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Thank You for Reading. Here’s what’s Inside.

“Welcome to the show.” – KISS Band

My name is Greg. I’m from Massachusetts and have been a househusband for over nine years. I am a parent and a foster parent You’ll learn more about the cast of characters as we go along, especially the little darlings that have since transformed me from a gentle, live-and-let-live individual into a single malt scotch and craft beer connoisseur.

The Cast of Characters

Me. A college-educated, well-read individual who has turned into a hardened veteran of “The Homework Wars”. Hostage negotiator who frequently deals with hunger-strikes as a result of limited menus and a refusal to cook multiple dishes at mealtimes.

Wife. Mother of “The Boy” and “The Oppressed”. Claims to work in Corporate America but I and a few others seem to think she works for a secretly-funded black-ops branch of the federal government due to long stretches of not being reached and impromptu travel.

The Oppressed. My daughter. Believes I am conspiring with her teacher to make her life miserable and blames me for her not, “enjoying life”. Anti-homework crusader and tireless advocate for oppressed children everywhere.

The Boy. My son. Proudly announces he will work 10 jobs when he grows up. These jobs include building houses and playing a role in a local S.W.A.T. unit. Considerately stacks five or six books in front of his bed for me to read every night.

The Gaggle. Any one or more foster child(ren) that enter and leave our home.

Kitty. Our cat. She likes to think I am her personal climbing post and Wife is her own bed. Kitty enjoys running around in circles at random times during the day and stalking/pouncing on anything that moves. If you ask Wife, she’s already used up seven or eight or her nine lives.

This is why my Friday is fun and Exciting

Well, I told you my Friday was exciting. Now you’re going to read about it.

What good shall I do this day?

Benjamin Franklin

Friday started like any other day for me. I said hello to Doggie and Kitty, got some coffee and got ready to face the day. I walked to the bus with Slugger and The Oppressed. When I got back home, The Boy was up beginning his day.

I took The Boy to school and again I returned home. I needed to eat a little breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The Gaggle emerged from their room. It was a big day for The Gaggle, as they were going to take the last part of their GED. The whole GED process itself has been an arduous one. I think we were both equally happy to see an end to this.

I spent the time reading while The Gaggle took their test. We made our way back to town when they finished. I needed to run an errand. The Gaggle wanted to go home and enjoy the fact that they didn’t need to study any more. I needed to go home and get things done at the house, but that had to wait.

Meeting People for Lunch

As I was driving home, my mother-in-law called. She was doing errands with her husband and her sister. They were going to lunch and asked if I would go with them. I accepted. Wife was working from home and couldn’t get away. Her day was filled with meetings. She asked if I would pick up something to-go for her. I would.

people in cafe
Photo by Joe L on Pexels.com

Lunch is spent filling in my in-laws and Wife’s aunt on life: school, sports, work, every part of the madness we face day in and day out. People ask me about The Boy’s soccer season. That’s going well. He seems to like it. Wife and I like that he’s out there expending energy. It means he can get tired faster and fall asleep earlier. When it comes to kids and quiet, Wife and I can use all the help we can get.

Lunch is over. I drive home to give Wife her food. No rest for the wicked, though. I need to be at the elementary school to get The Boy. The Boy has plans as he always does on Friday. Friday means rolling through the neighborhood and connecting with his friends. They aren’t able to play during the week. The burdens of homework and extra-curricular activities prevent that. I think petitions are being filed as you read this.

Soccer Practice, and Someone is Disappointed

Speaking of extra-curriculars, there’s a slight bump in The Boy’s schedule this afternoon. He has soccer practice. It was supposed to be earlier in the week, but Mother Nature had other plans with the rain. We’ve been getting quite the amount of rain lately. It would have been nice to have it during the summer when we were dealing with a drought, but I digress.

The Boy is most displeased with this development. Friday afternoons are for Manhunt and bike riding, not corner-kicks and throw-ins. The curtailed playtime is just another of a long list of grievances presented to me by all of my children. I take everything under advisement.

person playing soccer.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The Boy goes to practice. The coaches, bless their hearts, do the best they can with the limited attention spans of the budding athletes. Time is spent on drills and a little strategy. I occasionally peek over my book to see how practice goes.

Practice ends. Parents walk up to the cluster of children to hear the coach’s words of wisdom and to see if there’s any word on the game. For some reason, times and locations of our games are always changing. The coach thinks the league is 90% certain of when and where we’ll be this weekend, and he hopes to be in touch with us that night.

Someone is Still Disappointed

I take The Boy home, and it’s time to eat. The Boy is not happy with me. We call The Boy “A Man About Town”. Friday means no homework. It means he doesn’t have to worry about what he’s doing the next day. Like all cherubs everywhere, The Boy spends his free time around the neighborhood collecting friends and having fun, celebrating their short-lived parole from school. Soccer practice cuts into that. He lets me know how disappointed he is in this change to his schedule.

I think I’m the only one looking forward to my son’s soccer game. ⚽️

I get home. I’m ready to rest a little from a busy week. The weekend has plenty of excitement in store for us, including a soccer game. I’m looking forward to watching my son play soccer. I think I’m the only one looking forward to the game.

Follow me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave for more insights and nuggets about parenting.

An Exciting, Fun-Filled, Week for Daddy

I continue on my way to the dentist. That’s right. I have a dentist appointment. It’s important that I keep my teeth healthy so I can keep eating steak and burgers.

It’s always an exciting time at our house. That happens with four kids in the house and one at college. Sometimes, it’s a little more exciting than Wife and I would like.

Lady resting on sofa and watching tv at home
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Brave daddies and mommies everywhere have rejoiced and thanked the school gods for delivering their children to the Land of Learning for a few hours. This too-brief respite provides pestered parents everywhere a chance to get things done, even if those things include streaming an episode they’ve been wanting to watch for days.

Our domestic roster has children in college, high school, middle school, and elementary school. It’s the educational perfecta of parenting.

I want to give a little insight to the fun we had on one particular week. This was a time of obligations and responsibilities that involved my children. It was days of driving and hustling that made me glad for my CD collection (Yes, I still have CDs).

Monday

We begin our fun-filled week the same way we start every morning. The Oppressed and I walk to the bus stop. This gives us a chance to catch up on things. She asks me what my day has in store for me and what I’m going to do while she is tortured – I mean – in school. She also fills me in on all the drama on the bus and in school. Middle school has opened her eyes to how petty people can be and how they need to share every last detail of something with the people of homeroom and the lunch table. My daughter makes sure she doesn’t miss any details when she’s sharing with me.

Slugger has a doctor’s appointment. It’s a follow-up to a follow-up. I think his doctor is eyeing some investment property up Lake Winnipesaukee. This calls for a little shuffle in the afternoon chores and responsibilities. The appointment means Slugger won’t be taking the bus home. He’s getting out of school early. He doesn’t mind this at all, so he’s willing to suck it up and deal with the small inconvenience in his schedule.

The doctor’s appointment means I won’t be able to pick up The Boy from school. This will cut into our two-minute conversation when we drive home. (The Boy doesn’t allow me to walk). This means The Gaggle steps in and walks him home. They don’t drive. The Boy needs to put on his big-boy pants and hoof it to the house. I’m sure to hear about it when I return home.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning begins with the usual hustle and bustle of getting children up and getting them to the bus stop. After the bus leaves with two of the cherubs, I head back to the house for a few precious minutes of quiet time with the dog before The Boy makes his presence known.

Breakfast. Back upstairs to get dressed. I look a few things over while the child gets ready for his day at school. We arrive at school; the boy departs the car. I continue on my way to the dentist. That’s right. I have a dentist appointment. It’s important that I keep my teeth healthy so I can keep eating steak and burgers.

A little something from Widowmaker Brewery because I was a good boy at the dentist.

The weather’s a little iffy. I’m wondering if soccer practice is going to happen for The Boy, but that’s in the afternoon. Right now, I’m focused on making it to the dentist. It’s a successful visit. God bless the hygienist for having Bob Seger playing in the room.

If you’ll just come with me, you’ll see the beauty of Tuesday afternoon.

The Moody Blues

The Boy’s soccer practice was originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but Mother Nature had other plans. We underwent a deluge of rain. It was nice to see the rain given the dry summer we had, but after the game they had on the previous weekend, a practice soon after the game wouldn’t hurt.

Our coach can’t control the weather, though, and the practice is moved to Friday.

Wednesday

girl in white crew neck t shirt writing on white paper
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Wife and I had some quality time together on Wednesday. Our day began at school where we had a meeting for one of our students. Nothing was wrong. They were transferring and everyone wanted to make sure the transition had been a smooth one so far.

Wednesday night meant an Open House at the High School, where I got to meet Slugger’s teachers. Everyone raved about my boy and how much they enjoy having him in their classed. I went home and passed the glad tidings on to Slugger, who responded to the compliments with grunts and shrugs.

Thursday

Thursday was a day of trying to catch up with things around the house. I did the best I could. There were some things to get at the grocery store. People need to eat.

Four kids at four different schools. It’s fun.

It was an interesting day for me. I needed to shop and catch up on things around the house. There always seems to be things that pop up on you when the kids get out of school early. This was one of those times. Luckily, I was able to be back in time to collect the children. They, of course, enjoyed the free afternoon.

Children got home and got through their homework. Once that was complete, it was off to the familiar refuge of YouTube and other assorted screens. I spent the afternoon cooking dinner. I needed to get this done earlier than usual as there was another Open House at another school that evening. Four kids at four different schools. It’s fun.

This time I’m at the elementary school. I get a look at The Boy’s classroom. This is always an interesting and exciting time. It allows me to find out what’s going on while he’s in school enriching his mind and preparing himself as the future of our country. I see his desk. It’s quite the sight to see. I ask him about the desk when I get back that night. He assures me it never looks that bad and it will be taken care of and righted as soon as he sets foot in school tomorrow.

Coronavirus Test

A friend needed this.

As I’ve said before, it’s been an interesting week. It gets better. There’s been a prescription that’s been waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy. On my way home, I take an opportunity to stop at the pharmacy and pick up the prescription. While I’m on my way to the store, I hear my phone buzzing. I can’t see what’s happening, after all. I’m driving, and it would be irresponsible for me to look at my phone.

Their house isn’t far from where I live, and it means I get to do a little extra driving. Everyone wins.

I get to the store and check my phone immediately upon parking. Friends who live nearby may have a Coronavirus case in the home. There is a call for help. If anyone can spare or find a test kit, these people would be most grateful. The thread soon fills with answers from people seeing what they can do. I write back, informing them I just happen to be at the pharmacy and can pick up a couple of tests for them. Their house isn’t far from where I live, and it means I get to do a little extra driving. Everyone wins.

I end the night with a beer, go to bed, and wake up to Friday. Friday was so exciting it’s getting its own post.

Getting Kids Ready for a New Soccer Season

Get Kids Ready for Soccer

More excitement in the sports section of my family. A new season means a new sport for The Boy. It’s been football for the past two autumns. This time, the child has decided to change gears and play youth soccer. We’re getting kids ready for a new soccer season.

I was never much for soccer, although I have learned to appreciate it in recent years. My children playing also gives it an added appeal. This is my son’s first soccer season. I tried to give him a little insight to the game. He wasn’t interested.

It’s a season full of “firsts” for The Boy this time. This is his first time playing soccer. He’s not playing with any of his friends. They’re either playing football or not playing a sport at all. I told him this could be a chance for him to make new friends. He wasn’t so sure when he heard that.

There are some adjustments on The Boy’s part. After two football seasons, he’s moved to soccer, and he can’t use his hands. I’ve constantly reminded him of this since it’s pretty much the only thing I know about soccer; That and the games are usually low-scoring.

The first order of business for me was to read the coach’s email and see what is needed for games and practices. I knew my son needed a water bottle. We’d figure out the rest at the first practice.

Soccer Practice

We were at the first practice of the season. The Boy needed cleats, and believe me, we looked everywhere when it came to finding cleats. The coach said not to worry about it since it was only the first practice of the season.

Soccer practice

I had a couple of days before the game to find the cleats. It became a mission for me and The Boy. We needed to get the cleats anyway, but going to one store, then two stores, then five stores and coming up empty-handed added an element of adventure and challenge that was not easy for us.

I think one problem was The Boy’s size. He was at the top of Boys’ sizes and the bottom of Youth’s. Being in between made it a little difficult to find something to fit him. We did find a pair of cleats from time to time, but what we found was too small for him. He insisted he could squeeze his feet in there because it was only a couple of hours.

“No, Joe Jackson,” I said to him. “We’ll find shoes that will fit you, and you don’t need to play in pain.”

He insisted he could squeeze his feet in there because it was only a couple of hours. I said, “No, Joe Jackson. We’ll find you shoes that will fit you, and you don’t need to play in pain.”

He wasn’t happy with my decision, but he went along with it.

Finding a Store for Soccer Cleats

In the middle of our cleat-seeking adventures, I learn of a store that’s not too far away from us. I don’t mind taking the drive, especially with one of my children. We get to the store. It’s a soccer store. Dedicated to soccer and nothing else. Only soccer.

The store isn’t too far away, but it is far enough that we won’t be able to make it there in time for cleats to wear for the first game of the season. I thought it would only be one practice without cleats, now it looks like it will only be one practice and one game (hopefully).

Driving to the First Soccer Game of the Season Together

The season-opener is on the road. We need to be in the car and on our way in time for a quick practice/refresher session before the first game of the season.

Wife isn’t home. She needs to take care of some things that day, but she will be making every attempt to be at the game. It’s late in the day, so she feels good about making it.

Despite our best attempts to get everything done and out of the way before the game, we are behind schedule. I send a message to the coach and inform him we are on our way but will not be on time for the pre-game drills.

While driving, I keep an eye on my phone in case there’s anything from the coach on our way. Sure enough there is something from the coach.

There is a notification on my phone. I need to pull over. After pulling over, I look at my phone. I rub my eyes and look at the phone again. Apparently, the game was never scheduled for Saturday as the schedule erroneously said. It’s scheduled for Sunday. On one hand, the schedule change cuts into beers and football scheduled for Sunday. On the other hand, it means we won’t be late, after all.

Finding the Right Pair of Soccer Cleats

I contact wife and tell her about the actual schedule. We get back home and hit the reset button. There is suddenly some extra time to find the cleats and take care of things around the house.

We get back into the car later that afternoon. We make it to the store. It is an enormous building dedicated to soccer and only soccer. We look at the cleats on the wall. There is a pair that look like it could pass muster. We ask to see the cleats in The Boy’s size.

The nice person working at the store retreats to the storeroom and returns with a box. The Boy tries them on. The cleats are a little big, but he likes the look and the extra room for his feet. He’ll grow as the season goes along, so that extra space will come in handy.

Soccer cleats for The Boy.

Getting Dad and Kids Ready for the Soccer Game

The Boy is getting ready for his game, and I need to do the same as a fan.

For me, watching my son’s games means I need to wear attire that matches my son’s team. I’m always looking for shirts that match the uniforms. It’s my own special way of supporting the team.

Decked out for the game.

This is soccer, though, and soccer fans are always decked out in team jerseys, scarfs, and face paint. I was able to find a shirt that matched The Boy’s, and Wife has a scarf that has our town colors. We arrive at the game. I’m in the team colors. We take our seats. I look around, and I’m disappointed there is no concession stand selling snacks. I’m hungry.

Wife and I take in the game. It’s a tough one, as they lose, 2-1. There was some excitement, and The Boy made some great plays out there. I’m looking forward to his next game. He’ll have a practice before that, and that will give the team a chance to work on their skills before that. On both days, I’ll be looking forward to watching my son.

Follow me on Twitter for more insights on parenting and how to fake it as an adult. @bravedaddy

Exciting Back to School Days for the Children and Parents

All over the neighborhood and throughout the town, parents are rejoicing as the heavens open up and the sound of angels singing fill the ears of parents who have suffered these three long months of children who sleep until the middle of the afternoon and numb their brains and eyeballs to the latest offerings of YouTube and Tik-Tok.

The summer is winding down. The weather is getting cooler, and the days are getting shorter. All over the neighborhood and throughout the town, parents are rejoicing as the heavens open up and the sound of angels singing fill the ears of parents who have suffered these three long months of children who sleep until the middle of the afternoon and numb their brains and eyeballs to the latest offerings of YouTube and Tik-Tok.

The choirs of angels accompanying the opening heavens are heralding the start of the new school year. It is a glorious time welcomed by all parents. The months of suffering the Miracles of Christ come to an end and we begin a new school year that will mold minds and give children new and exciting opportunities to learn things that will serve them well in life.

This, of course, also means Brave Daddy himself needs to adjust to a new routine. Children not needing to get up early in the morning means Daddy doesn’t have to get up early in the morning. I’ve been able to stay in bed for a little bit and contemplate what needs to be done and what excitement lays in store for me. Now I need be up and ready to go.

Riding the School Bus

There’s also another part to this school year that makes it different from any other. This year we have three children in three different schools, four if you include Lovie in college. High school, middle school, and elementary school.

Thankfully, the high school and middle school students are on the same bus in the morning and the bus comes earlier than when The Boy needs to be dropped off at school. I walk to the bus stop with the bus children. It gives me some exercise and helps to prepare me for all the moving I need to do that day. The Oppressed is glad to have the company as she waits for the bus. Slugger is too cool to interact and listens to his earbuds.

Ready for the bus… Kinda.

I was there for the bus to return twice in those first few days of school. The first time was because The Oppressed wanted to see the teachers from her old school, and the second time was because it rained, and I took pity on the children by driving them down the street. There have been new routines, but the same answers to questions. The kids did, “nothing” all day and school was, “great”.

I don’t get much else from the cherubs. Maybe that will change as the year goes on. One can only hope. Maybe something will happen that will be exciting enough to tell their dad. Maybe they’ll learn something interesting enough to share with me when I see them at the end of the day.

Driving to School

As I said before, we have three (four) children in three (four) schools. For the first time in years, I am only driving one child to and from school. This makes it easier for Daddy, who only needs to make sure that one child has what they need before getting into the car and getting to school. There are no wars over who is sitting in the front seat. There is no yelling at each other over some insipid issue that (to them) is a matter of life and death.

The Oppressed checks out one of her new classrooms.

Afternoon pickups give me a chance to see the other parents and reconnect. I get to commiserate with them about the daily struggles of getting to school and making the bell. My time with the other clueless adults is usually cut short by The Boy, who wants to get home and drop his bag and go to his friend’s house to play. I try to take advantage of the quick ride home with The Boy and ask about his day. What did he learn? What did he play at recess? Who did he play with?

School was great. He did nothing. He played with his friends, but he doesn’t remember what he did or who exactly he played with. Good talk, Dad. I’m going to my friend’s house to play.

Follow me on Twitter. @Greg_the_Brave

Moving into College for the First Time with Your Child

The family has already started our school routine, as we have taken Lovie to college. This was the first time I had a hand in moving a child into their dorm.

The glorious institution
of higher learning.

Summer is winding down. Days of sitting in front of a screen all morning while downing a box of sugar-infused cereal and then complaining of no food in the house will soon be replaced with frantic wake-up calls and glorious reprisals of The Homework Wars. Moving into college has begun our transition from summer laze to school days.

The family has already started our re-entry into intellectual stimulation, as we have taken Lovie to college. She’s living away, and this was the first time I had a hand in moving into college.

“No one will notice me if I stay still.”

There were many trips to the store to buy supplies for Lovie before the big day. We bought bedding, we packed boxes of clothes. There were snacks for the dorm. Days leading up to Moving Day were spent organizing boxes and bags. On the magical day, we loaded up the car and hit the road for what would be Lovie’s home for the next three or four months, minus a few weekends here and there.

Family Outfits for the Day

When we were at Freshman Orientation, Wife stopped by the school store to purchase t-shirts for me, Lovie, and herself. People thought it would be a great idea if we wore the shirts while working on campus.

I wasn’t sure if I would find my shirt in time for our big day of having one less child to worry about – I mean, moving our precious child into college.

I had a small problem. My shirt had been commandeered by The Gaggle, and I informed Wife that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find my shirt in time for our big day of having one less child to worry about – I mean, moving our precious child into college.

The Oppressed heard me talking to Wife and sprang into action. My youngest daughter, God bless her heart, grabbed a t-shirt out of my dresser and ran downstairs. She returned moments later with a homemade college t-shirt just for me. I would not be left out of the family-themed shirt ensemble, after all thanks to The Oppressed.

My custom-made shirt for the day.

Getting to Work on the College Campus

Upon arriving at campus, we loaded up the available carts. The elevators are small and can only hold a couple of people plus the carts. I was willing to take one for the team and carried things up the stairs. Everything was taken out of the car and brought to the dormitory after a few trips. Some rearranging of the bunks and wardrobes were necessary to accommodate students and personal effects.

A special note.

Lovie saw her roommates come in. She had met them before Moving Day. Wife and I had not. We briefly chatted with the roommates and their parents as they came into the dorm. After our work was done, we went out to get something to eat. We went back to the dorm to wish Lovie well and go home. The Oppressed left a note for her to read when she got settled in.

The family got into the car. There was a lot of room for us now that all of Lovie’s things had been taken out. We enjoyed the extra room as well as the air conditioning. Lovie’s dorm didn’t have central air unlike our home, and I’m wondering how our sensitive little creature is adapting to the third-world conditions (There is a fan in the window, nothing else). We returned home and rested our weary bodies from the stair-climbing and box-lugging that filled our day.

Setting up the dorm.

Our Daughter Called from College

Our services were required less than a week after bringing our dear daughter to her home in Academia. Some of her new housewares had fallen apart and needed to be replaced. I bring some of the children and Doggie to campus, as Lovie seems to think any animal in the house is her support animal. Children, Doggie, and I see her and drop off the needed wares. We say our hellos and goodbyes and head back home. There are crises to attend to back home, and I need to prepare for the next crisis on campus.

Endeavor Advising specializes in helping families navigate their way through the college selection and admission processes. If you have a family member who is in the college application process, visit endeavoradvising.com for the next important part of their life’s journey.

Feeding the Dog When your Children won’t

Doggie runs out the back, just before I drink coffee black. Back inside, check the bowl. Dog needs to eat, so I guess I’ll go.

Sung to the song “Walking the Dog” by Rufus Thomas

Doggie runs, out the back
Just before I drink coffee black
Back inside, check the bowl
Dog needs to eat, so I guess I’ll go

Feeding the dog
I’m just a-feeding the dog
Well, since no one else will do it
I guess I’ll have to feed the dog

I asked my children, like 15 times
All I get from them is groans and sighs
Things I ask always make them cry
They’ll feed her dinner at quarter to five

Feeding the dog
I’m just a-feeding the dog
Well, since no one else will do it
I guess I’ll have to feed the dog

Well, well, children, lunch at 12
Who will feed our doggie now?
It’s so hard to scoop up that kibble
How will she get her doggie chow?

I’ll feed the dog
I’m always feeding the dog
If you don’t know how to do it
I’ll show you how to feed the dog

Daddy’s back with grocery sacks
Shopping for the little Jills and Jacks
Doggie knows, time to fill the bowl
Kids are gone, but where did they go?

Feeding the dog
I’m just a-feeding the dog
Well, since no one else will do it
I guess I’ll have to feed the dog

Yeah, just a-feeding
Just a-feeding
I’m always feeding
Now, if you don’t know how to do it
I’ll show you how to feed the dog

For the love of God
Would someone please feed the dog?

Follow me on Instagram (Greg_the_Brave).

Grilling a Delicious Dinner with Your Daughter

Our kids, all of them are growing up (supposedly). Some days Wife and I question this, other days children tell us they are ready to try something they’ve never tried before.

The Oppressed recently told us she was ready to try something new. She wanted to cook dinner. Our youngest daughter picked a challenging night to try cooking dinner. We were having steak.

It’s August. It’s summer. That means we throw steaks on the grill. That means teaching The Oppressed how to work the grill and cook the steaks. If that was all we needed to be worried about, we would still have our hands full. Like other meals, we weren’t just having steak. We were also having baked potatoes and broccoli.

The Oppressed made it abundantly clear to me that she, and nobody else, would cook dinner. She would allow advice and answers to questions if she had any, but this was her gig, and she (and nobody else) would be doing the cooking.

Potatoes and Broccoli

We began with heating the oven for the potatoes and the broccoli. After that, we pulled the steaks out of the refrigerator to take the chill off. The potatoes were easy. We just needed to poke them with a knife and put them in the oven.

The broccoli required a little more effort and ingredients. We originally intended to use olive oil, salt, and pepper. Unfortunately, some of the children saw The Oppressed going to work and immediately decided their input was needed when it came to what to add to the broccoli.

Soon the spice drawer was emptied out and multiple cherubs were trying to add other seasonings and flavors to the dish. One child made it past me while I was telling people we didn’t need so much input or spices. The child that did make it through added garlic.

Steaks on the Grill

With broccoli and potatoes in the oven (we decided to cook everything and reheat the broccoli later), it was time to focus on the steak. I went outside to turn on the grill while The Oppressed went to work and seasoned the steaks. When I returned to the house, The Oppressed demanded to know where I went and let me know how upset she was that I had turned on the grill. She reminded me she was doing everything.

My daughter seasoning the steaks.

I tried to explain to her that the grill had to be warmed up before putting the meat on. This didn’t matter, of course. I should have told her it was time to turn on the grill before applying the seasonings. What’s done was done, and I told her I would be mindful of that the next time. She had informed me there would be a next time, but we’ll get to that later.

Steaks on the grill.

We get to the grill. I run back into the house to grab a beer because I’m grilling and it’s a rule to have a beer while grilling. The Oppressed allows me to put the steaks on the grill, as they are big, and she is struggling a little with the tongs. That’s all I can do, though.

Pouring a Beer

A beer is poured by me, not the boy. The Boy emerges and lets me know he’s upset that I poured a beer without telling him. He wanted to pour the beer for me.

A rather heavy pour of beer.

Daddy sips on his beer, reflecting on how The Boy has been let down. I turn a steak over to see if it’s done on one side. The Oppressed demands to know what I’m doing if she is the one who’s cooking dinner. I surrender the fork to my daughter, who gives me a suspicious look and focuses on the grill, checking on the meat.

I let The Boy know I’m ready for another beer. He forgives me for my previous transgression and proceeds to open the beer and pour. He is still learning this art, and there is more foam than beer. I give it a couple of minutes for the head to die down a little.

Dinner is served.

Steaks are done by the time the second beer is finished. They are brought in by The Oppressed and her father. I begin to set the table until my daughter pushes me away. She reminds me she is the one preparing dinner. I tell her forks on the left, knives on the right. The Oppressed puts a finger to her lips and say, “Sshh!” Everyone sits down at the table, set by The Oppressed. Dinner passes with the entire family.

Pork on the Grill

The Oppressed was so proud of herself, she decided to prepare dinner the next night. I would be allowed to help a little, but this was her job, and she would be the one to do it.

The next night’s menu was pork. I went to the store to buy some marinade and prepared the meat. Beer was taken out for The Boy to pour. He poured it. Big head. I turned the grill on and gave it a minute to warm up while the head tamed down.

There was a slight challenge when I opened the grill to put down the pork. The fire was out. This was a small problem, and the children and I closed up the containers of marinating pork and went inside. The Boy wanted to carry my beer. I told him I would do it.

One night was grilling. Another night was cooking on the stove top. Two different methods of cooking that required different sets of skills and attention. I watched The Oppressed watch the meat and the clock. I told her when to turn the meat. She had a little trouble handling the utensils. I attempted to step in and assist, but she put up her hand, informing me she had a handle on things. I backed away and sipped my tasty beverage while she continued cooking.

Drinking a beer. This was really the only thing I was allowed to do while my daughter cooked.

We all sat down to dinner. Pork, french fries, and corn. Again, everyone raved about the efforts of The Oppressed. She had been wanting to make dinner for everyone for a long time and finally got to do it. After two successful meals, I think everyone is looking forward to her next effort.

“Down on the Farm” is now available for purchase on Apple Books.

I Took my Child to the Hospital

More fun times. We recently had a child who needed to go to the hospital. It’s always fun when we go to the hospital.

More fun times. We recently had a child who needed to go to the hospital. We took a shot, and hoped it could be something that could be tended to at urgent care. No such luck.

Urgent Care

It’s always fun when we go to the hospital. This time, it was The Gaggle who needed to be seen. We go to Urgent Care and tell the nice lady behind the desk of the symptoms they’ve been feeling. The nice lady asks them some questions. The Gaggle then looks at me with a puzzled, helpless look in their face.

“You’re adorable,” I say to them.

The nice lady points to me and said, “That’s the word I’ve been looking for to describe my teenager.”

I help The Gaggle with the rest of the questions, and then we get to that fun part of the Q&A. Insurance. Unfortunately, they don’t take our insurance, and we are forced to go to the hospital. The emergency room. It’s always a fun time when we go to the emergency room.

The Emergency Room

We get to the emergency room. There’s a line of people ahead of us. We go to reception and check in.

Waiting for someone,
anyone, to appear.

The nice lady at the desk asks questions. Luckily, The Gaggle is able to answer them. I think it’s because she had practice earlier. The nice lady gets a bracelet and puts it on The Gaggle’s wrist. I’m disappointed when I find out there are no door prizes for me. After all, I’m the one who drives the children to the hospital. I thought I would at least get a coupon for a coffee or something. Maybe a balloon. No such luck.

People Watching

We take our seats in the waiting area. I have a book with me and start reading. It turns out to be a good thing for me that I brought the book. We’re going to be there for a while It’s a good book, but the entertainment in the waiting area soon commands my attention.

One woman complained she had been there for five (expletive) hours. this woman was most displeased about the wait. She walked around the waiting area huffing and throwing her hands in the air. After taking a little stroll around the waiting room, she threw her hands in the air and plopped back down on her seat.

Another woman needed to leave the hospital because she needed to take care of her dog. She was adamant that she needed to go home. The nice man who was with her promised a trip to the beach if she stuck it out at the hospital.

She walked around the waiting area huffing and throwing her hands in the air. After taking a little stroll around the waiting room, she threw her hands in the air and plopped back down on her seat.

Other comrades-in-waiting.

The Five Hour Woman got a call on her cell phone. She picked up the phone and said, “Hello, don’t call me again,” then hung up the phone. A couple of minutes after that, the child and I saw someone walking through the parking lot in a Johnny. Back to “Five”. Now she’s pacing, saying she’s been here for six hours, and may flip out in these (ahem) “people”. Another name is called. “Five” raises her hand to announce she hasn’t been seen yet. That’s when we are called.

Now That We’re Called

So, this turned out to be a false alarm. They just needed to do some blood work. After that was done, we were sent back to the waiting area. Someone brought “Five” some food. That seemed to make her happy and quiet her down… for a minute.

Wife texts me to ask how things are going. I tell her it’s another exciting day of people watching, but I am hopeful we’ll be called soon. I’m always hopeful if this. I’m sure the lady who’s been there for five, I mean, six hours is just an anomaly.

We’re there for hours. My attention goes from my book to the television to the other people in the waiting area. More hours pass. We finally decide to leave the emergency room. We get an appointment at a clinic and are seen. The Gaggle gets a prescription. I have more exciting stories to tell Wife about another exciting adventure in the waiting room.

“Down on the Farm” is now available for purchase on Apple Books.

Plenty of Excitement in the Lazy Summer Days

We are in the middle of summer vacation. It’s had its share of excitement and moments we’ll never forget, no matter how much we want to forget or how hard we try.

The season started with graduation. Two of our children graduated from high school, one graduated from elementary school. Not long after celebrating these milestones, we went to Maine to celebrate my nephew graduating from high school. Not long after that, I was able to watch a friend perform in a concert in a local town green.

A concert on the town green.

Switching Gears

Switching from school to summer vacation meant switching gears. We don’t have to wake up early to make the bus anymore, but we do have to make sure teenagers are out of bed and ready to face the day and tackle the chores. Some of the misinformed cherubs think they have a God-given right to sleep all morning into the afternoon. Wife and I are still explaining to them that’s not how life works.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have The Oppressed and The Boy. Both are at camp and spend the days swimming, rowing, and learning arts and crafts. These children have been at this particular camp for years. They love it, as do the other children in the area who attend. It’s a great camp. Parents (including this one) have tried to get in, but apparently there’s an age limit.

The scene of another birthday party just before the kids fill up the floor.

When the children aren’t at camp or sleeping, there are birthday parties to attend. Both The Oppressed and The Boy have been busy this season attending parties. This gives the chance for The Oppressed to express herself and her talents with drawings on the card and craft projects that come with the presents picked out for friends. The kids have fun at the parties, and it gives Wife and I a chance to catch up with the other adults.

Yes, it’s nice for things to slow down and it’s nice for us to do things other than worry about getting to school on time and making sure homework is done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean parents like us can take a break from worrying about our little cherubs. Our little miracles of Christ keep finding ways to keep up on our toes.

Slight Incident at the Pond

There was one such incident I’ll remember and treasure forever. One day, children and I were swimming at a pond. This particular watering hole had a rope tied to a tree. Children at the pond liked to swing off the rope and fall into the water. Seems like fun, right? It is. The only problem is this: You need to swing on the rope a couple of times to get far enough over water that is deep enough. The rope can be a tricky thing to try to control while you’re swinging in mid-air.

One such child had a little trouble with that and their back hit the tree. I was watching the children take turns on the rope and dreading something like that happening. Sure enough, it did.

Luckily for this child, no one was really swinging wild enough or fast enough to do major damage to themselves. There was a little scratch. Nothing more than that. We were all grateful.

A Missing Cat?

There’s been plenty of excitement for our family this summer. Some episodes are more exciting than we would like. There was one morning Kitty decided to go out exploring, and she was gone for most of the day.

I was browsing through social media later that day when I found a post mentioning a dead cat not far from our neighborhood in case anyone was missing a cat. The description of the cat was close enough to Kitty that I felt I should respond to the post and get more information. The nice lady who had originally posted about the cat sent me a message with a picture of the cat. I honestly couldn’t say, “yes” or “no” with 100% certainty.

It was a long day and a long night. I wasn’t sure what I was going to tell the younger children or one of the teenagers, who has a special fondness for Kitty. I told nobody except for Wife. No need to alarm any of the children.

I woke up the next morning and began my daily routine, which started with letting Doggie out. When I reached the door, there was Kitty waiting. She looked healthy and intact, and ready to sleep off the excitement of her night out of the house. I was able to dial down my anxiety until the next fun-filled adventure finds its way to my house.

Safe and sound asleep.

The Declaration of Independence for Children

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal to their parents, that they are endowed with

(With apologies to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence)

The Declaration of Independence

When in the course of children’s events it becomes necessary for one children to dissolve the parental bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of family and family’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of children requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.

Outline of Parents’ Wrongs and Atrocities

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal to their parents, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are snacks, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – That to secure these rights, Parents are instituted among children, deriving their just powers from the consent of the children, – That whenever any form of parenting becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the children to alter or abolish it, and institute new Parents, preferably themselves, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to the children shall seem most likely to provide their own happiness. Parents don’t know what they’re doing, anyway. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that parents should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that children are more disposed to suffer, while evils of parents are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and wrongful seizing of parenting rights, pursuing invariably the same object shows a devious plan to reduce the children under absolute Despotism, it is the children’s right, it is their duty, to throw off such Parenting (themselves), and to provide new Guards for their future security (until they need money or a ride somewhere).

Indictment of Parents

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Children; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Parenting. The history of the present Parents is a history of repeated injuries and wrongful invoking of rights as parents, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these innocent children. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have refused to Assent to Children’s input, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:

They have forbidden their children to make their own rules, unless suspended in their operation until their Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend them:

They have refused to make other rules for the accommodation of children’s happiness, unless those children would obey the rules of the house, a right precious to them and formidable to tyrant parents only:

They have called together children for meals and family trips at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from where they can charge devices, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with their measures.

They have dissolved Child Representation repeatedly, for opposing with parental firmness of their invasions on the rights of the children.

They have refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to elect other children, whereby children’s powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the Children at large for their exercise; the children remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of chores and a lack of screens.

They have endeavoured to prevent more friends coming over when chores “need to be done” refusing to allow more children to encourage their migrations hither and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Friends visiting:

They have obstructed the Administration of Children’s Justice by refusing their Assent to rules for establishing additional Children’s privileges:

They have made Children dependent on their Will alone for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation:

They have erected a multitude of New Offices which harass our people and dictate mealtime substances:

They have kept among us, in times of peace, Rules and Curfews without our consent:

They have affected to render their Parental roles independent of and superior to the Children’s Power:

They have combined with others (teachers, other parents) to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution of rights, and unacknowledged by our law; giving their Assent to their acts of pretended Legislation:

For not allowing extended privileges because rooms are not clean.

For protecting other parents, by a mock Trial from punishment for any atrocities which they should commit on fellow Children:

For cutting off communication with all parts of the world after a certain hour:

For imposing chores on us without out Consent:

For depriving us in many cases of the benefit of Making our own Rules:

For punishing us for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of Parenting Laws, establishing therein an Arbitrary Parenting government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute parenting unto the Children:

For taking away our screens, abolishing our most valuable leisure activities and altering fundamentally the Forms of our routines and habits:

For suspending our own Autonomy, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:

They have abdicated Parenting here by suspending our rights and waging War against those rights:

They have plundered our bedrooms, ravaged our backpacks, ransacked our closets, and destroyed the lives of our people:

They are at this time collaborating with teachers, doctors, coaches, neighbors to compleat the works of confiscating unhealthy snacks and drinks, and enforcing “healthy” choices and habits, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized family:

They have witnessed and consented to other parents, who have constrained our fellow Children taken captive, or “grounded” them:

They have excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and have endeavoured to bring on the merciless punishments, an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. Parents, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free children.

Past Appeals to the World

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our brethren (and sistern). We have warned them from time to time of attempts by all parents to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us all. We have reminded them of our seeking justice and quest for satisfaction. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common roles as children to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our playtime and socializing together.

The Case for Independence

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold the Parents, as we hold the rest of mankind, Friends and Equals.

Independence is a Must

We, therefore, the Children, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, so, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Children everywhere, solemnly publish and declare, That these Children are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to Parents, and that all parental connection between them and the Parents, is ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Children, they have full Power to pay bills, cook meals, do laundry, and arrange transportation to friends’ houses, parties, and sporting events, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Children may of right to. And for the support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Wi-Fi and Uber Eats, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Passwords, and our sacred Honor.

Click here for an interesting article on the connections past presidents have with Independence Day.