The Teddy Roosevelt

I went to Lowe’s today with the kids, (only 7 days away from being the Mayor, should have that wrapped up by the next weekend.) and we needed to get a five gallon bucket of sealer/primer paint for the newly sanded walls for the house. Exciting stuff I know.

While the bucket was in “The Shaker” The woman behind the counter placed the large wooden stir stick on the counter. I picked up the stick, turned to Joey and said… “Wow, this is the Teddy Roosevelt.” Joey looked at me like he usually does… which his “Really Dad? Really?” look.

I asked him, “do you get the reference of the Teddy Roosevelt?” He responded… “Oh yeah, I get it Dad… Roosevelt… The Big Stick… That’s what she said.”

Um… wait. Did he really throw down a “that’s what she said” in the Lowes paint department? Nice… real nice Joey. The Teddy Roosevelt just met The Bill Cosby.


The Home that Memories Built

“This will be weird. This will no longer be our home. The home I grew up in. Everything will be different.”

That’s what Joey said to me today. And he’s right. It will be different. We are moving into a new house soon and leaving our current home after 10 years. 10 years of winter snowfalls, summer gardens and fall croquet. Bus stop pick-ups and dropoffs, backyard baseball, playroom cleanings and blanket forts. Morning get out-of-bed struggles and afternoon naps. Sunday after church luppers, muggy nights, Halloween trick or treatings, family game nights and Phantom of the Opera dances.

We packed a lot in these 10 years. It’s easy to look to the new house and see the potential of what could be… what will be. But I need to realize that the transition for Joey, Rebekah and Aaron will be a bit more emotional. Our current home is the house they grew up in. Sure we moved from Atlanta, and first lived in Michigan, but for our three children, 609 is their one and only home they remember.

I decided to make a list of ten memories from our home at 609 bay rd. These are in no particular order. How could I pick one as the best?

10. Playing Monopoly for the first time as a family with everyone playing by themselves. This was a big deal. Aaron is old enough now, Rebekah is patient enough now, and Joey can be banker. Life is good.

9. The Garden. We spent many a Summer cultivating our small 10′ x 14′ garden. Over the years it changed location, shape and its yearly crop was always different. We tried herbs, eggplant, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, squash, lettuce and radishes. Really only cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes grow there. Perfect for Summertime BLTs.

8. I will miss seeing the deer come every morning in the backyard to eat the cucumbers from the garden. The time Joey was stopped in his tracks due to the two deer that went galloping by was particularly amusing.

7. The day Magglio Ordonez hit a walk off home run to send the Tigers to the 2006 world series. I picked Joey up and spun him in the living room.

6. After dinner backgammon. Best two out-of-three. Julie would win some, I would win some. Sometimes we’d let each other win just to be nice.

5. The realization that living on a main road means that the snow plows leave a thick icy goodness at the base of the driveway that a Buick can never get through.

4. All the family and friends that made the trek to come see us. We truly appreciated the visits. Most of the time we made the journey. To have the ability to share our home was always a welcome change.

3. There is nothing like the final inning of a World Serious game in the back yard. Me batting left handed, and Joey swinging for “Dave’s Yard” for the easy home run. Rebekah always on my team and Aaron always trying 110% just to impress his older brother.

2. Bath time: Blue Guy and his boat, Red Guy, and Green Guy. Singing the Jaws theme while the frog lurked below the surface waiting for just the right time to strike.

1. The birth of our son Aaron John. He came one month early on July 19th. We had nothing prepared. I spent the weekend cleaning the crib, bassinet, and explaining to my Mother-In-Law, who came that day to help us, why we had nothing prepared.

The new house will be a welcome change, and Joey is right, everything is different. But change is good. It will just take awhile for the new house to become our home. And the current home on Bay Rd has one thing the new house on Majestic will never be able to achieve. The title from the Mayernik Trio as “The Home I Grew Up In.”

Alphabet Mix Vol 1.

I have written enough soul searching blog posts over the last month. For my own sanity, I thought I change things up a bit. The concept here is simple… 26 letters of the alphabet… 26 Artists from A to Z. One interesting list of music.

Check all, or some of them out. I have included links to all the songs below. If you like music like I do then they’ll not disappoint. Maybe you’ll know some of these, maybe not. Hopefully you’ll get turned on to some new tunes, and be inspired to make your own alphabet list. Then, send it to me in the comment section of this blog, and then you’ll inspire me. Enjoy.

Augustana – Boston
Barenaked Ladies – Crazy ABC’s
Chamberlin – Souvenirs
Dido – Life For Rent
Evanescence – Call Me When Your Sober
The Format – Snails
G.Love – Astronaut
Head Automatica – Beating Heart Baby (Chris Lord Alge Mix)
Interpol – NARC
James – Say Something
Keane – Is It Any Wonder?
Long-View – One More Try
Masters Of Reality – The Candy Song
Nickel Creek – Helena
Oasis – Lyla
Pearl Jam – Just Breathe (Live @ Austin City Limits)
Queens of the Stone Age – Long, Slow Goodbye
R.E.M. (featuring Peaches) – Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter
Sia – Breathe Me (Mylo Remix)
Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World
U2 – Instant Kharma
Violent Femmes – I Held Her in My Arms
Weekend Players – Jericho
XTC – Frivolous Tonight
Yellowcard – Lights And Sounds
Zero 7 (featuring Jose Gonzalez) – Futures

Electrical 101

My father was a master electrician, and was very handy when it came to power tools and carpentry. Me not so much. I have the desire, some of the tools, but none of the knowledge. The new house has ramped up all three of those aforementioned points. I’m eager to learn how to do all the household repairs, renovations and fixes that I can, and I need to buy a few new tools along the way. Tonight was particularly stressful. I wish my Father was here to help me, but alas that’s not to be. My Father has been gone since 1989. Thankfully my brain fills in the gaps to trick my memory into thinking he can.

This was my first attempt at electrical work in the new house. Simple stuff to my father, a former master electrician. Drill some holes. Move some boxes. Run some lines. Attach some outlets. This is Electrical 101… in an out in a half hour. Simple stuff right? Yeah, sure. It took me a good 5 minutes to get the courage to cut the first wire from the outlet, and when I did my head was titled, my eyes were squinted, teeth clenched and I was super tense. I am not going to get into the reasons why this is a big deal for me in this post, but those who know why… know why.

The nice thing is I spent the evening with my Father. He was constantly over my shoulder saying. “Turn the power off at the breaker, did you check twice? You know the proper way to remove a light socket is… You should really have the proper wire strippers… Good thing your friend Mike is here to help you… Okay, you don’t need four different voltage meters, one good one will do. Really? Who breaks a flat head screwdriver? Are you going to place a dimmer switch for the ceiling fan? Here is how you untwist a wire nut… You need to reroute the wire under the floors to bypass the new opening you made for the french doors… oh by the way the opening is too large for the doors, Joe. Make sure you ground the copper wire. Electrical tape, do you have electrical tape, or did you use it to make smash up derby cars for your stuffed animals again?… Did you make sure the power is off?

Let’s just say it’s a good thing my pal Mike is there to help me. Who knows what my Father would be saying to me if he wasn’t. What I do know is that I would still be sitting on the floor waiting for the courage to cut that wire.

Independence Days

Independence Day. Our one day a year where police turn the blind eye to drunken homeowners shooting off dangerous illegal fireworks. In fact, my half way point in my evening run took me to the parking lot of the local elementary school. A police car was positioned in the bus loop, and right across the street, they were shooting off a fireworks display. The officer seemed unphased, and had no intentions of making the easy bust. I chuckled at the timing of it all, and kept on running… eventually the officer passed me on the road… on to his next speed trap stakeout i bet.

It got me thinking though. Independence Day for America is July 4th, but personal independence is bigger than just one day. It can be any date and can come in all different shapes and sizes. Some may look at independence as starting a new job or filing for a well earned retirement. Living long enough to get the new drivers license, or finally becoming financially responsible to get that new car. Blessing a new marriage or getting rid of your current one. Paying off a student loan, or maybe even taking one out to return to school and finally finish that degree. Independence is something that liberates you from your current situation, rut or baggage. And we all have one. Maybe even a few. For me, Independence Day was June 27th. The day I signed the closing papers for our new house. Independent from renting. Independent from having to restrict our renovations plans or paint colors. Independence from putting a hole in the wall to hang a picture, or expand a room. What’s yours?

Our forefathers threw tea in a harbor, signed a declaration on July 4th, and then gave England the finger. And while I am not flipping anyone the bird any time soon, I would like to enjoy the sweet sound of one as I sit on my new patio. In my house. Yep. My house. (but I can’t hear the birds with all the damn fireworks going off. Can someone please call the cops?)