Friday, November 21, 2014

Halloween Premiere

Okay, I realize I'm way behind on this one, but bear with me. Several weeks the kids got to showcase their big movie for the Halloween-a-thon and it was quite a bit to-do. The event has really gotten big, and in coordination with the college, has become a big draw in the community, and the premiere itself was held in a big auditorium on campus. They got to dress up and they had a lot of fun, especially since it's a Halloween theme.

The one caveat this year was that the kids were away at camp for the final week, so they had to get all the filming done prior to that, and then leave the editing up to one of their crew. I know A likes to be the one who does the final editing, but she couldn't do it this year, and in fact they didn't even get to view it before it was submitted. Consequently, the first time they saw it was at the premiere, and they were a little disappointed at the final result. I guess the crew member who finished it took a few too many liberties, and A was bummed.

The movie was fine, they didn't win any prizes, but they worked hard on it and they should be proud of their accomplishments. I do think, however, that there were some good lessons about diligence and commitment, and maybe next time they either have to organize things differently or skip it altogether because they run into the same problem every year.

Plus, it's good to realize that you can't do stellar work every time, though you always should give it your all because there is nothing worse than looking back and wondering "what if" or "I should have."

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Screenvision for the pic.

Dry Run

I started learning the ropes of my new job with the school distributing promotional material, and it was sort of fun. I met with the previous person and she drove me around and let me watch her in action. I recognized her from hockey because I always see her at the rink. She is a hardcore player who plays with the big boys, so she's the real deal, not like me, Mr. Weekend Warrior. We spent several hours driving the route and I got a sense of what the job entails. She said the person before her did it for 6 years, and she had only been on for half a year but found other work and had to move on. I applied for this months ago and they told me thanks but no thanks, but since the new person had to move on, the job opened up. Wow, talk about serendipity.

The job itself is pretty straightforward, and though it involves a bit of driving, the total area is manageable, so it ends up being reasonable. I'm not complaining. It will take some time to get the routine down, but I feel pretty good about it. I'm glad for the opportunity and like any job I've had, want to do a good job. Plus, you can't beat the flexibility, and as a stay at home parent, you live for flexibility.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sascha Kohlmann for the pic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hockey and Exhaustion

Two weekends ago we were put through the ringer with hockey, and I have the scars to prove it. By the end of it all, I was pretty fried, in a good way, of course. I will say the kids enjoyed themselves, and that makes it all worthwhile, but it was a little crazy, and even I, who loves hockey, was experiencing hockey fatigue, and it's early in the season. Very early.

All told, the kids played in 7 games, and I helped to coach all of them. One on Friday, 3 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. Kind of crazy. Fortunately, they weren't too far away, and again, they were fun. A had a tournament on her home ice, so we didn't venture too far, and N's games were with local teams. Since his team is so darn big, they are rostering kids so that some will sit out games and get days off, but he ended playing in all of them. I told him that if he was getting tired and wanted a break, to speak up, but he wanted to play, so be it. A was primed and ready for her tournament.

Now that it's done, I'm looking forward to a little time off from hockey, but I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon. Then again, you just never know.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Farrukh for the pic.

Getting Ready For Fall

This time around I'm reasonably ready to prepare for the cold weather. I can never remember when this sequence of events occurs each individual year, but I know in the past I've missed the boat and acted too late. In all fairness to myself, however, the weather is unpredictable and always throws me a curve. Sometimes winter comes early, sometimes it comes late. What are you going to do?

The biggest concern for me is getting the hoses put away and sealing up the taps. I didn't know anything about this in the beginning and left the valve open all winter. Eventually it freezes up and when it gets cold enough, freezes all the way back into the pipe and into the valve. When this happens enough, two things can happen (they happened to us). The valve can be compromised because of the ice and thus malfunction, and the pipes can crack and leak. We had to replace both outdoor faucets for this very reason, and it wasn't a simple job, i.e., way beyond my abilities. I had to employ the assistance of JH and his magic bag of tools, and for the record, it was a piece of cake for him.

JH also informed me to shut the valves down and drain them before it gets too cold. Some years I get it right, others I'm too late. This year I hope to get it right, we'll see. The other big jobs will be to get the power tools ready for storage. I think I'm done mowing the lawn, but there's still wood to be cut, so the chainsaw will remain active. I just removed the screens and the firewood for this year is ready. Still working on finishing year two, which still could happen, and then we're in pretty good shape. Oh yeah, there's a barn to finish, as well. Piece of cake.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Numptee for the pic. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

History Repeats Itself

I don't know what it is about Philadelphia, but we always seem to run into bad luck when we connect there. Last year we were stranded flying back from LA and it was brutal. Our connection to Manchester was held up and they canceled it on us at around midnight, so we had to scramble to get a hotel to catch a 6:30AM morning flight. Talk about a total bummer. This time around, we were delayed in Columbus for about 4 hours and finally made it to Philly around 6:30 only to see that our connecting flight was canceled. I couldn't believe it, but should not have been surprised.

We then needed a hotel, and ended up staying at the Marriott connected to the airport, which was a mistake because it's a little more upscale, or should I say pretentious? It's a business traveler's hotel so they have no issue sticking it to you for every penny they can get. The logic is that business travelers have expense accounts so don't mind burning through money. Consequently, in addition to higher room rates, these hotels nickel and dime you for everything - no free breakfast, no complimentary coffee, and no free internet. Even if you ate at the hotel, you're looking at $18 burgers and $20 sandwiches. And there's no pool! All this drive to profit off us really gets under my skin.

The hotel is nice, but who needs nice when you're just trying to get home? Plus, do people think they're suddenly royalty because they're spending more money on a bottle of water? It's a bit of joke, if you ask me. Oh well, live and learn, or perish for your mistakes. We're trying to get home this morning, so we'll see how that goes. Wish us luck.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Marriott for the pic.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Halloween Surprises

I know Halloween was many moons ago, but like many things in life, there was a good story attached to it. The evening began inauspiciously because as usual, we didn't have much of a plan as a consequence of procrastination and lack of motivation. For the kids, they put off contacting friends and finding out what was going on, and on our end, we weren't that inspired to make a big plan. Things, however, worked out beautifully. I love when that happens.

The biggest issue we were confronting was that we were sick in this house. We missed an entire week of hockey practice and there was some question as to whether or not we would even leave the house that night. A was bummed because she hadn't seen her hockey buddies in awhile, and N was bummed because he really wanted to go trick-or-treating. I can't say I blame him. To complicate the matter, A had hockey practice the night of Halloween, which was optional, but seeing as we had already missed so much hockey and there were games that weekend, the idea of going to practice was not unthinkable. Unfortunately the practice was being held from 6:30-7:30, which are peak Halloween hours, and I got a sense a lot of girls were going to skip out.

As luck would have it, however, the practice was moved earlier, so timing of things was looking good. We could now go to hockey, and then after practice, the kids could hang with their buddies in town. N's buddies were in town, as well, so he got to hang with them. There was a big soiree happening in our town, as well, so we had options. I took both kids to the arena and we skated while N hung out in the lobby with his teammate. After hockey, we all headed over to town and A took off with her friends and N took off with his. How perfect is that? They had big groups so it was fun, and I was left with no kids to watch after, though for the record, they were constantly on my mind and I was happy when we all bumped into each other.

I ended up hanging with IC for the evening and we just walked around and said hi to all of our friends, almost all of whom we know through hockey. It was quite the party. I told the kids to meet me at the Inn at a certain time, and other than that, they were free to run. It was good for all of us. I saw all of them a few time throughout the night, and they were cordial but clearly ready to depart from my scrutiny. To their credit, they were at the Inn at the allotted time, so kudos to them for that. We hung out by the fireplace and chatted with friends for a bit, then it was time to head home.

There was still time to hit our town event, which we did, though it was winding down and A's buddies had left, so we didn't stay long. We got some treats, listened to some tunes, and then came home. It was quite the fun evening, and all without much of a plan. Though I'm happy things worked out, it's not easy for me dealing with so much uncertainty, but that's just because I need to lighten up a bit more.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Heather Marie for the pic.

Taking Charge

I'm the kind of person who likes it when things are taken care of and I don't have to do a thing. Just show up and things magically happen as they should. The complications arise when the person in charge can't make it, and as is often the case, suddenly yours truly is placed in charge. How exactly do these sort of things transpire? Actually, I know exactly why.

We were slated to take N's team photo later this week but we are actually hitting the road and wouldn't be there. I wasn't sure how big of a deal this was to N, and he even said that it was okay, but you could tell it was important to him. He doesn't always come straight out with it, but you can tell when he wants something. This meant that things had to be done differently, and the only way this was going to happen was if I took the reigns and made it happen.

My first question was, why can't we do it on a different day, or even next week? It had to happen during practice when all the players were there, and we had three chances. It also had to happen this week because there was some sort of deadline, so next week was not an option. I asked the man in charge, GG, about another day, but he was busy with town and school board stuff, and his backup was away looking at colleges. The final option was for N to miss the team photo, which as I mentioned, we decided was not an option.

GG said we could do it on earlier and I'd just have to inform everyone and get the pic taken. In the past I've actually taken the team photo myself, so all I needed was a camera, which we have. I then needed to contact all the players and make the proper arrangements, which I started to do the night before, since we had no time to spare. N has a big team, so I got started and called each one of them to tell them what was going on and remind them to wear their home jerseys and socks. Fortunately most of them answered the phone so I got the message out. I then arranged for one of the moms who is a photographer to take the pic, for which she was happy to oblige. I then had to contact the other coach to tell him we were going to hold up his practice while we posed on the ice.

The next day, I planned on getting there early to set up the shot, make sure everyone was on the ice in a timely manner, and finally, I had to locate the team banner that hadn't been used since last year. I called the arena to speak with the manager and he said he had no idea where it was, but would try to find it. Great. We headed over and I happened to run into GG as he was leaving for his meeting, and he informed me that all was well and the banner had been found. Whew!

Working quickly with the other coaches, we got the players suited up, the benches on the ice, and everyone smiling for the camera. MCG took several shots and we were done. Boy was I relieved. As I mentioned, life is much simpler when someone else takes care of everything, but you can't always look for the easy way out, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to craig lindop for the pic.