Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hockey Friends

There are numerous reasons that I like the fact that our kids play hockey. Besides my love of the game, they are definitely learning about hard work and diligence, but also about winning, losing, victory, and disappointment. All that good stuff. They are also making a lot of new friends, and it’s nice. Sure, they mainly see each other at the arena, but playdates and genuine friendships are being born from all this, and you can’t put a price on that. Having the common bond of hockey helps make that connection.

Also, and I’m being objective here, the hockey kids that we encounter tend to be good kids. Sure, they’re kids so they get crazy and hyped up on sugar and TV, but for the most part, they’re well mannered, polite, and respectful. The coach, DF, demands that from them, and it shows. I’ve noticed that throughout my years of watching sports, pro hockey players tend to be more humble and tactful than other athletes. I’m not saying their saints, they have their fare share of problems, but when you watch the game and listen to the players, they tend to deflect attention to their teammates, versus other sports where the players can really be self-absorbed not-so-nice guys. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m glad the kids are making friends, and they are finding numerous opportunities to hang out and spend time with them. Since they’re, for the most part, fairly local, they are within reach of socializing, and they’ll always see each other on the ice. You can’t beat that.

So for all the hassles, obligations, and angst that come with hockey, I have to say, it’s worth it in my eyes. Then again, nobody asked me my opinion.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to cjedwards47 for the pic.

Getting Out Of Hand?

As much as I love hockey, I have to confess, it must seem a bit insane to an outside observer. At some point you have to maintain some perspective. Even I can see that... sort of. Now I personally enjoy immersing myself in something, it feeds into my OCD nature. Besides, that’s when you’re really enjoying something, when it consumes you. The only problem is, it can be unhealthy, especially when you have other pressing needs in your life, like family.

This can work our okay when the rest of your family is on board. However, if this is not the case, then you can end up with a problem. This past weekend we had family visiting for the holidays, and it became readily apparent to everyone outside the talons of hockey’s perilous clutches that we are head over heels into this game. It must have really hit home for R’s parents.

Then again, I think they could appreciate the love of the game. It’s fun to watch when your kids are playing, regardless of the level of play. I think given enough time, anyone would love watching the game, and I’m trying to be objective here. It’s just a load of fun. If only we’d been able to catch a Dartmouth game. Oh well, maybe next time.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to That English Chap for the pic.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Someone Understands

All this hockey obsession is sure to elicit waves of concern from my family and acquaintances, not to mention a bit of disdain and scorn. I did, however, find that I’m not alone. I was at the market yesterday and saw RE, who is GE’s husband. He plays in the C-league with me, and when I asked him how his holiday was going, his response was that it was fine, but he was bummed because there was no hockey this week, and that he missed it.

I could feel a tear welling up in my eye.

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

Inane Detail (the best kind)

I know this is a trivial detail, and that I need to tone down topics pertaining to hockey because it is beginning to irk a certain individual, but I heard a fun fact about taping hockey sticks. A friend said that if you use black tape, it makes it harder for the goalie to see the puck coming off the stick. Now I realize that this makes no difference for a hockey novice as myself, and for that matter, for anyone below the college hockey level, but it sure seemed like a pertinent piece of information.  With this in mind, I got some black tape and re-did my stick blade. I found taping the handle black stains your gloves black, so I kept the white tape on the handle.
Now I’m sure to score a hat trick at my next game. I can’t wait.

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Family of Fixers, Part 2

R’s parents came for a visit and as I mentioned the Amazing PR Man single-handedly dry walled the vestibule, but while all this was happening, R’s dad also fixed our microwave oven. Is that incredible, or what? Not only did he fix it, but he knows electronics (he’s an EE), and had a complete understanding of how the microwave works and all the possible problems that could arise.

I know one thing, if I were stranded on a desert island and needed a microwave fixed and some drywall done, I know who I’d like to have there with me. The microwave has been on the blink for several months, and we’ve simply adapted to life without it. I had a sense that when R’s parents visited, RR would want to take a stab at it, and I also had a sense that if he did, he would no doubt be able to fix it. The only time I think he didn’t pull off such a repair was when he looked at our TV, and the only reason he couldn’t fix it was because he didn’t have a spare circuit board with him. Mark my work, if we were at their house, he would have had that TV fixed.

Anyway, right off the bat, he questioned whether the problem with the microwave was the magnetron tube (MT), because they are designed to have a long life. We took the microwave down from the wall and with N helping with the screwdriver, proceeded to disembowel the thing. Sure enough, RR determined that the problem was not the MT, and then proceeded to fix it. Who cares if he wasn’t completely sure what he did? The point is, he did it. Just taking that step is the key.

It sort of gives you a sense of where the Amazing PR Man gets his amazing-ness. RR recommended that before we strap the thing back onto the wall, we should give it a few more tried to make sure it works. Now all we have to do is figure out where all those screws go and what all those pieces that fell out are for. No problem. My approach is if you’re unsure what it’s for, ignore it.

It should be interesting how long we go with the microwave sitting on the floor. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to kapunkapcoy for the pic.

Family of Fixers, Part 1

As I mentioned, the Amazing PR Man was once again amazing. About a year ago JH and his Magic Bag of Tools and I moved and reframed the front door. It was a pretty serious job, and I have to confess that I felt rather proud of myself at getting it done. It not only addressed a serious problem with the house, but it was a difficult task, not for the faint of heart. I did most of the framing, as well.

A year passed and the interior remained unfinished. R was not happy about this, but she realized that there so many other things going on. I was on the cusp of hiring a carpenter. Enter the Amazing PR Man. He took one look at it and said, “Let’s do it.” The only problem was, it would require a truck, which was no simple feat. We don’t own a truck, and the person I would usually ask for a favor, my Mentor, is probably not only sick of my needs, but he was out of town. I called a few people before our good friends, the Gs, came through. Speaking of testing the limits of our welcome, the Gs have been coming through for us on a number of occasions. Thanks GG and JG, you guys are the best.

Anyway, we needed a truck to haul drywall, which are not only big and heavy, (unless you’re the Amazing PR Man, who can toss them around like playing cards), but fragile. They break easily, and once they’re broken, they’re done. Because of this, we needed a big truck, as well.

This is how things transpired. There was an open stick at UA, which the kids wanted to attend (what else is new?). Now I could have been the pragmatic dad and just said no, but they really wanted to go, and more skating will only help their game. Plus, sometimes it’s easier when they are busy and occupied, leaving adults to do adult things. Finally, the timing worked out.

The plan was to drop them off at public skate, where they could skate for an hour before putting on their gear for open stick. This gave us 2 hours. During this time, we headed over to GGs, which is nearby, got the truck and then headed over to Brittons. Now I don’t think we could have managed this if not for Brittons, because Home Depot of LaValleys were almost too far away.

We picked up the drywall and plywood, as well as assorted necessities (i.e., drywall screws, masonry saw blade, joint compound) and headed home. We unloaded the stuff and the Amazing PR Man went to work. He didn’t even need me there to help, and if anything, we better off for it. When you’re amazing, you don’t need any help, especially from a real man in training.

While he was getting ready, I took the truck back to the Gs, and then headed to the ice rink to pick up the kids. They had just finished when I arrived, so I loaded them into the car and headed home, where PR was working on the vestibule, and R and her mom were making supper. I suddenly had some free time, which I couldn’t take advantage of because everyone around me was being industrious. I started working on my coaching module, which was probably a mistake, because it sent negative hockey vibes out to certain people (too much *$*%^ hockey!). I did manage to get a lot done, however. Those modules are a huge time drain.

Anyway, by later afternoon, supper was finished, and the vestibule was almost done. Dinner was nice, R and JR did a fabulous job, and after supper, PR and I went back to work. I think he wanted to include me in a few things because he might have got the impression that I was feeling left out. It wasn’t that I felt left out, but rather guilty that he was working so hard. I did manage to screw a couple of things up, but they thankfully weren’t irreparable.

I did learn how to cut dry wall, and due to time constraints, PR left me to finish the job. I need to cut out a piece of concrete board to finish the floor, and then finish taping the drywall. I have some experience working with joint compound when I fixed the walls after removing wallpaper, so it’s completely alien to me. That doesn’t mean I’ll get it done any time soon, but it’s something. Then I’m supposed to put in a floor. The decision was made to tile it, which is a bit more complicated than simply putting in wood flooring, but with greater challenge comes greater reward, right?

At the very least I’ll have something to write about. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to jwstrand for the pic.

Weekend Visit

R’s parents came for a visit this weekend, and like always, it was really enjoyable, albeit a little crazy with hockey and all. I think R felt like hockey infringed on the holidays, and I acknowledge that it takes a lot of time. In fact, at some point you being to realize that hockey kind of takes over your life, not that this makes anyone feel any better. I think there is a need to tread lightly when it comes to certain topics.

Either way, it’s good to have a healthy outlook and approach anything, which unfortunately, I do not have, but I won’t dwell on it. I’ll just do my best to keep my obsession in check and tread lightly on the topic when I’m in certain company.

Having said that, it was nice that JR had a chance to see A play. She didn’t have a chance to see N because his game was far away, but A was local, so she went with R, and I think she enjoyed it. Who wouldn’t? The games are fun to watch, and it takes on special meaning when your grandkids are playing.

Again, having all this hockey, not to mention my scheduling and coaching obligations, made for a hectic weekend, and I could have/should have done a better job of being more tactful and coy about it all, but what’s done is done, and I’ll have to learn from the experience.

One thing that kind of fell apart during this visit was our big family meal. The Amazing PR Man was inspired to finish a job that I had just barely started, and like all things that he does, he completed it in a timely manner (1 day!) and did an outstanding job. The guy is amazing. However, because it required all sorts of logistics and supplies, I was taken out of the picture when it came to making the meal, which is usually my job. R and JR did a stand up job of filling in, and it worked out in the end. It was just kind of complicated.

Adding to the complexity was, you guessed it, hockey. Not only did the kids have games, but there was an open stick that they wanted to attend, so I had to drop them off. This worked out, but it meant one more thing for me to deal with. I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy. We pulled it off, but R’s parents must think we’re insane, and they wouldn’t be that far off.

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

The Little Things

Life really is about the little things. If you can develop an appreciation for them, then you’re doing all right. The other day at practice, they ran 1:1 drills, and the kids have a little game where if you win the 1:1 battle, the defeated are supposed to carry the victor’s bag out to the parking lot. N went up against an older, bigger, and more experienced teammate and won. I found this out when we were leaving the arena and N’s teammate was lugging his bag. I asked what was going on and was enlightened, not without a tinge of joy and pride, mind you.

N noticed that his teammate was struggling to haul two hockey bags, and took the high road and said he would do it, relieving his friend of his duties. Once again, I was proud of him. Sometimes just knowing that you won is enough.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Great Weekend

We had a great weekend down in Springfield, MA, though it was without A and R because they had obligations on the home front. N and I hitched a ride with GG and company to a big hockey tournament for N’s team, and it was fun. It was a bummer that the other half of our family couldn’t go, but A had games up here, and R took her to them.

We stayed at a Comfort Inn right across the street from the ice rink, and though I think Comfort Inns are on the low side of budget hotels, it was fun because the entire team stayed there. The kids were bouncing from room to room, swimming in the pool, and having a blast. It made it easy on the parents because the kids could just go on auto pilot. They had so much fun.

The hockey was amazing, as well. N’s team won the championship, and most importantly, he scored his first two goals. He also had two assists. How cool is that? The tournament ended on Sunday and we hitched a ride with SS, and it sure made the ride enjoyable hanging with the guys. We got home before dark, and then met with GG to get our hockey equipment, which didn’t fit in SS’s car. Talk about complicated.

It was a great weekend. I missed A’s games, which I’m sorry for, and we missed having the girls around, but it was kind of nice for the boys to hang out and act like real men.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Beauty Playin 'Eh for the pic.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Don't Wanna Be No Monkey Wrench

I love that song, one of my favorites by the Foo Fighters.

Either way, we were at the women’s hockey game the other night and saw DF there with his kids. Now he is Mr. Hockey, no question about it, and I think our presence threw a bit of monkey wrench into his plans, because once our kids showed up and hung out, his kids were distracted. I got a sense that wasn’t a part of his plan, because later N told me that Dan kept reminding the girls that there was a game going on while they were playing with our kids. Oops!

On the other hand, what do you expect when you get a bunch of kids together? I realized after the fact that he was definitely there to watch the game, as were we, but he wanted his kids to focus on the game. I feel the same way. Both A and N would benefit from watching the players and seeing how amazing they are. Surely they would be inspired, not mention motivated to work hard out on the ice. Nothing like seeing what the fruits of your labors might look like.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to break up the kid’s fun, but I was aware that it might have compromised his viewing enjoyment of the game. Sorry about that.

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

Women’s Hockey Game Night

This is a good example of what our lives are like these days. On one of the days of hockey practice, the kids also have their book group, followed by video camp, then hockey. I can’t be in two places, so R picks A up and takes her with her to her exercise class while I take N to his hockey. This past week we decided that this wasn’t enough activity in our lives, so we also decided to attend the women’s hockey game at Dartmouth in the evening.

So, after N’s practice, we packed up our stuff and drove over to the big city to see the game, which started at 7:00. N and I stopped at Boloco to pick up supper, and we met A and R at the arena. Just wanted to mention that at Boloco, they have a computer kiosk where you can order your burritos on the computer. The kids love doing it, and it’s pretty amazing how quickly they zip through the order. I have yet to figure out how to use the thing, and it’s a piece of cake for them. Amazing.

Anyway, we met up with A and R and had supper, and then watched the Dartmouth women kick some serious butt. DF was there with his girls, so A&N got to hang out, which is fun for them. We almost always see someone we know at the game, so the kids have a blast.

Plus, the women’s hockey team is incredible to watch. They are so talented, it boggles my mind. Something to aspire to.

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not Quite Right

I ordered storm windows for A’s room thinking it would be a good solution to keeping her room warm, but I didn’t get exactly what I was hoping for. What else is new in life?

In the end, the windows work fine, and at first glance, most people would not even notice the difference. I, however, am painfully aware of the deficiency, and of course I’ve made it my mission in life to rectify the situation. The fault is mine because I didn’t do my homework and made a mistake in my approach.

Originally I went to Britton’s to get the window, and they told me I was looking at 4 weeks for it come in. Now I like Britton’s and think the guys who work there are really cool, but I got a sense they hadn’t really dealt with storm windows a lot. We spent half an hour looking through that Brosco book trying to figure out what windows I wanted. I had even brought in the old storm window for reference.

What I came away with was that they didn’t make our kind anymore, and I was going to have to get an aluminum storm window. I was fine with that, as long as it looked like the old storm window. We finally found what we thought was the right match, and they ordered it, but when I checked back, they said the order had not gone through their mother ship, yet. I asked again a couple of days later, and same story. I decided to seek outside advice.

I contacted LaValley’s, and they sold the same stuff, but for about $40 less. Plus, they have a department devoted solely to windows, with a full time windows and door guy. I decided to move on with my life, so I canceled the order with Britton’s and went over to LaValley’s.

Here’s where I screwed up. Instead of taking the old storm window to LaValley’s, I took the information that I got from Britton’s and used that to order the same windows. When they arrived, they weren’t exactly what I wanted, and I kicked myself because what I should have done was brought the window in to LaValley’s and gotten the exact right thing, or at least something closer.

Oh well, live and learn. Fortunately I did do one thing right, and that was not ordering a bunch of new windows, but only two. I’m still on a quest to get the right ones, it just may take some time. Plus, it’s a bit late for this winter, but there’s always next year.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kelly and Debra for the pic.

Let There Be Light

If you can believe this, the barn is now wired. No more long extension cords going across the driveway. GD came over this past weekend and I helped him run the big cable through the basement to the breaker. He did the wiring, hooked it all up, and then put in a few outlets. Once the connection was made, the wiring was live and the electricity was in.
It’s kind of cool. One step at a time, as the saying goes. Now we can work in the barn and plug in tools and lights. Let’s see how that goes.

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

Double Header in the Big City

Once again, true to my character, I’ve fallen so behind on my blog. A pox upon me, excuse my absence. There is so much going on, i.e., hockey, hockey, hockey. I will say this, we are not for want of things to do.

A week or two ago, I can’t recall it’s been so long, we headed over the big city of Hanover for a hockey double-header, and was it ever fun. It’s nice to travel cross-town because it’s so close, the rink is familiar, and we saw boatloads of people we knew. The Hanover Wild crowd, they’re our friends and neighbors and we cross paths with them all time when we are over there.

A had a game against their U10, and N played their White squad. They were both great games, and the kids had fun. Things got a little heated during N’s game, partly because the coach has a bit of history in the big city, but that was long before my time, so I’ll leave it at that.

After the game, we headed over to the big city, not wanting to pass up a chance to eat at Boloco, of course.

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Capital Day and Impromptu Fun

We traveled up to the capital for a hockey game and it ended being quite the fun day, which translates into exhaustion for mom and dad, but that’s what we’re here for, right.

N had a game against Barre, which is adjacent to Montpelier, so we all headed up to the arena to watch him play. Barre is actually a fairly big town, it’s right next to the capital, after all. They have a huge and competitive hockey program, so it was going to be a challenge. We played them the previous weekend and it was a bit of a blow out, though for the record, N’s team played them well, just not for the entire game. They let up and a team like Barre will bury you with your mistakes.

Either way, they beat us again, by the same score no less (7-1), but the kids didn’t seem too bummed. Sure, they were disappointed, but I think at this stage their pretty resilient. After the game, the plan was to head over to Montpelier for lunch, but in the locker room a couple of N’s teammates were pleading with me to let him go home with them. N was thrilled at the idea. Of course, the kids were making plans without checking with the proper authorities, so I had to ask GG’s wife, who was carting two other kids in addition to her own, if she could include N, as well.

She quickly did the math in her head and said she could fit them all in. She was incredibly gracious about it, no hesitation, even saying she felt it would be fun. How's that for being a cool mom? I know N was doing cartwheels when he found out, and we were glad that he could hang with his buddies. This changed our plans for the day, but there was no question that we were going to let him hang out with his friends. Plus, he got to go to the G’s house, which he likes better than Disneyland.

We took A over to Montpelier and had a nice lunch at the Skinny Pancake, then over to Cool Jewels for A to get supplies. We got home in the afternoon, then headed over to GG’s house to get N. I took A along and she got to hang with the guys, though I think she’s getting to that age where boys and girls are finding different interests. Even still, she can have fun with the guys, she’s just a free spirit.

N was bummed to have to leave, I had to tear him away, but it was time. Plus, we were planning on going to the Dartmouth hockey game, which was later that evening. However, after supper, it was clear that we were getting in over our heads, and a quiet night at home was in order. We opted out of the game and stayed home and watched a movie. Both A and N had games the next morning, and sometimes you just have to stop and take a break, even from hockey. I know, it’s hard to believe, but true.

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Extended Halloween

I realize this is a bit late, but Halloween was late, so it’s not such a big deal, is it? Due to the big storm, Sandy, our regular Halloween gig was postponed until a few days later. It fell on a Friday, so it was good in that way, but it also deflated the Halloween spirit a bit. The kids were excited nonetheless, and in a way, they got to do a lot for Halloween. They had the impromptu party at their friend’s house, then they got to go to the CATV Halloween-a-thon, which was a blast for kids and parents alike, then they got to go trick-or-treating for candy. You can’t beat that.

I will say, however, that the evening was lacking a bit in energy. We ended up getting there late because of last minute complications. Our friends were joining us and they couldn’t ready as early as we had hoped, so by the time we arrived, a lot of kids had already passed through. I learned this from the other folks, who said that it was busier earlier. I’m guessing the overall festivities were somewhat muted because it was a few days after the actual day.

Despite all this, however, it was a great evening, because we ended up seeing a lot of people we knew, and the kids got to hang with their buddies from hockey. That made it all worthwhile. One of N’s teammates even joined us on our walk, and I think that was nice for N. He is developing a sense of having his own friends outside of his sister’s influence, though for the record, this buddy has a sister who is buddies with A. It might end up being a family affair.

After our candy run, we ended up at the Inn, which was quiet, as well, though we once again ran into some hockey friends. We did a quick chat and then it was time to go home.

The kids didn’t get as much candy as years past, which is fine by us. We end up tossing a bunch of it, anyway, though it does seem to mute the excitement and spirit of Halloween.

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

More On My Plate

As is usually the case, the pile of stuff just keeps getting bigger, though for the record, much of it is of my own making. I’ve been asked to be the team PR rep, which entails keeping the local papers up to speed of the weekend hockey results, and probably other hockey related news. I realize it boils down to more work, but it’s work that I’m interested in, namely writing. Plus, it sort of puts me in touch with the papers and just might allow me to establish some sort of working relationship with them, which would not be a bad thing for any future writing endeavors.

I did, however, say no to another request for my time, if you can believe that one. We need a team rep to speak for the team at board meetings, and even though I said no, I’ll probably end up doing it, because it just make sense since I’m a board member anyway.

Oh well, nobody said the life of a hockey parent was easy, especially when you’re a pushover.

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

Small Town Oscars

We went to the awards ceremony for A&N’s movie making class, and it was really cool. CATV hosted it, and they did a wonderful job of making it technically sophisticated but fun and whimsical at the same time. It wasn’t just a bunch of silly kid’s projects or cheesy productions. Some people took it all very seriously, though I think they should have separated the adult productions from the kid’s stuff.

Either way, everyone had fun, and our group was a big presence, largely because the kid’s group included one or two parents for each child, thus giving us numbers. This proved to be instrumental in our high second place finish in the audience choice awards, since we made up about a quarter of the audience. If we’d had more parents, we probably would have taken first prize.

CATV was very supportive of all the applicants, and they presented everyone’s project in a fun and engaging way. It helped that Halloween was the theme. Looking back on it, I think it was a great experience for the kids to do all aspects of making a movie, from start to finish. Then they get to see the finished product, and it doesn’t get any better than that.

After the ceremony, a group of us went over to Hartford Pizza for supper, and we had enough to seat the kids at one table and the adults at another. That way the kids could be silly and get crazy, and the adults could take a breather from being overbearing and hovering parents. The pizza was excellent, great crust, and it the quantities worked out perfectly, we had just enough, and they even gave us an extra order of onion rings, which the kids wolfed down. Good vibes from Hartford Pizza.

It was a late night, but we all enjoyed it, and everyone, adults included, came away from it thinking what a fun night it was. I can’t argue with that.

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

Making Contact

I finally got a call back from the French teacher at the school, only two months after I initiated this whole process, and even then, she seemed not quite clear on what I was hoping for. In fact, she left a frantic message about talking to the principal in order to enroll A in school, which wasn’t my goal. I only wanted her to take language class, not be in school full time. R got the message and kind of hit the roof at the thought of me enrolling A in school behind her back, which wasn’t the case.

What I find a nuisance is the teacher mentioned that she got the emails but failed to respond, so clearly this is a case of her just blowing me off, and then she clearly didn’t pay attention to the message, which was given to her on a number of occasions. Oh well, I can’t whine about it if I want something to come of this, so I have to suck it up and just keep at it.

Kind of makes you wonder, though, doesn’t it?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Rogers Scuba Shack for the pic.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sick and Playing

Since Halloween was rescheduled, I was able to play in my hockey game, but I definitely wasn’t 100% because I got sick at some point in the days before. For the past few days I’ve been feeling a bit tired, more so than usual. My naps were a little harder to come out of, and I was just feeling a little less energetic, but not necessarily sick.

Sure enough, the night before my game, I felt the scratchy throat forming, and by the next morning, I was full blown sick. Total bummer. It wasn’t the bedridden sort of malaise, but I just didn’t feel my invincible self, especially when it comes to playing hockey. I toyed with the idea of skipping the game and just resting, but then I’d have to wait another week before I got to play again, and that would have been too much of a bummer. So I went for it.

It wasn’t so bad. Once I got on the ice, you’re just ready to rock and roll, so you don’t notice a little pain and suffering. I’ve experienced this before with injuries. Sure, my stamina wasn’t what it usually is, which isn’t much to begin with, but I survived. I even scored a goal, if you can believe that.

Before I became a father, I used to wallow in self pity whenever I got so much as a head cold. Now that I’m a father, I’ve gotten much better, out of necessity, at sucking it up and just dealing with it. Sure, I’ll whine a little, but old habits die hard. When you’re a parent, you just don’t have the luxury of self absorption, the kind I see in some of my friends who don’t have kids.

Then again, with greater challenge comes greater reward, right?

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

Halloween Postponed

Our usual Halloween gig was postponed this year because of the big storm, even though I think they could have still held it. We definitely were affected by the storm, but by the time Halloween rolled around, things were fairly calm and orderly. I understand why they did it, so I’m not complaining.

If anything, I should be grateful, because it meant I could go to my hockey game. I had originally said I couldn’t make it because, let’s face it, you can’t deny your kids their Halloween. I was prepared to forgo the game when the storm came along and changed everything.

Not that the kids suffered, however, because our good friends the Es came through with a last minute, impromptu party at their house. A&N were excited about it, and they said it was cool to drop them off. The plan was for me to drop them off, and R would pick them up. I could go to my game, and then we would reconvene back at home.

I think that maybe R even enjoyed going over, because by the time I got home, which was well after the party was to have ended, R and the kids hadn’t returned, yet. In fact, they stayed for about 1.5 hours past the scheduled end time, so they were clearly having fun. I’m glad, because R does not get out as much as me, partly on her own volition, but she usually has fun once she actually motivates. Inertia is a formidable force to overcome.

They got home around 9:30, which allowed me to get some supper and then relax a bit before the bedtime rush. The kids had a blast, and I’m grateful to the Es for getting it together and having everyone over for a soiree.

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

The Inner Circle

I’m sort of being allowed into the “inner circle” of dad’s hockey, and I’m not sure what to make of it. I will always feel like an outsider when it comes to the game because I’m such a newcomer, and most of the other dads have played some form or another in their youth as well as their adult incarnations. Being the new guy and all, I don’t feel like I’ll ever really qualify, but it’s one of those things that I shouldn’t over think, but I’ll lose my mind while confirming to everyone who knows me that I’m a neurotic mess. Then again, maybe it’s too late for that.

Either way, during N’s last game, DF said I could come to help on the bench during the game. This is completely my interpretation, but I think it was presented as a sign of respect. DF is a pretty straightforward guy, he doesn’t sugar coat things and will do only what’s best for the team, so he’s not doing me any favors because he feels sorry for me, regardless of how much I want him to feel sorry for me. He left it up to me, and of course I accepted, even though, as usual, I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I’m always happy to help, however, so I joined the big boys in running the team. My job was expendable, if not a little stressful because I didn’t want to screw anything up, which I did on occasion, anyway, but what else is new? I still don’t see myself as a coach, but more of a helper. The coaches are the real deal guys who know hockey, so I’ll leave it up to them, I’ll just stand on the sidelines and fill water bottles and open doors for the players. That’s more my speed.

Another area where I seemed to have  gained carte blanche is during practice, where I’ve always been ready, willing and less than able to help out. I usually bring my skates and change on the benches by the ice, but the other day DF invited me to change in the coaches locker room. He even said I could keep my stuff in there. How’s that for being accepted into the club? Again, I was flattered, but still feel I’m not up to speed with these guys. They’re practically pros, after all, and I’m the junior novice, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about hockey, it’s that hard work and the willingness to work hard are appreciated. I’m not a hockey player (I just play one on TV), but I can go out there and try my best, and that’s enough to gain some street credibility among the elite.

I’m still not a coach, I’m just the novice helper, and my goal is not to gain entrance into the club of elites, but as long as I can be useful to the overall cause of helping the kids, I’m all for it. It’s even better if I don’t make a fool out of myself out there, but that could be asking too much.

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

Calling All Real Men

Or should I say, all real men in training? In my quest to be Paul Bunyan, I had to break out my chainsaw and cut up a tree. It doesn’t get any more New England than that. As I mentioned, the big storm came through and knocked a tree over in our yard. I was bummed for a number of reasons, including the fact that I had to dust off the chainsaw and put back into action. Also, with proper planning, I probably could have avoided the entire situation, but you make your bed and sleep in it, right?

Either way, I was a little concerned about cutting it, because it was resting on the wood pile, and I always have these nightmare scenarios where the trunk whips around after I cut it, taking off my head. It wasn’t that bad, of course, I just need something to fuel my anxiety.

The tree was an Eastern Hornbeam, or what they call Iron Wood because it’s extra hard. Apparently it makes for outstanding firewood, so that’s one bonus. I’d say we got about half a cord out of it, though I’ll earmark it for next year. Also, since I had the chainsaw all primed and ready, I cut some bigger saplings in the driveway that our new plow guy said should be removed. I figured I’d get the most use out of the saw before I put it back into storage.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let There Be Hockey

The kids had their first hockey games, and it sure was fun to watch. Who needs the stinking NHL? Not us, that’s for sure.

Now that both A&N are playing, it’s going to be tricky for all of us to get to the games as a family, so inevitably we’re going to split up. This is sort of sad, but it won’t be all bad, because a lot of their games will be played together, against the same opponent. We’ll see. I’ll be the designated travel parent, so when games are far away, I’ll be the one to transport. Hopefully we’ll be able to carpool or work out some travel arrangements, because not only will that ease the burden of driving, but it’s much more fun for the kids.

Last week N’s team played at home and lost against Barre’s A team, 7-1, but I thought N’s team looked good. A little pensive and unsure on their feet, but it’s their first game together, and they haven’t been playing/practicing together for that long. I really thought the score did not reflect the abilities of the team. We play them again soon so the rematch should be interesting. I think it would have been better to have had a longer break in-between, but that’s just a dumb mistake on the part of the scheduler, who happens to also be yours truly. Live and learn.

The next day, A and N both had games. A played at home against, you guessed it, Barre, while N traveled down south to Brattleboro. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with GG, since his son is N’s teammate, but also his other son had a game right before. Since GG has the styling minivan, he loaded up several players, including N, and we had a party road trip. It was nice for N to hang with his buddies.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, R went with A to her game at home. I was bummed that I couldn’t attend A’s first game, but I don’t think she completely cares, because she really loves her team. They lost to a much older Barre team, but not by much. The score was 4-0, but Barre was in fact a U14 team, so the fact that they stayed close is a testament to the team. The coach said he was proud of them, and I agree.

N’s team won their game down south, 7-0 and they sure looked solid. I didn’t know this, but I was told by more than one person that historically Brattleboro has been a hockey powerhouse, playing teams in the Massachusetts area. They take hockey seriously down south, especially in and around Boston. During state tournaments, Brattleboro would come in and destroy the competition, so I was wary of this matchup, but our kids did great. They looked strong as a team, and DF was happy and proud.

I helped out on the bench, opening doors, which I’m becoming quite adept at, and basically doing what DF told me to do. I was apprehensive when he first asked me if I’d help on the bench, mainly in my timid, insecure, and fearful way, because in asking me, it was, perhaps, some level of acknowledgement that I was, for whatever misguided reason, being accepted into the inner circle, but more on that later.

We headed home after the game with our crew, and I have to say, I really spaced out and screwed up this one. Since the game ended around 1:30, it was lunchtime for the ride home, and I forgot to pack a lunch. How stupid was that? All the other kids had sandwiches, and they were nice enough to share their food and snacks with N, but I was kicking myself for the oversight. Live and learn, I guess, but that was stupid.

Oh well, he still had fun, and said as much. I’m hoping we can carpool with GG again, not only because it makes perfect sense, but I really like his kids, and enjoy GG’s company. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to newtrierhockey2008 for the pic.

Insulation Man

Just call me insulation man. Since we are working towards getting that darn vestibule finished, the ball was in my court, and I needed to act, or at least do something that indicates I’m not a total loser. I went and got the insulation and then tortured myself over whether it was the right stuff before finally just going for it.

It wasn’t that bad. The stuff was the proper length, maybe a few inches long, but there’s room for error because you can just stuff it in if it doesn’t fit. I ended up cutting it to size, but at some point I realized I was making more work for myself.

Now that the insulation is in, I just need to work on that floor, removing the extraneous garbage so the sub floor will be flush with it, then I can take a look at getting ready for the drywall. Still not sure how the trim is going to work, but for now, at least we’re making some progress, and that’s better than nothing.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

It’s Better to Regret What You Have Done

The other night we went to A’s practice and N wanted to tag along. There was open ice in the evening and the coach said he was interested in holding a practice, so that day, after N’s game, we went home, had some supper, and then headed back to the arena. Since it was an unusual time, we figured N could skate, as well, and maybe one or two of his friends would show up. There are a lot of siblings on A’s and N’s teams.

Well, N is one stubborn cookie, and he said he didn’t feel like bringing his skates. I told him he might be able to skate, but he figured his friends would show up and they could run around while A had her practice. I said he should just bring his skates and if he ran around, the skates would sit in the car, but if his friends skated, he’d have them. He dug in his heels and said no. At some point I just threw up my hands and said fine, I was done pleading with him.

Sure enough, when we got there, his friend was there, but he’d brought his skates and ended up skating with his dad. I had my skates and practiced a bit, and all the while, N sat on the side and watched. I didn’t say a thing, but I figured it was a good lesson for the next time we have such an argument. It’s also good for R and I, as parents, not to constantly take care of every situation and teach the kids some responsibility. N was bummed, but maybe he’ll take something away from the experience.

It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t done, right? Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to stephsk8r for the pic.

Thoughts on School

I still wrestle with the whole school thing. I was talking to our friends who just started homeschooling and they said they were not going to continue next year, they’re sending their kid back to school. I understand, and wonder sometimes if our kids wouldn’t benefit from some school time. Besides just being around other kids, I think they would be more academically stimulated, not to mention motivated. Unless you’re an uber parent like CH, it’s hard providing a really rigorous education, though you can pay attention to their strengths and weaknesses.

I’m not saying teaching is rocket scientists, and teachers are not geniuses. Once you get to know them, it’s clear that this is not the case, it’s just that they are objective administrators of information, and it makes it all cut and dry. Sure, some teachers do more harm than good, but for the most part, there are benefits to the academic environment in school. Plus, as they get older, my feeling is that A&N should at some point go to a real high school, and the sooner they get used to the class setting, the easier the transition will be.

Our friends who homeschool recently sent their daughter back to school, I believe in middle school, and one of the first things she talked about was how mean the kids were. That really bums me out, but maybe that’s part of education, dealing with jerks. Somehow kids take it to new levels, though.

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