Saturday, December 17, 2016

Guys Day Out & About

The boys and I had a great day out on the town today.  There was 3 inches of snow which actively turned to rain.  I drove the CRV, since Caz needed to ease into the winter weather again.  We hit the round around 11:30 AM and didn't come home until 6.
     The boys chose Percy's Place for breakfast.  We scored a win when we didn't have to wait to be seated.  Caz got his eggs and pancakes.  Coco got a breakfast for the ages, the Buffalo Bomb.  A croissant stuffed with scrambled eggs and buffalo chicken, smothered with cheese sauce.  You also get a choice of two sides.  Coco chose home fries and hash browns.  Two Potato sides.  The plate must have weighed ten pounds.  It was a mound of food.  And we got a free cornbread to take home.
     We finished eating in time to see the 1:30 PM 3D showing of Rogue One.  The previews were great.  The movie was fantastic.  Really well done.  It lived up to the hype.  The boys then went off on their own to Christmas shop.  They were really amusing.  The called Demi 3 times for help.  I had to help them out at the ATM.  They had me pull up the car and then close my eyes, while they loaded the car.  They were so excited about their purchases.  It wasn't the stuff.  It was their eyes lighting up at picking the perfect gifts that made the night.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Birthday Time

It felt like I spent most of my birthday at the Reggie Lewis Center for Caz's track meet.  The first meet of the season.  I really would have it no other way.  It was fun to watch him compete again.  He performed well, too.  He was pleased with his performance.  This in turn made me smile.
     We had a late cake session.  We ate got home late from the meet.  We ate dinner late.  But they still wanted to do cake and presents.  I told them we could wait.  But it was nice.  They were excited to see how they did with their gifts.  Caz's stole the show.  He went to get a collapsible snow shovel for my car.  He ended up getting a real shovel.  A real child's shovel.  "Use under adult supervision."  "For ages 6 and up."  "May cause injuries."  Well, at least he tried....

Monday, December 5, 2016

NE Snowfall Driving 2016

Today was the first time Caz had to drive with snow falling.  The snowfall was not intense.  The timing was just less than ideal.  Right at school commute time.  He didn't know it was coming.  My only real concern was allowing enough time to drive slower than the posted speed limit.  He did fine though.  No issues.  Another test passed.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Comics Come Home

Mom and Dad got a well earned night out.  The boys are home on their own.  They can fend for themselves for dinner.  They know how to cook or to procure food.  We didn't tell them until just before we were leaving.  That gives them less time to scheme with their friends, if they were so inclined.  They are good kids.  But we are not naive.  Why tempt fate?
     Demi and I took advantage of some alone time.  We had a great dinner in the North End.  We saw a great show in the Boston Garden, which raised money for a great cause, the Neely House..  We saw some great comedians.  There was one trouble spot when one comic went too political.  Nerves were still too raw from the previous week's election.  But the show came back around.  Demi and I went back to the North End and got some pastries for the road.  You need these nights.  All 4 of us benefit from it.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Anniversaries and Adventures in Babysitting

Today is a big day.  It is my parents 49th wedding anniversary.  It is also the start of a weekend of watching my nephew and niece.  We thought we would combine events and make a celebrations of it.    I invited my parents over to have dinner with all of us, our kids and my brother's kids.  Nothing says extended family celebration in our house like Chinese food.
     I picked up my nephew from day care.  Linda called in the order of Chinese food.  Caz picked up my niece from a play date with her neighbor.  It was all going so well.  Until Hank and I went to pick up the food.  They didn't have or order.  The order was called into the other location.  So off we went on a 40 minute detour.  Oh well.  More one on one time with my nephew.  He was in great spirits.  He gave me such a great hello when I picked him up.  He was very chatty.  He was looking to help me get the food.
     My parents were happy.  They appreciated the time with all of us.  They didn't have plans.  They were also not feeling up to much after Dad's surgery and Mom's complication from her test.  I pressed them for next year.  What would they like to do? Who would they like to see?  Dad said no one.  He doesn't want a fuss.  Too bad.  This is the one time I have to ignore his wishes.  50 years is a long time.  It deserves a celebration.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

War Eagle

Caz's first response from the college application process came in today.  Congratulations Caz, on being accepted by Auburn University.  It is great to know you have an acceptance early.  This is very early.  He's in somewhere.  Our boy is going to college.  Auburn is a highly ranked engineering school too.  That is just fantastic.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Gamecock Trip

What a successful trip.  Everything was perfect.  The boys had a great college visit.  Friday was fried chicken for breakfast.  We went by the baseball stadium, only to find out there was an intrasquad World Series going on later that afternoon.  The Garnet and Black World Series.  The campus tour was amazing.  The boys got to sit behind MLB scouts and their radar guns at the baseball game.  It was 85 and sunny, so perfect afternoon weather to hang out in the shade in shorts and T-shirts.  Our tour guide gave us an amazing tip for BBQ for dinner.  I was introduced to white Alambama BBQ sauce.  We walked the streets down town and grabbed some ice cream.  Day one was the perfect tour.
     Day 2 was Game Day.  We went out to Williams Brice Stadium where the Gamecocks were 14 point underdogs to Tennessee.  We did the whole tailgating thing.  We had been invited to a tailgate randomly the night before.  We went through Gamecock Park and Gamecock Village.  We saw the. Gamecock Walk.  We saw the line of Cabooses by the stadium.  And then the game was fantastic.  The home team won by 3.  The place was going bonkers the whole time.
     The quote of the weekend was Caz - "It is so peaceful here."  If the South didn't sell itself to Caz on this trip, nothing will.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


We left for Columbia, SC, tonight.  The boys and I are off on a college visit to the University of South Carolina.  We are off to a rough start.  We are delayed in NY at Laguardia.  A VP candidate's plane overshot the runway.  The landing gear broke.  Now we wait.  We will get there.  Just later than expected.  The boys are good.  They are taking it all in stride.  They are excited to get there.  That is half the battle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Senior Day XC 2016

Today was the last XC home meet of the year.   The last of Caz's career.  It is they day the team recognizes the seniors on the team and their parents.  Caz was called out in front of the team.  He gave a flower to Demi.  I took a photo of it.  Then we had Coco take a picture of Caz and both his parents.  It is one of many "lasts" for Caz.  It is getting real.  Our little boy will be graduating.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Curse of the Supermoon

Extra high High Tide? Super bright light at night?  Wolves baying at the moon? Ok.  Maybe not that last part.  But hard time sleeping? Yep!  There is something to the increase of insomnia coinciding with a full moon.  My mind was racing.  I could not slow it down.  I tried meditation with no luck. It's going to be a long day.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Bumps in the Road

Life is full of potholes.  Full of bumps in the road.  We ran into one today.  Coco was down for the count.  It's the first "unexcused" absence.  His IBS was painful.  He couldn't make it in today.  I tried to reign in all my thoughts.  I happened to be working from home.  I couldn't let him think I was upset, discouraged, disappointed, or what have you.  We knew we were not out of the woods.  We knew there would be setbacks.  It is still hard on us all.  It is just the first time, so all the old fears come back.  Just don't let it show, right?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Homecoming 2016

It was really nice to see Coco excited about school again.  He stayed after practice to hang out for the football game and dance.  He even showered after practice.  In the locker room.  Unheard of.
     He and his buddies didn't end up at the dance.  Of course, it sounds like no one went.  But the thought was there.  I saw him once during the game.  Afterwards, on the ride home he told me all about the pep rally.  I got chapter and verse.  He was so excited.  I had him repeat it all to Demi when we got home.  She had the same comment.  It is so nice to see Coco like this.  I hope it is a good sign that we may be turning a corner.  I am not putting the cart before the horse.  But I am hopeful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

'Mercia Day

Today was Day Two of Spirit Week.  This is the big build up to Homecoming.  Yesterday, the theme was Army/Navy Day.  The underclass men wore Blue.  The upperclassmen wore camouflage.  Today,  is America Day.  Caz has been planning for weeks.  He called my in NY to place an order through Amazon a few weeks back.  He ordered a Stars and Stripes robe from Rocky and an eagle mask.  He finished that look off with his Stars and Stripes pants from last year.  Coco took a little more coaxing. But he ended up looking great.  He had the Uncle Sam hat, light up Red, White & Blue glasses, and a flag vest.  Very stylish.  I love that they participated.  Good for them.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Father/Sons Football

Today was a banner Father and Sons day.  We had a great moment at dinner time.  The boys and I were watching the second half of the FSU game in the Den.  We had the game up on the big screen through Chromecast and a phone app.  FSU was mounting another monumental comeback.  Demi was tired and sick but cooking an amazing beef stew.  Bowl were put on the kitchen table with a minute left to play in the game.  We spent the next minute (game minute, not actual live time) standing in the hallway watching the end of the game, while Demi tucked into a bowl of stew.  I think she actually finished by the time we sat down.  Of course the FSU D let up and let NC get in position to kick a game winning FG.  With 23 seconds on the clock!  How does that happen?  But I digress.  We commiserated over our dinner.  Family time.  Boy time.  What better way to spend a Saturday?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Home Alone

The boys were tested this weekend.  They likely scored a C-.  They didn't even scrape by.
     Demi and I left the boys home alone this past weekend, for the first time.  It was likely the last time.  Demi had a high school reunion on the Island.  We didn't set many rules.  No one else left in the house.  Take care of the dog.  We didn't ask them to do much.  Clean up after yourselves.  They failed the latter.  They did nothing.  I was livid.  When I walked in, it was like a junk yard.  There were cups, plates, used napkins, and empty wrappers everywhere.  Every flat surface, floor, counter, tables, were covered.  Every room was unlivable, the kitchen, den and living room.  I couldn't even unpack the car.  I grabbed the dog and went for a long walk.  I didn't say hello.  I didn't yell.  I couldn't unpack the car.  I just walked down the street with Gizmo in tow.  
     No, they didn't throw a party.  They didn't touch the beer.  But they didn't take their medications.  They didn't give the dog her medication. The dog had filthy water.  
     It will be a long time before they are left again.  If ever......

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Hurdle Conquered

Today is a milestone day.  Coco should be very proud of himself.  He ran his first XC race today.  An away meet at that.  He had to ride the bus.  He went to and from with his teammates.  He tried hard.  And he finished.  This was his first contest in years.  I hope this is the first of many.  Coco keeps taking his steps in the right direction.  We are so happy for him.

Monday, September 19, 2016

RAK - Brotherly Interaction

It is imperative that I note Caz's random act of kindness for today.  Today was the first day that Caz trained Coco during XC practice.  They came to an agreement to treat each other appropriately.  They agreed to be respectful with each other.  Caz would instruct and inspire.  Coco would learn and give his best effort.  Caz had to leave practice early to babysit his cousins.  He told Coco that he did a great job and the first day was great.  When Coco and Demi came home, they found a present waiting as they walked through the door.  Caz left a tray with a note of encouragement for Coco, water and a power bar.  Well, done Caz, well done.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

College Buddies

Well, today is another milestone marker.  Caz jumped into a car with two other high school friends to go into the city and visit their recently graduated buddy.  They are off to spend the day at Wentworth. Demi thinks we will get a call later to stay over.  We will see.
     Tex told me as he was waiting for Caz to get dressed, that it was a day trip.  It wouldn't be the first time a teenage crew changed plans.  Of course, we will see if Roth wants his high school crew to stay up there.  It might cramp his style a bit.  You never know.  I am glad Caz is getting to see the campus though.  He had Wentworth on his college list for a while.  I don't think he wants to be in a big city though.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Open House 2016

The annual event took place tonight.  The night the school locks parents into the building and sends them through "a day in the life" of the students.  Open House.  I will say that this event is much better in the new school.  But the air conditioning still stinks.  If that is what it is like for the kids in school, then I truly pity them.
     This year was a bit of a reality check.  This was the last run through Caz's classes.  The first of many last this year.  Our oldest son is a senior.  Lasts will abound.  How did it get here so fast? We need to stop and savor each one.  I certainly hope he does.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Concert Pianist

Coco has a new class this year.  Apparently, he is taking piano.  He has never taken a mucks class.  Senior year seems an odd choice of when to start.
    He actually tried getting out of it.  The problem is that he has already taken the other electives during that block.  He seems a little excited about it.  He wants to learn the song he has chosen.  The syllabus is just pain odd.  Learn a song I two weeks.  No prerequisites for this class.  Are you kidding?  What kind of method is that.  Caz cannot read sheet music.  However, he found either a YouTube instructional video or app to teach hi by ear.  He wants to learn "Behind Blue Eyes."  I will give him credit, it's not "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

Week 1 in the Books

3 consecutive days of school & XC are complete.  The boys are getting back into the groove.  Coco seems to have taken it in stride.
     Coco is challenging himself to do more too.  He needs to take a foreign language.  This means dropping a Learning Center.  Coco didn't hesitate in making the decision.  That was so nice to see.
     Caz showed a caring side to hi as well.  Demi asked about practice.  Caz laid out his sprint practice.  When asked if Coco participated, Caz answered that Coco did regular XC practice.  He also offered earnestly that he felt Coco should stick with XC and run the distance.  Caz said it taught hi to push himself and he feels Coco needs that.  I think Caz is right.  What a great family/Sibling moment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Game On - Back 2 School 2016

Well, its the most wonderful time of the year......Back to school day.  It's the last one in Duxbury for Caz.  It is really hard to believe.  How did that happen so fast?  Where did he time go? (Input your personal favorite cliche here). It's true though.  My little boy is all grown up.
     Caz is driving his sophomore brother to school.  They got up on time.  They got dressed, brushed their teeth, took a picture for mom, and rode off to school early.  All was well with the world.....until....Demi gets a call.  It is Caz.  He has forgotten his backpack, laptop and lunch.  Doh!  Well....they are back to school.  And they both went to XC practice.  That is a big day for Coco.
     Demi and I were on pins and needles.  Today was the moment of the truth.  We had hig hopes.  We want Coco to set the bar high and go over.  He certainly did that today.  We are very proud of him.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

XC x 2

Coco had a big day.  A milestone day.  He went to his first XC captains practice.  Why is a captain's practice a big deal?  Coco was out with others.  He was physically active.  He was participating in a DHS sport.  And he ran 3.2 miles.  That is nothing to a big something.  His time is unimportant.  He should be very proud of himself.  I know Demi and I are.  Way to go K-Train!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hammer Time - It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday to the Hammer.  The little guy turns 4 today.  How the time has flown.  Simply amazing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Suicide Squad

Caz took our recommendation and went to see Suicide Squad.  And he came home with a poster of Harley Quinn.  Naturally.  His mom knew as soon as he came home.  He was searching hi and low for push pins.  He was on a mission to get the poster up.  This kid's got taste....

Sunday, August 7, 2016

BBQ Shower

Today was a Jack and Jill BBQ Shower for my sister in laws sister.  We are close, so the whole clan is actually invited.  What was really special about today was Caz drove his grandmother over to the party.  He played Uber driver Friday night, getting his Aunt and bringing her to our house for pick up to Pearl Jam.  Amah said he drove well.  Both Amah and Anut Polly said the car was clean.  They both lie.  Just about the cleanliness.  I have no doubt he drove well.  He is doing a good job.  He is getting a little too comfortable.  He needs to slow it down on the back roads a bit.  And he needs to give more space to the car in front.  That will all come with time.  But yes, I do remind him of it.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Father/Son Concert Night Part Duex

Caz's birthday present was tonight.  Pearl Jam at Fenway.  What a great show.  The crowd was amazing.  The sound system was perfect.  The band was amped up and performing great.  They trotted out a few familiar faces.  Bronson Arroyo came out to play on Black.  Youk brought out a ukulele.  Peter Gammons came out on stage.  Caz said it was the best show he's seen.  And that is really all that mattered.  My son is enjoying he concert going experience.  And he's spending time with your truly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Careless Whisper

For some unknown reason, Caz kept singing the same three lines of George Michael's Careless Whispher, over and over and over at dinner tonight.  I have no idea how he even knows the song.  Completely random.
     While we were eating dinner, Caz's friends came to the front door.  Beast and AD had walked over from the other neighborhood, as usual.  They came in and sat at the dinner table while we finished eating.  They both politely declined repeated invitation to eat with us.  I had a really nice conversation with them.  We covered Beast's current lifeguard job, his desire to be an EMT and Fire Fighter, and his recent tattoo.  We talked about AD's sister, her health problems, her emotional problems and his attempts to help her.  When Caz ready to leave, they both got up, shook my hand and commented that it was a great talk.  Quite an evening.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In This Lifetime

Last night was a great Father/Son event.  Caz and I went to Gillette to see the Guns n Roses Not In This Lifetime Tour.  Caz prepped the cooler.  He went out and got subs for dinner.  He packed the chairs.  He did this all before I got home from work.
     We listened to GnR an they way up, with some Lenny Kravitz, the opening act, mixed in.  We had some nice discussion on the way, pre-show and in between sets.  We talked about his buddies, his girlfriend and his college choices.  The bands rocked.  The weather was perfect.  Just an all around wonderful evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Late Excuse #147

This was a new exchange:

"Why were you so late coming home from work?"

"A lady came in with a big order at the end of my shift. And then I hit two Poke stops on the way home."

Silent pause

"Did you catch anything?" ....

And so it goes with the new craze....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Righting the Ship

Today, it is has been a test of wills.  I have spent the day trying to get Coco back on track.  He has had a couple of lousy days in a row now.  My mission today has been to not let the trend continue.
     I got up early to run.  I wanted to make sure I was done before Coco got up (no problem there) and allow enough time to get him ready for his job training.  Yes, Coco will have a part time job soon.   Something to get him out of the house a few days a week.  Yay!.  It took my 90 mins and stretched my patience but I got him there on time.
     It was a 3 hour battle of wills when we got back though.  He thought he could wear me down.  Not  a chance.  I got him fed.  He did his post meal routine.  Then he helped me take the bottles and cans to the redemption center.  I was close to getting him out on the kayak.  Very close.  But no cigar.
     This afternoon won't be much different.  Let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon Go

This new app is quite a phenomenon.  This craze is sweeping across America.  It is also very promising.  It is getting kids up and out of the house.  It is getting them to socialize in person.
     Pokemon Go is bringing out some positive qualities in my kids.  They are working together.  They are hanging out together.  They are riding their bikes.  I think they had to wipe the dust off of them.  Caz rigged his with my workout armband cellphone case.  He can keep both hands on the bars and still see his phone.  The three Chin boys are making a great team.  Tonight, Caz drove them all over Duxbury hunting Pokemon.  They were at it for four hours.  The got home at 11 pm.  Late, I know.  But it was all for a good cause.  It was a nice treat for them.  It is nice for Demi and me, too.  We have the house all to ourselves with peace and quiet.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Back At It

I can't believe it has been almost two months since my last post.  I thought I was doing something exceptional posting while we were in the chaotic period of living in Rhode Island and participating on the Hasbro Partial Program.  Maybe that was exceptional.  Maybe I shouldn't feel bad about such a long break in posts.  I was busy being a Father.  We were very pressed reintegrating back to life after PHP.  It wasn't Coco that had to adjust.  This changed things for everyone, Caz included.  We had to learn to function as individuals and as a family again.  So then, should I feel bad about that being my priority?  Probably not.  This blog is a hobby.  It is meant to help other Fathers.  Maybe that is why I feel bad about the break.  Maybe I let another Father down.  Of course that hinges on a hug assumption that someone actually reads this thing.  Either way, it is ok to make living the priority.  Documenting this is secondary.  I still may go back and back post some entries.  Some really cool stuff has happened during this time lapse.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Return of Chin the Third

The Third Chin boy made is annual appearance today.  T-Beau is up in Duxbury from Texas.  He becomes our third son for most of his stay.  He spends days on end here.  Technically, he is Coco's age.  While he spends most of his time with Coco, he gets on well with Caz too.  The three of them pal around a lot in the summer.
     This year having T-Beau has been very fortunate for us.  Coco was in one of his funks.  We were way off course.  Today with T-Beau has turned things around.  Coco is a different person.  He is smiling.  He is active.  He is engaging.  Such a huge step in the right direction.  T-Beau is more than welcome to stay as long as he wants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dinner with Dad

I wanted to do something special with Coco tonight.  I wanted to have some one on one time with him. I want to talk with him about a lot of things.  I wanted to make sure he wasn't having problems with the current living arrangements.  I wanted to tell him how proud of him I am that he is acting responsibly and maturely.  He is taking care of himself more.  It's not like we wait on him hand and foot.  But he needs to remember the little things will he is being more independent like locking doors, closing the garage when he leaves, taking his medications, getting up on time, and getting to school on time.
         I took him out to eat at Mother Anna's in Pembroke.  I figured he would love the pasta.  He had fettuccine Alfredo on the brain.  He surprised me with an audible.    He chose the chicken cordon blue special.  He loved it.  He then requested to Dairy Twist after.  So I obliged.  He promptly fell asleep upon returning home.  That is a good night, right?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Changeover Day

Today was another changeover day.  Demi came down and met us at Hasbro.  Coco was really excellent with things. We had to kill some time after his dismissal.  I had some work to do.  We hung out in the outside courtyard by Au Bon Pain.  He was happy to get a snack and a drink.  I got some work done.  I got to say a quick hello to Gizmo and Demi.  Not long enough though.  I know other people deal with split families all the time, whether through divorce, traveling jobs, or similar health circumstances.  When you are not used to it, it is an adjustment.  I am a family guy.  I like being with my family, my whole family.  It is uncomfortable for me.  But I deal.  I have to.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Beach House

Coco and I drove down to my cousin's beach house in Naragansett last night.  It was hard leaving the family and cutting the weekend short.  It is an adjustment for us all.  All the effort is for a good cause.  We all want Coco to get well.
     Coco got up and into Hasbro like a champ.  We left in plenty of time.  It was a good thing because Monday AM traffic was thick.  It is just gearing up for that Memorial Day milestone.  The unnoffical start of summer means more and more people, so increased traffic.  Coco was awake and dressed without a hiccup.  We got into the morning check-in interview.  Even though the report was not all roses, Coco didn't let that throw him.  No, he wasn't happy to get the feedback, but he knew it was coming.  And he dealt with it.
     The afternoon was so, so. He fell back into his hermit routine, once the homework and electronic time was done.  I couldn't get him engaged much.  Dinner was quiet.  I did get to read to him a bit, but not for too long.  It wasn't terrible.  So I will count is as a win.  #wintoday

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Weekend Furlough

This is Coco's first weekend home after a full week in the program.  I hope it goes well.  It is so easy to fall back into the same routine once you are home, in a familiar place.  That is not what we want here.  We want progress.  We need progress.  All of us.
      That is not be negative.  It is just sharing a fear.  We hope for the best.  Coco has shown that he has made progress.  We just need to continue it.  His treatment doesn't stop when he leaves the hospital.  At some point, we are going to have to practice without a net.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Day 2 - The Program

It was a bit tougher morning today.  I probably stressed more than.  I needed too.  I tried really hard not to show it to Coco though.   We ended up only being 10 minutes late.
      It was changeover day too.  Demi came to take over for the rest of the week.  We met at the hospital.  We also had a joint meeting with the doctors.  First it was just the two of us, Demi and me.  We talked to two of Coco's doctors, but one was a fill in.  I led off with my concern about the dominance of electronics in Coco's life.  The fill in actually offered some good approaches to dealing with it.  When Coco was brought in, the meeting started well.  He gave his thoughts on the one thing that made his parents optimistic and the one thing that concerned his parents the most.  He nailed the positive.  He was not entirely wrong about our leading area of concern but when he found out what it actually was, the meeting got tense.  I could see him getting upset.  I worried that we might lose him. He started shutting down.  But he got through it.  We got through it.
     We then headed to my cousin's beach house in Narragansett.  She was offering to let us stay there. It was such a generous offer. So much so that while we had concerns about it's proximity to the hospital, we almost felt like we couldn't turn it down.  She made it so easy on us though.  She showed us around.  But she also understood that it might not work for us.  Family can really be terrific like that.  Coco loved the place.  It was so much brighter and cheerier than the hotel.  The hotel was not bad, but it is just not homey.  Demi is going to check out of the hotel tomorrow and give the beach house a shot.  Cross your fingers.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Day One with Dad

The Program.  That used to be a running joke between me and my friend, Ringo. Now, it is no laughing matter.  Today was the first day for which I had responsibility to oversee Coco's day to the program.  It went really well.
     Coco got up when asked.  We got out the door and into the car on time. I successfully found my way to the right building (with only a minor detour).  I got him signed in and dropped off.  What was most important was pick up.  Coco was happy.  He had a big smile.  He just started talking about his day.  He wanted to share.  It was awesome.  It was such a difference from the past few weeks.  It was enouraging.  I see that glimmer of hope that things might finally be trending up.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day 2016

Happy Mother's Day, Demi!  And to all the moms around the world today.  Demi, you take good care of our boys.  Mother is the perfect job for you.  The boys may not admit it now, but they appreciate all you do for them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Go Time

We got the call today.  After months of waiting, it finally came.  The Hasbro's Children's Hospital Partial Program gave Coco a spot, pulling him off he wait list.  It couldn't come at a better time.    Things have been going very poorly for Coco lately.  He isn't in school much at all.  It's been really hard for the rest of the family too, especially Demi.  She bears the brunt of the running back and forth.  She handles all the doctors and appointments.
     This program is both a good and bad thing.  It's good that our son needs this help.  We need to figure out the logistics on the fly.  Demi is now driving him to Warwick, RI.  I am booking a hotel room for the next two days, while she drive.  We don't know the area.  But we need a place closer to the hospital.  We can't get him into DHS from home before 11 am now.  How can we expect to get him to Providence by 7:30 am?  We will figure it out.  We have to.
     This is scary.  It feels like our last chance.  Our last hope.  Time to have faith.  Faith in our son.  Faith in each other.  Faith in our family.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Training Table

Caz's Olympic training started today.  He is on a serious training kick again.  We have been talking training plans for summer and fall.  So today, breakfast was a protein shake.  He packed a very healthy lunch.  He is thinking about nutrition again.  That is never a bad thing.  He really doesn't eat poorly compared to other teenagers.  Better to start understanding foods' impact on the body early.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

College Visit Vol. 2

Demi took the boys up to see UNH today.  Getting Coco to go was a big deal.  That is a big win for the day.  He made it through the presentation but did not make the walking tour.  He like the school though.  Caz was not as impressed.  He met with the AD and got to see track practice.  That piqued his interest a bit.  He's been looking up Division 1 track times for his events ever since Auburn came onto his list.  Caz didn't think UNH would make his safety school list.  But one of his buddies came by the house, who was interested in UNH and had an uncle who is a big booster.  I think that changed Caz's mind a bit.  He seemed more agreeable towards it after his buddy talked to Demi and me about it.  They ate dinner in Portsmouth.  It was great for the boys to see how close UNH is to Portsmouth.  It is a great city.  Another selling point.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Not So Zombie Apocalypse

Caz had his wisdom teeth out.  It was a pretty straight forward process.  He was done in under 25 mins.  His recovery room/under the influence of medication antics were amusing.  Much more so than the recently publicized Zombie apocalypse video.  Demi was stunned.  I wouldn't post it though. I can't embarrass the kid like that.  It should be saved for an appropriate time.  Like his wedding.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Victory Back to School Day

Coco went back to school today.  First day back after surgery.  It was a big deal getting him back into the building.  He missed the last 7 school days outright.  That is just based on the surgery.  He seemed to be in a good place going into the day.  Sunday night did not show his classic tells that the anxiety is building.  But Demi and I were not getting our hopes up.  We were more than pleasantly surprised when he walked through those school doors.

Happy 17th Birthday, Caz!

My oldest turns 17 today.  How did that happen?  And so quickly?  He is really turning into quite a fine young man.  I am very proud of who he has become.  And he still has so much growing left to do, both in physicality and character.
     He had a banner day today too.  He earned all his points for his Varsity letter in his first meet.  He threw the javelin for the first time after a full preseason of practice.  He placed third.  He lost a photo finish in the 100 m dash for second.  And he led the 4x100 m relay to a first place finish.  He trained hard for this.  The results are great but he set goals and met them.  That is the important piece.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

College Bound

Caz met with some experts today.  We met with College Bound.  They had put on a parents workshop for DHS on the college admissions process.  They offer an array of college search/admissions services, from the search, to the application process, Financial Aid navigation, and so forth.  We used their introductory free meeting session.  I think we need the help.  I know first hand how useful it can be.  If it wasn't for a local man who had his own similar business, I might not have found Colby.  I am forever grateful to him.  And I am sorry he is no longer around to help other generations of Duxbury kids.
     It was a good session with College Bound.  It started a little rough.  Caz got lost on the way to the appointment, so he was late.  But it was very informative.  Caz was very interactive.  Caz gave his honest assessment of what he is looking for.  We both think we could use the help.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Coco was discharged today.  Both he and Demi were really happy to be home.  It was a long night in the hospital.  Neither one of them slept much.  I was happy to have them home.  I think maybe even Caz was too.  He would never admit it though.
     Caz and I had a good guys night to ourselves.  He came into the living room all on his own to hang out.  He had been staking out his territory in the den recently.  We ended up watching a couple episodes of Supergirl together.  He then caught up on The Blacklist while I cooked dinner.  We were all set to watch a new episode of Blacklist, only to find out it was a rerun.  One more week until a new one.  So he went up to my room to catchup on Supernatural.  When I went up to bed, he was out cold.  It took a while to get him up and into his own room.  I can't just scoop him up and carry him anymore.  It did bring me back to when he was little.  It was nice spending a night, 1 on 1, with him.  A very nice positive to a less than ideal situation.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Today was the big day.  Coco got his tonsils and adenoids out.  No one gets those out anymore. It was routine for my generation.  It was almost as common as the chicken pox.  The trouble was, that operation is where I found out that I had Malignant Hyperthermia.....the hard way.  Demi knows the history.  It was in her head the whole time.  That is what made this whole day traumatic.  Everyone who came within 3 feet of Coco heard the words "Malignant Hyperthermia."  There would be no doubt in anyone's mind.  What are mom's for really?  Protect your cubs.
     The whole thing went off without a hitch.  Coco reached his goal of counting down from 100 to 1 during the knock out process.....sort of...."100, 99, 98, 83.......1.......2...77" and out!  He was under the knife for about 40 mins.  He was actually awake a lot earlier than I expected.  He was charming all the nurses.  He was really quite the one boy show.  He original rap needed some work but he was the most polite I think I have ever seen him.  The nurses kept coming over to see him, more than the occasional check in.  He got the royal treatment, water, Popsicles, you name it.  They got him up to his room early.  We could finally relax and take a breath.  The worst was over.  And the worst really wasn't that bad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Witch Doctor

Demi took Coco in to see a Homeopathic doctor today.  He has a great local reputation.  There are folks that swear by him.  He uses a process where he tests materials, usually food, with the patient and depending on their bodies reaction, can tell if the patient should avoid those materials.  The patient raises their arm, the doctor places a jar with highly concentrated version of each material, then presses down on the arm.  If the arm lowers more easily, the patient should avoid that material.
     To be honest, I was skeptical.  But hey, if it works, great.  So be it.  I kept my mouth shut and supported Demi in her efforts.  Coco, on the other hand, showed no restraint in his skepticism.  He outright said it was all "voodoo" or "hocum".  He waved his magic wand and chuckled.  He spent the night debunking the whole process, first to me, then to Caz.  Of course, he doesn't realize that he will be avoiding the items that didn't pass the test for him......

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The. Meltdown

Tears.  Crying.  Sobbing.  Screaming.  It all finally came to a head.  The pressure of having to deal with a long term illness just got to Demi.  It was really only a matter of time.  I am actually surprised it took this long.  A lot of the burden is falling to her.  She is home the most.  Or rather, has the ability to be home with Coco the most.  She is also the focal point for Coco.  He's mama's little boy.
     The breaking point is really that there is no end in sight.  Nothing seems to be working.  Demi and I have differing views on that.  I feel a lot of it is in his head.  And what I mean by that is that he needs to want to get better.  He hasn't made that decision in his head yet.  Demi is more despondent.  She things medical science is failing him.  It is to a degree.  Either way, we still work together.  We have to.  We want to.  And we will make it.  One way or another.  I think she appreciated that I just listened.  I didn't try to fix anything.  I just let her vent.  It turns out, that is all she really needed.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Date Night

Big teenage milestone reached for Caz = First Date.  Caz got to meet his prom date in person.  He went on a double date with his good friend and his girlfriend.  This was a big night in a lot of ways.  He was in a car driven by a friend.  They went to a spot they hadn't been before on their own.  Dave & Buster's was a great call.  They can eat, play games, and socialize, all in one spot.
     Caz came home giddy.  He was smiling.  He wanted to talk to me.  He wanted to tell me all about it.  He told me how she beat him in Mario Kart and accused him of losing on purpose.  He told me how they played doubles air hockey.  He told me how he won a boat load of tokens.  I asked him what he spent them on.  He told me he turned them in for a big, teddy bear.  Funny, he didn't come home with a big, pink teddy bear.  I wonder where it is....????

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Still Got It

Looks like Dad still had the magic touch.  It does feel good to know that my 17 year old son wants his Dad to read to him.  It feels even better when he falls asleep while you are doing's a bit like going back in time, to when he was a toddler.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Leap 2016

Happy Real Birthday, Demi!  Every fours years, it's exciting to have a real birthday.  The boys are still happy that they are both "older" than you.  I hope you can find time to celebrate and enjoy.  I know we are going through tough family times.  You are bearing the brunt of the chaos.  You are doing great.  Hang in there.  Better days are ahead.  #Believe

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Spa Weekend 2016

I wanted to get Demi some well deserved R&R for her birthday.  My great sister in-law, the perfect spot was found.  It was local too.  The room was fit for royalty.  Really.  It has purple walls, ceiling, and bedding.  The layout was fantastic.  Access to the Aqua Terrace, the hot tub with patio and bar.  The locker room was outstanding.  On the way out to the Aqua Terrace you had to go right past the Relaxation Room, complete with foot pool, lounge chairs, fruit infused water and silent noise mandate.  We even got in workouts in the fitness center before going back to another round in the hot tub.  It takes some getting used to to walk around in a robe in public places with not a lot going on underneath.  
The restaurant is right there.  The food is great.  There are new takes on some standby fare.  There is also a budding "shopping village" just a quick walk away.  We acquired some great selections of cheese, crackers, and accoutrements.  We got a nice bottle of wine.  I think Demi was able to unplug and get away from the chaos.  Mission accomplished.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Headed down

This is the end of a long week.  It's been especially trying.  Coco has missed school the last three days.  On top of his usual health issues, we think he is battling a stomach virus.  His sleep study results are still MIA.  Demi has had to do extra work to track down the results.  My insurance for my last dentist visit is up in the air.  We just can't seem to catch a break.  It is difficult, but trying to stay positive.  There is always tomorrow, right?  It is my choice to believe.  The alternative is unacceptable.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Accidental Information

Sometimes karma is just with you.  While trying to reschedule the SAT for Caz (since it was coming this SAT and it had dropped off everyone's radar), I came across a huge nugget of information.  Caz and I were looking at the next test date in May, when he remarked, "Oh good.  It's before Prom."

"Right before?  Like that day?"

"No, Dad.  Two weekends before."

"Why?  Do you have a date?" I asked kiddingly.


My jaw hit the floor.  I was a bit stunned.  I wasn't expecting that information.  I tentatively pressed for details.  I had to tread carefully.  I didn't want to spook the prey.  I was able to get the salient points.  My boy would be going to his first Prom.  Wow!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Happy 15th Coco

My youngest turned 15 today.  This birthday started early too.  He finished up his sleep study, waking up in the hospital.  That is just how you want to start your birthday.  We went right from South Shore Hospital to Mary Lou's.  I got him a large Oreo Cookie Monster drink.  It is ridiculous. Especially with the whipped cream.
     I didn't give him a hard time when he started up with the electronics right away.  He had earned it. His posse came over at noon.  From noon-6 pm, they were outside running around.  It was a great day.  They played all kinds of sports.  They played Manhunt.  They had their air soft war.  They wrestled.  It was great to see him with his friends.
     Happy Birthday Little Man.  Better days like these are ahead.  Believe.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Follow-up

Another sleep study for Coco.  He was great about it.  Even though it is the night before his birthday, he didn't mind having the study done.  He wants to get better.  He knows it needs to happen.  He realizes the sooner we do this, the sooner he sleeps better.
     Coco patiently tried on 3 different masks.  He got personally fitted for each one.  He got the lowdown on the pros and cons of each.  He chose which one to start with.  He watched TV while getting hooked up.  He was joking.  He appeared very relaxed.  I hope this helps him feel better.  I hope he can finally sleep peacefully.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The College Search - Round 1

It all started today.  The first college search.  It is another milestone moment.  Caz wanted to see Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  I scheduled us for the informational session with campus tour, since it is February break.  Caz and I got up early and drove to Worcester for the 9 AM start time.  It was a long ride.  The overnight rain had led to some icy conditions in parts where the temperatures dropped.  We traveled a route that was new to be, but I trusted in Waze.  We got there with 10 mins to spare.       The information session lasted an hour.  Caz was listening attentively.  They threw quite a bit of information at us.  It was all helpful.  We both took different things from the session.  Seeing how WPI teaches, it seems like the school is tailor made for Caz.  I know it only the first stop of many.  There is a long way to go. I shouldn't get my hopes up.  But I really hope he gets in there.  He couldn't ask for a better situation.
     The campus tour was very helpful as well.  It was led by an energetic senior. We got to see small (25-30 students), medium (approximately 70 students) and large (200 students max).  They showed us the various types of laboratories, mechanical, chemical, computer, engineering, etc.  We got to see the dorms, cafeterias, and sports complex.  Caz was taken with it all.  The campus is self contained.  It is in Worcester, but the campus is set apart on it's own to a degree.  He seems excited.  I will just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

IEP Review

Demi and I had a meeting with the school administration, Special educators, and teachers today.  The purpose was to review Coco's IEP, his progress, and his current troubles.  It went really well.  We met for almost 2 hours.  Everyone was very engaged.  Everyone had Coco's best interest at heart.   We revised and updated his IEP.  Demi and I were very open to opportunities for help.  That includes a "home inspection."  Some parents might take that as an insult.  Demi and I are taking it as another avenue to pursue.  If we are not doing the right things, we need to know.  We are doing the best we can.  It just doesn't seem enough.  I won't let a silly thing like pride get in the way of my son's well being.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Snow Day

The school administration canceled school before kickoff last night.  A second snow day in a row.  A four day weekend.  Good for them.  It's good to be young.  I do appreciate that they are old enough and strong enough to help with the snow removal.  I really need their help now that my Dad needs more help.  I feel responsible for two houses.  The boys help next door willingly.  They get it.  They also love their grandfather.  They treat him well.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Patriot League Meet - Winter Track 2016

Congratulations to Caz on his relay team's second place finish at the league championship meet.  Great third leg by my boy!


A big day and milestone for Caz today.  He took his first college board exam, the ACT.  He didn't seem nervous.  He did study.  I am sure all parents think their kids feel they should have studied more.  Maybe not more, but more efficiently.  With out the TV in the background, maybe.
     Caz and I spent some more time on the college search.  We had to pick 4 colleges to which to send his test results.  He ended up with WPI, UNH, Brandeis, and Tufts.  So now he's thinking.  He is getting letters everyday from colleges & universities.  We set up his first college visit for later this month.  These are exciting times.
     And oh, by the way, his league track meet was reschedule for this night.  Test all AM.  Run all night.  His relay team took second in the 4x200m.  Well done, Caz.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog's Day 2016

Our "Christmas" cards got mailed just in time.  They all should have been received by today.  Of course we delayed them on purpose.  We wanted to use a picture from Rome.  Why wouldn't we?  I wrote my annual poem in 90 mins.  This was also a labor I tried to take over from Demi.  I edited the picture, created the card, and had it shipped here.  I wrote the poem, bought the stamps, stamped the envelopes, put return address stamps on envelops, put the address labels on, folded & stuffed, then mailed.  The only thing I needed from Demi was her printing services.  Oh, she edited too.  But hopefully, this was one less large task for her to deal with.  Groundhogs day was the best timed holiday to use for this project.  Thanks Puxatawny Phil.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sleep Apnea

Well, it was a long January.  Coco had a very tough time, once we got back from Rome.  He's been in a lot of pain.  School attendance is way down.  Demi is running around as his personal chauffeur, driving him to school, from school, to doctors offices.....making sure he is where he needs to be.  Oh, and she is still working full time.  I help in the places I can.  It's tough.  I feel like it's not enough.  I don't want to intrude on their routine, but want to give them both a break.
     After some mishandling of information by technicians and administrators, we finally got a call to come see the doctor regarding the results of Coco's sleep study.  It was no shock to me when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  His genes were never in his favor.  He is a restless sleeper.  He always has bags under his eyes.  He snore unmercifully.  It's no wonder he can't get out of bed in the AM.  It's way beyond hormones and being a teenager.  I am sure it is the primary factor in many of his ailments.  Now we start down a path to recovery.  I hope....

Friday, January 15, 2016

Same Road Trip, New Car

Demi has had her new 4Runner since early November.  But this is only the second time Caz has been in the car.  How the dynamics have changed, now that he can drive.  I really wanted him to log some road time on this trip but it really wasn't a great opportunity.  The boys had to adjust to not having a 3rd row.  They actually had to share a whole backseat.  Like an ordinary family.  How novel.
     It went just fine.  We only stopped once, which is a minor miracle.  We made good time.  The boys  played Trivia Crack with Demi.  It was fun to listen in.  It was a total Griswold drive in the new family truckster.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Packing with Care

It's all a part of the growing up process.  We had quite a night, last night.  Demi and I had arranged our schedules, asked for favors, and made Caz a priority, all in order to go see him run.  He has a state meet on a Friday night.  It was going to be a family outing.  But then, just before bedtime, Caz declares that he likely isn't running.  One of his relay teammates had pulled a hammy at the last meet.  Two others were home sick from school today.  "I likely won't run."  So we explain to Caz that it's fine, but then we are going to save our chips for another meet, so we won't be going.  "That's fine.  I am still going to the meet."
     Fast forward to 4 pm today.  The meet starts at the Roxbury.  Text - "When you come, can you bring my compression shorts.  I can't run without them."  Next Text - "I am definitely running".  Needless to say Demi had to pause and take a breathe.  I started running calculations in my head about how to make the meet.  Demi explained to Caz that he was SOL.  I ended up at home having dinner with Demi and Coco.  He knew the story.  He needs to prepare better.  He needs to communicate better.  But it's all a part of growing pains.  He did run.  And he ran well.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Today is an adjustment day.  Linda and I got up early.  Since we went to sleep at 8 last night, we did get 10 hours sleep.  I went to the gym.  Back to training.  Coco got up around 7 and Caz slept until 9. They are going to have to get up early for school on Monday, so this is just the beginning.  We had to adjust our eating schedules.  The menu will change drastically too.  No one is going to bring us endless cappuccinos each morning anymore.  The boys won't have their pick of croissants or pastries.
     Demi is off to bring our last family member home.  She's going to the NY ferry to meet her sister and get Gizmo.  We all missed our little pup.  She is going to be over stimulated with all the attention and affection.  And we will love every minute of it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016

It is a New Years Day return for the Chin Family.  Our direct flight from Rome landed at 2 pm local time.  Which means it was 8 pm Rome time and our bodies were feeling it.  We made it to about 8 pm Duxbury time before we all crashed.  Jet lag, here we come.  But it is all worth it.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  I will back post a chronicle of it.  I really don't like advertising any lengthy departures, so apologies for the historical posts forthcoming.