Daddy’s Christmas Carol

(With apologies to Dickens)

Stave 1: Farley’s Ghost

Everything was in place for Christmas morning. Wife was going to bed. I wanted to finish my drink before following her. There wasn’t much left, so I wouldn’t be long. I sat on the couch admiring the tree and all of its ornate glory. The decorations on the bottom of the tree came from The Boy, who was the smallest of the family and could only reach so high. Ornaments were hung here and there, almost haphazardly. Anyone who met The Boy wouldn’t be surprised by this display of roughshod decorating.

A Christmas tree with ornament and garland.

I took my last sip of Holiday Cheer. I needed to get to bed. It was after midnight. It wouldn’t be long before wife and I would be met with the giddy screams of children who live for nothing else but to ruin our peaceful slumber. Children who would come crashing into our bedroom and use our bed for some type of trampoline or gymnastics mat. I stood up and made my way to the Christmas tree. I turned it off. I was about to leave the room and head upstairs when I saw a car pull up to my house and stop with a lurch. It was an old car whose door creaked open and a silhouetted figure stepped out of the car. I couldn’t make out the person but I had an eerie feeling they could see me in the dark room and they knew I could see them.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

The figure made its way up my driveway. As it came closer to my house, the tree lights somehow turned back on. They were dim at first but got brighter with every step the figure took towards my house. I couldn’t move. I stood there looking out the window, unable to take my eyes off of it as if it was silently commanding me to watch him.

A man looking around after he thought he heard something.
Sitting by myself. I thought I heard something.

Soon it was at my doorstep. It’s arms didn’t move, but I could see the door unlocking, like Wife had installed one of those early-adopter apps she likes to use and she was using such a thing to remotely lock and unlock doors. The door opened and the figure I saw leaving its car and approaching my house presented itself to me. It was a ghostly figure in the form of a man.

“Who are you?” I asked him, or it, not even sure he could understand me.

“Ask me who I was,” he answered.

“Okay,” I said. “Who you was?”

“In life, I was your high school teacher, Jack Farley.”

Mr. Farley? I remembered him. He was my Psychology teacher in senior year. I remembered hearing he had passed away years ago. I was tired, but he just got here and I didn’t want to be rude.

“What brings you here, Mr. Farley?” I asked him.

“It is required of every teacher that they should walk the earth and see that the students they taught are doing well with their lives,” Mr. Farley said. “That they are leading good lives and setting good examples for the children they raise and the children they meet.

“I’ve been out of high school for over twenty five years, and you decide to look in on me now?” I asked.

“You weren’t my only student,” Mr. Farley reminded me. “I have other students to check on and it’s not like they gave me a new car to do this.”

I looked outside. I could see the outlines of Mr. Farley’s car. It looked well-used when I was in high school, and that was a long time ago.

“Well,” I said, “I can tell you that I have five children under this roof. Each and every one of them could use a dope slap every now and then, but for the most part, I think Wife and I have them on the straight and narrow. Look, Mr. Farley, I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s getting late and my kids, especially The Boy are going to be up long before the sun with tomorrow being Christmas, and all. I appreciate you looking in on me. Things are going alright for us. I can tell you I’m doing well and things are good.”

That wasn’t good enough for Mr. Farley. I could tell by the look on his face he had more to tell me. Honestly, I was hoping he would save it for another day (a day. Like daylight when I was up and awake and didn’t need to go to sleep) and let me go upstairs to bed.

“Tonight, you will be visited by three ghosts,” he said.

“Tonight?” I asked. “Halloween was two months ago. Why do I need to see ghosts tonight?”

“Expect the first tonight when the bell tolls one.”

We were really doing this. I could see it didn’t matter to Farley how tired I was or what I had going on tomorrow.

“Bell tolls?” I asked him. “Look, Hemingway, we don’t exactly toll bells around here. Even phones ‘ringing’ don’t sound like ringing bells anymore. No bell, no tolling, no ghosts. Sorry Mr. Marley – I mean – Farley, but this house isn’t going to be able to accommodate that.

🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕🔔🔕

Expect the second when the bell tolls two.

Again with the bell tolling. What is it with this guy – ghost?

“The third will visit when the bell tolls three.”

“One, two, three,” I said. “Simple enough.”

“I tried to keep it simple for you, Gregory. Math wasn’t your strong suit.”

“Gregory?” I asked. “And when did you become a math teacher?”

He wasn’t listening. He had already turned and walked through the door. At least I didn’t have to worry about him closing it, like I do with my kids. He walked down the driveway. The lights on the tree dimmed with each step he took toward his car. He looked at me one last time as he opened the door and got in. I’m wondering when and why he chooses to open some doors and walk through others. His car started and drove off. I stood there alone in the dark room, trying to figure out if what I thought I had witnessed had actually happened. Whether or not it did, it was a good enough reason for me to pour a quick one and process the supernatural events that had occurred. Once again, it had happened with no one else around, so if I decided to tell Wife about it. She would just tell me that I had interesting stories. My kids might believe me. Then again, they might not.

Next: The Ghost of Daddy Past

A fireplace with garland hanging on the mantle over it. There is an elf next to it in front of the tools.

My Child’s Version of the Day they were Born

With all of the debate at my house, my child wanted to set the record straight about the day they were born.

My child saw what I had written about the day they were born and they felt the need to straighten some things out when it came to that day. I didn’t think that was necessary, but they insisted on lending their opinion on the events of that magical day.

So, first I already know my dad is lying because I know I was born the day after Thanksgiving and my mom was in labor for 50 hours, so they would have been in the hospital since 1 a.m. that morning and MY MOM seems to have a different story and they don’t go to my aunt and uncles for Thanksgiving.

Brave Daddy here. We did go to my brother’s and his wife’s for Thanksgiving until they moved.

Plus, I have relatives to back my story up and I have asked my dad if am adopted and he says no.

My children seem to think I can be a little different when it comes to things I say and do. I don’t know where they get this. Seems unfounded to me. Anyways, there always seems to be some different recollections when it comes to that magical Thanksgiving and for some reason, they always seem to come up around Thanksgiving.

He was in the room, so he knows I wasn’t adopted. Well I disagree. (Being adopted is not a bad thing)

My child didn’t want any of their adopted siblings to thing Wife and I loved them any less because they were adopted, so they put that last part in there.

The point is, some people in this house seem to remember the day differently. Whatever happened, and we all know who told the REAL version here, Wife and I were happy to be parents. In fact, you could say we were thankful (see what I did there?) What ever you’re thankful for, enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.

A Very Special Thanksgiving 🦃

There are some disagreements as to exactly what and when things happened, but you, a loyal reader are very, VERY well aware of the truthfulness and accuracy of the stories and events recorded and shared.

This week is an exciting time for my family and I’m sure it is for your family as well. This is the time we all come together to visit loved ones or loved ones come to visit us. This is the time we all come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is an especially memorable time for me and Wife because it is the first time we became parents. There was one particular Thanksgiving that will always have a special place in our hearts. There are some disagreements as to exactly what and when things happened, but you, a loyal reader, are very, VERY well aware of the truthfulness and accuracy of the stories and events recorded and shared. Because of this, you know of the historical accuracy of the tale I am about to impart.

It was a quiet Thursday morning for me and Wife. We were planning to go to my brother’s house that day. The DVR was set up to record a football game. Wife and I were seated in the living room sipping our coffees. My coffee had a little something tasty in it. A little Amaretto or Bailey’s for flavor on this leisurely morning where no one needed to go to work and it would be hours before we would need to be at my brother’s.

There was one particular Thanksgiving that will always have a special place in our hearts.

The time finally came to hit the road. We drove to my brother and his wife’s house. There we saw relatives and loved ones. We chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres. Some rooms had people sitting around talking. One room had the television on where people were getting ready to watch the football game. Wife and I made our rounds and said hello to our hosts and their various guests. Everyone knew Wife was pregnant and, if they didn’t, I think they figured it out when they saw her. Wife found a seat and rested herself. People made their way to where she was sitting and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. Everyone wanted to know how she was doing. Would she like anything? Could they get anything for her?

People continued to talk. I divided my time and attention between the game and conversation. Then, not long after we began talking, we were called into the dining room. It was a beautiful room, elegantly decorated. The table was beautifully set with various side dishes: stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, a variety of potato dishes. In one area of the table was a large bare spot. Very large.

Everything was in place. Everyone was in place. We were all ready to eat. But first, we had to give thanks for the bounty we were about to receive. After all, it was Thanksgiving.

After giving thanks, we passed sides to and fro. The turkey was carved. Wife and I passed sides to those next to us and around us. People passed sides to us. I was fortunate enough to get a drumstick, my favorite part of the turkey.

My plate was made. I was ready to go. I’ll never forget that drumstick. It was next to the mashed potatoes, which had gravy on it. The gravy was running down the potatoes and ran towards the drumstick. The tip of the drumstick had a little gravy on it. Just a little. Just enough to add a little more flavor.

I took the drumstick in my hands and brought it to my mouth. I was about to take a bite of the crispy drumstick with just a little gravy on it. I could smell the delicious aroma of the bird. I was about to take a bite when I felt something on my arm. It was Wife tapping me and saying, “I think we need to go to the hospital.”

And so we did. We said goodbye to our hosts and our fellow guests and we drove to the hospital, where we later said hello to our first child. This is the true, irrefutable story of how Wife and I first became parents. It happened on Thanksgiving. It was an exciting time, and it all happened just as you read it.

This week is an exciting time for my family,

and I’m sure it is for your family.

… and we were thankful.
Continue reading “A Very Special Thanksgiving 🦃”

More Daily Life in the Neighborhood

This week was another exciting, action-packed week for yours truly and the family. There was one particular day…

There’s never a dull moment with this house or this family… or this neighborhood.

A neighborhood cul-de-sac.
Never a dull moment in
our idyllic enclave.

This week was another exciting, action-packed week for yours truly and the family. There was one particular day where I had a little more than my usual excitement. I got a phone call from my father, who told me he was meeting a friend for lunch and lunch just happened to be in this very bustling metropolis I call home. It just so happened that my mother had no plans on Wednesday, the day of the lunch, so she decided to accompany him to my house where we would make our own plans.

My mother and I found a place for lunch. We went back to my house, where Dad was waiting for us. We drove to school to surprise The Boy and The Oppressed. We got to school and they were surprised and so was I. My parents had bought a new car a couple of months ago and I got to ride in it for the first time. The arm rests were heated. I never knew such a technology existed. There were other fabulous amenities to this car but my mind couldn’t get past the heated arm rests.

My nephew called. He was in the yard and having trouble with the leaf blower. I asked if the rake was broken too.

While we were driving to the school my nephew called my father. Nephew was doing some work in the yard and was having trouble with the leaf blower. Dad tried to walk him through it. He told him to try a couple of things. If the advice didn’t work, he could just forget about it and my dad would take a look at things when he got home. After Nephew hung up, I asked if the rake was broken too. My dad just shrugged.

We went back home where Lovie, Slick, and Slugger had returned from their day of learning and enrichment. Mom and Dad said hello and chatted briefly before starting their trek back home. After they left, I needed to give Slick a ride to work and get groceries for dinner. I then got The Oppressed, who wanted to check out a book at a local store (God bless her heart).

A small pile of leaves in a puddle in the street gutter.
A seemingly harmless part of the street. This is where we helped the nice lady.

On the way to the store, we noticed a nice lady on the ground next to a dog. I was a concerned citizen and I stopped the car to see what the problem was. It turned out that the nice lady had awkwardly stepped into a small hole that was in the sidewalk. He hurt her leg and, after a brief conversation, we learned that we actually lived on the same street. The oppressed and I helped her and her dog into the car and we drove her to her house, where her husband was waiting for her after she called him to tell him of her misfortune. When we told her where we lived, she told us she passed our house all of the time and noticed our dog.

From there, The Oppressed and I continued to the store. I then went home to cook dinner, which we ate like we always do on any other normal day where nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Superman
Just another day in the life…

Coaching Flag Football

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

Alas, nothing lasts forever. Seasons change. We had a nice extended summer in these parts, but now it seems like things are returning to normal. November is bringing colder temperatures. I’ve had to scrape my windshield before taking The Oppresses and The Boy to school.

There are other seasons, of course. Sports seasons. As you may already know, are a part of our family’s schedule and routine. If I’m lucky, I will coach a team. This gives me a chance to spend some more time with my children and try to teach them something and help them out.

This season gave me another chance to be on the field with The Boy and a few other children. I was an assistant coach for the flag football season. We had a lot of raw talent on our team. We had kids who wanted to play, kids who wanted the ball. We had kids who didn’t understand there were five players on the field and just one ball to go around.

A football on the ground during a sunny day.
Another flag
football season

In addition to our needing to explain to the gridiron greats how to share the football, we also needed to temper some of the players’ enthusiasm. For instance, if we were about to throw the ball, some of our own players would shout, “Pass!” as the play started. We loved the enthusiasm, but the head coach and I thought it would be a good idea to “surprise” the other team when it came to what play we were going to run.

Of course, there was no evidence to support this, but don’t question a kid’s gut.

Luckily, we were able to convince players to surprise our opponents. Other challenges for us included kids who wanted the ball. Again, rules called for only one ball per team and there were five players on the field. The head coach did a great job of spreading the ball around. Some players were more patient than others. Some waited their turn. Some players wanted to know how much longer they had to wait before their turn to run or pass the ball. Some players were certain that others were getting more turns than they were. Of course, there was no evidence to support this, but don’t question a kid’s gut.

Practice was fun. We had to remind some kids we were playing flag football and not tackle football. Some kids thought it was fun and cool to maybe tackle or physically block (totally against the rules). This was fun until they were the ones getting tackled or blocked, then it was mean and people were breaking the rules.

Sometimes there was a little confusion when a play was being run. Sometimes kids would run into each other, or trip over someone or something. Again, some were convinced people were trying to sabotage them. Balls were thrown or spiked. I jump in with my coaching experience and expertise and ask what’s wrong. Does it hurt and have a temperature? Kids are absolutely belligerent as they fill me in on the unwarranted attack on their person. It’s wrong and people should be punished. Our innocent victims demand satisfaction. I ask if we should hand out an equally harsh punishment for the accident that occurred when the victim ran into someone on the previous play. They try to hid their smile as they are reminded of what happened earlier, but they can’t and they go back to the huddle.

We try to make sure everyone has a chance to play every position. One assistant coach spent the entire game tallying plays and making sure everyone got in and got ample rest. My job was to make sure those who were on the sidelines were ready to play when their turn came. Some were ready. Sometimes someone was at the concession stand or going to their parents for a drink. The water bottles were on the sidelines, but they were convinced the parents had better drinks.

It was a good season overall for everyone. The players hopefully learned a few things about playing as a team. The coaches hopefully learned something about patience and working with kids. The Boy and I spent some time together driving to and from practices and games. He got a chance to see his friends again outside of school. I got to talk to some more adults. Everyone played and everyone had fun. My head coach gave a gift card to me and the other assistant at the end of the season, so some retail therapy to Dick’s Sporting Goods will be in order very soon. We all get to recover in time for a new season and new challenges.

Kids adjusting their uniforms and getting ready for a flag football game.
Ready for action.

When did this Life Begin (for parents)?

Six o’clock the usual morning lineup
Try to find a coffee cup that’s clean
Answer adoring messages fans write up
Put some dishes away, then it’s like 7:15

Music from “Tangled” to help with your day

Sung to the tune of “When will my Life Begin?” from “Tangled”.

Rapunzel from Disney's "Tangled" leaning out a window and looking up while singing.
Photo: Disney

Six o’clock the usual morning lineup
Try to find a coffee cup that’s clean
Answer adoring messages fans write up
Put some dishes away, then it’s like 7:15

And so, I’ll knock on doors
Or maybe two or three
It’s time to get up, kids
Now, days are ruined, see?
I’ll make their breakfast
And they won’t eat what they see
Just wonder when did this life begin?

After drop-offs it’s laundry and cleaning
Take out the trash. Some music for the stress
Grocery shopping and more music streaming

Then I’ll take clean clothes to rooms.
Oh my God! What a mess!

A boy's room with clothes and toys all over the floor and on the bed.
Oh my God! What a mess!

And then I’ll write some words
If I have time to spare
Bring dirty dishes down
I’m sure there’s room somewhere
Bring dirty laundry down
And clean clothes up the stair
On their beds where they’ve always been.
And I’ll keep washin’, foldin’,
Luggin’, and wonderin’
When did this life begin?

And then tonight
The kids will disappear
Just like they do every night each year
And it is nice
That time when they go
Now that It’s quiet
I might just
Thought you’d know

A girl dressed up as Rapunzel from Disney's "Frozen".
Rapunzel

Living with no electricity

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.

Wet firewood on a rack.
Our store of firewood

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

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. I charge my phone 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.

A book, notebook, pen, and glasses on a wooden table.
Passing the time

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.

A girl standing on the street with no jacket in the rain.
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.” 🤦‍♂️

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.

A fire in a fireplace behind a screen.
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.

A book and a bottle of beer on a table with lit candles.
My night.

Drinking Coffee at Home

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.

A gif of a cup being filled with coffee.
My daily perk

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.

A boy filling a coffee pot with water.
Getting the water all by himself.

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. 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.

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

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. 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. He uses a towel to protect his hands as he makes is way through said house and stairs.

A boy pouring cream into a cup of coffee.
Making Mom’s coffee all by himself.

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.

Adventures at the Emergency Room

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’m the one they call Dr. Feelgood.”

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 🍻

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. 🍻