Friday, January 6, 2012

For cripes sake...

Flashbacks to my youth continue to hit me from time to time. I know that's hard to believe as my youth was about fifty years ago now.
I was writing on my laptop while Kate & Thomas were playing together on the floor in the living room. Kate had set up a combination of little people and Polly Pockets city. Thomas joined in playing with her.
Now, I'll prefix this with the note that Barenaked Ladies is one of our families favorite bands. They have some crazy songs and some CD's have live versions of their songs. One of them, the lead singer, Ed Robertson, talks about a lady he met prior to the show. She asked him for directions to the Bryant Street Theater. Not being from that city, he said he didn't know. The old ladies response was, "Oh, for Christ sake!" We listen to their CD's often so I guess it is ingrained into us and the kids without our knowing it.
Fast forward to Polly Pocket city and both Thomas & Kate are singing, which I love. Then both together they say, in Ed Robertson accent, "Oh, for Christ sake!"
Being the catholic that I am, I started to stand up and talk to them. I calmed myself first and then said, "You know, we really shouldn't say that because we're not supposed to take the Lord's name in vain. And that is really doing that. Even though he says that on the song, we shouldn't."
Thomas said, "I'm sorry." I told him that was okay as he didn't really know it was wrong. I wasn't mad but was just telling them for future reference.
Now, flashback to me as a ten year old. I remember distinctly being in our basement, working on something while my Mom was hanging up laundry. I don't remember what was wrong but I said, "Ah, for cripes sake!" Now, I didn't even say Christ but my Mom would have none of that.
She came over to me and said, "We don't say that about the Lord!"
Being the wise guy, I was and still am, I said, "But, I didn't say the word. I said Cripes!"
She said, "It doesn't matter."
So, I didn't say that again and really never swore until I had kids. The I had good reason to swear. (Just kidding.)
What goes around, comes around. And for the record, I never did say it again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Best game ever

It started out as a quiet day as I had it off and had to take Thomas to his weekly scout camp at the Ethan Allen Homestead. He goes each year, loving the archery, games and usual incredible high temperatures. It's out in the open so they do their best to torch the kids.

Paula also had the day off from work and took Kate to her half day soccer camp. She is fast, loves it and is quickly learning the game. I love to watch her play.

After we did the drop off, I suggested we meet up at our favorite place, Great Harvest Bread Company, where we manage to scarf up free samples of bread along with our cup of joe. We sat for a while discussing our plans for the day when Paula suggested going the Lake Monsters game that night as the kids had received some free tickets from a special reading program.

The kids have received numerous prizes, awards and paraphernalia due to their love of reading. It seems each and every business and organization in Burlington gives you something if you read and we take advantage of it. We're still trying for the cabin cruiser that the local fish hatchery is giving away but reading forty-five hundred thousand books on fly fishing takes time.

So, anyway, we hadn't received our free tickets to the game in the mail yet so Paula, ever resourceful, called up the Lake Monsters office and talked directly to their GM. He graciously said to just come down to the ticket office and he'd take care of us. As it was kids reading free night, we got there plenty early. Last year, we went to free mystery bobbing head doll night and the lines were beyond belief.

We arrived to short lines and I was pretty happy about that. We got our tickets within minutes and headed straight for the food as we didn't have any dinner. We grabbed a few slices of pizza and a hot dog and headed for our seats. But first, we made the all important stop at the beer stand. After dropping five bucks for a delicious Shock Top ale, we headed towards our general admission seats. I commented that we should sit on the first base side as the third base side in the family section where no alcohol is served. 

So, heading through the tunnel, we turned left and looked up. A man with a clipboard was sitting in the first of four fancy recliners which are for lucky fans to use, who win a raffle. But tonight, this man asked us if we would like to sit in the seats. As I didn't know who he was, I asked and he said he worked there. Being at the right place and time had we won us the right to sit there all game long. Paula and I looked at each other and said, "Sure!". So we sat, still amazed at our good luck.

These seats were right above the dugout and really close to the players. We also knew that in between innings, Champ, our beloved Lake Monster, would be dancing on top of the dugout. It just so happened that tonight was his birthday celebration so all his fellow mascots from around the region joined us, including Skip, the mascot of the Vermont Mountaineers or Wood Chippers or some name like that. He came by and shook our hands. I told him our chairs were made of bear skin and were comfortable. As he frowned, Paula told me that he wasn't a bear but a Woodchuck. I apologized and luckily he did not eat me. All the Lake Monster employees were also dressed in the favorite costumes. It was going to be a good night.

As we sat prior to the start of the game, several people that we knew walked by and asked how we got such good seats. I told them it was clean living but they didn't go for that. We told them the story and told us how lucky we were.

In the second inning, Sam, the guy who gave us the seats, came by and ask me all our names. At the end of that inning, he got on his microphone, announced our names to the crowd and presented us with Lake Monsters baseball hats. We had our picture taken for the newspaper and the smiles continued.

We sat amazed and then Thomas turned to me and said, "It's the first time that I'm glad you like alcohol, Daddy, because we got to sit in these great seats!" I'm not sure how good I felt about that but I only had one beer as it cost forty five dollars but as per usual, I digress.

We finished our food and beer which I shared it with my lovely bride. Thomas asked if we could head down to the bouncy castle. The Lake Monsters have a variety of fun activities for the kids and they are pretty cheap at a buck a piece. There was nobody in line and Thomas jumped right in. I started chatting with the attendant. The bouncy castle time limit was three minutes but Thomas was having fun and we were talking. As no one else came up, he stayed in a little bit longer than the usual time. Thomas was good and sweaty by now. I finally dragged him away as I could vaguely hear the national anthem being sung. We got back in time to see the Tri-City Valley Cats score three runs on no hits and three Lake Monster errors. It might be a long night for beloved Monsters.

So, we continued to watch the game. The kids begged for some cotton candy so Kate and I ran down and grabbed a bag. We brought it back to our seats. She and Thomas shared the ever-so nutritious ballpark fare and their faces were sufficiently covered with a nice pink sugar coating.

In about the third inning, the Valley Cats were headed back to the dugout. I held my arm up and hoped one of the players might toss a ball in stands. And he did. Just as I was about to grab the prize and give it Thomas and Kate... the guy in front of me jumped up and grabbed it. Then, he did the nicest thing, he turned around and handed it to Thomas. He was thrilled. He handed the ball to Kate for her inspection. They both smiled. I tapped the guy and the shoulder and thanked him. No big deal, he said.

Later, Kate and I trekked down so she could have her turn at the bouncy castle. There was a long line but we waited. She had a blast too but only got a few minutes compared to Thomas' fifteen.
Fast forward to the seventh inning stretch, I looked over at Paula and gave her the nod, secretly asking "Can we go now?" Thomas somehow intercepted the nod and gave the big old sad face saying, "Please can we stay to the end?" 

Paula said (or it felt like she said), "Stop being a fuddy duddy and let's just stay to the end!" So we did. There was an announcement that after the game, all the kids could come on to the field and run the bases. Thomas and Kate were excited and stifled yawns, but still were raring to go after the game.

So, we sat and sat. I decided to start making my own cheers as if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I started cheering for our own Sean Jamison, who became really inspired with my yelling his name and on a 3-2 pitch, proceeded to foul off about eight pitches in a row. Kate gave me a look and said, "You're embarrassing me, Daddy!" But I was not to be denied. Finally, all my yelling paid off as the payoff pitch came. Good old Sean hit a long fly ball in deep foul territory, which was promptly caught for the third out.

As the teams headed off the field, I got another chance at a ball. I raised my hand once more and the Valley Cat fired it my way. There was no stopping me this time as I knocked over four kids and dove for the ball.
Well, okay, it came right in my hands and i caught it. I looked at Paula and smiled. She was so impressed. Then she pointed to the little kid in front of us, he had a glove on and a sad face. I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him the ball. The smile on his face with worth it. His Mom thanked me. No problem, I said.

The game ended and our beloved Lake Monsters lost. Thomas and Kate headed down to the field, got to run the bases and we headed home. As we walked to the van, we talked about all the incredible things that happened that night. We got home and all plopped into bed quickly. 

I got up early for the work the next morning and saw Thomas' baseball sitting on the bookshelf by our front door. I smiled when I saw what he wrote on the ball: "Best game ever! 8-8-11".

I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where are the kids?

It was a busy weekend in the Henry Hut. A Friday night at the beach included some swimming, kayaking and something new to us, cooking out on the grill. It's not as easy as it looks, as you have to make sure you grab everything from the house that you could possibly need for a meal. Hot dogs, buns, catsup, relish, knives, forks, and the kitchen sink all need to be brought down to the beach.

Saturday was another busy day with trips to the dump, the library and our favorite bread store which (ingeniously) gives out free samples. I say ingeniously as this is expensive (but really good!) bread and there is no way in the world I'd ever buy any loaf of bread for over five dollars but now, thanks to free samples, I do.

We finish our errands, and get home. Kate starts to pack her clothes. Thomas starts to pack his clothes.

She is headed off to a birthday party sleepover at her friend which includes many things, not one of which is sleep. Movies, cupcakes, tons of whipped cream, more movies, games and if they can, some sleep.

Thomas is off to Lake Sunrise for a week of camping out with his fellow scouts. He'll be gone all week and has been looking forward to this for months. We're excited for him and hope he loves it. I know he will. It's his parents who are really concerned. Okay, I am, Paula knows he'll be fine. I know he'll be fine but I just so want him to have an adventure and trust the weather holds off. They are camping right on a lake and as the temperatures are soaring, I trust they will be spending much of the week in the water.

I realize that this weekend is just the beginning of the kids pulling away from us, slowly but surely. It's a natural process. Maybe I'm just not ready for it. I know it is what's supposed to happen. You raise your kids the best you can, trying to prepare them for when they leave you, hopefully off to college and an extraordinarily high paid job so they can take good care of me when I'm old and drooling in a cup. (I think that happened just last week for a few minutes.)

So, here's to a weekend of being without the kids. I know it's good and what is supposed to happen, I just hope I'm ready for it.

And now for something completely different...

Walking through the local Hannaford’s the other day, we went down the aisle that just happens to have Spam in it. It sparked me to have Thomas remind me that when we got home, we just had to look up when of my favorite skits from Monty Python: Spam.

Once I was younger, Monty Python was on this foreign station called Public Television. I only turned on this channel when Bugs Bunny wasn't on but once I did, I made some cool discoveries. Monty Python was one of the bests.

The Ministry of Silly Walks... The Twit Olympics... The Marathon for Incontinents...

I showed all of them to Thomas and Kate. They loved them! I was happy, as you never know, not only with British television possibly losing humor in the translation but also, as this was years ago, was it still funny. It was still very funny.

Like most male type of humor, perhaps women don't think it's that funny, like the Three Stooges or The Hangover; it's just silly, stupid stuff but we men love it. And I'm glad to know my kids love it.

A father can hand down a lot of these to his kids, how to say please and thank you, how to act appropriately in church and how to laugh at the silliest type of humor. I was happy that my kids appreciated how funny bad comedy can be.

Now I'm off to eat a big breakfast of eggs, spam, spam, bacon, spam and spam.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Uncle Louie

I've had a tough time when thinking about what to write about my Uncle Louie, who died last month. It's still hard to believe he's gone.

What do you say about the uncle you've known forever? Always smiling and with a sly look on his face, he was my godfather. Despite our living three hours apart, our families always found a way to be together.

When I was younger, my Mom and I would travel around the state visiting relatives. Our stops always included a stay over at the Trevino's house. It's not a huge house but it is a wonderful house. We didn't care where we slept and often found ourselves on the floor, the couch, any open space we could find. Warm and inviting is how I know their house to be. Many years ago, after I had moved to North Carolina, it was Christmas time and I was feeling a bit homesick. I hopped in my car and drove fifteen hours to Massena, unannounced. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with nothing but smiles and hugs. It was the way it was and still is anytime you visit.

He had been sick for a while although through it all, he never lost that characteristic smile of his. It would light you up every time you saw him. He had that effect on a lot of people as evidenced not only by the thousands of posts of goodwill on his Facebook page but by the hundreds of lives he touched throughout the years.

My Uncle Louis was a character. Attending just about every Massena sporting event over the past fifty years, he was known by all. Whenever I met someone from Massena, whether at a flea market in New Jersey or a mall in North Carolina, when I asked them if they knew Crazy Louie, everyone smiles and said yes. Even my friend Mark, here in Vermont, knew him from high school as the guy who carried a car battery & horn and blasted it whenever Massena scored a goal.

Wonderful with kids, his pockets were always full of candy and a quarter, half dollar, or sometimes even a silver dollar. My kids, Thomas and Kate, still have their money from Unca Wellie (as Thomas called him when he was three), on their dressers.

Uncle Louie was a really good bowler. It was something both our families grew up with and became a huge part of our lives. He would come to Syracuse often for bowling tournaments and when he called, we would go watch him bowl. Even out of his hometown of Massena, people knew him and he had celebrity status.

He was also quite the smooth dancer. At every family wedding, we couldn't wait to watch him as he escorted Aunt Etta out to the dance floor. They were wonderful to watch. Many times, he had his maracas with him too, shaking them to the delight of all.

And tears! I'll always remember him for his tears. Not sad tears, but tears of joy. Whenever our families got together, he would cry tears of joy; just for us all being together.

Cheering for his beloved Yankees, which was the only bad thing he did in his life (go Mets!), I remember him sitting in his chair in the living room, hour after hour watching them on TV.

He could always be seen on the roads in and around Massena. You could see him bowling or later in life, keeping score for friends at the Seaway bowling alleys or sitting at the local McDonald's having coffee with his buddies.

He had a whistle, too. Ay caramba, yes he did. He would pull it out at quiet times during a wedding or family gathering, blow it and yell, "Everybody out of the pool!" It never got old and we looked forward to it. One year, we were all headed to a family wedding and I packed my own whistle in my camera bag. I pulled it out at a quiet time, blew it and yelled, "Everybody out of the pool!" I looked over at Uncle Louie. He smiled, came over and gave me a big hug.

Although a bit hard of hearing, wherever you were, you could just look over at him. He would look at you and smile, giving you that wink which said, "I'm glad you're here."

I know, now, that he is up in heaven with my Mom and his brother and sisters. After all the hugs are over, with tears in his eyes, they are all smiling and laughing together.

We will miss Uncle Louie, but it does make it a little easier knowing that the memories and love he gave us through the years will live with us forever.

Monday, April 18, 2011

So, who put the crap back in Hewlett-Crappard/Comcrap?

Our story continues... oh, you wouldn't expect anything less, would you?

HewlettCrappard/Comcrap so graciously agreed to take back my craptop (again) and repair it. Seeing as it hasn't worked correctly from day one, it seems like a reasonable thing for them to do. If you don't know the whole story by now, just scroll down my blog a few entries.

But you know what's going to happen now, don't you?

I sent in my laptop once more, since when they "fixed" both the first and second (or is it twelfth) time previously, it didn't work. The first time it was 'repaired', it worked for 12 days and then collapsed once more.

So, good people that they are, they sent me another Fed-Ex overnight shipping box, to return it to them, so they could fix it right away. Two weeks later, with no sign of contact from the mother ship, I received a cryptic voice message from home. It was from an Indian sounding woman (and unfortunately we deleted it as I so wanted you to hear the audio) and she said,

"This is *&%$^&(*& from Hewlett/Crap*&%$^&(*& and we are trying to *&%$^&(*& your *&%$^&(*& craptop. We are sorry *&%$^&(*& but we can't *&%$^&(*& it. We *&%$^&(*& to tell you that *&%$^&(*&. Once again, we *&%$^&(*& sorry. Good *&%$^&(*&."

I believe she was calling from the underground headquarters of HP with a Tracfone on it's last minutes.

As I hadn't had any contact with the company via email for nearly two weeks, I thought my craptop was gone for good. But, as my Mother used to say, "Oh, ye of little faith." I received an email from the Crappards, and my laptop was to be delivered Monday (today!). Another miracle!

We all got home after a lovely day. I was beyond excited (hey, it doesn't take much lately). We got it open. I lifted the lid, pushed the power button and... it didn't work!

Shocking, I know. I was really surprised because... okay, i wasn't surprised. So, I dialed the 800 number, which I now have memorized as I know both the area code and country code for India and Pakistan.

This time I got Latasha on the phone. I think I also heard Boris Badenov in the background too, but I digress. The last several times on the phone, I spoke with Micah, Malcolm and Mudhoo so I'm moving up in the HP world to the L's.

I told her my story, which I've now repeated to 67% of the crack HewlettCrappard repair staff previously and she apologized profusely. She said she would do everything she could to help. I told her I appreciated that. She commented on how calm I was being. I told her that the day was young and she laughed.

Anyway, to make a long story longer, she said that she was going to Fed-Ex me another box (I have a big collection in the recycle bin if you need any) and they would attempt to fix it once more. She also said, which I really loved and almost made it all worth it, "I will put a note on this laptop saying to make sure they check to see if it works before they send it back to you."

"Really? Really???", I told her, "You really have to put a note on it? Wouldn't you think they might check it BEFORE they sent it back to me?"

She laughed but unfortunately, she was serious. I told her to please write the note as just maybe it would help. I then asked how many more times I had to return it in before they gave me a new one. She said that three times was the limit. If it didn't work (we both laughed really hard then!), I would either get a new one, get my money back (ha!) or be allowed to whack three HP executives of my choice on the head with my broken craptop. Okay, I made the last one up but I'd take that opportunity if presented to me.

So, now I sit and wait for another lovely Fed-Ex overnight box.

It keeps life interesting around the Henry household. Thomas can't understand how they can continue to keep sending back broken laptops to me and I keep telling him you just have to fight for what's right.

It's a life lesson. I'm not sure exactly what that life lesson is but I'm sticking around to find out.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I fought the law and... I won???

You may have read about my rants on Hewlett Crappard/Comcrap in the past. If not, where have you been? Are you not reading these things? Why am I wasting time putting them out there??? Check this out if you want to be updated quickly:

So, it's been a while since I've been willing to chat about this online, mainly because when discussing it, I tend to chip all my teeth from clenching my jaw. But I am determined when it comes to money, just ask my brother and sister in law; I am Mr. Craigslist to them.

I spent a lot of money on a laptop that wouldn't turn on, and to say it wasn't fun, is putting it mildly. I won't review it but let's just say I also received the crappiest of usual crappy service from WorstBuy. The 14-year-old female manager (I won't tell you her name but her name tag said Jess B) from WorstBuy who told me that she didn't have to tell me her name kept telling me to go back and read my contract instead of listening to those rascally, jokester sales people told me. What do they know? They only represent the company, WB, on the stock exchange.

Anyway, after several emails and letters to both companies, Worst Buy and Hewlett Crappard/Comcrap, I received nothing but heartache. About a month ago, after tons of Internet research (they don't want you to find their names) I wrote even more letters to each of four high level executives at both mega corporations. I didn't want to give up as they sold me a lemon. Reading the Internet, I discovered there were thousands of other people who were just as upset as I was about the 'quality' of their products. The sticker on my laptop says, "BUILT TO LAST", of course, in fine print it says "one day past warrantee'.

I finally did hear back from WorstBuy and he was very nice. He apologized for all the problems and told me to go pound sand as they didn't care enough to back their products. When I reviewed the rude treatment by his store manager, he told me "We don't care. We don't have to. Circus City is gone and we're the only game in town." or words to that effect. To be honest, he actually offered me a $40 gift certificate from WorstBuy. I believe I told him to cram the gift certificate somewhere as I never intended to step foot in their store again. He told me to have a nice day and I told him I'd have whatever kind of day I felt like having.

The next week, as we were finishing dinner, the phone rang. We didn't answer as family time is family time. However, when the voice said "This is CeCe from Hewlett Crappard." I picked up the phone. As we talked, she apologized for the problems but she told me that they could not give me a new laptop. She said, however, that she was willing to repair the laptop for free and even send me a pre-paid Fed-Ex box to ship it. I told her that that would be lovely as it's all I wanted was a laptop that actually turned on when you hit the on/off button and worked for more than five minutes. Hey, I'm easy to please.

Amazingly, within two days, the box showed up on my doorstep and I shipped my laptop back. I checked the tracking form two days later to make sure they received it and to my surprise, they were already delivering it back to me that day!

I opened up my box, turned it on, and it actually worked! For a full week now, it has worked fine every time, something it had never done previously.

I didn't pay a dime, except for stamps for all my numerous letters. Paula and I are still in shock but as I've found before, it pays to be a squeaky wheel.

So, Hewlett Crappard/Comcrap has changed slightly in my mind and shall no longer have that name but a new one: Hewlett Crappard/Compaq. They have earned losing half a crap from their name. We'll see how it works over the next few months as I have a ninety day warranty. I may eliminate the Crappard portion too, but I doubt it.

However, WorstBuy continues to be WorstBuy and I shall not be visiting them any time soon.

My Mom used to tell me that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I'm sure she's be happy to know that I got a little bit of satisfaction from not letting a major corporation get away with selling me a lemon.

And if she see Jess B next time you're in Worst Buy, tell her Pat Henry says hey!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When Irish eyes are smilin'... and telling jokes...

It was the day of the big event, the annual St. Patty's Day church corn beef and cabbage dinner. It usually is attended mostly by the older members of our church but we go to support the church. I'm also on the social action committee. And most of the others do all the work, I'm on it in name only as we have very dedicated members of our church.

We invited Memere to go along with us as she knows many people at our church too and we try to get her out as often as we can. She knew many people there and she was so happy to be included as she told us again and again how happy she was to go with us.

After dinner, it was time for some Irish tunes and some joke telling. First on the list were those Henry kids. Kate stepped right up to the microphone and told her joke which got a nice laugh. Thomas' joke, which was pretty long and involved, received a huge laugh. He told it well and only gave away the timing of the punchline by the huge smile on his face.

When all jokes were done, a gift certificate was awarded to the best told joke of the night. Surprisingly, those darn Henry kids won the award and received another round of applause.

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and as their Dad is a complete nut, I agree. I was proud not only because they won, but having the courage to stand up in front a large crowd and tell their joke. It's something their Dad would have had trouble doing at their age, maybe even now.

Faith and begorra, we have some fine Irish kids.

Kate delivers the goods

Delivering her cookies to a neighbor down the street, Kate hops on her bike and took off. Despite the chill, she wanted her bike as the sidewalks had finally relented from four feet of snow. The sun was out and it felt more like spring.

Earlier, she asked me if she could get her bike out and after pumping up her tires a bit (they were practically frozen), she headed out. She had a load of girl scout cookies in a backpack as I watched her go down the street and around the corner, out of sight. I noted to Paula about how quickly they're growing up.

She made call after call to our neighbors, asking if this would be a good time to come over and deliver cookies. She looks up each number, calls them herself and is not bashful at all. She used to be a bit shy but not any longer.

Coming back into the house with the cash from another sale, she commented, "I feel so independent when I do that."

Yes, she sure looked independent going out into the world all by herself. This is one dad who's having a hard time believing it. You want time to stand still a little bit but it doesn't.

She's growing up. There is nothing we can do but stand back and be proud of her. I sure am.

Monday, February 14, 2011

More than just firewood

Yesterday, after bringing the kids home from school, this Dad was particularly grumpy. Why? No one knows but he was. Perhaps it was the temperatures hovering around ten below zero for two days.

Anyway, as this Dad got everything put away, he wanted to start a fire but didn't have firewood. So, he went upstairs to change and as soon as he got far away from his kids, one of them yelled (again) that he was hungry and wanted a snack. Now this grumpy Dad has just said he was going to change his clothes and to not ask for anything until he was done. Unfortunately, the son did hear or didn't want to hear his Dad and the Dad, being grumpy, closed his bedroom door quite loudly.

Hearing the son come upstairs and close his door, very quietly, the Dad stepped back and looked at himself.

So, this Dad, good guy that he can be, went to his son and apologized for yelling. He told his good son that he was just tired from a long day and was sorry for yelling/slamming/crabbing at him. The son accepted his apology and gave him a big hug.

The Dad said he was going out in the sub zero weather to get some firewood to warm up the ice box of a house. His son, now with a smile on his face, asked if the Dad wanted any help. The Dad jumped for joy and said of course. Bundling up, the two ran to the backyard and grabbed the wheelbarrow. They quickly stacked the wood in and ran to the garage to stack it once more. In between, they chatted about school and pinewood derby cars. The Dad's smile quickly returned and after they came back inside, a roaring fire began and the family was warm.

Later that night, after reading a story and saying prayers, the Dad told his son how proud he was of him and that it showed how responsible he was becoming to ask to help, without prompting. The son smiled and the grumpy Dad was gone. He was replaced instead by the proud Dad, who was seeing his son grow up before his eyes.

When you know...

It has been a particularly cold spell in Vermont lately. My car barely started the other morning as the thermometer dipped to less than ten below zero. It wasn't too bad as others at work told me they saw twenty two to twenty five below zero.

As the weather started to ease up Tuesday morning, I got up before everyone as per usual and after showering, woke Paula and the kids. She asked me what the temperature was and I went downstairs to check. I came back up and announced that it was almost twelve degrees. Paula rolled over and said, "Oh, good."

I quickly came back with "You know you're living in Vermont when you say it's twelve degrees and the response is 'Oh, good.'"

Yes, we most certainly live in Vermont.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I love my snow blower!

Yes, it's once again time for the annual "Let's Try to Get This Sucker to Run" season.

At it's best, your snow blower can be your best friend and it's worst, it can help you break the world record for long distance snow shovel tossing. I just missed the record this year as I stopped myself in time, and called my local fix-it man, Sven (not his real name). Sven is the type of guy you hope for in your neighborhood. After you have exhausted every avenue towards snow blower repair, like stepping back and staring at it, praying to God for it to just start, for crying out loud; you call Sven.

Here is my snow blower story for 2010. I actually made all the right moves for attempting to get it moving. I put the gas stabilizer in the tank all last year and even this fall. I even pulled out the snow blower in the fall, prior to snow coming, and attempted to start that bad boy. I didn't have any luck but boy, what an effort I made.

So, this winter, after shoveling a couple small amounts, I thought it best to really make a better attempt at fixing it. To add to this, my neighbors, Fred and Ethel (named changed as they are in a federal witness protection program), headed south for the winter leaving me their garage door opener so I could keep my car clean and semi-warm this winter. It is wonderful of them to do so but now I have two driveways to clean at 5:45 on a cold winters morning before I head to work. So, now I need this snow blower to work.

I did what every none-mechanically inclined goof does and started googling my Toro snow blower for information. Since my machine was made back before fire was invented, however, no such manual existed unless I wanted to send $29.99 and the naming rights to my next born child to some website in Afghanistan. I declined that offer. I did get some useful free advice from several sources, but remember you get what you pay for.

Perhaps it had some bad gas in it, so I emptied the gas tank, refilled it with new gas. I added some stabilizer, because hey, I'm no dummy. Nothing happened. Well, not nothing, it actually started and ran for 1.1 nano seconds and then stopped. Heading to my local hardware store for some help, I was told by Kukla and Fran (not Ollie and not their real names), that if I got it running, I should get some starter fluid, blast it into the carburetor and that would solve the problem. My next problem was finding the carburetor as since I didn't get the manual on-line, I had no idea what that looked like.

Not to be deterred, I got the started fluid, brought it home, pumped the primer button and it actually started and kept running while I pumped the button. Once I stopped however, it did too. I then realized that I had shut off the gas line before I went to the store and forgot to turned the dial back on.

I was really determined now. I turned on the gas line, fully ready for it to work now and I pulled hard on the pull cord to start it and it snapped off in my hand.

Standing there, looking at the snow blower, you'll be happy to know that, amazingly, I did not throw the handle into my neighbors yard. I simply set it down and called Sven, begging him to come over.

The next day, he did so. He fixed my pull cord, pumped the primer and it did not start. I sort of felt a little better, actually, as if Sven couldn't start it, it's no wonder I couldn't. To make a long story longer, Sven took off the carburetor, clean the inside of it and the lines leading to it and.... it STILL didn't start. Okay, now I'm not feeling so good.

Sven gave it a look. I suggested he take it home with him as perhaps I had bad Karma and the warmth of his home shop could help. He did so. Returning home later that afternoon, Sven had left the snow blower in front of the garage, all fixed. After replacing four or five different parts, it was all set. He gave me the bill, and he undercharged me as perhaps he felt sorry for this native Syracusan who couldn't repair his own snow blower. I tipped him big time and thanked him, sending him home.

So, now the snow blower works fine and after several days of cold and snow, it has been sunny and warm three days in a row. I told Paula that now that it is fixed, it will never snow again this winter, which is just fine with me.

You gotta let them go

Over the Christmas break, a couple instances involving the kids hit me, making me step back a bit.

Example #1: It was time to make our world-famous Christmas cut-out cookies, which has been an annual tradition with me since I was me. My Mom, sister Lois and I used to make these every year. What's really cool is that I still have many of the same plastic cut-outs that we used when I was little. We have the star, the Christmas tree, the gingerbread man ("Not my gumdrop buttons!) and Santa. It's just one of the many traditions that makes Christmas special for me.

Now this day, Kate had a play date with a friend so Thomas and I were on our own to roll and cut out the dough. Kate and Mommy would return later to help eat, I mean, decorate the cookies with confectioners sugar, M&M's, and a variety of sprinkles. I let Thomas help me but usually I roll it out, as cutting the cookies is the fun part. I grabbed the roller and Thomas asked if he could do it. I said sure and let him do it alone.

You know, once I stepped back and just let him go at it, he did a great job. I offered some clues to help, added some flour to the batter and the rolling pin, just like my Mom used to do. But he did it and I felt quite proud, as did he.

Example #2: Kate, Thomas and I head to Lowe's every other weekend for the kids building project. It's great as they offer these free projects for the kids and it gets you in their store to spend cash on your own project to improve the looks of your house, should you be so inclined.

Kate tore open her package and read the instructions. She started putting pieces together and grabbed the nails. I reached over to hold the bottom piece so she could hammer in the nails. Suddenly, Kate shouted at me "I got it!". I really wanted so much to help her build her wooden train but she no longer needs my help. I stepped back and watched. She put the whole thing together herself and didn't hit her thumb once with the hammer.

It's what you want your kids to do, grow up and do things themselves. But it's probably harder for us parents to let go and let them do it. Proud and a little bit sad that I wasn't needed, that was me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

ComCrap/Hewlett Crappard

Can you guess what my rant is about today?

We bought a Compaq laptop 1 year and 31 days ago. How do I know exactly? Because that is the day it stopped working properly and the warranty is expired. But not to worry, I called the beyond wonderful ComCrap help desk, located surprisingly, in beautiful downtown Bangladash, India. They assure me that they can stand behind their product 100%... as long as I buy the warranty for the low, low price of $299.99. And once I pay this low, low only just slightly inconvenient fee and pack up the laptop in a big ole box, they will take 2-3 weeks (in which time you'll be without your ComCrap craptop laptop - hey, it doesn't work anyhow!) and possibly send it back to completely fixed. And the bonus??? Once they "fix" it, they guarantee it will work for thirty days. Wow, a more solid warranty one cannot find this side of India, which surprisingly, is the country I talked to several times.

We need a new laptop in our home. My guess is that it will not be a ComCrap or a Hewlett Crappard which apparently are one in the same. Hewlett Crappard didn't have enough sub-standard products in their own company, so they bought out ComCrap.

I originally bought this laptop at a box store near us. I'm not sure that you have them where you live, but it's called Worst Buy. Yes, Worst Buy for all your computer needs, well, at least until they don't work, then you're on your own. And don't forget their free 12 month financing, with no minimum payments, as the sales clerk told me. Well, apparently, that's not true as there are minimum payments and you don't have to make them. They will be quite happy when you don't actually, as then they can charge you $39 a month for a late payment. As I was told by the 12 year old female store manager, Bev, it doesn't matter what the salesman told me, I was supposed read the fine print, which has a font size on 3. The only people who can read it are the little tiny bugs installed inside your laptop, which are genetically grown to come alive at 12 months and 1 day, so they can reek havoc on the inside of your laptop. Oh, and for the record, Bev doesn't have a last name was when I got a "little" upset and asked for her last name as I had planned to write a letter or two to the CEO who would be happy to ignore my letters, once they received them. She told me, "I don't have to tell you my last name!" Needless to say, we don't shop at Worst Buy anymore. That's one box store down. And living in Vermont, we have a limited amount of box stores. We have a store that sells boxes, but that's another story.

And don't forget S-crap-ells! I love their buttons that say "That was easy!". The problem is that pushing the button is the only thing that's easy about dealing with their store.

Yes, S-crap-ells, where they offer you $100 off your purchase for your old PC as long as it has Windows XP and boots up. My old laptop did boot up and have Windows XP, but they refused as it did not come originally installed. Even though, you guessed it, that's not what the salesman told me. Also, don't forget to take advantage of their 6 month free financing program, which, just happened to expire last week, even though, once again, the wonderful salesman told me to make sure to take advantage of. It only took five people to figure that out. First, it was the pimply faced 11 year old, whose voice cracked several times at the service desk, who had never taken a credit card application. He called over the 14 year, assistant to the assistant assistant, and he also, didn't know what his name was. (I wish Dwight Schrute still worked here, he'd help me!) The 14 year old called over the assistant manager who had to go ask another manager. They both came back shaking their heads, disappointingly, which made me shake my head and wonder why I was in this store. That highly touted 6 month free financing program, which comes special today with a 29.99% interest rate, expired last week. Sorry.

As I told them goodbye, after first promising to never to visit a store who employees either lied to me or who were too stupid/dumb to know what the store policies are.

So, we are still laptop-less, but thankfully we ARE crap-top less and will continue to ignore the huge sales of ComCrap/Hewlett Crappard craptops.

And just so you know, I'm not alone, I googles compaq and one of my favorites finds is:

I'll check and see if they have free financing.

Oh, crap, we need a new laptop!

Yes, the call came down from the heavens; your desktop is dying and you need to go spend money. I hate spending money as anyone who knows me will tell you. I've have tried to secure a brand new laptop for free off craigslist and so far, have been totally unsuccessful. So, off I go, once more, to learn how much has changed about PC's in the last several years. (I hate doing this.)

So, I gather in my gaggle of experts and we all agree. We know nothing.

A Dell would be nice but I heard my friend's barber's cousin's accountant say his wasn't very good.
I've heard Hewlett-Crappard's aren't bad except for those that are bad.
Gateway used be really good back in the 90's but I think they closed the gate.
Does IBM still make computers?
You could an Lenovo but wait, isn't that economy car now?

Who knows which ones are best? Everyone has an opinion and it's basically a crap-shoot.

And don't even talk to me about the warranty!

Salesman Sam; "Well, for $4000, you get a 3 year warranty on your $500 laptop."
Me: "Salesman Sam, would you get the warranty?"
Salesman Sam: "Yes, definitely. What if you drop it walking out the store?"
Me: "But isn't this a good laptop and won't it last?"
Salesman Sam: "Oh, if you buy the coverage, it'll last. If not, there is a activated device inside which starts melting and burning wires on the day after your warranty expires.'"

This was an actual true conversation with the Salesman Sam at Worst Buy. Well, okay, maybe it was just my interpretation.

But for crying out loud, can something just work for a few years? Is everything in society a throwaway now? When we went to bought our used Toyota Sienna van last year, as we got ready to leave the showroom, they asked if we wanted the extended coverage for the low, low price of $1,950?

Now, ten seconds before this, we had the best van in the whole stinking universe. But now that we are buying it, it will be falling apart before we leave the showroom floor.

So, I'm headed off to another box store, the last one left in the metropolis of Burlington. Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Monday morning...

I woke up this morning, refreshed and renewed from a weekend of fun. Okay, seriously, it was pitch black out and I had just left a nice warm bed to get ready for work. It was cold out and running from the shower to get dressed while freezing, I was wondering what to wear from my ever-so expansive wardrobe for work.

I checked the thermometer and it read 44 degrees. Okay, it really said 44.8 degrees as our Lands End thermometer tells us the temperature in tenths, the barometer pressure down to the hundredth of a millibar and if you press the button on the side, Al Roker's voice tells you what jacket you should wear to work and if you need mittens.

As it was chilly out and I hate the cold, I thought how nice it would be to go back to bed. But as the Dad, you're not allowed to do that (until you earn more sick days, at least). Another one of those little flashback hit me, transporting me back in time to our home in Syracuse. My father had to get up earlier than the rest of us. He would almost always be out the door on the way to work before I got up. If I think it is hard to go to work, I think of what it was like for my Dad. He was a carpenter and had to work no matter the weather. And growing up in Syracuse, that usually meant for some pretty awful working days.

There were nights in the winter when he would return home from work with white fingers. They were practically frozen solid. I looked at them with amazement. I know I was always cold. I hated going out for school and waiting for the bus on a cold street corner. When I got in, I always searched for the seat with the heater underneath it. And in those days, everyone had long hair and I always washed it (in the kitchen sink, of course) and didn't dry it before getting on the bus. It would quite often freeze up outside.

But at least I could warm up. My poor father couldn't as he was working outside on some huge construction project. How he did it, day after day, for over thirty five years, I'll never know. And I never heard him complain about it, not once. He did what he had to do to provide his family with food and shelter. And he did it well. We weren't rich but I never felt poor.

So, on this cold autumn morning in Vermont, I got into my nice warm car, drove to work, parking inside a parking garage and headed up to my nice warm office and didn't complain again all day.

Thanks Dad.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A whittle bit goes a long way

After a weekend of camping, Thomas learned to whittle. And as we need to get him a new Boy Scout approved whittling knife, he came up with the next best thing. He made one out of Legos. He makes EVERYTHING out of Legos.

So, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, for the forty-fifth time this week, he came in to show it to me. It was really pretty cool and I told him so.

I said, "I don't know where you come up with this stuff. That is the coolest thing. You must get your brains from your mother."

And, smart kid that he is, he came back with "No, Daddy. I get them from you."

Ah, and they say you don't get paid to be a parent.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

and sometimes the PC is not your friend

We've been having some internet issues for over a week now. On our desktop, we couldn't access the internet. I called our local Internet provieder and asked for help. They came and found a short in one of the wires. He replaced it and we fired up the old PC and... nothing happened.

Eventually, my favorite IT guy, Jeff, suggested I do a System Restore and choose a date in the past where all worked well, and try that. I did and (as my Mom used to say) TA-DA! It worked! The only two days I was happier were when Thomas and Kate were born. Okay, that was an exaggeration, only a slight one however.

Thomas, the always inquisitive and verbal, asked me a question, that made me laugh and think. He said, "Daddy, if you went back in time to fix the computer, won't the same problem happen again in a couple days?"

Quite true. And as a matter of fact, it DID happen again. The rotten kid was right. I'll be back, I have to do another system restore.

I knew this day was coming

The other day, Kate and I were chatting in her room. It was early morning and we were planning out our day.

Once we made our plan of attack for the day, It was time to get out of our jammies and get going.

Kate looked at me and said "Can I have some privacy please?"

I looked at her for a second and realized we reached a different stage in life. My little girl is growing up and there's nothing I can do to stop it. So, I have to step back and watch. Of course, not while she's getting dressed though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The ceiling fans of hell

A hot spell was upon us, as it was with every person in North America. I had just received three ceiling fans from my in-laws, Joe & Barb, as they tore down their camp to make a new home (film at eleven).

So, I, being the good and ever resourceful husband, decided to wait until mid-afternoon on the hottest day of the weekend, to install all three ceiling fans. And yes, can you guess how well it went? You're about to find out.

Removing the fans from camp was fairly easy, my good old brother-in-law, Brian, helped me rip these suckers from the ceiling. With all parts safely in the back of my van, I was ready to install them.

The first order of business was to cut the power off at the circuit breakers. Hey, at least I knew enough to do that. But, which breakers turned off the power to the bedrooms was the big question. They were all labeled, well, sort of. As I tripped one switch, it did stop the power to our bedroom but also turned off Thomas clock. Turning off another one labeled bedroom, not only did the light go out in Thomas' bedroom, but the TV as well, which is downstairs, three rooms away. Oh, this was going to be fun, I could tell right away.

I took off the old light in our bedroom and it revealed four wires: black, white, blue and green. I looked at the ceiling fan wiring and it showed: red, yellow, black and white. So, this was going to be easy, huh? Calling the local hardware store asking for help, I was told to just do my best. The worst that could happen was that I would trip the breaker or start a massive fire in the garage. Not to worry.

So, I gave it a try. Hooking up all the wires, all seemed to go fairly well. I hadn't thrown a single tool in the fifteen minutes it took to install the fan. Once done, I went back downstairs to the circuit breaker box, or whatever it's called, and flipped all the switches back on. Coming back upstairs, I flipped the switch, and the fan started running perfectly. I pulled the chain for the light and... it didn't work.

I stepped back thinking, maybe we don't need a light. We have other lights. So next I headed to Thomas' room. The wires in his ceiling light were similar to those of our bedroom, completely different from the next ceiling fan. To make a long story longer, his fan and his light worked fine. And they say miracles don't happen.

Heading to Kate's room, I had a different type of ceiling fan. We had had to take all the fins off to take it down originally and as I tried to screw these back on, they wouldn't go on. The screws wouldn't go in no matter how hard I pushed, how much I swore or how many M&M's I ate on break. I decided that maybe Kate didn't need a ceiling fan, she can keep using the floor fan. So, grabbing her old light, I tried to put it back up. I couldn't get the screws back into the old light either. After a few non-swear words, like "damage!", I sat down to watch some Oprah and ate more M&M's. A bit later, I gave it another try and somehow managed to get the old light back up.

Eventually, I realized that we really did need a ceiling light in our room and Thomas' fan was actually too big for his room, I switched the ceiling fans around. This time, the light and fan both worked in our room but Thomas' light did not.

Now, every night, Thomas yells for me at bedtime to fix his ceiling fan so that the light works. He tells me that he knows the light doesn't work but he keeps switching the switch and is getting pretty frustrated. Welcome to my world.

Anyway, it's on my list of things to do this weekend along with twenty-five other things. I'm hoping by Monday, I'll repeat another one of my Mom's favorite quotes, "Let there be light. And there was light... and it was good."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our trip to Syracuse

We had been planning our trip to my high school reunion for quite some time now. From the day I told Kate that we were actually going to stay in a hotel with a heated indoor pool, she had been counting down the days. Also, as this was our longest road trip to date with the kids, we tried to prepare them for the long car ride. We know them well as when we head to camp to see Paula's parents (a thirty minute ride), they are asking if we are there yet in the first five minutes.

The morning finally came and the van was packed up with food, snacks and drinks within easy reach. Thomas had his blanket and Kate had her Dolly, we were ready to roll. Earlier this year, the nearest bridge over to New York from Vermont had been intentionally collapsed, due to old age, so we took the new temporary ferry over. The kids (us too) were excited (nope, it doesn't take much) to take the the boat across Lake Champlain. We timed it right and as we drove up, the ferry was ready. The ferry started and we were off. Paula said quite innocently, "Is that where we are headed?" pointing to a spot about three hundred yards away. I said, yes, that's where we're going and almost before I finished the sentence, we were in New York. If we didn't have the car, I'm thinking we all could have swam across but it was fun while it lasted.

Once across, we had promised that they could watch a movie. We had borrow my friend Todd's portable DVD player for the trip, but he told me it was a bit finicky. He was right, of course, as it worked well for about an hour, then quit. I proceeded to grab my laptop and placed it (with a bungee cord) atop an upside down milk crate I had grabbed from the garage before we left. They were thrilled, as well they should. They not only got to watch four hours of movies on the way over, but four more hours on the way back, AND it just happened to be Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family network (which we don't get at home). Thomas and Paula were beyond thrilled as they absolutely love Harry. Thomas even watched cartoons thru the window into the exercise room from the indoor swimming pool. Where he gets this behavior, I'm not sure. Okay, he's just like me, satisfied?

We had a great weekend, between my high school reunion, which I'll save for another discussion as I'm still a bit shell-shocked over it being the thirty-fifth year since we graduated.

We got to visit with my nephew, Jamie, and his wife, Jodi, and their kids. Their boys are three and one so as Paula and I watched them, we remembered what is was like for us about five years earlier. I told Jamie that it would getting easier soon. He had that same tired, sand-in-your-eyes look that I had for years. Our kids now fix their meals from time to time and basically dress themselves just like real human beings. My sister, Lois (called Aunt Lodee by Thomas and Kate) also joined in all the fun.

Trying to see as many people as possible is exhausting, but we did our best. Promising ourselves to enjoy the hotel with full breakfast, indoor heated pool, and flat-screen TV with full cable, we did. Even the drive through the Adirondacks was enjoyable as we stopped near a lake in Speculator on the way back, and walked around a short nature trail.

It's good to get away and good to get back. Kate couldn't wait to get to the hotel and it's indoor heated pool but as I tucked her into bed that night, Kate said to me how glad she was to be home. The sign of a good vacation is to fully enjoy getting away and even more so, being happy to be back home in your own bed again.

Anything but that!

The kids were getting ready for bed the other night and it was my turn to read to Thomas. We have a huge basket of library books in the futon room, so I asked him to go down and grab a book for us to read. Side note: the futon room, strangely enough, does not have a futon room anymore but we kept the name.

At any rate, we were all set for bed, settling in and turning on all the lights. Thomas pulled out the book, I looked at it and shouted, "NO!!!!!"

He had picked a Scooby Doo book. I understand that there are some good redeeming social values from this series of books, as good always triumphs over evil. But, the Scooby Doo books drive me crazy. I know that it is a short drive, just ask Paula, she'll tell you.

So, I asked Thomas if we could, please, please read another book. He said he really wanted to read that book.

I came back with the following:

Okay, Thomas, here's the story. The gang all goes away to a strange, deserted place, which used to be good but is now being terrorized by some ghostly/evil person/thing. Once the gang arrives, the manager/leader/head person explains the situation to the gang, requesting their help. In the background, if one looks closely, is one of his disgruntled helpers, usually the guy who cleans the toilets but feels he deserves to own the company/fairgrounds/chocolate factory. That's the guy who will taunt Shaggy & Scooby Doo very soon. There is no need to read the rest of the book! After hearing the problem, the gang heads one way (the safe way) while Shaggy and Scooby go the other way (the dangerous/scary way) in search of the ghost/evil being. Because they love and cannot resist Scooby Snacks, while eating them, they are oblivious to the ghost/demon/monster who is now standing right behind them. They get scared to death, as the monster/demon/ghost chases them. Finally after several minutes of running around like crazy, they end up tripping over the ghost/evil/nerdy guy and manage to extract them from their costume. Then, the ghost/evil being, a tiny/weasel-like man, says, "I woulda got away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

So, we read the story and the story plays out exactly that way. We both end up laughing, which is really my goal, because it is a beyond-boring, poorly written book but geared toward eight year old boys, which Thomas is.

Now that I got that off my chest, maybe the next time he brings me another Scooby Doo book, I'll try not to say "Rut-Ruh!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Running with Thomas

With the ladies gone to the grocery store Saturday morning, Thomas and I headed on down the bike path for a quick four mile run. Thomas was aboard his trusty bike and I was trudging along like the typical old man that I am.

I told him he was free to ride on ahead of me but to stay where I could see him as we fuddy duddy fathers tend to get nervous when we can't see our kids. But on this particular run, he rode very close to me. We ended up talking quite a bit and it was pretty cool. You can have some great one on one conversations with your kid when you're out of the house. It's alone time with Dad and they tend to chat more.

We past by one of the lookout points which provides an amazing view of the Adirondacks across the lake. We had stopped here five years earlier, while on another run. I had taken him the jog stroller, just like I use to each Saturday when we lived in Charlotte. The view was so beautiful, so we stopped and I took some pictures. We still have that picture in his room and Thomas commented on saying, "Remember the time we stopped here and took pictures?" I said that I sure did, it was a great day. Sharing memories with your kids is one of my favorite things. I remember them, of course, but when they do and tell the story over and over again, it makes you feel even better knowing that those memories are good for them too.

Of course, whenever we mention the jog stroller, Thomas always repeats another story which I don't like to remember. But I let him go over again in detail, each time he brings it up.

When we lived in Charlotte, each Saturday, I would run anywhere from eight to twenty miles with my running buddies. After Thomas was old enough, I started to taking him with me, in the jog stroller. One weekend, after recovering from one of my assorted knee surgeries, I was only running six miles while the guys were running sixteen miles. So Thomas and I went a little later, by ourselves, and would meet the guys at the end for bagels and coffee, as usual.

But this morning would be different. Along our route, they were building a large addition to the hospital and the sidewalk was barricaded. Now this is the spot that Thomas loved to run his hand across the fence, as it was covered with a green camouflage tape. He just loved the feel of the rippled tape across his hand. Because of the barricade, however, there was only a small patch where he could do so. As we were running, I tried to guide us back over to this spot only to hit a huge bump in the side walk. Thomas was jostled in the jog stroller and started crying. I stopped running and picked him up. He was inconsolable. I felt awful as I had no idea what to do. I set him back into the stroller an we headed back to the Y, where we started all our runs. He was still crying a bit so I placed him back in the van and we headed home, not waiting for the guys.

Arriving home, I explained what happen to Paula. As he still seemed to be in pain, I got him back in the van and took him to the emergency clinic, to get him checked. His pain seemed to involve his hip, so I told them that. They x-rayed it and found nothing broken. We went home and I was frustrated. Any Dad (or Mom) just hates to see their kid in pain. Thomas had only just started walking a few months ago and now he would not walk on his leg. It did not get better all weekend so we took him back to his pediatrician that week. This time, they did the proper x-rays and discovered a small crack in his tibia. As he was young, the doctor told us not to worry and that he would heal fast, not needing a cast.

However, I would have to go back to carrying him everywhere. It was very hard for me to see, as he loved his new found freedom of walking everywhere. Even though it was an accident, I felt terrible. Those few weeks involved a trip to the pumpkin patch and an animal farm, and he couldn't walk around as he loved to do.

Fast forward to a couple weeks later, I walked in the door from work and Paula told me that Thomas had something to show me. He was sitting on the floor in the kitchen and he stood up. He took a couple small steps and kept saying, "Walk, walk, walk." It brought tears to my eyes and still does, each time I think of it.

So this weekend, as Thomas and I ran down the bike path, we shared the story once again, as much as I hate remembering it. I told Thomas how bad I felt that I broke his leg. He told me it was okay. His leg didn't hurt anymore.