys an 8 year old boy would at that time. I played with Matchbox cars, sticks, rocks, cap guns and I had the standard GI Joe and Action Man dolls.  But that Christmas morning of 1978 opening a Star Wars Luke Skywalker 3 1/4 inch four points of articulation with the a telescoping light saber was an event that, although I did not know it at the time, was going to change my life. Action Figures as we know them today is largely due to the success of the Star Wars movie and Kenners' license to manufacture the toys. Between 1978 and 1982 our house must have had dozens and dozens of action figures laying around.

I eventually out grew playing with the figures, my interests switching to super hero comic books. In 1984 Mattel released a set of action figures based on Marvel Comics Secret War comic books. My mom could not believe that a 14 year boy was asking for action figures for Christmas. She did not understand the overwhelming need of a comic collector to posses a plastic replica of Wolverine and Captain America. I was able to secure two of each figure, one to play with and one to keep in it's package. Collecting toys was now one of my hobbies.

Over the next decade better designs and processes allowed for more articulation of parts and better paint detail in the figures. The figures were almost like pieces of art; sculptures with a little bit of playability. Throughout the late1980s and early 1990's collecting figures became a serious business. It also became a serious addiction for me.

I spent weekends searching the shelves of toy stores looking new and possibly rare toys, variants and misprints were key to a good collection. I knew some of the employees at Toys R Us that would allow me to check new cartons for "short packed" characters which were more rare.  I would make sure that the blister pack and cardboard backing would stay in mint condition. During that time I had hundreds and hundreds of action figures laying around.  Most were kept in boxes, while other hung on the walls of my apartment.  I was single at the time (I did notice that I did not have many second dates) and had no other responsibilities. I was able to use some of the money from the sale of rare figures to put down on a car and pay for a vacation which was justifying my behavior to friends and family.

I ended up selling most of my collection in the late 1990's.  I quit cold turkey. The hobby was costing me 30 to 50 bucks a week.  What I did not sell I donated to the Children's Hospital.

I was action figure free for a while.

Once I had kids action figures started to creep their way back into my life but now they were called "guys." A Star Wars "guy " here and a Ben 10 "guy" there. Some of these "guys" were designed for little kids without much of a cool factor, while other "guys" were designed for a more sophisticated consumer without much playability. I was able to control my urges to buy every "guy" under the sun.

Last month Mattel through the group MommyParties reached out to me to see if I would be interested in hosting a Batman Power Attack party. It is like they knew I was a recovering Action Figure Addict and that I could not say no.  They agreed to send me 10 new Batman Power Attack figures as well as party favors if I would host a party for kids to try to the figures.

The stuff that MommyParties and Mattel sent me was awesome. For a brief moment I considered keeping all the figures for myself. Oooh mint condition blister packs you are such a flirt. Why does the smell of cardboard and plastic have such an effect on me?

But I was good.

My boys, Maxfield, Wyatt and Jackson invited Zach, Gianni, Josh, Cristian and Gregory over for the party. Cristian and Gregory were probably the two that were most stoked about a Batman party, being that they are the die hard super hero fans.  The kids ate chips and popcorn and drank juice while I gave them a brief history of Batman (the greatest super hero ever). The Batman Power Attack figures are bit larger and more durable than most of the action figures out there. The have just the right amount of articulation for the toys function or ability.

The figures were not too juvenile for the older 8 year old boys and not too scary for the Jackson and Gregory both just turning 4. All in all the kids seemed to have a good time.

Disclaimer-My opinions are my own. I did not receive any type of compensation for hosting the party besides the action figures and party favors. I did receive a few extra figures which I plan to donate to Toys for Tots. I did give my son Maxfield the Killer Croc figure which was the short packed figure. I cringed when he tore it from the blister pack. I also had mild heart palpitations when the dog started to chew the Robin figure that Jackson received. I ca not be held responsible for any of the boys who attended the party becoming addicted to toys nor for them not getting second dates when they are in their early 20's. I do want to thank Mommy Parties and Mattel for the opportunity and the toys. I also need to thank the boys' parents especially Tony P, Bill Z. and Lee G for letting their kids come over to play Batman.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


"Jackson put gum up his nose." Lauren said as she entered the house.

She was returning home from, what was clear to me, a frustrating trip to the store with the three boys.  I have a sixth sense for these things. I can sense, well it is not really sense but more of just know, that anytime you try to take three boys to a store it will be frustrating. I also can tell the level of frustration based on how Lauren enters the house. When the first words out of her mouth are one of the kid's names or the phrase "You will not believe what THIS one did" it usually is not a good trip.

"Did you get it out?" I asked from my reclined spot on the couch. I lowered the volume of the football game that was on the TV. My Sunday afternoon plans were to lay on the couch, eat chips, drink a couple of beers and watch football.

"No. I was driving when he did it." She said. "He says it came out and he swallowed it."

Wyatt bounded into the room. "Dad, Jackson put gum up his nose."

 "I told him not to do it." Max said as he followed Wyatt.

"I heard. What kind on gum was it?" I asked hoping to get an answer from Lauren.

"Just gum, Dad." Wyatt answered.

"What difference does it make?" Lauren asked.

"Well, if it is a Chick-let type of gum, it would be small and could really get up there. But if it is a big piece of Bubble Yum, or something I should be able to see it."

I called Jackson over, leaned him backwards over my lap, and looked up his nose. I could see a very small white blob of snotty gum jammed way up into his right nostril. I was afraid that the gum might make its way through the nasal passage and to his throat, which could cause him to choke. It looked bad and I knew we needed to get it out.

The football game, the chips, the beer and the laying on the couch would have to wait.

The gum was lodged too far up for his fingers to be able to reach it. We made many failed attempts at trying get him to blow his nose. I tried snatch it a few times with a standard pair of tweezers but between fidgeting, screams and tears I could not get the gum out.

Our neighbor, Lisa, is a nurse (I like to think of her as Jackson's personal ER consultant) Lauren called Lisa to see if she had a larger/longer pair of tweezers. Lisa  did not have larger tweezers but she came down to take a look up Jackson's nose. She agreed that the gum needed to be extracted. Lisa called Amy, who is also a nurse, to see if she had larger tweezers. Amy did not have the tweezers but she was in the area and so she stopped by to look up Jackson's nose. Everyone agreed that Jackson would need to go to the ER to have the gum removed.

The football game was already half over. After looking up Jackson's nose so many times the chips and beer lost their appeal. Laying on the couch would have to wait.

Lisa agreed to take the older boys to her house so Lauren and I could take Jack to the ER.

We got into the car and started the 20 minute drive to the hospital. I was feeling kind of annoyed at the whole situation.  Gum up the nose is not a priority in a hospital. I knew, that even on a slow day we would be waiting for a really long time. I also knew that they would probably have to strap Jackson down, a scenario I did not want to witness, so they could get gum out.

I looked into the rear view mirror at Jackson who was feeling a bit frightened at the idea of going to the hospital. He looked worn out. Lauren was upset with the whole ordeal. I started talking to both Jackson and Lauren hoping to take every ones mind off of the ER visit, besides I needed to vent a bit.

"Jack, this is why you do not put gum in your nose. We now have to take you to the hospital. Hon, you should make sure we have our insurance card. They won't hurt you Jax, but it will be scary. Are you going to put gum up you nose again? Are you? I know you didn't mean to get the gum stuck but if you don't put it there in the first place, it will never get stuck. Do we have enough money in the checking account for the co-pay? I think the co-pay is a 100 bucks. Jackson, one small piece of gum is going to cost me at least a hundred dollars. Do you know how many trains a hundred dollars could buy? I can't believe a stupid piece of gum is going to cost us 100 bucks. That's a lot of trains. You know Jax, if you could get that gum out of your nose before we get to the hospital I would give you money to a buy a train. I won't give him a a hundred dollars but I would sure as hell buy him a train. We could go right to the toy store right now if that gum comes out."

"A Thomas train?" Jackson asked. He suddenly perked up.

"What ever train you want pal."

What happened in the back seat is kind of hard to describe. There was grunting, snorting, hocking, huffing, puffing, sniffing, slurping, blowing and all kinds of other noises. Lauren and I could not believe he was working so hard at getting the gum out.  I pulled the car over so Lauren could get in the back seat to help him. She held his unobstructed nostril as Jack blew. Within a minute or two a long piece of snot covered chewing gum was dangling from his nose. Lauren, with only a deft move a mother could pull off, used her nails to remove the rest of the gum.

We cheered. We clapped and congratulated Jackson. Yes, we cheered for a three-year-old's ability to blow gum out of his nose.

We went directly to the toy store and bought a Thomas train as trophy for his accomplishment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Last Time I Cried

Over the past 10 years I can remember crying in public on only a few occasions. One of those occasions was when I built a paver patio at our first house. At that time I promised myself I would never take on another project like that.

 I don't know if it is:
A.  the passage of time or,
B.  the attractiveness of my wife or,
C.  my stupidity,
 that makes me forget these promises, but somehow Lauren convinced me that we should build a slate patio.

Lauren dug out the approximate area she wanted to cover. with the slate.

We ordered the slate/flagstone from The Flower Station. They were nice enough to place the stone close to the work area.
We dug some more. We had to level the area to prep for the five yards of modified gravel needed for the foundation.
The last time I built a patio, it was during this phase that I had my breakdown. I pushed through it this time. We centered the foundation for the fire pit the best that we could and started the process of placing the stones.

Placing the stones was like putting together a puzzle. This proved to be the most challenging part. The stones are heavy and awkward to lift. There was lots of moving of the same pieces over and over again to make it all fit.

The Patio/Fire Pit turned out looking pretty good.
The kids like it, I like it, and Lauren loves it.
And this picture makes me realize the answer is B.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Life is good

It has been a while since I posted here on the blog. Some day I hope to get back to writing on a more regular basis.

We had a very busy, very fun summer.

Life is good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Milton Wright

While on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina we took the three boys to the Wright Brothers Museum and National Park. My family met my brother Jim and his family at the field where Orville and Wilbur Wright, also brothers, made history by flying the world's first flying machine. I was overcome with inspiration and awe, standing there knowing that two brothers over a hundred years before did something so significant and monumental in that very spot.
I wanted my kids, three brothers, to remember this day, and possibly look back at it as a day they too were inspired to do great things. During the visit a park ranger handed out kites for kids to fly in that very same historic spot.

Some historians claim that the Wright Brothers developed an interest in aviation when their father, Milton, brought them a gift of a toy Peanud helicopter.

There were about 75 people out on that historic field as the ranger handed out the kites. There wer not enough kites to go around to every person. My sons, Wyatt and Jackson had to share. It took them all of three minutes to start arguing. A few moments later Jackson punched Wyatt in the belly. Wyatt punched back. Soon they were in a a knock-down-drag-out wrestling match. I struggled to break them up and maintain an airborne kite at the same time. I sighed,  a deep sigh that got lost in the winds of that field. I felt a touch of sympathy for Milton Wright, Orville and Wilbur's father, who gave his sons a toy that inspired them to want to learn to fly. Milton Wright probably does not get the credit he deserves for breaking up the fights between thoes brothers over that toy.

I used to be inspired by heroes like the Wright Brothers. Now I think I can relate more to Milton.

In Brad Meltzer's book Heroes For My Son, Brad writes "Every day, they knew they'd fail. Every time they'd go out to fly--every time--they brought extra material because they knew their fledgling design would crash. Crash and rebuild. Crash and rebuild. But never, ever give up."

That was written about Orville and Wilbur, I think the same could be said for Milton.


After the the WWF match at Kitty Hawk we drove down to Jockey's Ridge State Park to check out the Eastern seaboard's largest sand dune. Again we met my brother Jim and his family. The dunes are a spectacular sight. Standing on the lookout, viewing the 400 plus acres of "living dunes",  I was again feeling inspired.
On one of the hottest days of the year my family and my brother Jim's family climbed to the peak of the ridge.

I had overheard some people at the base of the dunes say that people could Boogie Board down the steep sides, kind of like sledding in sand. I thought about the Wright Brothers. I thought about inspiration. I thought about Brad Meltzer's words. I carried the Boogies Boards.

My brother Jim went first. He face-planted in seconds. Learning from my brother's mistake, I took a different approach and tried to push Maxfield down the large sandy hill. I too face-planted pretty quickly, Max fell and went nowhere.

I thought about Meltzer's words again. Hot, sunburned, sweaty and covered in sand, after those two attempts, we gave up. I am more of a Milton myself.

The last two photos are courtesy of my sister in law Shannon. Used with permisssion.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nice Try

"Nice try." Rob said as pushed his empty plate forward and leaned back in his chair away from the table. A look of satisfaction eased onto his face.

"Thanks." Bob replied through a fork full of pasta.

Rob burped loud and long.

"I'll do the dishes." I said, standing up from the table.

"Bill, leave the pots and pans for me." Rob said.

Bob had just prepared and cooked the best meal we three young roommates had eaten in a very long while. We were all in our early twenties living in an apartment above a house. Most of our meals consisted of Spaghettios, pizza or bar food. Occasionally Bob, who raised as a latchkey kid learned to cook at an early age, would make dinner for the three of us.  That night he made the best tasting Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo I have ever had.

"Nice try Bob, nice try." Rob said again smiling.

Bob was not offended. He knew that Rob's "nice try" was of the highest compliments he could receive. "Nice try" was Rob's funny way of saying excellent or perfect, while keeping you humble.

Not too long ago I started to use the "nice try" phrase with Lauren. Lauren in return also started using it with me. It is our little inside joke way of saying "good job". Sometimes, like any inside joke, it is misunderstood by other people who might hear us say it. We sometimes get funny looks but we know what it means.

Tomorrow marks 10 years of being married to Lauren. When I married her it was a Nice Try. The past 10 years have been a Nice Try. I hope the next 10, 20, 30 years will be a Nice Try.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

15 Years Ago

I am always fascinated by the stories of how couples met. Was it chance? Were they set up? Was it love at first sight? Was it a Sliding Doors type of situation, where if the slightest smallest thing would have changed would they have never met?

I think about it all the time with the night I met my wife.

June 28th 1997.
I just got finished performing in a community theater presentation of Much Ado About Nothing. It was closing night and the cast was going out for a few drinks and some snacks to celebrate. Everybody (about 12 people) decided to go to an UNO Chicago Bar and Grill. We decided on this place because there were a few younger kids with our group.

I was working in a nightclub in downtown Philadelphia and knew I would have to get to work around Midnight. I arrived at UNO around 10:00, before the rest of the cast, so I could place my food order, have it served, eat it and get out of there by 11:30 so I could make it to work. I sat at the bar and ordered Pizza Skins and a club soda. The rest of the cast was trickling in and were taking seats at a large table next to the bar. I knew I was not hanging for the night so it was easier for me to stay at the bar and socialize there. I watched the bartender take orders for all the people at the table (since it was his section). Someone at the table ordered Pizza Skins.

One of the cast, PJ, sat with me at the bar and we were talking about the show and I can’t remember what else when a waitress came out with an order of Pizza Skins. “Who ordered Pizza Skins?’ she asked.

Someone at the table responded and the waitress placed it at the table, with no other food for the rest of the cast.

I turned to the bartender, “I think those were for me.” I said.

The bartender looked up and said something about they would have a runner bring up my food.

“But don’t you think the waitress would have brought out the rest of the food for that table? Besides I ordered mine about 15 minutes before everyone else.”

“Good point. She is not the waitress," said the barkeep referring to the woman who dropped of the food.  "She is the manager.”
“Listen” I said, “I have to go to work in a little bit why don’t you just cancel my order.”

The bartender agreed but needed the manager’s approval to void the guest check. The manager/waitress asked me if everything was okay and I explained the situation to her. She insisted that she could have my food to me in 5 minutes and there was no need to cancel the Pizza Skins.

“As a matter fact they are in the oven right now." she assured me.

At some point during this exchange another waitress came to the bar area and started to change one of the “Tonight’s Special" signs. She had her back to me but she was on her tippy toes, reaching up to write on the slate board. She was wearing a tucked in, denim blue collared shirt and perfectly fitted black pants. She was holding her apron in her hand so I knew she was just getting off her shift. The slate board was black, with an impressive chalk/pastel drawing around the border of a mug of beer and a slice of pizza. There was also a Killian’s Red logo on or near the chalkboard. I know all the details because I was staring.

The manager left and I could not stop myself from staring at the waitress writing on the board.

PJ, sitting next to me, nudges me with his elbow and gives me the Man-to-Man, silent, raised eyebrows, head nod, secret guy code that is not so secret, that indicates “She’s hot”.

I called her over. “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could check on an order of Pizza Skins for me.”

She smiled, and said something that I didn’t hear because I was captivated by her eyes, which were smiling as well. She left.

I turned to PJ and said something about her body, her looks, and her smile.

She returned and told me that there were no orders of Pizza Skins in the oven. I asked the bartender to cancel my order, which again needed the manager’s approval. The manager came over to ensure me the food would be out soon. I told her that the nice hot waitress (I didn’t say “hot” but that is what I was thinking) told me that they weren’t in the oven. The manager looked peeved. I realized I may have gotten the hot waitress in trouble and I explained to the manger that I also managed a club and that I knew that manager’s don’t always tell the truth to customers. The UNO manager was not happy.

The Hot waitress came back into the bar area. I felt bad and I informed her that I may have gotten her into trouble. She explained that it was okay. At some point here PJ became the perfect wingman by not making me look like an idiot. The hot waitress and I talked about the beer mug drawing on the chalkboard. She was the artist. I was impressed and told her so.

She walked away to get her things as she was done her shift for the night. PJ and I talked about whether I should ask her out. She was hot, talented and seemed to have a good personality. She had to have a boyfriend. PJ insisted that I at least check.

The hot waitress came back. I started talking to her about nothing really. I told her that since she was done her shift she should come down to the club I managed. I handed her my business card.

She looked at it. "Bill Meakim? Are you related to Mike Meakim?” She asked.

“Yes. He’s my brother?”

“I went to school with him. “

In the back of my mind I was hoping that Mike was nice to her in high school.

Since she was an artist and I took art classes in high school we talked about the teachers and the school. We knew the same teachers. It was good conversation. Familiar.

“What’s your name?” I asked.


“Well, Lauren, why don’t you come down to the club tonight?”

“I can’t. I’m tired and it is all the way in the city.”

“Okay.” I said. “Well maybe you and I could go out sometime.”

She hesitated. “I don’t know.”

This is where the begging started. I started babbling. “Look let me pick you up for lunch tomorrow. Or you can me meet for a cup of coffee somewhere. I can meet you here. Or wherever you like. Where do you live? We can meet somewhere close to where you live so it is convenient for you.”

Lauren rolled her beautiful eyes, “I live in Abington.”

“So do I." I said matter of factly. "Where in Abington? So we can pick a place to meet.” I added so I would not sound creepy.
Lauren said, “I live on Horace.”

“Get out!” I shouted. “I Live on Horace too.”

She got a freaked out look on her face. Like I was a stalker. Horace Ave. is only two blocks long. How was it possible that we could both live on the same street? She must have said something like “No way” or “That’s strange”. I knew fate was on my side.

“I live at 1847. Right on the corner.” I said.

Lauren looked at me in disbelief and muttered, “I live at 1828.”

I was quite excited. There were too many random, strange coincidences to pass this up.

My mouth was going a mile a minute, “That’s like 5 houses down. How come I’ve never seen you before? Look you can’t say “NO” at this point. I know where you live. Let me pick you up for lunch. I will WALK down and pick you up for lunch. It is only lunch. If you don’t like me or I don’t like you it doesn’t go any further than that. Just lunch. Look, I am not crazy. You know my brother. Just lunch. I am picking you up tomorrow.”

“Okay” she said. “What time?”

And that is the story of how I met my wife. Sometime during our talk my Pizza Skins came out and I ate, maybe,  two pieces.

I was also late for work.


I always think about that night the smallest of things that night.

What if my Pizza Skins were delivered to me on time? What if PJ did not sit next to me? What if the manager voided my check the first time? What if Lauren just left without stopping back? What if she said no to the date?

15 Years Ago.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Parenting in Public

Even after 8 years I find Parenting in Public (PIP) to be one of the most trickiest aspects of raising children. Lets face it, we parents know (even though we are not supposed to) that we judge other parents. We also know that other parents are constantly judging us. Most of the time I can takes the stares, the head shaking and the "tsk-ing tsk-ing" of other parents in stride. Sometimes I think the judges out there keep some parents in check, which is a good thing. But I am fairly confident in my parenting that I do my best to make sure the judges do not affect the way I handle myself with my kids.  I believe kids know parents get embarrassed and they try to exploit this weakness to get their way. Kids know other parents are judging. I try not to get embarrassed by tantrums and other public displays of meltdowns. I try my best not to give in.

I try.

The other evening I took the three boys to the swim club pool in an effort to give Lauren some peace and quiet as well as to wear out the kids before bedtime. My plan seemed to be working until it was time to leave. I instructed each of the boys to go to the showers, rinse off and get into their summer time pajamas, which is basically shorts and a T-shirt. They argued with me from the shallow end of the pool, the 30 foot walk to the grassy area where our towels and bag were, back around the pool past two lifeguard stands, across the 50 feet of deck, past the pool office and into the boys changing room. There was a cacophony* of whining, bickering, moaning and bellyaching the entire way. I was clearly frustrated during this walk and may have barked a few orders at the kids while trying to avoid any real parenting in public.

After 5 minutes of arguing over who got to use which shower and then complaining about why so and so got to use the striped towel "which was not fair because he got the striped towel last time and no one likes the towel with the seahorses and Jackson sticking his tongue out at me and I don't know why we need to leave yet the sun is still out which is not fair and Wyatt hit me with his towel and Max is shaking his butt at me and Jackson gets to wear the Batman shirt which is not fair because it is my Batman shirt even though it does not fit me anymore and it is not fair", I lost my mind.

We were the only people in the changing room and I did not feel the Parenting in Public stress nor the judging eyes. The changing room at the swim club is a small cinder block structure with a raised roof. Wrapping the building, between the top of the walls and ceiling, are sections of 2 to 3 foot screening vents. The venting provides ample circulation to avoid mold issues in the damp environment. I forgot about the venting when I lost my mind.

Through gritted teeth I started with my parental tirade."I have had enough of the bickering. Quit your bellyaching and put on your clothes...stop shaking your but....I swear to you if you shake your penis at your brother one not snap the towel at him...get over here so I can put this...God help God help you if you snap that towel one more...stop running in circles...I will never take you here again..."

I was getting louder and louder with each word until I was at a full on yell.

"I am not going to tolerate this behavior one more...Jackson get your heinie over here...both of you sit down right now..Jesus, Mary and Joseph...I am going to...knock. It. Off." I realized at that moment my voice bouncing off the cinder walls and out to the pool area.

I heard someone enter the changing  room.

Just at that moment Jackson slipped in a puddle on the floor and banged his head. He started crying.

The person who entered the changing room turned the corner. It was a life guard.

"Everything okay in here?" he asked raising his eyebrows.

"Yes. He just slipped. He is fine." I said.

He looked over at Max and Wyatt who were both half naked shaking their butts at each other. There were clothes strewn all over the place. The life guard rolled his eyes and gave me the slightest bit of a judgemental head shake.

I hung my head and sighed. The kids won this round.

*Cacophony is one of my favorite words from  Mrs. Dunn's, my High school English teacher, word of the day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wyatt 6

My middle child, middle boy, turned six today. Wyatt is my first kid born when I had a blog. Max my oldest was born a year before I started blogging. The picture below of Wyatt Blue received a ton of feedback on the blog. I asked Wyatt to recreate the photo. He was not happy about it.

Wyatt makes me laugh every day.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Reverse Bucket List

I have read, though blogs or Facebook, many people's Bucket List, you know the list of things people want to do before they die. I have never considered creating a Bucket list of things I want to do. I don't know why I just never have. But I do have a list of people I want to meet before they die. Kind of like a reverse Bucket List. Some these people on this list I have already met but only briefly. My reverse Bucket List consists of people who, due to the influence they have had in my life or who I have only met in the Internet world, I would like to meet and have a conversation with over dinner. A dinner of a Bucket of beers and Bucket of wings. In no particular order these are the people on my Bucket List.

April and Brandon Richter. They have not really had any serious influence on my life but I met them (April really) through blogging. April always used to leave funny and positive comments here and her posts at her blog were always fun. April and Brandon recently started a business venture call Mischief Brewing Co. I have been following their story on Facebook. They have a Kickstarter Program going to raise some of the initial capital they need. It takes guts to do what they are doing. I wish them luck and I hope one day I can drink one of their beers with them.

Neil Gaiman. I actually met Neil at a comic convention back in the early 90's. I was standing with a comic shop owner that had a VIP pass to a special signing meet and greet. I was kind of ushered into a back room with another group of VIP people. Neil was ushered in through another door and started shaking every one's hands. He muttered a "hello" and I muttered a "I love your work" when someone realized I did not have a VIP pass. I was quickly ushered out of the room. Neil Gaiman, as a comic book writer, was one of the first people to make me feel less like a geek for reading comics. I would have to say that his comic book work lead me to his novels which got me reading books. Neil Gaiman's blog is also one of the first blogs I ever read and it influenced me to start blogging. I would love to be able to meet him over a few drinks or dinner and just talk. Check out his commencement speech at the University of the Arts. It is almost impossible to not like him.

Michael Smerconish-He is now a nationally syndicated radio talk show host but I started listening to him when he was just a local Philly guy. Unlike other talk show radio hosts Smerconish is just right of center on the political spectrum. He does not tow any party line. He presents interesting stories with a focus on facts and offers his opinion not based on political ideology but more on his gut instincts. He has written a half dozen books on various topics with the same approach to his radio show. He has changed the way I view politics, the government as well as the media. I met Michael once at a book signing which I wrote about here , again me just mumbling something. I would like to hang out with Smerconish at a Phillies games with a couple of beers and shoot the breeze.

Nils Ling-Here is a person I met only through the blogger/Internet thing that I would love to meet in person. Even though he is Canadian (Inconceivable) Nils is one of the most clever and wittiest people. He is a writer, a performer, a musician, an actor and has an attitude that I would love to have when I grow up. His style of writing on his blog Truths and Half Truths influenced the way I wrote and still write on my blog. I crossed paths with Nils through various blogs and their comments section including...

Susie's What Was I Thinking. Susie is also on my Bucket List. During the blog explosion of 2005 and 2006 Susie's blog was one of my daily visits. I was living in Florida with very few real life friends that her blog became a great source of community for me. Her outlook and positive attitude also influenced the way I approached my blog writing.

Adam Duritz If there was a soundtrack to my life in the early 90s it would have all been done by the Counting Crows. When I think back to that time as I entered adulthood, the people I hung out with, the jobs I had, the decisions I made, the Counting Crows were always in the background.  The albums August and Everything After, Recovering the Satellites and This Desert Life (The cover of Desert Life is also the cover of a Neil Gaiman book, how is that for a weird coincidence?) are so ingrained in my psyche that if I hear a song from them I cannot help but be transported to a certain time or situation. I would want to have dinner with Duritz just to see what makes him tick.

Michael Keaton. He was Batman. He was Beetlejuice. He was Billy Blazejowski. He was Hunt Stevenson, He was Mr. Mom. He was Dogberry. He was Johnny Dangerously. Keaton is my favorite actor of all time. Are there better actors out there? Sure. But Keaton is still my favorite. I think he is extremely talented but even more importantly to me is that he never took himself too seriously. I quote more Michael Keaton lines from his movies on a regular basis more than any other actor. If I had an acting idol it would be Keaton. If I had a chance to have dinner with him I think I would be a blubbering mess.

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. I know lots of people have a "geek crush" on Fey but for me I would want to have dinner with these two  just sit and watch them talk to each other. Two of the funniest people of television with excellent writing and improv skills. I would love to see them a bit tipsy and going at it. Hey now,  I mean verbally sparring.

Who would be on your Bucket of Beer list?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good and Bad

What makes a difference between one weekend to the next is what you remember.  Once a moment is gone you don't get it back except in the form of a memory. Often memories get clouded over time, as one weekend, one moment, blends into another. But every so often a weekend, a moment, comes by where the memory will be sharpened by how it is/was perceived by other people around you when the moment is happening. A memory, when sharpened correctly, is like a useful tool to be used when needed. A tool for laughs, a tool for learning, a tool for life that you lend to your friends over a couple of drinks. However if it is sharpened by the wrong hands, the memory will, poke, nick and slice the mind.

This past weekend was about making memories. It didn't start out that way. It just was. Sometime making a memory is unintentional. They just become.

Maxfield made his first appearance, ever, on the mound as a pitcher in a baseball game. Max was throwing as expected for his first outing, a little all over the place. But this division of little league has rules set up so kids can develop as pitchers and batters. These rules allow for kids to throw all over the place and encourage batters to look for and swing at good pitches. I, being one of his coaches, tried to take a step back and watch as his father. I took a couple of videos and cheered him on. Out of the corner of my eye I could see something was off. It was clear the coaches from the other team were unaware, uncomfortable and unprepared for this situation. I switched back to coach mode and explained the rules. At that point it was falling on deaf ears. I argued the merits of the rules again but to no avail.

Max's first outing as pitcher was cut short. He was denied a deserved strike-out and was shorted throwing to two more batters. Max looked defeated and slightly embarrassed. He was not taken out due to poor pitching, he was removed because the other coaches were unprepared. But Max's friends and team mates don't know that. I hope this memory, which should have been a good one fades in the minds of Max and his friends. Otherwise it is a good moment gone to a bad memory.

Wyatt and Ander are buddies in kindergarten and are on the same baseball team. Ander's dad recently purchased a camper and invited us over to check it out. After a quick camper tour Ander's dad offered me a beer. We sat at a table in the back yard shooting the breeze as Wyatt and Ander played on a tree swing. I took a step out of dad mode and enjoyed the conversation while the kids played. Out of the corner of my I could see Ander spinning Wyatt in the swing. He kept spinning and spinning. He seemed like he was having fun but something was off. I switched back to dad mode and started to voice my concern but it was too late. Wyatt was not prepared for the situation and said he did not feel well. We helped him out of the swing.

After a minute or two Wyatt behaved as expected and started throwing up. The tomatoes he ate for a snack sputtered out one by one, a little all over the place. Wyatt looked defeated and slightly embarrassed. I hope this memory, which not a pleasant situation, turns into sharpened tool for Wyatt and his friend Ander to use in the future. Wyatt will learn not to spin.  Ander can use it to to tell a funny story over a few drinks about how Wyatt threw-up in his back yard. A bad moment turns into a good memory.

Almost every night I ask my kids what were their favorite parts of the day. This gives me a chance to talk to them and learn from them. Sometimes their answer is one line. Other times the answers turn into discussions about the day.

Last night I asked the kids what was their favorite part of the weekened.

Maxfield took a few moments to think. He mentioned having a friend over on Saturday, going over a different friends house on Sunday and also that he participated in a run that morning. He did not mention baseball, which is good and possibly bad. I will wait to see how this memory forms.

Wyatt on the other hand, when I asked him his favorite part, without taking a breath said. "Barfing on Ander's yard."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The whole thing started off innocent enough. Lauren, my lovely wife, in an effort to improve her running times and become more fit read a book call Brain Training For Runners. The book covers the mental aspects of training your body. Every few days Lauren would tell me about her discoveries in the book and how she implemented them into her work outs. I admit most were fascinating, but not enough for me to actually try. I believe somewhere in that book it mentioned that certain kind of foods increase the body's and brain's ability to function as an athlete.

This lead Lauren down a path of reading books about nutrition for athletes. Every so often she would tell me about certain foods she was trying. I started noticing a few different types of food containers in the pantry or fridge. Again fascinating discoveries about food that I never implemented into my routines.

Somewhere in the food book Lauren read about the book called the China Study and the documentary film Forks Over Knives which she of course got both from the library. Lauren discovered all kinds of great information in both sources. The overall message was one can reduce chronic illness and diseases and enhance their overall health by adopting a whole foods plant based diet and reducing the intake of processed foods. As Lauren started adopting these changes into our household I noticed Lauren was preparing our family meals a bit different. We were eating more salads, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I, again, was noticing different types of food packages and containers in our pantry. Labels that read quinoa, tofu and soy were replacing certain staples of Lauren's cooking repertoire.

Lauren and I discussed our diets. Unlike the other discoveries I felt changing our diet was something in which I could participate. We both agreed that we were not eliminating all meat or processed foods but that we would be more conscientious of food labels. We would try to buy products that listed "true" ingredients with no artificial additives or fillers. All of the changes we were making were gradual.

The other night, after everyone was in bed, I had a hankering for snack. Earlier I spotted a few packages of hot dogs crammed in the freezer and I knew that one or two dogs would satisfy my craving. I noticed that the packaging was different than the usual hot dogs we buy and I thought that Lauren must have bought a "healthier" hot dog (if there is such a thing). I took a closer look at the label and did a double take.

This is what I saw.

I thought Lauren was taking the healthy eating true ingredients thing a bit too far.

I had three anus dogs that night. They were yummy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom is #1

When we were younger, pre-teens, we were not allowed to curse. My parents rarely swore or used any type of bad language. I should say my dad rarely swore or used bad language. My mother, on the other hand, would use shit, damn, hell and bitch, but always in context and most likely due to one of us kids driving her crazy. She usually cursed towards the end of the day when her patience would be running out. Here are some examples.

Example 1
Kid: Mom? Michael stuck a quarter up his nose and we can’t get it out.
Mom: Shit.

Example 2
Kid: Mom? I think you left the spaghetti on the stove too long. It is bubbling all over the place.
Mom: Damn it.

Example 3:
Kid: Mom? I think we broke Bobby’s (my best friend and the kid across the street) collarbone.
Mom: Aw Hell. I will call Midge.

Example 4
Kid: Mom? Michael stuck his head in the radiator and he can’t get it out.
Mom: Son of a bitch. He will have to wait until his father gets home.

There was one swear word she would use if she was really, really mad and it was usually only uttered if someone spilled their milk at the dinner table. Spilling a drink at the dinner table was one of worst crimes we could commit. It drove my mother batty.

Kid: (Knocks over glass)
Mom: Jesusmaryandjospeh.

My parent’s rarely fought in front of us as well. Sure they would get mad at each other but most arguments, if there was an argument, happened behind closed doors, out of the earshot of the kids. As we all grew and entered our teenage years we could get away with a few four letter words as long as they were not directed towards another sibling. Any curses spoken to or about another sibling that was overheard by my mom resulted in our mouths being washed out with soap. Also, as we were all mostly in our teenage years my parents became a little more relaxed about their arguing in front of us.

I remember the first time I saw my mom directing a middle finger gesture to my dad. I was about 16 and I was shocked. I asked her why it was okay for her to flip the bird to my dad when if I did it I would get a bar of Irish Spring as a snack. My mom’s response was quick.

“I wasn’t giving him the finger. I was telling him I think he is Number One.”

Calling someone Number One is now sort of a term of endearment for me. If someone has a smart-ass comment with me, if someone is busting my stones, or if I am having a playful argument I usually call that person Number One.

If you live in the Philadelphia area the Camden River Sharks are hosting a Mother's appreciation night on Wednesday, May 16. As part of the game, mothers can receive free admission to the game by presenting their Mother’s Day Card at the Box Office the day of the game. The River Sharks are also sponsoring an essay contest go here for details.

If you need a gift for mom, check out this cool game. Mother the Game.The boardgame for anybody who's ever had one. Players must choose a type of Mother: Passive-Aggressive, Overbearing, Doting, or Best Friend, and then answer a variety of trivia, role playing, and other mother-related questions pertaining to the specific Mother they have chosen.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's. But remember my mom is #1.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Broadstreet Run

"Agent Meakim, your government needs you." Agent Spider barked.

Agent Spiderw was the head of F.A.R.T.E.R, Fast Action Response Team Emergency Runners. Spider was the top recruiter for the secret government agency.

"Are you up for this mission?" Spider barked again. "You're the only one that can do this."

Agent Meakim listened as Spider described the mission. On May 6th 2012 the Biological Underground Guerrilla Soldiers, or B.U.G.S. as they were known, were planning on releasing a silent but deadly toxin throughout the city of Philadelphia. They were going to use the annual Blue Cross Blue Shield Broad Street Run as cover. Agent Meakim would need to run 10 miles, from one end of Philadelphia to the other, carrying a secret Antidote for the biological weapon. Meakim would need to run in the middle of 40,000 other people exposing as many to the antidote as possible. However Meakim also needed to get the antidote to the end location in under an hour and 28 minutes to prevent the silent but deadly toxin for spreading. Meakim did not want to let the people down and agreed to the mission.

Meakim would need to train for a few months in order to make the time. January through April agent Meakim trained in the cold, the rain, early mornings, late at night to prepare for this test.

On the morning of May 6th Agent Meakim woke up at 2:30 AM with a severe stomach bug. She was up all night. There was no way she was going to be able to complete the mission. The people of Philly were doomed. Luckily Agent Meakim had a back-up plan. Under the guise of living a healthier lifestyle Agent Meakim talked her husband into training for the same race. She explained the situation, he would now have to be the secret F.A.R.T.ER., a task she thought he could surely handle. After all, he too had trained hard all winter to run this race. He even went as far as losing an extra 8 lbs to help improve his time. Bill had some doubts. Last year Bill ran the same race in 1:46:- ish but he was Agent Meakim's only hope.

Bill Meakim had to attend the race without his companion and inspiration, but he had a mission to complete. He was determined to be the best F.A.R.T.E.R. ever. Due to his wife being very ill and the fact that he could not find his good luck wristbands Bill got off to a late start. He arrived at the subway station 20 minutes after he originally planned. This filled him with anxiety, Bill always likes to be early. Distracted by inspecting his backpack for his post run change of clothes and his special running shoes, Bill mistakenly followed the crowd and jumped on the local stop subway instead of the express which put him another 20 minutes behind. By the time Bill got to the starting line he missed the buses that would take his gear to the finish line. Bill now had to run the 10 miles with an extra 8 to 10 pounds on his back.

Bill, wearing his green and grey Vibram running shoes, a brown school bag back pack, red shorts a grey shirt and without his lucky wristbands marched towards the starting line. The last time Bill ran 10 miles his time was over the hour twenty eight mark. He was alone with 40, 000 other people. Sweat was already trickling down his back as the anxiety engulfed him. The air horn sounded and Bill took off running.

Bill's time for the first mile was 7:39. He was doing great, except he knew he started off too strong. He ran mile two a little slower, coming in at 8:03 pace. By mile four Bill finally found a comfortable pace at 8:50 ish but would it be enough? He was getting slower. Bill knew he had to get the antidote to the end. He reached into his pocket for a handful of jelly beans. Lots of runners use jelly beans for the sugar and the pick up they provide. These beans were now provided the extra fuel for Bill Meakim F.A.R.T.E.R. Agent.

Mile 7 and 8 proved difficult for Bill. His legs felt weak. The back pack was causing irritation and pain. His mind started to wonder off the task at hand. He thought of his wife at home, affected by the bug. The bug, the B.U.G.S. The enemy had gotten to her. Bill threw another handful of beans into his mouth and he picked up his pace. He ran hard. He felt like he was breaking the wind. He knew he had to put the F in F.A.R.T.E.R.

The last two miles were a blur. Bill checked his watch as he crossed the finish. 1:27:58 He did it. He saved the city of Philadelphia.

Special agent Spider greeted Bill with a smile.

"You had me worried there back at mile 7." Spider said. His voice sounding as if someone had stepped on a duck. "Flat, you went. Flat."

"Well I did not want to let you or my wife down." Bill responded. "I still had some gas left in the end."

Special agent Spider awarded Bill a medal and asked him to stick around and celebrate.

Bill refused. He wanted to return to his wife as soon as possible. He saved some of the antidote for her.

Besides he did not want anyone to know that he was a F.A.R.T.E.R.

---I ran the Broad Street 10 Mile race. My official time was 1 hour, 27 minutes. 56 seconds, almost 20 minutes faster than I ran last year. Lauren, who trained for four months was too sick to run. I was happy and proud of my time but the accomplishment kind of sucks when there is no one there to celebrate with you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I like Batteries. I like them of all sizes but I prefer C Batteries and 9 Volt batteries. You know what you are getting with these. They have their functional uses but are also designed for more fun equipment. They usually fit perfectly, with the round nub like terminals facing the same way (not all flip floppy back and forth + to - needing six to get the job done, like Double and Triple As). The C and 9 Volt batteries do not need springs to keep them in place They are easier to store and have a good heft to them. What can I say, I have a preference.

When I was younger and less mature I used to equate bra sizes to batteries well, actually the size of what was int he bra. D-cell batteries, the largest of  common household batteries, used to power large flashlights, mega-phones and large radios, were equivalent as a D Cup bra. C-cell batteries, the next size down, the most versatile and widely used batteries for fun things like remote control cars, toy trucks and other cool toys were equal to a C Cup. There is no B size battery so I called the B Cup a 9-Volt. 9 Volt batteries are most commonly used for smoke detectors, Walkie-Talkies and RC controllers. The 9Volt was fun but also had a practical side.  Of course the smallest of the common batteries are the AA (double A) and AAA (triple A) batteries which are used in cameras, small electronics, TV remote controls and min-flashlights. Nothing great but they got the job done.

Now read the first paragraph again.

Since the beginning the of the year my wife and I have been making a concerted effort to exercise, eat better, and lose weight. As of this posting Lauren has lost over 20 lbs and I am down 14. I do not think Lauren was ever in a position that she needed to lose any weight but I support her decision to get trimmer and more fit. Not only does Lauren run 40 miles or so a week but she also does weight lifting. She looks great. The best part of her look is the smile she wears from the confidence she now has now that she is more comfortable in her body. A side effect of the weight loss though has been she has not been able to determine where on her body she is losing weight. Let me just say, when I met her, before kids, she was the power of a toy truck. Now she powers digital cameras.

 MYy workouts have only consist of running. I have lost weight in my legs, belly and hips. But since I do not do any weight training the upper part of my body is looking rather large and flabby. I ran a 10 mile race last weekend where professional photographers were shooting pics of runners for purchase. The day after the race I went to the photography website to check out if I was in any of the pictures. I was horrified at what I saw. The combination of the light rain and sweat made my shirt stick to my chest. Let's say I could power a boom box.

I need to figure out a way to support my Man-Batteries.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Training Days

I have said in the past that whoever coined the phrase "terrible twos" never had a three year old.

Jackson at 3 and half is quickly moving out of toddler hood and shifting to being a little boy. Having two older brothers is getting him advanced placement classes into boyhood. Jackson knows all about stick weapons. He has perfected sand/dirt/mud throwing. He loves the word "butt" and uses it often to get a laugh. He can whine "that's no fair" like the best of them. He loves to fart and is proud of it.  And recently Jackson has learned how to spit. He spits on everything. His distance needs a little work but he is doing great with his accuracy. Lauren and I have been guiding Jackson through this transition with lots of deep sighs, eye rolls, slow growling statements of "What. did. you. do.", and plenty of time-outs.

When Jackson turned three we thought that was a good time for him to give up his pacifier. That was a struggle which we are still dealing with. Although Jax has not had a binky in 4 months, he still suffers serious withdraw and ends up sleeping in our bed most nights. At first it was okay with us because we understood that he needed comfort. Now we are trying to break him of sleeping-in-our-bed habit.

Part of the transition into boyhood, which he has no interest in figuring out, is learning to use the toilet for its designed purpose. He already knows how to put toys in it, splash in it and of course spit in it but actually getting him to go on it is going to be a challenge.

Potty training is tough work. Once a boy thinks he has learned to go by himself they want nothing to do with diapers. There are lots of accidents and messes to clean. One of the big headaches of training is the night time accidents. Changing sheets and pajamas at 3 in the morning sucks. GoodNites , the makers of bed wetting underwear, have a new product out called the BedMats, which I just know will help with the middle of the night clean-ups. Although the BedMats were made with older kids in mind (ages 4 to 6), I am going to be using them while training Jackson. They appear easy to use, easy to clean up, and fit typical standard twin beds. GoodNites does not recommend the use of BedMats for children under the age of three.

GoodNites is about building a kid's confidence and educating parents about the issues of bed wetting. I have partnered with GoodNites in the past, they make a great product and have great information on their website. They agreed to send me a trial pack of BedMats. The BedMats are 2.5 ft by 3ft in size. They seem to adhere to the sheets just fine and they are much quieter than I thought they would be (sometimes plastic makes that swoosh-swoosh noise). GoodNites BedMats , are great to take on sleepovers or on vacation just for the added protection to grand mom's guest room mattress. I have not tried them yet on my bed but the size is perfect to fit between my wife and I, which is where Jackson spends most of his nights.

GoodNites has offered me the opportunity to give away a trial pack of their BedMats along with a Confidence Booster kit, which includes a sheet set, a clock and a $50- Visa Gift Card to one of the readers of Poop and Boogies. If you would like a chance to win this cool little prize pack just leave me a comment here, or on Facebook before midnight April 18th. I will select one random comment for the prize. Please make sure you leave me a valid way to contact you if you are chosen. Even if you don't need the BedMats  a $50- Visa Gift Card is cool.

If you don't know what to leave as a comment I suggest a poem. This is an old poem. "Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made from. Sugar and spice, and everything nice, that's what little girls are made from."

This is my poem to describe Jackson.
Smiles and Wit and lots of Spit. That's what Jackson is made from.

Using the same format describe your kid.

“GoodNites® provided me with a pack of GoodNites® Bed Mats and a Confidence Booster Kit to conduct a reader giveaway. However, my opinions on the product are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards GoodNites® or their products.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

To the Rescue

Some of the following story may be embellished just a bit.

You know the saying "the camera adds 10 pounds",  I believe there should be an addition to that stating pictures posted to Facebook add another ten.

In an effort to lose two of the three chins I have, I decided to make a concerted effort to lose 18 pounds. That is 9 pounds a chin. The best way to lose weight is a combination of diet and exercise.

Almost every day, I take my lunch hour and run between 3 and 5 miles at very nice township park close to my office. The park has various paths of different distances that circle, cut through, criss-cross and interweave the playground, soccer fields, pavilions and small preserved wooded and grass nature areas. The largest paved path circles the perimeter of the 100 acre park with a lap distance of 1.2 miles.

I think I recently posted about how I have been running with Vibram Five Finger Shoes which causes a few stares and a few questions from other people at the park.

On very cold days I also wear a Balaclava , long dark parts and a long sleeved dark running shirt. Some days I look like a ninja with iPod wires dangling out of my neck.

About a month ago I went on my lunch time run on a very cold but sunny say. I was making great time with my first mile at an 8:15 pace. I ran past the main pavilion and started to make the first turn that headed towards the nature areas. About 10 yards ahead of me I noticed a big bunch of keys in the middle of the path. Without missing a step and keeping pace I gracefully swept up the keys in my right hand. I knew someone would be in desperate need of these keys. I figured I would get back to the parking lot and see if anyone was missing keys. Or I could hit the panic button on the key fab setting off the alarm and wait to see who would claim the large heavy key filled ring. It was cold day so the park was not that crowded.

I made the second turn on the outer path which tucks behind some tall grasses and clusters of trees. This part of the track also dips down off of a small knoll for about 150 yards. This is only part of the track that is not visible from the main park. I looked up ahead and noticed a blond woman, about 50 years old, walking towards me. She had a worried look on her red face. Her hand was placed across her upper chest and she was clearly out of breath. I held up the keys and yelled, "DID YOU LOSE YOUR KEYS?"

She nodded.  A faint look of relief replaced the wrinkles on her face. As I ran closer I realized that the woman was Marion from my office.

I slowed down and handed her the keys. I started to run in place.


She shook her head and gave me a perturbed look.


I nudged her elbow and made her turn in the direction I was heading. She resisted. Her eyes went wide. I gave her a funny look and realized that since I had my Balaclava on she did not recognize me. This is what she saw.

I quickly removed the mask. Her look went from worried to perplexed to embarrassed.

"C'MON LET'S RUN. WE'LL FINISH UP OVER BY," I turned down the volume on my ipod, " THE PARking lot."

She turned and started to jog with me. We ran about fifty yards when she started to cough and wheeze. She sounded horrible. Red blotches bloomed from her cheeks and tears filled her eyes.

"I can't do this." She rasped, sounding like an old lady who had smoked for 60 years. She stumbled.

With lightning like reflexes I reached out and steadied her preventing her from falling. I slowed down and asked if she was okay.

"I...can't...breath." She choked out.

We were at the point on the path that was the furthest away from the parking lot. I stopped running.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

Marion explained, between huffing and puffing, that she too was running on the path but was overcome with an asthma attack. She started towards her car when she realized she lost her keys. She had to backtrack to find them. She then started to panic because she was alone, couldn't breath, she was the furthest point away from he car, and was in a spot where no one could see her if she passed out. She was happy to see me with her keys but did not know who I was. Besides the balaclava, the tighter running shirt and pants and my muscular physique must have thrown her off. When she discovered it was someone she knew she was embarrassed.

I escorted her across the fields and made sure she made it back to the office.

Basically, as I like to tell her almost everyday, I saved her life. I was like a superhero, mask and all.

I have tried a few different websites to monitor my diet. The two I liked best were SlimKicker and Lose It. My wife Lauren is having great success with Lose It (she has worked off about 20lbs) and that is now my preferred calorie counting site. So far I am down 1 chin.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


A day does not go by that I do not think of her. Some days I miss her, other days I feel indifferent, but I still think of her. She was a big part of my life.

She was part of my life when I met Lauren. At first Lauren was okay with her being around but as time wore on Lauren told me I needed to get rid of her. I tried. I would go a month, maybe two. Then I would see her with someone else and it would remind me of all the good times. I would bring her back. She made me feel good and I always felt I deserved to feel good.

Lauren caught me a few times. Lauren said she could smell her. Lauren would plead with me. I would feel guilty.  I would tell Lauren it was over. And it was. For a month or two. I would go back. I would sneak around trying to find moments to be alone with her.

Lauren and I were married. I did my best not to bring her around. I was starting a new life and did not need the baggage she would bring.

I was sitting in a bar not too long after having our first child. I saw her from across the room. She was dancing with a group of people. The way she gracefully swayed, entangling her way amongst her friends, the way she sparkled, bringing smiles to the faces of the people she was with mesmerized me. I had to have her again.

I missed her. I missed how she made me feel. I missed her scent. I missed the taste of her on my lips. I went back to her. I knew I could not bring her around my children. What would they think? She was a bad influence on me, she would be a bad influence on my kids. But I had to have her.

I went back to sneaking around. I would not see her all the time or as much as I used to but every now and then I would find a way to be with her. I think Lauren knew but she was too busy with the kids to make a argument. I think Lauren wanted to give me some space, let me figure things out.

I finally did. One day I came to realize what was important. I stopped smoking cigarettes four years ago.

I enjoyed smoking. Sure, I was addicted but I enjoyed smoking. Cigarettes were a big part of my life. It was a difficult habit to break. A day does not go by that I do not think of smoking. Some days I miss cigarettes, other days I feel indifferent, but I still think of cigarettes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Pimping

Baseball season is here. I am coaching Wyatt's T-ball team, the Astros, and helping with Maxfield's Machine Pitch team. With two teams to coach, Scout meetings to attend, races to run, "my wife to murder and Guilder to Frame for it" I'm swamped.

It figures during one of my busiest times of the year is also the time that some of favorite authors/writers are releasing new books. Harlan Coben's Stay Close came out last week, Lisa Scottoline has a new one in two weeks, as well as the few I am going to mention below.  I have said in the past I am a slow reader by the time I get around to any of their books they will be publishing their next one.

Eve Mont, my friend and once fellow young Bohemian, is releasing her her latest YA book called A Breath of Eyre. It hits stores tomorrow. If you are a fan of the Bronte Jane Eyre book, I am pretty sure you will like Mont's book. Check out this website for a better description. YA books are all the rage as of late with the Hunger Games and what not and I bet Eve Mont's characters will be just as endearing. I probably will be the only 40 year old man at her signing in Doylestown this weekend. Do you think people will find me creepy?

Brad Meltzer has a new book coming out on April 10th called Heroes for My Daughter. This book is the second of a pair. The first book of the duo Heroes for My Son is one of my favorite books. Meltzer's publisher sent me an advanced copy of Heroes for my Daughter and it is just as good as the "Sons" book. Filled with 50 different Heroes, Meltzer does and excellent job of encapsulating what makes, what most readers would think are extraordinary people, ordinary. By making these heroes ordinary only magnifies their incredible accomplishments. Meltzer never ceases to amaze me with his skill.

Fellow blogger Jenny Lawson's debut novel Let's Pretend This Never Happened is due to be released April 17th. Jenny also known as the Bloggess is one of the funniest people on the Internet (read about the dangers of towel shopping). She is also one of the kindest (read about a sort of holiday miracle here). I believe the book will be all of that kindness and humor without the hyper-links.

If you enjoy reading go and check out these books.
That is 5 books in a a little over a few weeks that I feel the need to read. I may be a bit overwhelmed.

Speaking of overwhelming, every team in the history of Little League has that "one" kid on it. You know the "one" bad kid. The "one" kid that does not listen. The "one" kid that goofs off. Wyatt is that "one" kid on his team. Not only does he not pay attention he also distracts the other players.
This is Wyatt performing some type of Ninja move.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bike Test

I have posted this story a few years ago. Maxfield turned 8 last week causing this memory to keep popping up.

When we, my 8 siblings and I, were growing up, before we could ride a bike in the street we had to take a bike test.

I learned to ride a bike, I guess, when I was 5 or 6. It was hand me down Big Wheels before that. But once we mastered the two wheel regular bikes we could only ride in the driveway or on the sidewalk. We were not allowed to cross the street on the bike. We weren’t even allowed to walk the bike across the street. We were only allowed to go around the block, on the sidewalk. We had to wait until our 7th or 8th birthday (I can’t remember) for my father to administer the Bike Test before we could venture out onto the street. Going around the block for a whole year was quite boring.

Dad felt that if we were going to ride in the street that at least we would have to be safe. The bike test was the first step in being able to ride with your friends or even older brothers. It was the test to be somewhat free.

The Bike Test was hard, especially to an 8 year old.

The test started in the driveway. We had to make a right, heading North onto Street X. Make a right, heading East onto street Y. Make a u-turn without hitting the curb and head West, stop at the stop sign, cross Street X and head up the small hill. We then had to make another U-turn and head East again, stop at the stop sign make right onto Street X and then a left into our driveway. If we could complete this course, not too fast or too slow (yes you could get penalized for being too slow) using all of the correct hand signals, stopping where we were supposed to, we would pass the test. We would be free to ride our bikes in the street. We would be free.

Not one of my brothers or my sister ever passed on the first try.

The second stop sign got me. I went right through it. I was coming down the hill; I was making a right hand turn, I looked, no cars were coming, what’s the big deal?
It was a big deal. I had to wait another two weeks before I could take the test again. I had to wait 14 days before I could ride with my friends. It was embarrassing.

There go my brothers and the rest of the kids from the neighborhood riding down to the park.  I would have to walk. By the time I got to the stickball game it would already be the second inning. Not that any one cared because I sucked at stickball.

These days there are laws about kids wearing helmets. There are lawsuits when a kid gets hit by car, because he crossed the road without looking. There are lawsuits when kids get hurt by their own bikes. Where are the bike tests?

 Maxfield turned 8 last week. I am drawing up my own bike test.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Should I Be Worried

Maxfield and Wyatt attend the local public elementary school. Unlike other school districts in the area which have these huge district wide primary schools that have 10 classes per grade and feel like a Sams club of education, Max and Wyatt's school is a small only two classes per grade, community minded friendly learning environment. At least I hope it is friendly.

One of the perks of our small community school is the Home and School Association volunteers that participate is providing fun events and activities for the kids. They do an excellent job making school fun and probably deserve more credit and thanks then they get. One of the preeminent events the HSA holds is the annual Pine Run Derby Race. Max has participated the past few years. This year is Wyatt's first opportunity to build and car and enter the race. He is very excited.

We collaborate on the assembly and building of the car but the design and decoration is all the kids' doing. This year Max wanted his car to resemble some Lego Ninjago inspired vehicle. It required extra attention on my part to make sure the detailed cuts were exactly how Max wanted them. The car turned out very cool and unique.

Wyatt on the other hand went with a basic car design but his paint job required a different part of my attention.

"How do you want to paint your car?" I asked.

"I want it to have a big hairy spider on it." he responded.

"Eww. I don't like spiders." I said giving him the reaction he wanted. He knows I have a phobia.

"Then I want to paint a skeleton head on it." he said. "I also want a zombie head on it. And a grave yard."

He got more and more excited with each idea.

"And Dad? I also want to paint a coffee pot full of blood on the top. I want lots and lots of blood."

Should I be worried? A coffee pot full of blood? Where does he come up with that?

 Do you think Stephen King had these kinds of conversations with his parents?

Thursday, March 01, 2012


A year before I started the blog Poop and Boogies my oldest child was born. I never did document in the web log form all of those "firsts". Or all of those first time parent feelings of being awed and scared and excited and tired and happy and scared and proud and scared.

A few days after he was born I drove Maxfield home from the hospital doing 15 MPH and cursing under my breath all of those people on the road who would dare drive at 25 while I had a new born in my car. I remember waking up in the middle of the night just to check on him to make sure he was breathing. I remember the overwhelming feeling of being afraid that I would somehow break this new child.

Eight Years later he is still not broken.

I think.

I hope.

My dad used to call me on Max's birthday and wish me a Happy father's day because that is the day I became a father. He would wish Lauren a Happy Mother's day for the same reason.

Happy Father's Day to me.