Friday, April 30, 2010

Playing for Life

JerryD- discusses his take on sports: 

Life Sports 
                          
I don’t think I made up the term “life sports” but I do agree with the concept wholeheartedly. What is a life sport and what makes it different from other sports? Well a life sport is a sport you can grow with and play your whole life. Golf is a life sport. You’re never too old to play a round of golf. I didn’t learn how to play until I was well into my 20’s, and even though I am pretty bad at it, I can always go out and play. Skiing is another life sport, it’s one of those activities you can do pretty much all of your life. Did I mention I don’t ski? I didn’t have the opportunity when I was younger and now I am just plain scared. Another good life sport is tennis. How many times do you see an older couple out playing tennis? It might not be very competitive, but a good game of tennis on a nice afternoon, the perfect life sport. 

As dads we tend to focus on those sports that appeal to us. My dad made sure I knew how to play football and I was pretty good at it, a long time ago. I also played baseball, and was a very good spring board diver. I promise, the last thing you want to see is me in a little Speedo doing a one and one half somersault off a diving board. As the father of a little girl, I realized the importance of life sports. Football became soccer, baseball became softball and springboard diving is evolving into golf, sailing, or even volleyball.

My favorite life sport…Frisbee. And I can still toss it as well as I ever did.
JerryD 1G

Never too early to plan

Today is April 30th. For dads this is a very important date to remember. It marks the time to stop thinking about taxes, setting up your fantasy league and how much weight you gained during the winter. The next week of so can determine the course for the rest of the year. Tomorrow is May 1st, crunch time, time to think wisely and thoughtful. Mothers Day season is upon us. The kids are prepared, a hand made craft and card are always cherished, and breakfast in bed is fun. We have a favorite brunch place in the city we go to, we try to take a picture there to commemorate the occasion. Sometimes we head out to Long Beach L.I. to hit the boardwalk and have dinner at Jordan's Lobster Farm. Whatever your tradition, plan early and have fun with it.

Mothers Day Dates: (it's never too early)
2010---May 9
2011---May 8
2012---May 13
2013---May 12
2014---May 11 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tag, you're it

As I look at the big red brick building, my mom says "This is where you are going to kindergarten in September." I am terrified. I have always been home with my mother so going someplace without her seems scary. I was always very quiet around other people, especially kids. I did not have a friend to share this new experience with me. I have an older sister who will be going into second grade and my younger sister and brother were babies. We are standing in the school playground, a mass of concrete and wire fences. This was an inner city playground, no reason to have any trees or grass. The large open asphalt field held one large baseball field and two smaller ones. There was a row of basketball courts behind the block cement stands, and enclosed in 20 foot tall wire fences were a series of handball courts. The very model of a city school park. I am riding my bicycle around the big field like I am in the Indy 500 when I stop at the far baseball field. I am watching a group of kids about my size playing tag. They were running around, laughing and screaming "you're it!" One is running in my direction and I quickly peddle out of the way. He stops in front of me and yells "Do you want to play?" I am silent, I do not answer. He asks me again to play and I look back at my mother who is about fifty yards away from me chasing my little sister, who got out of her grasp. He then tags me on the shoulder and says "you're it!" and runs away. I have no choice now but to get off the bike and remove the stigma of being "it". I spend the next half hour having a blast with these kids, when my mother calls for me. I tell this new kid I have to go and he says "What's your name?" I say Stevie. I did not even think of asking for his name in return, but it did not matter because he was not going to wait for the invitation. "My name is Seth, see you around." and he runs off.

The first day of kindergarten is here and I am hesitant. I am online under the sign designating  my class number. I scan the other kids and let out a sigh of relief. I spot my new friend walking up. Seth and I became instant friends.

Over the next four decades we have shared great times and rough times. He exposed me to The Beach Boys and "Alice's Restaurant." We played pranks on each other and listened to old Richard Pryor records. Our play fight sessions were stuff of legends (and some Mommy scoldings). Today is my friend's Seth's birthday and I am happy to say while everyday responsibilities always get in the way I know I can count on him for a game of tag and a laugh or two. Forty years of friendship and still going.

My son is ten and has a lot of friends in school. He has made good friends that have since moved away and start to fade from memory. When we moved out of the city we were worried about him losing those friendships and make it a point to stay in touch. What I do realize on this day is a friendship can survive anything if the bond is there. No matter how far away you live from one another, no matter if you speak once a day, once a month or once a year, you both know you will be there for each other. I hope my son experiences that and thirty years from now he is wishing his oldest friend birthday wishes.

I dedicate this day to my friend Seth and say to him "you're it."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Pick-Up


Being home from work today I welcomed the rare chance of picking up my son at school. I take a short walk around town, stop to grab a coffee then head over to the school. I arrive at the designated pick up spot and I look at my watch, I am ten minutes early. Feeling a bit odd for sitting there on the concrete wall in front of the school by myself, I take another loop around the block. I finish my lap and approach the front entrance again, feeling more comfortable now that other parents are milling around, chatting about their day. I sit down again on the wall keeping an eye on the doors, waiting for them to burst open with screaming kids free from their teacher's grasp. I happen to notice some kids breaking out from the gym door, now I am quickly moving my eyes from door to door not knowing which one he will appear. I am playing this game of eye spy when I see some kids coming out of the gym door I recognize from my sons school photo. I picture myself as a bodyguard tracking my target and proceed to stand up and commit to the gym door as my son's exit point. I see the rest of his class exit the door and watch over the small heads for the description of my target, four foot ten, brown hair, white Knicks hoodie, orange yo-yo swinging from right hand. I am scanning the crowd, blocking out the high pitch chatter when my description appears in the doorway. I hold my ground, not wanting to show myself as he is huddling with his friends and debriefing the events of the day. I can deduct from his actions that the "goodbyes" and "see yas" have been completed, and now ready to make myself known. I keep my eyes glued to his from fifty feet away, he does not know I am there yet, he will be surprised. His head looks up from the yo-yo when he sees me standing there. His left hand goes up in a small wave and a smile appears. My left hand waves back. As he approaches he says "Hi Daddy!" I put my hand on his shoulder and reply "Hey." We both turn and part our way through the bunches of other parent- child rendezvous. A successful extraction, mission accomplished.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When did she grow up

JerryD Posts a story proving that one size does not fit all....
 
When did she grow up… 
It’s not often that I take on the duty of purchasing clothes for my 10 year old daughter.  It’s usually her mom who takes her out shopping because “Dad says no” too much.  She’s right, dad does say no because he might not like the style, the size, the color or the price.  Mom, on the other hand only has to agree with size and style.
It was with great apprehension that I venture into Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a batting glove for my girl.  They had all kinds of sizes, styles and colors.  I looked at the little girls gloves first and I knew she didn’t want anything pink, so I wander to over the little boy’s gloves.  Now, did she wear a Tee Ball size medium or large or maybe a Little League size small or medium? I couldn’t tell. I picked up the gloves and started to compare sizes.  I closed my eyes and pictured my hand wrapped around her little hand as we crossed the street. There were a few other little kids running around in the store about her size but I knew it would be inappropriate for me to start asking them to show me their hand.  After about 15 minutes I made a decision and purchased the boys Tee-Ball large.  I felt good about my decision and on the way to the checkout line I grabbed a 6 pack of white athletic socks for her as well. Upon arriving home I took out the glove and said “I’ve got a surprise!” and presented her with her new batting glove.  First she smiled and then sort of laughed,  my wife turned gave out a little snicker.  The glove was minuscule.  In fact, she couldn’t even get her hand halfway in it was so small.  When did that little hand get so big? Was I away? Had it been so long since I held her hand?  I was so surprised. Good thing I saved the receipt.  Then I said “Oh yea, I almost forgot, here are some socks for you” and I tossed them to her.  She looked at them, laughed and tossed them back.  They were half the size of her feet.
Who knew?

JerryD 1G

Monday, April 26, 2010

Inspiration Point

"I wanna be a ____ when I grow up." I hear those words coming out of my son's mouth from time to time. Every person has said those words as a child. I think about the inspiration behind the statement. Is it an athlete he sees on TV, or reads about? Is it the President of United States, or musician rockin' out on his guitar? There can be an infinite amount of inspiration for a boy at ten, just waiting for one to take hold and spark into an explosion. Does he have a sleeping talent lurking? Kids gravitate to what their parents do. Professions like teaching, medicine or law are worthy of inspiration, what about office manager, or salesman? What I try to show my son is craftsmanship. Being accomplished at your craft transcends talent or profession. Dedication and devotion are the real tools for achievement.  Taking pride in your work, whether you are performing in front of an audience or teaching first graders, is what is inspiring. Talent is not a guarantee of success and a honorable profession is not a guarantee for reward, but craftsmanship can elevate you, and inspire others.

"I wanna be a ______ when I grow up." my sons says. What he does with that is truly the inspiring part.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Colonial Crate and Barrel

Today we went on a tour of Rockingham House, the home of George Washington during the final days of the  Revolutionary War. We walked from room to room, going back in time to colonial living. Living in that time seemed extremely harsh; running water, sufficient heat, refrigeration, not available. I was thinking while walking through this run down, crooked, rickety old place, what the colonists would think about the expectations in a home today. I am sure right off the bat, electricity would be a plus. What would they think of a dish washer?  My son wandered through the home, asking interesting questions, and a bit taken back by the living conditions. Colonial Times were certainly rough, 250 years from now, what would the future population think of us? After leaving the historic site, we all needed a fix, and drove over to Crate and Barrel. Nothing beats the daze of colonial living like a non-stick brownie pan and a hot chocolate maker.

Rockingham House

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Argumentative

I got into an argument with my son last night. It does not matter what the issue was, we disagreed and I became angry. Arguments happen, disagreements are part of any relationship. If I am arguing a fair point, it's no trouble for me to explain why and he accepts the outcome whether he agrees or not.. When I am losing the fight, I can always throw out the parent's ultimate phrase to end all conflicts. We use the phrase "Because I said so" like it is a get-out-of-jail free card. Parents use it more than necessary, because it can work at any level. Its the virtual banging of the gavel.


Be wise when unleashing this tool, it takes skill to master its timing, if used improperly can backfire on you like a overflowing toilet. My advise, pick your battles, you do not have to take a dictator approach to every conflict.  Because kids have their own weapon, the temper tantrum...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jump on the Food Revolution

Bandwagon jumping is often times looked upon as a cheesy move. In sports you are classified as a Front Runner, only becoming a fan when the team is performing well. I am delighted to be jumping on this bandwagon. Please jump on also, as this wagon needs to overflow. 

Dear Supporters-
Your support for the Food Revolution will help to show the government how many people really care about their children's diet and health. We plan to take the petition to the White House after the tv series and we need as many signatures as possible.

The Food Revolution is about changing the way we eat. Please help spread the word that every child has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Forward the petition to your family, friends, teachers, colleagues and anyone else who you think cares.

This is your revolution. If you want to act do something about school food and get cooking now!

Thank you again for your support.

Big love and respect,
Jamie Oliver
www.jamieoliver.com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whole Life Crisis- Seth Davis

My friend and fellow Dad Seth Davis posts his new song. Check it out and spread the word..

Seth- some guys @ the diner a few months ago bitching about their mid life crises got me relating but I'd have related at any time of my life....SethDavisMusic

And the first pick in the Draft is...

I know I have over the top expectations. I realize its an extreme long shot for my son to be a professional athlete. But it is not beyond my ability to guide him, and support him in his goals.

If he is willing to put in the effort, I will make the effort. 
If he is willing to put in the time, I will make the time.
If he needs help to achieve, I will help him.
And whatever he achieves in life, I will be proud of him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baddest Bad Ass

There has been every representation of man depicted in film. From the desperate family man in It's a Wonderful Life to the psycho drug dealer in Scarface. One of my favorite character archetypes on film is the Bad-Ass Dad. This character is the man on a mission, the man taking revenge, the man who's got balls of steel. He is not usually the most responsible of fathers, by description he is a bad-ass, not a 9 to 5 office worker. Conventional jobs are not for him. The incredible tally of bodies in his closet, and lying in the kitchen, and in the driveway makes him a perfect candidate for a Bad-Ass.

With the popularity of Kick Ass- Here are my Top 5 Bad-Ass Dads:
WARNING: SPOILERS IN THE MOVIE DESCRIPTIONS

Number 5: Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson)-  
Death Wish
The story of a man taking crime into his own hands after the killing of his wife and the rape of his daughter. Paul does not start out as a bad-ass but quickly transforms into one of the most daring no-nonsense vigilantes depicted on film. The era in which the film takes place, the deterioration of society, and the rise in crime, set the tone for this gritty man against the world film.  


Number 4: Bryan Mills (Liam Neesen)  
Taken
Bryan Mills is a man who was not around much to see his little girl grow up. He was too busy being a super spy. His daughter is now of college age and is about to embark on a vacation in Europe. That does not sit well with Mr. Spy, who sees the bad in everything, and rightly so. As soon as his daughter steps off the plane she is kidnapped, which sets off a wave of death and destruction only a bad-ass can create. There is no one Mills will not interrogate, torture, or kill to find his girl. Does he succeed, is there any doubt?

Number 3: Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) 
Big Daddy is new to the genre but make no mistake, he is super bad-ass. Anyone who trains is daughter to be a foul mouth, psychotic assassin to revenge the death of his wife (and her mother) is immediately on the list. She is schooled to kill in any creative way possible, like any 12 year old girl with an imagination would. Big Daddy himself is a killing machine in his own right, as he strives to be a role model for annihilation.
Number 2 (tie) Don Vito and Michael Corleone (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino)  
The Godfather I and II
This father and son duo of bad-ass crime ruled with a baby in one hand and a Tommy Gun in the other. Who else but these two have the power and the balls to control society's vices without lifting a finger to do so. They were so bad-ass, they got other people to weld their wrath against all those who betray them.

Number 1 Darth Vader (Darth Vader)  
Star Wars I-IV
Nobody in the universe is as bad-ass as Darth Vader. He can choke you from across the room, and if you get in his way, will blow up your planet. He cut off his own son's arm and kidnapped and sold his daughter to Jabba the Hut. You simply do not mess with this man, or you will feel the power of the Dark Side.



Honorable mentions:
Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) 24- Though not a movie- nobody tells Jack what media he can unleash his ability to destroy anything in his path for justice.

The Bride (Uma Thurman) Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2- Any man want to mess with this mother of an unborn child seeking revenge with a Hattori Hanzo sword? Not this dad.

Post a comment to list your favorites. Don't worry, nobody will take revenge against you...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The M3 Summit


There are all sorts of conferences that keep us away from our families. Some are work related and some are hobby related. The work related events allow us to network with colleagues and find out what the competition is up to. The hobby related events allow us to geek out with our extra curricular passions. Its rare to find a conference that gives us the right balance of work + geek. Here is an event right at the top of The Dad Trade work + geek ratio:
The M3 Summit!
Here is a synopsis of the summit:

The Modern Media Man Summit will provide dads and men bloggers around the world the opportunity to gather in Atlanta September, 9-11, 2010 to attend an important conference featuring the latest in social media: blogging, podcasting and vlogging, while also harnessing the excitement and electricity of the Internet’s latest buzz.
There are dozens of renowned conferences held annually throughout the world for bloggers, but what none of them have created is a place to gather the new modern media men, specifically, the daddy bloggers, whose influence is fast increasing in the contemporary online space.
The M3 Summit’s goal is to bring together brands, bloggers, and some of the brightest minds in the industry to experience, teach and talk about how the role of Modern Media Man is changing. We know the time, location and topics of focus– educational, personal and business tracks–all will work together to generate the perfect storm in the blogosphere.
This is the best opportunity of the year for men and daddy bloggers, whether they’re stay at home dads, work at home dads, business professionals, the lone entrepreneur, marketer, advertiser and public relations professional to gather in one spot and plot a new course toward progress.
This also will be the best event of the year for brands and marketing professionals to reach out and make the new connections that will help further change the face of traditional blogging and social media.
Today’s Modern Media Man now is a domestic engineer.  He cooks, cleans and often times stays home while the woman of the home goes off to the traditional office job.  Men do an increased level of the family shopping, are taking an increasing role in rearing the children and are creating a new definition of what happens in a home.
The M3 Summit will be held in the heart of Atlanta in the Omni CNN Center.  You don’t want to miss this opportunity to become an important change agent in a world that’s fast changing. Make your plans now to be a part of the first M3 Summit in September 2010, and be a part in defining the new Modern Media Man.

The Dad Trade is hoping to be there representing...

old habits...

"Dad, can you dry me?" my son bellows from the shower. I walk in the bathroom and my son is standing there dripping water all over the floor. I have been toweling him off for as long as he remembers, its like our little routine. As I dry him off we usually make up funny words, sing a song, or just talk. After ten years, he still wants me to dry him. Tonight I told him he needs to dry himself and he was heartbroken. Is the routine a hindrance to his growth or am I the one who can't let go?


Bathtub songs, bedtime stories, cutting food into bite size cubes. These are some of the rituals we start with our young children. They are the little moments that are the hardest to let go. When is the right time? That first time you stray from the routine, you feel that glitch in the world that something just changed. You want to reverse time, go back just one minute and start again, because once the moment has passed, its gone. Children like routines, planned out to avoid inconsistencies; avoid confusion. In reality, adults like routines just as much as children do; its a state of comfort and stability. I know when my son has his own kids, he will remember how great that time felt and will seek to relive those moments again.


After my son hears the news, his head tilts down. I grab the towel out of his hands and rub his hair dry. He makes funny faces and I laugh. I spin him around in the towel until he is polished dry. Maybe I will start with going from seven days to six.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caution! Crossing ahead

My son has officially graduated from kids music to teen music. Gone are Disney acts Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato. New request for downloads are Usher, Jay-Z and Taio Cruz. He also started watching MTV which is the part that I am concerned about. The videos are more provocative, some very much over his age level. Is he conscious of the change in themes? Disney bands sing of puppy love, dreams, and whimsical fun. The MTV bands sing about love, but not the puppy kind; desire more than dreams; and good times fun. Is this more than the preteen can handle? I really can't tell. The exposure level is so great for his generation, its difficult to find any previous generation that digested more information at a faster rate. The information streams so fast, how much is absorbed and how much is static? There are certainly rules and regulations my son has to adhere to. I do find that kids have an innate sense of right and wrong, that imaginary line of what is appropriate and what is not. My son is on the verge of crossing from kid to teen. I need to find my footing fast, or that line will speed past me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Techno Faze

My son watches a lot of TV, and I am not that bothered by it. That is because most of the shows he is watching are not viewed on the large black rectangle in the living room, but on his computer screen. He does not just flip the channels on the remote, but surfs the web to find the information he was looking for. The best part is that he did not need lessons to learn his way around the computer, its more a part of his lifestyle, his generation's culture. He is at ease with interacting with the keyboard and mouse, something the last generation trained to do. Need a quick fact, look it up on the computer; need a thesaurus, look online; need a picture of George Washington for a report, surf through hundreds of depictions. He has a limitless appliance for finding the information he seeks, not a bookcase full of outdated encyclopedias. I overhear some parent's dismay with this approach, saying "The computer makes it easy for these kids, they can not learn this way." I wonder if that argument was made when the calculator was invented, what about the typewriter?  Remember when the word processor came into popularity? Did the backspace button hinder your ability to learn? There is a theory claiming that by making these remedial tasks easier, your time is unfettered to gain more knowledge, to learn more. My son will use technology in ways I never imagined, until the day when he will question the technology his son uses to unbind his time. 

Now has anyone seen my abacus, I need to balance my checkbook?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kids Movie...Not


A much anticipated comic book movie opens this weekend, looks great from the poster and the trailers. Is this going to be a dad and son movie sharing experience? No, I don't think so...
    Kick-Ass
    Opens today April 16, 2010 | Runtime:1 hr. 57 min.
    R- strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use -- some involving children

    KICK-ASS tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name -- Kick-Ass -- assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There’s only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers. His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats, meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes -- including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (ChloĆ« Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) -- and forges a friendship with another fledgling superhero, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But thanks to the scheming of a local mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), that new alliance will be put to the test.
     


    Looks like a kids movie, the synopsis reads like a kids movie, and the main characters are kids; the problem is that this is not a kids movie. If you read the rating:

    -strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use -- some involving children
    The ratings system is saying "If you want to have a good time, leave your kids are home" The advertising on the other hand is saying "Look- kids on the poster, kids in the trailer, bring the family to watch this movie", and that is the issue; when it comes to the marketing department of studios, they need to maximize return, which sometimes conflicts with the film's objective. I am sure there will be families bringing their 7-8-9-10 year old children to this movie and those kids will be in for an eye-popping experience.

    I am looking forward to watching kids Kick-Ass, but my kid will not be there.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Silly Craze

    This week I found out about the latest must have kid accessory, Silly Bandz. Silly Bandz are these little multi-colored silicon bands kids wear around their wrist as bracelets. The part that is genius is that they are shaped in many different subjects, in the shape of cars, animals, pets, sports etc. Kids trade them with each other and the more you have, the higher up on the coolness factor you are. As for parents, it's a small investment to keep your kid sporting the current craze. In my neighborhood they cost $3.00 for a pack of twelve.

    Here is a link to the website www.sillybandz.com 

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Dinner Fail

    My wife and I scheduled a dinner date tonight. Our son had an event at the temple and would not be home for dinner. Alone time that is during waking hours is rare, so to have dinner alone at a restaurant was an opportunity not to pass up. I left work with ample time to catch the 5:34pm train and would arrive at home by 6:05pm. As the train pulled out of the station I looked forward for some sushi and adult time until I need to pick up my son at 7:30. In the middle of the tunnel, the train came to an abrupt stop. We sat there for about three minutes while the train workers mumble to themselves about our sudden stoppage. The train begins to roll again and we are back on schedule. We hit sunlight as we speed out of the tunnel when the train stutters to a stop again. The passengers look around at each other, and I sink in my chair. "Ladies and gentleman, sorry for the delay, it seems we have a problem with the train's brake system, we will need to go slowly to the next stop, when are arrive, everyone will have to change to a different train." Forty-five minutes later, at the break-neck speed of four miles per hour, we reach the next stop. I walk in the door, My wife and I eat some cheese and crackers in the kitchen, then I leave to pick up my son. Dinner date scrapped...

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Single Serving Size

    One round of a video game
    Three sheets of paper cutouts
    Gluing of cutouts to shoebox
    A bunch of YouTube videos
    Four quarters of Nerf basketball
    Seven helpings of Nerf volleyball
    A pinch of child butt
    Followed by a jab of dad gut
    Ten minutes in the shower
    Clipping of the nails
    A healthy dose of lotion
    Brushing of the choppers
    Dressing for the evening
    Two songs downloading
    Syncing of songs
    Lay down in bed

    The ingredients for The Smooth and Easy Sleep Routine. 
    Not available in any store.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Stories of Stupidity

    Dave and I decide it is too cold to go to school today. We do not go to the same school, he goes to Edison HS and I go to Jamaica HS. We are both freshman and have never really cut school before, it seems like a good time to experience this rite of passage. The toughest part about skipping school is finding a place to go. All the normal places are out, someone could spot us and it would get back to our parents. A few blocks away past a strip of stores, is what the neighborhood calls the woods. It is really a large abandoned lot that has not yet been cleared for homes, but it is woodsy and nearby, the perfect hideaway. We find some large pieces of plywood and decide to build a clubhouse. We survey the grounds and find an optimal piece of land, a hill with a four foot drop on one side. If we build here, the structure would not be visible from the street. In a short two hours, our clubhouse is complete. We crawl through the doorway and inspect our clubhouse. We have all the comforts of home, a dirty wooden floor, four plastic milk crates for furniture and a metal tray for a table, and no light. The problem is a lack of heat. It is cold, too cold to go to school, definitely too cold to stay in the clubhouse all day. We put our heads together and with our limited knowledge of outdoor life and survival, come up with a brilliant idea. We would burn something.  

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Sunday in the Park

    Today my wife, son and I went for a nice walk. Well my wife and I walked, my son used a scooter. We walked to the next town, then back through the park. We took a short rest and had a little lunch, then continued along the path with a beautiful stream running along side. We watch the geese and the ducks dive into the water head first, also looking to eat lunch. Some come up with food, others with beak empty, but anxious for another attempt. There are a lot of people walking their dogs, which sparks a conversation about our indecisiveness upon getting a dog. We absolutely all want one but vacillate with our commitment to have one.  I do not know why we can't pull the trigger, if we swayed this much in other aspects of our lives we would never get out of bed. We are married and we have one child, how much more can it infringe on our freedom? As we walk, we do have a breakthrough in our discussion.  We agree the dog would be one of two breeds.  Progress...

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Youthesaurus


    Conversation 1-
    Dad: How was your day at school today?
    Son: Good.
    Dad: Did you finish all of your homework?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Everything else good?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Do you have questions about your homework?
    Son: Nu uh.
    Dad: ?

    Conversation 2-
    Dad: How was your afternoon at your friend's house?
    Son: Good
    Dad: Did you have lunch there?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Next time do want your friend to come over?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Any other details about your afternoon?
    Son: Nu huh.
    Dad: ?

    Conversation 3-
    Dad: How was the birthday party?
    Son: Good
    Dad: Were there a lot of games to play?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Did all of your friends go?
    Son: Uh huh.
    Dad: Is there anything else that occured at the party?
    Son: Nu uh
    Dad: ?

    Self: I need to ask a more engaging question, and maybe purchase a child-parent dictionary.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Happy in my Garden

    Full Spring ahead with this post by JerryD 1G
    Happy in my Garden                                        
    One of my great pleasures as I get older is my perennial gardening. We have a small cottage outside of New York City and as Spring arrives, it’s one of the things I look forward to the most.  I’m the first to admit that I have no real conception whatever of garden design. I might buy a plant that catches my eye, or fits my price point, and stick it into any spot I have room, with a minimal amount of thought to color combination and space. As a result my garden always looks like a work in progress. But I like to look from up close, to see the growth of individual plants that interest me, how their leaves and stems spring up from the earth, how they blossom, flourish and sometimes even wilt in the summer heat. There is something magical about the seasons here in the Northeast. Spring represents the rebirth of the world, the cycle through summer and even into September, and the fall, when I can see the plants preparing themselves for the winter to come.  It’s a never ending process that I find deeply pleasurable. It’s almost a mirror of my own life and that of the people around me.  It’s the cycle of death and rebirth, something about how I experience my own body aging as I watch my daughter, my nephews and nieces, my friend’s children coming into maturity, that gives me a sense of continuity, and some degree of acceptance of my own mortality. And it's more than just a state of mind; I enjoy awakening early in the morning, grabbing my cup of coffee and go out to see what might have popped up in the garden.  In the early evening when I call it a day, I put on my flip flops and head out to do some weeding or transplanting.  People ask me why I don’t install a sprinkler system and think...it’s the same reason I wouldn’t send my kid to boarding school, I want to contribute, to nurture, to be a part of the growth.  There’s something special about the bloom!
    JerryD 1G

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Learning is Doing

    The small glossy red canister lay in the middle of the room, waiting to go to work. The four foot long metal cylinder is slid into the plastic accordion tube, click. Next is the head, slender or motorized? Choose wisely for the right one will glide smoother, resistance when using the wrong one. Now it's primed for power. Slowly uncoil the round black cord, take the plug and insert it in the outlet. You are ready to tackle this chore. Take hold of the metal cylinder right at the point it begins to curve downward. Take your foot and gingerly press down on the On button located on the back of the canister. Click, varooom! push forward, then pull backward across the floor. Repeat until the entire floor has had a once-over. 

    That is how to master the vacuum cleaner. Easier than using the TV remote, game controller or computer mouse. Equivalent skill set to the tooth brush, the light saber, and the punch to the gut (which seems to get the most practice).

    You are finished? great. Let me now show you the art of garbage collection...

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    If you can't play, Coach

    This evening was the I9 Flag Football coach's meeting. I9 is a organization catering to teaching young kids how to participate in sports. It not only teaches the fundamentals, but more importantly, sportsmanship. This year is my son's third year with I9, and for me, my third year coaching. Tonight we gather together, pick up our nice red "I9" t-shirts and rule book. We sit in a very hot conference room and go over the rules, line by line. Page after page of the on-field instructions are read aloud by the head of the league. The regard for the kid's safety is quickly realized to be the most important aspect of these regulations. There will be no blocking, tripping, elbowing, tackling. There is also no taunting, arguing, or extreme celebrating.


    These policies are not foreign to any kid between the ages of five and twelve who has played sports. The personality of all these leagues are, respect the game, respect the coaches and officials, respect the players, and respect yourself.


    But what about the parents? My son has been playing organized sports for six years, and in that time I have seen parents do some very disrespectful things. I have seen parents berate their kids from the sidelines, I have seen parents go on the field and breakout into a tongue-lashing on an official. Boos and heckling echo across the field. I overheard parents telling their kids to "Go for the knees!" and "Hit high." Support for your kids and your team are very much welcomed, kids feast on parent's praise. The intimidating taunting and offensive behavior taking place in the stands, just leaves a vile taste in everyone's mouth.


    Saturday morning is evaluation day. We break up the kids into four groups, we run through some drills and gauge their skill level. The coaches run each group and get familiar with kids. One of the groups cover the rules and regulations. We go through the obligations and responsibilities of playing team sports. We stress fair play and respect.


    Where will the parents be during this evaluation and learning period? Sitting it out on the sidelines.

    Have You Cleaned Your Car Lately?

    Here is another contribution by JerryD 1G:

    Have You Cleaned Your Car Lately?                                         
    I want to know who trashed my car?  I know it wasn’t me, my wife and daughter say it wasn’t them, so who's the culprit?  Being the good detective dad that I am, I began by looking through the trash for clues.  I found pens, pencils and crayons.  Now I know why there are never any in my desk, I must have put them all in the car.  There was an almost full deck of cards (41), stuffed animals, a Barbie doll, women’s shoes, a winter coat, 3 very little gloves, a Sponge Bob note book, Lego, beads, Teen Beat magazines, muddy sneakers, one flip flop, candy wrappers, an empty McDonalds bag, 6 or 7 “Wimpy Kid” books, a Vanity Fair, lip balm, fuzzy elastics, lollipops (some half eaten), ribbon, string, dog toys, dog treats, a bird house kit,  and enough sand to start my own beach. Oh and a Frisbee.
    When I mentioned the Frisbee to my kid her very quick response was “That Frisbee is yours dad, I guess it was you who messed up the car.”

    JerryD 1G

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Flick Sick Part II- Boycott The Movie Theater Day

    Today, fellow Dad Trader JerryD made plans to take his daughter and her friend to a matinee movie. Realizing it was going to cost him $45 angered him. "It was an 11am show on a Tuesday, I thought it would cost me $6 each!" As much as he did not want to disappoint his daughter, he needed to take a stand. That stand was a resounding "No.". He took them to the park and they were happy to run around on a lovely spring afternoon.
    Later that day he decided put his anger to action and start a Facebook Group called:

    National "Boycott The Movie Theater" Day - May 15, 2010
    Lets see if this action can cause a reaction...

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    UPFC-Not for the weak

    The battle has stalled. The wall pictures tilted, the bed spread is bundled into a ball. The bright red sun is setting through the corner window, dust particles flicker in the air like snow flakes. Assorted pieces of Lego and other toys are scattered across the floor. The room has slowly settled down.

    Across the floor lay the bodies. Legs and arms jumble together. Mumbling sounds turn to giggles, then all out laughter. One figure rises to his knees, then steadies to a stand. Calmly he raises both hands above his head. The pillow flops back, ready to barrel down and compress on impact. The hands spring forward and the pillow flies like it broke free from a trebucket. 

    The other one on the floor does not react quick, and pays the price for tardiness. Before the hands could move, the speeding pillow lands in a thud against the stomach. An oomph sound escapes out while the body buckles into a ball, followed by a moan, then sounds of defeat. "I won!" roars the winner.

    The defeated one looks at his watch, then points to it. "Auugh" sighs the winner, hands coming down, slapping against his hips. "Its time to get ready for bed.". "Ok, Dad...". I get up off the floor, my son gets ready for a shower. 

    Strategies will be adjusted, pillows need to be bigger. The Ultimate Pillow Fighting Championship will continue...

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    You're a dad, act like one

    Dads, your kids will always respect you, no matter how silly you act, except when you act silly in front of their friends. 

    Kids, always have respect for your dad, no matter how silly he acts in front of your friends. 




    Fat Dad Falls Off Skateboard

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Flick Sick

    Going to the movies is one of my favorite recreational activities. When my son was born, I envisioned us going together to see the latest action or sci-fi blockbuster. As soon as he was old enough we have been taking him to see the G movies, then the PG, and now moving into some PG-13. He enjoys the big screen atmosphere, so its easy for us to share this activity. We watch the previews online, read every word of the NY Times summer movie section, and await the first week opening.

    Lately there has been a trend to make kids movies in 3-D. The theater experience of the 3-D movie can not be duplicated on DVD. It needs to be witnessed in the big screen setting. Studios realize this and ramp up production of 3-D pictures. The studios, forecasting huge gains in revenue, are willing to spend the extra millions to convert regular movies to 3-D format. How does this translate to the movie goer, in a tremendous increase in ticket prices.

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    One is not the loneliest number


    Families are always growing. On my side of the family my son has two cousins and two on the way. On my wife's side there are three cousins. The ranges go from 15 years all the way down to infants. The two closest cousins are my son and my nephew. They are eighteen months apart. Their friendship is unparalleled. Together they are inseparable. All the other cousins have siblings whereas my son and nephew are "only children".

    The term "only child" seems like an old fashion term. It also seems like a degrading term. Parents question families with one child as if something is ungrounded. A big family is equated with being a more loving or healthier family. When our son was a baby we got questions like "So, when are you going to have the next?". I don't have an answer. I never really needed to ask myself the question. I love my family incontrovertibly. I know a lot of parents who have only one child. Some might have an answer for that inquiry and others might not.
    When I see parents with three or more kids I wonder how they can manage. I go through a gamut of questions. Am I viewing "multiple children" families in a questionable light? In today's world am I the exception or the rule?

    The cousins went to sleep sad tonight. Its their last night of vacation together. They will go back home. Back to their over scheduled lives. School, sports and other conflicts keep them separated. But their friendship does not diminish. They are cousins, they are friends, they are bothers.


    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Fools in April

    Laughing was the order of the day today. My son and my nephew spent the day hysterical. It is truly the greatest thing in the entire world to watch kids laughing so much they can't stop. Their faces turn red and their eyes tear. They can't keep their balance and usually fall to the floor. Today the kids were laughing so hard, strangers started laughing too.

    At lunch they swapped Family Guy stories. At the golf range they did their best Happy Gilmore imitation. While changing their clothes, they mooned the pool guy. At the arcade we went to this afternoon, the kids were playing a racing game. Their goal was not to win but to crash into as many cars as possible.
    In the parking lot on our way to the car, my son did a bit right out of The Three Stooges. He was walking and talking to his cousin when all of a sudden, Wham!, right into the side view mirror of a van. Laughter continued through dinner, the scrabble game (coinciding with a farting contest) and up until they were asleep. They even attempted a few April Fools pranks. In each occurrence, extreme laughter was the result.

    Simply a very funny day.

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