Sunday, August 13, 2017

Packing

It's getting real now.  There are stacks of clothes everywhere.  The suitcases are out.  The college supplies are bundled together.  Our little boy is going off to college.
     Caz took his mom out yesterday afternoon.  They went down to the Plymouth waterfront.  Lunch was fried seafood at the Lobster Hut.  They walked the jetty, out into Plymouth bay.  Then, they got some ice cream.  I think Demi enjoyed every second.  She is going to miss him.  We all are.
     I know I am having my moments of melancholy.  Caz makes me laugh.  He makes me crazy too.  Isn't that what family does?  Make you crazy?  I am excited for.him.  College is a big deal.  He would have left for Auburn weeks ago, if he could have.  I happy for this time with him.  It is a new chapter for him.  It is a new chapter for us too.  The daily routine will be down to 4 of us, Demi, me, Coco & Gizmo.  That will have it's own dynamic.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hammer time 2017

Happy 5th birthday to my nephew.  The kid cracks me up.  I hope Hammer has a wonderful celebration.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Adventure Land

Today, the family spent some quality time together.  We only have a limited amount of time before Caz goes off to Auburn.  Demi and I want to make sure we do a lot of family activities before that time comes.
     For this Griswald family activity we chose the zip line/rope course at Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich, MA.  Demi had come across it online.  After checking it out, it seemed like a good idea.  It is not that far away.  This is one of those times where the event exceeded expectations.  That place is amazing.
     There are all levels of trails/courses.  It is set up like a ski mountain, green trails, blue trails & black diamonds.  The safety features are ingenious.  A climber is locked into some safety rigging at all times.  That doesn't mean you can't fall and hurt yourself.  But you are not going to plunge to the ground.
     The first obstacle seemed ridiculous.  Especially, for a green (beginner) level trail.  The rules state a climber has to attempt the trails in a progression, from easy to hard.  This felt like we started on a much harder trail.  Caz was already having a hard time, just getting up to the platform.  He has a tremendous fear of heights.  Caz was a trooper though.  He powered through all of it.
     I thought he might bail on the blue trail.  He thought about it.  He almost declined.  But then two girls around his age got in line behind him.  His pride would not allow for him to back at that point.
     The ropes were a great workout.  We were very tired at the end.  It was a good idea that the management put a rule in place to have water in between trails.  The family then headed north to Plymouth for a reward.  We got seafood from Woods Seafood.  I crossed an item off my summer bucket list by having fried flames.  The boys got their lobster rolls.  Then we got cupcakes to go for later, from Cape Code Charlie's.  What a perfect day.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Levitate 2017

Today didn't turn out quite as planned.  But that is just fine.  It turned out better than expected.
     We lucked into some passes for Day Two of the local Levitate Music Festival.  I only really wanted to see the closing act, Ziggy Marley.  I did want to spend time with the boys, so is would go for as long as they wanted.  Early in the day, Coco said he didn't want to go.  That is fine.  I am not going to force him to go.  Caz wanted to go.  Caz then asked our friend, T-Beau, who was on his annual trip from TX, to go.  When that happened, Coco wanted in.  Both boys realized  there were only three passes.  Before they could think, I told them to take all three passes and have fun.  I would rather see the three of them running around together, than go myself.  They had a great time.  Coco had been having a hard day to that point.  It was the lift we all needed.  The healing power of music.
     Of course Coco couldn't wait to tell me how much glaucoma medicine was wafting around... he just thinks it's funny.  Better to talk about these things, than avoid an uncomfortable topic.  Make it comfortable.  You want your kids to talk to you.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Break 2017

Summer break starts now.  It is an odd start to vacation this year.  Caz has already been done with school for a month.  Coco had his last exam today.  I made a game time decision to drive up to Sebec Lake to join this years Maine Vacation crew.  Demi is packing to go to The Island for a family party.  Caz has to work, so he is staying home.  Coco has training and working on landing a new job.  The boys will be home for a night alone.  Together.  What could possibly go wrong?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Happy Father's Day Gentlemen!
     This was a great Father's Day.  I got Demi and Caz back, late last night.  It looked dicey with the flights being delayed.  The boys put on a good face and accompanied us to the beach early.  They played catch with me.  We played bocce.  The departed early, which was fine.  Demi and I got some time alone at the beach.  Caz parked the CRV on the other side of the bridge.  The boys walked the beach and to the car without complaint.  Then we had a nice cookout over at my parents house.  There was no family drama.  A nice way to spend the day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Camp War Eagle

Demi and Caz left for Camp War Eagle.  It's Auburn's orientation for new students and parents.  I M very excited for Demi to see the university finally.  I think it will make her feel better about sending her child off to college.  Sure, it's the heat of summery, but we will be moving him in during the dog days of August.  They have a few days to really explore.  I envy them a bit.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pig Roast

What does one choose as a theme for a high school graduation and the student is going to college in Alabama?  You throw a pig roast, of course! Genius!
     We hired Shakey Pete to throw a pig roast for 100 people.  Shakey Pete's wife made the world's best cornbread, beans and slaw.  My brother smoked chicken thighs and made pesto chicken pasta, all while hung over.  The Long Island family came in.  The cousins and friends came.  The high school boys decided to play shirts and skins when the high school girls showed up.  Go figure, right?
    The weather was perfect.  The guests were well fed.  Most importantly, Caz had a huge grin on his face the whole time.  He thanked Demi multiple times for a great party.  Made it all worth it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Road Trip 2017

Caz's first road trip.  He's 18 now. He needs to make his own choices and understand the consequences that come with each choice.  His buddies planned a trip to Twin Rivers Casino.  I knew it wasn't a full blown casino like Foxwoods or Mohegan but I still didn't think one could get in if under 21 years of age. Who knew?  I thought it might be a really short trip.
     He egged his mother on in the days leading up to his departure.  He asked for funds to go clothes shopping, so he could get some "good" clothes for the casino.  Then he expected Demi to iron them.  I thought he might not make the trip after all.....But then he mentioned there was a gentlemens club there too.  It was probably just to see her reaction.  The little punk....
     While down there we left him alone.  We didn't call to check up on him.  He actually called us.  The car didn't seem right, then it really had some trouble.  He pulled it into a safe parking lot.  He and his buddies called Demi, then our mechanic.  His buddy had AAA+, so they arranged to have the car towed to our mechanic.  They arranged a ride home from the train the next day.  Ca really handled himself well.  We are very proud of him.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Class of 2017

What a day!  Our first child graduated from high school.  It was a very long & emotional day.  All good things.  But we were all drained by the end.
     Caz had to hit the senior breakfast.  I helped him get ready.  He seemed to think he was going to wear his track uniform under his gown.  He would have looked like a flasher.  I realized I needed to get some pictures.  I raced around looking for the camera.  I feel I can brag to say I took some really good photos.  Demi had run out to do errands. She also realized we needed pictures, so she arrived home in a panic, right as I wrapped up the photo shoot.
     Graduation was a blur.  The school arranged it so that right after the seniors entered, the pledge of allegiance & national anthem would occur.  Then Caz and a fellow classmate, who was also running in the State Track meet, would receive their diplomas.  They were then whisked off stage and into the team van.  The track kids received a police escort out of town.
     Demi and I had a few hours to kill.  She ran around doing errands for next weekend's graduation party.  I tried to keep busy too.  I worked on a slide show for the party.  I went through years of photos.  I picked some of the best and scattered them throughout a slideshow.
     Demi and I drove my mother to the All State Track meet.  The anticipation was awful. We staked out a spot by the finish line.  Caz ran well but there was a lot of fast competition.  He did not advance.  It was still an honor to run and an amazing way to fish both his season and career.
     Caz stayed with his team.  He ended up missing a friend's graduation party.  He missed joining his buddies at Gradnite, where they get locked in the school with their classmates until morning.  However, he went to dinner with the girls 4x100 relay team.  He drove them all home and we saw him around midnight.  I think he chose well......

Friday, June 2, 2017

Graduation Eve

My oldest graduates from DHS tomorrow.  Here I am, up at 3 AM thinking about it.  How did this come about so fast?  My oldest son is a legal adult and soon to be high school graduate.  Tomorrow will be a hectic day.  We have a doubleheader.
     Caz will get his diploma and he will run in the All State Track Meet.  We are very fortunate that he can do both.  The school has been great making accommodations for making it all possible.  Caz and his fellow track seniors qualifying for the meet, will walk at the very start of the ceremony.  Then they will join their coach to depart for the meet.  They will miss the speeches and the rest of their classmates walking.  They won't get to toss their hats with the rest.  But they get to do both events, and do not have to choose one over the other.  Call that a Win.
     Now, it feels like the night before Christmas.  I am wide awake in anticipation.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day 2017

To all the Moms, mother figures, soon to be moms and wanna be moms out there, I hope you enjoy your special day.  I hope your loved ones create something wonderful for you.  A special thank you to my wonderful wife and mother of my children.  I couldn't do this parenting thing without her.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Early Retirement....savings

Caz surprised me today.  Pleasantly surprised I might say.  I thought Caz has inadvertently deposited a check into to his Roth IRA.  It is too easy to make that mistake while using the phone app deposit feature.  I waited until this evening to approach him about it.  When I asked, he told me he had done it on purpose.  I guess he was listening about saving early.  Not too shabby.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Home Alone Duxbury

This is just a month full of adult milestones for Caz.  He was allowed to stay home by himself for the first time.  He really needed to stay.  He has to work and he had track practice.  He can drive.  He had food.  He can cook.  Well...sort of.  He wasn't going to starve.  And he kept the house relatively clean.  Sure, he had the boys over to play poker one night.  We told him he could.  The beer and liquor were not touched.  He has good friends.  He makes relatively good decisions.  Our trust was rewarded.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

High Finance

I helped Caz open a new bank account today.  Actually, he opened a new Fidelity cash account.  The banks we tend to use are in short supply in the South.  I think the closest branch to his current bank account to Auburn is 90 miles away.  Plus.....I don't really like our current bank.  With his new account, he can deposit checks with his phone.  He can use his ATM fee anywhere too.  All his ATM fees are reimbursed.  It's a win-win.  The only drawback is that he had to open a brokerage account too.  I told him not to trade anything.  But this is a big milestone.  His first bank account.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Live and Legal

Well.  My oldest turns 18 today.  Happy Birthday Caz!  Welcome to legal adulthood.  It's hard to believe this time has come.  What really changes?  I hate to be a negative Nellie but it seems to me that this milestone just means the stakes are higher for making mistakes.  Decision making becomes more important that ever.  Caz knows this now.  We had a talk.  We always talk.  I think that is key.  Like most things, parenting involves a lot of communication.  It does if you want to be successful at it.
     And will I kid all the time, I did not wrap empty boxes for is birthday for him to pack up.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Driving with the King

Coco and I went for a drive.  Some more practice for the new wanna be driver.  He did well.  Sure there were a few wide turns.  There is the rookie hurky jerky revving of the gas pedal.  There was the hesitation, letting cars go in front.  But he drove safely.  He kept to the speed limit.  We drove over by the school for the first time.  It was a nice Saturday afternoon drive.  I think Coco is headed in the right direction.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Trial and Error?

I am still not sure if this ended in an error.  We took Caz off his medication for a week, to see how he would fare.  He will be going off to college soon.  That is a natural time for kids with ADHD to stop medicating.  We figured now would be the time to know.
     Caz didn't do himself any favors.  He was extra crabby.  There was less time for him to be cranky, since he was sleeping or eating.  Either way his mouth was occupied.  In hind sight, this was not an ideal week for this test.  Demi had her own situation going on.  She was way more susceptible to being egged on by Caz.  It was a recipe for disaster.
     It was hard to tell if Caz was just being an annoying teen or extra bitchy because he was off medication.  We couldn't even ask him about school or studying.  It was a rough week.  It this one is an anomaly and we have to test again.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Teenage Years Movie Night

....for Demi and me that is.
     The boys did not want to go to the movies.  So?  No problem.  Demi and I go to dinner, then the movie.  The boys are left home to fend for themselves.  We didn't cook for them.  We didn't order dinner for them.  If they get hungry, they can cook for themselves.  That is the pro of the teenage years.
     Demi and I had a nice first foray to a new-ish restaurant in the Kingston Collection.  It is a strange place for a dressier, fancier eatery.  But the food was good.  We were right there for the movie.  We finished and went to see Logan.  Great film by the way.  I give it 4.5 Chinnies.  It was less Superhero Movie and more character.  Logan is a great character.  This was a great way for Hugh Jackman to go out as the Wolverine.  Better than the first two.  That is not easy for the third in a series.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mom's Birthday

Happy Birthday Demi!  Well.....almost.  There has to be a second around midnight, between February 28 and March 1, on the off Leap Years, where it is actually your birthday.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sweet 16 Part Deux

Happy Birthday Coco!  The big 1-6!  Sweet 16.  Just in time for March Madness.  I took him first thing to the RMV down in Plymouth.  I had the application ready.  I had his birth certificate, passport and social security card.  We got there just as the doors opened at 8 AM.  We had to be 30-40 deep.  The line moved pretty quickly though.  We didn't have to wait too long.  Coco took his test.  One needs 18 of 25.  He sweat out a few but he passed.  He had a huge smile as we left the building.
     Coco could not wait to get home and drive.  He grabbed the keys and then me.  We headed out the door.  We stayed in the cul-de-sac here.  We did 3 laps or so.  He did well.  I only got minor whiplash.....jk.  He is off to a good start.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Banking

Caz got a much needed banking lesson today.  Today's lesson was the art of the ATM deposit.  It was a good choice of days, since it was a federal holiday.  Less chance of a line without the normal banking crowd.  Of course as luck would have it, we were third in line at the drive up ATM.
     I walked Caz thru the process from entering his card, to feeding his checks in.  It is much easier today, than even a few years ago.  There is no envelope, no totaling multiple checks or no deposit slips to fill out.  Feed checks and let the machine scan and do math.  Now, he should be good to do it all on his own.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Coco Training

Coco has decided to train himself this winter.  I think XC was a bit of a wake up call for him.  He didn't realize how much of a toll being away from an active lifestyle, his ailments have taken on him.  He thought he would pick up where he left off.  Not that he was ever a distance runner.  But I think he felt his natural athleticism would allow him to jump right back into the mix.  Coco got a bit of a rude awakening in the fall.
     Demi and I got a bit more gym and training equipment.  Demi had the boys clean out the XBOX room.  She set up a nice little training facility in there.  And so far Coco has used it.  I am not quite sure what he is doing.  I try to observe but don't want to spook him.  I think he is looking some techniques up on YouTube.  Or maybe his football buddies are sharing their workout regimes with him.  But he is doing something more often than not.  He is going in the right direction.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Decision 2017

Well, Caz had that moment.  He knew from walking the campus that he belonged at Auburn.  Good for him.  The confirmation deposit is made.  Once that processes, we will do the housing application.  And deposit of course.  Nothing associated with college is free.  But he's happy.  We are happy.  I think going South makes more financial sense for us all.  It is a highly ranked engineering school.  He will be out of the New England winters.  He can eat his fill of Southern cuisine.  Win, Win.
     War Eagle!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

War Eagle

Well, the trip to Auburn University is complete.  What a great trip.  I had some great bonding time with Caz.  Caz got a good look at his current number 1 choice.  We ate some great BBQ. Our travel was close to flawless.  OK, we had to wait 40 mins after landing to get a gate.
     Auburn was terrific.  We took the campus tour, which took us up to the Eagle's Nest, 12 stories up, where we could see the entire campus.  We took a out of the dorms in the Quad.  We hit the bookstore for some swag.  We walked over to Toomer's Corner to get lemonade (and an amazing grilled pimento cheese sandwich).  Caz took time to soak it all in.  He actually sat down on the bench by Samford Hall because he wanted to look around to see where he might be spending the next four years of his life.  I told him to sleep on it a couple of nights.  There was no rush to make a choice now.  We still had to hear from NC State, which was the wild card in all this.  But I also told him my story of visiting colleges.  I knew the moment I stepped on Colby's campus that I wanted to go there.  It happens like that sometimes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Auburn, AL

Caz and I took off for a visit to see Auburn University today.  It was a pretty last minute trip.  We left for Logan airport, as soon as Caz walked in from school.  We didn't hit any traffic, which was a bonus.  We got dinner to bring on the plane in the airport.
     The plane took off and landed in Atlanta on time.  I had worn my Sam Adams shirt and Patriots hat.  I had the New England/Boston colors flying high, while strolling through Atlanta just before the Super Bowl.  I actually caught more flack for wearing my Sam shirt, than my Patriots hat.
     We picked up the rental car without an issue.  The drive was not bad at all.  It was a straight shot at 70 mph.  We gained an hour crossing over into the Central Time Zone.  The car ride was amusing.  Caz played DJ, while he gnawed on beef jerky.  He played a very interesting mix of tunes, Prince, MJ, Metallica, Kansas and Toto.  We had a nice chat on the ride.  He was excited to see Auburn.  He thanked me for booking the trip.  He was very sincere.  Hotel check-in was a breeze.  It actually didn't take long to settle down after traveling.  I was asleep in no time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Turnaround Day

It's a good thing that I took my own advice yesterday and cooled down before I sat down to write my blog.  Irate is not a good state of mind to think, let alone put words on paper (or on-line).  After my mental timeout and upon reflection, a disaster of an afternoon was salvaged.
     Something was amiss yesterday.  The stars were misaligned.  The tea leaves were scrambled.  There was a disturbance in the Force.  It was Battle Royale in the Chin household.  It start innocuously, like many of these events do.  Demi and I had gone off to the supermarket on a weekly food & supplies run.  Demi had planned out a week's worth of meals, including the days she won't be around (off on a girls weekend with the Island Ladies.  I use the term "Ladies" loosely....).  When we grabbed our carriages, Demi reached into her pocket for her food list to divide up.  Empty.  Other pocket.  Empty.  The list was back on the kitchen table.  Now with technology, this should be simple.  Call one of the boys and have them text a picture of it.  Simple, right?  Teenage attitude says otherwise.  Coco couldn't be bothered to pause his game.  He gave Demi all kinds of hell.  When he finally succumbed, he ended up finding an old list.  So when Demi called back to inform him of the error, it escalated.  She tried to call Caz and he wasn't answering.  I called Caz and he reacted well.  He must have passed Coco on the stairs who informed Caz that he was going to handle attempt #3.  Coco finally got the right list, but the photo was blurry.  Demi and I muddled through.
     The effects lingered though.  Demi decided upon our return that the time was right to inform me of my error in where I chose to place the dog's leash and coat.  I didn't react well to that.  I felt there was some misplaced anger and voice just that opinion.  The boys were slow to my call of coming to carry in the groceries.  Caz made his way down but Coco still could not pry himself away from the game.  So I pulled the WiFi.  Problem solved, right?  Coco blew a nutty.  Drinks were spilled.  Stuff was thrown.  Screaming.  The whole nine yards.  Anger not in proportion to the offense.  Caz took some friendly fire was for the most part was unscathed.  We all went to our corners of the house and cooled down.  I thought for sure the night was shot.  But pleasantly surprised, I was wrong.
     Demi executed her plan to create the perfect sandwich for the family to eat during the Patriots game.  I helped her set the table, affix the accouterments, procure the drinks, and clean up.  The boys came to the living room to eat.  Everyone was in a much better mood.  The banter was friendly.  We all enjoyed watching the game.  And to top it all off, the Patriots won.  We must have been inspired by Capt. Comeback himself, Tom Brady.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Celtics Night

Coco received tickets to a Celtics game for XMAS.  He was presented 4 tickets, so he could take some buddies.  Last night was game night.  There was a lot of planning but it was teenager planning,  Demi and I kept hearing, "I got it."  He didn't have it so much.
     In the end, it all worked out well.  He secured two friends.  His older brother rounded out the group.  Demi and I dropped them off on Causeway Street with some funds for drinks.  Demi and I hung out with friends, while the boys went into the game.  We collected them after an overtime classic.  Then we all marched down to the North End.  We tried and failed at getting Regina's pizza.  But we got canolis from Mike's.  We ordered pizza on the way home, then sat down to eat our treats.  Coco really seemed to have a good time.  I think the evening was a success.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Typhoid Caz

Caz spent the long weekend in the sick room.  He completely took over the living room.  Saturday, he ran a fever of 103 all day.  He watched all 3 Blade movies, all 4 Pirates of the Carribean movies, and a few random movies thrown in.  We made several won-ton soup runs.  Demi made homemade chicken noodle soup.  Demi was brave enough to keep him company during the Patriots game.  The poor kid couldn't run in the coaches invitational track meet.  But his family rallied to take care of him.  It's standard operating procedure when one of us gets sick.  It's nice to see.  It's the way it should be.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Another Diagnosis

I knew this was coming.  I walked in the door from work to hear the last part of Demi's call.  It was all I needed to hear, "severe sleep apnea."  I knew from the trip to South Carolina that Coco's sleep apnea was not fixed by having his tonsils and adenoids out.  Apparently, he is being tested for low iron, which causes the jimmy leg.  The poor kid has enough going on.  He doesn't need this. It's just not fair.  But we will deal with it.  And we will be stronger for it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Father/Bowl Night

What an unexpected surprise!  The son hanging out with hid dad to watch the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, was not the son I thought it would be.  Caz stopped his activities to come watch with me.  Sure during the Rose Bowl, he was playing chess.  But he was completely focused on the Sugar Bowl.  I am sure it was due to Auburn being in the game.  War Eagle is still the leader in the clubhouse.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

I hope you all have a wonderful 2017.  This the halfway point.  Coco has missed a total of 1 day of school due to IBS & anxiety.  That is truly amazing.  Caz has half of his senior year left.  The countdown seems to have sped up.  My little boys are growing up.  I hope you parenting is going well.  I hope you all have the families you want.