Monday, May 25, 2009

The Passing of a Matriarch

It took me a while to write and address this. Nanny Lil, the obvious matriarch of Demi's side of the family, passed away recently. It is sad, of course. We will miss her dearly. But she lived a good, long life. And at the end, she was no longer Nanny Lil. Nobody should endure not being themselves. But Nanny Lil, especially, was too strong and too wonderful to live like that. All families have issues. All families fight, or disagree, if you will. But no matter what, everyone could all agree on Nanny Lil. She loved us all, despite our faults. Or rather, faults and all. And those she loved, she loved unconditionally. She would protect those she loved with everything she had. Trust me. You wouldn't want to cross her and have to face her. I loved that she called me Chinny. She was always happy to see me. And I was always happy to sit, have a cup of coffee, and talk with her. We usually had some one on one time over the year. I would get up at my normal early hour, go get coffee and bagels, and sit at the kitchen table at Tess's (Demi's Mom) house. Nanny Lil would be the next up, if she wasn't already up went I went out. We would talk and have a bagel. We would catch up. We would talk politics. We would talk current events. I thoroughly enjoyed those times. And I will miss those times. But I have the memories to treasure for the rest of my time here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pizza Delivery - To The Beach

Beach time is always a good time. It's precious time, especially with the short New England summer season. This was the first dinner night of the season. Demi and I were really looking forward to it. I actually splurged this year, despite the miserable economic markets of this time, to get a parking lot pass for the beach for my car, so that I could meet the family, right after work. Well worth the investment to me. I really didn't feel like grilling though. So....what to do...the answer? Pizza delivery. Yes, pizza. Delivered. Right to your car, on the beach. Brilliant. Unfortunately, despite assurances by our desired pizza place, hours ago, that they would be delivering, their pizza delivery person got sick. We scrambled for back up. Fortunately, we found a place that would meet us in the parking lot. The boys were pumped. Pizza on the beach. And smores over a campfire. What else could you want. Oh yes, the Sox game on the radio. Old fashioned radio with antennae. Very Norman Rockwell.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All-Star Tryouts

Caz decided that he really wanted to try out again for the summer All-Star team this year. He talked about it for weeks. I was happy because he brought it up on his own. He had a better sense of confidence this time around. So, we signed him up for tryouts. Personally, yes, I thought he had a legitimate shot at making the team. I try to be realistic in my assessment. I know that I am very impressed with Caz's arm. I truly believe that he has a cannon. I believe that being told by others that he has one of the top ten arms in his grade, that my assessment is no far off base. But I also readily acknowledge that in terms of pitching, hitting and fielding there are consistency issues. I guess what 10 year doesn't. But when that manifests itself can be key. Unfortunately, the manifested during tryouts. He struggled with the hitting and couldn't find the strike zone. But he tried hard. Caz took the news that he didn't make it well. He was sad, but not distraught. I gave him a hug and told him that I was proud of him. And that is the truth. I was so proud that he tried out and didn't get so nervous that he wanted to back out.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Pool is Now Open

Caddies welcome! 1:00-1:15 PM

And clean enough to eat a Baby Ruth off of. The annual opening of my parents pool is a rite of spring. It announce the coming of warm weather. Every year, Dad primes the pump and adds the chemicals to the water. Dad and I pull the cover off. The cover and the water bags that hold down the cover all winter, get cleans, folded and put away. Sounds easy, but it is time consuming and tedious. As soon as the boys were old enough, I started carting them along to help. Now they are at the age that they both really need to pitch in. If they are going to swim all summer, they need to help work the Opening. Just like my brother and I did growing up, they too shall scrub. I was really proud that when I stuck to my guns and told them they had no choice (not in those words, but that is the short version), that they didn't argue a bit. Even when they got invited to a play date after Kyle' baseball game. I delayed the play date until after the Opening. The boys did good work. Chalk up one Chinny point for me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What 'Til Next Year

Well, Caz and Coco will have to wait until next year at least, for a Stanley Cup to come to Boston. It looked so promising. The stars were aligning. San Jose with Jumbo Joe bowed out in Round 1. The Red Wings looked like they were struggling in Round 2. The Bruins were poised to take down the ex-Whale. Too little, too late. The B's dug themselves a huge hole. They almost climbed out of it. But when you wait to decide to play, you run the risk of not leaving enough time to dig yourself out. And the hole closed on them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

because "life's a piece of sh*t, when you look at it"

The boys are starting to notice that the days are getting longer, with the sun setting later. As in later, past their bed times. It is never easy to get the boys into bed with a little day light showing past the shades. Now, it is hard to get the boys in from outside, to the dinner table. That is not a terrible thing. But if we are finishing dinner at 7:30 PM, then I have a tough night. By the time I get the boys in bed, clean up from dinner, and make the boys and myself lunch for the follow day, I am lucky if I have an hour from 9-10 PM to sit down and watch TV. And oh yeah, spend a little time with Demi. I guess since the boys still like having the old man around at bed time, it's all worthwhile. It won't be long until the boys are up, talking on the phone, or watching their own shows, and don't want their parents around.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - 2009

Happy Mom's Day, Demi! Way to go on your run. A personal best of 10 miles. In the gale force winds. Both ways. You should be proud. I know I am. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am still pondering the gift that Caz gave me yesterday. I have been grinning like an idiot all day. I am sure folks are wondering what the heck is going on. They probably think I am crazy. But it's all good.

It is also a good way to re-address Mother's Day with the boys. We talked last weekend about a gift for Demi. I really want them involved in picking out a present. They are good about that. One thinks a dress is a good idea. The other thinks shoes are the right ticket. Not bad ideas really. What I really enjoy and appreciate is the thought they are putting into someone other than themselves. This is what I believe really overwhelmed me with Caz's present yesterday. It's not that he usually doesn't think of others. On the contrary, he is a very thoughtful boy. It was the level of detail Caz got into during his thought process and explanation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


April was a crazy month. I got very far behind in my posts. Normally, I would be too anal (I refuse to use the PC phrasing of OCD, or overly anxious) to post something currently, without first posting by back log. But two important things happened today. Events that compelled me to post today.
The first thing was this morning, Demi's grandmother passed. Nanny Lil was a great lady. She lived a long live of 89 years. She was a very strong person and was the central stabilizing force of the family. I loved that she called me Chinny. I think it amused both of us. While we are all sad, in many ways her passing was a positive thing. Nanny Lil is no longer suffering. Demi is dealing with it very well. So are the boys really. It's funny. The boys never cease to surprise me. I knew they would be sad. But they have been through Nanny Hartwell (who lived with us for most of their lives) and Pop's passings. But the son that I expected to me the most emotional was not the one that ended up having the most blatant reaction. Caz got really quiet. He wanted to know when we would go to NY for the services. But Coco got real quiet and visibly upset. But we had a good talk and a good hug. Ten minutes later he was out playing with this friends. He still had his moments of sadness before bed. Caz did too. Overall, it all went better than could be expected.
-We will all miss you Nanny Lil-
The other moment that got to me today was picking up Caz from the bus. I got home early to get the kids off the bus and talk to them about Nanny Lil. Before I could say anything Caz says, "I got something for you today, Dad" -"What is it?" - He pulled a book out his bag and handed it to me. "I bought this for you because I know who much you like this series." - "Where did you get it?" - "I bought it at the book fair at school with my money. It was $25." - "I love the gift but you shouldn't have spent so much money on me." - "It's OK. I knew you'd like it."
I think it might be the best gift I have ever received. Later on in the night, Caz signed it - "To Dad, I love you always no matter what. I love being your son. I know you love this series and wanted you to have this. Love, your son Caz". What else could a Father ever ask for? Isn't this what fatherhood is all about? I think so.