Posts

Showing posts from 2012

See ya 2012

It's less than an hour and a half before midnight on New Year's Eve. We celebrated New York's new year at 10 p.m. Mountain time, and Lori and Michael went to bed, but Ben is being a trooper and trying to stay awake for 2013. I've cracked open a Bristlecone Brown Ale (microbrewed in Utah -- yes, we have microbreweries here, some good ones, too) and am watching "Return of the Jedi" on Spike. Here's my customary last blog post of the year.

I would be cliche to say 2012 went by too fast, because it did. The year was great. Fun. Productive. Rarely boring.

Yet, I think 2013 can be better. There's a blanket resolution -- improve everything even if it's already good. Enjoying every minute with my family. More writing (202 blog posts in 2012; can I reach 300 in 2013?). More healthy living. Fewer wasted moments. Efficient, productive days. Enough sleep at nights.

Ben is starting to drag just as the battle of Endor is turning in the rebels'/Ewoks' fa…

An expected journey

We took the boys to see "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" today. We originally planned for me just to take Michael a few weeks ago, but the day the screening was scheduled (through Lori's office, mostly for clients but also for staff), we discovered he also had a basketball game. So we went as a family today.

Michael and I liked the movie, but I agree with others' criticisms that the producers are unnecessarily dragging out the book. Almost three hours of movie was possibly too much for Ben, who was antsy and probably drank too much soda (he was bouncing at dinner at Applebee's afterward).

Our Saturday was dominated by movie and a dinner. I took Popcorn to the vet this morning for a couple shots. The weather is still a little cold -- none of the snow we got in the last week is melting. With Christmas over, I am already looking forward to spring.

On the first day after Christmas ...

Image
Christmas came. Christmas went. Ho ho ho.

Growing up, December seemed to last forever. The anticipation leading up to Christmas morning can overwhelm a kid looking forward to presents and several days off school. Dec. 25 couldn't arrive fast enough (I scanned several old pictures today and included this one of me on Christmas morning when I was 9 -- same age as Michael. What's with the green outfit?)

As an adult and a parent, the anticipation is replaced by anxiety. December is so busy, even more so this year because we went to Texas. I'll admit, the anxiety is sometimes good anxiety, but it's there nonetheless. The days and weeks of Christmas music, holiday decorations and shopping decisions (compounded, at least for us, by Michael's birthday) zip past. This year, Christmas seemed more sudden than usual (and I noticed how quickly it went last year as well).

However, I'm not sad or bittersweet Christmas came and went so quickly. Except for Ben getting sick Sund…

Roller boogie

Image
From 1980 to 1984, I owned roller skates. My first pair was a blue-and-white pair without stoppers that were from Sears. I got them right after finishing fourth grade. Our parish had built a gorgeous new gym that could double as a skating rink. I was so uncoordinated, and those skates were scary, but after practicing on our gangway for days, I finally became good enough to go to skating at St. Eugene's (Fridays 7-10, Saturdays and Sundays 1-4; $1, but you needed to bring extra cash to buy a candy bar or a soda).

My second pair was a gym-shoe style skate, gray and blue. I quickly figured out how to learn the stoppers. I never could skate backward, but I could turn and stop.

The third was a more grown-up pair, black boot style. I think I got them before eighth grade, but I didn't use them as much as skating didn't seem as cool. I graduated grade school, so I wasn't really allowed to skate at St. Eugene's once in high school (not that I would have anyway). And I wasn&…

No place to hide

It's after midnight on Friday night, and I'm home from a shift at the newspaper. I'm watching old "Saturday Night Live" episodes on Netflix as I type this. Netflix just added episodes from the 1980s, but unfortunately, they are not complete episodes (no musical guests, and the 1984 episode that Eddie Murphy hosted -- maybe the most quoted episode from my youth, didn't have every skit, including the film where Eddie disguises himself as a white man). I'm actually happy that the wet snow outside has coated the satellite dish, thus forcing me into NetFlix, because I might be too tempted to watch CNN or MSNBC for more coverage of the Connecticut shootings.

After a long day of watching the tragedy unfold, the last thing I needed this late was more reminders on how the world can be a terrible place.

No matter what I do, I can't completely protect my sons.

I can't stop not thinking about this conclusion, even after hours of work and SNL reruns. I know th…

Heroes past

I just started reading a biography of baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax. The book is about 10 years old and is written by the same author who wrote a more recent book on Mickey Mantle: "The Last Boy." These are two athletes I never got to see play. Admittedly, I'm a little bit of a sucker for historical baseball nonfiction -- the sport seems to lend itself to that more than any other.

I was born in 1970. I didn't start watching sports until about 1977. I missed a 100 years of baseball history, a good 70 years of football lore and about 40-50 years of basketball. I can only read about the exploits of sports heroes past, with some occasional film footage thrown in. But watching old video just isn't the same. No offense to NFL Films and ESPN Classic, but watching sports legends decades later isn't the same as experiencing their accomplishments in real time.

In basketball history -- and remember, this is my favorite sport -- I wish I could have seen Bob Cousy p…

The philosophies of Shamu

Image
We are on vacation this week in Texas visiting my family. The one thing Michael really wanted to do on our trip was go to SeaWorld in San Antonio, and today, the day before his ninth birthday, his wish was granted.

The park is in full Christmas mode, with all the shows (the ones still being performed anyway; the park was definitely in off-peak mode) tying in a holiday theme. The dolphin/beluga show was set to music from "The Nutcracker." The Shamu show tied into the miracle of Christmas, because when you think of the birth of Jesus, you naturally also picture an orca doing a midair flip to get some fish as a reward. The sea lion show was slightly Santa-themed. I shouldn't sound so cynical -- the shows still were entertaining and fun, and the boys, especially Ben, enjoyed themselves. I liked the the sea lion show the best, and thankfully, we were high enough in the seating area that we didn't get wet at the Shamu show.

We were blessed with warm weather, though it was …

December

This is December.

Bells. Constant, jingling bells. White and red and green. December is lights gleaming on a cold, quiet night.

December is snow. In other months, snow is somewhat of a nuisance (especially if you aren't much of a skier). But snow in December always is prettier, always more welcome. The first snowballs you form in your hands feel full of potential this month.

Pine permeates December. There is not a more joyous scent than walking through a Christmas tree lot.

December is too many Christmas songs to count. It's year-end lists and countdowns. It's days of preparations for one holiday, than a sudden realization that the next holiday is coming, and with that next holiday, a new calendar. It's Saturday NFL games (though only one this year) and purple and pink candles.

December is George Bailey jumping into the ice after his little brother, falling into the gym floor pool, pulling the wood off the bannister, saying hi to Bedford Falls over and over. It's R…

November

This is November.

Brown and orange. Cool and brisk. Gray skies -- really gray skies that can produce no rain but are simply the norm -- are reintroduced in November. Yes, this month has its share of sunny days that are actually quite pleasant (despite being cool and brisk), but those days are just a tease for colder and bleaker days to come.

November gets dark so early. You hit that time change, and too quickly, that sun is below the horizon too soon every late afternoon. And it only gets worse as winter approaches.

Between the day after Halloween and Thanksgiving's aftermath, November is filling. And sugary. Yet, this is the worst time to work out. The weather isn't always agreeable to exercise outside, and there never seems to be enough time to work out inside. November is indecisive in so many ways.

This month is personal for me because my birthday lands here. I get through it, and the remaining weeks are a blur through Thanksgiving. Maybe I'm not giving the rest of Nov…

My first newspaper job

Before my side goal in November, I had been blogging about some fall memories. I had written this and intended to post it around my birthday, but never got around to it. Before December, here's one more fall memory from way back when.

I've been in the newspaper industry for almost 22 years (and that's not counting my first couple years working for my college's newspaper). Yet my first newspaper job wasn't writing or editing or clerking. Eight years before I set foot in a big-city newsroom, I was a paperboy for a neighborhood weekly.

I had wanted to deliver newspapers, following the lead of some of my friends who did. My parents didn't want me (and them -- on cold days, who's driving?) to take on the commitment of waking up early every morning to deliver a daily newspaper. But in the fall of 1982, they did let me take a job delivering the Harlem-Foster Times. Published once a week, the Harlem-Foster Times was one of a string of neighborhood weekly papers in …

Where I've been, where I'm going

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

I haven't posted in more than month. I've been busy.

For the fourth November, I attempted NaNoWriMo. Three years ago, I finished, achieving a 50,000 word novel. The last two years, I didn't make it so far. But I was optimistic this year. I had an idea that I had been thinking about for months, and in October, I even started writing things down -- characters, plot, logistics. I was looking forward to finishing Novel No. 2 in November. After midnight on Halloween, I started writing and knocked out 700 words before the month was even an hour old.

Then, November happened. November happened in a big way.

November really started in October -- the last two weeks of that month completely throttling my schedule. I wasn't able to manage any more prep work for the novel, and though I was still confident in my imminent creation, I should have recognized the signs that November would be nutty.

On top of the extra meetings, the extra co-op shifts…

Travels and travails

I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop, typing this post and watching "All the President's Men" on TCM. The last two weeks or so have been nonstop, and tonight, I finally feel like something isn't impending. That's false, because things are pending -- contract work, shifts at the newspaper, soccer, more soccer, registering the boys for basketball, Halloween, NaNoWriMo.

We went to Moab last weekend for a little vacation. The trip was fun, culminating with Lori running a half-marathon. As we walked to the car following lunch in Moab after her race, very suddenly, I felt a cold come on. We stopped in Price so I could buy some Cold-Eze and attack the cold, because two hours in, I knew it was going to be annoying. I got a flu shot last week, and I wonder if it was simply a residual effect of the immunization. Nevertheless, it hit quick.

Lori got a one-day break before departing for Milwaukee on a work trip. I felt miserable Monday, slogged through Tuesday, and felt…

Walk the walk

(It's been more than a week since my last post about fall. On the bright side, my Internet is finally faster. Alas, my PC is just slow ...)

This post recalling autumns past is actually about two years: 1993 and 2011. The story starts 19 years ago.

Lori and I had been dating about five, six months in the fall of 1993. She was living at her childhood house on Milwaukee's far west side, keeping it up while her parents, who had moved to northern Wisconsin a few years earlier, tried to sell it. We used to go for long walks at night in her neighborhood and nearby Wauwatosa, just talking, getting some exercise and breathing in the cool fall air. I loved these walks.

As we walked through the residential neighborhoods, I would look at the fronts of houses, some of them with the window shades open, and wonder about the occupants inside. What were their lives like? What did they do today? Were they bored tonight after a long day of work? I didn't want to think that these homeowners w…

Internet intermittent

I'm fondly remembering the days of dial-up.

In 1996, my first foray into the Internet was via America Online. We got a disk with the new computer, plugged our phone into the tower, logged in, endured 30 seconds of an annoying connecting sound, and voila, we were online with a reminder that "You've got mail!"

It all seems so quaint now. We just take instant Internet for granted. Within a couple years after moving into our new house in 2003, we had DSL installed. Double-click on the Netscape shortcut (damn, Netscape sounds so quaint too -- I must have switched to Firefox very soon after) and I was on the web much sooner. And it worked better as well. It had to work better with the arrival of YouTube and websites that ravenously gobbled data. Songs would that would take 20 minutes to download from Napster (the nostalgia continues!) took only two on iTunes. DSL was wonderful.

Eight years later, our Internet is slow again. I thought maybe it was just my older computer, bu…

Paydirt

(Click here for my last post about fall and how nice Wisconsin is this time of year.)

Football is in the fabric of every fall. No matter how much I don't want summer to end, I know that football season is one thing I will look forward to every September. And yes, the football memories abound from all these autumns.

I blogged about my grandfather taking me to a Bears game when I was 9. That wasn't my first Bears game, however -- I went with my dad to one a couple years earlier -- nor was it my last. I saw my high school's football games; unfortunately, the four years I was in high school might have been the losingest stretch in the history of the school (1-8 my junior year, ouch). I saw my first college game at the University of Illinois when I was visiting friends in 1988, then saw a bunch once we moved to Madison. I covered high school football as a reporter. I collected football cards and 25-cent helmets from gumball machines. I played Tecmo Super Bowl. I still own a Mat…

Walk and ride

Image
(My last post about fall was from 1983; I'm zipping ahead to 1998 in this one)

We have lived in Utah for 12 years, and though there are some things I miss about the Midwest (SuperDawg and Leinenkugel's top the list), we don't miss the weather. Winters here aren't as cold and not nearly as snowy, May is absolutely gorgeous, summer is hot but not humid, and fall so far has been sunny and warm. That said, I miss the Midwestern fall, particularly the northern Wisconsin fall. The temps here in Salt Lake stay warm into October, it briefly cools off into sweatshirt weather, and then, it's winter. In other words, true fall is truly short. I don't mind the extended summer, but if winter is going to happen, you might as well enjoy the fall.

While living in Wisconsin, we didn't get up north in the fall to visit Lori's family as much as I originally thought we did. I can remember three fall trips and that's it, and one was a weekend to Wausau in which I was a z…

Living on the edge

Image
(Still reminiscing about fall, still looping back in time after my last post about 1995.)

In grade school, from 1981-1984, I was an altar boy at our church. I tell people this and get some snickering, considering all the scandals with Catholic priests over the decades, but that's the (unfortunate but sadly not inaccurate) stereotype and not the norm. I didn't mind being an altar boy, and it was the kind of thing that was expected for boys at our Catholic grade school (this was before most churches switched to altar servers, letting girls help out at Mass as well). But there was one Mass assignment altar boys dreaded: the 6:30 a.m daily liturgy. You usually only got it one week a year, but it was for all five weekdays, 6:30 a.m., in a near empty church. It was so early.

In September 1983, I likely served 6:30 a.m. Mass for the last times. I woke up around 6 a.m., got dressed, and if I was lucky, either a parent or my grandmother (if she was staying with us that week while my gr…

Mad fall

(My last fall post jumped from 27 years to 2006. Staying non-linear, this one falls back to the 20th century).

In October 1995, I got a new job. I had been working at a newspaper in Milwaukee since college, but after almost five years, I was still part-time. For the last 18 months, I was almost making full-time money with extra shifts, stringing and a temporary full-time assignment. But by 1995, I was still technically part-time with few benefits. I was tired of waiting for the promotion that wasn't coming (and became less imminently likely after the two papers in Milwaukee merged -- I was just happy to still be employed). I theoretically was going off my dad's health insurance at 25, and with Lori and I not quite ready to get married, I pushed ahead with a job search.

After a few interviews, I finally was hired in Madison. Lori and I were both so excited -- she loved her old college town, and I finally had taken the big step I had coveted since I graduated three years earlier…

October

October is orange and red and yellow. The leaves are these colors. The candy are these colors. The decorations are these colors. I dare you to find blue in October.

October is a sweatshirt. A fall jacket. Blue jeans are reintroduced this month. So are everyday socks.The sun creeps lower in October, but it still feels warm on your face when a cool breeze tests that sweatshirt.

October is the perfect month to run. Run for the soccer ball. Run in the woods. Run a crossing pattern. Run into leaves.

Life seems more settled in October. The two months before and the two after are full of transitions. Not October.

The moon is simply way cooler in October. You know this to be true. And this month, it's OK to be a little scared.

October is "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls and Tears for Fears' "The Seeds of Love." It's baseball's last, magnificent gasp. It's "Risky Business" and "Pulp Fiction." It's a rake and endless bags of leaves.

Dusk fall

(After posting about about the Pope in 1979, here's another fall memory, 27 years later.)

In the fall of 2006, I was stressed out. Work was stressing me out, the demands of a new baby were stressing me out, and my worrying brain was making it worse.

My friend John was getting married in Chicago that September, and Michael and I flew out a few days early to spend some extra time with my family. The trip was a much-needed break from the stress I was feeling.

Unlike our usual trips to Chicago, this one wasn't packed with things to do. One evening, Michael and I were looking for something to do, so we went with my father to my 11-year-old sister's club soccer practice on the fields outside of Taft High School. While she practiced, Michael ran around and kicked a soccer ball with me. He seemed so big back then (and was kicking the ball well), but I must remind myself he wasn't even 3 (Michael will always seem so big to me, no matter what age I'm remembering him at).

The…

TGINW (Thank God it's not Wednesday)

Image
The boys are off school today, and I'm typing this from Kangaroo Zoo, an inflatable playland in North Salt Lake. The day off was such a rare, revered occasion in my youth that I wanted to make sure they had fun today.

My plan didn't go as smoothly as I hoped.

I originally wanted to take them on a train ride at the Heber Valley Railroad. The changing leaves in the mountains are peaking, and we hadn't been on this train in since 2008. Alas, our Outback needs a new water pump, which are replacing on Monday, but I didn't want to tempt fate. My next idea was Cowabunga Bay, a waterpark that is open for one more weekend. The temperature today is in the low 80s, so weather wasn't a concern, but the park wasn't open until 3 (and then closes at 7). I still think it would be fun to go this weekend (tickets this late are cheap), but it just wasn't going to work out today.

So, we ended up at Kangaroo Zoo. We had some passes and took one of Michael's friends along. Bu…

Does the Pope drive through the woods?

(With summer ending and fall approaching, I'm recollecting some autumn moments over the years. Sweatshirts, football, red and yellow leaves, cross country meets, new Old Farmer's Almanacs and bite-sized candy bars. No, fall isn't so bad.)

In the fall of 1979, my mother had signed me up for a soccer clinic at Norridge Park. The clinic basically was to introduce kids to the game, and Mom must have thought I would enjoy a new sport (I already was sports-obsessed by age 8). Even just a decade later, I probably would have been playing soccer at age 6, but in 1979, it hadn't invaded suburban (or in my case, the middle-class neighborhoods inside the fringes of Chicago) youth sports.

I don't remember much about the clinic, which was one or two days a week for a few weeks. I obviously wasn't that enamored with soccer, because if I really took to it, I probably would have asked to keep playing. That's too bad -- I think if I was born 20 years later, soccer would have…

All things equinox

Fall began today. Summer was still yesterday. I don't go much by the official seasons when I think of what is summer, what is fall, and so on, but astronomically, we are now in fall.

I didn't blog last night after being just worn out at 10 p.m. Yesterday started out well but descended into frustration and antsy-ness. The boys didn't cause this, but after they got home, any fatigue I had been battling all week finally caught up with me. I just felt blah, and instead of being productive, watched two episodes of "Law and Order: SVU." Yes, that's the way my mood turned. We did go outside for a little while and watched a movie as the boys fell asleep. But I was dragging and went to bed by 11.

I'm not sure what's up. I shouldn't be this tired -- I slept OK all week (though overnight Thursday, I did have a bad dream in which I temporarily couldn't find Ben). I ate like crap all week, too (though I managed salads the last two days). The routine, the g…

Thirsty Thursdsay

As hoped for, I had most of the day to myself. I went to Kohl's and Harmon's, did some stuff around the house and ... not much else. That's OK -- I needed a little time to relax.

I ran soccer practice for both teams in the early evening, then the boys and I went to Red Robin for dinner. They were hungry after practice and gobbled down their food. Despite being out later than I would have liked, we got home by 8:30 and the boys were in bed by 9. 

Bring on Friday -- another day to myself. I'm hopeful.

It's Wednesday!

We took Lori to the airport early this morning. Really early. I picked up McDonald's for the boys at the nearby location, and our order was only screwed up twice. Luckily, I caught the gaffes before leaving. We got home, had breakfast, and I managed 10 more minutes of sleep before getting us all ready for school.

I drove on Michael's field trip to Silver Lake, up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The excursion was fun, the weather was nice, and we were back by 12:30. I drove home and managed a little nap, finished the freelance project I had been working on and took Popcorn on a quick walk before returning to school to get the boys. We lounged a little at home, I made them ravioli for dinner, and Lori and the boys Skyped. We took Popcorn to Petsmart and came home. The boys were in bed by 9. I've been watching TV and finally got my laptop out to blog. I'm planning on going to bed soon.

Another parent in Michael's class called asking if I could possibly sub  as a co-oper tomorr…

Tuesday afternoon

I co-oped all day, and it went well, but I got home and was tired, only to discover Popcorn had chewed into her bed again and a punk kid coming home from the nearby school felt it was OK to ride his bike over everybody's lawn. I shook a fist and yelled at the kid, thus tiring me out more. The boys and I made a quick trip to Shopko after dinner, and both boys read for me.


I shouldn't judge a day just by how tired I am and by how tired I foresee the next day being. I'm helping drive on a field trip tomorrow, and though it should be fun, I'm kind of wishing I had the whole day to work out, finish the freelance project I'm working on (almost done) and get Popcorn out for a long walk. I will try to appreciate all the good and know the fatigue is worth it.

Monday Monday

I haven't blogged in a few days, and I'm not sad about it -- I think I needed a break, especially after getting so sick a week ago. This week, I'm striving to post every day, and not just to get back on the wagon. With the routine settling in, I want to chart what I do every day for one week and see where I can be more productive, more efficient.

So here was my Monday. I worked late last night but was up this morning, and after the boys went to school, I drove Lori to the Enterprise so she could rent a car to take to Logan for the day. I came home and went back to sleep for a while, then woke up and ate lunch. I took the dog on a walk. I worked on a freelance project while sitting on the front porch (the weather has been gorgeous the last few days). The boys came home from school, and I worked a little more on the project. Lori came home, and we returned the car. I went to a soccer coaching clinic at Sunnyside Park. I got home, ate dinner, played War with Ben, listened to …

Miserable vomitous mass

I didn't blog Saturday night simply because I was tired. Sunday I worked late. Monday was just bad.

After going to sleep Sunday night, I woke up about 3:30 a.m.with a song on my still-playing iPod in my dream. Within a couple minutes, my stomach started churning. Two nights earlier, Michael had thrown up in the middle of the night without even being awake to realize he was about to hurl. He was sick for about 24 hours and was fine afterward. I began to worry that maybe I was falling victim to the same bug.

I couldn't fall back asleep for long because I was so queasy. I couldn't lay on my stomach because it upset my stomach even more. Finally a couple hours later, I began to throw up. Then again an hour later. Then again another hour later. Then, about 9:30, the grand finale: All the remaining food that had been in my stomach from the last 18 hours had been expunged.

Michael was lucky -- he just threw up once and went back to sleep. Mine was prolonged for hours. Then, I was…

No rest for the weary

There are weeks that seem unproductive. There are weeks that are nonstop.

Somehow, this past week felt like both.

I'm not sure if it was just the shortened week or all the extra things that got thrown in, but I'm glad we have hit the weekend. But that doesn't even provide a reprieve: I'm at work tonight, coach soccer tomorrow and work Sunday. I don't mind the soccer, of course, but what kind of bad luck gave us a doubleheader for Michael's team tomorrow?

I wanted the beginning of the school year to provide a fresh start to my routine, to the things I want to get done those hours the boys are learning. This week, that just didn't happen. An extra co-op shift, a vacation that got planned, two parent meetings, the first official soccer practices of the year -- it all added up. And then today, the I was home, but the day sped by while I felt stuck in slow motion. More soccer matters to take care of, another call to DirecTV to find out where our new DVR is (the …

The last day of summer

I'm calling it. Summer is over.

The first game of the NFL season was tonight, which, in my book, officially kicks off fall. Summer 2012 is done.

Today was busy, and I never seemed to get a break. Haircut in the morning. A welcome lunch with Lori (the highlight of my day) at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant to commemorate our annual tradition of sushi to celebrate the school year starting again. A meeting at work. I picked up the boys. At home, I tried to rest, but the broken email account finally could be fixed. I then attempted a 10-minute nap only to be interrupted three minutes in by a phone call concerning soccer. We hosted a parent meeting for Michael's class. Then, I got a call asking if I could sub as a co-oper in Ben's class tomorrow.

See, that feels like fall, down to the fact that I was looking forward to relaxing tomorrow and get to something on my new list and now likely won't. Yep, summer is history.

Summer was great. I am glad I blogged it. I will do s…

September

September is football. Sitting in the bleachers on a Friday night. Bright Saturday afternoons with marching bands. Watching NFL highlight shows for Week 1 and thinking that there are 16 more weeks of this. The feel of your fingers on the laces right before you try throwing a perfect spiral.

September is begrudging acceptance. Summer has ended. School has begun. Winter is coming. Might as well enjoy the present because this will be the most pleasant month over the next six. September is dreaded, but once it gets here, it's not so bad.

Things change is September, or at least get ready to. Schedules change. The daytime changes. Leaves begin to change. Wardrobes change. But September is also new. New friends. New routines. New TV shows. September is coming and going at the same time.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart," Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" and "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies are September.  So is "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire. Duh.

Summer, Day 106

The sun might be bright and the temperature warm, but after spending all day in school, then going to a parent meeting at school in the evening, today felt anything but summer. Maybe that's for the best. This has been a great summer. Time to move on.

I co-oped all day at the boys' school. I'm happy to report I wasn't tired or stressed -- the day was enjoyable. Michael's teacher seemed a little stressed -- her class wasn't listening to her (or the gym teacher for that matter). Michael was, thankfully (luckily). I think the start of the new school year, even though we are two weeks in, combined with the fact it still feels like summer has kids fidgety. They will settle in soon enough.

I got home to discover the soccer league that I coach both boys' teams managed to schedule both openers at almost the same time. I spent awhile trying to figure out how to avoid the conflict and alert all the parents of the new schedule, and afterward, I barely had time to relax…

Summer, Day 105

Today was Labor Day. I labored.

Fortunately, my breathing wasn't labored. I'm barely feeling the cold that pummeled me Friday. With my new energy, I mowed the lawn, pruned our out-of-control wisteria, hung laundry, organized all the soccer equipment and took the dog for a two-mile walk. And, I'm planning to get to bed early enough tonight to wake up with energy for a long day tomorrow.

So I'm declaring, it was a good Labor Day. No, I didn't approach it as a last gasp of summer and tried to do summer activities one last time. Things needed to be done around the house, and with Lori and me feeling better, we did those things. I know I'm so focused on the 108 days of summer that I calculated (but for some reason, am coming in at 107; I think I miscalculated), but we still have September -- and I don't see the heat cooling off any time soon -- to do summer things. The JCC outdoor pool is still open all month. The leaves won't start changing colors for weeks…

Summer, days 102-104

The cold I had been fearing Thursday overwhelmed me Friday.

After a rough night in which I kept awakening with stuffiness and a sore throat, I slept late, woke up, went back to bed. I woke up, ate some breakfast, went back to bed. I woke up, at a little lunch, went back to bed. I woke up, then only had a short while before work. I was so wiped out. I made it through work, got home, and tried to get as much sleep as I could before having to wake up early the next morning for soccer practice.

My idea was to get an unofficial soccer practice in for both boys' teams before practice officially starts this week. I didn't know how sick I would be the day before. But I woke up Saturday morning and made fulfilled my commitment. I didn't know if it was just adrenaline or perhaps the worst of the cold had passed me by, but it wasn't so bad. My throat did start to hurt from coaching, and I didn't run much (and made sure not to shake any parents' hands), but I survived. The…

Summer, Day 101

Ben started sneezing and being stuffy yesterday. Today, Lori and I showed the same symptoms.

Damn, I better not be catching a cold to end the summer.

Today seemed busy but unproductive. I went to pick up both teams' soccer uniforms and tried to get a roster mistake fixed, but to no avail. Our email address might have been compromised, and we couldn't get that resolved tonight. The DVR receiver appears to be on the fritz. And I'm doing a fantasy football draft, right now, but every pick we want seems to be going one spot before us.

And, I'm sniffling. We are hoping that something we're all allergic too is simply blooming and being brought inside by the dog. I'm hoping Friday is less frustrating.

Yes, I got a cold.

Summer, days 99-100

My, I'm tired right now as I type this. The summer is wearing even on my summer posting project. I don't want to be quick about this, but I'm ready for bed. Let's see where I go with this ...

First, Tuesday, which was my first day co-oping of the new school year. And it is the first time in which I'm co-oping the entire day instead of splitting the co-op shifts between two days. This was by choice, and in the long run, I'm going to appreciate this more, but I was expecting some adapting to this schedule. By 1 or so, I was dragging a little. Next week, I need to sneak a soda (remember, I don't like coffee) in to drink before the afternoon co-oping. Otherwise, the day went well. I'm going to enjoy helping out in the boys' classes.

We got home and I napped a little. Then, we took Popcorn to Petsmart, where we were enamored with a feisty kitten missing an eye that was up for adoption. Thankfully, we came home with just pet food. I made sliders for dinne…

Summer, days 97-98

Two days of posts. First, Sunday: I worked in the evening. The shift was easy, but I was annoyed when I went to Costa Vida, normally open until 8, to discover it closed at 7. Nothing else is open in the mall that late, so I drove to Wendy's for dinner -- not what I had in mind. I threw the ball to Popcorn in the morning. Did some laundry in the afternoon. Worked in the evening.

Now today, Monday. This was my first full day of both boys at school the whole day. I had made this big list last week of everything I want to accomplish with the hours of extra time I will now get with Ben in school all day. So after not sleeping well last night, I woke up, ate breakfast ... and didn't know what to do next. I couldn't even fall back asleep after my rough slumber. I posted my plight to a stay-at-home-dads forum I read, and someone gave good advice: The list can wait; enjoy the serenity of today. Then another day posted this suggestion: Go to the pool and swim without the kids. The s…

Summer, Day 96

Kind of a boring day today. And I'm not apologizing for it.

The boys went to a birthday party for one of Ben's friends. We had a minor plumbing emergency that we addressed. We watched "Mr. Mom" on Netflix. I took Popcorn for a walk. I'm sitting outside and it's actually cooler tonight. That was our Saturday. Again, no apologies.

Two days of summer on deck.

Summer, Day 95

I got a whole morning to myself, with the boys at school and no need for me to go in. They didn't have a full day -- those start next week, at which point my free time increases. So what did I do with my free morning? Come up with a plan for the extra time while both boys are in school full-time. More working out. More writing. More freelancing. And while summer is winding down, a little more time in the sun.

I picked the boys up and brought them home, and once again, we weren't that driven to do anything. The routine will develop next week. After Lori got home and we ate dinner, we all went to a high school football game, where the local favorite Highland High defeated Cedar City 27-0. The boys had fun (Ben wanted to dance to the cheerleading songs and even belted out of a few lines of "Call Me Maybe") but tired out somewhat quickly. We returned home and I took Popcorn for a walk.

Here's Day 96.

Summer, Day 94

Everything seemed just off-kilter on Thursday. Maybe we were all just tired.

The boys had an OK day at school. I ate lunch with Ben and helped in the classroom for the rest of the shortened day. We were slugs in the afternoon after we got home, but that wasn't surprising considering how busy our previous day was. I tried getting a roster mistake on Michael's soccer team, which I'm not coaching, fixed, but with no luck yet -- and that flustered me for the rest of the afternoon. Lori brought home Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner. I played a little Wii with Michael. I took Popcorn for a three-mile walk in temps that hadn't cooled off even after dark (I have complained about this before -- this August hasn't felt like high desert). I wanted to blog last night, but sat down, watched "History Detectives" and almost dozed off during it. So, I went to bed early.

A routine is imminent. Just not this week.

Here comes Day 95.

Summer, Day 93

Wow, what a long, eventful, great day. Next time you want to make the first day of school memorable, go to an amusement park afterward.

The boys were awake bright and early, eager to start their school day. Lori made them lunches and took pictures of them outside our maple, and we loaded into the Corolla to drive to day one of the 2012-2013 school year. One great thing about the boys' school -- a co-op school where parents help in class -- is that parents aren't shunned from the classroom if it's not their co-op day. No we're not encouraged to be there every day, but on the first day of school, to see how what our kids' new classes were like, we were welcomed.

I spent a good chunk of the morning in Michael's new 2/3 class and helped out a little after a co-oper failed to show. From the first couple hours, I could tell Michael is going to do great. As an older kid in his 1/2 last year, he became a role model and a good friend for the younger kids. On his first d…

Summer, Day 92

Image
(Housekeeping note: I accidentally titled two posts as Day 82. As such, I've been a day behind in the titles of the last 10 days of posts. Rather than try re-titling everything, I'm skipping from Day 90 to Day 92, even though it's only been one day.)

Today was the boys' last day of summer before school began. Quite, honestly, it was mostly a clunker.

I didn't expect we'd do much today, and we lived up to that expectation. It felt like one of those summer days in which no one musters enough energy to get out of the house or to be too productive. Unfortunately, it came on the day before school started. I got a few things done, including some initial organization for the upcoming soccer season (I might be coaching Michael as well as Ben). We made it out to run a few errands. Lori went to a school meeting after work, so the boys and I ate dinner without her -- fish sticks and macaroni and cheese.

The day might have been boring, but the evening was nice. I took the …

Summer, Day 90

Our last full, stay-up-later-than-normal day before school begins did not go as planned.

I'll admit it: The boys and I were slugs this morning. We took Lori to work (our Outback was in the shop -- more on that later), but we got home and collapsed into laziness. I thought of maybe going to Kohl's to get Michael some Levi's and then running a few errands, but finally, I settled on taking the dog on a much-needed hike on the off-leash trail near our house. Yes, it was hot again today, but she's been on hikes in the heat before. This trail intersects and ends at a creek, so she could splash around and get a drink if needed.

As expected, Popcorn was running and playing as soon as we took her off the leash. She made some new dog friends, splashed in the creek, fetched a stick another dog owner was throwing and was sprinting all over the trail. In other words, she was loving the hike. On the way, a bee or wasp stung Michael on his hand. He cried, but the sting wasn't too…

Summer, days 88-89

I've been lamenting about the heat, haze and humidity all week, and the conditions haven't improved, even though rain, fronts and winds have been forecast for a few days now. After seeming to get better this morning, the haze returned to the point I can't see the mountains across the valley. This weather is making it difficult for me not to wish summer to end ...

Saturday, Michael had a birthday party in North Salt Lake, and I got a couple hours to myself. I looked for a primary-ruled composition book that Ben needs for school and got lunch at Jimmy John's. We returned home and relaxed in advance of the Real Salt Lake game we saw that night. We had rain checks we were given for this season that we needed to use, and Michael and I drove to Sandy to get tickets in the morning before his birthday party.

The game was fun, even though RSL lost 2-1 via a goal in the 94th minute. We were given tickets in the Supporters Section, near where the two major fan groups for the team…

Summer, Day 87

I'm working tonight, sitting on the balcony and overlooking a hazy valley. Will I associate haze with August the way I associate cloudy humidity, indifferent baseball and desperate inevitability with this month? At the very least, I'll associate this day with the smoky sky.

OK, this day wasn't so bad. The boys had fun, and work, despite this being the first prep football night, is bearable. Our plan was to go to the waterpark, maybe for our last morning/afternoon excursion there of the summer (we are planning to go after school a couple times). We got going early (for us this week, at least), loaded into the car, I turned the ignition ... and the car wouldn't start. Eventually, it started and we drove to the waterpark with the thought the battery would be recharged. I turned the car off, then immediately tried turning it on again ... and nothing. I walked the boys into the waterpark, where we found the friends we were meeting, and asked them if they could watch the boy…