Enjoying an extended weekend #Family

Woohoo! A Holiday weekend gives me three days off. Sadly Kim has to work 2 of the 3 days so we as a family will not going be doing anything exotic. But at least we can enjoy some of it with some events.

Saturday we will be playing D&D. One of the boys will be gone so it will be a smaller group. I am hoping to amp up my game a little bit more this time. Should be fun.

Saturday afternoon and evening we will be hosting a holiday cookout. The kids will have friends over. Our family will be coming over as well, as this is a traditional family event.

Sunday we will be doing another family event. Kim will be taking the kids over to her aunt’s house to help with preparing a special meal. And then I will go over later in the day to join them.

Monday will be a quiet day of recovery at home. We will be doing some work in Danny’s room. But not hosting any big events or groups of friends.

So yes, it will be a busy, social weekend. By Sunday night, I will be wanting to take a break from people in general. So it is good I have Monday off.

Growing up in the 80s #Groundzero #Life

One of my favorite musical albums is the Bruce Springsteen Live set that covers his early years. One of the things that I love about it is his occasional introductions to his songs. They are almost funny sometimes in their self-absorption. But one of the ones that I always remember is his introduction to the song War, which made it into a video of that same song. Here is the important part:

“If you grew up in the Sixties, you grew up with war on your television every night.”

I did not grow up in the Sixties, I was born in them. But growing up in the Seventies and Eighties I had the same effect, the thought of war was an ever-present part of my life. Because I grew up in Colorado Springs, home to multiple military bases.

My father worked in NORAD. We drove to school past Fort Carson army base. My homes and schools were at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, where NORAD was located. I remember the air raid sirens that were tested every Friday afternoon. I was old enough that we did not do duck and cover drills. But still, the threat of war, specifically nuclear war, was always there.

Over the past couple of years I have been watching, and really enjoying the television show The Americans. This is just a fantastic show. It is about 2 Soviet sleeper agents who have a family and seemingly normal life as travel agents. Living in Washington DC during the early 1980’s. The show at face value has been fantastic. The characters are great and very well developed.

Having grown up reading spy novels the spy stories and tradecraft is also awesome. The plots are grade A stuff, with intricacies and planning.

But the parts that really stick out for me are the cultural references and the history. As a child of the Eighties, they have done an extraordinary job of getting things right. The musical references are perfect. From the father learning about Yaz Band from his daughter to the purchase of a home computer that the young son uses almost exclusively for video games. There is even an episode where an adult teaches one of the kids to play Strat 0 Matic baseball, which is a very Eighties moment (I remember playing that with my brother in law.)

And the history, specifically the political history is even more fascinating. Because this is the height of the Cold War, with Reagan in office. And I remember how scary those years felt to those of us living where I grew up.

One episode covered the Reagan assassination attempt. And from the perspective of the Societ Agents how scary that moment really was. Because no one knew if that was intentional, or who John Hinckley was. And how close everyone was to the point of no return when that happened. I remember that vividly. For some reason, I was off school that day. And I was with my Dad when Al Haig came on TV and announced he was in charge. And while we joked about it, in retrospect that was incredibly scary.

Which gets to my real point. Living in those times, growing up where I did, with a near constant sense that we had a giant target on our heads. We developed a real sense of fatalism. That since we lived at Ground Zero everything became a kind of joke. The air raid siren testing was just a lark. I kind of knew that if it was all going to happen, if the war happened, I would be dead so fast that it would not matter.

Living that way makes for a different approach to a lot of things. And last week’s episode of the Americans reminded me of how my outlook on things like nuclear war was changed from growing up in this fashion. Because last week’s episode centered around the characters watching the television movie The Day After. I remember when that show was aired. I was in high school, it was my Junior year if I recall. My most vivid memory of it was speaking to a girl who had watched it, about how horrible it was and how bad nuclear war was.

Now by that point, I had become pretty hawkish in my views. Which was understandable considering where I grew up and what I was surrounded by. So I never watched the movie. Because I considered it just another form of blatant propaganda. In retrospect, it was a form of propaganda, but in my current view, it was more from the twisted perspective that anyone would survive a nuclear war.

The funny thing is how all of this affected people differently. The school I went to had a number of boarding students from other places. So those people were not from my home and had not grown up in the shadow of Ground Zero. They were far more affected and scared by that movie.

And one of my current friends was in the Air Force in Germany during the early Eighties. He remembers staring across the line at the Fulda Gap at the massed Warsaw Pact forces. And how scared and irritated they were at Reagan’s saber rattling. And later Reagan taking credit for the fall of the Soviet Union and East Germany.


Ah, it is finally here #Kids #School #Summer

(My wife and other people will be jealous when they read this, and I am sorry for that)

This morning my alarm went off later than it previously had. Last night I was even able to delete my early alarm. I then hit my snooze alarm a few times. And was able to leisurely get up a good hour later than I had been getting up.

I then performed my normal morning routine of making my lunch, showering, dressing, making and eating breakfast. I cleaned the kitchen from my dishes and last nights remainders. Made sure the rest of the house was cleaned and ready for the day. Then left the kids with the simple instruction to pick up after themselves and left for work.

I did not get up early and work out, as I hoped to do. But this was just the first day of summer vacation. And I am not going to beat myself up for that. Instead, I am going to focus on the relaxed feeling I am getting from this. On the well being I get from a simple good night’s rest, and a chance to relax a little in the morning.

Granted Jimmy still has a couple of days left. After that, I will be asking more from the kids. But for now, for this week, I am just going to enjoy this as much as the kids do.

An extended celebration #Marriage #Weekend

18 years is a long time, almost 2 decades. And if you count the time we spent together before we got married then we can say that we have been together for 20 years. It has not been all Mai-Thais and Yahtzee of course. But when our server asked us last night what our secret was I replied with one word: patience.

Today is our official anniversary, but we kind of made the weekend into an extended celebration. Friday night the little ones had a sleepover at their friend’s house. So we grilled steaks, had some steak fries and salad and watched Deadpool.

Then last night we had our fancy dinner out at the Melting Pot. Where we ate some incredible food. Had a good time, laughing and joking. And then went home and got the kids to bed for school one last time. And relaxed.

And today, our official Anniversary, we will meet for lunch. It is not the extended celebration we have planned for a couple of years down the road. When we will take a big extended trip to somewhere fancy. But I still enjoyed this year.

On other notes, it was a good weekend. I got a lot of work done. Tackling the mowing and weed eating, with Jimmy’s help. The yard still looks terrible. But at least it is not overgrown, and you can at least see the few flowers that are there. And the house got picked up. And we stocked up the house with groceries for the kids to eat over the week.

It was a good bridge weekend for the end of the school year and beginning of summer. The weather even cooperated for once.

Making a list, checking it twice #Life

I slept in a little this morning, just resting, and enjoying how little I had to do. Because it is Friday, the last day of the week, and second to last day of the little one’s school year. That meant I did not have to pack lunches, did not need to deal with the dogs because Jimmy will be home with them. In celebration of the day, I went out to breakfast so I did not have to save time for that.

After the initial morning rush of urging the kids on, serving them breakfast. Then getting dressed and getting the trash out. I had some time to sit down and look over my reminder list for the day. And it occurred to me just how much that has helped me out over this school year. It feels really good to get things done, and rid myself of that anxious ‘I forgot something’. It has made a big difference to my life.

The little ones do have school on Monday. Which seems odd, but I think the reason they do that is to have some open days at the end of the year in case there are too many snow days. But it is odd for them to only be going back to school for one day. And Jimmy has 4 days left, which will be hard for him in the days that he is at home with the little ones. But, the important thing is that I only have to drive a kid to school one day next week. And that is a great relief.

The weekend will be devoted to getting stuff done around the house. There is a serious amount of weed eating to get done. Some mowing. Some cleaning of trash. And Kim has some things inside the house she wants to get done. We will make room to do some fun things as well I am sure.


Fighting a rising tide #Mentalhealth #Life

This week feels like it has been just one gigantic disruption. But I just have to keep my head up. Make it through it all. And know that everything lightens up next week.

It started Tuesday morning. Emily came out from bed complaining that she didn’t feel good. Thought that she was going to throw up. Which is really unusual for her, she is almost never sick. Which meant I would have to stay home from work for the morning at least.

Then that same day Jimmy got up complaining about his stomach as well. Which got me wondering if the family was suffering from the same bug or if everyone had eaten something bad. Considering I made dinner on Monday night that worried me. Well, Jimmy did get to school for a while before I had to go pick him up. And it later turned out his stomach issues were ‘self-inflicted’ (the diet habits of the American teenage male can be scary sometimes.)

Not to be outdone by his siblings Danny came down with a tummy problem that has had him miss 2 days already. Which is fitting considering that was the pattern this school year. It is sad how much he suffered this year. And I just have to hope that continued therapy will help get ready for the trials of Middle School next year.

It just has not been a good week for following a schedule. Lots of disruptive things going on. Which can be hard on my mental health. I have handled it pretty well actually. Fighting a rising tide of disruption. And still getting things done that were necessary. I have handled it all. Taking this as my mantra:


I talk about it,but I know it is no joke #Mentalhealth

Written by Alexandria Pizzola. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses out there. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s time to talk about it. There’s a complexity to this illness that we neglect to acknowledge when we reduce it to “frequent hand washing” or “needing things in order” […]

via OCD: Breaking Down the Mystery — The (I’m)Possible Project