Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Almost Birthday

My leap year wife is almost having a birthday.  When do you really celebrate?  During that one second just before mid-might tonight?  The 28th is too soon and March 1st is too late.  I mean, March 1 is a whole different month.  That's just not right.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday dear.  Love you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy 12th Coco!

My youngest turns 12 today.  How did that happen?  One more year and then I have two teenagers.  Oy vay!

I am very proud of Coco.  He's a great student.  He's very responsible and dependable.  He's loyal.  He's kind.  And he's very funny.  He really has a great sense of humor.

He's also very crafty.  He only had one item on his Birthday wishlist - WWE13 for XBOX.  The kid does know how to rig the system.

Happy Birthday, little man.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feb Break 2013

This back to school after winter break isgoing to be interesting.  This isn't your normal adjustment.  The kids were only in school for 2 days after the long break from Winter Storm Nemo.  The were out 5 days, back for 2 and then out for 9 straight days.  How much do you think the teachers really worked them on those two days?  And Caz was out sick 2 days before Nemo.  He's the one I am most worried about.  He has a hard time with change and transition as it is.  Coco usually rolls with the punches.  He's already got his back pack ready to go.  Bed times roll back to normal times, lunches have to be made, and it's time to get up early again.  I hope tomorrow AM goes well.  Poor Demi.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nemo Blackout Day 2

Today started out in blackness again.  It started early again too.  I rolled over on the couch at 2 AM and noticed the fire was low.  Really low.  There was one small lump of charcoal left.  I slowly made my way off the couch, trying not to wake the others.  Demi and the boys were sharing space on two blow up mattress on the floor.  We had all hunkered down the wood stove to try and keep warm for the night. I had filled the stove and banked it, figuring it would stay going for quite a while and I could try to get 5 or so hours of solid sleep.  Not so much.
     I revived the fire but exhausted my supply of newspaper in the process.  From there it was feeding the monster pine longs continuously for the rest of the night.  I used the bellows like there was a shortage of air.  I finally got an inferno going....just before dawn.  I felt like that move Day After Tomorrow, where Jake Gyllenhal and crew had to keep the fire going in order to stay alive and not freeze to death.  I was not really in such dire straights but being sleep deprived, I certainly didn't have perspective on my side.
     I had my earphones in, so I could try and get some kind of news.  The only station I could find offering any news was WBZ.  Thank goodness for that station.  Everything else around here was useless.  The local station, WATD, likely had issues with power.  But AM radio, used to offer much more in the way of new reporting.  All I could get was financial talk and religious shows other than WBZ.  Even then I had to wait until 5 AM.
     The prognosticators seemed to think it would still be a few more days before power was restored.  The boys and I had moved all the remaining wood from outside, into the garage.  I started to panic a bit.  I was not going to have enough to last 2 full days at this rate. I was burning around the clock.  The pine was burning fast.  So Demi called her boss, who has a firewood business on the side.  He told us to come on over.  My brother and I borrowed the old man's pick up.  It took us some time to get over there, since the back roads were still tricky to navigate.  We then did our lumberjack impersonations.  It was a cross between Ax Men and Rocky IV.  We moved some big logs out of snow in the forest, to some pretty heavy duty equipment.  When I got home to drop of my share of the wood, Demi and the boys were stacking wood.  the moved what they could from the garage, into the house in the den.  We need to dry that wood out by the fire.  They were like a well oiled machine.  Mass production.  Conveyor belt.  Well done.
     I was wiped out by the end.  When I was cooking dinner at around 7 PM, I thought for sure that I was going to be right after eating.  Just after I put the potatoes in the boiling water and the steaks on the grill, the lights came on.  I was so relieved.  Plans changes.  All I wanted at that point was a hot shower.  Best shower  ever.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo Memories

I think the boys will have a lot of memories of this storm.  It will be like their Blizzard of '78.  I remember the days out of school, the playing in the snow banks, the sleeping by the fire, cooking on a camp stove, and taking a really cold shower.  A lot of kids from the area reminisce about that storm.
     Caz spent the night over at a neighbors.  3 teenage boys, at least one teenage sister, and two younger sisters/friends, all hunkered down to ride out the storm.  Monopoly by candle light.  Eating all the ice cream because it was softening up with the power out.  Sleeping on the couch by the fireplace, fighting for a spot close to the fire to stay warm.  Dad making his own way through the woods to come get him because the street was blocked by a massive pine tree that had come down across the road.
     Coco picked board games to play.  We made hot cocoa.  He helped bring in wood to keep the fire alive.  He got to make his own ice cream sensation with melted chocolate and home made caramel, all by candle light.  Dad packing the food from the freezer in snow and putting it outside where it was 16 degrees.  Fast Phil coming by in his snow shoes the next morning.  Sledding all day.  These are the times you do remember.

Nemo Blackout Day 1

Wow!  What a storm.  And it's still going.  We lost power at 8:15 PM last night.  Demi, Coco, and I had a nice quiet evening.  We lit candles on the main floor.  We each took a section of the couch, snuggled in, and read.  We called it an night around 10 or 10:30 PM.  I was hoping for a break in the action, in order to take the Giz out for her nightly trip to the woods.  No such luck.  We bundled up and fortunately, Gizmo was quick with her business.
     The wind was unbelievable.  Branches, snow, and ice were being whipped into the windows.  The wind actually woke me up in the middle of the night.  Around 3:30, I decide to check the house and make sure there was no damage.  I also wanted to stoke the stove.  We were going to need the heat with the power still out.  Who knew how long it would be before it was back on.  Honestly, I felt like it wouldn't be too bad.  We never lost power in the last few big storms, including Sandy.  I thought for sure that power outages wouldn't be noteworthy.  Boy, was I wrong.
     The snow continued all day.  However, I had to take one pass with the snow blower around noon.  The snow was supposed to stop around 1 pm.  But the snow drifts were already over the height of my snow blower.  By night time, there was enough to snow blow again.  It didn't take long after my first pass, for the ground to be covered again.
     The wood stove was crucial for drying my gear.  I went through 3 pairs of gloves and hats.  My old North Face shell seems to have lost it's water proofing.  I got blasted by snow and wind, but my back was soaked.  It was soaked from the inside and outside.  I was sweating up a storm as I shoveled, scraped, and snow-blowed. I felt like I was feeding that fire all day.  It was great to have.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I am glad I am feeling better.  This storm, Nemo, looks like it is going to live up to the hype.  It is starting slow, but you can see the build up.  The wind is already whipping around.  I don't know that I like this new marketing campaign to name every storm now.  The blizzard of '78 served just fine.  The April Fools Day snowstorm has served just fine.  Do we really need to name our winter storms now?  This has Weather Channel sensationalism written all over it.
     We are prepared.  We have our batteries.  We have our supply of firewood (I actually wish we had more of that but we can get by for a bit).  We have our candles.  Demi braved the supermarket for necessities, eggs, bread, and such.  Fortunately, we have a gas stove now.  That is key.  Being able to cook indoors is a huge bonus.  The wood stove is nice.  It's is just in the a poor location.  The peak ceiling is less than efficient, which is why we put in a fan.  But with no power.  No fan.  There are no rooms above the stove to leverage the heat.
     Battery packs have been charged.  Cell phones and iPods have been charged.  Flashlights are handy.  Snow pants, gloves, hats, socks, and coats are all at the ready.  The snow blower has been primed and tuned.  I think we are ready to rock.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I finally have the big test today.  I am hopeful that I get the answer as to the cause of all this nonsense with my innards.  Sure, I have been told that the tests so far show nothing alarming.  I know that.  But still.  In the back of my mind there is doubt.  This preparation is awful.  I hear it's worse than the actual procedure.  I didn't think my bowels could hold this much stuff.  If humans are 98% water, then I think I am at about 20%.  I should be turning into sand at any minute.
     Caz is home sick with me.  He has your garden variety head cold.  But he hasn't missed a day all year.  It's probably best that he sleeps in, takes it easy, and gets some rest.  He is now keeping me company on the couch.  He's interesting.  He's trying to to show that he's nervous.  But he is.  He wants to know about my test.  I don't hold back.  I tell him how a colonoscopy works.  He makes a funny face and wrinkles his nose. He asks me if I will be all right.  I tell him that the results should be known quickly, unless they have to send out a biopsy to test.  Caz seems OK with that answer.  I appreciate the concern.  My teenager does care after all....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

Despite our beloved Pats not being in it, we did have a nice family evening watching the event.  Coco was really into all the aspects of it.  He kept lobbying for Demi and me to let him stay up to watch the whole thing.  I might have let him, especially after the first half went so quickly.  But the blackout ruined that.  A 35 minute delay on top of a Super Bowl length halftime?  No way.  I know he missed an exciting finish, but school and rest have to come first.  Coco needs his rest.
     The interesting part of the evening happened to Caz.  Demi and I were chastising the kids for being on their iTouches.  As we were admonishing Coco, Caz protested that he wasn't playing games.  He was "just texting."  I innocently asked him who he was texting.
     "OK."  I said.  I wouldn't have given it another thought.  But then the grin broke out.  This kid will never make a living on the Texas Hold 'Em tour.  His mother stared him down, and his grin got wider.  Yep.  He was texting a girl.  That was all I got out of him.  But that is all I needed.  Ah, adolescence.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Family Ties

Happy Ground Hogs Day!

While it's under unfortunate circumstances, we are having my nephew and niece over for most of the weekend.  That's right.  The Bee and the Anvil are in the house.  I know that I am excited to spend some time with them.  The boys are too.  They are really good with them.
     Coco has a really special bond with the Bee.  She just gets the biggest kick out him.  When I got home last night those two were already playing with each other.  They played for hours before dinner.  Coco kept her occupied right up until bedtime.  He is such a good kid.  He took his opportunities to hold the Anvil too.  He gets a really interesting look on his face when he holds him.  I think he really gets a kick out of it.  How many 11 year old kids do that?  Not many I bet.
     Caz is a bit more reserved.  I think he likes it but he's a bit timid.  Maybe he thinks that he might drop the baby.  It could be that adolescent thing too.  Too cool for school.  But we are alone here at the house.  Not of his school friends are going to see him.  And how are we going to tell?
     Caz did a great job with the Anvil today.  He bounced him on his knee for an hour.  He helped keep the Anvil occupied while Demi cooked dinner.  I was catching a few z's on the couch but woke up to see the Anvil in Caz's lap.  It was a sight.  I had a thought that it really wasn't too far off before Caz might have his own.  Then I shook my head and got myself right.  That really should be farther off.  He's still got so much to go through.  High School.  College.  Marriage.  The works.  It may not work out that way.  But whatever is in store for him, it will be new and exciting.