Sunday, December 31, 2017

NYE 2017

The most harrowing part of New Years and having teenagers, is worrying about them.  What are their plans?  Will they be driving?  If so, will they be driving late?  Who will they be with?  Fortunately, this year, Coco worked a double shift, so he stayed in.  Caz went out.  He didn’t drive but his buddy did.  A bunch of them played Risk until midnight.  Very low key.  The danger is who else might be on the road and in what condition,when Caz makes the jaunt home.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Boys Day Dec 2017

The boys & I had a great afternoon.  I wanted to spend some dedicated time with them.  Mission accomplished.  We started with luncheon specials at Tsangs Cafe.  We had some great conversation about brothers, college and life.  We browsed video games at Game Stop.  We went shopping for shoes for them both.  The banter was the best part.  We got quality time together.  What more could a dad want?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve

A post on Instagram by Caz popped up on my feed this morning.  He posted a nice photo of his girlfriend and himself.  His caption was very honest and straightforward.  What struck me is that he knows who follows him on this social media platform.  And he didn't hesitate to put himself out there.  He put his feelings out there.  That is a great trait.  He wants people to know how his is feeling.  Good for you son!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!  To Fathers everywhere, the warmest wishes of the season.

The four Chins were all together for the major holiday.  It was all I wanted for Christmas.  Sure we hosted my folks and my brother's family.  And it was amazing for all of us to be together.  But the core family unit being together?  That was the best present.  Who knows how many more we may have.  The boys may have families of their own soon.  It's probably years away.  But that time will pass quickly.  I love the four of us together.  That is the special part of the holiday for me.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Winter Homecoming 2017

Caz came home from Auburn today.  It was great seeing him walking out of the airport with his stuff, being led by Gizmo and beside his mother, brother and girlfriend.   Yep.  He brought his new college girlfriend, who lives in Alabama.  She is really nice.  And he seems really happy.
     We are really happy to have him home.  Even Coco was very chatty and nice, while riding in the back with Caz.  
     It was interesting that Caz requested that we bring Gizmo.  Then he checked to make sure she had been walked, so she wouldn’t get over excited and have an accident in the airport.  He texted to let us know they were landing early.  As if I hadn’t been tracking his flight.  He texted a few times with updates.  All in all, the first return went without a hitch.
     Welcome home and War Eagle!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Shopping

Packages have been arriving for Caz for days.  He is not even home yet.  We know he was Christmas shopping.  He called to ask questions about his cousins, his aunt, his uncle and even their dog.  It is a pleasant surprise.  He is doing this all on his own.  And on a limited college student budget.  The boy is growing up.

Coco is doing all of his shopping on his own, too.  He can drive now, so he can go on his own.  He is also thinking of the family.  He we out with his own funds.  He came home and wrapped them all.  It was really nice to see.  Coco was definitely in the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Birthday Weekend

This will be a Birthday first.  My oldest won’t be here to celebrate.  Sure he is coming home in a week.  And sure I postponed a family celebration until we could all be together.  But the actual day?  Today?  It won’t be the same.
     Coco’s enthusiasm helped.  He came home from work and rushed to wrap his present.  I could here paper crinkle behind his bedroom door.  He had made Demi take him out last night to go shopping for it.  It means a lot that he picked it out.  And he was so proud to hand it to me.  We both had big smiles.
     Demi went out of her way to make it special.  She was really great.  I was extremely happy to have alone time with her.  We went to a few establishments to eat and drink.  No rush.  No timetable. We took a nice stroll through the Plymouth waterfront.  We drove around Duxbury to see Christmas decorations.  It was a very nice evening.
     Then Caz called.  I had my doubts.  I wasn’t sure if I would hear from him.  We had a nice talk.  I let the struggles with Calculus go.  Tonight was not the night for it.  I wanted a nice evening and I got it.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

‘Tis the Season 2017

Even though there was a lot of Christmas creep, I was able to avoid it until now. Today though, I need to kill some time, so Christmas shopping it is.  I am getting my birthday present car radio installed.  While I wait, I am going shopping for the family.  I have already started and am well into it, but I need a few more items.
     I like finding that perfect gift.  I like to see the look of recognition turn to a smile, when that person opens it.  I have a few things in mind.  But there are some good stores in walking distance where I am getting the radio installed, that should provide some ideas and inspiration.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Fun Day AL

Some post game notes.  What an epic football game!  Auburn wins!  Auburn takes down the #1 team again!  The fans stormed the fields.  Toomer's Corner was rolled, like it has never been rolled before.  The carnage was unreal.
     Caz was great too.  He made a hand crafted sign for the crowd shots during Game Day.  He walked with this sign, on full display, from Game Day to the dorms, from the dorms to the Stadium and from the Stadium to Toomer's Corner.  He must have been stopped 50 times for pictures.  Some took pictures of just the sign.  Some wanted him with the sign.  Some wanted him, with them, with the sign.  He was a total rock star. 
     What was fantastic, was that Caz verbally showed his appreciation for the tickets and for the effort of his dad coming to see him.  This game was the only game not included with his freshman football ticket package.  So not only did he get to see the Iron Bowl at home, he got to see it with his dad and his girlfriend.  Dad bought 3 tickets for this event.  Both of them were really appreciative.  The smiles they had and the excited they exhibited were worth it all. 
     Caz also made multiple references to the fact that he wanted to spend time with his Dad, while I was down there.  He recognized that I missed him and wanted to spend time with him.  His girlfriend was great too.  She offered to bow out of a couple of meals out.  But he will be home in a few weeks, and I have some one on one time with him then.  She is important to him and I want to be supportive in that.  He is happy.  What more could I want? 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Iron Bowl 2017

War Eagle!
     I fly down yesterday for a weekend with Caz.  We are going to attend the Auburn vs. Alabama game at Jordan-Hare Stadium, known is these parts as the Iron Bowl.  This annual game between the two Alabama colleges is a huge part of Rivalry weekend, and could be "THE" best rivalry in all of college football.  This year the surging Auburn squad is still an underdog to the #1 ranked and undefeated Crimson Tide.  Auburn beat the previous #1 team, 2 weeks ago and has a chance to win the SEC West and a spot in the SEC Championship game.  On top of all that, ESPN chose Auburn for it's College Game Day broadcast.  Mayhem.
     With all of this hype and with all my passion for college football, the highlight of the weekend is seeing Caz in person.  I really missed him on Thursday (as I mentioned in my previous post).  Some father/son time is just what the doctor ordered.  I am sure he's more excited about the game.  But I can tell you honestly, for me, it is all about the kid.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

This was a different Thanksgiving to be sure.  This was our first one without Caz.  It’s not like we haven’t known for months that he wouldn’t be home from college.  We did think for a while that we would all be together in Alabama.  But that didn’t work out.
     He was in a good place.  His girlfriend’s family was kind enough to take him in.  They gave him a nice place to be for the holiday.  Caz was good too.  He Skyped home to tell his Mom how thankful he was for all we had done for him.  It was the best past of the day.  He also Skyped while we were at my brother’s house.  It was nice to talk to him.  It was great to be able to see him.  Technology is excellent in that regard.
     I still missed him terrible.  Sure I know that things change.  I know the time is coming where the boys will want to be other places during the holidays.  They will have their own families some day.  Doesn’t make it any easier.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Drive to School

Today Coco drove to school solo for the first time.  Demi caught it all on video.  Then he drove himself to work.  Banner day today. A great day of firsts for the kid.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

License To Drive Part Deux

Another milestone reached by Coco!  He passed his road test and is now a new Masshole driver.  It’s a new measure of independence.  And better yet he can drive himself to and from both work and school.  We all win!
     He is actually a very good driver for his age.  He has a good balance of confidence and caution.  Truth be told he is probably better at his age than his older brother.
     I am very happy for him.  He has accomplished a lot this year.  It’s nice to see his work pay off.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

50th Anniversary

My brother and I threw our parents a party for their 50th Anniversary.  50 years to the day.  Family and friends were invited to the function room at Disch’s Tavern in Pembroke.  Almost 50 strong celebrated the day.
     Caz was of course, off at college.  Coco missed a portion taking the SAT.  But we made it work.  Demi rushed out to pick up Coco and made it back to eat.  Caz tried to Skype in.  The WiFi was weak.  The picture froze.  But my parents appreciated the gesture.
     The is what I wanted the boys to understand.  You have to make an effort for loved ones.  It’s not easy.  It’s often inconvenient.  In the end, it was worth it though.  Lead by example.  Now I hope they follow.


Today was a big day for Coco’s college search process.  Coco took the SAT for the first time.  Big doings for the little guy.  We skipped the essay this time.  He will take the ACT next.  Then we will decide which to take again.
     Just as I did with Caz, I let Coco study for the test his way.  If the result is not wear we want it, then next time, it goes my way.  And Coco would pay, if I choose a study course.  I know he used the study book I ordered for him.  That seems promising.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Funday

This was our big day to spend time with Caz.  It started in peculiar fashion.  Overnight, we slept through the worst of what started as Hurricane Nate.  By the time Nate reached us, it was a tropical depression.  It rained hard until noon.  It was a warm rain.  Not New England cold.  We lost power for a short time.  WiFi was knocked out all over Auburn.
     We took Caz out for lunch with his girlfriend.  We shopped for a raincoat.  We got to see his girlfriend's dorm.  It was very impressive.  It is newer and more spacious.  It costs a lot more too.
     Demi and I took Gizmo for a walk in the arboretum.  That was a nice time.  I liked sharing that with Demi.  I like seeing the expression in her face when exploring new places and enjoying them.  I hope Caz will do something similar with his special someone.
     We took Caz, his roommate, his girlfriend and his friends to dinner.  It was great seeing Coco interact with all the college kids.  Actually, it was great to see Coco and Caz interact on their own over the course of the weekend.  I think they missed each other.  They won't admit it but they did.  After dinner, it was hard to say goodbye after dinner.  To his credit, Caz was great.  He gave me a long hug and said, "I love you", right in front of his girlfriend.  No hesitation at all.  My boy is growing up.  And he is turning out well.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Big Ole Miss

Game day!  My first trip into Jordan-Hare Stadium.  My first live viewing of the pre-game flight of the war eagle.  My first Auburn tailgate.  Lots of firsts.
     Caz actually got up early.  This was an odd kickoff time, 11 am CST.  He was a trooper.  His first text came in at 8:30.  We only got to see him briefly.  He has to be inside the stadium really early to get a good seat in the student section.  He took several pictures.  He was a good sport.
     What does one have at an early morning tailgate?  Cheese grits and shrimp of course.  Sausage and biscuits.  Bloody Mary's.  Great spread.  Those Southerners are so hospitable.  They know how to tailgate.  I had some great conversations with the hosts.  They all offered to be our "boots on the ground", in case Caz ran into an emergency.  It is nice to know there are people close by, who care.  It makes Caz being 1,200 miles from home, more comfortable for us.
     The game was good.  Auburn took Ole Miss to the woodshed.  The stadium is amazing.  I bet they can empty all 95k attendees faster than Fenway.  The largest coll he Jumbotron in the nation is impressive.  Seeing the pregame flight of the War Eagle was magnificent.  What a great tradition.  Definitely top 5 of all college football tradition.  Number 2 on my list.
     We could see Caz in the student section, across the stadium. He was very much into the game.  He knows all the Auburn cheers.  I hear him saying them to himself when he is laying around.
     We met his girlfriend's parents after the game.  We had a nice introductory chat.  We all meandered over to Toomer's corner for the rolling of the oaks.  That is another great Auburn tradition.      The students and families throw rolls of toilet paper over the branches of the legendary oak trees located in Toomer's corner.  It is quite a site.  We took a lot of pictures.
   What a great experience.  It is a memorable family event.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Family Weekend Auburn 2017

We got to see Caz tonight, for the first time since dropping him off in Alabama for college.  It was great to see him.  I have really missed him.  He was actually happy to see us too.  Especially, Gizmo. He was somewhat surprised to see her.  He was very excited to show her off to his new girlfriend.
     It was nice to meet Caz's girlfriend too.  She seems very nice.  Caz appears to be happy.  He is loving college.  It was warm and humid, even at 9 pm, well after dark.  Caz was in jeans.  My jeans actually.  I had been looking for those.  My one pair of dark jeans.  Anyway.  I digress.  The reunion was very nice.  He didn't rush us off either.  It was clear they had plans.  It's a Friday night in college. Of course, they have plans.  But he made an effort to see us.  We hadn't planned on seeing him until tomorrow.  This was a nice surprise,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sick Time

This is our first experience with Caz being sick in college and away from home.  There is not much we can do 1,200 miles away.  We can't bring him soup.  We can't take his temperature.  He has to take care of himself .  He has to get himself to the health center.
     I trust he will figure it out.  If he's hurting enough, he will seek help.  He will have to drag himself to the health center, no after how far from the dorm it is.  Sure, it tears at the heart strings a bit.  It's all apart of growing up.
     He ended up going for a check up.  He had an ear infection and seasonal allergies.  He was given 3 prescriptions.  He had to go to CVS to pick them up.  He had to handle the health insurance.  More opportunities to learn.
    Feel better soon, Son

Saturday, September 9, 2017

First Shift

Coco first real shift.  It's not just watching training videos.  This is the real deal.  I am very proud of him.
     Coco reported back that he was told to grab a cart.  Then he was given a shopping list.  He had to run around the store and grab each item on this list.  Then they had to check out.  He had to bag each item correctly.  Then they had to put everything back.  What a great way to learn the store.  Coco was very upbeat after his shift.  Excellent start.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Managing Expectations

It is ok to modify expectations and goals.  I need to remind myself of that.  Things change.  Change is acceptable.  Even with things going well, there will still be ups and downs.  Good days and bad days. We adjust.  We move on.  Move forward.
     A return to football did happen the way we planned it.  Coco let his anxiety build for weeks.  Months maybe.  The conditioning was too much.  He anguished over saying anything.  But he was secretly miserable.  He let it consume him.  Demi finally got him to face facts.  He broke down while letting it gush out of him.  Demi cried while listening.  Fortunately, Coco had a therapy session that day.  Timing is everything.  Though neither said it, I feel like Coco was scared to tell me.  Demi used kid gloves too.  Honestly, I felt some anger.  Some frustration.  I felt like he was giving up on himself.  But the relief could be seen on him.  It was as clear as day.  That made it the right decision.
     However, we still wanted Coco active.  We wanted him part of a team.  Demi placed a call to Coach Calrissian.  He knows Coco from School and from helping Coco through his tough times.  He was a central part of his success last year.  Coach Calrissian offered Coco a spot as a team manager.  The team would work with Coco's schedule.  Coco could work and attend practices  and games.  It sounded like a great middle ground.
     Tonight is the home opener.  Coco was fired up for it.  I took him down an hour early to start helping out.  He seemed happy.  That is important.  He needs to be happy about this.  I truly think he is.  So now the expectations are different.  And that is ok.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day 2017

Some lament this weekend.  They call it the end of summer.  Phooey!  With global warming, it's not going to get cold for a while yet.  Plus, it is college football weekend.  College football season is really the most wonderful time of the year.
     The Noel's opened against Bama. Sure the Noles got hammered.  Sure they lost their star QB.  Auburn opened up with an inferior opponent.  But hey...war eagle!  There were great games this weekend.  We got to the beach.  We grilled.  We drank great beer.  What is not to love?  And with college football, Coco wants to spend time with the old man.  He want to talk with the old man.  Even Caz chimed in from Auburn.  Life is good.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Drive Time

Demi is organizing a carpool for the start of the school year.  Coco hasn't finished his required drive time. We were warned.  This particular driving school in Kingston is really hard to get drive times.  The classroom part is excellent.  The testing is great.  They have the RMV come to them for the drive test.  But now we are past when Coco is eligible to take his test.  We didn't request bus service for him.  So now?  Carpool time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back to School 2017

it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  Back to school day!  Sure, it's only one child this year.  But I will take it.  Back to normalcy.
     Coco did a great job.  He was up early.  On his own.  Got dressed.  Brushed teeth.  Brushed his hair.  He also wanted to go to school ten minutes early.  What a great way to start the year!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Week One

This is the first week without Caz.  It is different for sure.  It is still summer, so we don't have a routine to keep us occupied and diverted from change.  
     It is quieter.  There is no thundering of steps coming down the stairs.  Demi actually misses that already.
     There is no fighting over the bathroom.  Coco is still sleeping in, so we will have to see how the school morning routine goes. Coco won't ever admit he misses his brother.  In time, I bet he does.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Adjustment Period

It is certainly different without Caz in the house.  It is not a knock, but it is quieter.  There is no more thundering while descending a staircase.  There is no sibling rivalry.
     Dinner is a two on one.  Coco gets our undivided attention.  He may miss his deflector soon.  Not yet though.
     Sure, I am a little sad.  I miss Caz.  He makes me laugh.  But I am happy for him.  He is off on a whole new adventure.
     We will adjust.  It will take some time.  Things won't get back to normal.  We have to find a new normal.  That will take some time.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Home Again

Demi and I came back from dropping off Caz.  The house was still standing, and relatively clean.  Same can be said of Coco & Gizmo.  They fared well taking care of the house and each other.  
     Caz ate dinner next door, at my parents one night.  Not a home cooked meal.  Probably better, if I polled Coco.  He is a fan of Papa Gino's.
     The nest surprise was Coco getting a job.  After 3 months in purgatory with Star Market and their "computer glitch ", it took all of three days for Coco to land a gig with Roche.  He was very proud of himself.  As he should be.  It is a big deal.  Demi and I were thrilled.

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

We took Caz and Hunter out to dinner.  It's great Caz has a buddy from Duxbury there at Auburn with him.  Hunter is a nice kid.  We hit Moe's original BBQ.  Great place.  We drove them back to the dorm.  Demi and I had a few things to drop off with Caz.  Then the boys had some campus activity to get to.  The moment had arrived.  It was time to say goodbye to our first born.  It hit me pretty hard.  I held it together.  I knew it would be waterworks for Demi.  Caz grinned and bore it.  It went as well as it can.  Our boy is off on his own.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Move In Day

Today was the big day.  I expected chaos.  While there was some construction that was problematic and a bit of communication challenges, overall the process was smooth.  Really.  For a huge school,  this was methodical.  They had the sidewalks open for cars.  They had you park in front of the dorm.  They had you unload everything, then go park the car.  Caz and Demi got the keys and started moving stuff while I parked the car.  The directions to the Quad parking were lackluster but I found a spot eventually.
     I got back to move the last of the stuff.  Then the Nesting started.  I was smart enough to stay out of the way.  Caz was not.  Demi needed to do her thing.  That will probably be the only time the bed is made.
     We got to meet the roommate and his parents.  They couldn't have been nicer.  They parents went to Auburn.  The mom's family was still a mile away from campus.  Her college roommate was there dropping off her freshman daughter.  We all went out to lunch.  The kids ate at theirs own table.  Instant friends.  It was really nice.  Demi nested some more after lunch but we finally let Caz get started on dorm life.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Drop off 2017

The ship & cargo leave today.  Ok.  Fine.  Plane, not ship.  We ultimately decided to fly.  One the end, Caz only has three 50 lbs bags to take to Alabama.  He didn't need his TV but chose to ship it.  Demiput in an order of supplies to be picked up at Walmart in Auburn.  Flying saved us 17 hours in the car.
     It's real now.  Our little boy is leaving.  This will be a bittersweet trip.  It is the start of a new chapter in his story.  I am excited for him.  I am proud of him for getting here.  But I will miss him.  It's hard to believe he is grown up to this point.  Where did my little boy go?
     I will have to keep an eye on Demi.  She will have a hard time saying goodbye.  She will let him go in the end.  But it won't be easy.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


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


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.