Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sleep Deprived

I said I was done whining about how tired I am but clearly that is not the case. There's something about fatigue that just makes me want to whine and complain. Actually, when I'm tired it sort of makes me depressed, and I recall when the kids were babies we never got any sleep and boy was it a challenge. I shouldn't complain because mom took the brunt of that pain and suffering, but I was there next to her for most of it. It's just that I got to go back to sleep while she got up and took care of the kids.

Normally I'm pretty good at functioning with little to no sleep, but as I've gotten older, it's much harder, dare I say impossible, to keep it up for too long. I think the evening employment gig is adding to the burden, which makes sense when you think about it. Work at the Inn seems to go so darn late into the evening, I don't completely understand why, but it's too much. I think they need a bigger crew, or more things need to get done during the day, because by the time we come in for the evening shift, there is a huge workload. Part of the problem is that there are PM events that go late into the evening and we can't clean them up until they are done. Also, there's just a lot going on.

My fatigue is obviously compounded by my day job as well as the schedule for the kids, who have school and hockey events. Boy, when you stop to think about it, it's pretty crazy. Some of us have AM hockey practice that starts at 6:00AM, and that's when things get a little ugly. I'm not sure what people are thinking when they schedule 6:00AM ice time, but I do know that there are people out there that think this is perfectly reasonable. Go figure. What they don't realize is that some parents work well past midnight and getting up at 4:30 is not that easy.

Also, since the days are so busy, there's little if any time to take my sacred naps. No rest for the weary, as the saying goes. Did I mention that I am looking forward to the holidays?

Okay, enough of my whining... again. We'll see how long this lasts.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Brett Davies for the pic.

Nature's Reprieve

I don't know if I was given a sign, but the winter has been a little late in coming and because o this, I have been able to get some yard things done that under normal weather circumstances would have been challenging if not impossible, especially if we had gotten snow like last year. Included in this category is raking, storing the power equipment, and splitting/stacking wood. I've also been able to store the hoses, which froze but thawed later in the day. The wood pile is ongoing and will continue throughout the year, and we did manage to get over to the two gardens and clear them out. The garden was a big thorn in our sides and was bugging us, but we managed to pull out the plants and get them into the compost. Personally I think I'm done with gardening, but more on this later.

In the past I've allowed several of these duties to lapse and simply let them sit over the winter, with adverse consequences, mind you. The big one is the lawnmower, which really should be stored for the winter. I'm pretty anal retentive about the chainsaw and at the very least drain the tank and get the carb cleared, but somehow the lawnmower isn't as much of a priority for me. Against the advice of the pros at Joe's (I'm a poet), I've left the gas in the tank over winter and then tried to start it in the spring, only to have it die out on me. I let it slide again this year but since it's been a warm fall/winter, I was able to finally get it done, thankfully.

I still need to do a few things and it goes without saying that I won't get it all done, but I'll keep plugging away as long as Mother Nature gives me the opportunity.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015


As I think I've mentioned, one thing that has suffered greatly in my life is my aspiring writing career. There's so little time and I'm tired all the time, but I'm trying to get back into it. There's always some time, right? You just have to bear down and do it. This is particularly relevant given that my job at the Inn is winding down (the busy season is coming to a close) and I'm not really sure how long I can sustain the marathon-like hours. It's taking it's toll, no doubt. When I'm sitting there feeling sorry for myself over the craziness that has become my life, I always come back to writing as the great hope for our glorious future. The big question is, when is this glorious future going to arrive?

I just recently started writing again for TripAdvisor, and like my blog, it doesn't pay a cent, but I enjoy it, it gives me practice in writing, and definitely involves an area that I am interested in - travel writing. It ain't much, but it's a start. I was at one time a reasonably prolific writer on the site mainly because we travel a fair amount (thanks to mom) and it's easy enough to review the hotels and restaurants that we visit. Since I started working the Inn, TripAdvisor has become relevant once again because at the orientation luncheon that I was required to attend (so corporate America), they kept talking about how important TripAdvisor was to their business. It makes sense in a field where customer must come first.

While I was listening to the big inspirational speech about the importance of image and customer service, it dawned on me that I used to write a lot for TripAdvisor, and maybe it was time to get back into it. Who knows, it might lead to some writing gigs in the travel and hospitality business, you just never know. At the very least it's a venue to keep writing and to keep the muscle, if you can all it that, active and moving. There are some minor perks to being active on TripAdvisor, including some free stuff and some level of recognition by businesses that your opinion matters, which ain't nothing when you really get down to it. We're all looking for a little relevance in our lives, aren't we? Plus, if I'm really lucky, I may get to wear this suit. Hey, you just never know.

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

Working Man

I've become quiet the working man, and I have to say, it sure takes its toll on a guy when on top of his domestic duties he's also putting in some serious hours at work. There's no question the money is helpful, and I'm grateful to make some dough, but there are times that it's a bit crazy, especially when we work well past midnight, sometimes until 1:00 or 2:00 in the AM. I have to wake up around 6:00 to build the fire and rouse A to get to school, then it starts all over again.

Truth be told, it was the most demanding the first month I started. It was busy season with weddings and all that good stuff, so the place was hopping. The week the kids were away at camp I was doing 12-14 hour days, I kid you not. I started at 8:00AM and finished after 10:00PM, only to start again the next day. I didn't have parental duties which made it all possible, but it was nonetheless a little crazy.

Now things have calmed down a bit, but the work at the Inn still needs to be done and sometimes goes past midnight, which is a bummer. I have other obligations so I can't fulfill all the hours they'd like, but I made it clear that I wasn't looking for full time employment and have to work around my "other" life obligations, which are many. I'm not sure how long I can sustain this, but hopefully things will quiet down a little and maybe I can restore some sanity to my life. Oh yeah, did I mention that hockey season has started?

It's a good thing I'm not the scheduler this year because I really don't think I could have pulled it off.

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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another Score at the Listen Center

Patience and persistence pay off, isn't that what they say? Whoever "they" are, of course. We have had certain winter needs that need to be filled, and while it would be much simpler and quicker to just head over to the mall and buy them brand new, I've been scouring the Listen Center looking for bargains. Part of the fun is the challenge of scoring on a deal, but it's also a great way to save money and do something a little more environmentally sound. The consumer/disposable mentality that is prevalent in our world is just not a great way to live, don't you think? For full disclosure, for certain items like hockey gear, getting cheap used stuff is not really a viable option, so we often buy it new.
Whatever be the case, the kids are growing and and their tastes and preferences are changing, as well. They both (sort of) needed new snowboard boots, and N is still need of a good winter coat. His current coat still fits but he's on the cusp of outgrowing it. The problem is that we got him a killer brand name coat at the Listen, and it's a tough act to follow, at least in terms of getting it at the Listen Center. As for A, her snowboard boots (procured at the Listen) still fit her, they're just a pain to put on. His boots are too small.

I go by the Listen regularly just to see if I can luck out, and this past week they had their yearly winter sale, where you can get some amazing deals on real quality stuff, it's just that it's been used. Truth be told, the items are often barely used and in some instances brand new. I've gotten shoes that are still in the box. People just like to buy things and then they never use them or realize they didn't want them in the first place. More often than not, they've been used but are in good condition. I managed to score some boots for both A and N, and they are not only in really good shape, but they're brand names. I was stoked, and now we've fulfilled yet another need for this winter.

N got new skis for his birthday and I'm going to have to get him new bindings which I am not going to find at the Listen, but you can't get everything there, right? You don't want to go too cheap with certain things. All in all a good week at Listen. The search is never ending, but for now we've addressed certain imminent needs. I love when that happens.

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

Perks of Hospitality

Work at the Inn isn't a glamorous job and isn't always easy, but there are definitely some perks. Case in point, I have access to other Inns throughout New England that offer deals to employees. N had a game up in Stowe a week or two back at 8:00AM and it was brutal waking up and driving up there (just for the record, I had to work the night before). I discovered that there is an Inn that is part of our network up there and could have got a deal on a room - a missed opportunity. A week later we had another early morning game in Burlington, and this time I came up with a plan. I contacted an Inn in the area and they offered me a room for $65/night. I only needed it for one night, and not only was it close to the game, but the Inn itself is like a 5 star resort. It was really fancy and nice, way more so than what I would ever pay for. I think because I'm a working class stiff like her, the person I spoke with got us a killer room, complete with a fireplace and a view of the courtyard.

It was fun staying there and N and I loved the room. We had a game about 45 minutes south of the Inn that evening at 7:00PM, then headed up, picked up some supper, and then crashed out in the room. The next morning we got to sleep about 2 hours more than if we'd driven up from home, which was A-okay with us. It actually turns out that there are dozens of Inn throughout New England where we can get deals, so this may turn out to be more fruitful than I ever thought it would be.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Squeaky Wheel

... gets the oil, as the saying goes, or in this case, the jersey as well as a flogging from the guy who has to hear all that darn squeaking. Like everything in our lives, getting a hockey jersey for N turned into a complete fiasco, albeit it a harmless and entertaining one, thanks in large part to my neurotic OCD. Then again, who doesn't love a good story (though this is a long one)?

N has been playing hockey for several years, and with the exception of his first year, he has had the same number every season. He's hardly alone in this, and every kid wants to keep his number from one year to the next. How can you blame them? N has managed to keep his and last season his jersey started to get a little snug. This past year he, like all kids, grew a little and this is where the story gets interesting. Being the anal retentive planner that I am, I initiated talks last season with the equipment manager MB about getting him a bigger jersey with the same number, and of course it wasn't going to be a simple matter.

The reason for this was because one of the star players in the older division had the same jersey, and he wasn't about to give it up any time soon. I asked if there were any others in the storeroom and was told no, so clearly we had a problem. I even inquired about the possibility of purchasing a jersey, which I realize is foolishness, but what's the harm in asking? Well, as luck would have it, the older player in question was in his last years of youth hockey and would potentially focus on high school hockey, thus relinquishing his jersey. There was also the possibility of going to a select team, resulting in the same conclusion. I emailed MB and mentioned that if this happened, could we please get his jersey.

Sure enough, over the summer I spoke with the star player's dad and learned that he was going to play for a prep school, and a powerhouse one at that. Beautiful. To me, the clouds had parted and the rays of the sun were shining brightly upon us, which of course was a classic case of counting my chickens before they hatched. You'd think by now I would have learned, because like everything in my life, this was not going to go smoothly, at least not without a little kicking and screaming.

When the season began, I contacted MB and asked if we could get the jersey in question, upon which he informed me that he had given it to another player who needed a size up. What? I couldn't believe it? Hadn't I made the proper arrangements already? Didn't I make it clear last season that we were pining away for this jersey? Whatever be the case, what was done was done, and you can't give a youth hockey volunteer a hard time because they are donating their time and they don't need to hear parental groaning. I know this first hand because I was the scheduler for 3 years and even though I didn't get paid a dime, that didn't discourage people for ripping me to shreds over the schedule.

I told N that he had to wear a different number this season, and he was fine with it. I'm sure he was bummed but he never complained, he's just that way. I went to the storeroom and searched for a jersey and this is where the story takes another turn. While rifling through the different jerseys I couldn't help but notice that there on the rack was a jersey with the number we wanted. Did the other person change their mind? Did they have an extra one, after all? I contacted MB and he said it was an adult medium and might be too big, but if we wanted, we were welcome to take it. I could sense that he was pretty irritated by me at this point, and I could hardly blame him. I asked N his thoughts and he enthusiastically said yes, so I grabbed the jersey and you'd think that at this point the story was done and over, but that's never the case when yours truly is involved.

So now we had 3 sets of jerseys: the old one that was too small, the new one that might be too big but had the right number, and the new one that fit but had the wrong number. Once we had decided on a set, we needed to sew N's name on the back, and I didn't know how to use a sewing machine. I got a crash course from mom, and being the foolishly optimistic person that I am, I attempted to sew his name on. The thing is, I chose an hour before practice to do this, and it just happened to be the day they were taking team and individual pictures. Talk about biting off more than I could chew.

As you can imagine, sewing his name on a hockey jersey ended up being a bit of a disaster, and I had to scream and holler for mom to come to the rescue, which she is so good at. That didn't solve our problem of needing a jersey for team pics, because mom wasn't going to be home until later, and we needed to get to practice. Well, as luck would have it, we still had the jersey with the wrong number, so I figured he could just wear that for pics because you only see the front in the pictures. We went with it and it was fine until after practice, when MB came up to me afterward. His son plays, as well, so he was watching the practice and wondered why exactly N was wearing that particular jersey after I had made such a stink about getting the one with his number on it. I was beginning to wonder if there was ever going to be an end to this drama?
I didn't have time to explain it to him, not that he wanted to hear the story, and just told him that we'd be returning two sets of jerseys and that we were happy and grateful to get the one that we wanted. It turned out to be a happy ending, albeit a long and dramatic one.

The story of my life. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sal for the pic.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dry Roasted

This is a minor and seemingly insignificant side note, but a good example of taking charge of a situation and making things happen rather than whining about it. For the record I am extremely adept at whining. I'm a big snacker and am hungry all of the time. I love things like french fries, cheese crackers, and chips and salsa, and would be eating constantly if I wasn't conscious of all the added calories. Snacks work well because I can nibble while I'm doing other things like cooking or even doing poster boy work.

Peanuts are a good snack in this regard because they are tasty, easy to chomp on, high in protein, and reasonably satisfying. Sure, they are higher in fat, but are low in carbs, and the fat is a healthy fat. Whatever be the case, they are the snack of choice. Plus, I get sated on them, whereas I could easily eat an entire bag of chips. The problem I've run into is finding a good source of healthily prepared nuts. Most commercial brands use cottonseed oil (a big no-no) or dry roast them with all sorts of crap to make them look and taste appealing. I want dry roasted peanuts with salt.

Over at the Coop they have Virginia peanuts which are tasty and cheap. I bought them for awhile until I stopped and read the fine print on the ingredients and found that they are cooked with soybean oil, which is another unhealthy oil. I was so bummed. They carry dry roasted peanuts, which are a good option, but they only sell the unsalted version. I've tried to salt them at home but it just doesn't work out that well. Clearly I was going to have to take matters into my own hands.

Enter raw peanuts, which are readily available at any health store. They are pretty disgusting to eat on their own, but what I do is soak them quickly in a brine, drain, and then cook in a roasting pan in the oven, salting occasionally. It is interesting how they transform into this pale, earthy-tasting legume into a crunchy masterpiece with that delicious roasted peanut flavor. It takes about 20 minutes and I've had to fiddle a little with the conditions, but I think I've arrived at the optimal conditions. Yes, it's a hassle, and I have to continually attend to the cooking, moving the nuts around for even cooking and salting. Toward the end, I need to monitor their appearance so as to not over cook them, but in the end it's worth it because I get the snack I've been searching for, and as I mentioned, I'm all about snacking.

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

Finding Good Help

With so much going on in our lives, I've been pushed to the limit in terms of how much I can get done within any given day. I am moving constantly and still can't manage, which is putting it lightly. Needless to say, dad needs a little help. Enter the kids, who are not only willing to help and have some time on their hands, but they are very competent, as well. I've been employing them to help me with various errands around the house, and it's been working out beautifully. This includes basic domestic chores like making meals, washing dishes, and cleaning up, but also larger tasks like raking leaves and stacking firewood. Both A&N (though mostly N because he gets a huge kick out of it) have been helping me split firewood with the splitter, which entails operating the splitter while I haul blocks onto it. It is an amazing amount of help just having someone working the machine.

As I mentioned, the kids are willing participants and they do a good job. They are conscientious and are not in a rush to get it done and over with, unlike yours truly, and it really makes the job go by more quickly. I can even turn my attention to other things while they do theirs, and then life is really good because more gets done. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to iakona75 for the pic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Jumping Through Hoops for Hockey

A wanted to play hockey for one of the local high schools, which under normal circumstances should have been pretty straightforward, but our lives are anything but normal. First off, we don't really have a true local high school, so we have to choose from a number of schools in the area. She is also taking classes at another school part time, and won't be taking any classes at the school where she wants to play hockey. Being homeschooled adds a little bit more fun to the mix.

The simplest scenario would have been to enroll her in the school in question and then signing up to play for their team would have been almost automatic. The second easiest scenario would have been to simply school at home and only play sports at the school in question, a path that some of friends take, but we never do things the easy way, do we? I've been in constant contact with the athletic director JW and he's been very cool and helpful, though he's dealing with unfamiliar ground, as well. The first step was to talk to the school governing board and they seemed okay with it. Then we had to clear it with the high school that is closest to us, which wasn't a big problem because they don't have a hockey team. Then there was the issue of taking classes at one school and playing at another.

Since we're not taking classes at the school in question, we are out of the loop in terms of deadlines and scheduling, so you can imagine my surprise when the coach said he had his team roster set up and A's name wasn't on it. I didn't realize I actually needed to register her for the team, foolishly thinking that it would somehow magically happen automatically. Even after I got her name into the system, there is the lingering potential issue of the team being too big. I just can't seem to escape this sense of discomfort and uncertainty.

As of today, all of our ducks are in a row, but until that first puck is dropped and she is on the ice, I will not be able to rest easy regarding this matter.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Grass is Greener

Fall is here, no doubt about it. In fact, even though it's been dry and warm, the foliage is looking pretty good, in my opinion. The only downside to this is that it means the leaves are falling and yours truly is going to have to get some serious raking done. Then again, there are some people who advocate not raking your lawn, and that's something that catches my attention, no doubt. Sure, sometimes the leaves are so dense there's no getting around it, but some think that simply mowing the leaves continually will not only grind them into nothingness, but it actually nourishes the soil, as well. I've read that leaves make great fertilizer, they just take forever to break down.

Raking ranks up there with my least favorite tasks, but one thing that helps make it less painful is using a tarp to move the piles. I learned this last year and it sure helped, versus loading up wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow and dumping them in the woods. We're almost halfway into November and at some point the snow will come and make raking an afterthought. This, of course, is a mixed bag, because then I don't have to deal with it, but will eventually have to deal with it next spring. Somehow once the snow melts I'm more inspired, but it would be nice to get some of it done. We'll see.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to David Hulme for the pic.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fixing a Leak

Once again, in the continual effort to win the approval of my Mentor and the Amazing PR Man, I took the initiative and fixed our kitchen sink. While I know this sounds like a routine repair, it takes on a whole new meaning when it's yours truly taking on the task, mainly because of all my fear and anxiety over doing it. Having little to no knowledge about plumbing, and seeing water as one of my biggest house concerns next to fire and electricity, it was something I was reluctant to fix. Also, it wasn't that big of a deal (what's one leaky faucet?), and we had lived with it for at least 2 years, maybe 3.

The project in question involved a Delta faucet that KB installed several years ago. He actually did a great job because the previous faucet had to separate knobs and this one had the single handle, which is super convenient. KB also replaced the rigid piping underneath with flexible tubing, which makes it easier to replace the unit if it came down to that. I was definitely not ready for that.

Fixing a leak, on the other hand, was a more reachable goal. The faucet developed a leak after a couple of years and at one point you had to leave it slightly skewed to the left to stop it. It got to the point to where I was so used to leaving it that way that I applied it to every sink I encountered, which naturally didn't work out. Either way, I learned that this is a common problem at the plumbing supply shop and got the parts to fix it.

Then, in typical form, I sat on them for a few weeks. Part of the problem was I was so busy with work and other things that I didn't have the time, or at least I thought I didn't have the time because I figured it would take all day. When the kids were away I told them I would get it done before they returned, and of course I waited until the day before to actually do the repair. It took me less than 20 minutes, and I discovered the problem was one of the seals (which I replaced) that fed the hot water supply. I ended up buying more parts than I needed, but that translated into a few dollars. Total cost of the repair? Less than $10 and few minutes of my time. Best of all, I did the darn thing myself, and hopefully earned the approval of the important role models in my life. I love when that happens.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Daylight Savings

Last weekend marked the end of daylight savings time, and with all that's going on, it completely slipped my mind. This could potentially be a disaster except that this time around the time change was more forgiving because the clocks were turned back instead of forward. This meant that if you were clueless like me, you woke up too early instead of too late, which is a good thing depending on your POV.

Of course there's a story to go along with this. I was working late the night before and had to bail out on my compatriots because I knew I had to do the early AM shift the next day. By early I mean I had to leave around 11:00PM. I think the other guys stayed until after 2:30AM, which would never have worked for me. I came home and hung out for a bit with mom and then we went to bed. I woke up at what I thought was about 5:30AM, came downstairs and got the fire going, and when I booted up my computer, it reminded me that the clocks were changed. I couldn't believe it, I could've slept another hour. Total bummer. By that time the day was set in motion and I had to leave around 6:45, so there was no turning back.

Luckily I only had to work until 12:00PM, then I jetted off to the rink for N's game, which they dominated. As an added bonus, I got the night off, which is becoming a rarity in my life, and for the record, I'm not so keen on this development.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Feed Them and They Will Grow

The thing you realize about being a parent is that when you feed your kids, they seem to grow. Funny how that works, isn't it? Now A hit her growth spurt a year or two back and people flipped out on how tall she shot up, and I think N will eventually reach that stage, as well. In the meantime he is starting to outgrow certain items, including hockey gear and ski equipment. This means that I'm going to have to upgrade his gear on different fronts, which will probably hit me a little hard in the pocket book. Not the most welcome situation for a SAHD, but at least I've been working side jobs to make some extra bucks. Mind you, I'm not complaining, every parent loves to see their kids grow, and if anything, the timing of my newfound employment worked out well because it means I just might be able to pull off this financial miracle without ruffling too many feathers.

Did I mention also that the kids were interested in getting a drum set? Looks like I'll be spending a few extra hours down in the salt mines.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sander van der Wel for the pic.

Splurging For Quality

My Mentor and the Amazing PR Man would be proud of me because I went out and splurged for quality rather than employing my standard MO of going cheap. Granted, it was only for windshield wipers that cost about $18, but it was a still a bit of a leap for yours truly. Normally I buy cheap wipers for the car, and they work fine, but they do tend to fall apart within a year. I think the experts recommend changing wipers every year, so it's not such a big deal, is it?

The biggest issue I run into is when the wipers stop doing their job, which is a regular occurrence with cheap wipers. When the smudge and smear the window, it drives me crazy. Now I don't know if this is more common with cheap wipers, but I've decided to go with higher quality to see if it tempers this situation. If not, then I'll go back to cheap wipers. How's that for good logic?

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween Fun

Okay, trying to get back in the swing of things with the writing and if I get this entry it will be two days in a row. Talk about a sizzling hot streak. Last weekend was Halloween and the timing was, like everything in our lives, a bit chaotic. The kids had just returned from being away, I was working crazy hours, and we entered into the evening without much of a plan. We had to scramble a little to first decide what the kids wanted to do, then coordinate with friends on the logistics of the evening. To complicate the matters further, I had to work that evening, which was really lame because I told them I couldn't come in until later in the evening. I'm beginning to get a better idea on how the system works over there and will have to act accordingly, but that's a topic for another time.

There was a bit of conflict in the early goings because A was a little torn between doing the usual or hanging with her new HS friends in the big city. As you can guess, this would greatly impact N's plans for the evening, not to mention dad's. We talked it over and decided she should stick with the old and traditional plan, mainly because it was more doable for us, but also because it would be more fun for her brother, though the days of hanging with big sis are coming to a close, no doubt. Plus, it worked out beautifully because their friends were planning on doing the same thing and HH said she could fit A&N in her caravan both to and from the festivities, which included a scary dance over at the school. For the record, even though A wanted to hang in the big city, she saw a bunch of her HS buddies at the dance so she had a good time.

I, on the other hand, had to work. As I mentioned I told them I wanted to come in later since it was Halloween but there was a lot of work to be done because it was a big party night and they were actually hosting a wedding. I was bummed and bit disgruntled, but again, I'm learning. I went in and worked my shift and at some point late in the evening I told them I had to go. I wanted to get home to see how the kid's evening went, and I had to be back at work at 7:00AM, so they understood. They are pretty understanding about flexibility and this one situation was not necessarily the norm, thankfully.

All in all it was a fun evening for the kids. They met up with friends, went trick-or-treating, and hit the dance floor. What more could you want? Actually, A said her friends were going to the midnight show of Rocky Horror, but I don't think that was going to fly with mom. Maybe next year?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kevin Dooley for the pic.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cinematic Happenings

As if we needed more things on our plate, a few weeks back mom and the kids entered into the annual Halloween movie competition, or Halloweenathon, over at CATV. Mom was very enthused about the idea and the kids were more than happy to help out with their expertise. I didn't have much to offer (what else is new?) other than craft service, but at least that's something, right?

Anyway, it took some logistical hoop-jumping to pull it off, including "borrowing" a friends dog as well as another neighbor's truck, but the film slowly came together. It really was a culmination of mom's vision. Since the kids have a lot of knowledge regarding filming and editing, they were of course conscripted into service, and over the course of a couple of weeks the film was made. A&N helped out with the editing and music, and all that hard work paid off at the actual event, which was last night, where they took second place in the adult division. They even made some money off of it, but that's secondary to the experience, which mom really enjoyed and the kids probably "sort of" enjoyed. I had a good time though I didn't have to do as much as the rest of the crew.

Congrats to all involved, they did a great job, the movie was really well done and in my personal and completely unbiased opinion, I thought it was best. In fact, I didn't agree with a lot of the awards and happen to personally know one or two of the judges, which might go a long way to explaining things. Then again, nobody cares what I think, right?

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

Market Done

Time to relax.

The market is finally over and I (we?) was counting the days until it ended. That is somehow relevant to my peace of mind and should be factored into what we do next year. As of now, I feel like I am done with it all. I have zero interest in doing it again, though admittedly I feel like this every year. This year seemed particularly challenging, for a number of reasons. First off, we are busy as heck, especially with A in school and N embracing more challenging academics. Secondly, both mom and dad are exceptionally busy with our respective jobs. And lastly but not "leastly," the market has been somewhat disappointing, and believe me when I tell you that just a tiny bit of disappointment with something you don't necessarily enjoy doing can be the kiss of death to any endeavor.

I'm not sure why, but this year the market was exceedingly slow. Maybe it's the economy, but people just aren't coming out. I've spoken with several other vendors and they all have said the same thing, so it's not just me. It seems like an ideal location with all the college folks milling about, but that has not translated into mega-sales. I think every year our take has increased until this year, where it definitely dropped. On our last two days, which previously had been very profitable, it was amazingly slow. Part of the problem is selling prepared foods to a student body that is forced to buy a meal plan at the school. Why eat anywhere else? Then again, these are kids with money, so it might not be an issue.

The other problem is the weather. On more than a few occasions we got socked with bad weather. We skipped the entire month of June and I was told it was slow and rainy. We skipped August, as well, which was slow and miserably hot. You just can't win. At some point you have to question whether this is worth it, and as of now, the answer is a resounding "no." I think the kids would agree. It's nice doing something with the whole family, and I think we really got a lot out of the experience, but they are getting older and I think there are better uses for our time. Then again, we'll see how we feel next year when the registration materials come in the mail.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Giulia Geraci for the pic.

Fun at Ultimate

I think UF is finally done, but we've had a good year with it. A large faction has dropped off the face of the earth, which is a bummer but in the end, it's their loss. It is a bit unfortunate because we had a hardcore group of players who went until the snow fell, and most of them have stopped playing, obviously for various reasons, all of them legit. The way I see it, however, is that they had a chance to not only have fun, but to get some fresh air and exercise and do something that's good for their health. That's physical and mental health, because pushing yourself not only helps your metabolism, but it has profound psychological benefits, as well. More on this at a later date.

For now, our group has shrunk but we've managed to have some fun games, nonetheless. N is dedicated as always, and he's the primary motivating factor for myself. Without his interest I would probably skip out, as well. With the weather getting colder we've stopped playing with bare feet, and it's just a matter of time before even the hardcore stop coming, which is fine. It's winter, after all, and other things are coming up to take our time, like hockey and work. I'm guessing a fair number of people want to stay at home to watch the big football game, but I won't hold that against them. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of things I could be doing instead of running like a madman on the field, including firewood and the barn, but I have found it rewarding to get out there and challenge myself, especially against people who are superior to me in size, speed, and ability. How often do we ever put ourselves into this sort of position?

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

Back on the Ice

Hockey season is back, and it's been a bit sporadic and inconsistent because life is busier than usual. The season actually started two weeks ago, but mom and I have been working so much that we didn't have time to get him over to the rink. For all it's worth, many of the kids were still playing soccer so they weren't there anyway, so it wasn't all bad. In fact, we made it to one of the practices and I think 5 kids showed up. Last week thing began in earnest and once again we missed out on the entire week with N at camp and me working in the salt mines.

The kids had their first game this weekend and even that was a bit of a challenge in terms of time, mostly because it was Halloween and we had things to do in the morning. I had to go off and do poster boy work and then met up with mom and the kids to get our flu vaccines. We had lunch in the cafeteria and then it was to home to get ready for his game, which was a good one. N had a great game, they won the game pretty handily, and it felt good to be back. I don't think there was too much of an adjustment getting back on the ice.

After the game, we came home, the kids had some supper and I headed into work at the Inn. I have to say, work is becoming a tad bit overwhelming, and I'm not sure what to make of it, but more on that late. It worked out because the kids hooked up with their friends and had a blast (more on this later, as well), and our good friend HH volunteered to do all transporting, which was a huge help for all of us.

It really does take a village, doesn't it? Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Ken Tsoi for the pic.

Lost My Mojo

As many of you may know by now, I've been busy as heck the past few weeks and though it's been nice making some dough, I not only have time for little else, but I'm exhausted. Being the excuse-making whiner that I am, I of course use this as an excuse to explain why I haven't been writing this blog. Then again, this is not without merit. Last week when the kids were away I was literally doing 12-13 hour shifts, working until 1:00AM, waking up, and going in at 7:30AM. Talk about crazy. I figured since the kids were away my domestic duties would be light, but working that long sure takes a toll.

So much so that I've lost steam and just getting a little writing done in the AM is a challenge. It's not just about fatigue, I've somehow lost my mojo and need to find my footing once again. I'm not too worried about it, mainly because things will slow down work-wise and I can feel the need to write tugging at me. The question is when exactly that will be, but I'm sure eventually it will be.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Fabio Polimanti for the pic.