The Furnace & the Sculptor

Yesterday was a trying day for Jaclyn.  Things beyond her control began to happen, shampoo ended up in Dalia’s eye, Winston was agitated, and I was going to be home a little later than normal as I was driving home from Bayonne, NJ. 

The kids were screaming, Winston said things that he now regrets, and Jac was feeling a little disappointed in it all.  I mean, its understandable, Jac is all in on this thing, she has put all her chips into this family, our children, our marriage and some days it seems like the house wins it all and you’re just feeling the pangs of regret and wondering if its such a good idea to invest so heavily in something that yields such varying returns.   Well, I can only imagine that is what she feels, I have my time much more heavily diversified through work, softball, fantasy football, internet browsing, and XBOX playing…but Jaclyn gives everything she has to the family. 

I remember one time I asked my mom to do something when I was younger, I probably neglected to use manners as well.  My mom replied that she was not the maid, and I responded, “Yes you are”.  Oh boy, that was not the correct thing to say!!!  Never have I seen such wrath in mother’s eyes and tone in her voice as when that triumph of stupidity exited my mouth.  I never forgot and never made that mistake again.  Kids are like steel, they can only be molded with care, after they’ve been put through the fire.  My father was the fire and my mother was the sculptor.

When I received the call on the ride home last night, I knew Jac needed me to whip up the furnace, to stoke the flames of discipline, and she did not need to ask twice as I heard the frustration in her voice. 

After I stormed around the house, made dire ultimatums, and sent the kids to bed, the house silenced and rested uneasy.  The dog, Toby, wasn’t sure what to do and anxiously paced around the house.  Even I, wasn’t sure what to do next and cleared the table and checked the mail. 

Jaclyn allowed her blood pressure to stabilize, returned to the children’s bed rooms, explained her pain and sculpted them into something better.  She was stern and careful, the kids listened, and went to sleep understanding that they fell short and aspired to improve (or else they go through the furnace again!). 

Dalia woke up in the middle of the night coughing and screaming, sick and possibly having a nightmare, I got up and comforted her, rubbed her back and petted her hair, it had no effect and her crying continued.  Jac asked that I bring Dalia to her and when I did, the crying stopped.  Little Dalia is nestled against her mother still as I write this, she looks content and all better, Jac is such a wonderful sculptor. 

The Big Secret

Sometime over the holiday break, my six year old son, Winston casually said, “Dad, I have a big secret that I can never ever tell anyone.”  I didn’t think much of it, I just told him that he should always feel comfortable telling me anything and I’ll love him no matter what. 

Winston has also been talking quite a bit about Abraham Lincoln lately and must have brought him up in his kindergarten class. Last night at dinner, Winston told us that his teacher said Abe Lincoln was the best president ever.  That provoked a lot of discussion around the table and I went into a long story about President Lincoln’s honesty and how that was his greatest quality. I brought up the story of Abe cutting down the tree and owning up to it. 

As that discussion around Abe was wrapping up, I casually said to Jaclyn, “By the way, Winston told me a couple weeks ago that he has a big secret and he can never tell anyone”.  This is how guys and women are different, I never thought much of the secret at all, but this unlocked infinite curiosity inside Jaclyn.  Jac launched into a series of probing questions, Winston wasn’t budging.  Jac asked if there was a specific person in the family that could know, like, “What if you told your sister Dalia, could you just tell her the secret?” Winston did not budge. 

Finally, with the story of Abe Lincoln’s honesty weighing heavily on him, Winston straightened up in his chair and announced to us that he was going to tell the secret. The suspense in the dining room was hanging all over us, millions of possibilities were going through our heads, Winston’s tense expression appeared to be calculating the ramifications of releasing the confidential info, and finally, he spoke:

“Sometimes, when Daddy is sleeping, I drink some of his ice tea.”

And I’m not sure if it is because I had the flu and haven’t been sleeping too well, or that I felt bad he had worried so much over something so small for so long, or that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the other secrets we all imagined, but I actually teared up and gave him the biggest hug I can remember, then I picked up Dalia and gave her a big hug too.

I love my ice tea and now I’ll enjoy it even more with that memory, I might even start pouring a glass for Honest Winston.   


What A Year – 2012 Edition

Sorry its taken me longer to get to my annual tradition of summarizing the things I’ve learned over the last year, but better late than never!

10. This was my busiest year for travel to date, here’s my top five favorite beers I tried on the road: Shiner Bock in Texas, anything from New Belgium Brewery in Colorado, Goose Island in Chicago, Abita’s Turbo Dog from New Orleans, and anything from the Great Dane Pub in Madison, Wisconsin.
9. I’ve been thinking about building a computer that has recorded statements from me on every subject imaginable so that when I someday die, people can ask the computer for my thoughts and I’d still live on.  I then realized that this already happens with good parents anyways, I can hear my mom and dad’s voice constantly in my head whenever I need guidance. 
8. On the beach in the Outer Banks, I decided to let a crab pinch my finger to teach my kids a lesson (I have no idea what lesson I was trying to teach them, possibly that their father was capable of extreme stupidity).  The crab pinched my finger, the kids screamed, and I shook my hand violently trying to get it off. Winston finally disengaged the crab by throwing sand on it…lesson is that throwing sand on crab is a solution to release its pinch.   
7. I deactivated my Facebook account this year, I don’t miss it a bit.
6. Two of my favorite tourist things I did this year were related to dead presidents: visiting the Ford Theater in Washington, DC and the spot of JFK’s assassination in Dallas.  Honestly, if you’re ever in DC, go to the Ford Theater and then walk across the street to where Lincoln died after being shot, it’s powerful & free. 
5. Jac was riding in a canoe I was paddling in Florida, I paddled it into a six foot alligator.  Jac made it clear that I should not do that again moving forward. 
4. Winston had his tonsils out this year, scariest moment of the year for me, but easily the best thing we did this year.
3. I learned so much driving in France, one thing of importance was that you can get photographed by gray boxes for speeding and then mailed speeding tickets.  I did a lot of speeding before I found out about the gray boxes. Last week I received a letter from the rental car company in the mail, I was certain it was going to be a $1,000 bill for speeding tickets…fortunately, it was just a solicitation for me to join their loyalty program.  Maybe I got lucky.
2. My favorite meals of the year: a cheeseburger at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia and a jumbo Chicago Hot Dog at Wrigley Field.
1. Still so saddened by by the amount of gun violence in America. Here’s a site that tracks gun violence since Sandy Hook:

812 people have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook, days after Sandy Hook a kid made threats and was arrested in Council Rock South, as much as I don’t want to do it, but I may have to nominate Jac for a political career. 

Here’s a list of previous year end reviews:





Best Pics From 2012

2012…What A Year!

Here we are at the Ithaca Farmers Market (before it got packed!)

Jac always snaps pics of the kids artwork so they are forever captured, I love this one because Dalia is so happy!

Winston’s First Day of Kindergarten

Jac in Palm Springs…they say pictures tell a thousand words, the story in this one is that she’s an awesome and beautiful person.

The kids caught a frog at their grandparents.  Dalia is an expert frog catcher!

Here I am with some wahoo caught off the Outer Banks on a charter boat

Jac & I in Paris, I am wearing my snappy shirt.

Winston on the beach with a bucket on his head

Dalia happy to be creating another masterpiece