Wednesday, June 20, 2012

small role, big results, rebuilt strong

It's not a good time when you're broken and have pain. The process of getting fixed is also not on my good-time list (probably not on anyone else's, too) but I know it leads to a better quality of life. Bubbie Polsky had successful knee replacement surgery today and is now on the road to recovery. She will hopefully be able to resume her normal day-to-day soon. Congrats Janet!

Out with the old and in with the new. It's a common saying we throw around a couple times in our lives in reference to furniture, cars and things we feel do not have any value in our lives at that particular moment. Sometimes we feel good about our decision to trade up and sometimes we're definitely reluctant to let something go. When it comes to improving quality of life by replacing a knee I'd be first in line but I can't stop thinking about the now removed leg-bender and it's meaning in my life.

So, without further ranting and carrying-on, here is my homage to Removed Knee:

Removed Knee, you were not helping things and had to go. That's not where the story ends though as there are thoughts of appreciation for your work and the things you've helped Janet and I accomplish. You were an important part of the human machine that is Janet which took her down the path to that first date with Jules which snowballed into the life I thankfully know. So, without you do I exist? Yes, but my life does not. Please enjoy your well deserved retirement and your induction into The Knee Hall of Fame knowing you were part of the grand recipe of our lives in a very big way. And don't worry about Janet, she'll be fine.

Here's to a speedy recovery, Janet! (Mom!) (Bubbie!)...

the meaning of everything

Sunday, June 10, 2012

this weekend deserves a name

Great weather helped this memorable weekend wind down in spectacular fashion. We had a full schedule of stuff to do outside and thankfully the rain stayed away. The kids are tired (and so are we), but guess what? No school tomorrow! Summer is officially underway.  Maybe one of the two will sleep in tomorrow? Or both? I seriously doubt it but you never know.

Here are a few bullet points from Weekend Spectacular June 2012 (I gave it a name)...
  • Eric, looking proud, gets off bus for last time as a first grader. We are prouder. More to come later.
  • I played in The Changin' Lives golf tournament. I didn't win but was happy to contribute to a solid cause.
  • I get called off from my scheduled OT gig which permits me to attend...
  • Katie's 1st birthday party. Sue enjoyed the cake kisses from the birthday girl while Eric and Evan enjoyed the swimming pool. I enjoyed meeting new people. I think Snooki was there but I can't confirm.  
  • I get called off from my regular shift which permits me to attend...
  • Little Man Max's 4th birthday shindig at the YMCA pool. Good times had by all.
Looking back at this list I realize this may be a normal weekend for some people. It's definitely not normal for us. Two pool parties in one weekend? Wowsers. It was fun even if two items from the list involved me not working or getting paid. I'd do it all again because great weather and being outside with society make it worth it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

swing stroke cum laude

I don't like the reality of night shift staring me in the face coming up in June. With this being the last day of May, I feel I need to climb into the time machine I have in the basement, dial in Destination: May 1 and live this glorious, rain-soaked month once again. I wouldn't change a thing in my day-to-day activities much except maybe eating less and exercising more, but, isn't that always the story? Anyways, at least I'd be on day shift once again. And, the kick-in-the-crotch of this whole mess is the brass at work actually dangled a straight shift scenario in our faces but guess what? Everyone wants day shift! So, swing we shall do. And be happy about it. Forever. And ever. 

I was pleased to have the chance to take Eric to swim class this evening. He's vying for a spot on the local swim team and by my witness, he has a good shot. What I saw from him tonight in the water compared with a couple weeks back, the difference in his ability is night and day. Before, it looked like he didn't want to be there, casually going through the motions. Tonight, he was pounding the water, swimming straight and genuinely looking like he was having fun. The hard work he displayed for me made me very proud. 

Evan finished his first year of preschool a week ago. The last official day was a grand affair at a local park where the families got to see their child receive their certificate of completion. Evan was proud and so were we when his name was called and he had to go up and stand in a picture line with the rest of his fellow graduates. He learned a lot academically and socially and I'm happy to report I wasn't worried about him near as much as I was with Eric his first year. Click here to relive my anxiety.

Hopefully, the first of many he will earn in his lifetime.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

one cold foot at a time

When I woke up this morning, I thought two things: Joe, you need to get the trash out front and you haven't written in forever dude, so why don't you get on there and see what happens?

OK, the trash is done and here I am. I'm a little discouraged to see that I haven't written since last August. A lot of life has happened since then and I'm definitely pissed I didn't take the time to record at least some of these events.      Joe, you were busy. Or were you?

I guess we'll just chalk it up to being busy and move on from here. At the moment, I feel my brain bogging itself down with many thoughts but my fingers can't keep up, almost like an old computer that has too many programs running at once. I guess we'll go slow.      Pick a topic, Joe, and report. One thing at a time.

Golly, this was a lot of work, trying to explain myself. But I guess I don't need to do that. Hold it, maybe I do. I feel like I'm fighting with myself.     It's simple, Joe: witness and report. You can talk about anything. It's your blog. 

I feel like one does when they jump in a pool for that first swim of the season, when the water's impossibly cold. My doubts about keeping up with this endeavor are starting to overwhelm me.      You get used to the water, Joe. And it's fun! You can do it. In fact, you just did. See?

Hmm, I suppose I did. Thanks for the encouragement. I can and will do this! I will witness and report my clucking ass off! Let's do this!     Easy Joe, it's just a blog. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

tempus fugit

It's almost 1:30 in the morning here at work and I'm sitting outside in the cool air wondering where the time has gone. In about 6 1/2 hours we will put our oldest boy on the bus for his first full day of school. He is ready to go with his new outfit,sneakers and lunchbox.

Sue will take pictures and I will post again soon.

I love these events.

Friday, August 5, 2011

on the way

Almost there, actually. After one of the easiest drives in recent memory, we've arrived at our hotel for an overnight break. Soon we'll be at the hotel pool so the fish can swim.

We will finish the drive tomorrow.

In the picture (I don't know where it will be because I'm doing this post from my phone) we have one watching tv, one on the ipad, and the feet of one who is on the computer catching up.

Even when you leave home you're never really far away.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Test run

I downloaded an app to post directly from my new mobile phone.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day

The hand hasn't come down
But it may sometime
It'll be the last straw
To keep you in line

The hand, the sting
The hurt you will feel
Will seem not normal but it's definitely real
There's only one thing that is more true
The pain is greater for me not you

Please think about these words
It is not a song
'Cause if my hand comes down
I have raised you wrong

Of these ramblings
I do not foresee
Ever the need to strike
Or put you over my knee

I have been so blessed
To have you as my boys
And we'll stay on good terms
If you pick up your toys.

Rejoice in the blessings and responsibilities of being a dad. Father's Day is but one day on the calendar but the job is 24/7. And please, don't beat your kids. Lessons can be fully learned by smearing their faces in the cat food bowl by the fridge. In front of their friends. Thanks dad.

Friday, June 17, 2011

tormenting older brother...

...can be very tiring.

"you're killing my back!"

Sooooo comfortable.

Friday, April 29, 2011

rear entry

We installed a new back patio door this month. It really is an upgrade from the door that was there. The new door slides and lets in more light and has built in blinds. Also there is no draft coming from anywhere on or around this door. Very cool.


Daddy, it's cold. We feel wind on our backs.


Living the dream, baby!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

better ideas?

It's a little past 5 in the afternoon on this gorgeous Saturday in early April and life is good. There are many reasons for this epic statement and none more stately than this one: I am Dad. I am Director of Operations. I am...

... The Man.

I am not The Woman.

I am not _______ weak.

The kids want to play video games. I said no.

I am not _______ weak. I will not give in.

I am thinking about going to McDonald's for the second time today to feed the kids.

I am Dad.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

trade-in value

There's goes our stroller. Yes I said stroller.

My mother bought us this gift of transportation before Big E was born. Our stroller had four wheels and a canopy to protect our precious cargo. A fine and foldable machine it was. If we needed it, it was either in the garage or in the back of the van. Early on, I am sure we used that stroller every day.

Our stroller didn't have brakes anymore. The cheap plastic of the brakes had broken long ago in the daily wear-and-tear of raising little ones. When our little ones couldn't walk, that stroller was their legs. It was their room outside of their room. It was their bed on the beach at nap time for many years. It's wheels met the roads of distant lands, never complaining, doing it's job. I am sure I even stored a case of beer in the storage area underneath during one of our many walks around Pennsburg. Now I'm getting a little misty.

Still, in order to move on, we need to learn to let go. It's use is done with us. We needed to get a shower gift for a dear family friend who is about to be blessed with the gift of Motherhood and Sue caught wind of a deal where you can trade in your old stuff for a lower price on new stuff.

So, there goes our stroller. I hope they fix the brakes so someone else can get good use from it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

my boy of summer

Eric had his first baseball practice today. He played tee ball last year and did well. This year, it's the dreaded machine pitch league. He practiced fielding and did some running around. I wonder if Mike Schmidt did these things when he was six years old. Did his coaches look at him and proclaim to themselves or aloud that this kid is special? Was he in another boy's shadow early on then only later learn to wrist-flick 97 mph fastballs 500 feet? We all know how that story ended. With a plaque in Cooperstown.

Whether or not Eric's coaches see my boy's talent, I surely do. So much so that I'm planning a road trip in 35 or so years to an induction ceremony in upstate New York.

I hope you will join me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

the last strawberry

Eric was having a hard time finishing his lunch. He had his eaten his sandwich but couldn't finish his last strawberry. It was too mushy. Sue wasn't budging on not being able to get up until he finished everything and she wasn't buying the mushy defense. Evan, who was finished with his lunch was watching and waiting for his brother so they could commence playing. Eric is very particular about the texture of his food and he was in full tear and whine mode but he gave it one last go. He put that last strawberry in his mouth, chewed it for a full 2 seconds and spit it back into the palm of his hand and slumped down in his chair in distraught failure. Evan calmy got up and took that saliva-pile of strawberry from his brother's hand and ate it. Without hesitation he says "you're done Eric, let's go play."

Cool Hand Evan. The lunch finisher.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I am Tampa bound, but first...

Here I am. I've been here the whole time. Have you missed me? My goodness, so much has been going on with the family. Yes, I have neglected my occasional reports on this subject but I have been storing the many events of our growing (as in "up" - not new members) boys in this over-ripe mellon some people would call "my brain."

Let's start with Big E. The kid's growing, man. Which is surprising because he basically lives off bread and water. To get him to eat any kind of fruits or veggies deals have to be made. Can't argue with his water habit though. He made Sue and I swear off soda or we owe him eleven dollars. Because he doesn't want us to die. And because he doesn't want us to end up with diabetes like Rex. This bit of news from his mouth was a tad surprising but I decided to listen to the six year old. Maybe a future fitness instructor or gym owner is in the works. We'll have to keep watching and guide accordingly. As far as his schooling, he is coming along. I sure am glad Sue is a natural teacher. She has good patience and is stern when need be. There's a switch in his head that takes him from superstar counter and reader one minute to below average the next. Short attention span? Maybe. We will see. He will be fine.

Little E has a slight addiction. The kid likes gadgets. And yes I know it's our fault. Don't get me wrong, he is growing up nicely. He speaks well but I think his two favorite words are "iPod" and "iPad." People marvel at his dexterity on these machines but for Sue and I, it's getting to be too much. We are plotting (like all good and cruel parents do) for the day when these two gadgets "break" or "become lost or stolen." It'll probably be akin to weening crack from a crack addict but we will be prepared. Spring is knocking. Time to get outside.

Finally, Sue has granted yours truly a weekend hall pass for a golf trip to Florida with some friends. Yessir, gettin' on an 8:05 bird outta Philly. Half of our group will be getting off the plane and heading to a golf course while the other half will head to Brighthouse Stadium for a Phillies spring training game against the Orioles. As far as bucket lists go, I never really had the urge to see a preseason game but since I'm there it's getting crossed off. Thanks Sue.

Friday, November 12, 2010

cats are a man's...

Thor is trying to get my attention. He wants his dinner. Up onto the counter he goes, to knock little things to the floor intentionally. I know his routine and I'm not dealing with it right now. I slap his little cat ass and he jumps down.

Rex wants his shot. He is pacing to-and-fro with heavy-footed abandon from the dishwasher to the stove. Soon he will try the counter-top routine but I will not budge. The apple I'm peeling for my human offspring takes precendent at the moment. They sense my tunnel vision and back off.

They are both in the middle of the kitchen now, on their hindquarters, waiting. The cats are good cats for the most part. They've resided in our household well before our two boys came along but it is becoming more and more difficult each day to deal with them. I have a guilt about this and I converse with my inner Dr. Phil about it daily.

We adopted Rex and Thor from a family in Quakertown eight years ago. No bigger than a 10 year old's hand, Thor was black as a moonless midnight sky and Rex was an orange tabby. Mind you (in case the word was is throwing up flags), they are both still here and doing well. I remember the day they came here for good, all small and innocent and cute. Those days are long gone though. The small kittens are now humongous freakazoids. Two little feline Godzillas with their individual agendas.

Thor is the smart one. The fit one. The leader. The button-pusher. I'm sure if he could talk his voice would have the upper-crust accent of a middle-aged British butler. Rex is the not-so smart one. The big oaf. Fleety. I imagine that if Rex could talk his voice would sound like the big special guy from Of Mice And Men. I may need to take credit for that since his head got in the way of my five iron when I was practicing my swing in the living room. I knocked him out cold and when he came-to, he was never the same again. He will not jump to my lap or hang with me like Thor does but he does give Sue attention and affection in bus loads.

Not long after they came into our lives I or we (don't remember) made the selfish decision of having their front claws removed. We intended on our kitties to be indoor cats. Why would they need them? They won't be going outside and have to fend for themselves. Karma was definitely in play here because while we had every intention of keeping our carpet and furniture scratch free, we gave no thought whatsoever to one of our cats forgetting what a kitty litter box was used for. So instead of removing a couch or chair because of unsightly scratch marks, we've had to methodically cutout pieces of carpet because of the overwhelming stench of cat urine. Ha Ha, the jokes on us. The kicker is, Thor tries to jump out the front door everytime a person tries to enter now. We let him. He may not have his claws but he does have his required shots.

I don't know why I sat down to write about them tonight but I guess I'm taking this tale somewhere. I get so caught up in the work of these two that I often forget why we got them in the first place. I suppose my guilt surfaces when I realize
cont'd later

Thursday, October 7, 2010

perfect games

Sports has always had a way to inspire me. I love the emotion world-class athletes show when something extra-ordinary happens during competition. The emotion these gifted athletes exude reminds me that these guys are human and maybe even reminds them of the innocent days of their own childhood. Lofty contracts and endorsement deal be damned.

I want to share some moments that I've witnessed that have moved me. I will call them my top 3 and one happened last night. I am not going to tell you why they moved me... I just want you to know that they did. If you read between the lines you may understand...

Ok, my top 3 in no particular order... (I am sure clips are available on youtube for all three instances.)

Vinny Testaverde... wins the Heisman Trophy. He is at the podium talking and thanking people and the camera switches to his father in the first row. He is crying like a baby.

Pete Rose... was on every major network for every at-bat when he was trying to get the hit that broke Ty Cobb's hit record. When he finally did it, he stood on first base while the crowd gave him an eight minute standing ovation. When his son came out to first base to give him a hug he put his hands over his eyes and lost it.

Roy Halladay... had just pitched a no-hitter in his first post-season game and his catcher Carlos Ruiz rushed him and latched on with one of the most meanigful, real hugs I've ever witnessed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

been there, done that

It's hard to believe it's October again. In my mind, October is defined by falling leaves and the chilly crispness of the air. The past four Octobers, including this one, have meant the Phillies were playing in the postseason. There have been different outcomes in those previous Octobers. Some good some bad. The youth of 2005, 2006 and 2007 has matured into a team to be reckoned with year after year. Some say a dynasty is born. We will see.

My generic basement mancave has been little used this year. I guess it's time to light it up and put some life in it. Baseball is ON at my house. Friends and family are welcome.

Good times ahead. I WILL attend the parade this year.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

blessed sunshine fills the dark void

Welcome home, Eric. We missed you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

mom's are a dad's best friend

So it's Friday around lunchtime and Eric is still in the hospital. I just got a call from the MomUnit that he may be released by 1pm if he just drinks a little more. I guess cell phones are allowed in hospitals since they now provide free wifi to guests.

Anywho, this is good news and the call couldn't have come at a better time as just before, I was slowly giving in to my temptation to makeover Evan with a barbed wire permanent marker tattoo around one of his biceps and adorn his face with pretty makeup. For now, I have staved THAT desire. I'm thinking the hot pink mohawk is still ON though along with the next step in making reservations for a permanent vacation for one of our cats at the ShoeBox Hotel.

Idle hands are the devil's workshop? Diabolical!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a night at the grandview

Dear Eric,

I know it sucks to be sick. I know it hurts and burns when the bug in your belly makes you bring what little you ate or drank back the other way. But you have to drink and eat. We can avoid all that’s happened today if you please remember this in the future. A night at Grandview Hospital is not a luxurious night out. Especially for Mom.





Tuesday, August 31, 2010

perfect attendance

Tending the flock yields a spiritual reward.

I went to work.

Sue called work because

Eric barfed (vomit).

She needed help.

She needed sleep.                            YOU

Home I came.

Home I am.

I’m watching Eric sleep AND


In his sleep

He stirs and moans.

The bucket is there

The towel underneath.

I pray.

Not to G-O-D

But to all that is G-O-O-D.


I am sentry to the boy.

I will always be here.










I will always be here.

Baseball awaits…

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I’m using a recently discovered program on my computer to write this post. It’s called Windows Live Writer and it provides an easier interface and many more tools than what I work with on Blogger. This is the test run.

I know. Boring.


Gifts of the Earth, picked by Eric.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the secret? apple cider vinegar (shhh)

Our family vacation is over and I have a lot to say about our trip. That'll be the next post (perhaps while I'm in Jamaica?...). I'm sure I'll have some extra time on my hands while there anyway.

I've been going to North Myrtle Beach annually since 1974 either as a passenger or driver. It's all because my grandparents (who are now gone) retired and bought a house 2 blocks off the beach (with a stack of $25 savings bonds grandpa accumulated over the years). Needless to say, it's a special place and one we are fortunate to still have.

When I was a kid I would have trouble sleeping the night before we departed Pennsylvania for South Carolina (really, just like Christmas Eve). I would think about all the landmarks I was going to see and wonder if they would still be there when we pass this trip. It was always a long car ride and you knew you were getting close when the "South of The Border" signs started dominating both sides of I-95. Pedro was always on the signs enticing travelers to spend their money at the cheesy rest stop just over the line in South Carolina. Most of them had moving parts. One that sticks in my mind had sheep spinning around a moon and Pedro saying "Your sheep are all counted South of The Border!" We never stopped there though because we never made it that far on I-95 because about 20 miles before the line we would get off in Lumberton, NC and take a back way in. Lumberton was always a giddy time for me as a kid and it still is today, believe me (finally off I-95). Sadly though, most of the billboards are gone. I wish I could point them out to my kids today.

Another landmark to be seen was the Plantation Pancake House sign. This was THE landmark because it meant you've just traveled 600 miles and only have a quarter mile to go (come south on 17 and when you see the Plantation Pancake House sign, bang a left). For me, the excitement level I experience when I see this sign is much the same as it was all those years ago. Mostly for the same reasons but there are few different ones, too. Eric and I ate breakfast there this year. What did he order? Pancakes!

The last memory (although there are many more) I'm going to share with you right now doesn't involve landmarks. It involves food. Wait, we can't call it food. We'll have to call it the single greatest thing anyone could ever want to load, chew and swallow in the history of ALL THING EDIBLE. I'm talking about grandma's potato salad. You see, before we would arrive she would make a big bowl a few days beforehand. It was always in the fridge when we got there. Sometimes it would have a layer of sliced hard-boiled egg on top and sometimes not. But whatever it had in it or on it, the flavors rocked my world. After the obligatory hugs and hellos, I couldn't wait to open that refrigerator. That was all gone now, with the holder's of that amazing recipe (which was never written down) gone too. I thought it was anyway.

My sister Laura came up from Jacksonville to spend the week with us. It was nice to see her and have the cousins play and occupy each other. That would've been enough but she took her gifts of companionship a step further: she made THE potato salad. I don't know how she did. Was it divinely passed to her? Zapped down from the heavens? Or did she know it all along since she's a descendant of Linda and Lenora? Whatever the case, she made it and nailed it, without asking or announcing that she was doing so. I couldn't believe it when I saw and tasted the finished product.

Sue and my brother think I blow this reverence to Grandma's Potato Salad thing out of proportion. They just don't understand. When I eat that potato salad in that house things happen to me. Every bite I have enlightens me with visions I thought long forgotten. I see Grandpa sitting in his chair after dinner, watching the nightly news. I see him watching a sporting event on TV, standing at attention during the National Anthem. I see Grandma sitting at the table across from me, wondering aloud to someone else if I had enough to eat. I see Mom pleading with us to wipe our feet when we enter so we don't get sand in the carpet. Usually after my second helping I want to go steal quarters from the spare change pile dad keeps on the dresser in the guest room so I can run down to the arcade and look at chicks and play video games. Yes, the past floods in. All memories that weren't as special then as they are now.

Lars, Thank YOU. Thanks for making my trip extra special this year. I'm looking forward to 2011 when we can do it again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Evan and Eric have fevers but are doing well. We are still waiting on a prescription to be zapped down by their doctor back home to our local pharmacy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

room of miracles

Dear Tree,

You've been constant shelter in our daily life. You must've employed magic to protect them because your stature isn't very big with your wispy branches and small leaves. Still, you never wavered in keeping our most precious gifts cool from the blistering sun or dry from torrential rains. Did the Frog King have something to do with it? Even though your work is finished I give thanks to you.

Dear Moon,

You've been a constant presence in our night sky, with your glowy stars accompanying you in your mission of comfort and peaceful dreams. You've watched over our most precious gifts, a soldier in our nocturnal landscape, never wavering from the task at hand. They were protected and nurtured and have grown immensely by the power of your light. Even though your work is finished I give thanks to you.


Evan moved out of the room of miracles and into his brother's room last week. He's been wanting a big-boy bed for awhile and we finally obliged him. He took to it like a fish IN water. While the occasion was a happy one for Evan and a really, really happy one for Eric because he now has a roommate, we as parents can't help but feel sad. There is a unique magic in that room that only reveals itself after reflecting on the times and experiences of our youngsters. From the minute they both came home from the hospital this space was their space. A broken arm and jaundice have been healed there. Clothes have been outgrown and given away. Croup was destroyed and dreams have been dreamt in this magical space.

But really, it's not all sad. We are in the process of making the room of miracles into a kind of office space now. We have ideas of maybe moving a computer and all of Sue's embroidery stuff there. This one room will make our entire house seem bigger and less cluttered. The contents are changing but I doubt paint will ever again touch these walls as an indefinite reminder of the meaning this area represents.

The magic will live on even though our boys lay their heads somewhere else.

***An overdue message of THANKS go to Ellynn A. and Tracey S. for all you've done and gave to foster the aura of our special landmark.***

Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

long live the king

Sue just sent me a a pic of a big candle shaped in the likes of a of a humongous penis from her Bunco party. I really don't know what she's trying to say with that pic but it's making me feel inferior right now. I should be there to video the action when they blow the flame out.

Rex is at the vet for the weekend. He was pissing on the carpets so we took him to the doctor to find out if he has a urinary infection but we found out he has hardcore diabetes. The term "hardcore" may make the juices flow a little bit from the previous paragraph but this is not the intention. We lingered a bit taking him to the doctor and we're not too proud of that. We had a couple options to deal with our sick cat. Sue wanted to snap his neck and have the kids believe he ran away but I was firmly against that. I offered that we get him euthanized in a humane manner but Eric wouldn't have it. The vet wouldn't oblige with that because the sickness is "treatable." So King Rex will live the remainder of his days receiving 2 shots of insulin a day. I just asked Eric if he missed Rexy and he flat-out said "no." Judging by the tears he cried yesterday when we told him that "we are sending Rex to a farm that takes care of sick cats until the end" I firmly believe he is full of shit.

This cat and his condition brought out the best and worst in us as a family. I wasn't too concerned with the economics but rather the time involved and the sacrifices that will have to be made for care. Rex is family. Enough said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

back to it

Two months without a post was a little too long. I apologize to all my regular visitors. A big thanks to Ruxshire Drive for lighting the fire.

I'm feeling accomplished. Not for any particular reason except I've spent the last 4 hours of my pathetic life trying to get my new phone (bought last month) connected to our new laptop (bought today) via bluetooth. Finally, I did it. As I write this I am streaming music from my phone to the laptop and rocking hard to the likes of Miley Cyrus, ABBA and 2LiveCrew. Yeah, it's a party up here in zip 18073 and the Miller Lites are flowin' like shock and awe day at Niagara Falls. Useless, but I accomplished my task. I wasn't going to let this get the best of me. The kicker is, I don't know how I finally got it done because I swear, the final successful key stroke is the same one I tried approximately 357 times before it.

A big thanks to my anonymous informant down in Texas for confirming the much celebrated, even more so anticipated, demise of the darkest place on earth: Texas Stadium. I am crying right now. Not out of sadness, but rather, complete euphoria. The hatred ran deep in my veins for that place. Texas Stadium, home of the Cowboys, was a notorious place. Pure evil it was. George Lucas got the idea for Darth Vader there. Ricky Martin was livin' la vida loca in Troy Aikman's gerbil tunnel there. Napolean, Hitler and Genghis Khan were all born on the star on the 50 yard line. A big congratulations go out to all citizens of Texas as the state might seem a little a little cooler now without that gaping hole to hell blowing fire and brimstone into Earth's atmosphere influencing guys 5' 7" and under with goatees and big belt buckles to attach allegiance to that pile of shit known in Philly as the Dallas Cowgirls. I wish I had a picture of the rubble.

I can barely type right now. The last paragraph took a lot out of me. Evan can count to 12 (but misses 4 and 10) and knows his shapes and colors. Plus, he's a major kiss-ass. Eric, well he's just the man. A regular chop off the 'ol block.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

i'm here and alive

February is almost over and it hasn't been a productive month with me and the ever-present house work. Although we are painting the powder room and the ceiling is finished I am trying too hard to summon the willpower to paint the walls. I can't stand painting. Compound that with the loneliness of my nights off during night shift and, well, feel for me a little, will you? Anything is better than painting. Removing fixtures, taping lines and corners fill me with such dread and boredom I can imagine doing almost anything else at anytime during painting. For example, last night I was imagining getting impaled by a rhinoceros horn and thinking it would be much more fun. But the house needs some color so I will troop on. I took some before pictures and will post the finished product when we're done.

The kids are growing fast. Evan is much more advanced than Eric was at his age. One of the advantages of having an older brother I suppose. Evan identifies shapes and is learning his colors and speaking pretty well. That's not to say he's not driving us crazy because he is. I'd say he runs the household with an iron fist. So demanding. So conniving. But yet, so cute. And for this, I've ceased negotiations with my contact in Saudi Arabia to sell him to a camel race track. They like to start their camel jockeys young but his price was too low. With that face, he is worth millions.

We are getting ready to register Eric for kindergarten in a few weeks and had to fill out many pages of paperwork about our opinion of readiness of our child to play with freakin' toys for a half day. Hell, that's all I remember about kindergarten, except for one emergency room visit. He's been going to a kindergarten readiness class that was offered by our local public library and it's definitely paying dividends on the learning and social front. That statement is not designed to take anything away from the preschool he attends but there he has his friends and at the library he doesn't really know anyone and still looks forward to it. Anyway, he impresses me everyday with his observations and out-of-the-blue statements. The other day he asked Sue why daddy and him had to go to Walmart to buy lettuce before we went to the hospital to visit mom when Evan was born. That was over two years ago and never really discussed because he wasn't really talking then but still he remembers. And that's scary because you don't know what they'll retain at any given moment. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers are like human tape recorders. I suppose I should really watch my mouth and my actions. That might be too late though. The cabbage was for Sue's boobs by the way.

Plans are under way to move the boys into a bedroom together. We stopped by a bedroom outlet and were searching for bunk beds for the boys but I was immediately turned off by the schmoozing of the salesman. Because of this I may just get one at Walmart for probably half the price. One of the criteria for the bunk bed was to have steps instead of a ladder for safety. This may be out the window. I shared a room with my brother and we had bunk beds and I think I used the ladder once. I climbed to the top and knowing Eric like I do, he'll do the same. I think the only real safety feature of the top bunk is to have side rails. My dad was such a rebel I didn't have those and woke up on the floor more than once. Eric will have rails. Anyway, it's exciting because we'll have another room for our planned office; a place to store our stuff and maybe have a computer and definitely a place for Sue's embroidery machine, which currently resides in the dining room.

About a month ago Mark and I went down to South Carolina to pick up my mom's car to sell and do some estate assessment. The house is looking good. We moved our dad in after our mom had passed and it's nice to have life there. We went up into the attic and found some old paperwork and documents stating that my grandfather was married to another woman in Italy before he was married to my grandma. I don't know why that was such a big secret but none of us knew that including my mom I'm sure. I was unsettled by this at first because if the first marriage would've stuck, yours truly wouldn't be sitting here right now. Anyway, my mom's car is sitting out front and should have been sold by now but mother nature and her four feet of snow in the last month has kept it curbside, plowed in. It's weird to think about all the things in life that happen and we have to sort out as we get older. Personally, it's stuff I never gave a dime about. I'm thinking about it now because it's in my face in full color.

To end, I watched The Hurt Locker the other night. I thought it was a very good movie but I don't think it should be a contender on Oscar night like it is. The main character was very confusing. Did he have a death wish? Did he love his family back home? Any thoughts on this movie are appreciated.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

snowed in

I just realized there are no video stores left in town anymore. One would be nice to have right now. There are 20 inches on the ground and I swear I'd jump in the Subaru and go get a DVD or two to help me get through the evening. Luckily I have the second episode of LOST on the DVR so I can watch that.

Sue and I shoveled our asses off today. It looks like we are the last family on the block without a snow-blower. Time to relax.

Friday, February 5, 2010

L O S T follow up

In my opinion, the first episode that aired this week was a lesson in big-time gripping drama.

As always, what the hell is going on? Why did Jack and the crew land in LA in one scene and in another, they're being held captive at this new temple place where Sayid was brought back to life, still on the island. Holy head-spinners Batman! Juliette's dead. Who is Locke? <-(I freakin' love this character: "they didn't lose your father, Jack, they just lost his body.") Why was Desmond on the plane? Anyway, it was a great show. Hell, it's probably easy for the writers now. If you're a fan, you love the characters and how we got to know them over the past five seasons. All that's left now is to wow us and I for one, need only that.

Some predictions and thoughts for the season:
Since Sayid was brought back to life at the temple pool, I'm thinking they're going to exhume everyone that died on the island and bring them back to life. That's a lot great characters.

But then again, I might retract that statement with a thought of maybe nobody's alive. Maybe they were reborn in an alternate reality after the bomb exploded. That may be a stretch but the show itself taught us nothing's out of bounds.

I am still working on an endgame to the whole show, just like everyone else. Maybe I or we can piece some theories together after a few more shows.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

L O S T 2/2 8pm

Tonight is the beginning of the end. The final season of my favorite show begins. I'm anxious to see how they start it because in the final moment of last season Jacob was killed, Locke was dead-alive-dead-wait, alive? (I know, you're mind is blowing) and the plane crash survivors detonated a nuclear bomb and killed themselves. Or did they? This was after they unknowingly traveled back in time to 1974. Gripping shit. I'm shaking with excitement.

Grab a beer and tune in Tuesday night @ 8pm ET on ABC to witness how the most thought-provoking show (besides anything on HBO) winds down. Creativity and drama times one million (c+d x 1,000,000).

With all this being said, it better be f-ing good. You are warned, ABC. Now cut me a check.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

i'm gonna burn

While leaving the supermarket yesterday I witnessed something both sad and I apologize for even thinking this, funny. Sad on two counts, actually, because the subject of my entertainment involved a super-elderly woman in a crowded parking lot and sad again because I was so enthralled with the scene I unknowingly stepped off the curb and temporarily hurt my ankle. All's better now but karma slaps you in the face once in a while.

It went down like this:

So I come out of the store and hear a HONK (car horn). I think nothing of it and I continue on my way. Another loud HONK! Ok, somebody's trying to get my attention. I look around for the source of these HONKS and don't see anyone I know. Continue off again. HONK HONK HONKETY HONK HONK! I'm getting annoyed now so I look again and it's all right in front of me. A 90 year old woman is trying to open the passenger side door of a car and she's in a daze cursing to herself. The thing is, it's not her car. I came to this conclusion by witnessing the elderly gentleman (probably husband) sitting in the car on her backside (I'm talkin' right next to her) desperately laying on his horn, cursing and carrying on, trying to get her attention. The cars were different colors so I can understand his anger or worry.

Please note, I don't think it was funny because an elderly woman lost her bearing. I did think it was funny, with guilt, that everytime the guy laid on the horn she jumped 3 inches off the ground but didn't realize where she was until the twelfth HONK. All the guy really had to do was open his window and say wrong car sweetie or are you ok? Instead, we had an elderly couple literally four feet apart, separated by metal and glass, one HONKING and one jumping but both violently cursing each other.

I hope my readers can forgive me for deriving any sort of entertainment from this episode.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

are the holidays over? wow!

It's a new year. Everyone's healthy and happy. Croup trips to the ER have been noticeably absent as opposed to previous years. My check writing for anything medical is next to zero. This isn't an attempt to jinx our good fortune but a nod and overdue credit to the karma gods for keeping the fevers, runny noses and misery away. Also, big props to Sue for washing the boys hands every 5 minutes.

At work, we had our annual state of the union address where we find out our wage increase and what our discretionary bonus might be. Before we were told this eagerly awaited information, they painted a grim picture of the present and future of our trade and there is going to be more changes and deletions to the workforce, especially on the "management" side. We were assured that we (the laborers) were safe because they need us to make the machines run . This is standard operating procedure when you have a roomful of blue collars that might up rise against the well-paid white collars. I learned four things at this meeting: No wage increase and no bonus and the realization that I'm not going to retire from the place I've been working for the past 19 plus years, and ultimately, that I need to plan for what I'm going to do next when the axe does fall. Realistically I can live without the bonus. As long as the evil white collars aren't getting one. I have my suspicions. The world is getting much clearer these past few years.

We as a family are working on ways to give ourselves the wage increase my employer failed to give us. Those of you that know me know there are some things I can change and am working to do so. Anyhow, the challenge is there and we can do it. Who says you can't buy next years xmas presents at a summer yard sale? Sue is a master at saving money at the supermarket. Candle light and turning our backyard into a farm are other options. Hell, I'll sell my car and pedal around on my bike. I don't need to go anywhere. The changes may be so drastic you might question what year it is when you visit our home. Is it 2010 or 1820? Eric doesn't need a job yet but if anyone's hiring after he turns six this year he might have to quit school. The possibilities are endless!

Of course I'm kidding. Keeping it light is my M-O. I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2010. Lets work together to embrace the possibilities of a new year, for better or worse.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

happy thanksgiving 2 weeks late

The turkey is negotiating for his life right now.

He may be giving up. He's requesting a priest now.

Tears roll off his beak as he eats his last meal. It's a favorite from his youth: Mama's creamed tuna on toast with sweet peas. Afterward, he inhales the best cigarette he's ever had.

The walk to the chop block is deliberately slow. The kids trail behind, wailing. In the distance, a church bell tolls with each step.
He knows the bell tolls or him.

They reach the block. Now at peace with his sentence, he throws a challenging glance at the instrument of his own demise: a shiny axe. You can take my life and my body but my soul will be free, he thinks, snickering to himself.

The axe swoops up slowly as the turkey locks eyes with his executioner. "Gobble Gobble" says the turkey in the last second of his life. His detached head rolls off the block leaving behind the family feast.

Today's technology cannot translate turkey speak but the machines of tomorrow will give a chilling transcript of the turkey's last, only words.

"May the ingestion of my flesh cause a post-feast, mouth-gaping, football missing food coma and uncontrollable, sweat inducing diarrhea standing in line on Black Friday you bastards."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my colombian drug problem

I haven't been sleeping well. I am usually diligently asleep at 10pm but wide awake at a too soon 3am. I am not understanding this but I may have an idea. Is it because of my new found affinity for one morning cup of coffee? Maybe if it was the coffee, I'd have trouble getting to sleep. Good gosh, there are some people at work who drink coffee all day. I know it's not stress because I have seemed to adapt to the times and cope just like everyone else in the world. Mostly.

Mind you, some days I'll pound one or two Diet Cokes as a supplement to get me through the day but I've never had this problem. Too much caffeine I suppose. In any case, coffee is good, great and wonderful. It has taken me 40 years to discover the power of a morning cup of me (Joe) and I think I'm addicted.

I think I have my wife to thank for my addiction. It all started when she brought home our new single cup Keurig brewer. We had an old brewer that produced 10 cups in a pot but I never could master the science of a correctly measured scoop. This thing is much easier because all you do is throw in a prepackaged, correctly measured, take the guess work out of it K-CUP, hit a button and 30 seconds later you're drinking coffee. Done.

I can't believe I haven't discovered the magical benefits of a morning cup sooner. I think clearer and acquire much needed energy. Unlike some people, I don't crash. For now though, one cup is the limit. I'm sure if I increase my daily intake to two or more I won't sleep at all and that will lead to newer addictions like self-prescribing strong doses of sleeping pills. Then, much like Elvis Presley at the end of his life, I'd be in a vicious cycle of needing drugs to wake up and to fall asleep. And, believe me, the only way I want to mimic Elvis is the whole women screaming and fainting in my very presence thing. Wait, that happens already.

So, next time I sleep over at your house I'll have mine with some half & half and two packets of Splenda. It's the perfect way to start a day. I just wish I'd sleep longer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When saying the word coupon, is it cue-pon or coo-pon?

I worked out hard today. I am trying to stay ahead of the game with the upcoming stuffyerface holiday next week. I am still trying to recover from the kids' birthdays a few weeks back where I felt my midsection grow a bit.

There's a Facebook Note floating around right now entitled 15 movies you've seen that will always stick with you. I usually don't do these things but I thought what the heck and filled it out. It was a lot of work at the time to come up with the 15, but now that it's done and posted I can come up with 30 more.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

! happy birthday evan !

Our little Evan celebrated his second birthday this week. Sadly, this was lost in the Phillies' World Series hoopla and I neglected to report on this remarkable occasion.

He's been under the weather since last Saturday but that didn't keep him from enjoying his delicious cupcake after he blew out his candle (on his own, BTW). Then it was off to enjoy his new plastic golf clubs and his WOW WOW Wubzy toy.

Evan offers contrast from his older brother. They are as different as two kids can be coming from the same start point. We all know Eric is sensitive but the jury is still out deliberating verdict on Evan. Eric will mess with him and you can tell Evan's taking notes for when he gets a little bigger to deliver payback. He is a quiet, behind-the-scenes observer. He'll watch, he'll wait and then he'll do when nobody's looking. He will violently destroy, but he always rebuilds. He is very good at puzzles, many at one time. In my biased opinion, he has all the traits to become either ninja assassin or NASA mechanic. His vocabulary is expanding. He now says words like UP (for down), DOWN, BOO BOO, WELCOME (for thank you), HAPPY, WOW, LOOK, MOM, DAD and JOE. He will say JOE after repeated attempts to get my attention using DAD have gone unanswered. My favorite is if someone says UH-OH he will say SPAGHETTIO in his own little way. Everyday is something new and fun. Plus, he is impossibly handsome.

We are so blessed to have him after our struggles to make him. Hopefully next year at this time he's sitting on a toilet, diaper free, wiping his own butt. Hopefully, he'll be forming perfect sentences telling us about his feelings or what he wants from Santa and hopefully he isn't kicking Eric's ass for one reason or another on a daily basis.

Two years down, a lifetime of learning, tinkering and older brother ass-kicking to go.

little suzie

Little Suzie* comes home from school one afternoon in a triumphant mood. Her mother asks her why she's so bubbly and vibrant. Little Suzie explains to her that the boys make her do cartwheels during after-lunch recess whenever she wears a skirt.

Mom: Oh you know why they do that Suzie? Those perverted boys want to see your underwear!

Little Suzie: I know mom! But I showed them! I took my underwear off and put them in my backpack before lunch. Stupid boys!

*the fictitious character Little Suzie is in no way associated with my wife Susan. You all know she can't do a cartwheel. Any similarities are purely coincidental.

Friday, October 30, 2009

painting and non-sweeping

My dad is here and we got some long overdue painting done. The stairwell leading upstairs looks a lot better. Evan and Eric are enjoying pop-pop.

Speaking of stairs, a special message goes out to Phillies DH Matt Stairs: Thanks for providing the one run last night with a nice hit. Boy, I thought the Phils were gonna smoke Yankee pitcher and tattoo doofus A.J. Burnett, but he had some stellar stuff last night. The Phils swung at too many pitches that were in the dirt or weren't strikes. They watched the good pitches go by and swung at the garbage. My hat's off to Burnett.

So we know the Yankers won't be swept and we will see if the good guys can right the ship Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. My bet is yes. The pitchers now have to hit which changes the game tremendously.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

i am what i eat

Well it's almost 4 am and I feel sick. Not because of the flu or any airborne illness but because I just inhaled an immense amount of junk. I collapsed. I don't know what happened. I wish I could throw it all up.

I was given a mission by Sue to get milk for the morning. So off I went to our local 24 hour Redner's Supermaket. The store is usually a ghost town at 2pm, and tonight was no different. I like walking the aisles of empty stores with an overwhelming hunger for junk. The devil on my right shoulder always trumps the angel on my left when I'm standing in front of some kind of coveted garbage food. DO IT JOE. Just do extra sit-ups tomorrow. There's only one checkout person and there's nobody here to judge you. Atta boy! There's always regret afterward though, as there is right now (burps, gas).

I checked out the deals. I only buy my junk food on sale. My favorite chips were on sale! 2 big bags for $4! One bag is now history. Burritos 2/1.00! No way! I'll buy six. Two burritos down the pie hole. Celeste Pizza For One! I only bought one. And it, much like the burritos and chips, is swimming in a half bottle of Diet Coke. I wish you could feel the grease pouring out of my pores, like I do right now! I think I'll suspend my gripes about the state of health insurance for the time being.

But I accomplished my mission and Sue will awaken to fresh milk for the boys and half a bottle of Diet Coke for her to enjoy tomorrow. And somehow, this makes me feel better. Even if I did eat 5 days worth of fat in a little over 30 minutes.

I am now going to barf.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

4:01am 8 lbs 4 ozs

Today is the anniversary of a very important and special event for Sue and I. Today is the day a few years back where life as we knew it ended and the sudden realization came that all day, everyday, wasn't about us anymore.

Sixty months ago Eric was born. I know I say this a lot but time flies. It's hard to believe that 8 pounds has turned into 47. It's hard to believe that whimpers and cries have turned into words and intelligent conversation. It's hard to believe that fit-the-shape puzzles morphed into excellent dexterity on an ipod, laptop computer and video games (ugh, I know).

What's not hard to believe is the immense honor and pride we feel in being blessed with such a perfect little boy, who has become a sensitive, smiling gentleman right before our amazed, speechless eyes.

Happy Birthday Eric. Keep growing, keep amazing us and changing our world. And thanks for choosing Sue and I.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

train ride

Mom took Eric on his first train ride today. They got on the 3:00 to Vera Cruz at The Pennsburg Train Station and were gone for about 2 hours. Motion sickness was reported by both as the train topped out at ten miles per hour.
Who wants to pull this train with me?

I think I have Mommy's eyes

Daddy rented this whole train car for me and Mom

Are we home yet?

Friday, October 9, 2009


back of the net, baby
Soccer is officially over for the season. It was fun to see Eric play when I could. When I could see, that is. Something needs to be done about maybe moving the season up on the calendar because 6 pm start times in September and October make for a very dark match. Injury could result if nothing's done and we don't want to see that for anyone's child.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

baseball, kids and methane madness!

I got kicked out of work 4 hours early today but who cares because the Phillies just won the NL East for the third year in a row. Couldn't watch it though because DirecTv sucks. Thank goodness for the new MLB Network that launched this year with their superb live game cut-ins. I'm a fanatic. Or a Phanatic. Another October of exciting home team playoff baseball. The analysts on MLB were talking of maybe a little dynasty shaping up with the Phils and their young players. I can't argue.

Evan and Eric got trimmed and shot today. Haircuts and flu shots for both. Only took 17 people to hold Eric down this week opposed to the 27 last week when he got his teeth cleaned. He then came home and completed his homework assignment without mom's help.

Highlight of the week thus far was Monday when I came home from work and most of Sue's family was here celebrating Yom Kippur. I have to say my eldest nephew caught me off guard with his size and voice. Where did the little guy go? Did I see some five o' clock shadow? I'm predicting I'll be looking up at him in a year and a half. Can somebody hand-cuff the clock please? I still remember him in Sue's apartment sleeping in the baby car seat. Time flies. Another memorable incident from this gathering of family was when my usually quiet and innocent sister-in-law tried to draft-fart me without detection. Draft-farting is a self-invented term for the act of walking by someone without breaking stride and floating a beefy one in their face. The only thing was, this was not beefy. Initially, she got me, as I was in deep conversation with Sue when someone walked by (Ar) and a noise was heard but I was looking to see if the cats were present because I never heard a fart that small. It honestly took 5 minutes of intense thinking to get my brain wrapped around the fact that what I heard was a human fart. Geez Ar, next time make sure you're ready to deliver the goods. I will lay down the ground work if you want to do some research so next time you might peel some paint and clear the room. The characteristics of a good fart are duration, resonance and muzzle velocity. Adam will explain if you need help.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

it's 4th and long - let's go for it

I was just thinking about the state of things with the world, our nation and my paycheck. My paycheck is smaller with cut hours and the bills that come are larger. How in the hell does this work?

I am sick and tired of the bureaucracy of our legislature. I am sick and tired of the ineffective debates on health care. I am sick of this nation's inability to produce anything physically tangible to sell on the world market. Computers and the management of digital information rule the day. Phooey.

Soon I will be calling for the 500 plus people who lead this country to step down. What good are they?

I will create jobs by erecting a giant toilet bowl on the Mall in D.C. so we can flush all these former leaders and lawmakers into the Potomac River. Yes We Can will become Oh Yes I Did.

I will then appoint Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Bill O'Reilly, The Dixie Chicks and Bill Maher to the top spots in Washington to see if the armchair quarterbacked hot air they blow weekly can turn things around. If they can talk about what's wrong now, they should be able to fix it, right? Four people and a country music group. Just about the right size for our federal government. You might've asked yourself, where's Rush Limbaugh? Well he was wrong about a certain black athlete that plays in the NFL and for that we'll start him out on the state level as governor of Mississippi or Alabama.

Drastic times call for drastic measures and this over-taxed American wants change for the sake of my family's future.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Every once and a while we have to scratch our own backs.

Today's entry is blog post number 50. For those of you that know me you know this is a mind-boggling feat on my part. To accomplish 50 of any one thing... it's just not me. But against all odds and everyone's (including my own) misconception of Joseph P. Harter, I did it. I didn't realize I was about to embark on number 50 until I looked down the sidebar two weeks ago and saw the number 49. I wasn't shooting for this number. I'm not being paid to write. I have no ads on this page. Some posts took me hours and some took minutes. However long each post took it's been fun. To be honest, the first set of comments from my initial post was all I needed. Comments signify that I'm being read and I love them. I'm hooked.

Authoring a blog was an experiment of sorts to wake my brain. I'm glad I tried it out. I type better and faster now. My reporting skills are much better. I enjoy writing about my kids. All in all, I've tapped into a portion of my mind that I never knew existed. I have never written while intoxicated but I often wonder what I'd produce while on a few higher consciousness drugs. Probably a lot of shit about health care, politicians, TV evangelists and oil company executives. I'll stay away.

If I was to leave this earth tomorrow I hope someone will pass this web address on to my kids when they're of age. Maybe they'll be proud of who their dad was and what he accomplished. Yes, I'm blowing this 50 thing way out of proportion but it's a learned skill (from my bro Mark) to always take anything one says to the next level of absurdity and then take it further. There's always another level. Unclear? Here's an example using a conversation with my brother:

Mark: I had to discipline Jayman today. He was being a bear.
Me: Oh man, what did you do?
Mark: I had to put him in a timeout.
Me: No way.
Mark: (3 second pause) There was fire involved also.
Me: Cool.
Mark: (3 second pause) And a staple gun.
Mark: (3 second pause) Then I punched my neighbor in the face and shit in his pool.

I swear it's all an act. Mark is a great dad. It's just an exercise we like to do whenever we're together. If we ever timed it, my sister-in-law would get the world record for eye rolling.

I have learned that the title of my blog, Bare Witness, is also the title of a movie. This is depressing because I thought I was being creative with that title. So, I'm thinking about changing it. I also would not like to be sued even though I'd defend myself and win and be the subject of many law school textbooks. Oops, there I go again. The next logical choice for a name (in my mind) would be Beer Witness but I don't know. Any ideas? There may be a monetary prize for something that catches my eye.

Side note for historical reasons:

Sue ran out of gas on Route 663 today. She didn't run out of the kind of gas that makes the sheets move in the morning. She has plenty of that. I'm talking about the van. The freaking Odyssey's fuel door is on the driver side of the vehicle. This location is fine if you live in Great Britain and drive on the left side of the road but because we don't I had to put some gas in the van with my ass basically in front of traffic. When I say traffic, I mean 18 wheelers traveling at mach 7. Quite the adventure it was. Hopefully Sue learned that driving the van around town for three days with the fuel light on means she should probably stop and get gas starting out the fourth day. I have coached Eric nonetheless to ask mommy if there's enough gas every time they get in the car.

This is getting long winded and I apologize. My whole point at the beginning of this great, Pultitzer deserving milestone post was to thank all my readers for their time and taking an interest towards what I have to say even if it's mindless nonsense. Sincerely. Thank you!

Number 50 in the books. Now if you'll excuse me there's a parade in my honor.

Friday, August 28, 2009

a little of everything

Our family and friends outing to Knoebels Amusement Park was tragically cancelled today due to Mother Nature and her never ending quest to squash any plan that is birthed from the mind of yours truly. It always happens this way. The idea came forth two weeks ago mid-shift in the hell-hole I call work. Since then the weather has been straight sunshine. Until today. Rain with a chance of more rain. Sorry Eric. I tried to come through for you buddy. Maybe next week.

Last night I witnessed Eric play Pee Wee Soccer and I had a blast. It was the first time for me seeing him participate in an organized sporting event. He ran up and down the field, mostly behind or around the throng of kids that were attacking the ball but his foot never touched it. I was alright with this because earlier in the week he told me he didn't understand why some kids on his own team are trying to kick the ball at the same time he is. Anyway, the scrum around the ball is cutthroat. His aggressiveness and courage will come in time.

Earlier in the afternoon, before soccer, Eric and I spent some quality father-son time cleaning and vacuuming the inside of my new car, which happens to be Sue's old car. I am now driving the Subaru Forrester (which is another way of saying ugly, over-grown station wagon). There is now a giant bruise on my ego but the thing is really fun to drive in the snow. I traded in my beloved Taurus SHO (tears flowed) and moved Sue into a vehicle more befitting of her newfound Soccer Mom Status. I had to cave-in to her logical request for a a bigger vehicle to accommodate our growing children and to also be able to cart their friends. So she is now driving a Honda Odyssey and I have to say it's really nice and drives like a car. A little bigger than Sue is used to but she's managing just fine.

Getting back to the cleaning bit with Eric now. I was on wipe down duty and Eric controlled the vacuum. We were listening to the radio and working hard and I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas came on and it was cute to hear Eric begin to sing the chorus or hook to the song word for word along with the singer on the radio while happily sweating his ass off vacuuming. From this point on I will think of this every time I hear this song.

I gotta feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good night...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

happy birthday sue!

What do you get the girl who has everything?

Friday, August 21, 2009

a little off the top

Wow, folks. I can't believe I haven't embraced this whole middle age thing sooner. I got my hair cut off today and I have to say I look gooood. I'm telling you, first glance in the mirror and I see Clooney staring back at me. Turn a little and I see Pitt. The eyes, the face, the beard stubble, the non-hair and crooked smile all add up to hot. You are hot, Joe.

This just in: Sue has informed me I'm a raging egomaniac with a slight case of dude envy. And to drive the proverbial nail into my fantasy she's telling me I actually resemble a female lesbian version of a bald Steve Buscemi. That could be a compliment though because the guy is a great comedic actor. (Thanks Sue!)

Oh well, a guy can dream.

2:56 am

I don't know why but I found myself a little jealous tonight with my wife (of all people) fawning over Jeff on Big Brother. He's so handsome. He's going to age well, you can just tell was exactly what I heard. No doubt, the guy is blessed with the goods and definitely is smarter than I gave him credit for in the beginning. I learned on Big Brother After Dark that he is Head of Household after winning the HOH competition that was chopped at the end of the CBS broadcast. It's a good position to be in with six people left. On After Dark they were all celebrating with some wine and all the ladies left in the game were saying the same thing my wife did. Damn you, Jeff.

I am now watching the 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. I'd have to say it's pretty boring compared with the latest version that came out a few years ago. Not heavy on dialogue but really obese on the sexual tension between Steve and Faye. And, in every shot, someone is smoking a cigarette. Steve now has her in the palm of his hand unlike the beginning when Faye seemed like the one who thought she was in control. Ha! Steve just jetted off without her and she's a mess! Screw you Faye! You lost! HA! I think I prefer the newer one.

A question I'm asked a lot lately is how I feel about Michael Vick signing with the Eagles. I have my own words about the whole scenario but I'd rather quote my brother in an email I received a short time ago. Here you go:

Its all they talk about on AM 610 WIP. Same shit every day this week. I think most people support it but of course with anything you only hear the extremes. Like the doosh that buys the Vick jersey for his dog and walks around bragging about it. This guy is prob 20-25 yrs old, black and lives in the hood. Or the doosh that protests the practice facility with his dog on a leash. Usually this guy is a white middle aged male with a mustache, pony tail and sandals on.

I say fuck them all. I watch football to be entertained and this mother fucker can run like the wind. So, if he does the right shit off the field I have no problem watching him on the field.

I replied with this:

I am tired of it all. The guy did a crime and done the time. Let's score some touchdowns.

I am not saying what he did was acceptable. The guy made a mistake and he paid for it. He is allowed to re-enter society and make a living. I have no further comment on this matter and I sincerely would've pulled for the guy even if he didn't play for the Eagles. Now if you want to judge and condemn someone, point your anger at Brett Favre. I wish he'd just STAY retired, stay home and take care of his wife and stop wrecking teams. I guess he can't get enough of himself.

I'm getting a haircut today when I wake up. I think it's time to embrace middle age and just shave it all off. The mop I have now is outdated and a fresh start from scratch is in order. It's a brave move on my part. My dome has more dents and bumps than I can count but I don't care. One day you wake up and you're past 40 years old and you stop caring about trivial shit like your hair. That's me. But hair or not, I'm going to age well too. I'm promising you that much, Sue.

Monday, August 17, 2009

christmas in august

Women can hide their emotions much better than men. Sometimes.

Much like a cat who doesn't land on it's feet, my wife can internally subdue any elevated twinge of excitement and strut away. Except when there's three humongous boxes from Pampered Chef (PC) on the front stoop. Then it turns into a somewhat scaled down version of Oprah's favorite things with Sue immediately pissing her pants and performing naked cartwheels in the front yard all while giving thanks to some kitchen god in a dialect I'd never heard spewing from her mouth. I have video and may post it.

I'd have to say I'm excited too.

Sue hosted a party put together by a friend of ours a couple weeks back. A lot of ladies came out to our small home and bought many of the useful things PC has to offer, much to Sue's benefit. As host, Sue was able to earn free wares and we took advantage.

With this coming from a MAN, you can have the kernel cutter, collapsible strainer, pineapple wedger and stoneware fluted pan. These are all things that will be buried in the cabinets and soon forgotten. What revs my engine are two things that were a long time coming: A salt and pepper mill and some good knives. We still had to shell out some cash for these beauties but we are now able to season and slice whatever we want with style.

take it in and be jealous

Thanks to all who came out and bought. Hopefully we can have another PC party next week. Nah, just joshing you, that's too soon. Is next month OK?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

who is this kid?

A week away from home spending time with his older cousins and friends does wonders for a four year old's courage. Thank you Aunt Laura!

Friday, August 7, 2009

living in the moment (trying)

Our time in this house is winding down. In a little over 24 hours the keys have to go back. We are going to hit the beach today and then try to pack. I am not a last-minute type of guy. The bulk of the work needs to be squared away tonight so all we have to do is throw the kids in the van tomorrow.

In keeping with tradition, we ate at Fuddrucker's last night. It's something Sue and I have been doing for many years. It's not fast food but it's really easy and we enjoy it.

I did not get to walk on the beach at sunrise at all this week.

Time to seize the day and take in what's left of our time here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

pinch me, am I still here?

Wednesday. Back in the real world Wednesday is hump day; two days to go until the weekend. This Wednesday represents two full days left of sun and fun. That's kind of depressing.

Today we went to the beach again (and got burned) then to the backyard pool again. We've developed a kind of necessary system where people slowly filter into the house to shower and prepare for the evening.

At the beach Sue helped out a poor soul. She reported to us that on her stroll to get Evan to take a nap in the stroller she happened upon a woman who fell asleep sunbathing. This woman had unfastened her bikini top and rolled onto her side while sleeping. I know I don't need to write this but her boobs were hanging out for the beach to see. She woke her up. Good job Sue! I'm sure the surfer dudes in the naked woman's vicinity were highly disappointed with my wife. Tomorrow by the way, I'll be on stroll duty with Evan.

Sue helped Laura go through my mom's personal stuff this afternoon while I took Eric miniature golfing. We had a great time but it was so freaking hot. When we got home Sue showed me she had found my birth certificate, hospital bracelet and passport from when we came home from Germany in 1969. Bittersweet artifacts that I honestly never knew existed.

Tony's turn for dinner. He's grilling some big-ass burgers (with blue cheese built in), hot dogs and odds and ends. I'm sure I'll have to let my belt out a notch once again.

Tomorrow morning, come hell or high tide, I'm on the beach before dawn to pound out a couple barefoot miles, greet Mr. Sun and thank him for a female's need for a string bikini. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the good life

The week is flying by. It's hard to believe it's Tuesday already. Sue has been taking a bunch of pics everyday and I need to find the time to put some of those with my words. Very hard to devote any kind of time to anything when you have the devil with dimples, Evan, running around wreaking havoc. He has, though, let me dunk him in the pool without a wimper. And Eric is gaining more confidence in the water also. Today he was in the surf waist-high breaking waves with me. Then we came home and he was jumping off the wall into the pool. We were in the pool ready to catch him but a couple times we let him go. He was very proud of himself. Quite fun to witness.

Sue pulled off her Mexican meal to great reviews last night. I, for one, was really stuffed to the gills. I'm proud of her for pulling it together for so many people. Besides the enchiladas and tacos, she prepared an awesome corn dip and some delicious black beans. Mark whipped up some daiquiris and guacamole. Yes, the toilet got worked.

Tonight is an off night for meal duty and we are all free to do as we please. We are meeting Laura and family down at Barefoot Landing to shop and grab some dinner. Also, we will probably get the kid's portrait done by one of the many airbrush artists that have stands around the shopping area. It's been a tradition every year we have been here since Eric was born. The finished product makes the wall in our basement as a reminder of our family vacations and fun times past.

I started my round of golf with a par today but things quickly deteriorated into a hot sweaty mess. Finished with a score of 100. That sucks if you don't know. Kudos to my brother Mark for fighting through the pain of his repaired Achilles tendon and doing the best he can in our hack-fest.

We witnessed a car accident today on the way to golf where a lady sitting in the lane next to us at a red light got plowed from behind by a guy that may have had too much of something. There was no screech of tires that suggests the guy tried to get on his brakes but just a loud, startling SMASH! that jarred our golf crew awake. We feel very fortunate he wasn't in our lane as there was nobody behind us. Tony, who was driving, acted quickly and alerted authorities and then made sure all involved were ok. The protect and serve portion of his military training really shone through today.

I'm going to try to get up before dawn tomorrow and walk a couple miles on the beach. Witnessing the birth of a new day with the sun rising from the ocean horizon is something to behold. I'll try to put it into words tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

mad dash

Well we made it to the beach this afternoon but had to hot foot it home after about two hours before a torrential downpour soaked us. We made it high and dry. Eric and I and a couple of the other guests took to the pool at our house during the rains and had a great time. At least the beach stuff didn't get wet today.

Now the sun is blazing and Sue is hard at work preparing tonight's Mexican fiesta meal. Can't wait. Mark went out and stocked up on some stuff to make margaritas. Should be a fun night.

A 7:40 am tee time is set for a round of golf tomorrow morning at Oyster Bay just over the border in North Carolina. Mark, Tony Kyle and I are going to rip it up. Hopefully we get at least three hours sleep.

By the way, we really have to keep an eye on our youngest, Evan. He is having a blast with the sand at the beach and would run into the waves if you let him. No fear. Pics to come soon.

duty calls

It's Sue's turn to make dinner tonight for the four families that are with us on vacation. She has planned a Mexican type theme that hopefully everyone will enjoy. Two varieties, hot and not hot, of enchiladas and tacos. I really enjoy them when we're at home.

My bro Mark made some awesome ribs, corn on the cob and mac and cheese last night that rocked our worlds.

Had some beach time yesterday. The day started out with sun but the weather turned on us and eventually started to pour like I've never seen. Today we have some cloud cover and the weather report doesn't look promising but you never know. Maybe we'll get to the beach again today.

My sis Laura and family from Jacksonville are joining us today. It will be nice to have everyone together once again.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

praying for sun

Well, it's vacation time and I have to come clean. Today was my deadline to get to 200 pounds and I failed.

We are staying the night in Chester, VA and even though my last known weight of 204 pounds was yesterday at home I doubt I shed 4 pounds driving 300 miles and stopping at Burger King for lunch and Friendlies for dinner.

Yes, I came up short but I'm still proud. I started something and stuck to it and got some results.

I'm not promising anything but I'm going to try to drop the remaining weight while I'm away. I usually gain ten pounds on vacation but I don't think I will this year. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

can I do it?

Well it's the 11h of July and I think an update is in order. My goal of getting to 200 pounds by August 1st is definitely attainable.

I took a week off from the gym because I was fortunate to score some much needed overtime during a two week stretch at the end of June and the beginning of July. I was doing both for awhile but soon burned myself out. So, the OT is now finished and I'm back on the treadmill groovin' with my sweet new iPod Touch.

207 pounds. 14 pounds melted-to-oblivion since June 1st. I'm feeling good, eating well (not starving myself) and working hard.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

our princess UPDATE

My brother-in law Adam and sister-in-law Arlynn had to wrap their heads around the news of a rather large tumor in my niece's jawbone. For a week, they knew it was there but had to wait for biopsy results to determine what it actually WAS. They had prepped themselves for the worst...

I am over-the-moon to report in this case we will not be using medical terms like cut, donor bone, reconstruction or wired but will happily and gratefully use these: scrape, less aggressive and less invasive. There have been only 13 documented cases of her tumor since 1992, which her doctors classified as "exotic." According to Arlynn, she goes in on July 23rd and will have her procedure and then spend one night in the hospital.

So, it's good news and A+A and all of us now know it. As a parent, I cannot even begin to imagine what that waiting week was like.

With royal respect, I dub A+A King and Queen Of All That I'd Never Be Able To Handle, bow reverently and hope her procedure destroys and her follow-ups confirm that this thing is gone for good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

our princess

Sometimes I like to share my bitches and moans of daily life here on Bare Witness. Today I received news that makes my problems embarrassingly microscopic. Three very special people in our family are enduring unimaginable times and I want them to know they are not alone.

Not knowing what the next step will be is excruciating. We here in Pennsburg send our love and prayers for strength, hope and peace for the days ahead.