How to Have Fun when you Lose Power After a Storm

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It’s a rough day here in the northeast. Rain. Howling winds. We lost power hours ago. It’s the kind of day I like to pretend we’re settlers trying to survive on the unforgiving wilderness. We (Wife) made coffee outside by the grill. Slugger went outside to gather firewood for when darkness covers us. He made three trips. I think there are five or six logs for us.

Our store of firewood

The Oppressed and The Boy are at a friend’s house. That leaves us with only three kids for now. The other house has eight, I think.

Living Without Electricity

Being a history buff, I like these brief episodes without electricity and the other modern conveniences. It’s our own chance to camp in. We have shelter and a healthy supply of non-perishables. It’s easy to “rough it” for a day or two. No electricity. Light a couple of candles. Read by candlelight. Write by candlelight. In the meantime, there’s daylight.

Wife made some coffee for our neighbors. I drove up to them with the coffee and checked on our own children. My phone charges for the short drive to keep the battery full. I get back home and return to my reading and writing and continue to pass the time.

Passing the time

The Poor, Poor Children

Slugger has resumed his firewood duty. He’s winded after one trip. All of the children are suffering, really. Nintendo Switches didn’t get charged. WiFi is spotty. I tried to convince The Boy and The Oppressed to play an unplugged game of something. That was when they booked it to the neighbors.

I’m googling how to boil water. There’s another mountain of dishes to be washed and we’re running out of space on the counters again.

The future of our country.

I’m not saying I’m going to wash dishes today. I’m saying I want to be prepared if I will. I don’t see power coming back any time soon. What did come back was The Oppressed… without a jacket.

“Where’s your jacket?” I asked.

“I forgot it.” 🤦‍♂️

Nighttime With no Power

It’s dark. We have candles lit all around the house. Flashlights for moving around. Lovie takes the flashlights and puts on a light show. We have a fire in the fireplace. Still no power. I may pour a beer and pretend I’m a traveler in a tavern.

Nighttime at home.

Neighbors brought us dinner. They have a generator and we’re able to cook with electricity. Dinner was great. I was planning the evening with the children. They’ll be home, I’m sure. We have cards. We have board games. I have a case of beer. This is going to be great. A fire and some games with the kids. I find out The Oppressed and The Boy are staying over the neighbors. Oh well, a man can dream.

On the plus side, The Oppressed and The Boy are away tonight. Two kids down, three to go.

We’ve had dinner. I’m having a beer and just grabbed a book. Children are going stir-crazy because their phones are losing power. They don’t know what to do with themselves.

My night.

A Great Cup of Coffee to Start Your Morning

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My daily perk

We all have our morning routines. If you’re like me, your routine includes a cup of coffee. Coffee helps me face the day and the challenges that come with it. It helps me wake up and I like to have something nice to drink when I am writing, reading, and/or editing.

I make coffee first thing in the morning. I am usually the first one up, but sometimes, The Oppressed or The Boy will be up waiting for me. The Boy, bless his heart sometimes takes a slight interest in something I am doing. If I am going to have a beer, he likes to open it for me. If I am going to pour it into a glass, he likes to pour it for me. It’s not a difficult task and he enjoys doing it, so I will let him.

The Boy has recently been up when I get up. This recent development is due to coffee. He doesn’t want to drink it. He wants to help me make it. By “help”, I mean he wants to make it. Himself. With no help from me.

The Boy makes sure he is up when I am up because, if I waited for him to get up at his normal time and make the coffee, I would be waiting for almost an hour for him. Plus, there’s the issue of his deciding what he wants for breakfast (that takes at least 20 minutes), getting ready for school (another 10-15 minutes), and finding his way to the car for the ride to school.

Getting the water all by himself.

The Process of Making Coffee

We start with the filter. I put the filter in and get the tin of coffee for the boy. The boy scoops the coffee out of the tin. I count for him. He admonishes me. He’s counting, not me. He doesn’t want any help.

On one of his first mornings of making coffee, I made him upset. Why, you ask? I wasn’t sure he could handle making it from the sink to the coffee machine with a pot full of water. I thought I was doing The Boy a favor by pouring the water into the machine for him. This was no favor and The Boy made sure I knew this. He wanted to do it all by himself, including pouring the water.

I’m only his father. What do I know? It’s not like I’ve been making coffee for 30 years.

The next day, he was up and ready to make coffee for me and Wife. He scooped the coffee into the machine. I got a cup out of the cabinet for him. He asked me what this was for. I told him it was to pour the water into the machine. Like an idiot, I thought it would be easier for him to use a smaller cup and make multiple trips between the sink and the coffee machine.

He told me no and reminded me about the coffee pot that comes with the machine. He was going to take the pot, fill it with water and pour it into the machine. Again, the boy is strong, but he is also a boy. I explain to him that it would be easier if he used the smaller cup and made more than one trip, but I’m only his father. What do I know? It’s not like I’ve been making coffee for 30 years.

I put the stool down for him. He promptly picks it up and puts it back down. He’s doing it all by himself.

We’re able to reach a compromise. The boy will use the pot and he will also use a stepstool. I put the stool down for him. He promptly picks it up and puts it back down. He’s doing it all himself.

The Process of Moving Coffee

Coffee scooped, water poured, machine turned on. Now the boy can have breakfast. He has breakfast while the coffee brews. The coffee is done. He hurries to the cabinet to get a cup for Wife. The boy proudly pours his mother a cup of coffee and is ready to bring it upstairs to her.

Making Mom’s coffee all by himself.

Along the way, he must deal with the dog, the gate that closes off the stairs, and the stairs, which can be tricky for a boy holding a cup of coffee. I offer to hold the cup of coffee for him while he opens the gate, but no. He doesn’t need my help. He’s doing this all by himself. As a parent, I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of my son holding a hot cup of coffee while he walks across the house and up the stairs. He has thought of this, though. He uses a towel to protect his hands as he makes his way through said house and stairs.

He makes it upstairs and into the bedroom. He proudly presents his mother with a cup of coffee that he made all by himself. No help from his father at all. Wife thanks him and begins to enjoy her coffee. I go back to my reading and writing as I sip on my coffee poured from a pot that he made all by himself.

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Adventures at the Emergency Room

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There’s never a dull moment with our family. I’m back at the hospital. I’m not the patient this time. This time I’m with one of my children, who has been complaining of some aches and pains. The pains have become unbearable and gotten to the point they can barely move some joints.

We don’t know what’s wrong. We just know the child is in pain. We had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next day but it became clear they couldn’t wait that long. I packed up the child and drove to the hospital.

Loyal readers remember my day at the hospital with poison ivy. That was a fun day. Things here haven’t been as exciting or eventful. There was one belligerent person who was tired of waiting. Staff was able to calm him down.

My view

We’ve been here for over four hours. one person near us says they’ve been here for eight hours. I think someone else has been here for 10 hours. Maybe I should have packed a toothbrush.

It’s 1:30 in the morning. One of the children at home recently texted me. I asked what they were doing up. They didn’t have an answer, but they assured me they were going to bed.

Someone is arguing on their telephone. I’m not sure what’s going in but I thought I heard, “Get me out of here!”

Someone is sitting next to us. They’re offering their opinion on how things are being run here. The employee is listening and being very nice and attentive. I wonder if we’re going to see a suggestion box in the waiting area soon.

It’s 3:30 and my child has finally fallen asleep. I want them to sleep but I also want them to be seen. I guess they can wake up and then fall asleep in their bay.

I got myself a blanket at 6:00 and fell asleep. I woke up at 7:00. One hour of sleep. I should be ready to face the day with that. Who needs coffee when you have adrenaline?

Wife came by at 8:00 with breakfast and coffee. Forget what I said about who needs coffee.

We’ve now been waiting 10 hours. At least we have sustenance. Eating is nice, but it only takes up so much time. I leave the waiting area to find a gift shop. Maybe I can find a game for me and my child to play. I find someone who works at the hospital and ask where the gift shop is. There is no gift shop. I’m a little puzzled by this. A gift shop would provide gifts for patients, games for visitors and people looking to pass the time. This brings in money to the hospital and keeps prices in check. I just controlled the cost of healthcare. Is anyone from the hospital reading this? Are they hiring? Are they going to let this talent go to waste? Do you realize what you have here in front of you? 💡 💰

We gave up after waiting 14 hours. We decided to cut bait and try another hospital. We stopped at home to pack clean clothes, some video games, and see Wife. We tell her about the fun sleepover we had. After preparing for Hospital part 2, we stop for lunch. We drive around looking for parking. This place is busy. The last hospital was a 14-hour wait. This should be fun.

New hospital

The Boy was called up. They took his vitals and checked him in. A nurse looked at me and warned me there was already a line of people in front of us and they see people based in severity. Who knows what could come in while we’re here. We’re looking at a wait of one or two hours. He thought we should know what the wait could be. Did we think that was alright? If only he knew about our wild night.

The Boy got examined. They asked him some questions while they examined him. He asked them some questions. I asked some questions. They took some blood. They have him something for the pain. They wanted to wheel him to the X-ray wing. I asked if I could jump on the bed and ride with him. They said, “No.” I said please. They said, “No,” again. 👎

Souvenirs from the hospital visit.

He gets back from the X-ray. We wait for the results. His hospital gown has little tigers on it. I tell him it looks like Kitty. He disagrees. The Boy plays video games. I read. We continue to wait for the results. I thing about the hospital mini-tour we’ve done. The nurse returns. They can’t find anything wrong. I’m mildly disappointed.

I text wife and the kids to let them know what’s happened. There’s nothing else the hospital can do and nothing else we can do. We get ready to head home. Before we go, I take the hospital down and snap a picture for Kitty. I want to see if she gets déjà vu or thinks she’s looking in a mirror. We head home. Neighbors brought us Chinese food. I eat a couple of plates. The diet during this journey killed me and ruined the figure I’ve worked so hard on lately. I go to bead early. The next day, I’m calling The Boy‘s doctor to brief them and see what more needs to be done. After that, I’m going to see what needs to be done around the house. I was gone and Wife’s working. I can’t wait to see what crises are waiting for me.

On to the next crisis.

Local New England Beers 🍻

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All of us have been busy. Every week seems to be another episode of dividing and conquering. This fall has us dealing with one cross-country schedule and two different football schedules. One for a flag-football player and another for a cheerleader.

I had The Oppressed one weekend for a football game near the Rhode Island state line. We needed to make the drive back home but I, being the wise parent, thought we should stop somewhere first to get something to eat. The Oppressed agreed and we decided to stop in a nearby place for breakfast. This place was in Rhode Island and, as a personal rule, if I am in a different state, I have to stop somewhere for some local beer. I feel this is the best way to familiarize myself with the ways and customs of the people in the state I am visiting.

Derivative Pale Ale from Rhode Island.

My selection was the single-hopped pale ale (6% abv) from Derivative, a creation of the Proclamation Ale Company of Warwick, RI. I liked this beer. Usually I like IPA’s to be a little stronger, but this one did the trick. Derivative delivers a nice IPA that’s not too hoppy. If you like IPA’s but sometimes feel a little overpowered by it hoppiness, this is for you.

There was another time the open road called me. This time it was to Maine to visit family. While in the Pine Tree State, I grabbed some of the locally brewed offerings. My selection was another IPA, not because it’s may favorite, but because this seemed to be all the store was offering that day. I walked out with a Pulp Truck IPA (6% abv) from Marsh Island Brewing.

Marsh Island’s
Pulp Truck

This was a well-balanced beer. In other words, you’re not overpowered by the hops. It’s also not too strong. You can have a couple of these while sitting down with friends at lunch and still be able to drive home.

I was hoping to sample just one IPA and maybe something different from the second brewer, but this was what these nice people had to offer. Small brewers can only make so much, and I’m sure it’s difficult to brew many kinds simultaneously.

Mr Giggles from Foulmouthed

Pulp Truck wasn’t the only beer I grabbed while I was in Maine. I also came home with a Mr. Giggles Golden Strong (10%) made by FoulMouthed Brewing. I like strong beers, but not beers so strong all you taste is alcohol. This was not one of those beers. In fact, It didn’t taste like a 10% abv beer at all. I’m not saying it wasn’t strong, it was. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like a beer because it may be too strong for you, this is one you might be able to drink. It’s a smooth golden ale, not bitter. It’s not too carbonated and it smells like an ale. Some strong beers will overpower you when you bring it up to your nose. Again, this isn’t one of those beers. Another great thing about this beer is that money from your purchase will support the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine (NAMIMAINE).

If you like beer, you should try a new brewer, especially a small one. These people live nearby, your helping the local economy and helping people in the area support their families. You’re drinking good beer and supporting the town. Good for you. 🍻

Adoption

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Our children posing with the judge.

It was a very exciting week for us. It usually is, but this exciting week was a special one for Wife and me. Last week, we officially became parents of The Gaggle. It was a long process. It usually is when you’re dealing with the state, but in all honesty, the wait wasn’t as long as it could have been.

So, what changes? Not much, really. The children have been with us for a long time now. They’ve been with us for over a year and we’ve got our routines down. In addition to school, we also have sports practice, doctor’s appointments, and visits with friends.

We’re going to trip over dirty clothes and find dirty dishes in random places. We’re going to stare in disbelief at the answers we receive to what we thought were simple questions.

We’re still going to have our vacations and our day trips. There will still be our weekend trips to Cape Cod. We’re going to trip over dirty clothes and find dirty dishes in random places. We’re going to stare in disbelief at the answers we receive to what we thought were simple questions. We’re going to shake our heads and facepalm when we see things that happen in our house.

We will continue to team children up when it comes to the chores around the house. We will continue to walk from room to room and wonder why things don’t get done around the house. We’ll hear about school and practice being, “great.” We’ll continue to deal with the challenges faced by us and other parents around the globe.

Children banging the gavel to make the adoption official.

We arrived at court on the day of the festivities. We met with the judge before the proceedings officially began to get the rundown. We then went to the courtroom where things were officially declared. The judge officially named us parents to the Gaggle, now officially known as Slick, Slugger, and Lovie, and children were given a gavel to pound and declare our parenthood official.

One of the children, who had turned 18 before the adoption could become official, was not “adopted” in an official sense. The Oppressed realizing this, promptly drew up a decree of adoption and had Wife and I sign it. It hangs in our kitchen.

A homemade adoption certificate.

From there, we went to lunch to celebrate the day and our accomplishment. We then went home to rest from the excitement.

Friends came by over the weekend for dinner to celebrate and congratulated us on the good news. Our social media has been flooded with likes and comments congratulating us and wishing us the best as we continue our adventures in parenting. It’s always going to be exciting, maybe more exciting than we’d like. There’s going to be a problem, a practice to go to, a game to attend. There will be the hiccups that accompany the days in the life, but that’s okay. We love our children.

brave-daddy

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Protecting your Treats from Nosy Children

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Quickly eating before being caught.

You read stories of American colonists hiding stores of ammunition ahead of the British army coming to seize it. Pirates hid treasure. People would secretly make then hide booze. People did whatever it took to make sure someone else didn’t take what was theirs.

photo: gotrum.com

I’m seriously considering these practices in my house. As you know, I’m usually the one who does the grocery shopping. Sometimes I need to go to the wholesale store. This is necessary when you have five children, three of them are in athletics (if you count cheerleading).

I get this. I played sports. I rode a bike. You sweat. You need to hydrate. It happens. I understand this. What I don’t understand is why one of the Gaggle needs to pack four sports drinks in the morning. He needs to stay hydrated. Do the water fountains not work in the school?

The Boy is one of the children in sports. He needs to hydrate. That would be fine if he actually finished his hydration. He doesn’t and he’s not the only one. Wife and I are constantly finding half-full (or half-empty) bottles around the house. They belong to nobody, of course. All of the children are perfect and they finish and properly dispose of everything they consume.

Sometimes I see something I think Wife will really like when I’m shopping so I grab it. Something nice to give her while she overworks at her job. I make sure to give it to her while the little pillagers are at school. If they’re home, I’ll tuck it under something in a bag, then retrieve it and, with great stealth, slip it under some papers or behind a book so she can enjoy it without having it poached by one of the Miracles of Christ.

Wife has seen what’s going on as we find depleted supplies of tonic and juice and assorted treats. She has resorted to taking some of these rations and storing them in special hiding places so she can enjoy a little something when she feels like it instead of gobbling up something for the sake of getting something she’d like before the children conduct their raid and it’s gonna forever.

Interestingly enough, my store of fruits and vegetables hasn’t been pilfered 🤔. It’s a fascinating thing that occurs at my house, but I haven’t had the need to hide apples, oranges, peaches, plums, or carrots. It’s a phenomenal situation, but this is one of the reasons they’re called the Miracles of Christ.

The colonists hid guns in woodpiles, bullets in sacks and barrels. Bruce Wayne has secret passages at Wayne Manor. Heroes have ways to hide and store necessary supplies for when they need it. Wife has taken to these tactics before the locusts – I mean, children – descend upon the spoils of a shopping trip. If we’re lucky, they’re absorbed in a screen that provides some mind-numbing experience for them. This allows us to find a place to hide something being saved for a special occasion or something that’s planned for a meal. Either way, we have our system. It may not be as elaborate of a system used to warn of British coming into Boston Harbor, but it does allow me and wife to preserve our stores and hold off the grocery shopping for another hour.

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