Hurry Up And Wait

Hurry-Up-and-WaitBack in my TV days I used to tell people the key to succeeding in the industry is adopting a, “Hurry up and wait” mentality.  Meaning you need to be in place and ready to go, and then wait for something to happen.  Perhaps that helped me years later when Risa and I were in and out of hospitals for treatments, tests and other ailments.  The hospital setting has perfected the, “Hurry up and wait” philosophy, “I’ll be right back,” a nurse would say before returning more than an hour later.  Clearly that experience was to prepare me for vacationing with two teen-aged girls.  Hurry up and wait gets to a whole new level.

Last week was winter break for the schools here so the girls had no school for the week.  What kicked off our southern California plan was I was supposed to be out there for two days of mandatory meetings.

Instead, I decided the time was right to change jobs (probably another blog post somewhere along the line) and no longer “had” to be in CA for meetings.  But the girls were locked into going.

So, we packed our bags and headed to Kennedy Airport here in New York.

Traveling with teen-aged girls is no easy sport.  Forget the non-stop need for Starbucks frappes and an unending need to wander through high-end clothing stores – you can never get them to be ready to go anywhere at the same time.

15.5 needed extra time to shower after the gym.  13.0 wanted more time to eat breakfast. Both needed three reminders to pack the last night we were there.

But they are young ladies now and I hope I treated them as such.  When they were kids I would wander around the hotel room and pack for them – but I figure if they want to be treated as adults (or at least not young kids) they should act like it as well.

And I guess for me its a continuation of the art of hurry up and wait – learned long ago and perfected over the years in many settings.

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Cupid Undie Run Time Again

Please contribute:

Now that there is snow on the ground and temperatures have been closer to February like here in NYC – it must be time to strip down to my underwear and take to the streets of New York.  Yes it’s Cupid undie run time again.

If you’re new to my blog or to the run take a look at some of the pics on my Instagram (feel free to throw a like or a follow as well).  Then check back on February 13th as I’ll be adding more pics then.

The Cupid Underwear Run is a charity event raising money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation – so I am asking you to help and contribute.  Here is my personal page for contributions.  So you know I’ll also be matching the first $200 contributed this year through my company DTSG, LLC.

The logical question is why would I strip to my underwear and run around NYC?

As most of you know, Risa was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1997 and lived a productive life until her death in five years ago.  During that time, I saw first hand the damage a tumor can do to the human body and spirit.  As a parent, I can’t even begin to contemplate what it would be like to see my child suffering.  The nice thing about the underwear run is 100% of the money raised goes to CTF – there is no administration board to pay.
Look for pics on my Instagram next week – and please contribute.  It’s Cupid Underwear Run time once again.

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Another Undie Run is Done

Cupid Undie Run 2015As Howie Rose says after a Mets win, “Put it in the books,” another undie run is done – all things being equal I’ll be back at it again next year.

For those who have missed out on this moment of the calendar – the Cupid Undie Run is an annual event done around the country in the weeks around Valentine’s Day.  In NYC, this of course is the dead of winter.  As a reminder, a small snow shower was in progress as I arrived at the starting line on 48th Street around 1230 Saturday.  By the time the run started, the snow had stopped – but the temperatures fell.

Which makes it the perfect time to strip down to your underwear and scamper along the Hudson River.  I clocked this year’s course at just over a mile (some years it’s a little longer, some years it’s a little shorter).

Unlike the turkey trot 5k or New Year’s Eve 5k I did with 14.5 over the last few months – the Cupid Undie Run is a fun run.  It starts and ends in a bar, and is as much a celebration of the season as it is a run – it’s certainly not physically challenging.

The undie run though is a fundraiser for the Children’s Tumor Foundation – and through the help of my family and friends and my company, I was able to raise $435 for this charity this year.  I heard at the event in NYC more than $15,000 was raised – which is a great number.

Feel free to check out my Instagram for some more pictures and videos from the day.  For 2015, another undie run is done.  Hopefully I’ll see you on the cold streets of NYC in 2016 for the next undie run.

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Surviving Travel With Teens and Tweens

ski tripAs the annual winter break comes to an end for the girls, and we get ready to get back on schedule and do the long stretch (relatively long stretch) to the spring break – I look back at how surviving travel with teens and tweens this week.

There were five days off from school (Monday to Friday), add two weekends and it’s nine straight days off.  We spend three night’s in hotels in two cities and five days on the road.  This is not the first time I’ve traveled with my girls, but I realized during our ski trip to Lake Placid there are things I do in the name of surviving travel withe teens and tweens.

Normally, I don’t do lists and top fives etc, but if you are a single dad, traveling with girls in the teen and tween years – I feel your pain.  So, here is the official Dad the Single Guy survival guide:

  1. It goes almost without say, but bring your patience.  Just because you are on the road doesn’t change anything.  Chances are as far as your kids are concerned you are still wrong.
  2. I’m not ready (financially or practically) to give the girls their own hotel room.  So get two keys and set expectations.  Respect privacy as best as possible and try to stay above the sibling fray.
  3. Make as many decisions as possible. Don’t open everything from timing of events to meal choices up to a debate.  It will only give you the chance to be a referee and you’ll never enjoy your time away.
  4. When you decide to cede a decision be ready to support several choices. Try to allow creative decision-making.  For breakfast before skiing I sent the girls into a store and told them to make a choice, knowing what the options were there were no bad choices, and they did not have to choose the same thing (although they did).
  5. These kids are from the digital era, headphones go in and phones are always present. It’s not a slight, its part of life today.  Accept it, and when you need attention ask them to disconnect.  We have a rule in the house, if you are not making money with you phone there is no texting during meals.  I enforce it equally.
  6. Share as much time as you can.  Remember this is still a family vacation, treat it as such and share the time and experiences.
  7. Teens and tweens are very different.  Where you can allow for those differences and respect them.  Let the teen be a teen while allowing the tween her space as well.
  8. Set expectations and keep your goals in reason.  It’s their vacation too, let them relax and feel like they are getting away too.
  9. Pay attention to what they pack.  We were in Lake Placid and neither of my girls had the right boots to walk through snow and slush.  And we had one emergency trip to a Rite Aid for a forgotten item.
  10. Expect help.  Don’t play servant.  My kids have chores at home, on the road they have responsibilities to make sure we all enjoy.

I have no idea if the above works with boys, and no thoughts on if having two parents present makes a difference (my guess is probably not).

And remember, these are official for Dad the Single Guy only – your results may differ.  It would kind of interesting to find out how you go about surviving travel with teens and tweens.

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Off to the Races – The Cupid Undie Run

Cupid Undie Run 2014This winter New York has been a winter wonder land.  And after weeks of snow storm after snow storm and piles of snow at every corner – the next thing to do is strip down to your underwear and run through the streets of New York City.  So, off to the races – the Cupid Undie Run is on.

It seems like the snow falling on the runners heading south along the West Side Highway was kind of poetic justice – after all it always snows in NYC this winter.  The cause is just – research for the treatment of childhood cancers and the company was fun.  It’s not unlike a rolling party in the streets of New York.

For the second year, I asked readers here and elsewhere for contributions.  And a big thank you to all who read, and in this case contributed.  Overall, the NYC undie run raised more than $125,000 (we did our part at just over $300).  And a good time was had by all.

So next year look for the links, the emails and if you’re not going to strip down and run, I hope you’ll consider contributing.

If you want to see some of the fun, check out my Instagram (and don’t be afraid to follow or throw a like), or the Twitter hash tag #ImWithCupid.


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The Longest Winter Days

FireplaceFor the third time (already) this winter the girls are home from school due to weather.  That’s on top of one late start to the school day and two early dismissals (one of them was after just two-hours).  Making these the longest winter days.

Without passing judgement on the school district for making these decisions, these are the toughest days for a single parent.  Plans get changed on a dime.  For me meetings are canceled (or become calls) and the day becomes part entertainer, part line cook and part clean up behind the girls.

I suppose the silver lining to all of this is being able to sit in front of my fireplace and work the day away.

From the time Risa went to hospice through every decision I make in the house, I try to manage and sustain the routine.  It’s certainly not an easy thing to do, but I think worth the effort.

But it’s not easy.  The longest winter days are the ones like today.  Where its shoveling, working and heading out with the girls.

Of course it would be far better if 13.5 actually wore gloves when she went out to play in the snow.  And maybe 11.0 can grab a drink before heading out so we don’t get all bundled up only to pull everything off 10 minutes later to deal with thirst.

It also wouldn’t be bad if either girl picked up the shovel.

But that said, another snow day in the books – and based on what the meteorologists are saying there are more to come (this week).  So, dig out the car and dig in for the longest winter days.

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Winter Wonderland – The Early Dismissal

First snowman of the season from the winter wonderland that really wasn't.

First snowman of the season from the winter wonderland that really wasn’t.

In my fourth winter of being a single parent maybe, just maybe. I am starting to get a feel for this gig.  With snow in the forecast for today, I swapped my two in person meetings from today to tomorrow and planned a work from home day.  The forecast was for snow during the day, which in our district (and in our town) now means early dismissal.  So as the area became a sort of winter wonderland, the early dismissal was called.

The town we live in on Long Island is notorious for doing a bad to awful job in snow removal, and that factors heavily into the school open/closed equation since there is a four lane state highway that bi-sects the community.  One way or another kids are being bussed.


Add to that the hilly topography and winding roads that head toward the beach, and you have some real concerns.

The final piece to the equation is a school board that is beholden to the bus company.  The company says close, they close.  The company says open late they open late.  The company says close early they close early.

So today, as the snow was tapering to flurry and I was wondering if I would even need to sand the drive way tomorrow morning before leaving I got the call.  Early dismissal.

At least this time (for the first time might I add) I was ready.  I worked out with the girls the plan when I brought them to the bus this afternoon, and there I was when their bus splashed through a slush puddle to drop them off.

First “storm” of the season and near flawless execution, even if I have to ask why.  There was no winter wonderland for the early dismissal.

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The Other Side of the Snow Day

I know I am not unlike other parents who feel the dread of the snow day-which if we are willing to be honest with our selves is that polar opposite of when we were kids.  I get that.

And honestly, the school’s closed for snow is not a huge issue-its a day I try to work from home (WFH) and make the best of it.

Today though is a much tougher one to handle-the two-hour delayed start.

As I type this on a normal day I would be getting breakfast ready and making sure the girls are up.  Instead, I went in and shut off their alarms and I am trying to rework my entire day-starting with my 8AM appointment.  Oh yeah, its two-hour delayed start and home at the normal time, so now I have to compact my day so I can be here when the bus arrives.

Clearly there will be trade offs.  Along with the appointment, out is my planned lunch, on the endangered list is hitting the gym, out is making a run to Whole Foods for some specialty items.

It’s probably a matter of having a plan and being able to make a change on the fly as needed.

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