Amusement


The kids have created a game that keeps them amused on road trips. They put their fingers deep into their ears and yell. Sometimes they’ll just yell “AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”, or sometimes they’ll yell “DAAAAAD!!!” and I’ll be driving and I’ll respond, “What, is something wrong?” and they will say they can’t hear me. They love this game and are fascinated that fingers wedged into their ears can muffle the noise of their screams.

This game is not so much fun for the other members of the car, but give them credit for amusing themselves.



Changing Perspective On Fireworks


I believe in the past I have advocated that the United States take a more lenient position on fireworks. At the risk of being called a flip-flopper, I think I am beginning to reconsider my stance on this issue as a direct result of a crazy incident this past weekend.

Let’s begin this story by going back a couple weekends to Jim’s retirement party. As we prepared and planned for the party, we designated various attendees with different procurement responsibilities from food to drink to fireworks. As the sun was setting on the retirement party and the keg was halfway empty, we made a surprising discovery,
the attendee in charge of firework procurement had performed exceedingly well at the task. The first fireworks went soaring through the sky like a bullet on fire and exploded into glittering star that fell through the night. Immediately afterward, you heard the next mortar dropped into a tube “fwump”, it hurling itself through the pipe into the sky “shwoot”, and finally a “boom” that you felt on your chest and rattled the windows. Immediately, I had realized that this was three things:
1. This was illegal
2. It was taking place in my back yard
3. This is probably dangerous for a variety of reasons

At the risk of being the lamest people at the party, Jac and I consulted, and asked that we end the fireworks show prematurely. There were some groans, but we still had plenty left to eat and in the keg and life resumed.

Fast forward to last weekend. In my garage we had two large unused fireworks. One was a tube with mortars, I determined this to be too dangerous an item and left it sit in the corner of my garage. The other firework was a large rectangular box that had a fuse on the side. It was big, rectangular, and sort of heavy. It didn’t look like the mortar thing, so I assumed it would shoot out some sparks, crackle, and whistle into the night. I told Jaclyn my intentions of lighting the firework and she was adamantly against it. This was one of those times in life where I decided to just go for it, light the damn thing, and we’d all be happy that I didn’t listen to her.

I lugged the big box into the middle of my back yard into a clearningbetween the trees that border our property on both sides. I looked up and saw nothing but clear sky. I grabbed the lighter, bent down next to the box, lit the fuse, and ran full speed back to our patio, a good 50 feet away from the box. Winston, Dalia, Jaclyn, and I all looked at the simple box in varying sorts of anticipation. FWUMP! SHWOOT! BOOM! FWUMP SHWOOT BOOM! FWUMP SHWOOT BOOM!!! Again and again, mortars are shooting rapid fire from this box of horror and they’re not going straight up! Mortars blast 45 degrees to the right, shooting skyward on a 45 degree angle right through trees and exploding in other yards, they were shooting straight up, I was pleading with the box to make it stop and it just kept going faster and faster. 20 seconds seemed like a lifetime as I calculated the possible damage and legal issues that I would no doubt be dealing with at the conclusion. There were 4 different reactions to the stimuli:
1. Two houses down, a large family barbeque was happening and they cheered and hollered in appreciation
2. Dalia was terrified and went into the house
3. Our next door neighbor immediately starting hosing down his roof as a precaution
4. Jac did not validate my decision to proceed with lighting the firework against her guidance

I must say that my neighbors are pretty understanding people, I will leave it at that. I did several laps around the neighborhood to inspect for any smoldering ashes or forest fires, we slept with the windows open to ensure we catch the faintest whiff of smoke, and I stayed up into the early hours of the morning because I couldn’t stop worrying.

After a couple days to reflect on the issue, the cops haven’t arrested me yet, fires have been avoided, and things are good with the neighbors, so all is back to the same, accept now I think some firework restrictions are perhaps a good idea.

Interstates


First, I’ve been thinking about the objective of my blog and while it was initially geared to spur discussion and be somewhat amusing, I have now shifted gears to make it more of a catalog of thoughts and perhaps someday it will be interesting for myself or my children to check it out and see how things were at different times. There’s just not enough time to blog regularly now, but I want to capture things when I can. Hope his works for the people who still check in here.

Here’s what I can report today:
I received a text message from Jac a couple days ago while I was at work: “Hey, Dalia caused considerable damage to the TV screen. She scratched it up with a thumbtack. Sorry.”

When I came home from work, I wanted to confront Dalia to explain that I was a little upset about the TV being scratched because it will make it difficult for me to watch the Phillies. She calmly explained, “Well, you can just get mommy to buy you a new one.” I said, “No, TVs are very expensive, we can’t get a new one.” Dalia said, “Well, you, mommy, and Winston can use all your money to buy a new one.”

For some reason, when entering parenthood, I had a determination to do two things:
1. Always answer the question, “Why?”
2. Thoughtfully explain my rational to my children.

Both of these ambitions are starting to fray and I finding that my good intentions are woefully inadequate. The problem with answering the question “Why?” is that it can lead to several hundred more “Whys?”.

For example, “Why is that man in a wheelchair?
Because his legs aren’t working?
“Why?”
Well, could be for due to any number of reasons, maybe he was in a bad accident, maybe he got sick and it caused his legs to stop working.
“Why?”
Why some diseases can cause muscle to stop functioning, they can disable you, some diseases can even kill you.
“Why?”
Well, let’s first talk about the immune system….

The second conundrum of rationally explaining things to my children is fine in theory, but I have concluded that they are two of the least rational people I know! Conversations that used to begin like “Winston, could you please not touch that dead bird because it is foul smelling, potentially hazardous, and could get your clothing dirty” open a long and painful negotiation that will ultimately result in the kids feeling perfectly justified in a full inspection of the dead creature. I have seen my attempts to implore their rational capabilities deteriorate into loud yelling and hollow threats, “WINSTON, IF YOU LEAVE YOUR BIKE IN THE DRIVEWAY, I’M GONNA RUN IT OVER WITH MY CAR!”

Asides from my ineptitude in parenting, I have taken great pleasure in taking my kids fishing the past couple weekends. The kids absolutely love fishing and I hope that never changes. In the past two weeks we’ve caught fish in Lake Nockamixon, a farm pond, the Delaware River, and the canal. The kids really love catfishing (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).

Thanks to the readers hanging in there for all your patience, I’ll post when I can.

Pig Picking & Log Flume Blues


I held a pig roast over the weekend for my father-in-law, Jim. When I contacted the pig people, Blooming Glen Catering, they presented a couple options and ultimately, we decided that the best option for me was to try and do it myself. I rented their “fool proof” roaster, picked up a 60 pound pig (that’s 60 lbs without the guts) and brought it home for the party. I piled in 60 lbs of charcoal at 7AM, slapped the pig on it at 8AM, closed the lid and let it cook until 4PM. I stabbed the pig with the thermometer and it was at the proper temperature for serving. It was pretty easy to do and a lot of fun, hope we have an excuse to do another roast a couple years from now.

I had the day off on Monday and took the family to Dorney Park because I had a couple free tickets. My primary objective was to take the kids on a log flume. Jac, Dalia, Winston and I all hopped onto a log and began the ascent up the mountain, we spiraled around the top through some rapids, proceeded through a waterfall, and finally came flying down the mountain, making a huge splash as we crashed into the lagoon at the bottom. Winston loved it! Dalia was a little freaked out. So we decided that Winston and I would ride again and Dalia and Jac would do something a little more conservative.. There was no line at all so Winston and I raced around, passed through the turnstile and hopped back onto the next log. We repeated the adventure and as we were about to go speeding down the mountain splashing into the lagoon, I explained to Winston that we should put our arms into the air and scream. As I put my arms in the air, Winston bolted for the front of the log, dove under the front portion where you put your feet, and as the water came splashing up, Winston started to scream. I asked, “What the heck were you doing? Why did you dive into the front of the log?” His response “I DIDN’T WANT TO GET WET!” Our log rolled around to to the exit point and I carried him off as he cried and cried. I examined his head and noticed a gigantic goose egg bump on him, I guess from rattling around in the front of the log as it crashed into the water. We had been at Dorney for 10 minutes, rode 1 ride, and the kid managed to seriously injure himself. We spent the remainder of the day taking it pretty easy on the kid rides at Planey Snoopy and avoided the big rides that might rattle his brain any further.

Despite the big bruise, we had a great day at Dorney and enjoyed about 4 hours of fun in the sun.

It was nice having a couple days off with the family, the kids are at an age where they can really be entertained and it is really a lot of fun. Feeling very lucky to have a healthy and adventurous family.