RSS

Tag Archives: home

Making My Way Home

On a brisk grey Tuesday afternoon. A packed New Jersey Transit bus number 164 made its way to the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. I glanced up and took note of the people standing – sorry for them but happy that to not be among their ranks. It had been a typical day of work for me – frustrations, battles, and maybe some small victories and learning. I was anxious to get home.
As I settled down, I turned back to the day’s distractions. I had a book and my phone. I typed in WordPress and began blogging away – reading, commenting, and responding.
Moments later the bus stopped– traffic back up. Yuck. I glanced at my watch. 4:05. Okay, I reasoned, decent time so far. Let this clear up quickly, and I can still make it home on time. Back to blogging.
Finally, the bus picked up speed, and we got off the New Jersey Turnpike and on to Route 80. Time check – 4:10. Okay, we are definitely late. Damn – I’ll have to make lunch after we pick up BR at karate. As long as we can get BR’s homework started by 6:15, otherwise heavy duty negotiations will be needed to keep him on track.
Full stop. Uh-oh. I looked out the window. This was not good. I called my wife who was still in the city.
“Call E (babysitter), and see if she can take them to karate.”
I called.
“Big favor to ask of you. Can you take the boys to karate? Traffic is backed up, and I am not sure if I am going to make it.”
“No problem.”
“Thank you, thank you. I really appreciate it.”
“Sure. Will you meet me there like last time?”
“I don’t know. I can’t say with this traffic. It doesn’t look good. Let me call you back in a little while when I have a better idea.
Five minutes later and little movement.
“Hi. It’s L. Yeah, this really doesn’t look good. Would you mind taking the boys and bringing them back from karate? I have no idea when I will be home.”
“Sure. No problem.”
“I really appreciate your flexibility.”
Various home schedules depending on arrival time ran through my head. I picture it a rapidly moving rolodex.

It was 5:18 when I finally walked in the door. The kids would not be home for another twenty minutes. Alone time. In my home. Did anyone else hear the angels sing halleluljah? No, I didn’t fall on my bed, blast the music, or run around naked. I did consider all those options but the rolodex turned to productivity. I got dinner started, made my lunch for the next day, set out my clothes for work, and ran the boys’ bath. Deep sigh – enjoy moment of quiet.
Then the storm hit.
“Where were you? “Why were you late? Why didn’t you come to karate? What’s for dinner? Did you leave the computer on?”
I barked back, “Dinner is being made, put your jackets in the closet, and take your shoes to your room. And go up take a bath.”
“Why do we have to take a bath now? We haven’t even eaten yet. We take a bath after dinner.”
“Change of schedule. Bath first and then dinner.”
“But..”
“No buts.”
“We are already off schedule, and I don’t want a late night.”
BR, already stripped down to his underwear as he had removed his Karate uniform, said fine. He pulled off his underwear and headed to the bathroom. He presented the full monty.
“Wait till you get to the bathroom next time.”
I looked over at E (the babysitter) and tried to laugh it off, “Sorry about that. You know – kids.”
“SJ you have to go to.”
“Fine,” he whined. He walked up the steps and removed his underwear, affectively mooning E and me.
Great. I have two exhibitionists.
I turned to E, “Well, I um. He’s. Uhh. Well.” Shaking my head, I finally became coherent, “I don’t even know what to say about that.”
With a laugh and good night, E left me with my soon to be clean free spirits. It was nice to be home.

Advertisements
 
37 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sandy – From My Perspective

*** Please note this was written yesterday. Unfortunately,I was unable to post. Today, I am at family member’s house who has electricity. Therefore, I can post this and recharge all the electronics.

Like many, my family and I have been dealing with the storm that has ravaged the Eastern Seaboard. Thankfully, we are fine – inconvenienced but just fine. Rather than give you a play by play of occurrences I wanted to share a few snapshots.

-I did not pay any attention to the storm whatsoever until Friday. In fact, one of my students joked and asked when will the homework be due if school is canceled. I smiled, “We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

-Shop Rite was packed Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m. when I arrived. They were already out of D batteries and had run out of flashlights. For all the difficulties this storm has caused, it was good for retail – at least it was prior to the storm.

– “You must not be afraid of heights,” my neighbor called out to me as I sat on my roof pushing leaves onto the grass. In fact, I spent nearly two hours cleaning out my gutters praying the predicted gusts were truly hours away as predicted. Actually, I am afraid of heights!

– Monday morning was eerie. With each drop and gust, I waited for it to get ‘serious.’  Along the way, my wife and I periodically watched the news. We both find it funny to watch the weather people who get stuck with the beach reporting job. Tell me, when they say everyone should evacuate, why is there always some poor person who gets stuck with that gig? You know what he/she is thinking – I better get that anchor position before next season.

– At 2:45 Monday afternoon, we lost power. Nothing dramatic occurred. One second the power was on and the next second it was off. There probably was a gust that preceded the loss in power, but I did not notice it.

-By 6:00 that evening, dinner, which consisted of left overs, was eaten and the black of dark had descended. The boys were fighting over our various lighting instruments. No surprise there. They both sleep with a light on.

-After watching a movie (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – my wife wisely had charged the portable DVD player), the boys were ready for bed. We slept in the playroom, which is mostly underground. As we do not live especially close to water, Sandy was more about wind here than rain. Anyway, our campout – the euphemism we used for our children – was a bit rough.  After the children finally fell asleep, things were calm. At least they were inside the house.

– Walking up the stairs was scary.  The sounds of the wind howling, the sight of the shades blowing, and the trees swaying was rattling. I hurried back to the safety of the playroom.

– Before I went to bed, I looked out and watched the trees swaying. The trees were battered and looked as if they were a fighter who has taken too many hits. The tree scene in the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie went through my mind. I turned away in fear and concern.

-This morning we were awakened at 6:00 a.m. by SJ’s first bathroom trip. Apparently, we can sleep through a hurricane but not by a 5-year-old who needs to pee. I noted that the winds had nearly subsided.

-When light came up, I surveyed the damage from my living room window. On my block, two arbor majesties had lost the fight. Miraculously, no one was hurt and there was minimal property damage.

-“BR, how about some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and ice cream for breakfast?” What the heck – the ice cream wasn’t going to stay for much longer. We were going to use as much of the food as wisely as we could.

Now, it is after 3 p.m. though it feels much later. I have no idea what is going on as I have barely left my home (well, I am posting at neighbors – not everyone lost power). Each of us has gone through bouts of stir-craziness.  However, we are holding up well, but with another day off tomorrow, I am concerned.

To sum up, we are fine and fortunate. Thank G-d! However, it would be nice if Mr. Potts could lend us his flying car.

 
37 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Want To Be There

“Okay, fine, good.” These are the answers I get when I ask my children about school. None of the responses – including the good – go along with enthusiasm. When I ask for more details, it is as if the children were trained by the CIA and refuse to give out information. However, there are those rare days when the children are excited about their school day. Those are great days, and I love to share their enthusiasm. SJ had just such a day on Monday.
I work 5 days a week. I am out of the house by 6 A.M. and return at approximately 4:45 (work often continues after the children are asleep). My wife works five days a week. For three of those days, she is in the city. She leaves just after she drops SJ off for school and returns home by 7 P.M. The two days she works from home she is expected to be working her standard eight hours.
I am thankful that we are both employed and have managed to stay so throughout the recession and the tepid recovery. We have not had to fret over bills (though I occasionally forget) and have not had our salaries reduced.  We have been fortunate. No complaints despite the long hours. That’s life, and we accept it.
When SJ gets excited, it is hard to understand what he is saying. He talks fast, and his details are all over the place. Yet, on Monday he was very clear. He was happily rambling on about a Thanksgiving Festival his school was going to be having. SJ informed me that BR, my wife, my mother, and I were all invited and there was room for everyone. He would be singing songs. There would be food for everyone. The details kept spilling out of the smile that was his mouth.
He was thrilled, so I was excited. Of course, I would go to see this grand performance. “When is it?” He had no idea.
“Come on daddy. Let’s look at the note in my back pack. They sent a note home for you.” He hurried down to the kitchen, opened his back pack, took out the note and gave it to me. He instructed, “Read it.”
I read the note and was sickened. The big event was on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 1:30.  Why? Why do they make these events, psyche the kids up, and then schedule them during the workday? Of course, the notice mentioned how we must reserve as the event has been a tremendous success in the past with many family members attending. How can they attend, I wondered? Don’t they have jobs, daily responsibilities?
I’m sure all of the parents have daily responsibilities. However, many find a way to fit this event into their schedule. But I can’t. I can’t go. I feel guilty. I feel like crap. I have a limited amount of days I can take off of work – like everyone else – and have used some already. My wife does not know if she can make it either as she is in the office on Tuesdays. Lastly, we don’t want to pull my other son out of school to attend. My mother, however, will be attending. Thankfully, she is retired and enjoys attending the children’s events.
So, SJ will have representation. Despite this, I am angry about being put in this situation. As a father and educator, I am thrilled to see my son excited about something at school. I am glad the school has gone to this effort which is motivating students (well, at least one). It is no one’s fault.
Sometimes, it really would be nice to be in two places at one time!
 
38 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Where’s the……..?!

Thanks to an invitation from memyselfandkids to do a guest post on his blog, I’m collaborating with him on an issue for the ages: Why men (and boys) can’t find anything.

It’s a ‘he said, she said’ kind of thing. Read on for the mom perspective then check out the dad perspective over at http://lifetakesover.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/the-observational-skills-of-men/

***********

“Honey! Where’s the [insert any food item here]?”

“In the fridge.”

“I’m looking in the fridge. I don’t see it.”

“It’s on the bottom shelf.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is. It might have gotten pushed to the back. Move stuff around. You’ll see it.”

[Shuffling and banging noises come from the direction of the fridge.]

“Nope. Not in there.”

[Heavy sigh escapes lips.]

“If I open that fridge and find [insert any food item here], I won’t be too impressed.”

[Heavy footsteps toward the fridge.]

“Here it is, right in front of the leftovers.”

“Oh, thanks. I didn’t see it.”

“No kidding.”

I’ll give you one guess who was rummaging in the fridge unable to find what they were looking for and who opened the door and put their hand on said item.

You’re right. It was my husband doing the looking and me doing the finding.

And this is pretty much how it goes for anything, not just food items.

Admittedly, when it comes to something in the fridge, it makes sense that I can put my hand on anything my family asks for because I do 98% of the grocery shopping, and most of the cupboard and fridge restocking when I get home from the store. My brain is like one of those coming-soon-new-fangled fridges with an LCD display of the contents of the fridge, constantly being updated as items are removed or added.

But the same goes for toys, clothes, documents, etc. We have IKEA toy “boxes” for the kids.

Photo credit: IKEA

And no matter what the kids are playing with, they always come to me to help them find the toy they’re looking for.

As if I know which bucket they put said toy in when they cleaned up the day before (because my kids always put away their own toys. wink)

And why is it that I can find things in my house, but my family cannot? It happens so often that I set out to find an answer.

Here’s what Google told me:

“Men are hunters, so if they can’t find their prey, they instinctively freeze motionless and wait for it to wander into their field of vision. Women are gatherers, so they move things around and look behind things until they find what they’re looking for.”

Take my children for example. My male child automatically asks me to find his toys for him. He doesn’t even start to go through his toy bins. He just stands in front of them, motionless I might add, and says, “Mommy, you find my car carrier? You find my dump twuck?”

My daughter, on the other hand, pulls out every one of her toy bins and systematically launches items out of the bins and onto the floor in an effort to locate whatever it is she is looking for. Nine times out of 10 she finds it and I never hear a peep out of her. Granted there’s a mountain of toys the size of Everest in front of the bins, but hey, at least she found her toy.

And it’s not just finding things that I have the upper hand in. Remembering things related to the household also falls to me. Doctor’s appointments, stuff we need at the store, play dates, school/daycare/camp schedules, extracurricular activities and so on are all part of my job.

It’s not that my husband can’t do it. It just seems that ever since my daughter was born, I have naturally been in charge of taking care of our family. It works for us. Sometimes I get frustrated. A lot of times I’m exhausted. But ultimately, I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

********************

Well, that’s the female perspective. I’m sure you guys have found lots of stuff in your day, but it never seems to be when I’m around. (w­ink)

Check out the male perspective of this little issue over on http://lifetakesover.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/the-observational-skills-of-men/ where talented guest blogger and dad extraordinaire memyselfandkids is blogging today.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Positively Productive

School ended a week ago yesterday. Yes, one of the benefits of being a teacher is summers off. While I certainly enjoy having more time and space, I am not the kick back and relax type. In fact, my wife has noted that during the first two weeks of the summer, I use my extra time to look around and feel dissatisfied. You see, one of the lessons I continually learn about myself is I like to feel productive.

So, I made a list of things that I plan on accomplishing in order to have a productive summer. Some of these things are family-related: help BR to feel comfortable riding a bike, help SY improve his reading skills, and go through the kids’ old books. Some are house-related: organize the unmarked CDs (I started last summer).

However, the majority of the list is about me: writing, reading, learning and exercising, etc. It’s a long list and somewhat demanding – requiring time, concentration, and dedication. Isn’t that what goals are for? Well, that’s what I was taught to believe. The only way to grow is to push yourself.

Do you remember the Flintsones’ episode when Fred has an angel on one side and a devil on the other to symbolize his internal conflict? The angel, of course, tries to push him to do the right thing and share the sweepstakes ticket while the devil advises Fred to keep the ticket for himself. I can empathize with Fred. The angel tells me it’s only been a week and I have been productive and besides, I’m entitled to some down time after another challenging school year. It is comforting and exhilarating. The devil tells me nothing is happening this summer, I’ve accomplished zilch, and I have little hope of making things better. It’s depressing and heavy.

So, what’s it going to be – the angel or the devil, the optimist or the pessimist, the doer or the naysayer? It’s time for me to learn the lesson of productivity and positivty again – I want to accomplish.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Efficient Morning

I am especially efficient in the morning.  In the hope of making my morning preparation as easy and thoughtless as possible, I lay out my clothes the night before, make my lunch and place each item on the same shelf in the refrigerator, place my toiletries on the sink, take my ticket out of my wallet and leave all my essentials – phone, wallet, keys, and watch – in a pile on the table. Do you remember how in certain Three Stooges episodes the guys would wake up and get out of bed all dressed in their suits – well, I’ve considered trying that. Anyway, I feel proud of my morning routine – up at 5:31 and out the door at 6:09. It is not give or take a few minutes. However, there is a big variable in completing the morning rituals.

I lied there are two big variables – Thing 1 (BR) and Thing 2 (SY). At that point of the day (and many others actually), all the children want to do is go and watch television. They don’t seem especially interested in eating at that hour, content to wait for my wife who sees them off in the morning.  So other than their standard stomping around the house and smashing open of doors, my calm and gentle boys don’t make much impact.
Yet, they do. Let me backtrack. I am not a morning talker – never have been. By the time I was in high school, I was pretty much on my own in the morning. My mother would be on her way to work by the time I awoke, my father would still be sleeping, my two oldest brothers were already out of the house, and my next older brother would be burrowed in his room – only to emerge when it was time to walk to school.  I was effectively alone in the mornings and quite fine with it.

Fast forward to today. I am used to being alone in the mornings. I like the quiet of the house. I like the space that this time of the day affords me. So, despite the fact that the children are self-sufficient for the most part at that hour, the serenity I feel is upended. Do I have time to get them breakfast, did they flush the toilet, did they wake my wife, do I have to talk to them (perish the thought)? Yeah, I love my children, but in the morning, I want to hear the house hum and proceed in my efficient way.  See you later kids.
 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Help Me With My Scattered Brain

Scatter brain scatter brain – where are you now?  If there was a traffic cop that gave tickets to people whose minds are zooming, my license would be suspended.

“I’m sorry sir, but you need to step out of your mind.”

“But officer..”

“You’re doing 90 thoughts a minute in a 20 thoughts per minute zone.”

My wife has been out of town on business the last couple of days. So, my mom took the 90 mile trip up Route 95 and has been staying with the children and me. She is incredibly helpful though she often doesn’t think so.  A typical conversation:

“Don’t do the dishes.”

“I got it mom. Don’t worry.”

“Just let them sit. I’ll take care of it.”

“It’s okay mom. Thanks.”

“I don’t know why you don’t let me do anything.”

Meanwhile, her day has consisted of getting the kids ready and off to school, picking up a couple of things at the store, making the beds, taking the kids off the bus, and preparing dinner. A real slacker she is.

Despite my mother’s great help, the house runs differently when my wife is not home.  She has a system for everything – “that Thomas train does not belong there.”

“Uhh sorry.”

My wife is an organizational dynamo.  Doctors appointments, school meetings, after school activities – she knows the kids schedules backwards and forwards.  I am filled in on this information on a need to know basis. Actually, I remember the information on a need to know basis.

“Don’t you remember?  I told there’s a birthday party Sunday, karate on Tuesday, a school meeting on Wednesday, and Friday is a half day.”

“Yes dear.  Of course I remember. Well, I forgot about the half day, and I thought the party was next week. But, I got it now. We’ll handle it.”

The look of exasperation on her face and frustration during these conversations is palpable. She’ll rail about how we both have to be on top of things. She’s right, and I am on top of things – somewhat.

Well, this week with her out of town, I really did have to be on top of things. Uggh.  I miss her. I want to tag her, say you’re it, and hand off these worries.  I’m good at sharing.  Anyway, maybe then I can focus, and put the pieces back together of my scattered brain.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: