20 Years ago today

I learned some important things: Lamaze is crap and Petocin doesn’t speed your contractions, it makes labor one big long spouse’s hand-crushing contraction. And at 8:34 p.m. life changed

My eldest arrived on June 2, 1991 after 23 hours of “sheer bliss.” I think there is a file on my former spouse and me because the experience really molded us for when we returned for the other two kids.

But despite it all, she arrived quite nicely.


We were feeling pretty good about a year after. She’s continued to age quite nicely. I can’t do that beard anymore without there being “Santa-like” connotations.

Happy Birthday, Kid


Holiday Road

The holiday gave rise to a whole collection of random notes. Bear with me as I clean out a few mental pockets.

I’m fond of joking that my lovely former spouse and I are in the three phases of parenthood: With the youngest, we can still solve the occasional issue with a hug and a kind word. With the lovely middle child, we are the loveable buffoons who occasionally have the money. With the eldest, we are the fucking idiots with the money. And so it goes. Funny what you note and when you note it. We sent the mighty middle child west with her best friend and the friend’s parents on the fourth to spend time in Las Vegas followed by a canyon tour. Being all of 15 (and about to turn 16, as she would want me to add), her mom and I got over our fears of our child two time zones away and went on a charm offensive to get her at peace with the idea. The tragical history tour left last night and about 9 we got a call from chicago. “Did you like the first flight?” “No” was the curt reply. Apparently, she was really jazzed, but we were never going to see that.

I awoke to a text saying “I’m on a monorail.” So, I guess mission accomplished. Considering when her older sister turned 16, she was briefly in a bar with me in Williamsburg and now she is in Vegas. Either, we are either irresponsible or the coolest parents ever. I’ll opt for the latter.

While all this was going on, amazing number one son and I were watching a little tv and decided at the last minute to head down to the Central Wharf downtown to check out the fireworks. Got to say to Buffalo Place, well done. All the parking spots were open and reasonably priced. I slide into a space by the arena at 9:45 and we walked over the bridge to the strains of Lance Diamond turning somebody’s mother out in short order. The wharf wasn’t overly crowded and we caught a neat little show without working terribly hard. Not going to lie about the appeal of that. Nice half hour of pyrotechnics to cap a day, that sort of lost track of the holiday a little.

A friend of a friend lost his house saturday night and I started Sunday at a funeral for another. A little recentering was in order and Buffalo Place did the trick.

Is projectile grief possible?

‘ve been thinking about Asa Hill a lot over the weekend. He and my son played together a few times. And living on Anderson for many a moon, his great family was often visible given the proximity to the Ujima Theater (a marvelous place, btw). I don’t them personally very well, but enough to know they are good folk and to lose somebody so young, well, there aren’t any right words.

I suppose the silver lining in all of this for me is the amount of people who left their cars and did everything they could to give that little boy a fighting chance. We live in a world where we don’t treat each other very well, very often and to see people rally like that is heartening. But I fall back on young parents burying children. I’m sitting on the couch tonight, torn up a little that I missed the service for an exhausting day at work and projected that onto my son. As a result, I’m having a horrible day dream about that being a consequence which has resulted in me being a big teary mess.

The Grandfather said something about being joyful for the time he got. I completely appreciate and respect that sentiment, but I guess if number one son was taken from me, I’d be pissed and angry with whatever diety or other invisible man in the sky about that, gyped over what should have been. There are evil cantankerous, hate inspiring sons-of-bitches who have all the durability of Michael Meyers, yet kids who don’t know hate meet this type of end so soon.

If somebody came up to me with some bromide about God’s plan, my first thought is that there is a serious rewrite need. That’s provided I didn’t deck ’em for excessive clinche use.

Yeah, I guess it is hitting awfully close to home as a parent and somebody who’s been through it before. I was 14 when my 11 year old brother passed away. He had some health issues that never gave him peace and I think my folks at least at the benefit of knowing what was coming. That doesn’t make it easier to take and I can still remember the looks in their eyes when they broke the news to me. I can’t tell you what dinner was like tonight, but stuff like that I can remember in fine detail. Love my folks, my dad remains my most trusted advisor as I stagger through my 40s, but that is one trait we don’t need to share. I know that is a stretch, but you worry.

My lovely son is slowly coming to terms with dogs. For the longest time, he has scared of even the most harmless thing and it is slowly turning around. I like most dogs more than some people but sometimes not everybody remembered my guy’s phobia. Last school year was his first, getting himself out to the bus. There are a couple of friends, but it was his first time on his own. After a couple weeks, I relaxed a little as he fell into a great routine. It helped that another great friend brought her kids and dog down to the same stop. I had this clear as we’re watching vision of number one son running away from a dog that was only sort of paying attention to him only make the mistake of going into Ashland where not all the motorists are paying attention to what their car is doing.

Which is I guess where I should wind up this rant. We need to watch out more for one another. Nobody, I mean, nobody needs to be on the phone in the car. Nobody needs to text. Put the damn ipod on shuffle, before putting the car in drive, and leave it the fuck alone. The world will keep spinning if you pull over to check your messages. None of us are so important that we need to be constant uninterrupted contact. After all, how can I miss you if you won’t go away. That’s why reuniting feels so good. Take a little time, so you always have the time. People will wait for a returned call. It still happens.

Watch what your car is doing and hey, let’s be careful out there.

Promise of a New Day 1-20-09

One of the beautiful things of having relatives smack in the middle of DC is you can select your historical moments without a whole lot of advance planning. I know this is a little after the fact, but I just found this file of pictures on my pc. With the inauguration of President Obama, the lovely mother of my lovely children hatched the notion to take our guys down to the fun. I got to ride shotgun. Given their racial makeup, it was a once in a lifetime thing. Given a horrifying ride down the night before, I was ready for a little lackidasical adventure. Essentially, we walked a few blocks and were in Obamastock. It was fun to just see all the hullabaloo. We didn’t struggle to get into certain places. Things just seemed to happen all Ferris Bueller like, just right into place. The feeling of hope made everybody friends. After eight years of Washington induced fear, it was a beautiful thing to see the city (both of them) so friendly. Coverage of the day is for the tv networks Christmas, Hannukah and your parents getting divorced in the same day as they pulled out all the toys. It was a good day to ignore that and savor the actual moment.



My Eldest and Youngest having more fun in front of the Department of the Interior than is usually permitted.












Our hero, trying not freeze celebrating democracy

Leave a little room for cream….

It’s funny what you notice on the ride to work. I work just off Delaware Park and on the nice days, the park road is flooded with fresh air types doing a lap of the park. The thing that sticks with me is that all these folks believe they are parking land yachts and they fill the spots closest to the entrance, dropping the car the moment they get on the property. I wouldn’t care but that is close to my work place so I do an unplanned lap trying to get to my office. Wouldn’t it make make sense to park near the exit since you’ll be, ya know, leaving???

Some of these folks need refreshers on parallel parking.

Try to be local when I get coffee, but I sometimes wonder what planet the Spot kids are on. Went in this morning and got a tankard of the house blend. I was told I was all set. The tankards are nearly $2.00. I don’t really care that the cashier kept my six cents without apology but it threw me off. I picked up my coffee, which was almost what I ordered, but not quite. None of it was anything to get worked up about, but it was enough little things that “not quite” seemed to sum the whole episode up. “Was it a good cup of coffee?” “Not quite.”

I haven’t been a regular devotee of the 11:30 nightly shows for sometime. I’ve always liked David Letterman, been to the show a few times, etc. I don’t dislike Jay Leno, but it was never important to me. I did tune in to see Conan O’brien’s debut at the helm of the Tonight Show. He did fine. Much gets made unnecessarily about what plays at 12:30 versus 11:30. Nice to see him not turn into a hack.

Canada is off the hook for a few weeks. Spent my last little bit o change and got the passport ordered. I needed one but the border crossings law seems more of a money grab than anything to keep us safe. There are still large parts of the Canadian and Mexican borders that have nothing on them at all. In my mind, these have always been two separate issues instead of one blanket problem. I say this being fairly confident that if there is a Ft. Erie Al-Queda cell, it has to be in a deep sleep. I think the greater risk is the economies of Western New York and Southern Ontario. The days of the impulse trip for Chinese Food or even to the beach are done. This is gesture for gesture sake. As George Carlin pointed out about airport security, “This was all done to make the white people feel safe.”

This white guy feels about the same as before.

Really enjoyed the Dave Matthews concert on FUSE last night. It’s fun to see a huge act take on a small show. Last time I got to see them it was from the 5th or 6th row. Seeing them push themselves in a small venue like the Beacon Theater made up for the fact that I couldn’t motivate myself to get a Coldplay ticket. Love the band, hate Darien Lake as a concert venue. Props to Ch. 2 in Buffalo. One of their web folks pointed a link to a spot the band had set aside to download the free live album concertgoers got handed to them.

Watching DMB made me wonder if any person enjoys their work as much as DMB drummer Carter Beauford.

Off to celebrate the fact as of today I am the parenthood of an 18 year old. My darling daughter was born on this date at 8:42 p.m., a date that seems like it happened yesterday. I have lots of twenty and thirty something friends who say crap about feeling so old or that makes them feel so old. Shut the fuck up all of you. When your child is raiding your record collection, when her senior banquet is at one of the bars you frequent, when you both pick out Thursday in the Square shows, then you can make some claim to feeling a little old.

Good thing I still got the looks.


Days of Future Passed

Radio Days

Perhaps out of spite since I still have my hair, my Dad sends the occasional photograph to keep me on my toes. The one that arrived in today’s email wasn’t so bad. I worked for St. Bonaventure Unversity Radio Station when I was in school in the Mezozoic era (the mid 80’s). We were almost a big deal, had many leatherbound books on shelves of rich mahogany….mostly because the four commercial stations down there at the time played either country or “music of your life.” The attached is a picture from a remote broadcast from the Olean Center Mall, so long ago that my hair was a uniform color of brown and the picture was only in black and white. Enjoy.


Another questionable fashion choice. 1984 was a kidney stone for such things.

Oh yeah, My eldest needed a baby pic for her senior page in the City Honors yearbook, so this is what is going in, apparently. Brace yourselves for a window into my decay.


She’s the clean shaven one….

Bad Boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

A couple of America’s dumbest criminals broke into my former house on Anderson this morning. Aside from the icky feeling you get from somebody touching your stuff, I’m not sure what to make of it. I left work as soon as my ex called, to straighten, clean, batten down the hatches and prop the kids up. Number one son got cleaned out of Game Cube games, but we haven’t been able to find out what else might be missing. Both of my daughters have I-Home stereos that went untouched. These geniuses ran room to room in search of well, I’m not sure what, bypassing computers, tvs, and the like. I’m grateful everybody is safe, that nobody was home that may have had to deal with intruders of whatever variety. For my part, aside from watching my poor son’s face melt when we told him about it, I along with an uncle and brother and law worked until about 9:30 tonight replacing the broken window that let them into the basement and battening down the other first floor windows so nobody can enter without a helluva lot of effort.

Building deterrants.

When my former spouse was returning from a pizza run, she saw two chuckleheads sauntering up a neighbors driveway and stopped them. A call to the gendarmes followed. A police detective showed up shortly thereafter. Given that he was followed by a uniformed gentleman in short order makes me think that this stuff is not exactly news in the neighborhood. But again, I’m glad my merry band is safe and has pretty much everything they started the day with.

So, watch out for anybody cruising through the hood folks. They might be fixing to pull a heist.

Stardate Sunday night blah blah.0

Made it to the new Star Trek movie yesterday at the Regal on Transit. I’ve never been an hardcore Trekkie or Trekker, just liked them in it’s-a-good-show-but-I-hope-to-meet-a-woman kind of way.  After some manic scrambling that goes along doing anything with a group, some of whom I never saw that day, I got in and can tell you that it meets the hype, is a lot of fun, doesn’t take the original too seriously and you’ll have a grand time. The Regal staff looked a little overwhelmed at the volume of people, which reminded me why this wasn’t one of my favorite haunts.

It was a minor victory for me as my son had wanted come with me, but I had the extra bonus of my lovely 14 year old daughter wanting to come with us. She wanted to come! Suck on that other WNY fathers! I don’t completely suck as a Dad. For that alone, I was going to come out ahead. There were some largely minor issues involving a potential IMAX screening. We settled for a later one and had an great time.

Got to indulge my inner sci-fi geek and be a cool Dad at the same time. Win-Win