January and Snow – Imagine That

StormTotalSnowFcstHere it is early on a Saturday morning.  As usual, the girls are asleep and I’ve been up for a bit.  Early Saturday is my prime time for getting things done.  Food shopping, dry cleaner and other errands generally fall to the time between 7:30 and 10 Saturday mornings.  Today, its January and snow – imagine that on a Saturday morning.

If you’re all geeked up about the weather, check out my friend and meteorologist Joe Cioffi’s weather page – it has all of the information you could ever want and presented in a usable way even to non-weather geeks like me.

I’ve decided to kind of live blog the snow storm today and all the twists and turns.

UPDATE 6:30 PM

I just realized I’m really hungry.  I did a bunch today (including the fire see?) and really have not eaten since around 11 this morning – outside sampling what I was making.  So it’s dinner time.

The pulled pork is done as are the plantains.

Took a quick peek outside, the snow is still ripping pretty good and the winds have picked up again.  The reality is, not making the trip to Brooklyn for the Islanders game is a good thing – so thanks to the NHL for preventing a mistake.  15.5 and I were just talking about all the games we saw at the Coliseum on blizzard nights – some of the best games.

The crowds were sparse (5000 tops), but loud and the home team always won which was amazing.  It made the slip and slide on the ice and snow home kind of enjoyable.  I guess those days are done and now if the LIRR is down so are the Islanders.  Such is progress I guess.

UPDATE 5:30 PM

fire placeDone with the cooking portion of this blizzard.  Made a banana bread with marshmallow icing (you work with what you have), roasted cauliflower, cauliflower burgers and a pork butt that is about to become pulled pork with plantains for dinner.

Since some things never change in my house, while cooking the smoke alarm went off, and true to form none of my kids even flinched.  It makes me feel good that nothing will ever happen.

On the upside of this snow day, the freezer has 10 cauliflower burgers in it for meals when I get hung up in an office somewhere and we’ll have a yummy pulled pork for dinner tonight – there is that.

I also have to get the fire going, once I do I’ll add a picture of that.

Otherwise, the Sick Day beers are really pretty good.

UPDATE 4:15 PM

Shoveling done – at least a path to my car.  As I was pushing through the snow drifts I wasA lot of snow wondering why I was doing all this.  Afterall, I have a Jeep and I’ll just drive over the snow at the end of the driveway.  Then I remembered.

There was a period of time when Risa was doing chemo over a weekend there was a better than 50/50 chance I’d have to get her to a hospital – either by driving her or by ambulance – so I would always have a path to the front door.  I guess old habits die hard sometimes, right?

On a brighter note, I almost forgot my purchase of a beer called Sick Day from Long Trail Brewing.  It’s pretty good.  Going to have a few of those, stoke a fire in the fireplace and work on some roasted cauliflower for the girls.

UPDATE 3:30 PM

Going to try to dig out at least a path from the front door to the car – just in case.  As I mentioned earlier, the snow drifts pretty high in the front of the house and it will take a bit to get through the piles.  It’s better now, than in case there is some kind of an emergency later tonight.  Out I go, back into the frozen tundra.

UPDATE 2:15 PM

road signWorkout done, and I feel better.  I’ve written about it in the past, I am one of those people who just feels better after working out, and I feel better during the day.  And I think I’m a better person.  I did the exercise routine I outlined at 11:15 – a nice 45 minute Tabata workout.

Even doing short intervals, working out gives me time to think, and given the “historic” designation this storm is getting – I thought back to hurricane Sandy.  So many of the issues we faced here were due to a crumbling infrastructure – that is largely the same.

Last night when 13.0 and I went out to dinner there we long lines at the gas stations.  On some of the Facebook groups there were reports of stations being out of gas.  There is only one reason for that – the lessons of Sandy and the reality that nothing is different so it’s on us to make sure our cars are filled, the generator cans (if you have one) are filled etc.

Then there is this gem of social media.  One of the variable message boards from either the Long Island Expressway or Northern State Parkway.  They are there in theory to convey important information.  How many times do you pass one that looks like the one in the picture though?  Yeah, its funny – but it’s no joke.  These are the problems that were here years ago and remain unchanged.

Enough of the soapbox.  Now back to your blizzard conditions.

UPDATE 12:15 PM

As is usually the case on the weekend, come the crack of noon both girls are up now. what-should-you-be-binge-watching-on-netflix-righ-1-22956-1374011179-42_big The usual weekend pattern has me coming home from the gym at this point, and 15.5 would be asking me for a ride to the gym (generally she does not like to be there when I am there).

Instead, I just took a banana bread out of the oven and I’m about to head downstairs to burn off some energy.

I’m looking over at the fireplace and I think after I take a shower it’s time to light that up.  I was just reading on Facebook a story about a family near our house that had a fire in their chimney last night, a solid reminder to get my chimney swept out.

At some point I’m going to put a pork shoulder in the oven for dinner tonight.  In the meantime, I’ve been watching Netflix for so long this morning it actually stopped to ask me if I wanted to continue watching.  That seems a little strange, but I guess bandwidth is bandwidth.

UPDATE 11:15 AM

6a00d83452920069e20168e5b7589e970c-800wiOne decision made – the NHL actually cancelled the Islanders’ game tonight, so 13.0 and I don’t have to venture out into the snow, and I don’t have to keep on top of the trains to make sure we don’t get stranded in Brooklyn.

In lieu of getting out and shoveling the drive way, I’ve decided sitting on the couch and binge watching Netflix is a better plan (for now).  I do have a banana bread in the oven, so there is that to look forward to I suppose.

At some point in the next hour or so, I’ll head downstairs and do this workout:

Set a timer for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Go through this 6x:
1. push ups
2. dips
3. alternating t-rotations
4. supermans
5. glute bridge
6. flutter kicks
rest 1 min

To be honest, this is pretty much the plan I was going to use at the gym today, so not going isn’t the worst thing.  I find I’m more motivated when I trek out and go to the gym (or head out to a trail for a run) than when I workout in the basement.  But in these trying times of Snowmagedden ’16 we all do what we have to.

UPDATE 10:15 AM

So my plans to hit the gym are scuttled.  Just found out my gym closed (shortly after maxresdefaultopening) an hour ago.  I get it – it’s not safe on the roads and it’s not safe to keep employees in place.  But it is a service industry.

So, I’ll get a little workout shoveling snow today.  At our house in snows like this, we get a HUGE snow drift against the garage door.  It should be a solid workout knocking that down.

It will also give me time to think about a trip to Brooklyn to see the Islanders later.  As of now I’m thinking no, but that’s a decision that is still six hours or so away.

Despite the snow and the behest of many TV and radio reporters (who I did not even tune in to see or hear) I ventured out for my Saturday errands.   All in all its about 50 miles round trip to get produce, meat and staples from Trader Joe’s.

(As an aside, I never knew the mileage round trip until today, that seems like a lot for food shopping, gas and dry cleaning).

A couple of observations, as the morning wore on conditions definitely got worse.  Visibility went down considerably.

I also noticed there is a part of the population who clearly believes traffic laws become optional in the snow.  It wasn’t bad enough driving around on packed snow, dodging people running red lights in limited visibility was not so easy.

Also, for the part of the population who are already afraid to drive on a clear day – you’re the ones who need to stay off the road.  I get it’s snowing, but less than 15 MPH on a four lane state highway – even in the snow is just dangerous.

Once home (it took me more than 90 minutes round trip) I discovered my BBQ actually blew over in the winds.  So back out I went to re-right the grill and make sure there was not a propane leak.

Check back throughout the day I’ll add more as things unfold.

Related Posts:

The Staycation-Adjusting Along The Way

staycationIn a first for us – I am taking a week off from work, and we’re not going anywhere.  Call it a staycation of sorts – but largely we’re not home.  For the staycation to work we’ll be adjusting along the way right until school starts a week from Tuesday.

Part of the issue is school starting a week before Labor Day – so the summer that was already feeling very short just got even shorter.

This staycation starts each day at Camp Good Grief where 15.0 is a counselor for the 11-year-old group and 12.5 is in her final (OK extra) year as a camper.  Normally when we do this, I work the week from a Starbucks near where the camp is being held.  But this year I decided to take the week off – because after camp ends at three in the afternoon – more running around ensues.

15.0 has soccer practice each evening from five to seven-30 and 12.5 has softball practice three times this week from five-30 to seven-30.  In between we’ll try to eat something, get hydrated and I may even get to the gym a few times this week.

In year’s past I was able to work out my schedule to be able to do calls and meetings while the girls were at camp, and then catch up after camp.  It won’t work this year.  And because there is not another week off before school starts, we’ll still have to fit in some last-minute back to school stuff.

A trip to the mall or at least a store to get sneakers will be an evening jaunt this year.  The hour or so to set up the locker and walk the schedule looks like it will be done in stealth mode on the day before school – when the teachers are there but there aren’t supposed to be students around.

With all of that going on – and a lot of vacation time available, I figured take one thing out of the picture – so here I am on “vacation” trying to cram more into a day than normal.  For the staycation, adjusting along the way will be the key to success.

Related Posts:

Back In the Dad Business

back in business againIt certainly didn’t take long to go from mostly carefree near 50-year-old with kids away at camp to being back in the dad business.  It really took just a couple of hours before the chauffeur’s hat was out and juggling of plans was on – and the initial toll was a night’s sleep.

The girls came home from what both have called their best summer ever at camp.  15.0 had her trip to the Pacific Northwest and 12.5 had her trip to Washington DC (she returns to the nation’s capitol in the fall with school).  15.0 also completed her lifeguard certification at camp while 12.5 matched a camp record for bulls-eyes on the archery field (who knew)?

There were tons of stories as we sat down for pizza (as we usually do) after they got off the bus – and lots to share.  The girls had their adventures, I had mine Saturday doing the Long Island Tough Mudder.  We got home and they saw some of the changes in the house and went about unpacking the stuff they brought on the bus.

Then came the shout down the stairs:

“Padre,” 15.0 called out.  “Can you take me to my friend’s house?”

And so it goes.  About two hours later came the text, “Is it OK if we go to another friend’s house?”  Now the second friend wasn’t out with the gang because she’s battling a strep throat.  So I shared how I thought it would be a bad idea.  I was over ruled.

While 15.0 was out, I got an email from the head soccer coach of the girls program at the high school.  She now has training workout Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  Along with that she has a mandatory meeting for Camp Good Grief volunteers on Wednesday evening.

In the meantime, 12.5 has plans with one of her best friend’s today, softball practice on Thursday evening and both have dress shopping for 12.5’s bat mitzvah on Friday and Saturday.

A stark reminder the carefree summer days are over.  I can understand why sleep was so hard to come across last night.  And my sore legs are a stark reminder of the physical challenge of the Tough Mudder Saturday.  The signs are up, the lights are on – I’m back in the dad business, again.

Related Posts:

Steve Harvey Show: Tune In Reminder

Steve Harvey Show Family

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

(May 11, 2015)

I was able to find (most of) the segment from the show the girls and I appeared on:

http://esd714.tumblr.com/post/118712089303/appearance-on-the-steve-harvey-show-may-8-2015

Feel free to follow my Tumblr while you’re there.

A moment of shameless self promotion – and a tune in reminder.  Catch the Steve Harvey show today (Friday) to see the girls and me make our talk show TV debut.

Steve’s wife Marjorie treated the girls to a great day of make-overs, fashion shopping and a photo shoot.  Steve and I talked about raising two girls….

And we all had a good time.  See more about the experience here.

If you’re in the NYC area, the Steve Harvey show is on WNBC TV at 3PM.  Elsewhere check your local listings or click here.

Related Posts:

A Female Touch

Steve Harvey ShowMother’s Day has represents a unique challenge to me as an only parent.  This will be the fifth year the girls and I will mark the day without Risa.  The year before that she was in hospice and the year before that – while I can’t definitively recall, I can only assume she was finishing another chemo cycle.  We’ve been without a female touch on Mother’s Day for a while now.

This year though, courtesy of the Steve Harvey Show I got a unique perspective on handling Mother’s Day.  Steve Harvey’s wife Marjorie treated the girls to a day complete with lunch, hair and makeup from her “glam squad” to picking out new and trendy clothes and a pro-photo shoot.  I learned a few valuable lessons, which you’ll have to tune in to find out about.

(In the NYC area its at 3PM on Friday on WNBC-TV.  For local listings elsewhere, click to find out where and when the Steve Harvey Show airs.)

But the broader realization that I had after spending five days across two weeks in Chicago with the girls – although we do pretty well, there is a missing element.  I think back to when I was growing up and it was time to start shaving.  I kind of had to figure it out on my own.  Today when I am faced with female type things with the girls I can always watch a You Tube video.

In many moments my girls miss a female influence.  It’s not that having me around is detrimental.  It’s that I’m not their mom, and the reality is no one will be their mom.  But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a female around.

Over the years I’ve become better about asking (and accepting) help.  It’s still not easy for me.  My mother – who I do try to make sure we pay tribute to on Mother’s Day helps.  As do many of our friends and neighbors.  I have extended family who pitch in for things like dress shopping (sister-in-law), quick questions (cousins) and other issues (all th rest).

The girls and I do some great things – from skiing, to Islanders’ games to vacations.  But day-to-day that female influence is missing and it won’t be there.  That’s probably OK, at the same time though I wonder about the female touch – and what it could have been.

Related Posts:

Turning to the Final Quarter

A Sprung SpringWith spring here in NY finally in full effect, report cards for the third quarter were posted today (both girls are north of 90 on the GPA’s), we make the turn to the final quarter and head for the summer.  Historically, the fourth quarter of the school year is the toughest to manage with commitments and events dotted all over our schedules.  Oh yeah, I also have to get the girls ready for camp.

On the hectic schedule over the next few weeks are several bat mitzvah’s that 12.5 will go to.  14.5 is wrapping up her spring track season at school.  We are doing another survival run.  12.5 has a spring concert coming up and 14.5 will turn 15.

In between all of that, we have to swing by the post office to update passports for both girls (although only 14.5 will need hers this summer), do a bunch of shopping for camp stuff and begin to get serious about 12.5’s bat mitzvah in October.

We may be turning to the final quarter (of the school year), and the break for camp is less than 60 days away – but as we head to the home stretch the heavy lifting is still ahead of us.

Related Posts:

Those F’ing Shoes

Those F'ing Shoes

UPDATE 1/25/2015 UPDATE

One of the reasons I like Zappos so much is its customer service – and after finally having a chance to speak with Zappos customer service – there is a happy ending.  They are exchanging the pair of shoes that ripped up my feet with a new (and larger) pair.  No questions asked.

<original post 1/23/2015>

I walked in the door tonight, and the first thing I did was kick off my new shoes.  Those F’ing shoes, I had to get them off my feet.

From the historical perspective – I’m a dude, and I don’t like to shop, ever.  For the girls, I tend to suck it up and make it happen.  For me, it’s all about point and click, and the merchandise shows up at my front door.  Enter Zappos.com, which is where I’ve bought my shoes for more than two years.

For work, this is pretty much two pair of shoes.  But it also includes running shoes, casual shoes and one-off shoes (or boots) for the girls.  Never have I had a problem.  I input my size, pick the style and the shoes show up on my porch.  If I don’t like them I send them back.

Then came those F’ing shoes.  In full disclosure, I ordered three pairs of shoes intending to keep one and send two back – its pretty simple with Zappos, I reuse their box and they pay for shipping.

So the three shoes show up, I try them on and pick the pair I think I like. I have no idea what I was thinking.  Those F’ing shoes are too small.

The highlight of my day was when a friend told me, “Now you know what women feel like with high heels.”  There is no way that is possible, and if it is, than I have no sympathy.  Those F’ing shoes hurt my feet.  I could not imagine picking out a pair of shoes that hurt my feet and thinking, “well they look good so I’ll make them work.”

Should Zappos do key word, those F’ing shoes are coming back your way, I’ll never wear them again.

Women – if you are really buying shoes that don’t fit for fashion sense, more power to you I guess.  But let’s be real too, why?  After spending a day in the city in shoes that were too small, all I could imagine coming through the door on a wintry night was kicking them off.  There is no way anyone would subject themselves to this punishment for fashion.  I’d rather wear my flip-flops to meetings before going through a day like today again.

Those F’ing shoes are back in the box, ready to go back to Zappos.  I’ll shop for new ones tomorrow, for now my feet are just resting—ahhhhhhhhhh.

Related Posts:

Sharing The Trade Secrets

A Helping HandFor 12.0 today is the second of her camp friend’s Bat Mitzvah’s – so we are at the beginning of her run of trips all around the tri-state area to celebrate with her friends.  Add in a few from the temple, and she’ll be busy most weekends through June – not unlike what her sister went through two years ago.  So it was big sister who stepped up and was sharing the trade secrets for makeup and hair.

For me its a lot of arranging car pools and a fair amount of driving.  For 12.0 its a fair amount of dressing, working on hair and nails and make up.  And she has the benefit of a great big sister who helps her out with all of that – and I have to admit I am pretty proud of the young ladies I live with.

From the moment your children are born, people always tell you it goes by quickly, and it truly does.  I can remember the moment I had to confront being a single parent taking my then pre-teen older daughter bra shopping.  It was a decision I made not to shirk the parental responsibility.

The other decision I made a long time ago, was to make sure 14.5 was never cast as a parent for her sister – but could if she wanted the role be a great big sister.

So, when 12.0 needed to get ready for her friend’s Bat Mitzvah, there was her sister helping with the hair and makeup.  Would they both rather have their mother help them with this – I’m sure the answer is yes.  But that’s not the way our family works – so we rely on each other, and there was big sister stepping in, and not just applying make up, but showing 12.0 some tips and tricks.

And I’m more than good with that.  My kids know in our house we can rely on one another when it comes to sharing the trade secrets.

Related Posts:

A Road Not Taken

The Road Not TakenWith all due respect to Robert Frost, today when I reached the point where the road divided – I took the one I had not taken in the past.  To understand this road not taken, I have to think back to one of the first posts ever on Dad The Single Guy, The Training Bra.

Back in early 2010 my then 9.5 was about ready to need a bra, but needed some time to think about it.  So, I let her do her thing while I got ready to go bra shopping.

Two roads diverge in the yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Fast forward to late summer 2014, and my nearly 12.0 is ready for her first bra.  Just as I let the then 9.5 call her shot in 2010 – 12.0 called her shot this time, and asked her sister to go with her.

Then took the other, just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

This time I would stand aside.  I did check with now 14.0 to make sure she wanted to do help her sister – and then I dropped them at the store and headed for physical therapy (my pinched nerve) and let them go at shopping.

An hour later, having followed my road not taken, I returned and the three of us went to dinner.

Yes, we all reach cross roads in life every day.  Some are notable, others are simply forks in the road – but we make a choice on the roads taken and the road not taken.  Today, the road not taken was the right path for us.

Related Posts:

Rights of Passage

Rite of PassageIn some very different ways this weekend we crossed through some rights of passage in the house – and I would say came out on the other side mostly OK.

First, 11.5 became the first of the two to go to a Sweet 16 party.  In this case it was the older sister of one of her best friend’s.  So Friday night, off we went to a place so I could drop her at the event.  She’ll be getting onto the bar/bat mitzvah circuit by the end of this year so not a bid deal – plus her sister did a great job prepping me for this over the last 18 months with bar and bat mitzvah’s all over the place.

In a right of passage passing within the right of passage, this was the first time (at least the first I can recall) where one daughter went into the closet of the other to pull clothing.  They are getting a little closer in size, so hopefully this will work.

But we weren’t done with that.  For 13.5 there is a semi-formal this June as she and her friends leave the friendly confines of middle school and head for high school.  Admittedly, I am still a little fuzzy on the details of this (I appear to be the only parent in town lost on this one) she does need a dress.

Initially, I told her we could go grab dinner and do some dress shopping while 11.5 was at the sweet 16.  As good as I have become at handling these things I get at 13+ dress shopping with dad is not a highlight of a weekend.

So, I agreed to take two additional 13-year-olds to the mall.  So me and a trio of 13-year-olds.  Clearly, shopping with dad would not have worked, so in the next right of passage the was crossed, off went the girls seeking out dresses, bras, body butter and whatever else they could find.

This is the first time I’ve turned either of my girls loose at the mall.  A little protective yeah.  But we do what we are comfortable with.  Sure enough, 40 minutes into my nice restful sitting outside the Apple Store I got the text – she found the dress.  So off to Charlotte Rouse where I dropped the card (after making her try the outfit on for me).

As the girls grow up – the right’s of passage get a little greater and a little bolder.  This is where all my theory on teaching right and wrong comes into play.  Time to find out if I did my part right – as the next right of passage awaits.

Related Posts: