Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Girl In My Life

I first met her more than ten years ago. From the moment I saw her I knew I loved her. She had piercing blue eyes that saw right through me and her face lit up whenever she saw me. I cannot imagine feeling the same way about anyone else. She will always have a special place in my heart

Circumstances are such where we do not have much opportunity to spend much time alone so we try to take advantage of those few opportunities when they present themselves. Last night we were presented such an opportunity.

I prepared a grilled dinner for us on the balcony and as we ate we talked about our week and what was going on in our lives. We then went out window shopping. When we got back home we shared our favorite drink together, hot chocolate with a giant scoop of chocolate ice cream.

My little girl and I share a special bond, a bond, from what I gather, many fathers and daughters share. While I love my boys dearly there is something special about my relationship with Fiona. It is a relationship filled with joy and rife with responsibility. Where with my boys I am responsible for teaching them how to be men, with my daughter I need to show her how men should treat her. This may be an antiquated idea, but its a responsibility I feel keenly, especially as she is starting to mature.

Opportunities such as the one we had last night are rare, and will become rarer still as she gets older. However, while she may not be a child forever, she will always be my little girl.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Betwixt And Between

Have you ever felt like you were inbetween two places at the same time? This is where I find myself and upon further reflection i think I have been in this inbetween place for a long here is an half hearted attempt to find a different place

Liminal places, like rotaries, doorways, or life's turning points have a way of disorienting and causing distress and confusion. What is new offers exciting possibilities at the expense of what is familiar and comforting.

So...I have decided to try to leave my liminal place, where I am neither here nor there and I am betwixt and between. I have been here for a while...but being betwixt and between is not a place where you should spend much time. Its time to walk through life's next doorway.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to Work

Tomorrow, for the first time in seven years, I have to punch a it I am going to work for someone else. That I have to do so is indicative of the state of the mortgage industry as I have much to much time on my hands for my own good. However, the idea of working for someone else feels like...feels like submission and defeat.

We sacrifice much to be well fed and well clothed. We sacrifice our freedom, our individuality, and our time. We end up giving our lives, as measured in time, to our employers. In exchange we get an income, some benefits, and the illusion of security.

To be sure, there are sacrifices involved in working for oneself, but these were sacrifices I gladly made. When I first started working for myself, on a commission basis, I remember telling the owner of the company I sub-contracted for my fear of living on a commission income. I remember his response..."we all work on commission whether we know it or not." That one statement enabled me to rid myself of the delusion that a steady paycheck was a symbol of someone who was laid off because of a corporate takeover I knew full well that as long as I worked for someone else I would never be the master of my own fate.

I was my own master...I could fashion my worklife in a manner that suited my needs and desires. If I wanted to spend the afternoon with my kids...I could. If I wanted to spend the morning at the beach...I could. In exchange I worked with my clients five nights a week. I made phone calls from baseball fields, dance studios, family gatherings, the beach, at midnight, and on Christmas day. I lived with my profession and in return I earned a nice income. However, more than the income I earned I enjoyed the freedom my profession brought me. How I worked, when I worked, and where I worked was entirely up to me....I was my own master. I was free.

But even the freedom I enjoyed was something of an to do my job successfully I needed to match wits with the global economy...and I think the global economy is getting the better of me....S0....tomorrow...I will be in a cubicle...subject to somebody else's rules and somebody else's schedule. I know this is how most people live and they do so happily and willingly...but to feels like I am submitting and surrendering my freedom.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have $10.37 in my pocket and I have decided to make it last until Monday. So this morning I took a quick inventory to see where I stood. I have plenty of cereal, meat, potatoes, eggs, potato chips, salsa, cheese, and cold cuts. I am short on peanut butter, bread, coffee, fruit, vegetables, light cream, and ice cream. I have half a liter of Pepsi and four bottles of beer. I am out of vodka. Gin will have to do.

My car has three quarters of a tank of gas in it which should be plenty until Monday as I am really not planning on going anywhere anyway. I have plenty of dog food and cat food so Joey and Spot are all set. And I found two cigars....just in case.

So I now know what I have....and here is what I decided I needed. I can hit the day old bread bin at Stop & Shop and grapes are on sale at another market. I will also need $3.00 for my Sunday paper (there is no sense in living like an uninformed philistine....). I figure I will have around $4.00 left after bread, grapes, and the paper.

I will switch to espresso to stretch out my coffee and eliminate the need for light cream. I have a chicken in the freezer that I can roast tomorrow...and make a stock for chicken soup to have for lunch for a few days. And having gin in my martini instead of vodka won't kill me.

Now...I could easily go to the ATM for cash....but that is really not the point. The idea is to make due, to make something out of nothing, to stretch, to conserve, and to save. Yes...I little game is made easier by the fact that I will not have my kids until Monday and that I do not have a completely empty pantry. I also admit that I am doing this out of boredom and for the need for a distraction...

I wonder how much a ticket to Amsterdam costs....

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I abhor me they are amongst the lowest form of playground that...they ARE the lowest form of playground life. Regardless of the underlying reasons, taking pleasure from being able to intimate others its a perverse and anti social form of behavior that ought to be confronted wherever it is exhibited.

So that I have climbed up on my soapbox I have a story to tell. My oldest son plays football. He is 12 years old and stands at about 5ft 5in and weighs around 140 pounds. He is a solid kid who knows how to use his strength. Moreover, he also knows how to use his brain. Oliver has encountered on his team someone who, for whatever reason, does not like him. Oliver plays offensive line and this kid lines up on the defensive side of the ball against him. They have been going at it for about a month. This kid has tried to intimidate, bully, and belittle my son. Oliver, to his credit, has handled this situation on his own and has told me about his reactions only after the fact.

Now...I have always advised my kids to use words rather than their fists to resolve conflicts if for no other reason than because unlike when I was growing up when conflict would escalate from words to fists, nowadays conflicts can often escalate from words right to knifes and guns. Besides, my kids are all pretty smart and should be able to talk their way out of most situations.

So I was proud of Oliver when he tried to ignore this kid and when that failed, tried using humor to disarm him and cut him down to size. From the sideline I could hear Oliver tell this kid "lighten up Br***, you are with your team so you don't need to be such an assh***." Maybe that helped escalate things, but again, Oliver was being pushed into a corner...and son has his Dad's potty mouth.

Finally, on Monday, Oliver had had enough. This kid had done something during a play that Oliver did not like. So on the next play, Oliver slammed his left forearm into this kids' chin and his left fist into his side. The coach knew what was going on and told me that he hoped that this would end things. As we left practice Oliver and I talked about what had happened. Oliver told me that he realized that for the bullying to end he needed to show this kid that not only could he physically take care of himself, that he could also hurt this kid. What I had witnessed over these last few weeks compelled me to agree.

So it did, or so it seems. Yesterday I watched Oliver and this kid talk about the Red Sox and their upcoming game against Scituate. You would have never known that they had been going at each other for a month. It reminded me that in parenting you are never dealing in absolutes...and that there are times when your child will have to stand up for himself and use his fists....the trick is teaching your kid when to recognize exactly when that time is.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Poked, Prodded, and Probed

I am cranky....and after what my doctor did to me this week without even buying me dinner you would be too. Not only did he not buy me dinner, he did not send me flowers nor did he kiss me on the forehead afterwards....

There are a group of doctors in Massachusetts who now know me in a way that no one else on the planet does. Actually....I am trying to make a joke out of what could have been a really bad thing....

Like a lot of guys my age, I walk around in a 40 something year old body thinking that I am still 15....then reality comes crashing in....or creeping in. I have not had a full physical in a few years and have never had my colorectal exam. I put should have had it last year but I never got around to it. Actually...I have been putting it off...until certain symptoms appeared about a month ago made it apparent that I needed to do something.

So after an exam earlier in the week revealed that "something" was "there" I was the lucky recipient of a special date with a special sort of doctor. During my date the doc found that the "something" were actually two polyps....

After they were removed and I woke up I got to hear a number of words that I had hoped to never hear...."your oncologist," "biopsy," and "precursor to colorectal cancer." After I threw up in my mouth I realized that they were going to check out the polyps to determine what was going on....and I got the news this morning...."precancerous cells" was the operative phrase.

So....I dodged a bullet. This time. What I offer in today's post is a cautionary tale regarding men's health and the dangers of putting off what really should be a routine examination...Don't screw around with this...otherwise you could end up in deep sh*t.

And I will let my doctor off the hook for not sending me flowers...this time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back To School

Backpacks are packed, uniforms are ironed, the summer reading finished (almost), and the lunches are made. My kids are going back to school today.

I know a few parents who have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of that yellow bus at their door...hell...I have a friend who I think has been looking out her door for that bus since the end of June....(ok...ok...since the end of July) but I digress. I am actually a little disappointed that vacation is over and that my kids are going back to school.

Admittedly, I am fortunate. I work from home and I can move my schedule around to accommodate my kids so I am able to enjoy the slower pace of life that summer brings. We did not take a lengthy vacation...and we went to the beach not nearly often enough...but we did enjoy late nights, late mornings, and many, many games of whiffle ball in the backyard.

My kids did demonstrate a bit of back to school anxiety over the last few days...heck I even experienced some of it myself. Yesterday morning I had occasion to be in Cambridge where Harvard's students have returned. I experienced some of that old anxiety I experienced in college just before classes started. So while I had to remind myself that my own school days have long since passed, I had a fresh reminder of what I experienced as I dealt with three jittery kids last night.

So...we are back to school...homework, lunches, schedules, earlier mornings...and no more midday whiffle ball games...I think I am more disappointed than my kids.