Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sand, Sea, Shells and Single


The company I work for shuts down the week of the 4th of July. So every year, Mrs. Joe and I would take the kids to Cape Cod for vacation that week. Best part was that we would spend it with her mother and step-father who own a house there. They are there for the entire summer so they would look forward to us coming out so they could see the kids.

I assumed with everything going on with Mrs. Joe things would be different this year.

They are going to be but not exactly how I expected.

My in-laws are aware of what is going on with Mrs. Joe & I and they aren't too happy. Let's just say my in-laws have made their opinions known to Mrs. Joe and with that, Mrs. Joe has decided she is not going there for vacation this year.

After hearing this, my in-laws asked me if I wanted to come out with the kids for the week anyway. I figure it's not my kids fault that their parents are splitting up, why shouldn't they get the vacation they want with the people they want to be with. It will be helpful with my in-laws there. I won't have to do everything myself.

Besides its free. Well, maybe a case of Sam Adams but still worth it.

So I decided to take them up on the offer.

I plan on packing tomorrow and heading out on Tuesday. We will stay through the week and come home on the following Monday. That's another perk of having them live there, I don't have to come and go on the weekend with everbody else.

Weather permitting, we will hit the beach every day. Play some miniature golf a few times, eat way too much ice cream and watch the parade on Friday. The same as every year.

Except this year their mother will not be enjoying it with us...

...and that is her loss.

Hope everybody has a good holiday.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

I Would Bribe Them With Cake If I Knew How To Bake


While Mrs. Joe & I were together, the kitchen rules were simple; Mrs. Joe cooked, I did the dishes. She enjoyed cooking and simply put, I didn't. Also, Mrs. Joe did not care much for doing the dishes so it was a simple decision.

So one of the biggest challenges I have had to undertake since Mrs. Joe left was cooking. I have never found any interest in cooking. I could eat t.v. dinners or take-out every night of the week but the kids make me want to at least try to cook.

Problem is the kids have been raised to be the pickiest eaters I know. Even back then, Mrs. Joe would try in vain to get them to try new things. I admit I could have done a better job of helping her get them to try something new. Unless it is a chicken nugget or a hot dog, prepare for battle. For their credit, they eat their fair share of fruits and vegetables so the lack of meat options isn't the end of the world.

Until, of course, you are sick of feeding them nuggets and hot dogs and are trying to get them to eat something else.

Today, my sister was watching the kids and as I got home from work it hit me, What am I going to make the picky little bastards angels for dinner. They must be sick of nuggets and hot dogs. Maybe they will try something new.

So the question was sent, "What do you guys want for dinner?"

In unison "Hot dogs"

Aren't you sick of hot dogs?

NO!

"Daddy's going to make pork chops on the grill. You want to try some?"

Peanut responded, "I don't like them".

Followed by The Champ, "I want a hot dog".

So again, under the pressure of my 3 and 6 year olds, hot dogs it was.

I decided to make the pork chops anyway. I am pretty happy with myself regarding cooking. 6 months ago I had no interest in it, now I kind of look forward to opening up a beer while I throw a steak or chops on the grill. Unfortunately my kids don't find my new ability worth a hill of beans.

So for dinner tonight I had pork chops with some rice and corn. Peanut & The Champ dined on hot dogs and corn. Peanut ate some rice but The Champ steered clear. I asked them a few times if they wanted to try some but they declined. I guess all I will do is offer them choices and maybe they will try it, maybe not.

At least one of us trying new things.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not The Only One In Hot Water

She asked me if I wanted to go for lobster.

I should have said no.

But I didn't.

She asked me to take this past Monday off from work.
I should have said no.

But I didn't.

GBD & I left early in the morning and drove out to Gloucester & Rockport, MA for the day. Glouster & Rockport are beautiful towns on Cape Ann, north of Boston. I found out she lived near there for a few years. She found out that I had never been there before.

We arrived in Gloucester around noon. We stopped for a beer at The Crow's Nest, which was made famous in the book & movie The Perfect Storm. After enjoying the locals for a while we drove over to Rockport.

We parked the car in town and fed the meter a couple of hours in quarters. We walked around for a while. She showed me the town and did some shopping. Rockport has a bunch of typical tourist shops but they are all in beautiful historic houses. I could have walked around for hours just looking at the history.

I learned Rockport is very famous for one thing. A simple fishing shack.

My photo of Motif Number 1

After my brief art history lesson, it was time for dinner. We didn't have to walk far. On Bearskin Neck at the harbor is the Roy Moore Lobster Company.


Yes, that's it.

Now I am not one to claim to be a lobster connoisseur but it is evident that the storefront didn't scream "best lobster in town".

I was defintely mistaken.

We walked in and GBD ordered 2 lobsters. We went out to the back deck while they boiled them. The deck was nothing more than wood crates overlooking the harbor. We were thinking of hitting a brewpub on the way home so we asked the owner if there was one close.

Did I mention Rockport is a dry town?

He mentioned one in Salem, but nothing too close. After ten minutes they called our order and we went and got our dinner. It had to be the best lobster I ever had. Too bad, I thought, a beer would have gone great with it.

No sooner did I say that did the owner walk out with two Harpoon I.P.A.s for us.

feast for kings


After dinner we headed home. Back to the other lives we lead. I have to say I had another great time with her.

I will also admit to the obvious.

I am having an affair with a married woman.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fear Of The Unknown


We advance on our journey only when we face our goal, when we are confident and believe we are going to win out. - Orison Swett Marden

A few months ago, as my attempts to repair my marriage failed, I was scared of the journey that lay before me. I wondered if I would be able to take care of my children as a single father. I wondered if I could keep up with all the duties at home while working full time. I wondered if I would be able to handle knowing that my wife of ten years was intimately involved with another man.

Through this I have learned a lot about myself. I now know I can take care of my kids by myself, maybe even better now than before. I know it is not the end of the world if Peanut & The Champ eat cereal for dinner once in awhile. I know that even though the rugs may not get vacuumed as much as they should, my house is a sound shelter. And I also know that I am able to handle those thoughts of Mrs. Joe with him.

As I advance on this journey with the added strength of knowing that I can reach my goal, a new fear has emerged. I now worry what may happen if I come to a fork along the path of this journey. A specific fork that could turn everything upside down.

One way is the current path. The path I've been on for a while. A path now very straight and clear but long. It focuses on getting on with my life without Mrs. Joe, being single again, only seeing my kids part time but making the best of the time I have.

The other path is dark, with many twists and turns and unknown in length. The goal is undefined and difficult to understand. This path is what scares me most of all.

What if Mrs. Joe wants to come back?

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Monday, June 09, 2008

To Be Six, If Only For A Minute

So I mentioned previously about The Champ being invited by his friend Nate to the Red Sox game this past Saturday. Well, the game turned out great with an 11-3 win. The weather was a little hot but Nate's mom & I kept the kids cool with water & Italian ices.

At $3.75 a piece. Ouch!

We sat farther up the third base line the I had thought but we were only 10-15 rows from the field. Until you are practically sitting under a home run hit by Manny, you can't get the true feeling of how quickly the ball leaves the park.

As the game ended and our great day at the park seemed to be coming to and end as well, the announcer invited anybody under the age of sixteen the chance to run the bases.

Follow the blue #10.


video

How cool was that!

To think he didn't even realize who else has touched those same bases over the last 100 or so years.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Rewarded For Good Behavior



It seems I am being rewarded for good behavior. Good dad behavior specifically.

Back in March, I wrote about The Champ having his friend Nate over for a Sunday afternoon play date. Everybody seemed to get along and nobody broke anything. Well, Nate and his sister were invited to Peanut’s birthday party last week. At the party, their mom came over to me and asked if I had plans for this coming Saturday.

I noted we had nothing going on.

“I was wondering if you and The Champ would like to go to see the Red Sox with Nate & I.”

She went on to tell me that her dad has some kind of weekend ticket package and she gets 4 tickets to a couple games a year. She went on to say something that made me giggle like a schoolgirl being asked to the prom.

“They are box seats on the third base line right behind the dugout.”

I think I began jumping up and down, screaming "oh my God" at the top of my lungs wondering what I was going to wear.

It’s a 4:00 game, so we are heading out around noon. Hopefully we can get there early enough to try and get some autographs. Unlike last year, the train station delays kept us away until the start of the game. It will be a long day for the boys. We will not be home until 10 or so. The weather looks great, temperature in the 80’s without any rain.

A great day for a ball game with your son.

I have to remember to tell The Champ that Nate can come back over ANY time he wants.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Did He Open The Phone Book, Close His Eyes And Point?

One of the last things Mrs. Joe and I did with the kids before she moved out was to reward The Champ for a good report card. We started with dinner at Applebee's where the kids dined on grilled cheeses and fries and enjoyed ice cream for dessert.

Although dinner wasn't the reward he asked for, I figured we would go out for dinner first. At the time I thought spending time as a family would show Mrs. Joe the enormous mistake she was making

Obviously, it didn't work.

Anyway, after dinner we went to Wal-Mart to get The Champ what he asked for. Now you think to yourself that he asked for a toy. Maybe a Spider-Man action figure or some Hot Wheels play set.

You would be wrong.

Or you might think he wanted a new baseball glove or soccer ball.

Wrong again.

The correct answer would be that he wanted a pet. Yes, a pet, from Wal-Mart. He seen it one day with Mrs. Joe and begged for one from then on. We told him if he got a good report card we would take him to Wal-Mart and he could pick one out.

And what kind of pet did he ask for?


Yes, a fish.

Apparently Wal-Mart sells fish. I don't look at it as I bought The Champ a fish from Wal-Mart as much as I rescued a fish from Wal-Mart.

Some people adopt greyhounds from the dogtracks, I rescue bettas from low price box stores.

Either way that is what he wanted and that is what he got. The fish stayed behind after Mrs. Joe moved out. The Champ is responsible to feed him the days he is here. We change the water together and he decorates the tank. I told The Champ to name him but he could not come up with anything at first. He finally got around to giving it a name last week.

And the name The Champ chose?

Ester.

Yes, Ester.

Don't ask me where it came from. The Champ says he doesn't know. I figure the fish should not complain about a name like Ester.

He could still be at Wal-Mart.


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