Saturday, November 27, 2010

When did I become a "geezer"???

Hello again!  After taking a much needed hiatus from my stressful writing life...(yes, I am being very sarcastic)...ok, seriously, I do not have an excuse for not writing in the blog since my son has made many humorous comments, caused me to lose more hair, and given me enough material to write a novel that would give War and Peace a run for its money in the past two weeks, other than...well, I don't have an excuse; period.

I could say that time has flown by so fast that I didn't realize two weeks have past...but that would only solidify my son's comments.  I could say that I haven't had time because I have been working on the house and couldn't do two things at once...or take a break from one to do the other because it would throw off my rhythm...but that would only further the inevitable solidification of my son's comments.  So, I won't say anything at all...except to my many (all 3 - but growing!) followers, I apologize for the delay. 

So, when, exactly, did I become a geezer?  Yes, my son calls ME a geezer.  The last time I checked, a geezer is someone who is slow moving, old, and unable to do the things he once was able to do with ease.  According to the dictionary, a geezer is an old person, especially an eccentric old man. 

Am I old?  NO!  Am I eccentric?, not really...ok, maybe a little bit.  But I am not OLD!  Well, maybe I am older than my son, but I am younger than a lot of other people in his life.  So, based on this technicality, I am not a geezer.

Of course, when I was his age, I thought 18 was the age I would become an adult, 20 was old, 30 was soooo far away, and 40 would never come.  Forget the rest, since I was unable to process that far in advance at such a tender young age.  Now, at nearly the youthful spring chicken age of 40, I look back and think, wow, I really didn't know too much at 10.  At 20, I realized my parents were right some, ok, most of the time...30 was just the beginning of my life, and at 40, I'm still learning what it means to be alive and looking forward to what the next 40 years have in store!  What scares me the most, though, is trying to figure out at what age my next epiphany comes...and what it will bring.  

So, as I take a bite of my humble pie, I have to say, yes, perhaps I am a geezer...but only to my son...well, and his friends...and probably a few other kids.  Ok, we will just stop that nonsense right there. 

However...I refuse to say, admit, claim, that I am old.  I can still (with a bad knee, too!) whip his butt in a foot race, overpower him in an arm wrestling contest (left OR right handed), outsmart him (most of the time) in a battle of wits, throw a ball (any) farther then he can, and best of all, I can still command complete control of the remote!  Ha!  So, there, you young whipper snapper, how do you like them apples?  ...geezer?...I think not!  Now, what was I going to write about?

Hey!  Who's that geezer with the bald/gray hair dancing with my wife?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

(To be said in an Italian accent) - Kuita ya belliachi

One of the best things about moving to a different location/state is getting to take in all of the new surroundings, new restaurants, new traditions, and new sights.  In other words, everything is NEW!  Most of it is exciting, some of it is boring, but no matter what it is, it is something new.

A few weeks ago, we were checking out our unfamiliar territory and decided to hop into a small, one-off, Italian restaurant.  I use the term "Italian restaurant" very loosely because it was more like an over-priced pizza joint that happened to serve variances on the doughy tomato and cheese pie.  They did have a decent Stromboli, though!

Anyway, it was apparent the owners were from the New York area, judging from the decorations on the wall.  Their attempt at making a hole in the wall more appealing by decorating with Yankee and Giants nick-knacks was not lost on me.  I'll give them an A for effort, but an F for their choice of team memorabilia - hey, I'm a Washington DC team fan, what can I say?

Despite the ugly sports team memorabilia, there was one sign that made this place have a spot in our permanent memory banks.  It was because of this sign that we will probably go back, at some point, and try them again...while overlooking the Giants/Yankees junk.

The sign was a simple, ordinary, boring sign that had letters painted on a weathered strip of wood.  It was what my son said that made it so memorable.

A little past the half way point of our meal, in his best Italian accent, my son asks, "Mom, what does 'Kuita ya belliachi', mean?"  My wife and I speak multiple languages, but Italian is not one of them. We can usually figure out what a phrase in Italian or Portuguese mean, based on the languages that we know (Spanish and French).   "Kuita ya belliachi" was not one of these phrases that was easily figured out, though...until we looked at the sign...

Hanging on the wall behind us, the rustic looking sign read "Quityourbellachin'!" Karma must have been in full force that day since we had just discussed the fact that he needed to stop complaining and whining about stuff.  Quit your belly aching, stop whining, stop complaining, and any other phrase we have used in the past has now, permanently, been replaced with Kuita ya belliachi.  So far, it is working well.

This, of course, brings up a piece of advice I would like to share that may help you in the future...assuming you have children.  Sometimes, parents can get into a rut, just like kids.  What worked before, isn't even cause for hesitation on their part now.  In other words, kids become immune to time-outs, restrictions, and no candy days.  A month ago, any of these responses/threats would have stopped them dead in their tracks, shaped them up in a jiffy, and life would have been good and moved on. At some point, they decided time-outs are bearable enough that the price of sneaking a candy is worth the payment of sitting in a corner for five minutes.
As parents, we need to be creative because we never know when something will stop working.  These are the times that we need to say, "Kuita ya belliachi!" so that he gets the point.  In the case of his belly achin', his whining changes to laughter after we say the family phrase in our best Italian accents.  Of course, this has only been in practice for a little over a week, but it is is working so far!

When this one stops working, we will try to draw from our family experiences to trigger his attitude stopping mechanism to work quickly...otherwise, it's back to the drawing board, and back to him sitting in time-out...only this time it will be for 30 minutes so that I can take a quick power nap!

Do you have a family motto or sayings that only you and your family would understand?  I would love to hear about them, if you do.  Feel free to send me an e-mail or post a comment.

Please be sure to check out the Examiner article that corresponds to this story HERE.  

As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010

17th Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival - Alternate title: Who is Clevis, Dad?

I just finished an article on the 17th Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival on the Examiner. ( Renfest article ) In the article, I touched on some of the basics about the festival, but there were a few things that I could not put in there that I can put in the blog.  Some of the things that made me laugh, chuckle, smile, and remember why I love being a dad.

The festival was very much like the Maryland Renaissance Festival; full of vendors peddling their goods, lots of food to purchase - some of it really really good, some not so much -, cold beer to enjoy (which might have been good if it wasn't so cold outside and idiot me wasn't wearing shorts and a tee-shirt), awesome costumes, great performances, cool swords, neat jousting tournaments, and cleavage. Yes, I said cleavage, but I am not going to discuss that...yet.

The festival was all that I had hoped for...well, except for having to park at the very far edge of the parking lot and having to walk two miles before actually entering the gate. As we approached the gate, my son's enthusiasm began to shine as if he just hit the million dollar jackpot.  Dressed in makeshift renaissance gear, complete with his homemade (made by yours truly) shield, Oklahoma Medieval Faire  purchased sword, and a white tee-shirt decorated by Sharpie with his own designs, he was ready to experience all that North Carolina Renaissance Festival had to his Chuck Taylor high tops...The participants of the festival, and some of the patrons, were dressed in period costume, and yes, there was some cleavage...but that is still for later.

Immediately after entering the gate, he wanted to run to every store that had anything to do with hats, swords, or knight armor.  Unfortunately for him, his mother, me, and his aunt pulled back on the reigns and kept him at bay.  Don't worry, he got to do plenty of what he wanted, so I did not earn the title of "Worst Dad Ever!" from him...yet.

His excitement popped into overdrive as he saw the wooden ships go round and round.  With enthusiasm, he politely asked if he could ride them.  Then he asked if I would go on it with him.  Now, these "ships" were more like wooden dinghies that could hold one average sized person, or two small kids.  My son is not a small kid, and I am 6'3" 250lbs.  Needless to say, I did not go on the ride with him.

After I got over the initial shock of the price to sit in a wooden tub and go around in a circle, I changed lenses on the camera and tried to snap off a few shots.  I did not look at them until today...the joy on his face left me wanting to relive the moment and my own childhood when life was so much easier.  How often do we, as adults, pay three bucks for anything that makes us grin from ear to ear?  Maybe we need to search harder for those moments, or perhaps we need to cherish the moments our kids feel when it is happening, and not wait to see them through the memory card stuck in the computer.  Either way, I am really glad I spent those three bucks on those silly dinghies!

As the day progressed, he got to try on helmets, play with swords, and stuff his face with yummy treats (as did I).  At the end of the day, he hustled front row seats in the jousting arena, to watch the final joust - the fight to the death!  Our knight was Sir Maximilian, that mean, cheating, dark knight...who kicked butt, but in the end, good always wins.

Exhausted, cold, and ready to walk the two miles back to the car, we headed out to the parking lot after checking out the remainder of the village.  Sir Max must not have suffered major wounds because he was standing at the exit gate, so we snapped a few pictures.

After the long trek through the wilderness (parking lot), we finally arrived to our chariot.  We had to take my sister home and decided to stop in to say hey to my brother-in-law.  As we were discussing the day, I mentioned to him that he missed out on some good sights...cleavage, to be precise.  His eyes opened wide and he said something along the lines of, "What?  If I had known about the cleavage, I would have gone!"  It was at this point I found out my son is still a kid...thank God.  His response was, "Dad, who is Clevis?"  "Clevis?" I asked, "Yeah, Clevis." he repeated.  All I could think to say, between the chuckles, was, "Don't worry, one day you will understand when you meet those twins yourself."

Don't forget to check out the Examiner article and thanks for reading!
Examiner Link

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm published!!!

Woohoo!  I'm officially a published writer...check it out (hopefully this link will work...)  1st Examiner article  Let me know what you think, and as always, thanks for reading!

Technology and me

Apparently, my computer and the Internet are smarter than me.  The link in the previous post sends you to the main page of the Charlotte Examiner...which is where my writing job is located, but I was hoping to send you directly to my articles.  In addition, the Examiner post has not gone live, yet, so even if the link worked, you wouldn't be able to see anything anyway.  Therefore, when it goes live, I will try again...after all, I always tell my son, there is a solution to every problem...I suppose I need to listen to my own words and figure out the solution to this problem, huh?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Intro Part II

Hello again!

So I promised a bit about who I am, why I am writing this blog, and what to look for in the future.  As I type this, I am on my wife's laptop...hmmm, that didn't come out right.  No, I am not physically on the laptop, but I am typing using her get the idea.  Anyway, I hate typing on laptops because my fingers are too big for these keys.  Therefore, my first disclaimer of the blog is this...Due to the teeny tiny size of the keys, and my fat fingers trying to make words by tapping said keys, I am most likely going to make mistakes in this post.  Get over it. :)

Now that that is done...As you can see from looking at my profile, my name is Larry. I am a product of the eighties (yes, I wore parachute pants, had a mullet before they were in style, and liked Duran Duran), I married my childhood sweetheart (more on that later), and have a nine year old son. I have lived in multiple countries and states, and found something to love about each place.  I try to stay on the lighter side of life and always look for the good in people.  I believe in accountability, honesty, love, integrity, and the fact that one can never stop learning.  I believe a mistake is not a mistake if you learn the lesson from it.  I like to write, but often end up rambling as my ADD mind wanders from topic to topic faster than I can type...actually, it wanders faster than I can describe in words what it is that I am thinking about, most of the time!  But, I look at it as a creative flow and a colorful outlook on life (more on that later, too!).  I like to explore, try new things, and be amazed.  Fortunately, my son amazes me daily, sometimes because he makes me explore new ways to get him to do his chores!

This blog is an attempt to chronicle the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funnies of my life while raising my son.  Hopefully, the blog will make you laugh, maybe make you cry, get you to say aloud "Uh-huh, I know what you mean!" and maybe even provide some useful insight.  Heck, it might even help me be a better father.  Comments are always welcomed, suggestions will be considered, rudeness will not be tolerated (I'll put you in time-out), and clicking on the ads is always appreciated (they help pay the bills).  This blog may be, at times, sarcastic, snarky, silly, short, long-winded, hilarious, heart warming, sad, enlightening, and many other descriptive words that will come along as my son continues to grow into (hopefully) a fine young man.

This blog is a supplement to another writing forum I am participating in.  The link to that forum is here.  That is my paid reporting job - please check it out often for a different take on things.  That page is more formal, more of a how-to, and written as professionally as I possibly can be.  In other words, I won't be typing on the wife's laptop when I submit articles to that link!  If this blog directly relates to what I am writing on the other page, I will try to remember to post a link, but check it out randomly, because my ADD may kick in and I will forget what I was writing about and forget the link...

As for a little background about my son, I became his dad when he was four years old.  His mother (my childhood sweetheart) and I married in 2006 and a year or so later, his first dad died.  A father dying at any age is traumatizing enough, but for such a bright little guy, the inability to understand the whole concept has proven to be very difficult.  However, as I said, he is very bright and he is finding ways to make life more enjoyable, and as the days go by, the pain subsides and the laughter is coming back strong.  He is growing into a fine young man, and with any luck, my good traits (yes, I do have some) will pass on to him.  Now, I know that every parent says their child is bright, but we have tests to prove just how bright he is...all I am going to say is, uh-oh...if he ever figures out how to harness his abilities, I'm in big trouble!  If he and I ever have a battle of the wits, he will be frustrated since I came unarmed! 

So, what you can look for in the future is commentary on the day's events, short stories about previous happenings, things we have done, things he has said, things he has done and what we (my wife and I) have done in response.  As I said before, I hope to use this blog as a way to maintain my sense of humor and continue looking at the lighter side of life.  No matter how frustrating it may be, there is always a positive side.

Thanks for reading!  "See" you next time and please take a moment to say hey!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pondering fatherhood - Intro Part I

So, here it is, the first entry of my first blog and I have nothing remarkable to say.  I sure hope that isn't going to be a regular occurrence! 

I suppose a brief explanation of the reason behind this attempt to reach the masses is in order.  About a month ago, my wife, son, and I moved from Oklahoma to North Carolina.  The move was fairly typical; full of headaches, moving expenses, unfamiliar territory, and all the other fun stuff that comes along with packing up two 26' (yes...TWO 26 foot) moving trucks.  But, it was not all bad.  As a matter of fact, I would do it all again (maybe tweak a few things) if it meant moving to this beautiful place.  Hills, mountains, ocean, warm weather, changing leaves, what more could you ask for?  But, I digress.  The primary reason for writing this blog is simply to share the joy and frustrations of raising a son.  Hopefully, more joy than frustration...but only time will tell. My goal is to show other parents that they are not alone, provide some humor to stressful situations, provide some insight to raising children, laugh at myself, entertain others, and have an online journal of all the cool and amazing things a nine year old is sure to bring. 

Since this is my first entry, I am too excited to see what it looks like and am going to publish this now.  But, in the second part of the Intro, I will go into further detail about who I am, why I am blogging, and what to look for in the future.  Thanks for reading!